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A Man Full of Faith and of the Holy Spirit

A Man Full of Faith and of the Holy Spirit

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY DANIEL MERRIMAN


Acts vi : 5. A man full of faith and of the Holy
Spirit
BY DANIEL MERRIMAN


Acts vi : 5. A man full of faith and of the Holy
Spirit

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Jul 15, 2013
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A MA FULL OF FAITH AD OF THE HOLY SPIRITBY DAIEL MERRIMAActs vi : 5. A man full of faith and of the HolySpiritSUCH was Stephen, the first martyr. But Iam not to speak of him, except as a type.We know little of his origin, his personalappearance, his education, his age, his circum-stances. evertheless, through this short text, asthrough some clear lens, we seem this morning tolook over all the breadth of nineteen centuries andbehold the personality of this heroic saint of Godas he, the first of all the long and glorious roll,lays down his life for the testimony of Jesus.The sharpness with which his entire charac-ter is outlined by a stroke against the backgroundof that earliest history of the Church, is due to thefine combination in him of two distinct, yet con-gruous factors, — on the one hand, personal force,on the other hand, divine indwelling ; power here,grace there ; or, as my text puts it, he was ''fullof faith and of the Holy Spirit."It is no accident that the moral and spirituallOO A MA FULL OF FAITHportrait of this striking figure of the nascentChurch is sketched for us in this phrase, whichindicates a union in him of these two transcend-ent elements. It seems to me that he is for thisreason held up to us as a typically great Chris-
 
tian, and so a typically great man.As a stream of oxygen and a stream of hydro-gen, united and burning upon a bit of Hme, makean intense, white light; so in Stephen, the cur-rent of the human will and the current of divinegrace ; the faith of the man and the Spirit of God,completely mingling, shine like a star through thegloom.Is it not true that all great men — all menwho are practically effective in moral and spiritualcharacter and influence — exhibit a similar pro-portionate combination ? In some true sense theyare full of faith and of the Holy Spirit. So are themighty eras of the Church. In them the pleni-tude of man is fused with the plenitude of God.They are double, yet one.ature itself, in all its forms, shows us thenecessity for this union of individual energy withdivine overshadowing, before anything living,A MA FULL OF FAITH lOlStrong, and fair results. Everywhere there is dual-ity merging into oneness.Take a grain of wheat into your hand. Withinthat brown kernel there is a vital potentiality — afaith power, so to speak — that, rightly combinedwith soil and moisture, with sunshine and air,can cover hundreds of square miles with goldenharvests, and feed thousands of happy people.But hide that grain within a crevice of a rock,in the dryness and the dark, and it will remaininert for centuries.
 
The universe is made up of counterparts.There is the eye with its yearning and fitness,and there is the inscrutable light to meet the wantand readiness of the eye. What is almost themiracle of sight is the result of the two. Thereare the stores of fuel in forests and coal-beds, withtheir imprisoned heat to warm a world, andthere is the mysterious capacity of the atmos-phere, hanging above, to unite w^ith them in thecombustion that sets free their energy in furnaceand forge, in steaming kitchen and flying loco-motive, in factory and steamship, to nourish andclothe and transport earth's thronging millions.102 A MA FULL OF FAITHEverywhere, from the top to the bottom of existence, the secret of power, of success, is inbringing the two factors, the two counterparts,together. It is not the solid land alone, nor yetthe viewless air alone, but it is the blending of both that makes the earth teem with verdure andlife. And there is nothing in the world more dis-tressing than to see one of the halves of that whichmight be a strong union trying to get on alone ;the seed struggling to obtain a foothold in the drysand, or among the unyielding rocks; the shipbecalmed with drooping sails because it has lostthe wind; a fortune useless or even corrupting be-cause it lacks the touch of consecration; humanintellect or human aifection becoming dwarfedand frigid because it takes hold of no worthyobject; the man growing hard and unloving be-cause he is without God, — these are instancesof that which we see on every side, — the pov-erty, loss, and powerlessness of non-adjustmentbetween parts that should go together to makea strong and beautiful whole.

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