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Sealed with the Holy Spirit

Scroggie and Lloyd-Jones On Baptism of Spirit

Sermon Transcript by Rev. Ernest O’Neill

Let’s look at that verse in Ephesians 1 we’ve been studying for the past four or five weeks. It’s Ephesians 1:13: “In him you also, who have heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and have believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” And it’s that last clause that we’ve been trying to talk about because it’s so important to the life we live: “Sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.” There are four other video sermons I’ve given on this verse, and it would be probably good for you to look at them.

In two of those I’ve tried to deal with a small book that Dr. Graham Scroggie wrote called The Baptism of the Holy Spirit and Speaking with Tongues. I thought it did make explicit some truths that we haven’t dealt with in detail before, and particularly from the point of view of detailed exposition of scripture. So it would be good to listen to those two also. There are four sermons all together on this verse.

What I’m hoping to do this morning is to try to gather that book together with this book that I have been using in Ephesians by Martyn Lloyd-Jones, which is God’s Ultimate Purpose: Ephesians 1. It’s just about Chapter 1. It had been quite interesting because Scroggie is, or was {he has died}, an English Baptist. They are probably thought to be usually unsympathetic certainly to Pentecostalism at times. Probably they are often unfairly thought to be unsympathetic to the truth of victory over sin in our daily life that we have shared about over many years.

But in fact, Scroggie himself was committed to that truth. In different parts of this little book that he wrote, he states very clearly that of course, the heart of the life of the Holy Spirit is the death to self, the resurrection in Christ, and the power of the Holy Spirit cleansing the heart. So he’s actually very definite on that.

Many Baptists are not necessarily regarded as enthusiastic about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. And yet it’s interesting when you study both these men. You find that though they differ on the detailed interpretation of what the baptism with the Holy Spirit is, yet they’re much closer to what we ourselves have already said on this subject than they would normally be thought of. Yet I think it’s important this morning to look at what Lloyd-Jones says — because I think in many ways he is closer to what we have shared in the past than Scroggie would be.

The little position that God has brought us to emphasize — while realizing we’re poorly creatures and we only see a tiny little bit of it — we have to see that truth as clearly as we can see it at this time. This truth that God has brought us to emphasize in regards to the baptism with the Holy Spirit, is that, subsequent to being born of God, there comes to us a sense of powerlessness over sin and self.

That leads us to what we have often called a second crisis, or a work of grace done by the Holy Spirit, whereby he cleanses our inward heart, and enables us to have victory over not only outward sin as we should have after the new birth, but over inward sin — over the life of motives, reactions, responses, and attitudes. That’s normally the way we have shared the truth of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Now what both these men are led to by this clause — “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit” — is

exactly that truth about the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Scroggie has a tendency towards dispensationalism. Now dispensationalism is very justified. In other words, you have God dealing with human beings in different ways at different times in history. In the Old Testament he dealt with them through the law and through sacrifices. In the time of Israel he dealt with them as his own nation. At the time of the coming of Jesus he dealt with them through his Son. Then when Jesus ascended to the heavens, he dealt with people through the Holy Spirit, and then through the church.

So at different times he has undoubtedly dealt in different ways with people. But, an extreme dispensationalist takes the point that there was a time when the law was God’s method, then there’s a time when the gospel is God’s method, then there’s a time when the Holy Spirit is God’s method, then there’s a time when maybe tongues is God’s method, and then there is a time when tongues are not God’s method. In other words, there’s a tendency for Scroggie to say that tongues as a sign of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is certainly not true and not realistic. It seems to me Lloyd-Jones would agree with that. So would we. We would say tongues may be a gift, but it is certainly not a sign of the coming of the Holy Spirit. In other words, you can be baptized in the Holy Spirit without speaking in tongues.

Yet, Scroggie would tend to take that a little bit further. He would tend to say, “Well, you remember the verse that says, ‘We were baptized into the body of Christ.’ Well, that’s what the baptism of the Holy Spirit is. When we’re baptized into the body of Christ, we’re born with the spirit and we’re baptized with the spirit. It all takes place then.”

