Zechariah 4:6
So he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, says the LORD of Hosts.
Sermons
A Law of Divine Operations Among MenForster G. Simpson, B. A.Zechariah 4:6
A Work Beyond Human AbilityC. Jerram, M. A.Zechariah 4:6
Force -- Spiritual and MaterialD. Fraser, D. D.Zechariah 4:6
God's Modes of WorkingJames Hay, D. D.Zechariah 4:6
God's Work in ManH. M. Villiers, M. A.Zechariah 4:6
Independence of ChristianityZechariah 4:6
Independence of ChristianityCharles Haddon Spurgeon Zechariah 4:6
Opposition to the Gospel in Every AgeW. S. Smart.Zechariah 4:6
The Agency of the Holy SpiritThomas Archer, D. D.Zechariah 4:6
The Might and Power of God's Spirit DemonstratedW. Mudge.Zechariah 4:6
The Might of the SpiritDean Farrar.Zechariah 4:6
The Necessity of the Holy Spirit's AidJohn Cumming, D. D.Zechariah 4:6
The Need of God's SpiritMonday Club SermonsZechariah 4:6
The Only Power that Can Set the World RightZechariah 4:6
The Secret of PowerW. Forsyth Zechariah 4:6
The Spirit of the LordD. J. Burrell, D. D.Zechariah 4:6
The Spirit of the LordT. Vincent Tymms.Zechariah 4:6
The Spirit of the LordE. M. Poteat.Zechariah 4:6
The Spiritual Work of the ChurchRombeth.Zechariah 4:6
The Triumph of the Divine KingdomW. Wilson, A. M.Zechariah 4:6
The True Source of PowerW. D. Horwood.Zechariah 4:6
The Word of the Lord to ZerubbabelJ. M. Wilde, B. A.Zechariah 4:6
The Word of the Lord to ZerubbabelJ. M. Wilde, B. A.Zechariah 4:6
The Work O] the Holy SpiritE. Robins, M. A.Zechariah 4:6
The World-Conquering SpiritR. F. Bracey.Zechariah 4:6
The Church in Three AspectsW. Forsyth Zechariah 4:1-7
Man as a Student of the Divine Revelation and a Doer of Divine WorkD. Thomas Zechariah 4:1-10
Man as a Student of the Divine Revelation and a Doer of Divine WorkHomilistZechariah 4:1-14
The Candelabrum and Olive TreesW. L. Alexander, D. D.Zechariah 4:1-14
The CandlestickF. B. Meyer, B. A.Zechariah 4:1-14
The Golden CandlestickOutlines by a London MinisterZechariah 4:1-14
The Vision of the CandlestickGeorge Hutcheson.Zechariah 4:1-14
Power is indispensable. It is not in numbers, or organization, or method. These are good, but not enough. It is not of man, though it is by man. Must look higher. It is of God. Life is from life. The highest life can only come from the highest life. "Not by might," etc. Apply to -

I. THE MINISTRY OF THE CHURCH. Talent, culture, wide sympathies, zeal and eloquence, not enough. Even truth not enough. Need more. "My Spirit." There must be a right relation to God. There must be the quickening of the soul with the life of God - the energizing and elevating of the natural powers to the highest capacity and use. This influence is necessary both for preachers and hearers.

II. THE WORSHIP OF THE CHURCH. In the Church God draws near to us and we draw near to God. As a Father to his children he speaketh unto us; as children unto a Father we should speak unto him.

1. Praise.

2. Prayer.

3. Hearing of the Word.

4. Communion.

5. Times of refreshing.

It is only as we are quickened from above that our worship is hearty and true (cf. John 4:23), acceptable to God, and profitable to ourselves.

III. THE WORK OF THE CHURCH. Life must precede work. As individuals, in the society to which we belong, and in our daily life, we are called to serve God. Every one has his place and his work. It is as we carry out faithfully the duty committed to us that the cause of the Lord will prosper, and "his kingdom come" at home and abroad. - F.







Not by might, nor by power
Dwell upon the very remarkable interpretation of the vision given by God Himself in the words of the text.

I. THE FALSE GROUNDS OF CONFIDENCE WHICH ARE TO BE REJECTED. Summed up in the words "might and power," including all earthly means and human instrumentality. We must beware of substituting temporal means and mortal instruments for the work of the Spirit, or the glory of God. Nothing short of the almighty power of God can open the blind eyes or awaken the dead affections of the natural man to see and embrace the Gospel. If we may not trust to the strength of reason, or the force of truth, neither may we to the powers of oratory. The gifts of oratory or eloquence are lovely and excellent, but trusted in, or gloried in, they become snares and stumbling blocks, drawing away the heart and affections from Christ, and converting our acts of worship into an idolatrous service. Every Christian, too, has a sphere of influence with which to serve and honour God, and to help and strengthen others. But this must not be rested in. Religion must be a personal concern, a deed of contract, a life of communion between the soul and God. And there are those who imagine that they love the truth because they love some of those who profess it. The power of affection on the minds of such persons is almost unbounded. But a religion based on such grounds is not to be trusted. When the Spirit of God is not the Author of the work it cannot stand trial, even in this world; it can never issue in the salvation of the soul.

II. THE ONLY SOURCE OF SPIRITUAL PROSPERITY. The work and efficiency of the Spirit of God. In three things this work is distinguished.

1. In transforming the character.

2. In overcoming the world.

3. In glorifying the grace of God.

(J. M. Wilde, B. A.)

