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Pierce, S.E. – The Divine Personality of the Holy Spirit

Posted by David Cox on June 8, 2024
Posted in PPersonality 

The Divine Personality of the Holy Spirit

By Samuel Eyles Pierce

1. Part One
2. Part Two

The Divine Personality of the Holy Spirit
By Samuel Eyles Pierce 1805

In Two Parts

” Part One”

On the distinct personality, titles, names, perfection’s, and essential Godhead of the Holy Ghost, with scriptural proofs of his existence in Godhead, of his being co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son, the incomprehensible Jehovah: the object of faith, hope, love, and worship, and of equal glory with the Father and the Son.

The being, life, nature, perfection’s, majesty, blessedness, and sovereignty of God are revealed, and set before us, in the volume of inspiration. From it, we, as far as taught by him who inspired it, and those who wrote it, learn that the Godhead is self-existent, all-sufficient, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, the fountain of essential perfection. We learn also that in the infinite essence there is a distinct mode of personal subsistence which being in it, and essential to it, there is the most divine, personal, and perfect equality. The personal modes of subsisting in the Godhead are by a necessity of nature, as the essence of Jehovah is necessary or self existent. The personalities in Jehovah are self-existent, as the nature of Godhead, in which they exist, is. They are revealed in the holy scriptures under the names of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; the three who bear record in Heaven: and these three are one ( I John 5: 7 ). So that what we profess from the infallible word concerning our belief of the Trinity in the unity of one incomprehensible Jehovah is the distinct mode of existence in the essence subsisting: which modus is incomprehensible. Yet, it being a revealed truth, the personal existence of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost gives proof that the divine nature is social. Which is a declaration of the highest perfection of Godhead, and leads to the most exalted ideas of essential blessedness. The essential three have a full knowledge of each other, and of the modus of their existence in the self-existent essence. They have a mutual love, converse, delight, indwelling, and solace with each other; with a full enjoyment of all the essential perfection’s and blessedness of deity. This is the fountain and spring of their essential life and blessedness, to which nothing can be added, and from which nothing can be taken.

One and the same divine nature, life, perfection’s, blessedness, glory, and immortality subsist in each, and in their utmost fullness, in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. This the scripture gives evidence of in the name Jehovah (which expresses the incommunicable nature of God) that occurs in the Old Testament 6,855 times, and is applied to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost: which proves the unity of essence. The Father is Jehovah (Isa. 42:5). The Son is Jehovah (Isa. 43: 11 ). The Spirit is Jehovah (Isa. 11:2). The Godhead is the fountain of the divine persons. Their relation to each other is essential to it. Hence their unity in the essence is included in the name Jehovah, which is given to the Eternal Three: “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of Hosts” (Isa. 6:3). The distinct personality of the Holy Ghost, with his existence, co-equality, co-eternity, and coessentiality with the Father and the Son in the incomprehensible Godhead, is a truth of eternal importance. It is an article of faith once delivered to the saints: to which all the scripture bears testimony. In it he is joined with the Father and the Son in all the works of nature, providence, and grace. The essential perfection’s of deity are ascribed to him, and he is declared to be the object of worship equally with the Father and the Son in the form of baptism prescribed by Christ himself (Matt. 28:19). All which are full proofs of his distinct personality and co-equality with the Father and the Son. As I design to treat of the distinct personality, title, names, and perfection’s of the essential Godhead of the Holy Ghost, I shall begin with his real personality. In the Bible, that book of books, the Holy Ghost is spoken of as a person towhom personal properties, acts, and perfection’s are attributed: and divine perfection’s are ascribed unto Him, as life, understanding, love, and will; which prove him to be a person. As such he is spoken of by Christ himself: “When he is come, he shall reprove the world of sin” (John 16:8).

He is said to search “all things, yea, the deep things of God” (I Cor. 2: 10); and to bestow his gifts “severally as he will” I Cor. 12: 11 ). These are personal acts, and plainly prove to him to be a divine person in the incomprehensible Godhead. Personal properties and actions are attributed unto him. He is said to speak; and his speeches are frequently recorded. The Spirit said unto Peter, “Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them” (Acts 10:20). And “the Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them” (Acts 13:2). Such things and actions are attributed to him as can in no sense be attributed to the Father; and which could not be attributed to the Spirit if he were only the virtue or power of the Father, and not a real distinct person from him. Thus, for instance, the Holy Ghost is said to be sent from the Father in the name of Christ. And he is said to make intercession for the saints. None of which can be said of God the Father.

We have him speaking to the Father and the Son as personally distinct from them, yet co-essential with them, saying, “Whom shall I send and who will go for us? (Isa. 6:8). Our Lord Jesus Christ speaks of him as a person: “When the comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, be shall testify of me” (John 15:26). In which words we have an account of the essential and distinct personality of the Holy Ghost. He proceeds from the Father and the Son by an incomprehensible and eternal procession; so that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are relatively distinct, and yet really united in the divine essence, one eternal and incomprehensible God; and in these words of our Lord the procession of the Holy Ghost, according to the economy of the divine persons in their everlasting covenant-contract, is also implied, contained, and expressed.

His title, by which he is very eminently distinguished in the Old and New Testament, is that of the Spirit of holiness, or Holy Spirit: which he is essentially, as the Spirit of the living God. And he is also so denominated on account of his work and office in the souls of the elect.

His names throughout the Old Testament are the Spirit Of God, the Spirit of the Lord (2 Sam. 23:2), the Spirit of the Almighty (Job 33:4), the breath of Jehovah’s mouth (Psalm 33:6), the Spirit of the Lord God (Isa. 61: 1), the most high God (Psalm 78:56), the Lord God (Psalm 68:18), the Spirit of grace and supplications (Zech. 12: 10), Holy Spirit (Isa. 63: 10). And in the New Testament, he is styled the power of the highest (Luke 1:35), the Spirit of God (Matt. 3:16), the Spirit of the Father (John 15:26), the Spirit of his Son (Gal. 4:6), the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9), Lord and God (I Cor. 12: 5, 6), the Spirit of the living God (2 Cor. 3:3), and the Spirit of glory (I Peter 4:14). And various other names are given him descriptive of his work and office in the economy of grace. Divine attributes and the essential perfection’s of Godhead are ascribed unto him personally: as eternity (Heb. 9:14), immensity, omnipresence, omniscience (Psalm 139:1-16), and omnipotence (Isa. 40:12). Immutability, and necessary and self-existence are included in the incommunicable nature of the Godhead, which is given him (Jer. 31:33). This is applied by the apostle to, the Holy Ghost (Heb. 10: 15, 16). All these perfection’s, eternity, immensity, omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, immutability, necessary and self existence are essential to Godhead. And the whole fullness of the divine nature, in all these boundless and immense perfection’s, dwells invariably in the person of the Holy Ghost. The works of creation, providence, and grace, are attributed to him also, as personally considered. His concern in creation is asserted by Moses in the book of Genesis (Chap. 1: 2). The Psalmist says, “By the word of the Lord were the Heavens made: and all the host of them by the breath, or spirit, of his mouth (Psalm 33:6). Job says, “By his spirit he hath garnished the Heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent” (Job 26:13). Elihu says, “The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath, or Spirit, of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4). The concern of the eternal Spirit in the government of the world, which must include the whole process of Providence, is set forth by the prophet thus:

Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counselor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed unto him the way of understanding? Behold the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt-offering. All nations before him are as nothing, and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity (Isa. 40:13-17).

I proceed to give some scriptural proofs of the personal existence of the Holy Ghost in the Godhead, and of his being co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son, the incomprehensible Jehovah.

The first scriptural proof, on which all others are naturally, necessarily, and absolutely founded, is in the first chapter of Genesis, which begins thus:

In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth, and the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.

The original word rendered by our translators God is universally allowed by the learned, both Jews and Christians, to be a plural one. It is in the Hebrew Elohim: and it is used in the plural form on purpose to point out the personalities in God. In the scripture quoted there are plain evidences of the Trinity. Here is God, the Spirit of God, and God said, equally united, and engaged in creating and forming all things and in producing them all out of nothing. The Psalmist comments on it saying, “By the word of the Lord were the Heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth” (Psalm 33:6). To be before the world was, is a proof of Jehovah’s eternity (Psalm 90:2), as also to be before the day was (Isa. 43:13). And here is the Holy Spirit, co-equal with the Father and the Son’ existing before the world was, and equally present with them at the creation of all things. At the twenty-sixth verse of this chapter we have the Elohim, God, speaking in the plural number, and using the words us and our: which most cl2arly evinces a plurality of persons in the self-existing Godhead: “And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness.” As this address must necessarily be to the other persons in the essence-existing, consequently the Holy Ghost, as one of the us, must be co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son, in the incomprehensible Jehovah.

In the historical account given us in this chapter of the beginning of the creation of God, its progress, and order, the word rendered God, which, as said before, is in the Hebrew Elohim, and denotes a plurality in the divine nature, is repeated thirty-two different times. But when the works of creation are finished, then the words Jehovah Elohim are used. And the incommunicable name joined to the word God is scripture proof that each of the divine persons coexists in one and the same incomprehensible nature. In the sixth chapter of the: prophet Isaiah we have a most divine acknowledgment of the Eternal Three, and of their co-equality and co-existence in the self-existing essence. The seraphim cried, “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of hosts.” And the Holy Ghost was included; for we have him uttering his Almighty voice in an address to the Father and the Son, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” (Isa. 6:8). The word us, as used by the persons in deity, is consecrated by them, as giving full proof of their co-existence, co-equality, co-essentiality, and unity in Godhead; which is fully proved in the third verse of ‘this sixth chapter of Isaiah, the incommunicable name being there given to the Essential Three. “Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of Hosts.” And the Holy Ghost speaks, and uses the language of us in the eight verse (“Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”), which is declared to be the voice and language of the Holy Ghost by the apostle Paul (Acts 28:25, 26, 27).

This word us is used also by Christ to denote his coexistence in the Godhead, and co-equality with the Father. Praying on the behalf of the elect he says, “That they all may be one, as tbou Father art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us” (John 17:21). Our Lord speaking of himself says, “I came forth from the Father” (John 16:28). And speaking of the Spirit he saith, “He proceedeth from the Father” (John 15:26). There is a mutual in-being or in-existence of the divine persons. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost have an in-existence or in-being in each other, in one and the same undivided essence. When we say the Father is God, the Son God, and the Holy Ghost God, we do not, as one most judiciously expressed it, mean that the Father abstracted from the Son and Holy Ghost, or the Son abstracted from the Father and the Holy Ghost, or the Holy Ghost abstracted from Father or Son, is God; but the Father having the Son and Holy Ghost in-existing in him is God, and the Son having the Father and the Holy Ghost in-existing in him is God, and so the Holy Ghost having the Father and Son in-existing in him is the one true God. Thus there is a unity of the divine nature in the plurality of persons. I go on to show and prove from Scripture that the Holy Ghost is the object of faith, hope, love, and worship, and of equal glory with the Father and the Son.

When our Lord speaks of the Spirit, be speaks of him as distinct from the Father and himself, saying, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that be may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for be dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” The Holy Ghost is also joined in worship with the Father and the Son in the form of words prescribed by our Lord to be used in the administration of baptism. In which he is worshipped and acknowledged; and faith, hope, and love to him are to be in it expressed as truly, and distinctly, as to the Father and the Son.

I do for myself admire the acknowledgement made of the personality, equality, and essential deity of the Holy Ghost, together with the Father and the Son, in what is commonly called the Nicene Creed, in which it is said:

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of. life who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.

The Holy Ghost is here the object of faith, hope, and love. Without faith it is impossible to please God. In baptism we profess our faith in the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit. He is the God of hope, through whose own power we abound in the exercise of it. Hence the apostle prays, “Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 15:13). And he is the object of love, which is expressed in our worshipping him with the same worship and love which we give to the Father and the Son. This will further appear from the apostolic benediction pronounced by Paul: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen” (2 Cor. 13:14).

In this benediction all the blessings of grace are invoked from the Three-one. And the Holy Spirit is as truly prayed unto as the Father and the Son. It is equal with the blessing recorded in the sixth chapter of Numbers, verse twenty-four, where the name Jehovah is three times solemnly repeated:

The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord make his face to shine on thee, and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.

Here are all the persons in the Godhead solemnly acknowledged and addressed. Thus the scripture gives full proof that the Holy Ghost is the object of faith, hope, love, and worship, and of equal glory with the Father and the Son. This is most clearly, fully, and expressly evidenced in the form of baptism; in which the persons are -mentioned according to the relation they stand in to each other in the apostolic benediction, and also in that apostolic prayer offered up to the Holy Trinity in the Revelation (Chapter 1:4, 5, 6). The order is inverted to sbow they are equally one God, and to point out their economy in the covenant of grace, and their relations therein to the elect.

John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace be unto you and peace from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before his throne: and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten from the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and bath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father: to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

Here the Holy Ghost is worshipped with the Father and the Son: as also in the fourth chapter, where the living creatures (the same with the seraphim in Isaiah’s vision, and the living creatures, or cherubim in Ezekiel’s) cry: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty, which was, and is, and is to come.” Here equal glory is given to the eternal Spirit with the Father and the Son. May what bath been declared concerning the distinct personality, titles, names, perfection’s, and essential Godhead of the Holy Ghost, with the scripture

proofs which have been given of his existence in Godhead, of his being co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son, the incomprehensible Jehovah, the object of faith, hope, love, and worship, and of equal glory with the Father and the Son, lead to an exalting of the Holy Spirit in the heart and life of such as are under his sacred unction and influence. Grant this, 0 Lord the Spirit, for thy own glory, and for thy truth’s sake. To whom with the Father and the Son, as co-equal in the same nature, essence, perfection’s, blessedness, and glory, I would ascribe everlasting honor, blessing, and praise. Amen.

2. The Holy Spirit’s Love to the Elect

On the Holy Ghost’s love to the elect – his work and office on their behalf, and for their benefit, in the economy of the everlasting covenant.

WHEN the love of the Holy Ghost to the elect is the subject; and when his union with them, with his relation and interest in them, is treated of, it should be particularly remembered that then we consider him, his power, and influence not essential, but ministerial, as be acts from the Father and the Son, according to the economy of the everlasting federal settlements between the sacred Three. And as he is the third in order of the Three, so his work and office on the behalf, and for the benefit of the elect, are founded on the order which subsists in the essence-existing. As the Father, as the first person in the Godhead, orders all things, and the Son agreeable to, and in obedience to the Father’s will, works from him, and performs all things on the behalf of his people, and finishes salvation-work; so the Holy Ghost works from the Father and the Son, reveals, applies, and puts into actual possession of all. Let it be carefully remembered that though there are three persons in the Godhead, yet there are not three operations; for the Father does nothing by himself, nor the Son by himself, nor the Holy Ghost by himself; but the whole energy and operation of deity, relating to creatures, and the elect, begin with the Father, pass to the Son, and from the Father and the Son to the Holy Ghost: all which are by one thought, and it is in one infinite mind; and, therefore, though they are three persons, they are but one numerical power, will, and energy eternally flowing, and in the same instant communicated from one to the other in an infinite and incomprehensible manner. All the operations of the Trinity in creation, providence, and grace must be common to all the Three; for they can no more act than they can subsist separately: for the attributes of deity are in each person, yet the offices of the divine persons, as they stand related to the elect, are so revealed in scripture, that election is very particularly attributed to the Father, redemption to the Son, and sanctification to the Spirit. Thus, “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ” (I Pet. 1:2). Where mention is made of all the divine persons, and of their distinct acts and operations in grace, the Holy Ghost, as personally subsisting in the incomprehensible nature, must have life, understanding, will, truth, knowledge, holiness, self-existence, blessedness, and love, which must be essential to his personality. And in relation to his mission from the Father and the Son, be ministerially is pleased to prove to the church, and in the hearts of his faithful people, that be loves them, as the Father and the Son do, with an everlasting love. The love of the Eternal Spirit is expressly mentioned by Paul in Romans 15:30. And when we consider his union with them, his relation to, and interest in them, we shall find it to be equal with the love of the Father and the Son. It may lead to a proper view of the subject if we consider the person of Christ, God-man, to be designed to express and set forth the utmost display of Godhead in its nature, persons, and perfection’s, and of God’s manifestative glory, to the uttermost of the elect creature’s capacity; and that God dwelling personally in our nature is the object of Jehovah’s eternal delight and complacency – the darling of the Eternal Trinity. The Father’s love to him is unspeakable. So is the Spirit’s. He revealed his mediatorial, personal, relative, and essential glories in the word. He framed the body assumed by the Son of God into personal union with him. He filled it with all the fulness of grace and! glory; and dwells in Christ in an unspeakable way and manner. He is called the Spirit of Christ. “He anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows.” He consecrated him to his work and office.

Immanuel received the name and title, Messiah, Christ, or Anointed, from the Holy Ghost, who filled his human nature With the whole fullness, of grace, so that our Lord entered on the execution of his office of mediation under the anointing of the Eternal Spirit; and is said to perform all, as influenced by him. Peter speaking of our Lord says, God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38). It was through the Eternal Spirit that be offered himself without spot to God (Heb. 9:14). Now he, who thus loved the head of the whole election of grace, and was so concerned in him, and in all his mediatorial acts and offices, must most assuredly love the church, the mystic body of Christ.

And it fully appears that he does, as he is the one universal Spirit who inspires all the elect, or chosen of God, with spiritual life and light. He is the author of their new birth and every spiritual faculty thereof. He dwells in them, and is the root of all their graces, the fountain of all their joys, and the spring of all their heavenly consolations. He loves their persons, as the beloved of God, and as the very members of Christ, who had union, relation, and being in him by election before the foundation of the world. He loves them, as one with Christ. And his love to them personally and distinctly appears from his union with them, relation to, and interest in them. As Christ is the head of his body, the church, and as the Holy Ghost dwelleth in him, as the spirit of life, grace, and glory; so he must hereby have union also with the elect and mystic body, because he is to be that in a less measure to it, which he is more fully and superabundantly to the head.

Real believers, or the church of Christ, are styled “Temples of the Holy Ghost.” The apostle in his second Epistle to the Corinthians says, “Ye are the temple of the living God.” Consequently the Holy Ghost must be the living God, since it is because of his dwelling in us that we are “the temples of the living God.” Now, his dwelling in us shows that he has an union with us. He is said to dwell in our bodies.

How much more then in our souls! As the soul dwells in the body, and is the life of it, and as the union between body and soul is inexplicable; so the Holy Ghost dwells in the souls and bodies of the saints, and his union with them and his indwelling in them are truly mysterious and divine: not to be comprehended: but to be believed, because the scripture declares it. His indwelling argues his love. It is a vast expression of it. This shows his relation to us. He is the Spirit of Christ, our head. And his dwelling and abiding in us show that he stands related to us by the everlasting covenant of grace, in which he was most graciously pleased to discover his interest in the elect by the work and office which he undertook on their behalf. An abstract of which you have in these words, “I am with you, saith the Lord of Hosts; according to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you” (Haggai 2:4, 5). Here are the Lord, the Word, and the Spirit. And it is evident from this text, properly interpreted, that Jehovah covenanted with the Word; and in consequence of it, my spirit, saith the Lord, remaineth among you. In consonance with this John says, “There are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one” (I John 5:7). The record, which the Eternal Three bear is that before all worlds the elect were the objects of the Father’s everlasting love and complacency, that out of the love wherewith he loved them be chose them in Christ before the foundation of the world, blessed them in him with all spiritual blessings, and accepted them in him to the praise of the glory of his grace (Eph. 1: 3, 4). In the foreviews of their fall in Adam, and all the consequences thereof, the Eternal Three willed, counseled, and covenanted their redemption through the suretyship-engagements of the God-man, and by his incarnation, obedience, and sacrifice; which were most clearly to be revealed in scripture, type, and prophecy to the church, by the Holy Ghost, through the ministry of the prophets. All which are most faithfully recorded in the scriptures of truth, that is, the Father’s everlasting love to the persons of his elect, and the son’s complete and eternal redemption wrought t and finished on their behalf. The Holy Spirit’s witness to the eternal transactions between the Father and the Son with his testimony that Christ’s work is a finished salvation, and that the Father’s record of it is a full and sufficient warrant for our believing in the personal work, and word of Christ, and resting our souls thereon for our everlasting salvation is, I think, an all-sufficient proof of his being one of the holy covenanters, of his being deeply interested in the covenanted ones, of his sustaining an office in the everlasting covenant, and that his work is to sanctify all the elect people of God. This may further appear from the following scripture, where all the divine persons in Godhead are clearly expressed in their distinct personalities, offices, and acts of grace towards the elect. The words are these:

But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour: that being justified by his grace we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4, 5, 6, 7).

