Dixon The Holy Spirit in life and service is a series of 19 sermons on the Holy Spirit by preachers and evangelists of the time, in a Conference in Brooklyn NY.
The Holy Spirit in life and service
by Amzi Clarence Dixon
THE HOLY SPIRIT IN LIFE AND SERVICE
ADDRESSES DELIVERED BEFORE THE CONFERENCE ON THE MINISTRY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT HELD IN BROOKLYN, N. Y., OCTOBER, 1894
WITH INTRODUCTION BY REV. A. C. DIXON
FLEMING H. REVELL COMPANY
New York Chicago Toronto
Publishers of Evangelical Literature
Andover Harvard Theological Library
Copyright, 1895, by
Fleming H. Revell Company.
CONTENTS of Dixon The Holy Spirit in life and service
Introduction. Rev. A. C. Dixon, of Brooklyn 5
1. The Holy Spirit in His Relation to Young People. Rev. Theodore L. Cuyler, of Brooklyn, and Rev. J. K. Dixon, of Philadelphia 9
2. The Personality and Deity of the-Holy Spirit. Rev. G. S. Bishop, of Orange, N. J 25
3. The Holy Spirit in His Relation to the Bible. Rev. L. W. Munhall, of Philadelphia 31
4. The Holy Spirit in His Relation to Bible Study. Rev. W. J. Harsha, of New York 39
5. The Relation of the Holy Spirit to the Evangelist. Major D. W. Whittle, of Northfield 46
6. The Holy Spirit and the Sunday-school Teacher. Rev. D. M. Stearns, of Philadelphia 55
7. The Holy Spirit in His Relation to the Pastor. Rev. A. J. Gordon, of Boston 59
8. The Relation of the Holy Spirit to the Christian Worker. Rev. J. F. Carson, of Brooklyn 62
9. The Holy Spirit in His Relations to Purity of Mind. Anthony Comstock, of New York 71
10. The Holy Spirit in His Relation to Missions. Rev. A. T. Pierson, of Philadelphia 82
11. The Holy Spirit in His Relation to the Sinner. Rev. C. H. Yatman, of Ocean Grove, N. J. 92
12. The Holy Spirit in His Relation to the Shechinah. Rev. Charles Herald, of Brooklyn 95
13. The Holy Spirit in His Relation to Christ. Rev. W. J. Erdman, of Philadelphia 102
14. The Holy Spirit in His Relation to the Apostolic Church. Rev. John R. Davies, of New York 106
15. The Holy Spirit in His Relation to Church Administration. Rev. E. M. Poteat, of New Haven, and Rev. John Humps tone, of Brooklyn 110
16. The Holy Spirit in His Relation to Rescue Work. S. H. Hadley and Mrs. E. M. Whittemore, of New York. . 116
17. The Holy Spirit in His Relation to City Evangelization. Rev. Cortland Meyers, of Brooklyn 124
18. The Holy Spirit in His Relation to Prayer. Rev. Cornelius Woelfkin, of Brooklyn 132
19. The Holy Spirit in His Relation to the Second Coming of Christ. Rev. I. M. Haldeman, of New York. . . 139
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Excerpt from the Book
The Holy Spirit in His Relations to Purity of Mind. Anthony Comstock, of New York 71
THE HOLY SPIRIT IN HIS RELATIONS TO PURITY OF MIND.
BY ANTHONY COMSTOCK, OF NEW YORK.
This theme has been assigned to me doubtless because I have the honor of representing a noble society which for more than a score of years has stood for the moral purity of the youth and children of the United States of America. The offices and ministrations of the Holy Spirit I leave for theologians and persons wiser than I am to discuss. My object is to emphasize certain facts going to show that the environment of our youth is such as to drive away the Holy Spirit and debar him from their hearts. Our blessed Saviour, in his Sermon on the Mount, said, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” The reverse of this is spiritual blindness.
Many good people most sincerely insist that the drink curse is the worst foe the human race has to contend with, and the root of all other evils. While I would not discount for evil the ravages of intemperance, I do most earnestly contend that such is not the fact. Tfie evil imagination of the natural heart is the greater foe. Upon its surface, as upon a putrid stream, float all other crimes. It creates phantoms of sinful pleasure which quench spiritual life. It produces moral contagion and spiritual paralysis.
The devil is ever turning the batteries of sinful thoughts against divine aspirations in the soul. With them he deco-
rates the chamber of imagery in the heart with foul scenes and pictures, which effectually debar that heavenly Messenger who, standing outside the door of the heart, in pleading love-tones says, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.” Evil thoughts never invite this gentle Pleader to enter the heart. At his approach the signal is sounded for the bars to be shot across the inside of the door, to prevent all possibility of its being opened for this heavenly Guest.