We have need to study the Christian dynamics. Good arrangements, good instructions, good intentions, are all well; but what can they avail without a sufficient, continuous force? Let us take a lesson from the angel who spoke to the prophet. Zechariah's object was to instruct the Jews on their return from captivity, and to cheer them on in the work of rebuilding the temple. They were not to be appalled by obstacles ever so formidable, for the work was of God, and God was able to remove mountains of difficulty out of the way. No adversary would be able to injure them. It is easy to pass from this to New Testament teaching. The foundation of the Church has been laid; it grows up slowly but surely, a Holy Temple in the Lord. The work proceeds slowly because it is arduous in its own nature, obstructed by many adversaries. Zerubbabel's temple was finished in about twenty years; but a building which is spiritual needs much more time than one which is constructed of wood and stone. The affections and dispositions of men cannot be shaped as material things may be; and just because the Church is a structure so noble, a habitation of God in the Spirit, its progress is difficult, and in comparison with the works of man it is slow. It has also been hindered by the mistakes and dissensions of the builders; but in the end the same Prince who laid its foundations will certainly finish it. He will say, "It is finished," and in His completed Church He will fill the whole earth with His glory. We speak of the propagation of the Gospel and the construction of the Church: the one movement is diffusive, the other formative; both agree in one, and both are of the Lord. The propagation of the Gospel is not only for, but also by, Christ. He publishes the testimony through all the earth, and saves sinners. The construction of the Church is also by Christ from first to last, and the builders, from Paul and Apollos downwards, are nothing without Him. And oh! with what patience and with what wisdom does He preside over His vast and complex work. Christ is always building His people together, healing, reconciling, moulding, blending, compacting them together as living stones that form the One Temple of the One Holy Ghost. We have said that there is much opposition to this work. So it has always been, and especially at critical emergencies, mountains have threatened to fall upon and to destroy the work of God. Moses went down to Egypt to redeem Israel; then was the power of Pharaoh as a great mountain against him. And as the people escaped the mountain seemed to come nearer, the Egyptian army pursued and threatened to destroy them. Hezekiah revived religion in Judah; then came the power of Assyria, and as a great mountain impended over Jerusalem. The heathen army invested the city, and Hezekiah had no power of resistance, and he spread the matter before the Lord, and in one night the angel of death removed the mountain and laid the Assyrian host still and dead. The Messiah came, not to condemn but to save the world; then the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers took counsel together against the Lord and His anointed. Herod, Caiaphas, Pilate, Pharisees, Sadducees, priests, elders, and populace all joined in one desperate resistance. The acts of the Apostles were all performed, in spite of mountains of obstruction, by the power from on high that rested upon them. So they carried the Gospel to Europe, and planted it in Macedonia and Greece and Italy, and long afterwards missionaries of apostolic spirit bore it onward through the dense forests of Helvetia, Gaul, and Germany, and penetrated to the distant shores of Britain. The rage of the heathen threatened to devour them, but the Lord stood with them, and before His face the mountains melted away. We have great mountains against us still; huge masses of heathenism which resist our missions. The scepticism which becomes every day more pronounced. There is something else to do than wring our hands and pour out lamentations on the ear. Let us have the faith that removes mountains, and, oppose and deride us who may, let us be of good courage and build. In order to this, mark well what the energy is which surmounts or removes obstacles. Not might, nor power of mortal man. It would have been as vain for the Jews of Zerubbabel to cope with the power of Darius, or for the Apostles and early Christians to grapple with the power of the Roman emperor, or for a few labourers to attack a mountain in the Alps with their spades and try to reduce it to a plain. And equally impossible it is for us to remove, the more intellectual or spiritual obstructions in the way of the Gospel by merely human persuasion and argument. The removal of such mountains as we encounter is a thing possible only with God. It was not before Moses, Hezekiah, Peter or Paul, Columba or Boniface, Zwingle or Luther, that mountains became plain, but before Jesus Christ. Zechariah had a vision of the continuous supply of the Spirit as of holy oil flowing through golden pipes from two olive trees or branches. By this we understand the kingly and priestly institutions which were represented at the time by Zerubbabel the prince and Joshua the high priest. In Jesus Christ, our exalted Saviour, the kingship and priesthood are united. He is the Priest upon a throne, and from the Father through Jesus Christ proceeds to the Church a constant supply of the Spirit. This is the present truth for us; if we believe it, why do we give way to languor or discouragement? If we have strength, learning, money, let us consecrate it to the Lord. But, knowing that these cannot prevail, let us lift our eyes to the Lord Himself, and cast our care upon Him. Let me encourage all Christian teachers and preachers to persevere in this confidence, undaunted and unwearied. The holy Temple on the rock will be finished, and the headstone brought forth with shoutings. Indeed, no man can understand all the symmetry of our Lord's plan till it is completed; but then, it will be seen how He has overruled all the persecutions, martyrdoms, and controversies for higher ends, and has made even the rending of the outward frame of the Church of God a means of preserving and purifying its inward life. What bursts of admiration when all is finished! What shouts of praise, grace, grace! No shout of human names or party distinctions will be attempted in that bright day. All is due to the grace of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, to whom be glory in the Church.

(D. Fraser, D. D.)

The message which this vision was intended to convey was an assurance of God's presence and readiness to help, and of utter dependence on Him. The prophet was greatly puzzled by this vision. The interpretation was given in such form as would be likely to make it most effective for the enterprise in hand.

1. Rulers and people must under stand at the outset that as God's chosen they were utterly dependent on Him. It is true for every man in every age. Not with a strong right arm can we make our spiritual livelihood; not with a mighty intellect can we plan and execute the purposes of a holy life. The Spirit of the living God must quicken, energise, inspire.

2. The vision was interpreted to mean that difficulties should not block the way. All hindrance shall disappear. God shall touch it with His almighty hand. Nothing is too hard for Him.

3. The vision gave assurance of the ultimate completion of the temple. The work had languished for years. But as to the final issue there was no shadow of doubt. A day of great things was coming, if the present did seem to be a day of small things. Remember that we live in the dispensation of the Spirit. The Church is the organism through which the Spirit is working towards the restitution of all things. The Church is the one great power in history. Its influence is inexplicable on any except supernatural grounds. At every point of Christian faith and life we are dependent on its influence. Our life begins with the operation of the Spirit in the new birth. Our sanctification is through the Spirit. A symmetrical character comes in no other way. Our success in Christian service is conditioned in the same way.

(D. J. Burrell, D. D.)

Monday Club Sermons.
This scene has a natural application to the Divine working among men, and suggests the need of God's Spirit. The human spirit should be the temple of God. Its foundations are laid in the capacities of the soul made in His image. Sin opposes the work, worldliness hinders it. How shall it be completed? "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."

I. WE NEED GOD'S SPIRIT, BECAUSE THROUGH THE SPIRIT THE DEITY REVEALS HIMSELF MOST CLEARLY. Our first necessity is to know God.

1. Some of the Divine attributes are revealed in nature. Wisdom, power, glory everywhere, but not the King eternal, immortal, invisible. Scripture declares that since the foundation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made. Mark the reservation, — His attributes, not Himself. He is ever hidden within impenetrable isolation. Nature leaves us crying, "Show us the Father."

2. God was revealed in Christ. Because men could never by searching find out the Almighty, the Word which was with God, and was God, became flesh and dwelt amongst us, revealing Him even to our senses. The incarnation shows that, while the Deity is an Infinite Spirit pervading immensity, He is yet a person. He has feeling, and thought, and will, as we have. Taking to Himself a body like ours, He manifests every quality which makes earthly friends real. Very God was with men in human body and human soul.