God the Father is the author of our eternal salvation. God the Son is the finisher of it. And God the Holy Ghost is the revealer of this great salvation. He quickens the soul with new and spiritual life, enlightens the mind with the light of everlasting life, and washes and cleanses the soul from guilt, as be leads the regenerate to the blood of Christ for health, purity, pardon, and peace. The love and kindness of God our Savior (by whom, in this place, Jehovah the Father is intended) come on us through Jesus Christ our Savior. The mercy of our heavenly Father streams through him down on us. He wrought out salvation; and through him all the blessings of it are communicated to us in regeneration. The Spirit himself is given us by Christ. Every supply of grace is out of his fullness. Every thing wrought in us, that is well pleasing in the sight of God, is through Christ; and even the gift of God, eternal life itself, is in him.

The Holy Ghost, according to the economy of the covenant, is sent by the Father and the Son. Of his effusion on Christ as Mediator you read in the following scripture: “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me” (Isa. 6 1: 1). And the Redeemer saith, “The Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me” (Isa. 48:16). His mission to his church, his work, and office, when sent and given, are thus expressed by our Lord. “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you” (John 14: 16, 17). Again, in verse twenty-six, our Lord saitb, “But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” Speaking of the Holy Spirit in his work and office our Lord saitb, “He will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak, and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me, for be shall receive of mine, and shall sbew it unto you. All things that the Father bath are mine: therefore said I that he shall take of mine, and shall sbew it unto you.” Thus it appears from the scriptures that the Holy Ghost loveth the elect – hath an union with them – stands related to them – and is interested in their souls and bodies; which is evidenced by his indwelling in them, and by their being in consequence thereof his temples. It is moreover proved by his work and office founded on the federal transactions in the everlasting covenant; in which he engaged to become the breath of spiritual life unto the elect, their enligbtener, sanctifier, guide, and comforter: his office in their souls being to bring them to an acquaintance with Christ as revealed in the word, to lead them to know him, and believe on him to life everlasting, to shed abroad the Father’s love in their hearts, and to carry on divine fellowship between them and Christ, and the Father in him, through his own most gracious influence and presence with their souls: the benefits of which are unspeakable. From hence it appears that the everlasting covenant of the Trinity is all of grace – and that it fully reveals and makes manifest that our Jehovah is “the God of all grace.” The love of Father, Son, and Spirit is a free, full, and everlasting love. The elect are the subjects of the Father’s invariable love and delight. They are everlastingly saved in Christ, who loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood. They are, or will be, all and each of them called and renewed by the Holy Ghost, sanctified throughout in body, soul, and spirit, and sealed by him into the day of eternal redemption. May what hath been delivered on this more important subject, concerning the love of the Holy Ghost to the elect, his work and office on their behalf, and for their benefit, in the economy of the everlasting covenant, be accompanied with his own divine blessing! May it lead us to give him equal honor, glory, blessing, and praise with the Father and the Son for our complete salvation, and the enjoyment of everlasting life! He being the revealer of Christ to us, and the manifester of the Father’s love, which he sheds in our hearts, may we express our love to him in every act of spiritual worship. Amen.
3. The Holy Spirit in the Church

An account of his internal and external works – his extraordinary acts, gifts, and operations in, on, and for the benefit of, his church.

THERE has been an outward and visible manifestation of all the divine persons in God at the baptism of Christ, where the Son of God was seen in our nature parting the mystic wave. The Father by an audible voice from Heaven pronounced, “Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mark 1: 11). And the Spirit was seen “descending like a dove,” pointing out Immanuel to be the Christ of God (John 1: 32, 33, 34). This sacred agent works on men both internally and externally. His works are wonderful. His acts, gifts, and operations in the souls of the elect, on them, and for the benefit of his church, are extraordinary; such as, when rightly viewed, proclaim him to be Lord God Omnipotent. I will divide the subject of the present section into two parts. I will first give an account of the internal work of the Holy Ghost. And second, I will give an account of the external works, and extraordinary acts, gifts, and operations of the Holy Ghost in, and on, his church, for the benefit thereof.

I begin first to give an account of his internal work on the souls of the elect.

His first work is a supernatural creation, which he produces in them by his own almighty energy, in which their will has no act. By this supernatural birth and life which he produces in them, and communicates to their souls, they become fit subjects for him to act further on: which he does by convincing them of sin, by letting them feel the guilt of it, opening their minds to see the exceeding sinfulness of their nature, life, and actions, and thus making way for them to receive salvation from the Lord, as the free gift of mere grace. And thus he disposes them on their receiving and believing on Christ to give him the entire glory of their complete salvation. He by his Almighty energy removes the convinced sinner off himself, and fixes him on Christ. He lives in Him as the fountain of spiritual life. He puts forth his influences in the soul agreeable to our Lord’s account, who says, speaking of the believer, “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). The Holy Ghost becomes in his gracious office to the believer the Spirit of grace and of supplications. He opens the mouth in prayer, enlarges the heart at the throne of grace, teaches the believer how to pray, and what to expect from the Lord. To be brief, the Holy Ghost begins his work in the souls of the elect in regeneration, and carries it on effectually converting them to love the Lord their God by showing to them and proving in them that the Father is reconciled unto them by the death of his Son, that be has freely forgiven them all trespasses, and loved them in Christ from everlasting. He shows them their interest in Christ by taking of his things and showing them unto them, and thereby giving them clearly to know Christ, his righteousness, blood, fullness, and grace, and their union with, interest in, and title to him and all the blessings and benefits of his great salvation. He pronounced the sentence of justification in their consciences. Hence Paul says, “But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, and ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God” (I Cor. 6: 11 ). He is the Spirit of adoption, and be bears witness to (not with) their spirits that they are the children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8: 16, 17). Thus he carries on, and produces the fruits of sanctification, which causes them to grow in grace, and go on in a final perseverance in the fruits of holiness, the end of which is everlasting life. These are the outlines of the internal work of the Holy Ghost in the souls of the elect of God, and members of Christ, who are filled with all joy and peace in believing, and abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost (Rom. 15:13). Having thus given a general scheme or view of the Holy Spirit’s internal work in the souls of the redeemed of the Lord, I proceed secondly to give an account of his external works, and extraordinary acts, gifts, and operations, in, on, and for the benefit of the church of Christ, who is expressly styled “The living God” (Heb. 3:12).

The first great and extraordinary works, acts, gifts, and operations of the Holy Ghost, which I style external, began on the day of Pentecost, and were more or less continued throughout the apostolic day; whereby he proved himself the founder of the New Testament church, who built it upon the everlasting foundation which the Father bad laid in Zion, and framed, and knit all the building into an holy temple in the Lord.

As there was a period fixed on for the, manifestation of the Son of God in our nature; so there was also a fixed time for the descent of the Holy Ghost. Our Lord was incarnate in the fullness of time. He had finished his work which the Father gave him to do, was received up into Heaven, and crowned with glory everlasting. Ten days from his ascension, on the festival and day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost was given according to Christ’s most true and faithful promise (Acts 1: 5 ). He came down from the Father and the Son, being according to the economy of the covenant sent by them, to testify of Christ that he was the Son of God, the true God, and that eternal life was in him. He came down to glorify Christ in the hearts of his apostles and believing people. He came down to bring all things to their remembrance which Christ had spoken, done, suffered, promised, and revealed unto them. He came down with a sudden great sound, as of a rushing, mighty wind, expressive of the power and efficacy of his grace, which is mighty and irresistible, secret and invisible, carrying all before it, casting down the strongholds of sin and Satan. And it filled all the house or room, where all the apostles and others, who were waiting on Christ for the fulfillment of his promise, were sitting; which might be symbolical of the spread of the everlasting Gospel. On this there were presented to their view visible appearances, which appearances were like parted flames of fire. And these parted flames looked like tongues, and sat upon each of them; one upon one of them, and another on another of them: or many on each of them. That is, the Holy Ghost in the appearance of fire. Hereupon, they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, with his gifts and graces. They were now baptized with the Spirit, and began to speak divers languages. One spoke one language, and another another; and sometimes the same person spoke one language and sometimes another. In this visible descent, and symbol of his presence, the personality of the Holy Ghost was realized, and as in his former descent in a bodily shape like a dove, and resting and remaining on Christ, his distinct personality from the Father and the Son was declared; so likewise it was on the day of Pentecost, when he descended and rested on the apostles and assembled church of Christ. And this was one of the great and extraordinary acts, whereby the New Testament promise was accomplished. The great promise of the Old Testament was that the Son of God should be given a covenant for the people (Isa. 42:6). The one grand promise to be fulfilled under the New Testament, yea, at the commencement of that dispensation, was that the Spirit should be poured out (Joel 2:28). He descended to prove that Christ was crowned in Heaven by the Father, and to demonstrate that Jesus of Nazareth, whom the Jews with wicked bands had crucified and slain, was constituted by him both Lord and Christ, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, that he was invested with office, power, and authority over all things, exalted above every name, that to him every knee should bow, that all power was given him in Heaven and on earth, and that he was appointed the bead of the church, his mystic body, the fullness of him which filleth all in all. Thus the Holy Spirit, on this descent of his, glorified Jesus. The fruits and effects it produced were wonderful. The apostles spoke the word of God with boldness. They publicly declared the wonderful works of God: the great truths, mysteries, doctrines, and secrets of the everlasting gospel. The Lord the Spirit bad continued, as the Spirit of Christ, the ministry of the prophets in the Old Testament church, by whom he testified of the sufferings of Christ , and the glory that should follow on his exaltation and coronation in Heaven. And he now descended to qualify the apostles for bearing their testimony for Christ, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1: 8). And accordingly they preached the gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven (I Pet 1: 12). The immediate effects of it were the conversion of three thousand on the day of Pentecost, and five thousand shortly after.

The Holy Ghost was pleased to crown his descent with external demonstrations of his power, presence, and majesty. He conferred on the apostles and others miraculous gifts. He enabled them to work divers miracles on the bodies and minds Of men; to heal the sick by a word, and sometimes by a touch (Acts 3:6, 7; 5:15, 16; 19:11, 12); to raise the dead (Acts 9:40; 20:9, 10); to; cast out devils (Acts 19:12; 16:18); and to strike with blindness and death such as sinned grievously, or opposed the truth (Acts 5: 4,5, 9, 10; 13: 11 ). These were external extraordinary works, performed by the power of the Holy Ghost, and wrought by the apostles to confirm gospel-truth, and to strike terror into the minds of the opposers and persecutors of it. And these great and miraculous gifts were continued throughout the apostolic day, and then ceased. The gifts of the Holy Ghost, which were external, and were then bestowed on the ministers and members of Christ’s church, at least on some of them, were as enumerated by Paul: first, the word of wisdom; second, the word of knowledge; third, the gifts of healing; fourth, the working of miracles; fifth, the gift of prophecy; sixth, a discerning of spirits; seven, diverse hinds of tongues, and eighth, the gift of interpretation of them. All these gifts were bestowed. on the church at Corinth. The members and ministers of it abounded in them. They were spiritual gifts conferred by the Holy Ghost, as Lord and God, in a sovereign way and manner according to, his own will. Yet they did not make those on whom they were bestowed spiritual, as fully appears from what Paul declares concerning many of the members of the visible church of Christ at Corinth. They were bestowed for the use and benefit of Christ’s church, and to answer some peculiar ends in the apostolic age. Thus God bore witness both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, to the gospel of his dear Son.

The operations of the Holy Spirit in, and on the church of Christ, and for the benefit of it, were great and extraordinary. He continued his life-giving presence, power, and influence, with his word, for a long season. He brought in multitudes of elect souls by the preaching of the word to the obedience of faith. He enabled the church of Christ and the true ministers of it to endure persecutions, and even to grow thereby. He was with the people and ministers of Christ, and gave them strength equal to their days. He added to the church daily such as should be saved. He consecrated the New Testament church, sanctified the offering up of the Gentiles, that is, their devoting their souls and bodies, property and all, to Christ and his service. It was “acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost” (Rom. 15:16). He wrought on some externally, in whom he did not work by the mighty energy of his power. We read therefore of some, who were once enlightened, and had tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, who had tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, that fell away, and became final apostates, as Judas did, who had been an apostle (Heb. 6:4, 5, 6). These persons were but temporary believers. They were not born again. And like as the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul; so he departed from these professors, having never been to Saul, nor to them, an indweller in their souls. Yet it was to answer some end to the real church of Christ, that these persons bad been once external members of it. Hereby real saints would be led to know and feel that grace in their souls is far beyond all gifts, that regeneration and conversion to God may be, and are, where these gifts are not; and that those things which accompany the true knowledge of Christ and his salvation – faith in Him and love to Him – are those gifts and callings of God which are without repentance, and which, where they are once given and bestowed, remain forever.

I close this section with observing that all the gifts and operations of the Holy Ghost are eventually for the benefit of the church of Christ. He loveth the elect spouse and bride of Christ, and is the life, the soul, the breath, the one universal spirit which lives and breathes throughout it. He inspired the prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles and evangelists of the New to write scripture, and they wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Pet. 1:21). The scriptures are infallible. The Holy Ghost works effectually by the reading of them in the hearts of the elect. He wrought by the preaching of them in the ministry of the apostle, and turned sinners from darkness unto light, and the power of Satan unto God. He works still by the reading, preaching, and spiritual expounding of them by the ministers of his own sending and ordaining. He it is who continues the standing ministry of the gospel, who qualifies men to preach, and who clothes the word with power. Conversion is his continued miracle in the church. He will abide with the church, ordinances, and ministers of Christ to the end of the world, to supply the want of Christ’s bodily presence. “Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world. Amen” (Matt. 28:20), says Christ to his apostles and people. This he cannot be, but by his Spirit, which is a proof of the Spirit’s immensity and omniscience. He must know the whole heart of Christ, the love of God the Father, and all the cases of all the militant church of Christ. He must be present with each and every one of them at all times, in all places, and cases. He must be present at all instituted worship with the universal, with the collected, and particular churches; yea, with each individual of Christ’s purchased flock, even to the end of the world, or the promise of Christ must fail; which it cannot, his name being true and faithful (Rev. 3:14), his person invariable, and his word immutable (Heb. 13:6, 8). Heaven and earth shall pass away; but his word shall not (Matt. 24:35). This great promise of Christ to his church, concerning his being with them always, even unto the end of the world, sealed with his own Amen, may be looked on as his great, last, and universal promise, fulfilled by the presence, grace, influence, unction, and blessing of the Holy Ghost, the substitute of Christ, his representative, and founded on the everlasting covenant settlements of the sacred Three, proclaimed by Jehovah the Father thus:

As for me, this is my covenant with them (that is, with the church of the Redeemer), saith the Lord, ray Spirit that is upon thee, and my words, which I have put into thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed’s seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever (Isa. 59:21). I close this section, and first part of my Scripture-testimony of the personality, distinct existence, co-equality, co-eternity, and essential union of the Holy Ghost with the Father and the Son in the incomprehensible Godhead, with the account of his work and office in the economy of the everlasting covenant, of his union, with his relation and interest in the elect, his internal work, influence, and operations on their souls, and his external and extraordinary works on the behalf of the church of Christ, with prayer to his divine majesty, beseeching him to accept the same out of the riches of his own grace, and bless the reading of it as far as seemeth good in his sight. I ask this, Holy Spirit, for the glory of thy most holy name, to whom with the Father and the Son I ascribe all the glory, praise, and honor, which belong unto thee as one in the same boundless nature and essence with the Father and the Son, to whom be equal and unceasing praise throughout all thy church to eternal ages. Amen.

The Divine Personality of the Holy Spirit
By Samuel Eyles Pierce

In Two Parts

” Part Two”

4. The Holy Spirit in the Covenant of Grace

On the internal work of the Holy Ghost agreeable to his office in the economy of grace; and his titles and characters descriptive of his office in the covenant.

THE internal work of the Holy Ghost in the souls of the elect is secret, imperceptible, and divine: so that the most which can be known of it must be manifested by the effects. Hence it must necessarily follow that in treating it, it is very necessary to attend closely to the offices of the holy Ghost, and his part in the economy of grace; this being calculated to give light to the mind in its enquiries herein. This sacred agent is emphatically styled, and that in respect to his work and office, “The Spirit of Grace” (Zech. 12: 10). He undertook in the everlasting covenant with the Father and the Son to make known, reveal, and apply the salvation of Jesus, and lead such as should believe on Jesus into an actual fellowship with the Father and the Son, thus making them partakers of Christ and the benefits of his life, blood, and sacrifice. Now, because his work is secretly wrought in the soul, and consists in creating in it spiritual life, faculties, senses, and perceptions, whereby it is capacitated and fitted to take in the knowledge of scriptural things, and enjoy them as divine realities; and because he carries on spiritual intercourse in the mind of the regenerate between the Father and Son, therefore it is that we find it so difficult to speak clearly and distinctly of the life-giving influences and powerful operations of the Holy Spirit as put forth within us. He is the sole author of all our spiritual quickening. It is he that created in our renewed minds every good thought we have of Jesus Christ. When we have any enjoyments, of the Father’s love, it is through him alone. All that was ever known in our world of Christ by patriarchs, prophets, apostles, or believers, truly and savingly of the person, love, undertakings, incarnation, life, work, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and glorification of Immanuel, was from the Lord the Spirit, who has given a full account of the salvation of the worthy Lamb in the volume of inspiration. He gives the elect the true knowledge of Christ from it, seals on their minds what they receive and learn from it concerning the Father’s love and Son’s salvation, and fills their hearts with all joy and peace in believing. He creates in the souls of the redeemed of the Lord spiritual life and light. He forms in their minds spiritual faculties suited to take in spiritual objects and subjects. He creates in them spiritual eyes with which they see Jesus; spiritual ears whereby they bear his voice; spiritual hands wherewith they handle the word of life; spiritual feet so that they walk in him and with him; spiritual affections which are fixed on him as their supreme and only beloved; a spiritual palate, so that they taste and relish the sweetness of his love. In a word, God the Father has fitted Christ for the new-born soul. And the Holy Ghost fits the new-born soul for Christ. Light cannot suit the eye, sound the ear, meat the hungry, drink the thirsty, rest the weary, more or better than Christ does the sinner. And the Holy Ghost by his internal work in the soul fits the renewed mind for all in Christ; to take in from the written word, which be shines on, the knowledge of Christ’s person; and to say of him, “He is altogether lovely”: to apprehend his love, and say of it, “It is love which passes knowledge”: to conceive rightly of his finished work and cry out, “Behold God is my salvation”: to view his complete conquests and triumphs over sin, Satan, the world, death, and hell, and sing and say, “0 magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name for ever. I will sing unto the Lord for he hath triumphed gloriously.” The Holy Ghost by his internal work within the soul conveys such ideas, sense, and enjoyment of the Father’s love as give a real apprehension and foretaste of Heaven and eternal glory. All this is agreeable to his office in the economy of grace; it being his part in the holy covenant to realize in the mind, and bring home to the heart from the word, what has been transacted between the Father and the Son before time began, and has been carried into execution by the Father and the Son in those great transactions, whereby salvation has been wrought and accomplished, namely, the laying the sins of the elect on Christ, their surety, and inflicting the curse due to their sin on him. This was the Father’s act: “The Lord hath laid on him the iniquities of us all.” And he having laid them, Christ bore them “in his own body on the tree” 0 Pet. 2:24), and “it pleased the Lord to bruise him” (Isa. 5 3: 10); and the stroke having been laid on him, “by his stripes we are healed.” Salvation being thus by these great acts and transactions between the Father and the Son completed, the Spirit takes of these things and shows them unto the believer. And this inward revelation of the Son’s salvation and the Father’s love is the work and office of the Holy Ghost in the souls of the regenerate. And he is equal to it, and all-sufficient to perform every part of his great work and office, be being Jehovah, Lord, God, Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come. This will further appear from his titles and characters given him in the sacred word, descriptive of his office in the everlasting covenant. He is styled the Spirit of life (Rev. 11: 11). He must therefore be the Lord and giver of it. And it appears that he is, from the prayer addressed unto him in the prophecy of Ezekiel (Chapter 37:9), for the prophet did not address the wind, which would have been idolatry. But be prays to the eternal Spirit, and that according to his office in the economy of grace, subsisting between the sacred Three, saying: “Come from the four winds, 0 breath, and breathe upon these slain that they may live.” The Holy Ghost is the breath of all spiritual life. He breathes it, be continues it, be is in his regenerate people the spirit of life. And their souls are alive, their graces, comforts, and spiritual affections are vigorous, just as far as he is most graciously pleased to continue his sacred and heavenly gales of supernatural breathings within them, and on them. His breathing, within them makes them alive to God in Christ. His breathing on them causes their graces to flow forth. Hence that prayer to the Holy Ghost, recorded in the fourth of the Canticles, and last verse, which is put up as the former was, to this sacred agent in his economical office for him to exert his influences according to it: “Awake, 0 north wind, and come thou south, blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out.” As the air in nature flows and reflows throughout the whole system, so the Holy Ghost breathes throughout the whole system of grace, and thereby quickens, animates, enlivens, and revives every branch in Christ the living vine. The Holy Ghost, as the Spirit of grace and supplications (Zecb. 12: 10), is the giver of all. grace. He works all grace in us. He creates faith, hope, love. He draws these forth into act and exercise on Christ, and God, as reconciled unto us by his death. The Holy Ghost is called the Spirit of faith (2 Cor. 4:13). He works all our works in us, and for us, says the church (Isa. 26:12). And our Lord says, “He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:21 ). The Holy Ghost produces a new creation in the soul. Hence his whole and entire work in its is styled a new creature (Gal. 6:15). And Paul says, “If any man be in Christ, be is a new creature”; that is, a new creation is produced in his soul and state by the Spirit of Christ: and let him, says the apostle, act accordingly. The Holy Ghost by his indwelling in the soul of the regenerate becomes the life, root, and spring of all spiritual graces, He produces them in their bud, fruits, and effects. So says the apostle: “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” All which he makes way for the discovery of in the believer’s life and walk with God, and for the distinct and proper exercise of them. The Holy Ghost sustains under sufferings, and sanctifies the spiritual mind to make a proper use of them, and to look to the Lord for support tinder them, and a prospect of complete and eternal deliverance from them in God’s appointed way and time.