Now he would have no hesitation in saying, “You need to move into that, and you need to enter into that fully.” But he would have a tendency to say, “The baptism of the Holy Spirit is not an experience. It’s a position that we have because of our being grafted into Christ and being crucified with him. That occurred when we were born of God. So we’re baptized with the spirit when we were born of God. We may not know the meaning of it and the full strength of it, but it all happened then — and it’s not a further experience.”

Now he would not step back at all from the reality of dying with Christ and being cleansed by the Holy Spirit. But he would tend to say, “There you’re talking more about being filled with the Holy Spirit. You’re talking about entering into the fullness of what you already have.”

If you said to him: “But wait a minute. There were situations in the New Testament where they sent Peter and John down to Philip’s converts, where it says, ‘They have not been baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ And Peter and John came down for them and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. Now surely there was an instance of people who had been born of God, had heard the gospel, and yet had not been baptized with the Holy Spirit until later when Peter and John came down.”

Then there was also the time, mentioned in Acts 19, when Paul came to some disciples at Corinth. He said to them, “Have you received the Holy Spirit when you believed in him?” And they said, “No, we never even knew there was a Holy Spirit.” He then prayed for them and they received the Holy Spirit.

Scroggie would tend to say of those instances, “Well, that was the transition time between the old dispensation and the new. That’s why some people then seemed to be born of the spirit but not baptized of the spirit. But normally, everybody is baptized with the spirit as soon as they’re born

of the spirit.”

Then in his little book, Scroggie would tend to say there are thousands of people today looking for an experience. They’re hoping for some experience of the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and opening themselves to all kinds of counterfeit experiences because of this. The error is thinking the baptism of the Holy Spirit is something that comes after conversion. That would tend to be Scroggie’s viewpoint.

It didn’t witness with me at the time, and it doesn’t normally come home to us as sound or realistic, but we don’t quite know how to speak to the thing. And I wasn’t particularly looking for it, but I was quite surprised at Martyn Lloyd-Jones, who in a sense comes from more or less the same kind of theological background as Scroggie. He’s an intelligent evangelical, probably very interested in Calvin, and probably more tending towards the Baptist doctrine than we would be. Yet it is quite interesting what Lloyd-Jones says.

He says, “We cannot take a further step in our definition of what the sealing of the Holy Spirit means. Our first statement to say is that it is an experience. It is something experimental. I emphasize that for the reason that most of the books which have been written on the Holy Spirit during the present century” — of course he’s talking about the ones apart from the Pentecostal tradition — “go out of their way to emphasize that the sealing of the Holy Spirit is not experimental, and has nothing to do with experience as such.”

In other words, he’s saying many of the books say that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is not another experience. It is something we enter into when we’re born of God, and then you just come more and more into the actual life of God.

He mentions a book — not Scroggie’s, but another book that takes that viewpoint. He says, “The book to which I’m referring states categorically there is no experience or feeling related to the Spirit’s baptism. The explanation of why a person says such a thing is quite simple.” It’s funny — I thought he was referring to Scroggie because this is exactly Scroggie’s position, though he’s talking about a different book.

He says, “The explanation of why a person says such a thing is quite simple. He feels he has to say this because of what is found in 1 Corinthians 12:13, where Paul says, ‘For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.’” It’s quite interesting. That’s exactly what Scroggie says. Lloyd-Jones goes on: “’For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body.’ That they claim is obviously a reference to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and therefore they conclude the baptism of the Holy Spirit clearly refers to the action of God in which he incorporates us into the body of Christ. It is therefore an action of God which applies to all believers in which they are quite unconsciously incorporated into the body of Christ.”

The argument is based upon the fact that the word baptism happens to be used in this particular verse. Then Scroggie says exactly that. He says, “Now, we were baptized in the spirit into the body of Christ. Now, all people have been baptized into the body of Christ. This isn’t a conscious thing that we experience experimentally. It’s just a fact that we have faith in.”

