Spiritual Influx and Influence

The words "influx" and "influence" are both derived from the Latin word influere, to flow in or into; they have, therefore, as nouns the literal meaning of a flowing into, but influx perhaps more particularly implies a sudden accession of power, authority, light, perception, and so forth; whereas influence, which is often directly traceable to influx, may have a more gradual development.

A very striking instance of the significance of these two terms is seen in the episode, graphically described in Acts, and usually spoken of as the conversion of St. Paul. Here is a Pharisee, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, with the weight of authority and influence of the Sanhedrin behind him and with a band of men under his orders, on his way from Jerusalem to Damascus to hold an inquisition on the Christians and to bring them bound to Jerusalem. Suddenly an influx of light, or spiritual illumination, breaks upon him with such overwhelming intensity that it blinds him, and has such a profound influence on his way of life that he becomes not only an apostle of "the Way," which he had, up to this time, execrated and tried to stamp out, but one of its boldest and most influential exponents in word, deed, and writings.

An Open Door
October 3, 1936

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