The Holy Ghost is a leader into all truth. Christ says, 1le will guide you into all truth” (John 16:13). This he did completely, when he guided the minds of the apostles of Christ to write and speak all that Jesus did and uttered; so that in the apostolic writings we have the whole of Christ fully set before us. And the Holy Ghost leads by the word the minds of the regenerate into a knowledge of all saving and necessary truth. He directs the heart into the love of God, and guides the believer into personal and peculiar fellowship with Christ. He becomes a witness for Jesus in the soul, and a glorifier for him in the understanding, heart, and conscience. He is the sanctifier of all the elect people of God, who abideth with them for ever, as the advocate, the comforter, the taker of the things of Christ, who makes them clear and plain to the mind renewed and enlightened by him. He opens and gives a view of the unsearchable riches of Christ. And, as the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, be leads into the knowledge and enjoyment of the Father’s love in personal communion with him. I will now briefly recite some of the titles, names, and characters of the Holy Ghost given him in the Word, which evidently belong unto him, as descriptive of his covenant office.

His titles, names, and characters, are as follows. He is called “The Spirit of the living God” (2 Cor. 3:3), “The Spirit of life from God” (Rev. 11: 11), “The breath or Spirit of God” (Ezek. 37:9), “Lord and God” (I Cor. 12:3, 4, 5, 6), “Holy Spirit” (Isa. 63:11; Epb. 4:30), “A sanctifier” “Rom. 15:16), “A witness for Jesus” (Heb. 10: 15), “A leader into all truth” (John 16:13), “A comforter” (John 14:16), ( The advocate” (John 15:26), “The taker of the things of Christ (for so might the word be rendered), who makes them clear and plain” (John 16:15), “‘The glorifier of Jesus” (John 16:14), “The Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Eph. 1: 17). Paul styles him the Spirit of God’s Son. “And because ye are Sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts” (Gal. 4:6). He is called the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of adoption (Rom. 8:9,15), and the Spirit of God and of glory (I Pet. 4:14). He is styled, “The earnest of our inheritance” (Eph. 1: 14), and the sealer by whom we “are sealed unto the day of redemption” (Eph. 4:30).

These high, divine, and expressive titles, names, and characters of the Holy Ghost, recorded in the word, and given to him as descriptive of his covenant-office and work in the economy of grace, should endear him and his grace to the church of the elect, whose names are written in Heaven, and whom the Son has redeemed with his most precious blood. We should study them closely, and remember them devoutly. We should aim in our souls’ breathings, and desires to apprehend his love to us, union with us, relation to, and interest in us, with his work in and upon us, as clearly revealed and expressed hereby. I will close this section with a brief application of these titles, names, and characters of the Holy Ghost, as expressive and descriptive of his great work and office in the souls of the elect.

He is “the Spirit of the living God.” As such be quickens the elect when dead in trespasses and sins with new, spiritual, supernatural, and eternal life in their souls, making them alive to God by faith in Christ Jesus. He makes them the living epistles of Christ by impressing his grace upon them. Every letter and stroke of the Holy Spirit’s within them consist in a living disposition and likeness of the soul to Christ Jesus. They all with open face, beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:18). Thus they increase in the knowledge of Jesus, in the exercise of their faith on him, in communion with him, and conformity to him.

The Holy Spirit, as the breath, or Spirit of the Almighty, is the maintainer of that life be has given unto them. He upholds it in their souls. The Psalmist takes notice of it saying, “0 bless our God, ye people, and make the voice of his praise to be beard. Which holdeth our soul in life” (Psalm 66:8, 9). The Holy Spirit being Jehovah, Lord and God (jer. 31:33; 1 Cor. 12:5, 6), is almighty to continue this life to eternity. To him all things are possible, and nothing can resist the power of his Godhead.

He is styled Holy Spirit, which he is essentially; but his title refers to his office. He is the Holy-making Spirit. He dwells in the church of Christ as in his own proper temple. And it is, in consequence of his inhabitation, holy. Hence Paul says, “The temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” (I Cor. 3:17).

He is a sanctifier; and he works the work of sanctification and holiness in the souls of all the regenerate, and produces the fruits of it in their spiritual frames and affections, hearts and lives.

The Spirit of God, as a witness for Jesus, bears testimony to the everlasting perfection, work, and efficacy of Christ’s life and death. His witness is in the scriptures of truth, where be fully declares that the Father is everlastingly well pleased with every sinner who comes before him trusting thereon for his present and eternal discharge from all sin. To such be says, I will be merciful to your unrighteousness, and your sins and your iniquities will I remember no more.” The Holy Ghost bears his witness to this in the believer’s mind, and enables the renewed person to rest satisfied with his divine proof of it, which he gives from the immutable word. “As a leader into all truth,” he gives the renewed soul to see the value of truth, and to pray to be led into it. So did the prophet, “Thy Spirit is good, lead me” (Psalm 143: 10). As “a comforter,” be applies the consolations of Christ to the wounded heart, broken spirit, and distressed mind, as the case requires. As an advocate, he pleads in the court of conscience the cause of Christ, and this he does so effectually, that the awakened sinner is brought to see the work of Jesus to be a finished salvation, and that the divine record of the Father is a sufficient warrant for his believing. And the Holy Spirit so pleads the blood and righteousness of Christ under these views of it, that the sinner is brought to believe the righteousness of Jesus everlastingly sufficient to present him righteous at God’s bar; and the blood of the Lamb everlastingly efficacious to cleanse him from all sins. And be comes before the Lord in the belief of it, and pleads it before the throne. The Holy Spirit as “the taker of things of Christ,” gives the believer blessed views of the person, love, righteousness, blood, fulness, mercy, and compassion of Christ, such as draw the whole heart, and knit it to Jesus. In so doing he is the glorifier of Jesus, and gives such views, and creates such apprehensions of him in the renewed mind, as exceed all expression. As “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation,” he goes on to make the Father’s everlasting love more known, and gives the believer repeated discoveries of it by giving him more free, full, and open communion with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. As “the Spirit of the Father and the Son,” he is sent by the Father, in the name of the Son, into the hearts of believers, as “the Spirit of adoption,” whereby they know God to be their Father. As “the Spirit of Christ,” he leads to him, and reveals him to the called, as the hope of glory. As “the Spirit of glory,” be gives a foretaste of it, becomes the earnest of it, seals to the day of redemption, and at seasons, fills the soul with “joys unspeakable and full of glory.”

We read of “joy in the Holy Ghost” (I Thess. 1: 6) in the writings of the Apostle. He produces spiritual, holy, and heavenly joy in the soul, as be applies the word with power, opens and explains the rich, free, pure, and sovereign grace contained in the exceeding great and precious promises, as he gives the mind a spiritual relish, gust, savor, and satisfaction in it, and raises a joy in the soul by his discoveries of the Father’s everlasting love, and the precious person and work of Jesus. Having set this forth briefly, that is, the internal work of the Holy Ghost, agreeable to his office in the economy of grace, with his titles, names, and characters relative to, and descriptive of his office in the covenant with the Father and the Son; I close the same, praying, if it please him, that it may lead to a more clear, scriptural, spiritual, and experimental knowledge of him and his agency in grace. May his names, titles, characters, works, offices, perfections, and love draw out our hearts to him. May it lead us to see we are dependent on the Holy Spirit for every act of spiritual life, indebted to him for all we know of Jesus, and for every intercourse we have had in our own souls with the Father in him, and that it is he alone who can carry on the work of faith with power, and crown our souls in due season with the full enjoyment of everlasting glory. 0 God the Holy Ghost! grant this for thy great name’s sake. Amen.
5. The Holy Spirit in Regeneration of the Elect

On his breathing spiritual life into the elect, and making them partakers of the divine nature in regeneration.

THE Holy Ghost is the Lord and giver of all spiritual life. Elihu ascribes his natural and spiritual life to him saying, “the Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath, or Spirit, of the Almighty hath given me life” (Job 33:4).

He alone, who made us creatures, can make us new creatures, it being wholly owing to creating power if we be made new creatures in Christ Jesus. The scriptures treat of the Holy Ghost as the breather, inspirer, giver, and bestower of spiritual life to the souls of the Lord’s redeemed. Regeneration is attributed by our Lord himself, in the third of John, to him saying, “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be borne again, be cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). It is by it alone we are made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. This supernatural birth, or spiritual creation, is produced by the almighty energy of the Lord the Spirit. And by it we are born into Christ, translated into his kingdom, have spiritual life, supernatural faculties, and senses produced in our souls, which qualify us for the enjoyment of Christ, and to hold holy fellowship with him in all the blessings and benefits of his great salvation. Through this divine renewing of the Holy Ghost we are born of God, are partakers of the divine nature, are turned from darkness, brought into God’s marvelous light, and pass from death unto life. This work of the Spirit is entitled quickening: “You hath be quickened who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2: 1 ). This marvelous act of grace is the first act of the Spirit of God upon the elect. All that follows is but the effects of it. The soul is dead in a spiritual sense to the very instant of his quickening it with spiritual life. And he conveys life once for all; hence it is called everlasting life. Our Lord says, “He that believeth on me hath everlasting life” (John 6:47). Now, though the soul upon its first being quickened does not know and believe on Jesus, yet regeneration being grace in the whole essence of it, which is to be drawn forth in a glorious manifestation of it in faith, hope, and love towards our Lord Jesus Christ in future time, everlasting life is as truly begun in the soul by the Spirit of God, as ever it will, the first moment be quickened it. The Spirit’s drawing it forth into act and exercise, being only the open evidence of it. How this life is communicated and begun is what does not fall under our observation. We are authorized to say from the scripture that the Holy Spirit, the giver of it, is styled “the breath of the Almighty” (Job 33:4). And we are informed therefrom that when life was communicated to the first man, it was by the breath, or Spirit, of the Almighty. For thus it is written, “And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath, of life; and man became a living soul” (Gen. 2:7). Now as life, or lives, was conveyed this way to man originally; so the Holy Ghost is emphatically styled “the breath, or Spirit, of Jehovah’s mouth” (Psalm 33:6). And the stated emblem of the Holy Ghost throughout the Bible is wind, or air in motion: “Awake, 0 north wind, and come thou south, blow . . .” (Song of Solomon 4:16). So likewise in Ezekiel’s vision of the dry bones the Holy and eternal Spirit is spoken of under this emblem, and called upon thus: “Come from the four winds, 0 breath, and breathe upon these slain that they may live” (Ezek. 37:9). And by his breathing on the dry bones and entering into them they lived, and stood up upon their feet. Our Lord speaks of the Holy Spirit’s agency and operations in grace thus: “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof; but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit” (John 3:8). Thus “the wind,” as our Lord saith, “bloweth where it listeth”; and the Spirit of God is a free agent. He may consider to be in allusion of life into man at his creation works how and where he pleaseth. He acts freely on a poor sinner. He works powerfully and irresistibly. He works effectually. And he works secretly and imperceptibly. Every one born of the Spirit is regenerated by grace: which is as free and sovereign, as powerful and irresistible as the wind is. The Holy Spirit is compared to the wind, to the south and north wind, because of his diversified influences, which are powerful, comfortable, quickening, and quieting. Our divine Lord, after his resurrection, breathed on his Apostles, saying, “receive ye the Holy Ghost” (John 20:22); which we to God’s breathing the breath or, to the Spirit himself, who proceedeth both from the Father and the Son: and who breathes spiritual and eternal life into the souls of the elect in regeneration; and who proceedeth from the Father and the Son ministerially, according to the federal transactions of the eternal Three; and breathes, and enters, as the Spirit of life from God, into the souls of the elect, and conveys everlasting life into them: which is manifested by that divine, spiritual, and supernatural birth which he produces in them, which is styled regeneration, or being born again. This is called by Peter “the divine nature.” He, writing to such as bad obtained like precious faith with the Apostles through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, salutes them with a prayer for an increase of divine knowledge, and which might be expected, since by the power of divine grace, everything necessary to a spiritual and godly life had been given them in effectual calling through the knowledge of Christ, even exceeding great and precious promises, whereby they partook of the divine nature, and escaped the sins which prevailed in the world. “Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord. According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness through the knowledge of him that hath called us unto glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (2 Pet. 2:3, 4) The divine nature essentially, or the essence of God, cannot be communicated. Nor yet personally, or hypostatically; so as the human nature of Christ, in union with the Son of God, is a partaker of the divine nature in him. But the new birth, new creature, new man, that which is born of the Spirit, which is Spirit, altogether holy, heavenly, spiritual, and divine, is called the divine nature; because it is so by way of resemblance and likeness, being fitted to receive divine impressions, and suited to the nature of God, so as to receive the knowledge of him, and enjoy communion with him. In it are contained all the principles of life everlasting, grace, and holiness. The new man is created after the image of God in righteousness and true holiness (Fph. 4:24). We are said to be created in Christ Jesus. It is called a new birth, a new creature, the new man, the inner man, the hidden man of the heart, spirit, and the divine nature. And one thus born again is a man in Christ. We commonly style it a new birth; because our Lord speaks of it under this metaphor saying, “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7). We style it a spiritual birth, because our Lord saith, “That which is born of the Spirit is spirit” (John 3:6). It is wholly spiritual. There is no unholiness in it. It is, like its divine author, holy, spiritual, and divine. It capacitates the soul for the knowledge and enjoyment of God. It is called the divine nature because it is suited to God, to contemplate and enjoy fellowship with him in all his persons and perfections. We are said to be created in Christ Jesus, to show our regeneration is a spiritual creation in Christ, by which we are brought to have communion with him. It is called a new creature, to show it solely depends on God for supporting it in us – the new man, to show its essential distinction from the old man, or corrupt nature the inner man, to point it out as the subject of spiritual life, grace, and holiness – the hidden man of the heart, to show it has its seat, and is implanted in the soul, where it will abide for ever. And when the soul is born of God. the person is thereby declared to be a Son of God, an heir of God and glory. He has in him that life, that light, that holiness, that love to God, which will continue for ever. It is true, it is then all in the root; but the buds, blossoms, and fruits will in due season spring forth and appear, not indeed by any human power, and natural efforts. No; the same Holy Ghost, who inspired the soul with new and spiritual life, and implanted in regeneration all the principles of holiness, every grace, and every seed of godliness and spirituality, must continue his spiritual breathings within, and on the renewed person, and shine on his work, or there can be no spiritual growth, and aboundings in the fruits of holiness. So that Peter speaks to this effect, when be says, “whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature”; that through the revelation of Jesus Christ in the gospel to the mind renewed by the Holy Ghost, and by his applications of the precious promises of it, the believer has such sights of Christ as transform and assimilate him into a conformity to Christ, which proves him to be born again, that he is a partaker of the divine nature, and will one day be fully conformed to Christ, when he shall see him as be is. I would observe, one thus born again of the Spirit is “a man, in Christ”; this is what Paul says of a Christian. He is a man in Christ (2 Cor. 12:2). He is in Christ. He has the Spirit of Christ. He is alive in Christ, and to Christ. He lives on him, centers in him, walks in him, and has him dwelling in his heart by faith. He is in Christ’s world, and has fellowship with him. There is but a step between him and death. And then being sent to untie the union-knot between body and soul, there is an immediate admittance into eternal glory. To conclude this section on the Holy Spirit’s breathing spiritual life into the souls of the elect, and making them partakers of the divine nature in regeneration, let it be remembered, we are entirely passive in it. God the Holy Ghost is the agent. The subject wrought on is the elect sinner. He, at the time be is wrought on, is dead in sin. The work wrought is instanteous and effectual. It consists in making the dead sinner alive to God: which proves the Holy Ghost to be Almighty. The Apostle says, “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ” (Eph. 2:4, 5). Now Christ was “declared to be the Son of God with power; according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom 1:4). The Spirit of holiness, or Holy Spirit, raised up Christ from the dead (Rom 8: 11 ). And the same Spirit quickens the souls of the elect, and raises them up from the state and power of spiritual death with the same power with which he raised up Christ from the grave of death. May what hath been written be accompanied with the Holy Spirit’s most gracious presence and blessing! Amen.
6. The Holy Spirit in, Conversion and Sanctification

How he makes known to them their justification and adoption, manifests their union to the person of Christ, and interest in him, effects their conversion to God hereby, and promotes the fruits of sanctification, holiness, growth in grace, and spiritual consolation, by directing their hearts into the love of God and leading them into communion with the Father and the Son.

THE Holy and eternal Spirit of God, which proceedeth from the Father and the Son, does by his divine agency in grace begin in the souls of God’s beloved ones a life and work in regeneration, which are to last for ever. From henceforward he goes on to work within them, and upon them, in so divine and gracious a manner, that the eyes of their spiritual minds are opened to understand the mysteries of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; and their hearts are opened to receive Jesus as all their salvation, and all their desire. The everlasting love of the Father and the Son, and their mutual acts and transactions in the everlasting covenant, with the state of the believer in Christ, how he stands before God, and is viewed by him in the eternal head of the church, are to be made known to the renewed soul by the Holy Ghost.

The pardon and justification provided in the council and covenant of peace are to be brought home to the heart, and proclaimed there, that the regenerate person may know himself to be a pardoned and justified man, rejoice in it, and bless the Lord for it. And this can be done by none but the eternal Spirit. He only is equal to this great work. He being a person in the incomprehensible Godhead, privy to, and present when the everlasting covenant was entered into between the Father and the Son, is able to make it known.

As be searches all things, yea, the deep things of God (I Cor. 2: 10), He can unfold, lead into a knowledge of it, and shed abroad a sense of it in the heart. And he does this; so that in his light, and by his sacred unction, the regenerate person is led to know the Lord, and into an acquaintance with the covenant of grace; and so led into a knowledge of the person and work of Christ, as to believe on him to life everlasting. As the first act of the Holy Ghost, when he puts forth his effectual energy in the soul, is to give life; so he follows this with a gift of divine light, by which a way is made for him to convince of sin, to awaken the mind to feel it, the heart to melt for it, and the soul to mourn and cry out guilty, guilty. This is accompanied with a sense of the curse and wrath of God, which are the proper desert of iniquity; which the awakened person acknowledges himself as a sinner justly deserving of. The Holy Spirit lets in the law on the conscience, that self may be renounced, and all false hopes be removed. And having brought the sinner, thus enlightened, to know, feel, and experience the exceeding sinfulness of his nature, the total corruption of all his faculties and senses both of body and soul; be preaches Christ unto him, as Almighty to save: and by the everlasting gospel of the blessed God be enlightens his mind into a knowledge of Christ, as having been made sin and a curse. He leads him to know and apprehend truly and spiritually, that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” That “Christ died for the ungodly.” That be “came into the world to save sinners, and that be “saves to the uttermost all that come unto the Father by him.” These truths the Holy Ghost sets with peculiar and eternal energy on the mind, gives the soul an inward sense and perception of the vast importance and invaluable worth of them, and leads the sinner to approach the Lord in consequence hereof, and to plead with, and before him, the sorrows, bloodshedding, soul-travail, and death of Jesus Christ, hoping to receive and enjoy a sense of God’s pardoning mercy through the mediation of the Lamb that was slain. The Holy Spirit now begins to reveal Jesus.

