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The one thing needful for the church of Christ in our day, and for every member of it, is to be filled with the spirit of Christ. Christianity is nothing except as it is a ministration of the Spirit. Preaching is nothing, except as it is a demonstration of the Spirit. Holiness is nothing except as it is the fruit of the Spirit. These truths are so little taught or emphasized as they should be, and the blessings they speak of are so little experienced that one gladly welcomes every voice that draws attention to them.It is known that all do not perfectly agree as to the best answer to the question: How to be filled with the Spirit? Some press that aspect of truth, which reminds us that the Holy Spirit has been given to the church and that He dwells in every believer, a fountain of living water. As there have been fountains clogged by stones and earth, and only needing to be cleared and opened up, so we have only to remove the hindrances, to yield ourselves in perfect surrender to the Spirit in us, and the filling will come. We must not ask God for more of the Spirit. God asks for more of us that the Spirit may have us wholly.
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John MacNeil (1854-August 1896), was a Presbyterian author and evangelist in Australia. He is best known for his 1894 book, The Spirit-Filled Life. MacNeil was born into a Presbyterian family in Scotland, but was brought up in Ballarat, Victoria. He studied theology at New College, Edinburgh and was ordained in 1879. Shortly afterwards he was introduced to the Higher Life movement. He experienced "an anointing of the Holy Spirit" and in 1881 began evangelistic ministry. Poor health, however, hindered his itinerant work until he recovered after laying on of hands by an Anglican minister. He then toured Australia, seeing many people turn to Jesus. In 1890, together with a few others, he formed a prayer group which came to be known as "The Band". They met regularly to pray for revival. They also focused strongly on the need for an infilling of the Holy Spirit, and prayed for "the full Baptism of the Holy Spirit for themselves and for all ministers, officers and members of the Churches." From their prayer times came a decision to hold a Keswick-style convention in Geelong, with George Grubb, who had addressed Keswick Conventions in England, as the primary speaker, along with MacNeil, Webb and others. In 1896, MacNeil toured Queensland a final time. At the end of his tour, in late August, he collapsed and died in a city shop.
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