Cosmic Consciousness, by Richard Maurice Bucke, , at sacred-texts.com
R. P. S.
Born 1830; died 1898.
In a letter to the editor R. P. S. says: "I was about thirty when this marvellous transforming baptism came to me. To it I attribute results * immensely disproportioned to my very moderate natural ability or knowledge. A scientific, accurate diagnosis of it all would be a most valuable contribution to human knowledge."
The experience may now be given in R. P. S.'s own words, beginning [140: 135]:
"Having always known that upon conversion the believer received the Holy Spirit, and that his guidance and power would be known, when needed, in unfolding the treasures of Scriptures, in service or in trials, I had not looked for any other special manifestations of His presence. And yet there was a large class of passages in the Old and New Testament the conditions of which were not fully met by any consciousness of my own, full as had been the knowledge of pardon, adoption and standing in Christ, nor yet by a later experience, which came to me ten years after my conversion, of the wonderful inward cleansing of the blood 'from all sin.'
"I had read 'Whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give
him, shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.' This was not true in my experience, in the full meaning evidently intended by the words. There did not always from my heart 'flow rivers of living water' freely and spontaneously. Too often the force-pump, rather than the fountain, would have represented my condition. As I gazed in the mirror of the Word, upon the glorious person of my Lord, my soul was often bowed in adoring love, but I had never come to 'know' [17: 14: 17] the Comforter in such a fullness that I could realize His indwelling presence as even better than that of the visible person of Jesus. I had read that as men were 'possessed' by an evil spirit and led to do things far beyond their natural powers, so these 'filled with the spirit,' seemed to be carried out of, and beyond, themselves. I had read the charge against the apostles, of being 'drunken,' and that afterwards Paul brought the same thought of the elevation of wine, as the illustration of being 'filled with the Spirit.' This seemed to be an ordained condition, since God's commands are always promises; just as his promises are commands; the promises being always larger than the commands. As yet I had never known, in my consciousness, a being thus 'filled with the Spirit,' or the meaning of John the Baptist's declaration, 'He shall baptise you with the Holy Ghost and with fire.'
"So ignorant was I, even in the matters of the greatest importance to my spiritual interests, that, in finding the inward cleansing and the outward 'victory' over sin—that 'faith which overcometh' the world—I did not press beyond my educational habits of thought to recognize that a far more glorious manifestation of God was yet to be known by the Spirit. I then scarcely noticed that it was after our Lord had breathed on his disciples. with the words 'Receive ye the Holy Ghost,' they had yet to wait ten days at one time in prayerful expectation for the more full baptism of the Spirit; nor that it was some time after this event that, 'When they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.' I was not, indeed, in the condition of the 'disciples' who
as yet had 'not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost'; and yet I had formed no conception of what the promised baptism 'with the Holy Ghost and with fire' could be.
"Deeply thankful for the privileges of 'sanctification through faith,' realized in an unexpected fullness a few months before, I one day joined in the woods a few Christians who had met to wait before God for the baptism of the Spirit. Except a few low hymns or brief prayers, the half-hour was spent in solemn silence. At length 'there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing, mighty wind, and it filled all the (place) where they were sitting.' No uninspired words could so describe my impressions. And yet no leaf above or blade of grass below was moved—all nature was still. It was to our souls, not to our senses, that the Lord revealed himself by the Spirit. My whole being seemed unutterably full of the God upon whom I had long believed. The perception of my senses could bring no such consciousness as now was mine. I understood the supersensual visions of Isaiah, Ezekiel and Paul. No created thing was now so real to my soul as the Creator Himself. It was awful, yet without terror. I lost no part of my senses, and yet they were all wrapped up in the sublime manifestation. A question put to me was answered as briefly as possible, that my soul might lose nothing of the Heavenly Presence enwrapping and filling my being. I do not remember to have then told anyone of it, but days afterwards, when I rejoined my wife, she burst into tears as we met, before we had spoken a word, so great was the change in my appearance. 'Songs in the night season,' the living waters welling up from my heart, came with the consciousness of waking. An awe, sweet but not burdensome, shadowed my spirit, as every moment was filled with the presence of God; nor did it leave me in the midst of the most engrossing occupations. Life became a psalm of praise.
"This elevation of feeling necessarily subsided after a season, but it left me with an inner consciousness of God which is expressed by the words: 'I will dwell in them and walk in them.' 'We will come to him and make our abode with him.' The scene upon the Cross of Calvary became often more real than the senses
could make it. Without the materiality of bodily sight, the holy countenance of Jesus, in its tender, suffering humanity, lightened by the glory of divinity, seems now to me to look down from the cross, upon assemblies, as I tell of redemption for sinners. It is painful to endeavor to speak of these things. My poor words seem rather to cover than to reveal them. Would that the glorious reality would be conveyed to other hearts!"
Here is a case of ascent into the full light of the morning before the actual rising of the sun. This man was highly privileged, but it was not given to him to see "the heavens opened." He passed into the "Brahmic Bliss," but did not see (as far as it appears) the "Brahmic Splendor."
308:* Referring to work done by him almost miraculous in character and quantity but which cannot be further specified here.