His salvation appears precious to the soul, as this blessed agent is pleased to give the person thus under his influence a view of it. And the person, love, mercy, compassion, righteousness, and blood of Christ being set before the enlightened person in the word, and the Holy Spirit shining on it, the soul receives the true knowledge of Christ from the word of grace, which knowledge the Holy Ghost stamps upon the heart: so that the soul believes in the righteousness of Jesus for justification in the sight of God, and in the blood of Jesus for everlasting purity, health, and discharge from guilt and condemnation. And by believing in the righteousness and atonement of Immanuel he has peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord. As this is to the soul in sense, experience, and enjoyment, the very beginning of everlasting life; so the Holy Spirit is pleased to proceed in carrying on his work of grace in the soul. As be gives more light, and leads the believer to a clearer knowledge of God the Father and his Son Jesus Christ, he has fuller and brighter views of his justification in Christ. He is led to apprehend these great truths, that the Father out of the everlasting love wherewith he loved him, chose him in Christ before all worlds, gave him being in the Son of his love, ever beheld him in Jesus, and will for ever love him in Christ with the same immutable love with which he loves himself; and that he views him, as he does Christ, with the same delight and complacency; so that in him he ever was the object of the Father’s eternal joy and rejoicing. The Holy Spirit is pleased to show the believer that the love of Christ to him was from everlasting also. He opens to his view the fountain and spring of it, and gives him some blessed discoveries of the outgoings of Christ’s heart towards him before all worlds by bringing to his remembrance the covenant into which Christ entered before all time, in which he undertook to become the surety of his church and people. The Holy Spirit leads the believer to see how he stood in the sight of God eternally justified, on the footing of God’s being in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and that the will of God and Christ is in salvation-work; so that nothing remains for him but to seek after further communion with the Father and the Son, in proportion to the knowledge he has of them, and the relation to, and interest be has in them. Thus the Holy Spirit makes use of these great truths of the gospel to the increasing and promoting of the believer’s experimental knowledge and enjoyment of the Father’s love and Son’s salvation. And by this means the believer grows into a settled dependence on Christ the rock. Believing views of the Father’s love warm his heart. And believing views of Christ’s finished work set up his soul on high beyond the reach of guilty fears. He sees himself by faith in Jesus washed, sanctified, and justified “in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God” (I Cor. 6: 11 ). The believer from hence is led on by the Holy Spirit to know and admire the Father’s grace in adoption, in putting him among the living in Jerusalem, and in giving him the white stone, a new name, even that of a child, a Son of God. He views this transcendent grace, the knowledge of which be receives from the word and Spirit of God, cries out, as the Apostle did, “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us, that we should be called the Sons of God” (John 3: 1 ). That the believer is the child and Son of God appears from his being a partaker of the Spirit of God, who has given him a new nature, and a new understanding, that he might know him that is true, and find, and feel, that he is in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit becomes to the believer the Spirit of adoption. He enables him to call God, Father; to love and trust in him as such, to approach him with holy liberty, boldness, and delight, to come to him with cheerfulness, confidence, and expectation; and to love God for his great love to him in his well beloved Son: which the believer has had a sweet sense and experience of. The Holy Spirit shows from the word that this blessing of being predestinated to the adoption of Sons by Jesus Christ was a part and branch of electing grace, that the privilege is inestimable, and that the grace is immutable. The Lord saith, “I will be his God, and be shall be my Son” (Rev. 21:7). Such are heirs of God. He is their inheritance. They shall inherit all things. God himself is their portion, their glory, their everlasting all. The springs of everlasting love are opened afresh to the soul, as the believer is led by the Holy Spirit into views of this ancient grace, bestowed on him in Christ before the world began: whereby he stands so nearly related to, his people that they are the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty. He declares, “I will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (2 Cor. 6:18). Thus the believer is led to know, and enabled, under the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit, to say that “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest and causest to approach unto thee” (Psalm 65:4). The Holy Spirit is pleased to open and reveal to the understanding of the believer the mysteries of the person of Christ – that he is God-man, the brightness of his Father’s glory, and the express image of his person, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead personally; he being the Son of the living God dwelling personally in our nature, which he took hold of, and assumed into union with himself; so that be is God dwelling personally in our nature, God and man united, the man “Jehovah’s fellow, the equal of the Lord of Hosts” (Zecb. 13:7). The Holy Spirit leads the believer to exercise his mind in spiritual meditations on the personal glories of Christ, and on the relative glories of Christ; who stands in the relation of a head to his church: which office is eternal. Hence the Father gave the elect to him, committed them to his care, bestowed on them in him all spiritual blessings, and gave them life in Christ before the world began. The Holy Spirit leads the believer to view the mediatorial glories of the Lamb of “, conveys with a discovery of all these views some conceptions of his essential glory, which gives worth to all; so that the soul cries out, as Paul did, “yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8). Hence the soul longs to be found in him. It sees a surpassing and transcendent excellency in Christ’s person, which puts down all former discoveries. It raises the soul high on its breathings. after Christ. The believer sees a greater perfection in Christ’s righteousness than ever, longs to be found in it, loathes, and renounces himself in every point of view more than he did before. He now prays to be found in Christ, so as he did not before. He is brought to see Christ’s person and righteousness are his glory and perfection. Therefore he would have no hope in God but what is founded thereon: not on any inherent grace, on no fruits of sanctification, none of his comforts, or experiences – no: none but Christ, none but Christ. To be found in his person, clothed with his righteousness, and cleansed in his most precious blood, this is the one prayer of his heart. And this arises from the Spirit who gives him now such apprehensions of Christ’s essential, personal, mediatorial, and relative glories, as give the mind fully to know that this glorious God-man is the Father’s and Spirit’s, all in all. This makes way for the believer, under the anointings of the Holy Ghost, to study what it must be, how great the grace, to have this Christ as a head of union and communion with God. This leads us to consider what is revealed concerning this great and important subject in the book of God. And it is explained by the Holy Spirit, and manifested to the heart, that union to the person of Christ is the foundation of all hope, interest in, and communion with God. This makes the believer more diligent in his inquiries into this amazing grace. He is taught to see the foundation of his interest in union with, and relation to, the person of the God-man is built upon the everlasting love of God. This gives him the most exalted view and apprehension of the eternity, the freeness, and the immensity of God’s love; which is as truly and particularly fixed on him as though he were the sole and alone object of it. These words, “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love” (Jer. 31:3), now shine brighter than ever on his understanding, and into his heart. He feels the warmth of it, sees the freeness, glory, and immensity of it with increasing joy, and cries out under these fresh beamings forth of it, “God is love” – 0 the depth! he hath loved me in Christ with a love which exceeds all thought, and surmounts all praise. He now views the subject thus. Such was the love of God to me from everlasting, that he chose me in Christ, to be in him the object and subject of it to eternity. I was in Christ before all worlds, united to him, as my eternal head. I am, in consequence of it, interested in all the love of his heart; in his representation of me in the everlasting covenant, in his undertakings for me therein, in his incarnation, birth, circumcision, baptism, fasting, temptation, obedience, and death. It is communion with him I still need. This is it which evidences to my faith that my beloved Jesus is mine, and I am his. And this is the work and office of the Lord the Spirit which, blessed be his name he hath begun in me to show and testify. He has made Christ precious to me. He has brought me to rest my all on the finished work of God Jesus. He has shed abroad the Father’s love in my heart. I have had fellowship with God and the Lamb through the Spirit. Glory be to the three in Jehovah for this surprising grace. Thus the Holy Ghost carries on his work of faith in the soul. He reveals Christ. He shines into the heart, and gives the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. He gives the soul a view of its pardon and justification in Christ. He pronounces the sentence of it in the mind, and gives an experimental knowledge and enjoyment of it in the heart. He leads the believer to know his adoption, and gives him an enjoyment of the unutterable grace contained in it. He gives and creates in the enlightened mind, glorious views and apprehensions of the God-man. He leads the believer into a clear knowledge of interest in him; and then leads into personal and peculiar communion with him. All which the Holy Ghost is fully qualified for; he being, as one in the essence-existing, co-equal, and co-eternal with the Father and the Son, and indwelling in the Father and the Son by essential union, one who knows all the love, will, thoughts, purposes, and designs of the Father in, and on the elect. He is fully acquainted with the essential, personal, relative glories of God incarnate, with his mediatorial perfection’s, work, worth, grace, and fullness. And he can, and does by his Almighty agency agreeable to his covenant-office, create in the regenerate person by the word such thoughts of Christ, and brings down into the heart such enjoyments of God’s love, as could never have been conceived there, but by his creating power. It is in this wonderful way he makes the pardon of sin known, justification enjoyed, adoption to sonship so understood, that these things are found by those whom he teaches to be eternal, spiritual, and important realities. These are therefore received not as dry doctrines, but as eternal acts in the mind and will of God towards his people; and the knowledge of them yields the believer a feast, and leads him under the secret and sacred influence of the Holy Ghost to the enjoyment of a present Heaven. Hereby the promise is fulfilled, “My people shall be satisfied with my goodness, saith the Lord” (Jer. 31:14). Thus the thoughts of God’s mind, the love of his heart, the transactions between him and his Son before time, all which are recorded in the written word, are by the Holy Ghost opened, explained, and brought home to the minds and hearts of such as are called out of darkness into his marvelous light; and they are brought in a greater or less degree to know God and Christ by these means, as the Lord their God. The Holy Ghost is pleased to lead into the knowledge of Christ, and interest in him, in the following plain and simple manner. He leads to apprehend that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, that it is the immutable will of God the Father, yea, it is the good pleasure of his will, to save any sinner, every sinner, who believeth on Jesus. The Holy Ghost works by this immediately on the mind and draws out the heart to come to Jesus for salvation. As this is spiritually realized to his mind, the Holy Ghost so opens to his view the bowels of Christ’s mercy, the love of his heart, the perfection of his work, will, and power to save, that under these discoveries the soul through the mighty power of the Lord the Spirit closes with Jesus. And having thus closed with him, and found everlasting life in believing on him, he is manifestatively refreshed with pardon and peace. Thus he is led to say, “In the Lord I have righteousness.” And as be is led into further acquaintance and communion with the Savior in his walk and warfare, he finds the knowledge of Christ is the foundation of all his faith, hope, and love to him; and that in the exercise of faith on Jesus he has real communion with him. In this communion he has an increasing evidence of his personal interest in Christ, which he sees to be the fruit Of union to the person of Christ; which he sooner or later sees to be the fruit of the Father’s everlasting love to him. This leads him to admire it, saying with rapture, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish but have everlasting life.” By these means the conversion of elect souls to God is effected. The everlasting love of the Father, shining forth in the person, work, and mediation of his beloved Son, and made known unto them by the Holy Ghost, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son to testify of Jesus, draws their souls, and knits, and converts them unto God. He speaks thus himself: I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving kindness have I drawn thee” (Jer. 33:3). And the Holy Ghost by directing their hearts, as with a straight line, into the love of God and into communion with Christ in all the acts, parts, and blessings of his salvation, promotes in their frames and experiences the fruits of sanctification, holiness, growth in grace, and spiritual consolation. Their soul’s prosperity is in proportion as they have communion with Jesus, and as their hearts are happy in their heavenly Father’s love. Spiritual meditations on God’s everlasting love to them, and on Christ’s person and salvation, with views of being the objects and subjects of the Father’s eternal complacency and delight, are means which the Holy Ghost sanctifies to promote the fruits of sanctification, holiness, and growth in grace; which may appear from what John says, “God is love, and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him” (I John 4:16). The Lord Christ sets forth the Father’s love, and his own affection to us thus. To the Father he saith, “Thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me” (John 17:23). And of his own love he saith unto them, “As the Father hath loved me, so have I loved you, continue ye in my love” (John 15:9). This is by spiritual meditations on it. Thereby we abide therein. All our growth in grace must be the fruit of having our minds favored with views, enjoyments, and intercourse with the Lord. The Holy Ghost alone can and does promote these fruits in our souls if we increase in bringing forth the fruits of righteousness, which are by Christ Jesus to the glory and praise of God, it must be through the power of the Holy Ghost. If we abound in the fruits of holiness, it must be from the influences of the Holy Ghost. If we grow in grace, it must be by growing out of ourselves into Christ. If our spiritual consolations abound, it must be by our increasing in the knowledge of God. I conclude this section, how the Holy Ghost makes known to the elect their justification and adoption, how he manifests their union to the person of Christ, and interest in him, effects their conversion to God, and promotes the fruits of sanctification, holiness, growth in grace, and spiritual consolation, directing their hearts into the love of God, and leading them into communion with the Father and the Son, with saying that all this is carried on in the soul by the Spirit’s revealing Christ, and glorifying him in the understanding, heart, conscience, and affections. Hear what Jesus saith himself on the subject:

Howbeit, when be the Spirit of truth is come, be will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you (John 16: 13, 14, 15).

May the Holy Ghost accompany this with his presence and blessing. Amen.
7. The Holy Spirit in the Life of the Believer

On the Holy Spirit’s witnessing unto, sealing, lead-ing, and guiding the regenerate.

THE Holy Ghost, who dwelleth in Christ, our great and eternal head, liveth and dwelleth in all the members of Christ’s mystic body, to conform them to their head, and make them like him, in their measure and degree. He is the great quickener, who descends and takes possession of them, lives and dwells in them as the Spirit of life, regeneration, grace, sanctification, holiness, consolation, and glory. He it is who makes them alive in the Lord, and to the Lord. He gives them to know the Father in the Son, and their union with Christ, and the Father in him. He it is who leads them into communion with the Father and the Son, and fulfills all the good pleasure of his will in them, and the work of faith with power. Our Lord speaking of sending the Holy Ghost into the hearts of his people, saith, “At that day ye shall know, that I am in the Father, and you in me, and I in you” (John 14:20). And the Holy Ghost being given is to abide with the church and the people of God for ever. And in carrying on his great work in the soul, begun in regeneration, and manifested in conversion to the Lord, which is evidenced in the fruits of sanctification, holiness, “Growth in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” he is pleased to act and perform the office of a witness, sealer, leader, and guide; such is his grace to them. The apostle saith, “The Spirit itself beareth witness to (not with) our Spirit, that we are the children of God” (Rom. 8:16). He also saith in the same chapter, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God.” And he speaks of the Holy Ghost as a sealer (Eph. 1: 13). And our Lord himself gives him the title of guide, saying, “He will guide you.”

I shall begin this section by treating on the Holy Spirit’s witnessing to the heirs of glory, that they are the children of God. He is a witness for Jesus; and he is a witness to us of his love and finished work . He bears his testimony for Christ in the word. He bears his testimony also of this to the renewed mind. He carries his cause so effectually that he beareth his witness to our spirits that we are the children of God; and that so effectually and powerfully as to put a stop to our unbelief. I will aim to show what the Holy Spirit is in a peculiar manner a witness of: then how sufficient he is for it: and bow he bears his witness to our Spirits, proving thereby that we are the children of God. The Holy Spirit is a witness for Jesus to all that is revealed and written in the volume of the book concerning him. This he must be, seeing “the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy” (Rev. 19: 10). And “to him give all the Prophets witness” (Acts 10:43). And “prophecy came not of old time by the will of- man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Pet. 1: 2 1 ). In an especial manner the Holy Ghost is a witness to the undertakings of Christ in the council of peace. He, as a witness, bears testimony to the everlasting perfection of Christ’s offering, that sin is effectually put away thereby that the Father bath accepted it, that the elect are perfected by the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once, and that pardon of sin is the fruit of Christ’s finished oblation, the Father saying, “I will be merciful to your unrighteousness, and I will remember your sin no more.” See, as a proof of all this, the Epistle to the Hebrews (Heb. 10: 15, 16). The Apostle saith, “Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us; for after that he had said before, this is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” I proceed to show how the Holy Ghost is to bear his testimony, and be a witness for Jesus in and unto us. His sufficiency appears from his being one of the three that bear record in Heaven with the Father and the Word, that there is eternal life for every one who believeth in Jesus.

And this witness he also beareth on earth, in the preaching of the everlasting gospel, which is the Father’s record of Jesus. And which record is this: “That God hath given to us eternal life; and this life is in his Son. lie that hath the Son hath life” (I John 5: 7, 8, 11, 12). Of this eternal and immutable truth he bears testimony to the spirit, to the understanding, heart, and conscience of such as are renewed by his sacred influences. He enables them to receive the Father’s record into their hearts, and give full credit unto it. He bears this witness to their spirit, that they are all “the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.” He bears this witness to their spirits, that the Father is everlastingly well pleased with every one who is well pleased with the person, righteousness, and atonement of his co-equal Son, and rests his whole hope and salvation thereon. Now, as faith in Christ is the fruit of our new birth, and our new birth is the fruit of our adoption; so in viewing and exercising our minds spiritually on Christ our interest in him is manifested, and it is self evident to us that we are the children of God. He being our Father in Christ Jesus, we are his children in him. By believing and receiving Christ this is made plainly to appear. As the Holy Spirit bears his witness to our Spirit of the Father’s free, everlasting, unchangeable love, and the Son’s finished work, this removes all doubts from our minds. Thus believers have the witness in themselves. And thus the Holy Spirit becomes to them the Spirit of adoption, enabling them to call God, Father. Abba is a Hebrew word. It signifies Father, which is joined to it by way of explanation. For Abba, Father, is Father, Father. Abba reads the same backward and forward to show that God is the Father of his people in all places and cases, in all times and circumstances. Now, as the Holy Spirit bears witness to their spirits by discovering the Father’s love and the Son’s plenteous redemption, that in him they have redemption through his blood, and that the Father is reconciled unto them by the death of Son, they are led to see themselves the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty. Now, this testimony concerning our sonship is witnessed to our Spirit by the Holy Ghost: not to make it surer, for it stands on the immutable foundation of predestination; but to make it sure to us by enabling us to receive and believe it on union to the person of Christ, and the Holy Ghost, who dwells in the Saints, and can neither deceive, nor be deceived; who witnesses what he knows, and is sure of, and by his powerful operation and divine influence brings the heart to a cordial belief of it. He also performs the part and act of a sealer. The Apostle treats upon this subject in the following Scripture: “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise” (Eph. 1: 13). In which words we are informed how these persons were brought to know and believe on Christ. It was by the Gospel which is here called the Gospel of salvation, and the Gospel of their salvation. And they bearing it were enabled to believe on Jesus, as the means by which they received the saving knowledge of him. And after they believed, or in their believing on him, they were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. The Holy Ghost is so called because the works with the promise; because be is most eminently the great and grand promise of the New Testament; because the Lord’s people are passive in the whole work of the Holy Ghost within them, and upon them; and also because in his whole work he acts according to the everlasting covenant, which, as it respects the elect, is a covenant of promise, which contains eternal life, which life is in Christ their bead, and which is conveyed to them by the Holy Spirit; who may bear the title of the Spirit of promise, because, when be seals home a sense of the love of God, and (lives views of interest in Christ and his great salvation, it is by the word of promise. It was so when be sealed Christ, and consecrated him to his work and office. The Father said by an audible voice from Heaven, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” This was repeating what had been pronounced in the person of Jehovah the Father concerning the glorious and divine Meditator in the prophecy of Isaiah: which the Holy Ghost brought home and sealed on the mind of Jesus, when he sealed him to the discharge of his sacred office. So the holy acts which the Holy Ghost performs on his church and people are similar. He brings to their minds the sacred promises. He shows them the good contained in them, the love of God expressed in them, and the perfection and freeness of Christ’s salvation declared by them. So he seals on their minds the truth of all this; and enables them more fully to believe all this. He shows them the truth and faithfulness of God the promiser, the stability of the promise, the immutability of the everlasting covenant, the eternity of God’s love; and that be hath by two immutable things, namely, by his word and by his oath, in which it is impossible for God to lie, given us a foundation for strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us (Heb. 6:18). The Holy Ghost is given by the Father as a sealer, as the Spirit of promise, and as the earnest of the eternal inheritance. He is sent to establish the believer in Christ, to anoint, seal, and give him in his heart a real earnest and foretaste of heavenly joy. So saith the Apostle: “Now he who stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts” (2 Cor. 1:21, 22). God the Father bestows his Spirit on believers to establish them in the knowledge and belief of the everlasting Gospel. They are established in Christ; in whom they were from everlasting, as the objects of the Father’s eternal love. “The foundation of the Lord (in personal and eternal election) standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them who are his” (2 Tim. 2: 19). The Holy Ghost, who knoweth the elect, and calleth them by their names, sets this seal on their minds, after their believing on Jesus. The impress of which seal on them individually is “The Lord knoweth thee to be his.” Hereby we know our election in Christ, that we were in him before the world was, and that out of God’s everlasting love to us he hath bestowed on us all good things in him. And whatsoever he doth for us is out of his hearty good will and liking to us. And thus as God is said to seal Christ (John 6:27), which sealing refers to the voice from Heaven pronounced by the Father, saying, “Thou art my beloved Son” (Mark 1: 11), which was sealed home on his mind, so that he thereby had a testimony that he was the Christ of God; so likewise God’s sealing us in Christ by his Spirit is to give us an indisputable evidence that we are his beloved, one with Christ, united to him, saved in him with an everlasting salvation: and the Spirit sets home all this in our hearts, and by the Word, and by his own immediate testimony, in the name and authority of his own personality, assures us that we are eternally the Lord’s, the sole property of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, who dwell in us, as their portion and inheritance also. Thus we are sealed in Christ, and have the testimony of it in our souls, that we are the Lord’s. And the Holy Ghost is the earnest of all this in our hearts, who has also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts (2 Cor. 1: 22). The fruits of which are, joy in the Holy Ghost; yea, joys unspeakable and full of glory; because the Spirit of God and of glory now rests on the believer, thus anointed and sealed to the day of redemption. The Holy Ghost becomes the earnest of glory as he shows us our interest in the Father’s love, and in the work of his co-equal Son, and as he now dwells in us to lead us into peculiar communion with the Father and the Son, according to Christ’s promise. “And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for be dwelleth with you, and shall be in you” (John 14:16, 17). And again, “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is who loveth me, and be who loveth me, shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” (John 14:21). And Jesus said, “If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him” (John 16:23).