3. God is revealed by His Spirit. When Jesus ascended, the dispensation of the Spirit began, a closer and fuller Divine manifestation. The incarnation was not an immediate revelation of God. By the Holy Ghost God enters directly into our spirits; we know Him, commune with Him, without any earthly faculty called in to interpret. Neither did the incarnation complete the revelation. The fullest manifestation of God to man began at Pentecost. The office of the Spirit is not to supersede the revelation through Christ, but to disclose its meaning and apply its power. Nature shows God above us; Christ is God with us; the Holy Spirit is God in us.

II. WE NEED GOD'S SPIRIT, BECAUSE THROUGH THE SPIRIT THE MOST POWERFUL DIVINE INFLUENCE IS EXERCISED UPON MEN. God does not merely reveal Himself to the soul, He also acts upon it.

1. The influence of the Spirit was needed to write the Scriptures. Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. He put before their intellect deep things which it was quickened to apprehend. Their affections were exalted to delight in the infinite grace unveiled to them. Their conscience was purified to behold and adore the Divine holiness. What they saw and felt they were moved to declare to the world. It is this supernatural influence upon the writers which has given the Bible its authority and power. By this influence the Scriptures are understood. Only He who illuminated the writer can enlighten the reader. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Critical acumen without spiritual insight cannot understand the book.

2. The influence of the Spirit is needed in regeneration and sanctification. The plainest truths of the character of God will not of themselves renew the soul. The intellect discerns them, the heart feels, the conscience trembles, the will may struggle to obey, but all this does not give life. There must be added a Divine, a creative touch, which shall send a new energy into every faculty, thrilling through the will itself, and quickening all to the sacred activities of a regenerated soul. This creative act separates the new life in its feeblest beginnings, at a worldwide distance from the most admirable exhibitions of the old life. Wonderful and awful is the entrance of God into the human soul. Under the Old Testament dispensation the Spirit was sent to exceptional individuals for exceptional purposes; it is the mission of the Comforter to abide permanently in every believer, bringing him into personal union with God, and making him like God. The fruit of the Spirit is not dreams and visions, signs and wonders, but love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance," — healthy everyday virtues that make kind husbands, patient mothers, dutiful children, upright citizens, and pure officials.

3. The influence of the Spirit is needed in Christian work. The Almighty uses human agents. Heathen abroad and unbelievers at home are to be saved through the efforts of Christians. The most powerful Divine influence is given them to accomplish this. We do not always realise that the Almighty is working more efficiently in His present manifestation through the Spirit than He has ever wrought in any other method. He who gives grace to receive the truth also gives grace to speak it. The understanding mind, the earnest heart, the wise tongue, these are the gift of the Spirit. All the Christian power comes from this help. Through our study, our pleading, our prayer must breathe that holy presence which is the power of God unto salvation. This lesson has a special promise to feeble Churches and discouraged Christians. It shows that all human opposition is of no account in the sight of God. He gives power to the weak, and grace to the faulty to do His work.

(Monday Club Sermons.)

What is the secret of the immense and amazing, victory of Christianity? It lies in the out-poured Spirit of Pentecost. It was that which made the might of weakness irresistible; it was that which gave to the feeble seedling its imperishable vitality. Nor is it only that Christianity is still preached; it is still no dead doctrine, but a living force to those who truly receive it. Is there nothing for men who are filled with the Spirit of God to do now? Look at the universal worldliness around us; look at the passionate Mammon worship; at the reckless competition; at the desecration of Sundays in the mere voluptuous wantonness of pleasure. O God, give us saints; O God, pour out the Spirit of Thy might!

(Dean Farrar.)

The work of the early Churches, and that of the Churches of this age, agree in principle and purpose. The difficulties and forms of opposition are substantially the same. They are more moral than intellectual.

1. The prevalent worldly spirit.

2. The careless spirit manifest in another direction. There is an intellectual indifference to Christianity. But the majority of those who are indifferent to Christianity do not lay claim to any such difficulties. They are simply and utterly careless.

3. The sceptical spirit that lifts its voice around us. Then wherein lies our power? Is it in intellectual subtleties of reasoning? No intellectual power can touch the root of man's alienation from God. It lies in supernatural power: a power which, springing from the Divine heart, lays hold of our hearts and permeates them with His own energy, infusing our intellectual powers with His own strength. With increased supernatural power — the power of the Spirit — we shall yet come against the world spirit, the careless spirit, the sceptical spirit, and cast them down, and the sea of everlasting love shall roll on until "the knowledge of the Lord shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea."

(R. F. Bracey.)

1. It is with the spiritual nature of man the Church has to do.(1) Her purpose is not political. A great and important factor she certainly is in all true political progress; but she was not instituted to promote either Republicanism or Imperialism.(2) Her purpose is not to effect great social and moral reforms. These reforms are certain results of her progress. Wherever she becomes a power the character of the people is purified, the tone of life is raised.(3) Her purpose is not only to secure the world's belief in her creed.

2. In man's spiritual nature she has to effect the most radical changes — the greatest transformations. Conversion must be wrought. There must be a change in the spirit's condition, the spirit's relations, and the spirit's aspirations.The accomplishment of this work requites a special power, a spiritual power.

1. It cannot be done by the might and power of the sword. Or —

2. By the power of law. "You cannot make men moral by acts of parliament." Or

3. By the might and power of reason. Your premises may be admitted, your arguments conclusive, and your pulpits distinguished for logical force, but men may remain as stones, and our churches as deserts. Or —

4. By the might and power of sympathy. Sympathy can touch the heart as no other human force van. But sympathy fails to convert and renew. The essential power is in the Spirit of the Lord of hosts only.

1. This Spirit is greater than the forces in opposition.

(1)Greater than the human spirit which has to be won.

(2)Greater than the spirit of evil, united with the human spirit, that has to be conquered.

2. This Spirit infuses a new life. He creates.

3. This Spirit effects the change in perfect harmony with man's freedom. The Church is in the greatest power when she is most filled with the Holy Spirit. Filled with the Spirit, she can be confident of success, although her members be few and the opposing forces strong. The Church's truest friends are those who are the most spiritual, and who most earnestly seek the Spirit's power in her.

(Rombeth.)

This message of God is addressed to Zerubbabel, as the former was addressed to Joshua. In this fact the difference in the nature of the vision is to be accounted for. Joshua represented the nation spiritually, and the nation had sinned. So the message to him is a message of mercy, and forgiveness, and promise. Zerubbabel was the civil ruler, and represented the nation's might and resources and means of defence. So he is bidden not to rely upon these, as he was prone to do, but to rely upon God. Two thoughts are prominent.