The prophet Ezekiel, in his vision of the chamber of imagery, after he had dug through the wall and opened the door, said of it as follows: “So I went in and saw; and behold every form of creeping things, and abominable beasts, and all the idols of the house of Israel, portrayed upon the wall round about.” (Ezek. 8:10.)
The defiled imagination is the devil’s sharp-shooter secretly firing death-missiles into the souls of man from the domain of hell. By it he fetters the will, deadens the sense of right and duty, sears conscience, hardens the heart, and destroys the soul. Using it as a banquet-table, he spreads before appetite, passion, and lust every allurement for evil which can be wrought out of the wine-cup, gambling-game, lottery device, race-track scourge, unhallowed love, evil reading, and kindred vices.
The evil imagination erects charmed circles in the midst of death and corruption. It whets the appetite of self-indulgence and fetters its followers to a body of living corruption and death by malicious deception. To the bloated sot it constantly whispers, “Another glass, another glass,” well knowing that each additional glass is another link in death’s chain. It takes innocent youth by the hand and leads them into haunts of vice — the jaws of death — under false promises of seductive pleasures. It acts as a mounted guard to escort all classes of persons into promised realms of dazzling enjoyment, only to guide them, by false allure-
ments, into deep mire, where they sink into horrible abominations.
Ask the drunkard, libertine, felon, gambler, forger, thief, embezzler, or the victims of lust, appetite, or secret vice, what phantom guided them to crime, degradation, and abominable living, and from one and all will come the answer: “Evil thoughts controlled me, and I was powerless to resist.”
The defiled imagination fills the atmosphere of the soul with reeking odors. It deposits a deadly poison in the fountain of moral purity, corrupting the stream of life. It is a deadly miasm in the moral atmosphere. As sewer-gas poisons and infects the atmosphere of the home, bringing disease and death in its wake, so the debauched imagination — the sewer-gas of hell — infects the domain of the mind.
Since Adam’s fall the imagination of man’s heart has allured him away from God and been his pilot to ruin. It has cursed the human race in all ages, and brought down the consuming fire of God’s wrath upon many a city and people. Fire and brimstone, lava and ashes, have been employed in the past as agents of God to purge away the abominations resulting from the allurements of man’s evil imagination.
Before setting before you the evidences from God’s Word, let me present a few simple illustrations, from every-day life, of this power for evil.
The “tip” upon the horse likely to win in a certain race about to be run, or upon the sure advance of certain stocks as published in some newspaper, sets on fire the imagination of those inclined to gamble, and leads such to crime and ruin.
Two young men were brought to our office who had become so crazed by what they called a “sure tip” that
they stole more than one hundred dollars’ worth of jewelry, and pawned it for fifty dollars to get money to bet with. They placed the entire amount upon their “sure tip,” only to lose, and find State-prison staring them in the face.
A young married man with three children, a cashier in a fashionable club in Brooklyn, imagined, as he afterward confided to me, that he could make more money at the race-track betting with professional gamblers than he could earn as cashier. At the end of five months’ experience he found himself a defaulter to an amount of over twenty-five hundred dollars. In despair and remorse he started to commit suicide, but, as he afterward told me, “As I stood looking at the dark waters 1 Thought of wife and children, and of the disgrace and sorrow I was about to inflict upon them, and 1 Could not.”
A man occupying a prominent position in Albany committed suicide, after being allured by his vain thoughts over prospects of gain at gambling into stealing over three hundred thousand dollars of his employer’s funds.
The saloon and dive keeper decorates his saloon with pictures of nude women, or copies of the nude from the modern fleshly schools of art, to attract young men, cunningly divining that if he can thereby link imagination and passion together he will easily secure a permanent patron to his bar.
Evil reading is a hydra-headed monster. Through imagination it kindles the fire of remorseless hell to the soul. It practically cuts grooves into the brain — the motive-power of action — into which the wheels of evil habits perpetually run. With what satanic malice does the dealer in obscene and criminal publications hunt out innocent children to find patrons for his noisome wares! How the receptive mind of youth grasps at this seed-sowing of foul
leprosy! Many and many are the instances brought to our notice where base men and women have deliberately plotted the ruin of some beautiful maiden by placing within her reach books and pictures to defile her imagination and corrupt her thoughts.