The Holy Ghost is their leader also. So saith Paul. “As many as are led by the Spirit of. God, they are the Sons of God” (Rom. 8:14). Our Lord has given, as the great prophet over the house of God, a most perfect directory in his word for the life, work, and conversation of his people, which s also full of everlasting consolation, and contains many most necessary cautions. But it is by the Holy Ghost who puts life into them, He it is who leads believers into all truth, out of themselves to Christ, and into communion with the Father and the Son. He leads into the paths of righteousness and holiness. He leads in a right way to the city of habitation. He is their guardian, who will guide them in his strength to his holy habitation. He is their guide even unto death. By his guiding them, he opens to the view of their minds the truths and doctrines of the everlasting Gospel; and shows them what divine supports are contained in them. He is pleased to give them blessed views of his most gracious care exercised towards them. As he knows all their walking through this great wilderness; so he follows them every step, preventing them with his mercy. This is a most beautiful passage of scripture, and is expressive of this subject:

The Lord’s portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, be instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings; so the Lord alone did lead him (Deut. 32:9-12).

This is applied to the Holy Spirit, whom they rebelled against and vexed, who, as Jehovah the Spirit, caused him to rest (Isa. 63:10-14). That be was with the church of Christ under the past dispensation is expressly declared by Nehemiab, and that also as their instructor: “Thou gavest also thy good Spirit to instruct them” (Neb. 9:20). Hence the Psalmist prays, “Teach me to do thy will; for thou art my God; thy Spirit is good, lead me into the land of uprightness” and also the honor of the eternal Spirit says, “Good and upright is the Lord, therefore will be teach sinners in the way.

The meek will be guide in judgment; and the meek will be teach his way” (Psalm 25: 8, 9). All which is truly agreeable to his work and office in the covenant of grace, which I conceive most fully expressed in the following promise: I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go: I will guide thee with mine eye” (Psalm 32:8). Having thus briefly expressed these views concerning the Holy Spirit’s witnessing unto, sealing, leading, and guiding the called and believing people of God, I close the section. May it please the Holy Ghost to make the truth of all this the more fully appear in the hearts and experiences of his Saints, than I have or can possibly describe! Amen.

8. The Holy Spirit in the Perseverance of the Believer

On his enabling them to mortify sin, vanquish temptations, and preserve in the Lord’s ways, bringing forth fruit to life eternal.

EVERY part, gift, fruit, and operation of the eternal Spirit in, and on, the souls of the elect prove him to be essentially divine and omnipotent. He breathes spiritual life into their souls in regeneration. He enlightens their spiritual facilities with the light of life everlasting. He reveals Christ unto them. He gives them supernatural views of the Father’s everlasting love. He makes known to them their union with the person of Christ, and with their personal interest in his salvation; and hereby converts them to the Lord their God. He lives, dwells, and abides in them, to inspire them continually with spiritual life, to carry on his work in their souls, to promote and increase the fruits of sanctification and holiness, to breathe within and on them, that they may grow in grace, and in the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He it is who produces in their hearts spiritual, strong, yea, everlasting consolation. He directs their hearts into the love of God, and leads them into communion with the Father and the Son. All which be could not do, if he were not equal with the Father and the Son. In all he works within us, he works in conformity with the eternal transactions of the Father and the Son, and with everlasting love to the person be works within and upon. He executes all his work in exact conformity with his written word, and with it. He is Christ’s witness of him in the hearts and consciences of the regenerate. He seals home divine and evangelic truth on their minds, and seals them as the Lord’s portion and inheritance. He is their leader and guide. And he leads and guides them into the parts of truth and holiness. Thus as he creates spiritual life and light in them, and brings them to know and clearly perceive their union and interest in Jesus; so he enables them to live a life of faith on the Son of God, and of communion with the Father in him. The Holy Ghost in this divine fellowship with the Father and the Son gives the believer to know, find, feel, and taste, that God is love in Christ. They who believe in Jesus have the sweet enjoyment of it. Such live on Christ the fountain of life, have the mind of Christ, have the same inheritance, the same relation, the same Heaven, and for the same duration. They are joined to the Lord, and have one Spirit with him. The Holy Ghost produces in them real sensations of God’s love. He creates in their minds spiritual ideas of Christ. He brings down Heaven into their hearts, and feeds their souls with joys that are purely spiritual and divine. He excites by the influences of his grace a blessed breathing in their souls after Christ, and promotes a holy familiarity between God and them, whereby sin becomes more loathsome and hateful. This makes way for the Holy Spirit to put forth his life-giving influences within them, and mortify sin in them and for them. He enables them to vanquish temptations; and thus he leads them on, and enables them to persevere in the Lord’s way, bringing forth fruit unto life eternal. A believer in Christ Jesus, though a man in Christ, one in whom the Holy Ghost dwells and makes his abode, whose soul is made meet for the inheritance of the Saints in light, is nevertheless a man in Adam, and hath a fallen nature; so that be may say, “I know that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good.” No: there is nothing in it but sin. The believer is in a militant state. Every sense, with every feeling, of his mortal body is corrupted by the fall. Every faculty of his soul is defiled. He is in danger from every object and sense. He has in himself a propensity to evil. He is liable, through sin which dwelleth in him, to fall by the strength of corruption into present temptation. He has the world, which lieth in the arms of the wicked one, to withstand. All the hosts of hell, with the devil, their arch head, in the front, are continually fighting against the believer. So that the personality, essence, and attributes of the Holy Ghost, with his infinity and most perfect and exact understanding of the believer’s case, the wiles and subtility of the devil, his various stratagems and assaults on the soul of the believer, are most divinely realized in his providential power, and divine, and mysterious operations towards, and on the minds of those who are called by grace. It is by the powerful influence of the eternal Spirit that the power of sin is broken in the soul, that the love of sin is subdued in the heart, and that the power of sin is destroyed in the life. It is indeed a constant miracle of grace, and a perpetual proof of the Godhead of the Holy Ghost, that be is pleased to continue spiritual life and liveliness in the soul that has inherent in it the whole death and body of sin, and that he is pleased to maintain eternal war with sin in the heart, where sin with all its lusts and affections has also its residence. To carry on a work of grace, and thereby undermine the whole work of sin, and the empire of hell in the soul, while at the same instant the person, who is the subject of it, feels his own guilt, sinfulness, and deformity, is worthy of God the Holy Ghost. And it will afford a revenue of praise to his majesty for ever and ever. The regenerate person is a miracle of grace. He has the mystery of iniquity working with him. And he has the Holy Ghost living in him, counteracting all this. There are seasons in the believer’s experience when he had a deep sight, sense, and experience of the body of sin, that corrupt nature, which is in him. He has particular seasons of temptations, peculiar and besetting corruption’s, hours of spiritual darkness and desertion, some sore conflicts with the devil, the world, and the flesh; in which at times he is foiled, and forced to cry out and groan, being burdened. Guilt is contracted and fixed on the mind. Satan seems to triumph. The world looks and speaks great swelling words. Particular corruption’s seem to gain advantage. Yet the Lord the Spirit, when the enemy comes thus on the believer as a flood, is pleased most graciously to lift up a standard against the enemy, and on behalf of the tempted soul. The believer feels he has no might to withstand the host of hell, the world lying in sin, and his own heart’s lusts, by any power of his own. Therefore he renounces himself, and all hope of being able to conquer any, the very least sin, or temptation in, or by, any strength or effort of his own. And the Lord the Spirit is pleased to give some special thoughts of Christ, which fill him with holy wonder and joy, by bringing home some divine thoughts of the free and sovereign love of God the Father. Thus be withdraws the heart from sin, breaks the force and power of temptation in the soul, frustrates the malice and stratagems of hell, overcomes the influence of the world and hereby restores the soul to its former peace and communion with the Lord. By these special providence’s and operations on the mind he enables the believer to withstand and mortify sin. How this is carried on in the heart, and evidenced in experience, is to be declared in this section. It is a point of importance, in real and spiritual experience, to know and understand how, in what way and manner, and by what means the Holy Ghost is pleased to carry on his work of grace in the soul, and mortify sin in it. We are expressly told, “Man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live” (Deut. 8:3). Spiritual life in the soul is the effect of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost: every spiritual breathing, with every desire, after Christ and God in him, is this spiritual life in the open discoveries and evidences of it. The very perceptions the regenerate have of sin, and the in-being of it in the soul, which lead to self-loathing, abhorrence, and renunciation, are the fruit of spiritual life and supernatural light. The holy combat between flesh and Spirit, ,which is peculiar to the regenerate, gives proof of spiritual life. The bitter bewailings of Soul on being foiled in the spiritual warfare are a substantial proof of being on the Lord’s side. But how the Holy Ghost carries on his work of irresistible grace in the soul, in the full experience of its inward sinfulness, of the strength and malice of its numerous and spiritual enemies, and how, though sin is alive and lively, be mortifies it in the heart and affections, is the subject briefly treated of. This he does in a way and manner peculiar to himself, the sole and almighty agent, and by means which prove him to be deeply interested in, and concerned for the believer. He humbles that be may exalt. He shows the believer his wounds, and gives him a thought of Christ’s all-sufficiency, as the health and cure of his soul. He creates such ideas of Christ in his mind as give him to apprehend him to be the spring and fountain of the life of all his grace, and hope of all his future glory. He lets in such thoughts of the love and mercy of God, as a covenant-God, as yield real content to the mind, and produce peace in the heart. He opens the promises, explains, applies, and gives such realizing apprehensions of the good contained in them, as are the means of drawing out the heart after God, of drawing off sin, of killing the mind to the love of it, of deadening the affections to it, that the believer finds grace is almighty to dethrone and conquer, to subdue and mortify sin, all sin, and even his besetting sin in him, and for him, beyond all his former expectations. The following Scripture bears witness to the substance of all this: “And thou shalt remember all the way which the Lord thy God led thee these forty years in the wilderness, to humble thee, and to prove thee, to know what was in thy heart, whether thou wouldest keep his commandments or no. And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know, that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live” (Deut. 8: 2, 3). All the experience the believer has of his inward exceeding sinfulness and hell is from the Holy Spirit. All the various assaults and temptations exercised by the host and powers of hell against him are overruled by the Holy Ghost for the believer’s benefit. His every trial in life is through the economy of the Holy Ghost for his advantage. As the Lord the Spirit teaches him, be from the knowledge he has of sin and self takes the faster hold of Christ. Being continually assaulted by the host and powers of hell he is led by the Holy Ghost to Jesus, the captain of salvation. The trials and troubles be meets with in this vale of tears are sanctified by the Holy Spirit to make him more dead to all present things, and to set his heart and affections on Christ alone. All which is owing to the divine influences of the Lord the Spirit put forth within him. And as sin in the heart and affections is deadened and mortified by the views and thoughts the believer has of Christ, and the communion he has with him through the revelation of him to the mind from the word by the Holy Ghost; so he is hereby enabled to vanquish temptations.

He sees in Christ, and enjoys in his love and precious salvation pleasures, sweetness, and content, far beyond what sin, under any, under every appearance of it can possibly propose to any of his senses. While be looks, and is kept looking unto Jesus, his heart is perfectly happy. His mind enjoys perfect peace. All the affections of his soul are satisfied, and his happiness is unspeakable. By it he loses his former relish for sin. It cannot now satisfy him. As he views the glories, beauties, excellencies, and perfection’s of Christ, the world, with all called great and good in it, becomes, in the estimation of the believer, not worth a thought. As he leans on the arm of Jesus, he “Comes up out of the wilderness like pillars of smoke, perfumed with myrrh and frankincense, with all powders of the merchant” (Song of Solomon 3:6). As clothed in the whole armor of God, as taught and enabled by the Holy Spirit to exercise himself in putting it on, in using it aright, and managing it skillfully, be resists the devil in the faith of Jesus, and comes off a conqueror, yea more than a conqueror, through him that loved him. Thus, through the power of the Holy Ghost, he perseveres in the Lord’s ways bringing forth fruit to life eternal. He is by the unction of the holy one taught that he is one with Christ, that his life is hid with Christ in God, that by Jesus he has union with the Father in him, that Christ liveth in him, that he is complete in him; that his life, his death, his victories, his triumphs over the whole body of sin, over the whole host of hell, over all the power of the enemy, and over the world, are imputed to him: that every sin has received its deathwound already from the death and arm of Christ, and will at the article of death everlastingly expire; that the fullness of Jesus is his supply, the arm of Jesus is his defense, that Christ is his shield, and he may well triumph because of Jesus’ word, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness” (Isa. 4 1: 10). The true belief of this influences the soul, through the power of the Holy Ghost, with invincible courage and joy; so that be goes from conquering to conquer. And in the faith of what Christ, in this great declaration of his grace, saith, the believer perseveres bringing forth fruit into life eternal. Which fruit consists in holiness of life and conversation. The end of which is everlasting life (Rom. 6:22).

Thus I have aimed to show how the Holy Ghost carries on his work of grace in the believer’s heart and life, enabling the regenerate people of God to mortify sin, vanquish temptations, and persevere in the Lord’s way, bringing forth fruit unto life eternal. I close this section therefore, praying the Lord the Spirit to bless the same, so far as seemeth to him good. Grant this, Holy Ghost, to the praise of the glory of thy grace. Amen.

9. The Holy Spirit in Prayers of the Believer

How he assists them in prayer, making intercession in them according to the will of God.

PRAYER is the breath of the new-born soul. It is the breathings of the Holy Ghost within him. It is the very essence, and elixir of grace. The Holy Ghost is the author of every spiritual desire, aspiration, and outgoing of heart after God. We read of praying in the Holy Ghost (Jude 20). He is emphatically styled “The Spirit of grace and of supplications” (Zech. 12: 10). It is he who gives us to see and feel our wants, and to make them known at the throne of grace by prayer and supplication. It is he who indites both matter and manner. It is he who helps us to offer up our requests with energy. It is be who leads into real fellowship with the Father and the Son in the ordinance of prayer and praise. Hence the apostle says, “I will pray with the Spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the Spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also” (I Cor. 14:15). We read of the communion of the Holy Ghost (2 Cor. 13:14). It is he who leads us into fellowship with the Father in his everlasting love, and into the fellowship with the Son in all the blessings and benefits of his salvation; and the consolations which flow into our souls therefrom are through the communion of the Holy Ghost. When we survey in the light of faith the work of the Holy Spirit in its whole process within us, and upon us, we have fall and indisputable evidence of his personality, Godhead, power, and almighty energy. The work of grace within us, the upholding of it, and the carrying on of the work of faith with power in our hearts, fully prove that he is co-equal with the Father and the Son. His presence with his people in prayer, his assisting them in private, in family, in public prayer, the communion he admits them into with the Father and the Son in their observance of the ordinances of baptism and the Lord’s Supper, in bearing, preaching, reading, and meditation, are blessed proofs of his infinity, omniscience, and omnipresence. I think in no part of his work of grace his love to the elect is more fully discovered than in his leading and directing the hearts of the called and regenerate in pouring out their hearts unto the Lord. This is indeed done inwardly, secretly, mentally, and vocally. But it is always the fruit of his own anointing, and sometimes it is with groanings which cannot be uttered. He proves his co-essentiality and co-eternity with the Father and the Son by giving his regenerate ones a most blessed acquaintance with the ancient and everlasting transactions between the Father and the Son, by giving them to rest for their salvation thereon, by giving them to love the Father for his free love to them in his dear Son, and by leading them to view over and over by faith the heights, and depths, and lengths, and breadths of the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. This warms their hearts, raises their affections, and endears the matchless Jesus unto them. They approach him on the throne of grace, as the glorious Mediator, believing his work to be a finished salvation, and that he is the Lamb of God, who has finished the transgression, made an end of sins, made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness. The belief they have of his efficacious sacrifice and bloodshedding discharges their consciences of the guilt of sin, and produces therein the peace of God. The apostle gives us a most divine exhortation, founded on these immutable truths, to approach the throne of the heavenly grace:

Having therefore, brethren, boldness (or liberty) to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water (Heb. 10: 19, 20, 21, 22).

The Holy Spirit conveys with it life, light, power, and energy to the mind. Faith is quickened, hope increased, and love inflamed. The virtue and efficacy of Christ’s sacrifice are apprehended. The mind perceives and believes the perfection of it. The conscience is at peace in believing that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin. Body and soul being purified and discharged from the imputation of all guilt, and washed in the fountain of the Redeemer’s most precious blood, the believer draws nigh unto God in full assurance of faith, that the work of Christ is everlastingly acceptable to the Father, and that he is at peace with him through Jesus Christ our Lord. And through the grace of the Holy Spirit he enters into the holiest with his petitions, has freedom and liberty to speak out his whole heart, and to pour forth his soul in desires and requests to the Lord. And thus he has the experience of what the Psalmist saith, “Blessed is the man whom thou choosest, and causest to approach unto thee” (Psalm 64:4). The Holy Ghost assists believers in prayer, making intercession in them according to the will of God. This is declared by the apostle in the following words:

Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And be who searcbeth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because be maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God (Rom. 8:26, 27).