I. THE COMPLETED TEMPLE WAS SYMBOLISED. Zechariah saw a golden candlestick. What did it mean? The candlestick which in old time had been made by Moses and set up in the tabernacle, and which afterwards was removed to the temple at Jerusalem, had been removed out of its place because of the infidelities and sins of the people. There was no tabernacle now where God dwelt, no temple with its mercy-seat and golden candlestick. But there it stood in its perfect and incomparable beauty before the eyes of the prophet as the symbol of a restored temple, with its lamp and altars of sacrifice and incense and songs of joyful worship. It was a picture of what was to be, a prediction of a future which in God's gracious purpose was near at hand.

II. THE COMPLETE RESTORATION OF NATIONAL LIFE. Israel was meant to be the light of the world, as the Christian Church is in a more perfect manner. When the chosen nation fell into sin, and had to be punished by the desolation of temple, city, and land, the world was darkened, and the lamp which God had lighted before the nations was put out. Restored worship and a revived nation meant a rekindling of this lamp. To illustrate these ideas and apply them to daily dangers and duties. (Matthew 5:14-16; Mark 4:21, 22; Luke 12:35; Philippians 2:15; Revelation 1:20; Revelation 2:5.)

III. THE MEANS OF RESTORATION WAS DECLARED. "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."(1) Man is prone to rely upon the material Never was this more manifest than today. Man believes in himself, in his resources, in his mastery over the world. He boasts of what his science has discovered, of what his hands have wrought. "Look," he says, "at the bridges which span mighty livers, at the tunnels I have bored through the earth. See how I can control the electric spark, and make it light up great cities, and send my messages to the ends of the earth." But the power which really does all these things is God's. One object of the Bible is to correct the short-sightedness of man, which fails to see through modes of operation to the Divine Mover and Sustainer of the universe, and so to teach us not to trust in our own strength, or in the strength of human allies, or the forces of wealth, nor yet to be afraid of failure in God's work, because consciously weak and poor and girt about with dangers. The vision is equally fitted to humble us in the hour of triumph, and to inspire courage in the hour of apparent failure and in the day of small beginnings.(2) The material often fails. Success marks man's life, yes, but failure also. A frost undermines his bridges, and they are roiled into the torrent. The forces of nature often rise up to defy man. In the events of life unforeseen accidents frustrate his plans, and pour mockery on his devices. The Jews had broken down in their attempts to rebuild the temple. They began well, and laid the foundations thereof with rejoicing, but reverses followed, and they gave it up. We must not in our life rely upon self. It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.(3) God works for us when we work for Him. "By My Spirit, saith the Lord." This truth was wondrously illustrated in the history of the Hebrew people. But that which happened to them was an ensample to us. He is with us if we are with Him, and we may boldly say, "The Lord of hosts is with us, the God of Jacob is our refuge."(4) God never fails. What He promises to do He does — does perfectly, and does at the right time. Let us look up. Let us trust in Him.

(T. Vincent Tymms.)

We recognise the lesson which this vision furnishes, namely, that God is in His Church and in the world, and that His .government in both is enforced and supported by the adoption of his own agencies. And furthermore, we learn that there is order and unanimity in the employ of such agencies. In the symbol there is unity, order, cooperation, and maintenance. Vegetable life is maintained through a system of organisation. The whole system of human life is carried on by the same principle. The great truth laid down in our subject is that of cooperation. The golden pipes of the candlestick cooperate with the off in giving light to the lamps. It is not the mere outward forms and institutions by which only the Church is to preserve her God-like character, and to diffuse her good and saving influence upon the world, but by the Divine Spirit acting through these, uniting them to Himself in one grand scheme of cooperation. The means are required, but they must be made subservient to the Divine will, and cooperate, in their dependency and trust, with the omnipotence and guidance of the Almighty. Consider, then, the true source —

I. OF POWER. "Power belongeth unto God." To Him we ascribe all might. This is the one and only source of our power, personally or nationally. We have our instrumentalities, we have our Church and national appliances for building up and enlarging all that is right and beneficial; but we wait for the fire from heaven to kindle it.

II. OF COURAGE. Courage lies not in dexterity, but in the heart, in the mind. It is shown by a cool obedience, by a steadiness of manly purpose. Courage that is true is the power of mind over matter. But in order to trace out its source we must look above mind to that Divine Spirit who acts upon the mind.

III. OF CONQUEST. The noblest battle is against sin, and the noblest conquest is that of self. Hence as the foes of God, of ourselves, and of truth accumulate upon our life path, may we meet them with a power, a courage, and a conquest embodied in the words, — "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."

(W. D. Horwood.)

The primary allusion of these words requires no explanation. The typical import is not less apparent than the primary reference. That by the law of types is not mere, not accidental resemblance, but similarity designed, as well as complete and unquestionable. Man was created to be the temple of God. That temple is now in ruins. The grand end of Christianity is to restore that temple, to clear away the rubbish that conceals its glory. From the contemplation of existing ruin, glance at the ideal of future restoration, — its amplitudes, its completeness, its perpetuity. How can the vision be realised? If, looking at the disproportion of the agency, there comes over the heart the painful impression of inadequacy, and the corresponding, the contingent apathy of despair, then listen to the spirit: stirring voice of the text, Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." We are not to conclude that weakness is at all necessarily connected with this influence of the Spirit. The laws that determine the nature and regulate the action of this power of the mind. It must be cognate in kind to that on which it acts. Again, mind is responsible; and to be so must be free. Anything therefore that moves it must not interfere with its liberty of choice or its freedom of judgment. Again, mind is infinitely, constitutionally diversified. Its idiosyncrasies are endless, and, under the influence of a spiritual power, we have reason to expect full tolerance of such varieties, and that no attempt will be made to reduce all into dull uniformity. We are not to interpret the text as teaching that the Spirit is to act independently of, and unconnected with, human agency. The power of coercion, our Gospel leaves to error or secularised systems. The philosophy of the Cross, nevertheless, continually associates Divine power and human agency. In its moral canons and apparatus, the energy of God does not supersede the activity of man; nor is the activity of man efficient without the energy of God. These remarks lead to the proposition of the text, that no human, no created instrumentality, which acts independently and alone, is adequate to the restoration of the fallen temple; but that the Spirit of the Lord of hosts provides the sole efficient energy for the conversion of the world. I recognise the adaptation of truth, scriptural truth, to the nature and necessities of man. That adaptation is universal. Biblical truth is entirely accommodated to our condition and character. Let truth be admitted to the heart and it must conquer. Undoubtedly it must. But a prior question exists, how is it to obtain admission there? The avenues are blocked up by sin.