I thought when I read it, “Scroggie — why is the baptism of the Holy Spirit thought to have taken place when we were baptized into the body of Christ? Just because ‘baptism’ is used in both cases — that doesn’t necessarily mean ‘baptism with the body’ means the same as ‘the baptism with the Holy


And that’s of course the line of argument Lloyd-Jones takes: “A real difficulty arises in this matter in connection with the word ‘baptism’. It is assumed that wherever the words ‘spirit’ and ‘baptism’ are found in the same statement, the meaning must always be the same. And so it is concluded that the baptism of the spirit means our incorporation into Christ, which is an event entirely out of one’s consciousness and the realm of experience. The fallacy here is surely due to the failure to realize that the word ‘to baptize’ is used in many different places in scripture. In one way or another, this word baptism seems to have an almost hypnotic effect upon us and upon our minds and thinking. Take, for example, the statement made by our blessed Lord himself, ‘But I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straightened until it be accomplished.’ Obviously our Lord was not referring to water baptism — that had already happened to him. He was not saying that he was going to be rebaptized in that sense. He was referring to his approaching trial and his death.”

So he’s making the point what baptism can mean. Then Lloyd-Jones goes on and says, “A solider you know, can talk about his baptism by fire, or his baptism with fire the first time he comes under fire from an enemy gunner.” So he makes the point: no, this isn’t right to just say that the baptism of the spirit is something that happens to us when we’re baptized into the body of Christ, when we’re first born of God — just because the word baptism is used in both cases. He says this is a vital point: “For the reason that if it is right to say that this sealing with the spirit is something outside the realm of our consciousness and that it is entirely non-experimental — then in a sense it is something about which we should not be very much concerned, and certainly in no way it serves the purpose of the apostle here in Ephesians 1:13.”

And that’s exactly what Scroggie says. He says, “Too many people are saying, ‘I haven’t got this experience and I must get it.’” He says, “This brings all kinds of unrest to people.” And of course, it does. Many people are after some wrong experience. But Lloyd-Jones is saying, “What about the people who have been lulled to sleep? and told, ‘Look! Okay, some things are not right in your life. But you’ve been baptized with the spirit. If you’re a Christian, you’ve been baptized with the spirit. So there’s nothing further for you on this matter.”

Of course, that’s what that commits you to. It commits you to the old struggling life: “Well if there’s no baptism of the Holy Spirit, if there’s nothing God can do for me here – then I just have to walk in this old life of failing, and sinning, and failing, and sinning — for the rest of my life.”

So Lloyd-Jones is saying, “No, no, there is something real. There is something here that’s important.” He says, “What about the situations there in the book of Acts? It is common ground to say the sealing with the spirit and the baptism with the spirit are the same. We are told in the first chapter of the book of Acts, being assembled together with them, the Lord “commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water, but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.”

Lloyd-Jones says, “That is the Catholic article statement. What our Lord promised happened at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, as we are told in the 2nd Chapter of the book of Acts. Yet in spite of the account of the event given here, I am asked to believe that it is non-experimental, that it did not lead to any feelings, or to anything whatsoever in the sphere of consciousness.

Such a suggestion is almost unthinkable. Baptism I am told is something that God does to me of which I am unconscious. I am a member of the body of Christ, but it has nothing to do with feelings at all. It is non-experimental. I am not aware of anything happening. It is an action that God takes. Does that tally with the account of what happened on the day of Pentecost in Jerusalem?”

Of course he’s saying, “No, no. They had tongues of fire coming upon them. They spoke with other languages. Would something which is non-experimental and outside the realm of consciousness so affect people as to make onlookers say, ‘These men are full of new wine?’ Would it explain the way in which the apostles spoke in other tongues when Peter preached with power, and authority, and boldness?” And so he’s saying, “No, this is an experimental, experiential thing. This is something that happens to you subsequent to your conversion and it’s something that is real.”

Now he then deals in this chapter with what is the sealing of the Holy Spirit. It’s quite interesting, and I think we should take seriously what he’s saying, even if it’s put a little differently than what we normally think about this subject. I think in actual fact it’s saying the same thing as we’re saying, but it’s good for you to hear and think about it. “When we come now to consider what exactly this experience is, this sealing with the Holy Spirit, we find the best answer is in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans in Chapter 8, where we read, ‘the spirit himself there is witness with our spirit that we are the children of God.’ Or the parallel statement in the fourth chapter of the Epistle in Galatians already noted where it says, ‘Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father.’”