A few months ago, in a neighboring city, we found instances where packages and rolls of printed matter of the very foulest character were dropped on the sidewalk in front of school-children of both sexes while they were upon their way to school.
Another instance occurred on Union Square, New York, where a beautiful maiden, returning from a most select school, had placed upon her arm, while she stood waiting for a Fourth Avenue car, a package so foul that words cannot adequately describe it. This package was marked: ”
To be opened in secret. Don’t let anybody see it.”
In a more recent case we found that there were being sent by mail to young girls under sixteen years of age, attending another select school in New York City, the most diabolical books. The secret of all this diabolism was the attempt of persons contemplating the ruin of innocent girls by application of these soul-cursing influences upon their imagination.
A young man whom I arrested at Newburg, N. Y., had become so entranced with stories of bloodshed and crime by dime-novel heroes that, when he heard the officer was after him, he armed himself with a bowie-knife, imagining he was imitating the valor of one of the heroes he had been reading about.
Another young man arrested and brought into court for an attempt at highway robbery exulted over his crime, and after being committed for trial said, “I guess they could write a dime novel about me.”
A young man of classical education in part became in-
fatuated with sensational stories of youthful criminals. He ran away from home to be free to enter upon a life of riotous living. He became a weak victim to fancy’s wiles. In a drunken brawl he was fatally stabbed. Upon his death-bed he bemoaned the delusions which had led him astray. Shortly before his death, when urged to make a start for a new life, he said: “I have heard father say after I’d sown my wild oats I’d come out all right. It’s been a heavy crop, hasn’t it? 1 Think he forgot that if you sow the seed you’re bound to gather in a harvest. This is mine.” When asked to make a start for a new life, he said: “I can’t. If I try and have better thoughts the scenes of vice come right back to me like a slap in the face. They are burned in. I can’t get rid of them.” Then his heart went out to young men.”But warn all young people whom you know to let these foolish books alone. They are very silly, but they do harm to many, and they have ruined me. They take you one step on a bad road, and the rest comes quick and easy.” Then, as revealing the decorations of the chamber of imagery in the heart, he said, just as he breathed his last: “If through His infinite mercy I am ever forgiven, don ‘tyou think that I will cease to remember? How could I enter heaven with those polluting memories clinging to me? Oh, if I Could only forget.”
In Genesis 6:5, 6 we read: “And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” After the flood, when the loving Lord made his covenant with Noah, we find his heart moved with pity by man’s infirmity in this respect, and, as one reason why he will not again destroy the world by flood, God says: “For the imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” (Gen. 8:21.) Again, God’s message to the prophet
Jeremiah concerning the waywardness of the children of Israel, and his covenant made with them before he brought them out of the land of Egypt, says: “Yet they obeyed not,. . . but walked every one in the imagination of their evil heart.” (Jer. 11:8.)
A gentleman who saw some of the representations of pagan defilement brought to light by the spade of the explorer in the ruins of Herculaneum and Pompeii said he ” did not wonder that the Almighty had buried these cities in lava and ashes.” Recently there have been resurrected from the ashy graves where for centuries they have lain buried, carved stones, marble bas-reliefs, paintings, external and internal decorations, all showing that the. hand of genius was then employed to make permanent the debauched imagery of corrupt minds. Art and literature embalmed in permanent form these foul conceptions of pagan licentiousness. Fed upon such matters, the mind of that people became so debauched, and they were thus led into such excessive, abominable living that the judgment of Heaven buried them out of sight.
The Bible furnishes many other witnesses against this deadly foe. Solomon, in declaring the things that are an abomination unto the Lord, among others, said: “An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations.” (Prov. 6:18.) Job, speaking of the imaginations of the wicked, said: “They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity.” (Job 15:35.) The Apostle Paul, in writing to the Romans, said: “Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Rom. 1:21.) The highest of all authorities, our Lord Jesus Christ, said: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false
witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man.” (Matt. 15:19, 20.) You will observe that evil thoughts head this list.
