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LIX

THE GREAT ACT OF RECEIVING

“Receive ye.”—John xx. 22.

IT is a great thing to ask. It is a still greater thing to receive. There are many askers to one receiver. We make our request, but we do not take the answer. We call for the waters, but we do not fill our pitchers. We present the promissory form, but we do not wait for the money. And so we have frequently a maimed conception of prayer. We have regarded it only as a petition, while an equally vital content is reception. And therefore it happens that a great many suppliants are spiritual paupers because they are listless or careless about receiving the very things for which they prayed. It might be truly said concerning them, “Ye have not because ye will not take the things ye ask.”

And think how many supremely wonderful things are waiting to be received! And 207it is not as though the rich provisions are waiting on the fields of California while the hungry folk are fainting in New York. The provision is alongside the hunger, the wealth is close to the want. We have no journey to take. We have no indifference to arouse. We have no anger to appease. The heavenly stores are within our gates, just waiting to be received. And think, I say, what some of them are. Recall their evangels. “Receive remission of sins!” “Ye shall receive power!” “Receive ye the Holy Spirit!” All these treasures of grace are not deposited in the inner room of the soul whether we will or no. We have to take them in. We must receive them, and the reception is a deliberate act of the soul.

How do we receive them? “Believe that ye receive them and ye shall have them.” So that believing is the act of reception. But belief is more than a mental assumption. A mental assumption may rest in the mind as idly and as impotently as marbles in a boy’s pocket. Mental assumptions may be like stones, or they may be like seeds. They are like stones when they stand alone; they become seeds when they are wedded to the 208will and become the faith of positive and practical life. The act of belief is the will acting on the divine answer to our prayers, and working that answer into everything we think and say and do.

When I have prayed for forgiveness I am to receive it, and I receive it when I face the road again as a forgiven man, and shape all my intercourse as one who has been forgiven, and I shall surely experience the reality of it in spiritual joy and peace. And so it is with all the waiting gifts of grace. Let us believe we have them, let us act as though the treasure is already in our wallets, and let us start out upon our journey giving freely, on the kindling assumption that we have freely received.

THE END

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