In nothing to the Saints and the children of the most high God need the Holy Spirit’s grace, assistance, and presence with their souls more than in their addresses at the throne of grace. They know indeed that God in his nature, persons, and perfection’s, is the object of worship, and that they cannot come to the Father but by the Son, as the only Mediator, and their access must be, by the Holy Spirit. These truths are deeply inlaid in their souls, and inscribed on their hearts by the Lord the Spirit: yet such are the various and varying circumstances, temptations, corruption’s, darkness, deadness, wanderings, coldness, and distresses of the called people of God, that they are often shut up in their frames, cold in their affections, dead in their hearts to God, and the things of God. So that they know not at times what they should pray for as they ought. Here the Holy Spirit’s grace is most gloriously and divinely displayed. When the believer feels most of his own spiritual deadness and inability, experiences more deeply than ever before the sinfulness and corruption of every part, sense, member, feeling, faculty, and affection of the body of sin and death, the Lord the Spirit stirs up groanings in the mind which cannot be uttered. The soul prays silently, without a voice, most ardently and fervently. He is not able to express fully what is conceived in the mind, how great his burdens and wants are. The Holy Ghost suggests to the believer such thoughts of God’s everlasting mercy, of Christ as the intercessor and advocate, as increase the holy importunity of the soul in its self-loathing and groaning under the views and sense it has of its inherent sinfulness and spiritual death. The Holy Spirit bears up the mind under all its weakness, and fills it with devout fervor in lively feelings and inwrought prayer, such as no words can ever express. The heart of God is so set open to his views; the person, love, work, and offices of Christ are so brought to his remembrance; and the promises so suitably applied to the believer’s present case, as lead into divine fellowship with God the Father and his Son Jesus, and give relief to the heart. In this way and manner the Holy Ghost assists the real believer in prayer, and produces spiritual groanings in him which cannot be uttered in any form of words; because they infinitely exceed them, being the breathings of the Holy Ghost in the renewed soul. And he maketh intercession for the Saints according to the will of God, which be is fully acquainted with. As be leads them to plead, at the throne, the promises which are suited to their present cases; so this is according to the will of God. The Holy Spirit knows the whole case of the believer. He knows the whole heart of his heavenly Father towards him. He knows the prevalency of Christ’s intercession in Heaven for him. He knows the believer’s interest therein. And be leads him into some precious discoveries thereof. “He who searcheth the heart knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the Saints according to the will of God.” This is a most glorious proof of the Godhead and immensity of the eternal Spirit, and his co-equality with the Father: who, as he searcheth the heart, knows the mind of the Spirit in all the breathings, inward groanings, and desires of the soul in prayer. The Holy Ghost directs in prayer what to say, and assists in the performance of it. It is offered up through his divine energy, in the exercise of faith on the person and priesthood of our great high priest, Jesus the Son of God, in whom we approach the Father; who accepts both our persons, prayers, and praises in his beloved Son, who presents our spiritual services before the Threeone, perfumed with the odor and fragrancy of his most precious mediation. And from him we receive answers, such as prove our cry is come up into God’s holy dwelling place, even into Heaven. I would suggest that as the person, death, and intercession of Christ are the foundation of all our confidence and access to the Father; so all our true and spiritual worship in prayer, praise, and mediation is the fruit of the Holy Ghost, who dwelleth in us, and who is the Spirit of grace and supplication. And thus I close this section, how the Holy Ghost assists in prayer, making intercession for the Saints according to the will of God, praying it may lead the mind to apprehend the exceeding rich, free, and sovereign love of the Holy Spirit, expressed in this agency of grace, who is an intercessor, and who performs his office in us, making intercession for the Saints according to the will of God. So that the elect have Christ acting the part of a powerful intercessor on their behalf in Heaven, and the Spirit of Christ making intercession for them on earth; assisting them to come with out-cries to their heavenly Father. Surely the love of the Holy Ghost in thus assisting Saints is ineffable. He leads into a knowledge and experience of the love of the Father and the Son, and gives believers real enjoyments thereof. Bless, 0 Holy Ghost! what is contained in this section so far as it may increase thy own praise, and thy people’s benefit. Amen.

10. The Comforter Concerning Death

How he is their comforter in the article of death.

OUR salvation depends on the eternal acts of the coequal Three, and is eternally completed by Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. The Father’s will notified in the everlasting covenant, and the Son’s engagements with him in it on the behalf of the elect, as their surety and Mediator, the Holy Ghost being a witness and notary of this great transaction, and as a party engaged to reveal it, and make known the same to the elect and chosen of God, are the origin of salvation, which by these acts and transactions of the eternal Three was from eternity. These acts and transactions of the divine persons have been realized and carried into execution by the person of the Son of the living God, who became incarnate, and acted as the Lamb of God, and finished the work which the Father gave him to do, and thus became the author of eternal salvation. The perfection of which, with the everlasting delight and acceptance of Christ by the Father, is what the Spirit testifies of in the inspired volume. In which he makes it evident, that according to the will, counsel, and covenant of the Three in Jehovah, any sinner may come and rest on the life and death of Christ for his discharge and acquittance from all guilt before the Lord, and that, on his actually doing this, he is manifestatively justified from all things. So that salvation is completed by the eternal acts of the Three in Jehovah, and made everlastingly sure thereby.

It is also completed by those time-acts transacted by the Father and the Son, when it pleased the Lord to bruise him.

And it is also manifestatively and influentially completed in us by those eternal, acts of & Holy Ghost wrought within us, which make us meet for communion with the Father and the Son in all the blessings of their everlasting love and covenant-salvation. What the Holy Ghost works within us will last for ever.

It is evident, therefore, that salvation is made as sure as God himself can make it by eternal, temporal, and internal acts. The Father’s eternal election of the persons of his beloved and his covenant-transactions with his co-equal Son on their behalf, the Son’s finished work in time, in his life and death, and the Spirit’s internal revelation and effectual application of Christ and his great salvation, with his shedding abroad the love of the Father in the hearts of the redeemed, render the salvation of the whole church immutably and everlastingly secure. We are, therefore, as actually indebted to the Holy Ghost for our personal and particular salvation, as we are to the Father and the Son: yea, it is the Holy Spirit who puts the finishing stroke to all the purposes of the Father’s grace and the Son’s salvation; as he brings the whole home to the heart, and puts the believer into the actual possession and enjoyment thereof.

We can never have our minds too clearly enlightened into the knowledge of the offices which the eternal Three sustain in the covenant of grace, nor be too fully established in the knowledge and faith thereof. Without it we cannot give the sacred Three their true and proper glory. The Holy Spirit’s work is too often legalized, and too little esteemed. Yet when viewed in the light of faith, according to the account given of it in the word, it is truly great and glorious. It is worthy of him, who is almighty; whose glory is essential, and whose majesty is eternal: he being the Spirit of the Father and the Son. He creates the soul anew in Christ. Every faculty of the new man is from him. He enlightens those spiritual faculties with supernatural light, whereby the knowledge of Christ from the written word is received. He fulfils that great New Testament promise of giving the regenerate an heart and understanding to know the Lord. He reveals Christ in his person, work, and love. He forms him in the renewed heart as the hope of glory. He leads the believer to take in distinct, clear, and scriptural views and apprehensions of Christ; so that be says, “I know whom I have believed.” He gives the believer blessed conceptions of Christ, as the Lord his righteousness and atonement. He leads him to take in distinct thoughts of Christ’s interest in him, and of his interest in Christ. He leads him to clear perceptions of the relations which Christ bears to his people, and which he stands in to him: of the relations the people of the Lord stand in to Christ, and of the relation he himself stands in to the dear Redeemer. This faithful witness for Jesus leads the believer to rest wholly on Christ’s finished work for his salvation. Hereby he is become well pleased with being the Lord’s for ever. Christ’s Father be takes for his Father, Christ’s God for his God. And now be says, “I am the Lord’s.” His heart is converted and turned to the Lord. The Father’s love and the Son’s salvation are now inestimably and unspeakably precious to him. Being thus brought to Jesus, and into fellowship with him, and the Father in him, the Holy Ghost shows him nothing remains but to live Christ, and bring the knowledge he has received of him into the whole of his experience, frame, feelings, walk, warfare, sickness, and death. The eternal Spirit shows the believer that Christ is his life, and that his life is bid with Christ in God, that the righteousness of Christ is his perfection, the blood of Christ is his purity, the fullness of Jesus is his supply, the arm of Jesus his defense, Jesus his shield, and his word the ground of all confidence in him and expectation from him. Hereby the believer goes forward, and perseveres in faith thereof unto life eternal. The believer being brought forth into Christ’s world, and led by the teachings of the Holy Spirit into fellowship with the Savior, perceives himself a partaker of Christ. In communion with Jesus the Holy Spirit is pleased to bring down into the believer’s soul a real taste and enjoyment of Christ’s promised Heaven. He fills the mind with the Father’s love, and makes good Christ’s promise, which runs thus: “He who hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is who loveth me; and he who loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him and manifest my love to him” (John 14:21). And again, “If a man love me he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come to him, and make our abode with him” (John 14: 2 3 ). It is the Holy Spirit who brings Christ’s word to remembrance, who causeth it to dwell richly in the heart, who puts life and influence into it, and makes it the very means of communion with Christ and the believer. It is the Holy Ghost, who falling on the soul, as rain on the new-mown grass, fructifies the graces implanted in the heart, draws them forth into act and exercise on Christ, and causeth the soul to hear the voice of Jesus saying:

Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck. How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointment than all spices. Thy lips, 0 my spouse! drop as the honey comb: honey and milk are under thy tongue, and the smell of thy garments is like the smell of Lebanon (Song of Solomon, 4:9, 10, 11).

The Holy Spirit creates in the mind such conceptions of the love of Christ as fill the souls of the regenerate with enjoyments that can only be equalled in the state of glory. It is the Holy Spirit who leads the believer to know that the everlasting love of the Father consists in thinking over in his vast and infinite mind the love wherewith he has loved us, and in renewing the thoughts of his love towards us, with the utmost delight and complacency, throughout time and the boundless ages of eternity. As the Holy Ghost is pleased to prove to the believer that be is in the spiritual world, freed from all condemnation, passed from death unto life, an heir of God and joint heir with Christ; so he comforts him in all his afflictions. He comforts him in life, and gives him to see his true blessedness consists in living Christ, on him, to him, and for him. And the Holy Spirit shows him that it will be the perfection of blessedness to die in him. And when all the purposes of God’s will respecting the believer in the present life are accomplished, and the time is come that be must die, the Holy Ghost is his comforter in the article of death. He brings home with divine energy that grand consolatory truth which Christ pronounced by a voice from Heaven, “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord” (Rev. 14:13). He shows wherein this blessedness consists. He sets his seal to the truth of it. He gives a feeling perception and experience of it. He shows the believer how safe it is to die in Christ: and that he is blessed in the very article of death; it being the consecrated way to eternal glory. He discovers to his soul that God is at peace with him, and beholds him in his Son; and that he has given him his word and his oath, two immutable things, in ,which it is impossible for him to lie, that he may have a strong consolation. The Holy Spirit leads the believer to view Christ as able to keep him from falling, and to present him faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy; “and that being absent from the body he will be present with the Lord.” Now these joys, which are unspeakable and full of glory, possess his mind; so that he breaks out, saying as Paul and others did before him, and as many Saints in the prospect of dissolution have done, and still do:

For we know, if our earthly house of this Tabernacle were dissolved, ye have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the Heavens. For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house, which is from Heaven: if so be that being clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we that are in this Tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might he swallowed up of life. Now he that bath wrought us for the self same thing is God, who hath also given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident, knowing that whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by sight: we are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord (2 Cor. 5: 1-8),

The virtue of Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, ascension, and glorification will be put forth afresh in him. He has a realizing view of the glory which is to be revealed in him. So that the Holy Ghost giving him full views of the person and work of Jesus and of the Father’s acceptance of him in the beloved, he leaves his body, and departs in the triumphs of faith. And thus the Holy Spirit fulfils, the last promise which belongs to him on this side glory. He gives him a free entrance into the everlasting kingdom of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ ( 2 Pet. I: II). He gets into port like a ship into harbor with all her sails set, driven with a fair wind. Thus the believer, under the gales of the Holy Ghost, has an entrance ministered abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Immediately when the parting-stroke is given, or immediately on the disunion of soul and body, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, he will be eternally freed from the very inbeing of sin. And being found clothed with the garment of Christ’s righteousness, and the inward garment of sanctification and inwrought holiness, he will now be clothed with immortality and eternal glory. And thus I close this section, how the Holy Ghost is the comforter of the elect in the article of death; and which the testimonies of Saints in their dying moments fully realize and confirm, praying, he may shine and bless the reading of it so far as may increase his manifestative praise and glory. Amen.

11. The Holy Spirit in Eternal Glory

On his awaking them from the sleep of death, and raising up their bodies from the state and power of the grave, at the second coming of Christ; giving them the full exercise and enjoyment of eternal life, perfecting them in their souls and bodies for complete and uninterrupted communion with the Father and the Son, through his indwelling in them in the state of glory, and placing them in all the perfection of their supernatural new creature-ship in Christ Jesus, in the meridian brightness of the kingdom of glory, where God in all his persons and perfection’s will be all in all in them and unto them for ever, to the glory of the Eternal Three, who will be their portion, inheritance, glory, and exceeding joy.

THE Holy Ghost has his influence, and puts forth his divine energy, in everything which concerns the people of God from their regeneration to their glorification. He comes from the Father and the Son, he descends into their hearts, and consecrates them for fellowship with the Father and the Son. He dwells and abides in them for ever. He is with them all through life. He is their most divine comforter in the article of death. He sanctifies their last moments with his presence and everlasting consolations. He admits them into the state of glory. He there puts forth the influence and glory of his indwelling in their souls, and fills them with all the fullness of God. He leads the soul in glory into fellowship with the God-man. So that the elect are as truly dependent on the Holy Spirit for all the enjoyment of the Father’s love and the blessings of glory, as they were, in a time-state, for all the blessings of grace and salvation. He indwells in their souls, and will throughout eternity, as in his own true and proper temple. Hereby he will fill them in all the faculties of their souls with an increasing knowledge, enjoyment, and communion of all the blessedness of the Father’s love, and the glories of Christ, which are essential, personal, relative, and mediatorial. And like as the Holy Ghost, by his indwelling in the regenerate, is in them now the principle of all grace and glory; for grace is glory in the bud: so by his indwelling in them in Heaven he will open their faculties to receive out of the fullness of Christ glory for glory. The believer’s body when dissolved by death, and when its mechanism is destroyed, sleeps in Jesus. It is in union with him. His Spirit dwelleth in it; and by virtue thereof he will quicken it, and raise it up at the last day. So saith the Apostle: “But if the Spirit of him, who raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you; he who raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit which dwelleth in you” (Rom. 8: 1 ). Though the believer is fallen asleep, and is under the power of death, and will remain in the state of the dead for a season, yet his body with the rest who sleep in Jesus will be reanimated, and raised from the grave at the second coming, of Christ. There will be a blessed resurrection of the bodies of the elect dead from the grave and power of death, as the fruit of his own most glorious resurrection, as the Lord and Conqueror of death and the grave. He is the first fruits, the forerunner, and earnest of a glorious resurrection. “Afterwards they who are Christ’s at his coming.” Christ’s resurrection is the foundation of our hope of a glorious resurrection from the grave, state, and power of death, at the second coming of our Lord and Savior. He was raised as the head of the elect. And they are to be raised by virtue of their union with him, and in a divine conformity to him. “He was declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead” (Rom. 1:4). And Peter saith, “Christ was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which (Spirit) also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison: which sometime were disobedient, when once the long suffering of God waited in the days of Noah while the Ark was preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water” (I Pet. 3:18, 19, 20). Now turn to the Book of Genesis and it will clearly appear this was the Holy Ghost. For there you read thus, “And the Lord said, my Spirit shall not always strive with man” (Gen. 6:3). He is here styled “the Spirit of Jehovah”; as he called “the Spirit of God” in Genesis. And was one of the us, who said, “Let us make man;” and of ,whom we read “The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, breathed into his nostrils the breath, or Spirit, of life, or lives, and man became a living soul” (Gen 2:7). Now this breathing of the Lord God is said to be the breath of the Spirit of lives (Gen. 7:22). The Spirit therefore must be Jehovah, God, the Creator. But not to wander from the subject before me, the dead body of Christ was quickened with new life, yea, with a life it did not partake of before, when it was raised up from the grave, power, and state of death to life immortal. And it was the Holy Ghost who was the quickener, as appears from the passage cited from the apostle Peter who says, “Christ was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” And the same Holy Ghost it is who will quicken the dead bodies of the Saints, and raise them up from the sleep of death at the last day. “The Lord Jesus will descend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the arch-angel, and with the trump of God.” The trumpet shall sound. “All that are in the graves shall hear his voice.” The eternal Spirit will put forth in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, his power, and quicken the dead bodies of his Saints with life everlasting, so that they shall awake from the sleep of death, and rise from the state and power of the grave with immortal vigor, and everlasting triumph over it. The apostle Paul gives us an account of their triumph, and also of the change which will pass on their bodies at the resurrection.

This I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. Behold I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 0 death, where is thy sting? 0 grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (I Cor. 15: 50-57).

The elect being raised, and living Saints changed in their bodies, they will bear the image of the heavenly Adam, and be fitted and qualified with such qualities as will fit them for the beatific vision; so that in their souls and in their bodies they will be capable of the full fruition and enjoyment of Christ in the state of ultimate glory. “The body will now be for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” They will fully shine forth as the children of God, being the children of the resurrection. They will now in their whole persons, souls and bodies being reunited, be made perfectly conformable to the image of God’s Son, through the mighty power and operations of the Holy Spirit on their souls and bodies, He by his indwelling in their souls and bodies, and by his putting forth his divine influence throughout every part, in every faculty, will give them the full exercise and enjoyment of their every sense, in an eternal freedom from all evil, and in a perpetual experience of all good. They will now find themselves possessed of eternal life, and fully apprehend the Holy Ghost dwelling in them to be the spring and fountain of it: which will settle them in their eternal dependence on him for ever and ever. Their eternal life will be exercised for ever on the God-man, whose essential, personal, relative, and mediatorial glories will afford them an everlasting feast, to the most perfect satisfaction of their souls and bodies, such as will perfect them in immortality and endless bliss. Now they will find that “Blessed and holy is he who hath part in the first resurrection; on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years,” in the new Jerusalem state, and afterwards in the state of ultimate bliss to all eternity. Thus the Holy Ghost will complete them in their souls and bodies for immediate and uninterrupted communion with the Father and Son, through his indwelling in them, and filling their souls and bodies through and through with all the fullness of holiness and glory. Having raised them up, and wrought in them, according to all the vast designs of the Father’s love toward them, and in conformity to election-purposes, suitable to their union, relation, and interest in Christ, a complete conformity to Christ, their everlasting head, friend, and bridegroom, so that they will shine forth complete in all the perfection of their supernatural new-creature-ship in Christ Jesus, he will place them in the meridian of the kingdom of glory; where Christ their husband, and the elect of human race, the bride, the lamb’s wife, will shine for ever and ever. He, her Lord, who is the Lord, will shine on her, and she will reflect the shine, and be all glorious, having him for her everlasting light, and her everlasting glory. And the same Holy Ghost who dwells in him personally, with all his fullness of Grace and glory, will dwell in all the Saints, and be the spring of their immortal vigor, and the continuer of their eternal life and immortality for ever. In the kingdom of glory God will be all in all to his Saints, in all his persons and affections. Their faculties will be suited to take in the utmost knowledge and enjoyment of the persons and perfection’s of Godhead, consistent with the capacity of creature-ship. And they will be filled in their understanding with all the fullness of God. They will in Christ, God-man, have the most perfect enjoyment of all the fullness of God. Real views of the glories of the God-man, and free, full, and uninterrupted communion with him will be the Heaven of Heavens. The eternal Three will dwell in the Saints to all eternity. They will be their portion, inheritance, and glory, their exceeding joy, and their exceeding great reward for ever and ever. May the Lord the Spirit create in the minds of such as hear and read this some views of the glory which is to be revealed in them, when they shall see Jesus, see him in his glory, when his glory shall shine fully on, and within them, and their souls and bodies wear the shine of it, and be all glorious with it! when they shall be complete in knowledge and holiness, and find their eternal life consists in seeing Christ in all his glory, and in having free, full, and everlasting communion with him, and with the Father in him through the indwelling of the Lord the Spirit. And thus I conclude this last section on the Holy Spirit’s raising the bodies of the Saints from the sleep of death, and from the state and power of the grave, at the second coming of Christ, giving them the full exercise and enjoyment of eternal life, perfecting them in their souls and bodies for complete and uninterrupted communion with the Father and Son, through his indwelling in them in the state of glory; placing them in all the perfection of their supernatural new-creature-ship in Christ Jesus, in the meridian brightness of the kingdom of glory, where God will be all in all, in all his persons and perfection’s, in them, and unto them for ever, to the glory of the eternal Three; who will be their portion, inheritance, glory, and exceeding joy. Hereby all the ends and designs of Father, Son and Holy Ghost concerning the elect will be, finally accomplished. And nothing will remain but for them to be glorified with Christ, and be everlastingly blessed in having uninterrupted communion with the essential Three to all eternity. The Father from everlasting loved them, and gave them being, and decreed the uttermost perfection of their well-being in Christ, the Son of God, who was constituted by the Father to be God-man, elect, from everlasting, and their eternal head, and had life and glory, bestowed on him for them before the world was. He in the everlasting covenant undertook on their behalf, and engaged to raise them up from all the miseries of the fall, to wash them from their sins in his own blood, to present them to himself, and before his Father, a glorious church, without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, and to deliver them up, saying, “Lo, I, and the children which thou hast given me.” And the Holy Ghost was to create them anew in Christ Jesus, and produce in their souls a supernatural birth, suitable to their dignity, as Sons of God, union, and relation to their great head, the God-man, from whom they were to receive everlasting life and glory – . All this will be eternally finished by the Holy Ghost when he has completed those great designs in the bodies and souls of all the elect at the last day. He will create in their souls and bodies such faculties as will enable them to take in by degrees all the manifestative glory of Christ. Now the elect will be in soul and body as perfectly pure and holy as they were ordained to be by the Father in his predestinating purpose. And the elect being, as the epistles of Christ, formed in soul and body in all conformity to him their bead; the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of glory, will dwell in them, opening their faculties to take in the vision of Christ’s person, and to see him as he is. All the persons in the Trinity will dwell in the souls and bodies of the Saints for ever, which will be to the glory of grace, and the complete blessedness of the Saints. May the Lord the Spirit be pleased most graciously to bless what has been written so far as may make for his glory, and his people’s good! Even so, 0 God, the Spirit! Amen.