Then he says, “Let us remind ourselves of the argument in the fourth chapter of the Epistle to the Galatians, ‘The heir, a young boy, who is an heir to an estate as long as he is a child, differs nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all; but is under tutors and under governors until the time appointed of the father.’ That is a statement about which there can be no disagreement. Though that little boy is actually the heir of a great estate — because he is still only a boy he does not manage the estate, and he is not conscious of his own importance and dignity and of all that belongs to him. He must spend most of his time with tutors and servants. Indeed it often happens that such a boy who is the heir of so much may even be maltreated by tutors and servants and punished by them. They keep him in his place and they may even be afraid of him. He is virtually like a servant. Indeed, he may sometimes think he may prefer to be a servant, because they simply are lording it over him.”

“All this does not affect his actual position. It does not affect his relationship at all. But so far that is his experience. It is purely a matter of experience, not of status. ‘Even so we,’ says Paul, ‘when we were children, were in bondage under the elements of the world: but when the fullness of the time was come, God sent for his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.’ We were sons even then but we were kept under the law. But now Christ has come, and we received the adoption of sons, and because you are sons of God, God has sent forth the spirit of his son into your heart crying ‘Abba! Father!’ You now begin to experience what you were before, in fact, without realizing it.”

“Looking at the argument in the Epistle in Galatians 4 in greater detail, we find that the word we just translated, “crying Abba! Father!” is most interesting. The Greek word for “crying” is extremely old. Its original meaning is the croaking of a raven. It was used to experience any kind of elemental cry that came out of the heart, something that is not always characterized by dignity or fullness of expression. It goes much deeper than that: it is the heart cry of a child, a cry that results from a relationship, the cry of a child who is pleading with his father. It is most

interesting and helpful to note that this self-same word is used by our blessed Lord himself.”

“In the 14th Chapter of Mark’s gospel we find that our Lord used the same expression when he was in the Garden of Gethsemane and prayed crying, ‘Abba! Father! All things are possible unto thee; take away this cup from me: nevertheless not what I will, but what thou wilt.’ Our Lord in his terrible agony, sweating great drops of blood, shows his realization of his familial relationship to his father in a striking manner. He does not say, ‘Father!’ only — he says, ‘Abba! Father!’ A term of endearment in which Aramaic and Greek go together. This cry was the instinctive cry of a child who knows their relationship to the Father. He is crying, ‘Abba! Father! If it be possible!’”

And of course what he’s saying is, the baptism of the Holy Spirit brings within us the very heart of God and the heart of Christ. Often before we believe that we have had our sins borne by Jesus on Calvary, we can mentally believe that we were crucified with Christ. But it is not real inside us until the Holy Spirit reveals it to us. That brings all the reality into our own hearts, and we not only believe that God is our Father, but we feel it inside us. We not only believe that he has forgiven us our sins and cleansed us from all unrighteousness, but we experience that.

In other words, he’s saying that the baptism of the Holy Spirit is that experience that makes real in us all that we believe we have because we are on the cross. And he goes on then to quote people whose lives give evidence supporting this. “Now let me supply certain quotations which state this truth in the most moving manner. Let us start with Thomas Goodwin, who writes, ‘There is a light that cometh and overpowereth a man’s soul and assureth him that God is his and he is God’s, and that God loveth him from everlasting. It is a light beyond the light of ordinary faith. It is more than your belief of the scripture and all the arguments you can deduce.’ He goes on to say, ‘It is the next thing to heaven. You have no more, you can have no more, until you come to that.’”

And then Lloyd-Jones says, “It is in other words the biggest and the greatest experience which a Christian can have in this world. There’s only one thing beyond that — namely heaven itself. It is faith elevated and raised up above its ordinary note and its ordinary reach. It is the affecting love of God brought home to the soul.” So this is what he says is the sealing with the Holy Spirit.

Now listen to John Wesley: “It is something immediate,” he says, “and not the result of reflection or argumentation.” And that’s the heart of it. It’s not all about just the gospel of, “whosoever believes in this man shall not perish.” “I believe in him, so I shall not perish. Okay, so I’m safe.”

