Just ask yourself, do we or do we not need the Holy Spirit? And by how much? What Dr Lloyd Jones meant was far different from the cheap ‘second blessing’ insisted upon by charismatics who claim its evidence is some fleshly manifestation like ‘speaking in tongues’ or being ‘slain in the spirit’, without which it is not possible to call yourself a Christian(!).
Dr Lloyd Jones was linking with a rich historic vein of theology. For example, reading eye-witness accounts of the 1859 revival, ‘Revivals in Wales’, by Evan Davies, where it is said of a congregation in Merthyr that,
All appeared to be baptized with the Holy Ghost and with fire. (p31)
In ‘The Welsh Revival: Its Origin and Development’, Thomas Phillips (1860, republished 1989) relates how,
Other ministers entered the great field, baptized with the same spirit of earnestness and zeal for the Master’s glory, and the salvation of souls. (p14)
It hardly needs to be said that these ministers are assumed by the writer to be already converted, and regenerate, but they were distinguished by a ‘spirit of earnestness and zeal’. One could hardly identify charismatic lunacy or overly prim reformed attitudes with this statement.
This Welsh term, bedydd tân, meaning baptism of fire, is one of just a few adequate ways of describing this experience. Is it your experience? If not, how do you account for that?
Great Preachers of Wales, by Rev. Owen Jones, contains some of the most excellent and insightful commentary mingled in with the historical accounts of its remarkable subjects. First published in 1885, Tentmaker recently brought it back into circulation.
Of one stellar worthy, Henry Rees, it is said (p.398):
The last sermon he delivered in Liverpool, we understand, was upon the baptism of the Holy Spirit; it was a subject he delighted to dwell upon.
Then, the author fills two pages with an extended quote from this sermon. Through writings like this, it is clear that Dr D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, in advocating this baptism of the Spirit, was standing right in line with his forebears. So should we: we abuse, trifle with, malign or neglect it at our peril.
The inclusion of a quote by FB Meyer may only serve to harden some opinions against the objective of this site. But the risk is worth taking since, apart from the sheer force of the argument in the quote, it is clear that his terminology pre-dates Lloyd-Jones. Before criticising this servant of God for his ‘Higher life’ (or ‘Keswick’) position, it would be wise to consider his life and ministry compared to the conditions we are currently enduring.
I am not anxious here to distinguish between the filling of the Holy Ghost and the baptism of fire. So far as I can understand it, they are synonymous… Say not that this filling by the Spirit was for the first Christians and not for us. Certainly His gifts were part of the special machinery needed to impress the Gentile world; but the filling of the Spirit is conterminous with no one age. Alas! That many think that the Almighty, like some bankrupt builder, constructed the portico of His church with marble, and has finished it with common brick!
If Meyer is a concern, few would argue the credentials of the Scottish worthy, John “Rabbi” Duncan (1796-1870), who said:
“O Lord, pour out Thy Spirit richly!” “Put on Thy strength, O arm of the Lord! Awake as i the ancient days! Art thou not it that hath cut Rahab and wounded the dragon? Is thine ear heavy, that Thou canst not hear or Thine arm shortened that it cannot save?” O thou, Baptizer with the Holy Ghost! from the sanctuary above richly shed down that baptizing fire, that our cold hearts may be kindled at Thy warmth, and that we be no more so Laodicean, so lukewarm, so offensive!