0 Holy Ghost! I began this brief account of thy great and glorious work in the souls of the elect, and the testimony thou bearest in thy word and in the hearts for Jesus, with an address to thee for thy presence with me, and thy blessing on this attempt to make thy praise glorious. Thou hast, by thy good hand on me, brought me to the close of it, for which I bless thee. May it be thy good pleasure to make me more apprehensive of the blessedness of future glory. As thou hast taught me it will greatly consist in beholding Christ’s essential, personal, relative, and mediatorial glories, do thou therefore most graciously be pleased to open and unfold, from thy word, and by thy own divine teachings, these ineffable glories to my views, that I may center in the Lord Jesus Christ, in whom all the fullness of the Godhead dwelleth personally, for everlasting life, righteousness, purity, holiness, perfection, glory, and immutable blessedness, and that I may hereby have a most blessed and realizing view of the excellency of the life of immortality, which will be spent in uninterrupted communion with Jesus and the Father in him, Grant this, 0 God the Spirit, for thy name’s sake! Amen.

Scanned by : Lee Roy Rhode


Sermon: Mackintosh, C.H. – The Three Crosses.

Posted by David Cox on June 7, 2024
Posted in Cross-BloodM  | Tagged With: , , , | 1 Comment

The Three Crosses.
Luke 23: 39-43.
C. H. Mackintosh.

In this sermon on the three crosses of Calvary, Mackintosh (Brethren): Him who was nailed thereon, the cross as the expression of God’s heart toward man, and the cross as displaying the heart of Christ towards God.

Turn aside with us for a few moments and meditate upon those three crosses. If we mistake not, we will find a very wide field of truth opened before us in the brief but comprehensive record given at the head of this article.

1. First of all, we must gaze at the centre cross, or rather at Him who was nailed thereon — Jesus of Nazareth — that blessed One who had spent His life in labours of love, healing the sick, cleansing the lepers, opening the eyes of the blind, raising the dead, feeding the hungry, drying the widow’s tears, meeting every form of human need, ever ready to drop the tear of true sympathy with every child of sorrow; whose meat and drink it was to do the will of God, and to do good to man; a holy, spotless, perfectly gracious man; the only pure, untainted sheaf of human fruit ever seen in this world; “a man approved of God,” who had perfectly glorified God on this earth and perfectly manifested Him in all His ways.

Such, then, was the One who occupied the centre cross; and when we come to inquire what it was that placed Him there, we learn a threefold lesson; or rather, we should say, three profound truths are unfolded to our hearts.

In the first place, we are taught, as nothing else can teach us, what man’s heart is toward God. Nothing has ever displayed this — nothing could display it — as the cross has. If we want a perfect standard by which to measure the world, to measure the human heart, to measure sin, we must look at the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot stop short of the cross, and we cannot go beyond it, if we want to know what the world is, inasmuch as it was there that the world fully uttered itself — there fallen humanity fully let itself out. When the human voice cried out, “Crucify Him! crucify Him!” that voice was the utterance of the human heart, declaring, as nothing else could declare, its true condition in the sight of God. When man nailed the Son of God to the cross, he reached the full height of his guilt, and the depth of moral turpitude. When man preferred a robber and murderer to Christ, he proved that he would rather have robbery and murder than light and love. The cross demonstrates this tremendous fact; and the demonstration is so clear as to leave not the shadow of a question.

It is well to seize this point. It is certainly not seen with sufficient clearness. We are very prone to judge of the world according to its treatment of ourselves. We speak of its hollowness, its faithlessness, its baseness, its deceitfulness, and such like; but we are too apt to make self the measure in all this, and hence we fall short of the real mark. In order to reach a just conclusion, we must judge by a perfect standard, and this can only be found in the cross. The cross is the only perfect measure of man, of the world, of sin. If we really want to know what the world is, we must remember that it preferred to robber to Christ, and crucified between two thieves the only perfect man that ever lived.

Such is the world in which we live. Such is its character — such its moral condition — such its true state as proved by its own deliberately planned and determinedly perpetrated act. And therefore we need not marvel at aught that we hear or see of the world’s wickedness, seeing that in crucifying the Lord of glory, it gave the strongest proof that could be given of wickedness and guilt. It will perhaps be said, in reply, the world is changed. It is not now what it was in the days of Herod and Pontius Pilate. The world of the nineteenth century is very different from the world of the first. It has made progress in every way. Civilisation has flung its fair mantle over the scene; and, as respects a large portion of the world, Christianity has shed its purifying and enlightening influence upon the masses; so that it would be very unwarrantable to measure the world that is by the terrible act of the world that was.

Reader, do you really believe that the world is changed? Is it really improved in the deep springs of its moral being — is it altered at its heart’s core? We readily admit all that a free gospel and an open Bible have, by the rich mercy of God, achieved here and there. We think, with grateful hearts and worshipping spirits, of thousands and hundreds of thousands of precious souls converted to God. We bless the Lord, with all our hearts, for multitudes who have lived and died in the faith of Christ; and for multitudes who, at this very moment, are giving most convincing evidence of their genuine attachment to the name, the person, and the cause of Christ.

But, after allowing the broadest margin in which to insert all these glorious results, we return, with firm decision, to our conviction that the world is the world still, and if it had the opportunity, the act that was perpetrated in Jerusalem in the year 33, would be perpetrated in Christendom now. (1873)

This may seem severe and sweeping; but is it true? Is the Name of Jesus one whit more agreeable to the world to-day, than it was when its great religious leaders cried out, “Not this man, but Barabbas!” Only try it. Go and breathe that peerless and precious Name amid the brilliant circles that throng the drawing-rooms of the polite, the fashionable, the wealthy, and the noble of this our own day. Name Him in the steamboat saloon, in the railway carriage, or in the public hall, and see if you will not very speedily be told that such a subject is out of place. Any other name, any other subject will be tolerated. You may talk folly and nonsense in the ear of the world, and you will never be told it is out of place; but talk of Jesus, and you will very soon be silenced. How often have we seen our leading thoroughfares literally blocked up by crowds of people looking at a puppet show, or listening to a ballad singer or a German band, and no policeman tells them to move on. Let a servant of Christ stand to preach in our thoroughfares and he will be summoned before the magistrates. There is room in our public streets for the devil, but there is no room for Jesus Christ. “Not this man, but Barabbas.”

Can any one deny these things? Have they not been witnessed again and again? And what do they prove? They prove, beyond all question, the fallacy of the notion that the world is improved. They prove that the world of the nineteenth century is the world of the first. It has, in some places, changed its dress, but not its real animus. It has doffed the robes of paganism, and donned the cloak of Christianity; but underneath that cloak may be seen all the hideous features of paganism’s spirit. Compare Romans 1: 29-31 with 2 Timothy 3 and there you will find the very traits and lineaments of nature in darkest heathenism, reproduced in connection with “the form of godliness” — the grossest forms of moral pravity covered with the robe of Christian profession.

No; it is a fatal mistake to imagine that the world is improving. It is stained with the murder of the Son of God; and it proves its consent to the deed in every stage of its history, in every phase of its condition. The world is under judgement. Its sentence is passed; the awful day of its execution is rapidly approaching. The world is simply a deep, dark, rapid stream rushing onward to the lake of fire. Nothing but the sword of judgement can ever settle the heavy question pending between the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ and that world which murdered His Son.

Thus it is, if Scripture is to be our guide. Judgement is coming. It is at the very door. Eighteen hundred years ago, the inspired apostle penned the solemn sentence, that “God is ready to judge.” If He was ready then, surely He is ready now. And why tarries He? In long-suffering mercy, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. Precious words! Words of exquisite tenderness and matchless grace! Words that tell out the large, loving, gracious heart of our God, and His intense desire for man’s salvation.

But judgement is coming. The awful day of vengeance is at hand; and, meanwhile, the voice of Jesus, sounding through the lips of His dear ambassadors, may be heard on every side calling men to flee out of the terrible vortex, and make their escape to the stronghold of God’s salvation.

2. But this leads us, in the second place, to look at the cross as the expression of God’s heart toward man. If on the cross of our adorable Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, we read, in characters deep, broad, and unmistakable, the true state of man’s heart Godward; in the selfsame cross, we may read, with no less clearness surely, the state of God’s heart toward man. The cross is the divinely perfect measure of both.

The very spear that pierced Thy side,

Drew forth the blood to save.

We behold, at the cross, the marvellous meeting of enmity and love — sin and grace. Man displayed at Calvary, the very height of his enmity against God. God, blessed for ever be His name, displayed the height of His love. Hatred and love met; but love proved victorious. God and sin met; God triumphed, sin was put away, and now, at the resurrection side of the cross, the eternal Spirit announces the glad tidings, that grace reigns through righteousness, unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord. At the cross, the battle was fought and the victory won; and now the liberal hand of sovereign grace is scattering far and wide the spoils of victory.

Do you really desire to know what the heart of God is toward man? If so, go and gaze on that centre cross to which Jesus Christ was nailed, by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God. True it is, as we have already seen, man did, with wicked hands, crucify and slay the blessed One. This is the dark side of this question. But there is a bright side also, for God is seen in it. No doubt, man fully let himself out at the cross; but God was above him. Yes, above all the powers of earth and hell which were there ranged in their terrible array.

As it was, in the case of Joseph and his brethren; they told out the enmity of their hearts in flinging him into the pit, and selling him to the Ishmaelites. Here was the dark side. But then, mark these words of Joseph: “Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither; for God did send me before you to preserve life.”

Here was the bright side. But to whom were these wondrous words of grace addressed? To broken hearts and penitent spirits, and convicted consciences. To men who had learnt to say, “We are verily guilty.” It is only such that can at all enter into the line of truth which is now before us. Those who have taken their true place, who have accepted the judgement of God against themselves, who truly own that the cross is the measure of their guilt — they can appreciate the cross as the expression of God’s heart of love toward them; they can enter into the glorious truth that the selfsame cross which demonstrates man’s hatred of God sets forth also God’s love to man. The two things ever go together. It is when we see and own our guilt, as proved in the cross, that we learn the purifying and peace — speaking power of that precious blood which cleanseth us from all sin.

Yes; beloved reader, it is only a broken heart and a contrite spirit that can truly enter into the marvellous love of God as set forth in the cross of Christ. How could Joseph ever have said, “Be not grieved with yourselves,” if he had not seen his brethren broken down in his presence? Impossible. And how can an unbroken heart, an unreached conscience, an impenitent soul enter into the value of the atoning blood of Christ, or taste the sweetness of the love of God? Utterly impossible. Joseph “spake roughly” to his brethren at the first, but the very moment those accents emanated from their broken hearts, “We are verily guilty,” they were in a condition to understand and value the words, “Be not grieved with yourselves.” It is when we are completely broken down in the presence of the cross, seeing it as the perfect measure of our own deep personal guilt, that we are prepared to see it as the glorious display of God’s love towards us.

And then and there we escape from a guilty world. Then and there we are rescued completely from that dark and rapid current of which we have spoken, and brought within the hallowed and peaceful circle of God’s salvation, where we can walk up and down in the very sunlight of a Father’s countenance and breathe the pure air of the new creation. “Thanks be to God for His unspeakable gift!”

3. And now, one word, ere closing this branch of our subject on the cross as displaying the heart of Christ toward God. We can do little more than indicate this point, leaving the reader to prove its suggestive power, under the immediate ministry of the Holy Ghost.

It is an unspeakable comfort to the heart, in the midst of such a world as this, to remember that God has been perfectly glorified by One, at least. There has been One on this earth whose meat and drink was to do the will of God, to glorify Him, and finish His work. In life and death, Jesus perfectly glorified God. From the manger to the cross, His heart was perfectly devoted to the one great object, namely, to accomplish the will of God, whatever that will might be. “Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of Me) to do Thy will, O God.” In the roll of Scripture it was written of the Son that, in due time, He should come into this world, according to God’s eternal counsels, and accomplish the will of the Godhead. To this He dedicated Himself with all the energies of His perfect being. From this He never swerved a hair’s breadth from first to last; and when we gaze on that centre cross which is now engaging our attention, we behold the perfect consummation of that which had filled the heart of Jesus from the very beginning, even the accomplishment of the will of God.

All this is blessedly unfolded to us in that charming passage in Philippians 2. “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus; who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but made Himself of no reputation, and took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men; and being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross” (ver. 5-8).

How wonderful is all this! What profound depths there are in the mystery of the cross! What lines of truth converge in it! What rays of light emanated from it! What unfoldings of heart there! The heart of man to Godward — the heart of God to manward — the heart of Christ to God! All this we have in the cross. We can gaze on that One who hung there between two thieves, a spectacle to Heaven, earth, and hell, and see the perfect measure of every one and everything in the whole universe of God. Would we know the measure of the heart of God — His love to us — His hatred of sin? we must look at the cross. Would we know the measure of the heart of man, his real condition, his hatred of all that is divinely good, his innate love of all that is thoroughly bad? we must look at the cross.

Would we know what the world is — what sin is — what Satan is? we must look at the cross. Assuredly, then, there is nothing like the cross. Well may we ponder it. It shall be our theme throughout the everlasting ages. May it be, more and more, our theme now! May the Holy Ghost so lead our souls into the living depths of the cross, that we may be absorbed with the One who was nailed thereto, and thus weaned from the world that placed Him there. May the real utterance of our hearts ever be, “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” God grant it, for Jesus Christ’s sake!

Having dwelt, for a little, on that marvellous centre cross to which the Lord of glory was nailed, for our redemption, we shall now turn to the other two, and seek to learn some solemn and weighty lessons from the inspired record concerning the men who hung thereon. We shall find in these two men samples of the two great classes into which the human family is divided, from the beginning to the end of time, namely the receivers and the rejecters of the Christ of God — those who believe in Jesus, and those who believe not. In the first place, it is of the utmost importance to see that there was no essential difference between those two men. In nature, in their recorded history, in their circumstances, they were one. Some have laboured to establish a distinction between them; but for what object it is difficult to say, unless it be to dim the lustre of the grace that shines forth in the narrative of the penitent thief. It is maintained that there must have been some event in his previous history to account for his marvellous end — some redeeming feature — some hopeful circumstance on account of which his prayer was heard at the last.

But Scripture is totally silent as to aught of this kind. And not only is it silent as to any redeeming or qualifying circumstance, but it actually gives us the testimony of two inspired witnesses to prove that, up to the very moment in which Luke introduces him to our notice, he, like his fellow on the other side, was engaged in the terrible work of railing on the Son of God. In Matthew 27: 44, we read that “The thieves also, which were crucified with Him, cast the same in His teeth.” So also in Mark 15: 32, “They that were crucified with Him reviled Him.”

Now, this is divinely conclusive. It proves, beyond all question, that there was no difference between the two thieves. They were both condemned malefactors; and not only so, but when actually on the very confines of the eternal world, they were both occupied in the awful sin of reviling the blessed Son of God.

It is utterly vain, therefore, for any one to seek to establish a distinction between these two men, inasmuch as they were alike in their nature, in their guilt, in their criminality, and in their profane wickedness. There was no difference up to the moment in which the arrow of conviction entered the soul of him whom we call the penitent thief. The more clearly this is seen, the more the sovereign grace of God shines out in all its blessed brightness. “There is no difference; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” And, on the other hand, “There is no difference, for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him” (compare Rom. 3: 22-23, with Rom. 10: 12).

The only standard by which men are to be measured is “the glory of God”; and inasmuch as all have come short of that — the best as well as the worst of men — there is no difference. Were it merely a question of conscience, or of human righteousness, there might be some difference. Were the standard of measurement merely human, then indeed some shades of distinction might easily be established. But it is not so. All must be ruled by the glory of God; and, thus ruled, all are alike deficient. “There is no difference; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

But, blessed be God, there is another side to this great question. “The same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon Him.” The riches of the grace of God are such as to reach down to the very deepest depths of human ruin, guilt and misery. If the light of divine glory reveals — as nothing else could reveal — man’s utter ruin; the riches of divine grace, as displayed in the person and work of Christ, have perfectly met that ruin, and provided a remedy in every way adequate to meet the claims of the divine glory.

But let us see how all this is illustrated in the striking and beautiful narrative of the penitent thief.

It is very evident that the Spirit of God, in the evangelist Luke, takes up this interesting case at that special point in the which a divine work had really begun. Matthew and Mark present him as a blaspheming malefactor. We can hardly conceive a deeper shade of moral turpitude than that which he, according to their inspired record, exhibits to our view! There is not so much as a single relieving tint. All is dark as midnight — dark almost as hell; yet not too dark to be reached by the light that was shining straight down from Heaven through the mysterious medium of that centre cross.

It is well to get a very profound sense of our true condition by nature. We cannot possibly go too deep in this line. The ruin of nature is complete — of nature in all its phases and in all its stages. If all have not gone to the same length as the thief on the cross — if all have not brought forth the same fruit — if all have not clothed themselves in forms equally hideous, it is no thanks to their nature. The human heart is a seed plot in which may be found the seed of every crime that has ever stained the page of human history. If the seed has not germinated and fructified, it is not owing to a difference in the soul, but a difference in surrounding circumstances and influences

The testimony of Scripture on this great question, is distinct and conclusive, “There is no difference.” Men do not like this. It is too levelling for them. Self-righteousness is cut out by the roots by this sweeping statement of inspiration. Man likes to establish distinctions. He cannot bear to be placed in the same category with the Magdalenes and the Samaritans, and such like. But it cannot be otherwise. Grace levels all distinctions now; and judgement will level them all by-and-by. If we are saved, it is in company with Magdalenes and Samaritans; and if we are lost, it will be in company with such likewise. There will, no doubt, be degrees of glory; as there will be degrees of punishment; but as to the real nature and character of the human heart, “there is no difference.” “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.” What heart? Man’s heart — the heart of the writer and the reader of these lines. “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies.” Out of what heart? Man’s heart — the heart of the writer and the reader of these lines. These things could not come out of the heart if they were not there; and if they do not come out in action, it is not because they are not there, but that circumstances have operated to prevent.

Such is the clear and unvarying testimony of Holy Scripture; and whenever the Spirit of God begins to operate on the heart and conscience of a man He produces the deep sense and full confession of the truth of this testimony. Every divinely convicted soul is ready to adopt as his own these words, “In me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good.” Every truly contrite spirit owns the fact of his total ruin. All wisdom’s children justify God and condemn themselves — there is no exception. All who are really brought under the convicting power of the Holy Spirit will, without any reserve, set their seal — the seal of their whole moral being to the inspired statement, “there is no difference.”

Any who hesitate to own this have yet to learn themselves, in the light of the holiness of God. The most refined, polished and cultivated person, if enlightened by the Spirit of God, will readily take his place with the thief on the cross, inasmuch as the divine light shining in upon him, reveals the hidden springs of his being, leads him to see the profound depths of his nature — the roots and sources of things. Thus while relatives, friends and acquaintances — mere onlookers, judging from the surface, may think very highly of his character, he himself, knowing better, because of divine light, can only exclaim, “O wretched man that I am” — “Behold I am vile” — “Woe is me, I am undone” — “I am a sinful man, O Lord.”

These are the proper utterances of a divinely convicted soul; and it is only when we can thus truly and heartily express ourselves that we are really prepared to appreciate the riches of the grace of God as unfolded in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Grace takes up real sinners. “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which is lost;” and the more fully I realize my lost estate, my hopeless ruin, my utter wretchedness, the more fully I can enter into the fullness and freeness of God’s salvation — a salvation purchased by the blood of the cross.