Have I proved the existence of a terrible foe? If so, are the youth of this nation in danger therefrom? The last census declares that about twenty-two million four hundred thousand youth are in attendance upon our institutions of learning. These youth are the future hope of this nation. To corrupt them is to discount the character of the men and women of the future. Their environment concerns us to-day. The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice has for more than twenty-one years served on detailed duty. As the advance guard, or sappers and miners, of the army of the Lord, we have discovered somewhat of the position and strength of the enemy. We have located masked batteries, sunken mines, ambuscades, which lie athwart the pathway of the young, and learned many of the tricks of the enemy. As a representative of this noble society, I have the honor of making report for them. Our magnificent army of more than twenty-two million youth is in imminent danger.”For death is come up into our windows, and is entered into our palaces, to cut off the children from without, and the young men from the streets.” (Jer. 9:21.) The very earth seems to tremble with the united tread of these millions of youth, as in one solid phalanx they are marching, marching, marching on from youth to maturity, from time to eternity. Worse than a line of fire hems them in. The environment of tainted ancestry, inherited appetite, passion, and tendency to wrong-doing surrounds a large percentage. The last census declares that there are one million habitual drunkards in the United States. What a parentage from which to grow noble characters!
The World’s Fair cursed this nation. Blinded by desire
for money, the managers set at defiance the laws of God and this nation concerning the Christian Sabbath. They allowed, upon the Midway Plaisance, abominations to exist which inoculated our youth with the shameless beastiality of heathendom. Exhibitions by shameless women, which representatives of foreign lands denounced as disgraceful, revolting, and a libel upon the nation that gave them birth, our own countrymen allowed to be given within the gates of the beautiful White City because they paid well, regardless of the fact that thousands of young men and women were innocently drawn in to receive a death-stab to moral purity. The nude in art degraded womanhood in the eyes of young men, destroying the spirit of chivalry for woman, and made a bid for the fruits of the flesh, as it is vividly portrayed in the fifth chapter of Galatians. A putrid stream, which took its rise in the Worlds Fair, has spread over this country, and instead of art for art’s sake, and literature for scientific and literary purposes, we have the counterfeit of art, cheap woodcuts and photographs, and garbled translations of bawdy works of ancient heathen writers, masquerading as art and literature, debauching the imagination of our youth with the same defilements that besmeared the minds of the people of the buried cities of old.
A brilliant lawyer once said to me, in speaking of his early opportunities, advantages, and sins: “God gave me a casket full of diamonds, pearls, and precious stones, and I’ve thrown them all away. Oh that some one had warned me in my youth! Now I cannot realize that God loves me, or that I can possibly be saved. Pray for me.”
I lay the question upon your hearts, for each of you to prayerfully answer. Our youth certainly cannot be saved by good people ignoring the seed-sowing of evil. The scattering of good seed must be accompanied by prayerful
efforts to prevent the devil from drilling in the evil seed. While we cultivate the good, we must be equally wise and earnest in exterminating the evil. The minister of the gospel who does not take account of these foes, or who ignores their power for evil over the soul of man, is not a great preacher. To remain silent while so many youth are being brought into the thraldom of sinful thoughts is a crime against high heaven. To preach with indifference to this awful foe, an evil imagination, is like a general seeking a conquest by firing blank cartridges, or by turning the backs of his soldiers to the enemy and shooting in the opposite direction.
Let our hearts go out in sympathy to the weak, the benighted, the tried, and the fallen. Cast not a stone at the degraded; their cross is already heavy enough. Let us look into God’s looking-glass and see ourselves as he sees us, then we will not be tempted to pass by on the other side with scornful indifference when we see some victim stung in youth by the hornet of evil fancies. Let us thank God that we have been born well; that in youth loving Christian parents watched over us, and early brought us under the sweet influence of the Holy Spirit; that the Holy Comforter was sent by a loving Saviour to take of the things of God and show them unto us.
Much has been done, but much remains to be done, to save our youth from pollution of mind. About nineteen hundred arrests have been made and more than sixty-eight tons of contraband matters have been seized by the society which I delight to serve. About fifty thousand books, pictures, and papers were seized in one week during August, 1894. Infidelity and liberalism, by organized plots and conspiracies, have essayed in the past to repeal laws which protect religion and morals. Under the leadership of the archblasphemer of this nation in 1877, they locked horns
with the Society for the Suppression of Vice, and by the grace of God they met with total defeat.
After passing through twenty-two years of scourgings, libels, ridicules, attempted moral and physical assassinations, obloquy, revilings, and misrepresentations, for the encouragement of Christian workers I certify that every dark place has been lighted by the Holy Spirit with a promise from God’s Word. When in 1875 there were numerous attempts to take my life, and at times I left my home in the morning with the terror of threatened assassination, and the agony of this dread was intensified by malicious libels in the press against me, I was sustained by what has come to be my banner-text, and this I present for your comfort, inspiration, and help, with the hope that each of you will fight the devil so hard that you may feel obliged to seek protection under it: “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper; and every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of me, saith the Lord.” (Isa. 54:17.)
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