And another Scots luminary, no less than George Smeaton (1882:261), says…
The Church, in seeking to further the cause of Christianity, uniformly realizes the indispensable necessity of the Spirit, and responds to the call: “be filled with the Spirit” (Eph.v.18). Had the first disciples omitted to continue with one accord in prayer and supplication till the Spirit came, or had they begun at their own caprice without waiting till they were endued with power from on high, their labour would have been of no avail. Only such as are baptized with the Holy Ghost produce in Christian effort any good results; for God does not pour out His Spirit, to any large extent, without fitting for the work those special instruments whom it shall please Him mainly to employ. But, on the other hand, it may be affirmed with confidence that such as already enjoy the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, are warranted to expect supplies of the Spirit very much greater than any they have ever known; for to him that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundantly (Matt. xiii.12)
May 11 1857. Blessed be God I have experienced a little revival. My bodily health is but poorly but my soul burns with love to souls and with a desire for their salvation God is working among us but I want to see great things great things. O for a glorious work! O to see hundreds brought to God in Cambray. I find Satan is very busy trying to do mischief in the church and congregation but I hope by watchfulness and prayer we shall overcome him.Thank God I have been enabled to be much in prayer lately. O that every breath was spent in prayer or praise or speaking for God! My soul longs to be thoroughly sanctified to enjoy a deep baptism of the Holy Spirit. I want to be full of God. For the Christian to rule the man, for grace entirely to control nature. Yesterday, many met for prayer and a very large number to hear the word I felt great power in my own soul and some effect was produced on the people. O that hundreds were brought to Christ. My soul burns with a desire to save souls. (p414-415)
November 19, 1860 Once more my birthday has come around, and I feel deeply solemnized, as I think of the flight of time, and the nearness of eternity. I now frequently begin to weary of earth — as I have long felt weary of sin and self. Yet I would abide the Lord’s time, and do all the work that he has allotted me to do. Never, I think, did I more feel that I am a poor, empty sinner, resting alone upon Christ — than I do this morning. Blessed be God, I have no doubt of my acceptance, or of my final glorification — but the briars and thorns of the desert — deeply wound me, and when they do not, they irritate, annoy, and stir up improper feelings, while I want to feel love, and only love, toward every human being. Yes, I do want to live in charity with all men.
And now on my birthday, being fifty-eight years of age, I do solemnly in the presence of my God and Father, consecrate all that I am and have — to himself and his service. If I can be more the Lord’s than I have been, let me be, and may every purpose of my soul, and every action of my life, have for its end God’s glory, and God’s glory alone. Good and gracious God, accept my voluntary surrender of myself to you, and give me this day such a baptism of the Holy Spirit as I have never experienced; and may this appear in . . .
the holiness of my life,
the happiness of my heart, and
the usefulness of my ministry.
O for a glorious work to be wrought among my people, filling them with love to each other, zeal for God, and deep concern for the conversion of souls. O for a glorious work of grace to be wrought in this town, subduing thousands of stubborn sinners, and bringing them to receive, and embrace the Savior! This may be my last birthday entry — if it should, let it witness for me, that in the most serious, sincere, and deliberate manner, I have given myself away to God; and have taken the Lord Jesus, to be my complete Savior, divine master and everlasting ALL!
With thanks to Pastor John Thackway for providing this James Smith reference.
Octavius Winslow’s appearance here will come as no surprise to those familiar with his writings… Oh that the church would awaken to the essential, even elemental urgency that should characterise our cries to God for the Spirit!
What is interesting about the following quote from ‘Personal Declension and Revival of Religion…’ is the daring expression of ‘reconversion’. As a Calvinist, Winslow believed that we were ‘once saved, saved forever’ – conversion is not equated with salvation – regeneration is. However, in the experience of God’s people, there is a declension and a gracious return which certainly feels like a reconversion, even as if one was never really converted before, so strong are the impressions made. What happens after that in terms of holiness is evidence for the nature of the experience though. But listen, without prejudice to our dear forefather: THE great secret is here explained to be ‘a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit’ – the very thing being vehemently denied on one hand or else appallingly counterfeited on the other:
But that which forms the great secret of all personal revival is yet to be disclosed; we allude to a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit. This a declining soul needs more than all beside. Possessing this in a large degree, he possesses every spiritual blessing: it includes, and is the pledge of every other. Our dear Lord sought to impress this, his last consoling doctrine, upon the drooping minds of his disciples: his bodily presence in their midst, he taught them, was not to be compared with the spiritual and permanent dwelling of the Spirit among them. The descent of the Holy Spirit was to bring all things that he had taught them to their remembrance; it was to perfect them in their knowledge of the supreme glory of his person, the infinite perfection of his work, the nature and spirituality of his kingdom, and its ultimate and certain triumphs in the earth. The descent of the Spirit, too, was to mature them in personal holiness, and more eminently fit them for their arduous and successful labour in his cause, by deepening their spirituality, enriching them with more grace, and enlarging them with more love. And fully did the baptism of the Holy Spirit, on the day of Pentecost, accomplish all this: the apostles emerged from his influence, like men who had passed through a state of re-conversion.