1. Now it is fair to reason for the truth of a principle from the necessary inconsistencies of its opposite, to urge anomalies irreconcilable, except on the supposition of the accuracy of the assertion before us. Consider then these anomalies. It will be generally granted that in similar circumstances uniformity of cause will be accompanied with uniformity of result. If, accordingly, in the evangelical plan no power beyond the human is at work, similar external energy will issue in similar results. Yet such is not our experience. If dependent on human power, the Gospel will be most successful when preached by the most eloquent men. The skill of an advocate often compensates for the hollowness of the cause. But if the measure of real ministerial success be the conversion of souls to God, the most logical and eloquent preachers of the Gospel are not the most successful. Again, the Bible contains a system of pure ethics. We might expect the most cordial reception of this system from the purest moralists when and where it is ever propounded. All history attests the reverse.

2. Another train of illustration unfolds itself in analogy. The emblems of conversion are not more numerous and varied than they are one in, indirectly but really, tracing all the results of the Gospel to the power of the Spirit of God. What we want is a ministry thrilled into life by God's Spirit, and thrilling men into vigorous, healthy, sustained life, by the same Spirit, superinduced by faith and prayer.

3. Coincident with this conclusion is the experience of the Church, not only in its more ordinary and routine movements, but in its epochs that stand out in bold relief. Consider then the history of the modern revived Church. Consider the relative success of the preaching of our Lord and of His apostles. Conclude by appeal to scriptural assertion. The Spirit then is the power with which the Church is to be armed.

(Thomas Archer, D. D.)

God's first and greatest object is His own glory. This is true in the general of the great acts of God, this is equally true in the minutiae of them. God is jealous of His own honour; He will not suffer even His Church to be delivered in such a way as to honour men more than God; He will take to Himself the throne without a rival.

I. NOT BY MIGHT. "Might" properly signifies, the power of a number of men combined together. "Power" signifies the prowess of a single individual. Treat might as meaning might collectedly.

1. Collected might in human armies. The Church can neither be preserved, nor can its interests be promoted by human armies. The progress of the arms of a Christian nation is not the progress of Christianity.

2. Might may signify great corporations or denominations of men. There never ought to have been any denominations at all. They may do some good, but they do a world of mischief. Whenever a denomination begins to get too great, God will cut away its horns, and take away its glory, till the world shall say, "It is not by might nor by power."

II. NOR BY POWER, that is, individual strength. The greatest works that have been done have been done by the ones. Take any church, there are multitudes in it, but it is some two or three that do the work. Individual effort is, after all, the grand thing. Learning is useful, so is eloquence; but God does not work by these His great works.

III. BY THE SPIRIT OF GOD. What a magnificent change would come over the face of Christendom if God were on a sudden to pour out His Spirit as He did on the day of Pentecost. The grand thing the Church wants at this time is God's Holy Spirit. Whatever faults there may be in our organisation, they can never materially impede the progress of Christianity, when once the Spirit of the Lord is in our midst. Be in earnest in praying for this. All we want is the Spirit of God.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. AS IMPLYING SOME IMPORTANT PROPOSITIONS.

1. That many things which it is our duty to attempt evidently lie beyond human powers.

2. We have reason to expect that God will grant the necessary aid while we use the means which are in our power.

3. God communicates spiritual aid in a manner concealed from human observation.

4. These invisible operations of the Holy Spirit do not supersede human agency, nor alter, in general, the connection between cause and effect.

5. God uses men and means in such a way as to leave no doubt to whom the accomplishment is owing.

II. AS SUGGESTING SOME USEFUL ADMONITIONS.

1. The words convey instruction. They throw great light on events which have occurred, for which historians have not been able to assign an adequate reason.

2. A lesson of reproof. Some lay great stress on human means and do not look for the influences of the Spirit.

3. A lesson of encouragement. We are too apt to despise "the day of small things." God acts by degrees. The kingdom of God is as a mustard seed, but that can grow into a great tree.

(C. Jerram, M. A.)

So much is in the hands of providence that, in general, we can only conjecture what may be the result. In proportion as events are dependent on the will of God, they are uncertain to us.

I. THE MOST HIGH HAS CLEARLY PROMISED IN HIS WORD, THAT THE KINGDOM OF CHRIST SHALL ULTIMATELY PREVAIL OVER THE EARTH. The religious history of the world presents a threefold aspect.

1. We may regard man in the state into which he was plunged by the first transgression; obnoxious to the wrath of the Most High., and distant from Him. Men divide into two classes: — those who forget God altogether, and the Jews to whom were committed the oracles of God.

2. To the head of the Jewish people it was promised, "In Thee shall all the nations of the earth be blessed."

3. These promises formed part of the joy set before the Redeemer, by which He was stimulated in His work of self-denial.

II. GOD HAS ENJOINED IT AS A DUTY ON HIS CHURCH TO ENDEAVOUR TO PROMOTE THIS END. The inspired writers derived this notion from two sources.

1. Express commands.

2. The principle on which those commands went. The appointment of a Christian ministry implies this duty.

III. THE MOST HIGH HAS COMMUNICATED TO THE CHURCH ADEQUATE MEANS FOR ACCOMPLISHING THIS END. We do not now need the aid of miracles. Our power lies in the presence and impulse of the Spirit of truth.

IV. WE MAY ANTICIPATE THE PERIOD WHEN THE KINGDOM SHALL BE FULLY ESTABLISHED. Some hopeful signs are —

1. An increasing respect for the Word of God.

2. A more general appeal to the great converting principle of the Word of God.

3. A universal endeavour to pay the debt of obligation to the diffusion of the Word of God.

4. Much success has already attended the labours of Christians, and this shows how God smiles on the. rising energies of His Church.

5. The hopeful state of the Church as the administrator of truth in the present day. If the Spirit of the Christian religion live in our minds, we shall want no exhortation to advance a cause like this.

(W. Wilson, A. M.)

The sentiment here recorded refers to the building of the second temple. When the prophet contemplated the difficulties that lay in the way of the accomplishment of this great design, the magnitude of the work, the obstacles to be overcome, and the insignificance of man's best energies, he was ready to despair. But the assurance came to him that the work should certainly be accomplished, but not by man's might, only in the power of the Spirit of God.

I. A NEGATIVE PROPOSITION. "Not by might," can any design be brought to a successful issue. Illustrate by recalling some of the great occurrences which have taken place in the history of the world, and which declare this incontrovertible truth. History of Tyre, Babylon, Assyrian attack on Israel, degradation of Rome, story of Spanish Armada, French Revolution, etc.