It’s not even, “Oh, now I love him. So that’s the witness of the spirit.” No, you remember Wesley says, “Yes, it’s partly of the witness of the spirit: the spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit. And part of the witness is our spirit has become a loving spirit. But it’s “the Holy Spirit beareth witness with our spirit” — so it’s a witness of the Holy Spirit himself within us that we belong to God. It’s a feeling that we’re God’s inside of our hearts.

Now listen to John Wesley again: “It is something immediate and direct, not the result of reflection or argumentation.” And Lloyd-Jones says, “Note that the emphasis is the same elements of immediacy and direction as Goodwin. The direction is not the result of reflection or argumentation.” Wesley then goes on to make this striking statement: “There may be foretastes of joy, and peace, of love, and those not delusive but really from God, long before we have the witness in ourselves.” And Lloyd-Jones says, “In other words, you can experience the general work of the spirit long before

this happens to you, before the Spirit of God witnessed with our spirit that we have redemption and loveth Jesus.” According to Wesley’s teaching, you can be a good Christian and you can experience the operations of the spirit in many ways — even including the foretastes of joy, and peace, and love from God himself — long before you have this direct witness of the spirit, this overwhelming experience.

Lloyd-Jones says, “Have you been sealed with the Holy Spirit? I am not asking if you’re a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. I’m not even asking if you have that type of assurance which is based on the first or second grounds.” First ground, you remember, is the Bible. The second ground is the love in my own heart. “I am asking whether you know anything about the experience of being overpowered in your soul by the direct witness and testimony of the spirit?”

We listened to Lloyd-Jones there at Westminster Chapel in London. It’s interesting hearing him say that, because don’t forget he was a very intellectual medical doctor — a very British, precise, detailed man. If you sat in on the sermons you’d all of a sudden be asleep because he almost seemed to read the sermon. So he was not at all an emotional type. But he’s very definite here. “Now, I am not even asking if you have that type of assurance which is based on the first or second grounds. I am asking whether you know anything about the experience of being overpowered in your soul by the direct witness and testament of the spirit?”

“In order to help us in that self-examination, let me quote the experiences of certain great men of God in the past. Here’s an experience described by John Flavel, a Puritan of some 300 years ago.” I don’t know if all of you realize it, but I know some of you will realize that a Puritan is somebody that is supposedly Calvinist and has little to do with this emphasis on the Holy Spirit — which of course is false. But obviously, many men had this mistaken attitude towards the Holy Spirit.

John Flavel — a Puritan of some 300 years ago – has his experience described by Lloyd-Jones: “’Thus going on his way, his thoughts began to swell and rise higher and higher like the waters in Ezekiel’s vision, till at last they became an overflowing fountain. Such was the intention of his mind, such was the ravishing taste of heavenly joy and such the foolish assurance of his interest therein, that he surely lost a sight and sense of this world and all the concerns there are. And for more hours he knew no more where he was than if he had been in a deep sleep upon his bed. Arriving in great exhaustion at a certain spring he sat down and washed, earnestly desiring if it were God’s pleasure that it might be his parting place from this world. Death had the most amenable face in his eye that ever he beheld, except the face of Jesus Christ which made it so, and he could not remember, though he believed himself dying, that he had one thought of his dear wife or children, or any other free concern.’”

“’On reaching his home, the experience still continued banishing sleep. Still, still the joy of the Lord overflowed him and he seemed to be an inhabitant of the other world. He many years after called that day one of the days of heaven, and said that he understood more of the light of heaven by it than by all the books he ever read or discoveries he had ever entertained about it.’ This is an excellent account of the sealing with the spirit, this foretaste of heaven.”