And this is the state, dear reader, you must pass through, would you experience a revival of God’s work in your soul: you must be reconverted, and that through a fresh baptism of the Holy Spirit. Nothing short of this will quicken your dying graces, and melt your frozen love; nothing save this will arrest your secret declension, and restore your backsliding heart. You must be baptized afresh with
the Spirit; that Spirit whom you have so often and so deeply wounded, grieved, slighted and quenched, must enter you anew, and seal, and sanctify, and reconvert you. O arise, and pray, and agonize for the outpouring of the Spirit upon your soul; give up your lifeless religion, your form without the power, your prayer without communion, your confessions without brokenness, your zeal without love. And O, what numerous and precious promises cluster in God’s word, all inviting you to seek this blessing!
…Seek, then, above and beyond all other blessings, the renewed baptism of the Holy Spirit. “Be filled with the Spirit;” seek it earnestly, seek it under the deep conviction of your absolute need of it, seek it perseveringly, seek it believingly. God has promised, “I will pour out my Spirit upon you;” and, asking it in the name of Jesus, you shall receive.
Seek, then, with all your blessings, this, the richest and the pledge of all, the baptism of the Spirit; rest not short of it; you are nothing as a professing man without it; your religion is lifeless, your devotion is formal, your spirit is unctionless; you have no moral power with God or with man, apart from the baptism of the Holy Spirit; seek it, wrestle for it, agonize for it, as transcendently more precious than every other mercy. Submerged in his quickening and reviving influences, what a different Christian will you be! how differently will you pray, how differently will you live, and how
differently will you die! Is the spirit of prayer languishing? is its exercise becoming irksome? is closet devotion abandoned? is the duty in any form becoming a task? O rouse you to the seeking of the baptism of the Spirit! this alone will stay the progress of your declension, this will revive the true spirit of prayer within you, and this will give to its exercise sweetness, pleasantness, and power. God has promised the bestowment of the blessing, and he will never disappoint the soul that seeks it.
More of the same sentiment is here given in Winslow’s ‘The inquirer directed to an experimental and practical view of the work of the Holy Spirit‘:
Seek to be sealed of the Spirit—seek the “earnest of the Spirit”—seek to be “filled with the Spirit”—seek the “anointing of the Spirit”—seek the “Spirit of adoption.” Say not, it is too immense a blessing, to high an attainment for one so small, so feeble, so obscure, so unworthy as you. Oh, impeach not thus the grace of God. All His blessings are the bestowments of grace; and grace means free favor to the most unworthy. There is not one lowly, weeping eye that falls on this page, but may, under the blessed sealing of the Spirit, look up through Jesus to God as a Father. Low views of self, deep consciousness of vileness, poverty of state or of spirit, are no objections with God, but rather strong arguments that prevail with Him why you should have the blessing. Only ask—only believe—only persevere, and you shall attain unto it. It is in the heart of the Spirit to seal “unto the day of redemption” all that believe in Jesus. May it be in the heart of the reader to desire the blessing, seeing it is so freely and richly offered! (1840, p187)
Duncan J and Sinclair JS (1925) Rich Gleanings from Rabbi Duncan Free Presbyterian Bookshop