II. AN AFFIRMATIVE PROPOSITION. Illustrate some instances of the success which attends spiritual exertions sustained amid prayers, and blessed by the presence of the Spirit of God. Noah, the only righteous man in the world at that period of prevailing sin. Success of Joshua when Moses' hands were held up. Success of the Apostles. Reformation of Luther. Triumphs of missionaries. This principle of dependence on the Spirit applies to our reading the Word of God, and to the mode of a sinner's acceptance before God.

(John Cumming, D. D.)

The primary application of these words was to the Jews who were engaged upon the great work of rebuilding their temple. Because they could not depend upon themselves, the Lord, in these words addressed to Zerubbabel, opened a better resource. It was not "by might nor by power" that they were to succeed, but by His Spirit. Now the Spirit, whereby God helped the Jews in their necessity, was the very same Spirit which, from the commencement, has been concerned in all that regards the well-being of man, and the government of this lower world. He "moved upon the face of the waters." Upon the world thus created through the eternal Spirit, the work of redemption was to be carried out and accomplished. We do not marvel that the Lord Jesus, on entering upon the great work of His ministry, received a visible communication of that same Spirit; and through that same Spirit He offered Himself a sacrifice unto God. The Holy Spirit does not now descend for miraculous operations in the Church. But the promise of the Holy Spirit is a perpetual promise. And it is necessary for the whole Christian community.

I. THE INFLUENCE OF THE SPIRIT IN BRINGING ABOUT THE ACCEPTANCE OF THE GOSPEL. The Apostles and first missionaries had to encounter difficulties of every shape and character. Where did they get the wisdom which their adversaries were not able to gainsay or confute? How were they enabled to speak those gracious words which never failed? It was through the Spirit of God. We do not confine these marvellous interpositions of the Spirit to apostolical times. The Spirit has always accompanied the Word with power.

II. THE INFLUENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN CARRYING FORWARD THE WORK OF SANCTIFYING AND LIKENESS UNTO GOD. After our conversion we must count upon many a long and weary day of trial and temptation, and spiritual conflict, and heart distress. If we would take a deeper insight into the things of God, we must ask the Holy Spirit to take of the things of Jesus and show them unto us. Our enemies may be overcome, because greater is He who is with us than all who can be against us. It is promised that we shall be "strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inner man." And the consolation of a Christian man's heart comes direct from the influence of the Holy Spirit. And what is true concerning the individual is true concerning the great Christian body. When the Church is despised and persecuted and everywhere spoken against, God puts forth His interposing arm, delivers His people, and comforts them, confirming the truth of His ancient word, "Not by might, nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."

(E. Robins, M. A.)

Our subject is, the Spirit's influence on the human mind.

I. THE NECESSITY OF SPIRITUAL INFLUENCE. Considering the varied moral effects of the fall, we may ask, can any less powerful agent than the Spirit of God reorganise our faculties, and adduce harmony, loveliness, and order, out of the confusion that prevails within us? No one can savingly know the truth and be really holy, but as taught of God and sanctified by the Holy Spirit.

II. THE NATURE OF SPIRITUAL INFLUENCE. We are not called upon to explain the mode or manner of the Spirit's operation on the human mind. The fact is sufficient for our purpose. The value of the agency will correspond with the nature of the agent. Agreeable to His high and essential excellence will be the Holy Spirit's work. The Spirit's work should not be thought of as miraculous, Influence only of an ordinary and necessary kind do we contend for, and that only in an ordinary way, and the use of ordinary means. It is —

1. Quickening in its nature, "The Spirit that quickeneth."

2. It is enlightening.

3. It is renewing.

4. It is sanctifying.

5. It is consoling.

6. It is assuring.

III. THE EVIDENCE OF SPIRITUAL INFLUENCE. The tree is known by its fruits, so also is the Holy Ghost. His fruits are "love, joy, peace," etc. An immediate effect of supernatural agency will be, a deep and humbling conviction of sin. Another will be, — a ceaseless restlessness till mercy and forgiveness be obtained. A third will be, — a supreme valuation of Jesus Christ. A fourth will be, — a prevailing desire to be holy.

(W. Mudge.)

A rule upon which the eternal God acts in the affairs of His people. The law is this, — that not human energy nor resources but the Spirit produces good; that not man but God gives success. Recall some illustrations of this law.

1. In the circumstances in which it was given. The builders of the second temple were disheartened and hindered. Their power was gone; they were taught to look to the Divine power which would work through them.

2. In the operations of the third Person in the Trinity upon the Church. Its progress has always been due, not to human might and power, but to the Holy Ghost.

3. The effect of the truth upon the heart of man is not of man, it is of God.

4. The advancement of Divine life in the soul is in accordance with the same rule. It becomes then the duty of believers to depend on the Holy Spirit at all times for success. Reliance on the Holy Spirit for producing spiritual effects is the rule for Christians. To lose sight of this rule brings a blight upon efforts however earnest. This reliance will act in a twofold way; it will hinder any resting or boasting in lawful human resources; and it will give encouragement where there is little human resource. Faith in the power of the Holy Ghost will inspirit men, will shed new light upon their humble path, will put new vigour into their exertions, and will make them bold for God according to their measure, their capacity, and their means. And a pressing necessity arises for continual prayer that the Spirit may be given. While you seek more of the Spirit for yourself, pray earnestly that the gift may be bestowed on others.

(Forster G. Simpson, B. A.)

The vision seen by the prophet Zechariah in this chapter is evidently descriptive of the spiritual character and strength of the Church of God, shining with a communicated light, and sustained by a communicated strength perpetually supplied. We dwell on the interpretation of it. We are. told —

1. The false grounds of confidence which are to be rejected. "Might and power" include all earthly means and human instrumentality. The powers of reasoning, the exhibition of truth, or the force of argument, are not to be despised or neglected. It is the trusting to them, the resting in them, or the boasting of them, that is to be, and must be, utterly rejected if we would look for the favour and blessing of Almighty God. If we may not trust to the strength of mason, or the force of truth, neither may we to the powers of oratory. The gifts of oratory or eloquence are lovely and excellent, but trusted in, or gloried in, they become snares and stumbling blocks, drawing away the heart and affections from Christ, and converting our acts of worship into an idolatrous service. Every Christian has his own peculiar sphere of influence with which to serve and honour God. But all brought under such influence must beware lest they rest in it and go no farther. Religion must be a personal concert. Then there are those who imagine that they love the truth, because they love those who profess it. A religion based on such grounds is not to be trusted. When the Spirit of God is not the author of the work, it cannot stand trial, even in this world.

2. The only source of spiritual prosperity. There are three particulars in which the work of the Spirit may be distinguished. In transforming the character. In overcoming the world. In glorifying the grace of God.