Then he goes on to the famous account of Jonathan Edwards, the man who was used by God in New England in the 18th century. “A Puritan, Jonathan Edwards, describes the same experience as follows: ‘Once as I rode out into the woods for my health in 1737, having alighted from my horse in a retired place as my manner commonly has been, to walk for divine contemplation and prayer, I had a

view that for me was extraordinary of the glory of the Son of God, as mediator between God and man, and this wonderful, and great, full and pure sweet grace and love and meek and gentle condensation. This grace that appeared so calm and sweet appeared also great above the heavens. The person of Christ appeared ineffortably excellent with an Excellency great enough to swallow all thought and conception which continued as near as I can judge, about an hour, which kept me the greater part of the time in a flood of tears and weeping aloud.’”

And Lloyd-Jones says, “What a contrast to the teachings that are popular today which says that sealing is not experimental — that it is all by faith.” Jonathan Edwards continues his account: ‘I felt an urgency of soul to be what I know not otherwise how to express, empty and annihilated, to lay in the dust, and to be full of Christ the Lord. To love him with holy and pure love, to trust in him, to live upon him, to serve and follow, and to be perfectly sanctified and made pure with a divine and heavenly purity.’ Bear in mind that Jonathan Edwards was one of the greatest philosophers since Socrates, Plato and Aristotle.

And then it’s interesting. Lloyd-Jones turns to the experience of a shoe salesmen. He tells of the experience of D.L. Moody. “Let us now turn to a very different man, who was not in any way a philosopher. Moody wrote, ‘I began to cry as they were before. The hunger for this increased. I really felt that I did not want to live any longer. I could not have the power for service. I kept on crying all the time that God would fill me with the Spirit. Well one day, in the city of New York — oh what a day! — I cannot describe it, I seldom refer to it. It is God revealed. It is almost too secretive and sacred an experience to name. I could only say that God revealed himself to me and I had such an experience of his love that I had to ask him to stay his hand.’”

“Or take the words of the great Welsh Baptist preacher Christmas Evans, as he describes an experience which he had while traveling over a mountain pass one day. He had been in a dry and lifeless state for a number of years as a result of believing that teaching similar to the ‘taketh by faith’ teaching.” It had to do with the baptism of the Spirit – ‘it doesn’t matter if you feel it in your heart or not — you take it by faith.’ “Now having begun to pray to God to have mercy upon him, he says, ‘Having begun in the name of Jesus I felt, as it were, my shadows loosen. The old hardness softening, and as I thought, the mountains of frost and snow dissolving and melting within. This engendered confidence in my soul and the promise of the Holy Ghost. I felt my whole mind relieved from some great bondage. Tears flowed copiously, and I was constrained to cry out aloud to gracious visions of God by restoring to my soul the joy of his salvation, and that he would visit the churches in Aglesea, that were under my care.’ “

“The following are the words of the eloquent George Whitefield — perhaps England’s greatest preacher. ‘Soon after this I found and felt in myself that I was delivered from the burden that I too heavily possessed. The spirit of mourning was taken from me, and I knew what it was truly to rejoice in God my Savior and, for some time, could not avoid singing psalms wherever I was; but my joy gradually became more settled, and blessed by God, has abode and increased in my soul, saving a few casual intermissions ever since. Thus were the days of my mourning ended after a long night of desertion and temptation. The star which I had seen at a distance before began to appear again and the day start arose in my heart. Now did the spirit of God take possession of my soul, and as I know humbly, now did the Holy Spirit of God take possession of my soul and as I humbly hoped, sealed me unto the day of redemption.’ He had been a believer sometime before this, John Wesley says, but now he was sealed with the Holy Spirit.”

“He goes on to say, ‘My friends were surprised to see me look and behave so cheerfully, after the many reports they had heard concerning me.’ Again, the other words of his friend, John Wesley, describing the famous experience at Aldersgate Street, London, on May the 24, 1738. Remember again, that he had become a true believer in justification by faith since the previous March. He writes, ‘I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt that I did trust in Christ; Christ alone, for salvation, and an assurance was given me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me from the law of sin and death.’ He had believed before, but now he had assurance. He was given this direct, immediate, overwhelming experience and testimony by the spirit, the sealing of the spirit, and he felt these things and this experience. After this experience his ministry was transformed. It is almost incredible that any should say that the sealing of the spirit is non-experimental, and so rob themselves of such experiences as your heart knowing this feeling of the love of God.”

Let us pray.


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