3. The certainty of these effects of the Spirit's work issuing in the glory of the grace of God. That which God only can effect, to God only can be attributed. To bring man back again to His own likeness is God's own work, for the manifestation of His almighty power, the revelation of His infinite love, and the perfection of His eternal praise; when, the holy temple completed, the top stone shall be brought forth with shoutings of, "Grace, grace unto it."

(J. M. Wilde, B. A.)

The opposition made to the building of the temple in that age may be considered as emblematical of the opposition made to the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the hearts of men and in the world. By the "Spirit of the Lord" we may understand Divine power generally, or the Holy Ghost. The proposition to illustrate is, that the existence and prevalence of religion in the heart and in the world are not owing to human power but wholly to the Holy Ghost. If it were the result of human power, then —

1. Men of great learning and talents would be the first to embrace the Gospel. Their talents and learning seem to qualify them in a peculiar manner for investigating the evidences of the truth of religion. We reasonably expect that they will be the first to receive with meekness, humility, and gratitude, every doctrine which the Bible reveals. How different the actual facts are! The majority of men of talents and learning have either rejected the Bible or treated it with scorn. And the comparatively ignorant and unlearned have become "wise unto salvation." How shall we account for this difference? Never, without taking into account the work of the Holy Ghost.

2. If religion in the heart were by might and by power, then those who are decent and moral would be the first to embrace the Gospel. To all the duties of the second table they pay strictest attention. To such it might be supposed that the Gospel would be exceedingly acceptable. Then there are persons who seem utterly careless and dead; to all appearance they are the children of perdition. And yet, contrary to all expectation, we see the decent formalist passing smoothly to perdition; while the wicked and profane are often "plucked as brands from the burning."

3. If religion were by might and power, then those who hear the ablest preachers would always be the best Christians. But facts do not correspond with expectations. Some of the ablest preachers have laboured with little success; while others, greatly their inferiors, have been "wise in winning souls." As the existence and prevalence of religion in the heart is wholly the work of the Spirit of God; so the existence and prevalence of religion in the world must be the fruit of the same agency. The arguments which illustrate the one also illustrate the other. The progress of religion in the world is just the progress of religion in a multitude of hearts. Look at the state of the world when the Apostles of Christ were first sent forth to preach "the Gospel of the blessed God." The men who were sent to preach were few in number, without learning, without wealth, without influence, without eloquence. What rendered their work so successful? Only the power of the "Spirit of the Lord." In process of time superstition almost extinguished the light of the Gospel. Corruption spread so rapidly, and diffused itself so widely, that in a little time nothing remained of Christianity but the name. Would the reformation have been such a power and blessing to the world without the presence of the Spirit of the Lord? The success of modern missions is not due to instrumentality, but to the power of the Spirit in the instrumentality. Then let us pray for the outpouring of the Spirit of the Lord upon ourselves and upon our missionaries. This is a matter of unspeakable importance. And let us feel a deeper interest in the salvation of our own souls and the souls of others. Let us be more generally, more fervently, more perseveringly, employed in prayer for the Spirit of the Lord.

(W. S. Smart.)

In the work of God in the heart, and for the work of God in our lives, we require the operation of God's Holy Spirit. Man is continually seeking and claiming for Himself independence. But they are happy, and they alone are happy, who can commit all their ways unto the Lord their God. whether we are converted or unconverted, we must be inhabited by some spirit.

I. THE NECESSITY FOR A SPIRITUAL AGENCY. This arises —

1. From man's wants on earth. He needs life. By nature he is dead, "dead in trespasses and sins." How is spiritual life to be obtained? It must be the effect of God's sovereign mercy, by the operation of His Holy Spirit. But man wants light as well as life. He is dark by nature. By the fall his understanding became darkened, and he requires to have that understanding renewed, before he can in any wise comprehend the plain and simple truth which concerns his everlasting peace. Men continue walking in that same darkness in which they were originally created. None but the Holy Spirit of God enlightens man. But if man wants light and life, so also does he require love, because by nature he is at enmity with God. "The carnal mind is enmity against God." Again, man requires health, for he is spiritually sick. This also comes by the Spirit. Man requires confidence in God, for by nature he distrusts God.

2. We require the Holy Spirit for our admission into heaven.(1) There must be a title to heaven. How is this obtained? We are regenerated by the Spirit. We are adopted into God's family by the application of the blood of Christ to the conscience by that same Spirit.(2) There must be meetness for heaven. This does not depend on our outward circumstances, but upon the inward working of the Holy Ghost. It is the same Spirit that supplies our daily want of grace.

II. THE RESULTS WHICH FOLLOW FROM THIS SPIRITUAL AGENCY. There is security for us amid all the trials and temptations of this life. The subject suggests to us the greatest encouragement in the midst of our many difficulties. The road to everlasting life is beset with difficulties. Who shall be able to overcome these "many adversaries"? None but they who have the Spirit of God working with them. Address those who are disheartened in the endeavour to live the Christian life. Do not attempt to serve God with a half-hearted service; the failure will be as complete in itself as it will be miserable and wretched to you. Be decided, if you are really seeking to be God's children. Are any of you trying to hinder the work of God in others? Remember, there is One above who sees all the malice, perceives all the enmity, and considers that any opposition offered to His children is offered to Himself.

(H. M. Villiers, M. A.)

When Zerubbabel was ready to bend before the interruption of his work, his heart was greatly encouraged to persevere in the arduous undertaking by the assurance that through God's special interposition and grace the work should be carried forward to a happy and honourable termination, till at last he should bring forth "the headstone thereof with shouting, Grace, grace unto it." The expression "Not by might," etc., intimates that God will carry on and complete His work, as He had begun their deliverance from Babylon, not by external force, but by the internal influence of His Spirit upon the minds of men.

I. OBSERVATIONS FOR ILLUSTRATING THE TEXT.

1. It is usual for God to bring most important and stupendous results out of causes apparently trivial and unimportant.

2. The words of text imply God's accomplishment — of the most gracious designs by the weakest and most insignificant instruments.

3. That it is our duty to attempt many things which evidently lie beyond human power.

4. God will grant the necessary aid while we employ the means that are in our power.

II. PRACTICAL INFERENCES FROM THE SUBJECT.

1. That ministers should preach the Gospel with an humble and confidential dependence on the cooperation of the Spirit to crown their labours with success.

2. This subject administers reproof to those who pervert it into an argument for carnal sloth and security.

3. Learn not to despise the day of small things. As in the natural, so in the moral world, the progress of God's power is often hid from our view; but still, is it making no advancement? The Spirit of God is again moving on the face of the deep, preparatory to a new creation.

(James Hay, D. D.)

An infidel, who was also a well-known socialist marked down by the police, entered a meeting of the Salvation Army in Switzer land to make satirical remarks for a Constantinople paper, but during the meeting he was moved by the power of God, and at the close, with tears running down his cheeks, he said, "Ah, I believed in dynamite to set the world right, but now I see there's another power, and the only one."

It was the mission of Zechariah to stimulate the courage of God's people, to kindle again the enthusiasm for the temple and the theocracy with which they had set out from Babylon. Opposition from their foes, the enormity of the task of restoring the temple, and the necessity of providing homes for themselves, had broken their courage, and diverted them from contemplation of their great spiritual destiny. They must be brought again to the deep theocratic feeling cherished among their fathers of old. The Lord's message to Israel through Zechariah was communicated to the prophet in a series of eight visions. It was a hard lesson for these returned exiles, this lesson of implicit trust in God. The nation was just awaking out of a long night, in which God seemed to have abandoned them. They were little practised in seeing the invisible. Like Elisha's servant, they needed to have their eyes opened to perceive the mountains of Jerusalem "full of horses and chariots of fire" round about the Lord's chosen. The tendency of our times is away from all special reliance on the Spirit of God. Relatively, we have too great faith in secondary causes. To build a temple, you need only a competent architect, a good contractor, and a good force of masons. If opposition is threatened, simply provide yourself with a sufficient police force. Such is men's creed now. We glorify organisation. We deify law. We apotheosise the practical. We are witnessing a revival of the heretical belief in salvation by works. If it was necessary for James to say, "Faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone," it is necessary for us to say, Work, if it hath not faith, is dead, being alone. We give up our inspiration for institutions. We lose the Spirit of God in elaborately designed methods for His operation. The intellectual, the practical, the spiritual; this is the order of importance according to the judgment of many contemporaries. Few things, therefore, could be of more importance to the religious life of today than this message of Zechariah to the returned exiles. However truly and clearly seers and prophets may still apprehend God, the life of thousands goes on nowadays in practical atheism. And the infection has spread to the churches. Witness the almost frantic efforts of some among them to keep themselves alive. Having insensibly withdrawn from the sources of vital piety their only recourse is the process of artificial respiration. We need schooling in the science of spiritual dynamics and economics. That this thought may assume greater definiteness, let me specify some of the lessons which the vision of Zechariah has for us. I mention, out of many, three —

I. THE PROPER RELATION OF GOD'S SPIRIT TO THE CHURCH IS A VITAL ONE. Philosophically considered, the main conceptions of God which have been current in the religious progress of the race are two: God as transcendent above the world, and God as immanent in the world. The one erects a throne for the Ruler of the universe somewhere above the sky, and worships Him from afar. It reached its extreme form among the Deists of the last century, who denied all interference on the part of God in the affairs of the world. It was the dominant, though not the only conception of God among the Jews before the coming of Christ, which helps to account for the formality and barrenness of their religion. Nothing so robs religion of its transforming and sustaining power as the drawing of its sanctions from some distant sphere, and the deferring of its rewards to some future age. The other conception — that God is immanent in the world — finds its best exposition in the literature of Pantheism, and has had expression and adherents ever since the time of the Vedic hymns. It reaches its extreme form in the view, still current, which denies to God personality, and identifies Him with the forces which upbear and impel the world. Both these conceptions are found — though not in their extreme forms — in the Bible. The New Testament doctrine of the Holy Spirit may be regarded as the evangelical counterpart of the philosophical doctrine of immanence. The New Testament teaching here is summarised for us in the fulfilment, in Acts 2:17, of the prophecy of Joel. God would no longer be confined above the sky, or by the walls of a single building, or by the lines which separate the nations. He would come out into the open, so to speak, and be seen everywhere. He would make every place sacred by His presence. The universe, and no longer a booth of skins or a house of cedar, would be His dwelling place This dispensation of the Spirit began on the day of Pentecost. In it the Gospel assumes its universal character and function. But the New Testament does not say that the Holy Spirit abides in the world and world forces in such a sense as to become one with them. In the ministry of the Holy Spirit God is still a person different from us and from His world, but He is no longer remote. With Paul we are thrilled with the awe of a great, tender reverence when we reflect that "He is not far away from any one of us; for in Him we live and move and have our being." I know of no more blighting heresy than the practical denial among us of this New Testament and Old Testament teaching concerning the presence of God's Spirit in His world, in His Church, as a vital blessed and mighty equipment for life's battles and duties.

II. GOD'S SPIRIT IS THE CHURCH'S ONLY PROPER EQUIPMENT FOR SERVICE. The presence of God's Spirit for defence and for aggression was the burden of Zechariah's message to Zerubbabel. God is our defence. It is said that William Penn was the only colonist in America who left his settlement wholly unprotected by fence or arms, and that his was the only one which was unassailed by the Indian tribes. The first Christians depended in a peculiar manner upon the Holy Spirit for protection and leadership, and with the result that they were delivered from the hands of persecutors. History affords no more striking enforcement of Zechariah's message: "Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts."

III. GOD'S SPIRIT, APPROPRIATED BY PRAYER, IS NOW INTENDED TO OPERATE THROUGH ALL BELIEVERS. In the time of Zechariah, God's Spirit wrought His will by means of special representatives. The olive trees supplied the oil to the candelabrum. Only, the anointed ones were in full measure supplied with the Spirit. But when Joel's prophecy was fulfilled the Lord poured out His Spirit upon all flesh. It was a new epoch in the spiritual progress of mankind. God wills now to operate directly, without mediation, upon the hearts and minds of all believers. What matters it, however, if while we are within reach of strength we elect to continue in all our old weakness? The nearness of God does not ensure that we shall, in spite of ourselves, personally feel the thrill and joy of His strength. Prayer is a condition to this. Through prayer the very air about us may be charged with God, so as to bear us up like eagles in electric clouds. Closer than our breath is God with His Almighty Spirit and grace. Before Franklin's experiment for harnessing the lightning the air was as full of electricity as it is today, but men did not know how to appropriate it. A battery may be charged with electric fire, but you must make your connections to get the power. We need to gear our personal lives and our church work on the Power which moves the world. Then shall we see a revolution in spiritual commerce and economics which will speedily bring in the completed kingdom that was the hope of Zechariah and the inspiration of His message to Zerubbabel. We make this connection by prayer. Pray in faith, and there shall quiver along every fibre of your being a thrill of the life, light, and might of God.

(E. M. Poteat.)

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