Hence we see how brightly grace shines in the salvation of the thief on the cross. There can be no possible mistake as to him. Clearly he had no good works to trust in. He had performed no deeds of charity. Of baptism and the Lord’s Supper he knew nothing. The rites, ceremonies, and ordinances of religion had done — could do nothing for him. In a word, his case was a thoroughly hopeless one, so far as he was concerned. For what could he do? Whither could he turn? His hands and his feet were nailed fast to a malefactor’s cross. It was useless to talk to him about doing or going His hands, while he had the use of them, had been stretched forth in deeds of violence; and now they were nailed to the tree, and could do nothing. His feet, while he had the use of them, had trodden the terrible path of the transgressor; and now they were nailed to the tree, and could not carry him anywhere.

But, note this. Although the poor thief no longer had the use of his hands and his feet — so indispensable to a religion of works — his heart and his tongue were free; and these are the very things that are called into exercise in a religion of faith, as we read in that lovely tenth of Romans, “With the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

Precious words! How suited to the thief on the cross! How suited and seasonable for every poor helpless, hopeless, self-destroyed sinner! And we must all be saved in like manner as the thief on the cross. There are no two ways to Heaven. There is not one way for the religionist, the moralist, the Pharisee, and another way for the malefactor. There is but one way, and that way is marked from the very throne of God down to where the guilty sinner lies, dead in trespasses and sins, with the footprints of redeeming love; and from thence back to the throne by the precious atoning blood of Christ. This is the way to Heaven — a way paved with love, sprinkled with blood, and trodden by a happy holy band of redeemed worshipers gathered from all the ends of the earth, to chant the heavenly anthem, “Worthy is the Lamb that was slain.”

We have said that the heart of the thief was free; yes, free under the mighty action of the Holy Ghost, to turn toward that blessed One who hung beside him — that One whom he had just been reviling, but on whom he could now fix his repentant gaze, and to whom he could now bear the noblest testimony ever uttered by men or angels.

But it is most instructive and interesting to mark the progress of the work of God in the soul of the dying thief. Indeed the work of God in any soul is ever of the deepest possible interest. The operations of the Holy Spirit in us must never be separated from the work of Christ for us; and, we may add, both the one and the other are founded upon, and inseparably linked with the eternal counsels of God with respect to us. This is what makes it all so real, so solid, so entirely divine. It is not of man. It is all of God, from first to last — from the first dawning of conviction in the soul until it is introduced into the full-orbed light of the glorious gospel of the grace of God. The Lord be praised that it is so! Were it otherwise — were there a single atom of the creature in it, from beginning to end, that one atom would neutralise and destroy the whole, and render it not worth having.

Now in the case of the penitent thief, we discern the first touch of the Eternal Spirit — the very earliest fruit of His sanctifying work, in the words addressed to his fellow, “Dost thou not fear God?” He does not say, “Dost thou not fear punishment?” The sanctification of the Spirit, in every case, is evidenced by the fear of the Lord, and a holy abhorrence of evil for its own sake. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” There may be a fear of judgement, a fear of hell, a fear of the consequences of sin, without the smallest particle of hatred of sin itself. But where the Spirit of God is really at work in the heart, He produces the real sense of sin and the judgement thereof in the sight of God.

This is repentance; let the reader ponder it deeply. It is a grand reality; an essential element, in every case. “God commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent” (Acts 17: 30). There is no getting over this — no setting it aside. Some may seek to do away with man’s responsibility on the plea of his inability to do anything right or good. They may seek to persuade us that it is useless, yea unsound, to call upon men to repent and believe, seeing that men can do nothing of themselves. But the question is, what is the meaning of the words which we have just culled from the apostle’s address at Athens? Did Paul preach the truth? Was he sound in the faith? Was he sufficiently high in doctrine?

Well then Paul declares, in the clearest and most emphatic manner, that “God commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent.” Will any turn around and say they cannot? Will any venture to deny man’s responsibility to obey a divine command? If so, where are they? On very dangerous ground. If God commands all men to repent, woe be to those who refuse to do so; and woe be to those who teach that they are not responsible to do so.

But let us devote a few moments to the examination of this great practical question in the light of the New Testament. Let us see whether our Lord and His apostles called upon men — “all men, everywhere, to repent.”

In the third chapter of Matthew’s Gospel, we read, “In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, and saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

It will, perhaps, be said that John addressed himself specially to Israel — a people in recognized relationship with Jehovah — and hence this passage cannot be adduced in proof of the universal and abiding necessity of repentance. Well, we merely quote it here in order to show that man, whether Jew or Gentile, is responsible to repent, and that the very first voice which falls upon the ear, in the time of the New Testament, is heard calling sinners to repentance. Was the Baptist right or wrong? Was he trespassing upon the domain of sound doctrine when he summoned men to repent? Would some of our modern theologians have called him aside, after he was done preaching, and taken him to task for deceiving men by leading them to suppose that they could repent? We should like to have heard the Baptist’s reply.

But we have the example of a greater than John the Baptist, as our warrant for preaching repentance, for in Matthew 4 we read, “From that time, Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent; for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Dare any one turn round and say to the divine Preacher, “We cannot repent. We have no power. We are not responsible!” Ah, no! men may argue and reason, and talk theology; but there stands the living record before us — Jesus called upon men to repent, and that, too, without entering, in any way, upon the question of man’s ability here or there. He addressed man as a responsible being, as one who was imperatively called to judge himself and his ways, to confess his sins, and repent in dust and ashes. The only true place for a sinner is the place of repentance; and if he refuses to take that place in the presence of divine grace, he will be compelled to take it in the presence of divine judgement, when repentance will be too late. “God commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent.”

Passing on to the opening of the Acts of the Apostles, we are privileged to harken to Peter’s address on the day of Pentecost — the most fruitful sermon ever preached in this world — crowned with the glorious result of three thousand souls! And what did Peter preach? He preached Christ, and he called upon men to repent. Yes, the great apostle of the circumcision insisted upon repentance — self-judgement — true contrition of heart before God. “Then said Peter unto them, Repent, and be baptised every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2: 38). And, again, “Repent ye therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out” (Acts 3: 19).

Was Peter right in calling upon men to repent and be converted? Would any one be justified in saying to him, at the close of his preaching, “How can men repent? How can they be converted? They can do nothing.” We should vastly like to hear Peter’s reply. One thing is certain, the power of the Holy Ghost accompanied the preaching. He set His seal to it, and that is enough. “God commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent.” Woe to all who refuse.

We have already referred to the preaching of the blessed apostle of the Gentiles, and the great teacher of the Church of God. He himself, referring to his ministry at Ephesus, declares in the audience of the elders, “I kept back nothing that was profitable, but have showed you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 20: 20-21). So also, in his pungent address to Agrippa, he says, “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision; but showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.”

Thus we have a body of evidence, drawn from Scripture, such as cannot be gainsaid, proving the universal and abiding necessity of repentance. “God commandeth all men, everywhere, to repent.” There is no avoiding this. Let men beware how they set it aside. No system of theology can be sound that denies the responsibility of the sinner to repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

We have digressed; but the digression was needful, and we now return to our theme.

The case of the penitent thief furnishes a very fine illustration of Peter’s weighty sentence, “Repent and be converted.” It teaches us in a clear and forcible manner, the true meaning of repentance and conversion — two subjects so little understood, so sadly clouded by false teaching.

The human heart is ever prone to take divine things by the wrong end; and when false theology combines with this tendency of the heart, by presenting things in a one-sided manner, the moral effect upon the soul is something terrible. Hence it is that, when men are called upon in the gospel message to repent and turn to God, they think it needful to set about doing something or other, in the shape of reading, praying, and attending upon the ordinances and offices of religion, so called. Thus they become occupied with their doings instead of judging their state.

This is a fatal mistake — the result of the combined influence of self-righteousness and bad theology — these fruitful sources of darkness and misery to precious souls, and of serious damage to the truth of God.

It is perfectly marvellous to note the varied forms in which self-righteousness clothes itself. Indeed so varied are these forms that one would scarcely recognize it to be what it really is. Sometimes it looks like humility, and speaks largely of the evil and danger of being too presumptuous. Then again, it assumes the garb and adopts the language of what is called experimental religion, which, very often, is nothing more than intense self-occupation. At other times, it expresses itself in the threadbare formularies of systematic divinity — that stumbling-block of souls and the sepulchre of divine revelation.

What then is repentance? It is, in one of its grand elements, the thorough judgement of self — of its history and its ways. It is the complete breaking up of the entire system of self-righteousness and the discovery of our complete wreck, ruin and bankruptcy. It is the sense of personal vileness, guilt, and danger — a sense produced by the mighty action of the Word and Spirit of God upon the heart and conscience. It is a hearty sorrow for sin, and a loathing of it for its own sake.

True, there are other features and elements in genuine repentance. There is a change of mind as to self, and the world, and God. And further, there are various degrees in the depths and intensity of the exercise. But, for the present, we confine ourselves to that deeply important feature of repentance illustrated in the touching narrative of the penitent thief, which we may term, in one word, self-judgement. This must be insisted upon constantly. We greatly fear it is sadly lost sight of in much of our modern preaching and teaching. In our efforts to make the gospel simple and easy, we are in danger of forgetting that “God commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” The sinner must be made to feel that he is a sinner, a lost sinner, a guilty sinner, a hell-deserving sinner. He must be made to feel that sin is a terrible thing in the sight of God; so terrible, that nothing short of the death of Christ could atone for it — so terrible, that all who die unpardoned must inevitably be damned — must spend a dreary, never-ending eternity in the lake that burneth with fire and brimstone.

Is there, then, anything meritorious in repentance? Is there anything to build upon or to boast in? Has it aught to do with the ground of our salvation, our righteousness, or our acceptance with God? As well might we inquire if the consciousness of bankruptcy could form the basis of a man’s credit or future fortune. No, no, reader; repentance, in its deepest and most intensified form, has nothing to do with the ground of our pardon. How could the sense of guilt have aught to do with the ground of pardon? How could the feelings of a drowning man have aught to do with the life-boat that saves him? Or how could the agonies of a man in a house on fire have aught to do with the fire-escape by which he descends from the burning pile?

Look at the case of the thief on the cross. Harken to his words: “Dost thou not fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation: and we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds.” Here are the accents of a genuine repentance, “we indeed justly.” He felt and owned that he was justly condemned; that he was reaping only “the due reward of his deeds.” Was there anything meritorious in this? By no means. It was the judgement of himself, the condemnation of his ways, the sense of his guilt. And this was right. It was the sure precursor of conversion to God. It was the fruit of the Spirit’s work in his soul, and enabled him to appreciate God’s salvation. It was the hearty acknowledgement of his own just condemnation; and, most surely, this could in no wise contribute to his righteousness before God. It is utterly impossible that the sense of guilt could ever form the basis of righteousness.

Still, there must be repentance; and the deeper the better. It is well that the plough should do its work in breaking up the fallow ground, and making deep the furrows in which the incorruptible seed of the Word may take root. We do not believe that any one had ever to complain that the ploughshare entered too deeply into the soul. Nay, we feel assured that the more we are led down into the profound depths of our own moral ruin, the more fully we shall appreciate the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ, unto all, and upon all them that believe.

But, be it well understood, repentance is not doing this or that. What did the thief do? What could he do? He could not move hand or foot. And yet he was truly repentant. He is handed down, on the page of history, as “the penitent thief.” Yes, he was penitent; and his penitence expressed itself in the unmistakable accents of self-judgement. Thus it must ever be. There must be the judgement of sin, sooner or later; and the sooner, the better; and the deeper, the better.

And what then? What is the divine order? “Repent, and be converted.” “Repent, and turn to God.” Beauteous order! It is conviction and conversion. It is the discovery of self and its ruin, and the discovery of God and His remedy. It is condemning myself and justifying God. It is finding out the emptiness of self, and finding out the fullness of Christ. It is learning the force and application of those few words, “Thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thy help.”

And see how all this comes out in the brief but comprehensive record of the thief. No sooner does he give expression to the sense of his own just condemnation, than he turns so that blessed One who was hanging beside him, and bears the sweet testimony, “This man hath done nothing amiss.” Here he gives a flat contradiction to the whole world. He joins issue with the chief priests, elders, and scribes, who had delivered up the holy One as a malefactor. They had declared, “If He were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him up unto thee.” But the dying thief declares, “This man hath done nothing amiss.” Thus he stands forth in clear and decided testimony to the spotless humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ — that grand truth which lies at the very base of “the great mystery of godliness.” He turns from a guilty self to a spotless Christ; and he tells the world that it had made a terrible mistake in crucifying the Lord of glory.

And was not this a good work? Yes, truly, the very best work that any one could do. To bear a full, clear, bold testimony to Christ, is the most acceptable and fragrant service that any mortal can render to God. Millions bestowed in charity, continents traversed in the interests of philanthropy, a lifetime spent in the dreary exercises of mechanical religiousness — all these things put together are as the small dust of the balance when compared with one word of heartfelt, genuine, Spirit-taught testimony to God’s beloved Son. The poor thief could do nothing and give nothing; but oh, he was permitted to enjoy the richest and rarest privilege that could possibly fall to the lot of any mortal, even the privilege of bearing witness to Christ, when the whole world had cast Him out, when one of His own disciples had denied Him, another had sold Him, and all had forsaken Him. This, indeed, was service; this was work; a service and a work which shall live in the records and the memory of Heaven when the proudest monuments of human genius and benevolence shall have crumbled and sunk in eternal oblivion.

But we have some further lessons to learn from the lips of the dying malefactor. Not only does he bear a bright and blessed testimony to the spotless humanity of Christ, but he also owns Him as Lord and King; and this, too, at a moment, and amid a scene when, to nature’s view, there was not a single trace of lordship or royalty. “He said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.”

Think of this! Think of one who had, as it were, a moment before, been railing on the dying Saviour, now owning Him as Lord and King! Truly this was divine work. Surely this was real conversion — a true turning to God. “Lord, remember me.” Oh, how unspeakably precious is this golden chain with its three links! How lovely to see a poor worthless, guilty, hell-deserving “me” linked on to the divine Saviour by that one word, “remember!”

This was life eternal. A Saviour and a sinner linked together, is everlasting salvation. Nothing can be simpler. People may talk of works, of feelings, of experiences; but here we have the matter presented in its divine simplicity, and in its divine order. We have first the fruit of a genuine repentance, in the words, “We indeed justly”; and then the sweet result of spiritual conversion in the one simple but powerful utterance, “Lord, remember me.” “Repent and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out.” “Repent and turn to God.”

What marvellous depth and power in those words! To repent is to see the utter ruin of self. To turn to God, is life, and peace, and everlasting salvation. We discover self and we loathe and abhor it. We discover God and turn to Him with the whole heart, and find in Him all we want for time and for eternity. It is all divinely simple and unspeakably blessed. Repentance and conversion are inseparably linked together. They are distinct, yet intimately connected. They must neither be separated nor confounded.

And, now, let us note the divine response to the appeal of the penitent thief. He had said “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.” What is the answer? “To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.” It is as though the blessed Saviour had said to him, “You need not wait for the glory of the kingdom; this very day thou shalt taste the grace of the house — the love of My Father’s home above; I shall have you with Me in that bright paradise, to enjoy full communion with Me long before the glories of the kingdom shall be unfolded.” Most blessed Saviour, such was Thy matchless grace!

And not one reproving word! Not a single reference to the past! Not even a glance at the recent heartless wickedness! Ah, no; there is never aught of this in the divine dealing with a penitent soul. The thief had said — said from the depths of a broken and contrite heart, “We indeed justly.” This was enough. True, it was needful; but it was enough. “A broken and a contrite heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise.” No; and not only will He not despise it, but He will pour into it the rich and precious consolation of His grace and pardoning love. It is the joy of God to pardon a penitent sinner; and none but a penitent sinner can truly enjoy the pardon of God.

“To-day shalt thou be with Me in paradise.” Here the glories of a present, personal, and perfect salvation pour themselves in divine lustre upon the gaze of the astonished thief.

And, be it noted, that there is not one syllable about doing, or giving, or feeling, or aught else that might turn the eye in upon self. The eye had been turned in, and rightly so; and it had seen nothing but a deep, dark abyss of guilt and ruin. This was enough. The eye must henceforth and for evermore be turned outward and upward; it must be fixed on the precious Saviour who was bringing him to paradise, and on that bright paradise to which He was bringing him.

No doubt the thief could never forget what a sinner he had been — never forget his guilt and wickedness — he never could, he never shall; yea, throughout the countless ages of eternity, he and all the redeemed shall remember the past. How could it be otherwise? Shall we lose the power of memory in the future? Surely not. But every remembrance of the past shall only tend to swell the note of praise which the heart shall give forth as we think of the grace that shines in those precious words, “Their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.” Such is the style of divine forgiveness! God will never again refer to those sins which His own loving hand has cancelled by the blood of the cross. Never! No, never! He has cast them behind His back for ever. They have sunk as lead into the deep waters of His eternal forgetfulness. All praise to His glorious Name!

Let us now fix the eye, for a brief moment, upon the third cross. On it we behold — what? A guilty sinner? Not merely that. The penitent thief was that. They were in the same condemnation. No one need go to hell simply because he is a sinner, inasmuch as Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, “even the chief.” There is not a sinner this day, outside the precincts of hell, who is not within the reach of God’s salvation if he only feel his need of it. No one need be lost, merely because he is a ruined, guilty, hell-deserving sinner.

But what do we behold on that third cross? We behold an unbelieving sinner. This is the solemn point. We may, without any hesitation, declare that had the occupant of that cross, like his penitent companion, cast himself upon the grace of the dying Saviour, he would, most assuredly, have met with the same response. There was grace in the heart of Jesus to meet the one as well as the other. But he did not want it, would not have it. He remained impenitent and unbelieving until the dark shadows of death gathered round him, and the darker horrors of hell burst upon his guilty soul. He perished within arm’s length of the Saviour and salvation.

Tremendous thought! what finite mind can take it in? Who can fully estimate the contrast between those two men? True, the contrast was in one point; but that one point involved consequences of eternal moment. What was it? It was this — the reception or rejection of the Son of God; believing or not believing on that blessed One who was hanging between them — as near to the one as He was to the other. There was no difference in their nature; no difference in their condition; no difference in their circumstances. The grand and all-important difference lay in this, that one believed in Jesus, and the other did not; one was enabled to say, “Lord, remember me”; the other said, “If thou be the Christ.”

What a contrast! What a broad line of demarcation! What an awful chasm between two men so like in other respects — so near to one another — so near to the divine Saviour! But it is just the same in all cases, everywhere, and at all times. The one simple but solemn question for each and for all is this, “What is my relation to Christ?” All hinges upon this — yes, for time and eternity. Have I received Christ? or have I not? Am I in Him? or am I not?

The two thieves represent the two great classes into which mankind has been divided, from the days of Cain and Abel down to this very moment. God’s Christ is the one great and all-deciding test in every case. All the shades of moral character; all the grades of social life; all the castes, classes, sects and parties into which the human family has been, is, or ever shall be divided — all are absorbed in this one momentous point — “In or out of Christ.” The difference between the two thieves is just the difference between the saved and the lost; the Church and the world — the children of God and the children of God’s great enemy. True it is that, in the case of the two thieves, the matter is brought to a point, so that we can see it at a glance; but it is the same in every case. The person of Christ is the one great boundary line that marks off the new creation from the old — the kingdom of God from the kingdom of Satan — the children of light from the children of darkness; and this boundary line stretches away into eternity.

Reader, what sayest thou to these things? On which side of this line art thou, at this moment, standing? Art thou, like the penitent thief, linked on to Christ by a simple faith? Or dost thou, like his impenitent companion speak of Christ with an “if’? Say dear friend, how is it? Do not put this question away from thee. Take it up and look it solemnly in the face. Your eternal weal or woe hangs on your answer to this question. Turn to Jesus now! Come now! God commands thee! Delay not! Reason not Come just as thou art to Jesus, who hung on that centre cross for us.

* NOTE. — The two thieves furnish a powerful answer to the ritualist and the rationalist. In one, we see a man going straight to paradise who had never been baptised, and never received what ritualists call “the holy communion. — In the other, we see a man who perishes, within arm’s length of a Saviour, through a sceptical, rationalistic, infidel “if.” Let all ritualists and rationalists ponder these facts.

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Sermon: Morgan, G.C. – Promise At The Cross

Posted by David Cox on June 2, 2024
Posted in Cross-BloodMSermon  | Tagged With: | 1 Comment

Promise At The Cross
G Campbell Morgan

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Sermon: Alexander, A. – The Cross

Posted by David Cox on June 1, 2024
Posted in ACross-Blood  | 1 Comment

by Archibald Alexander

Whence came the tree from which the cross was made? What has become of the particles of which it was composed? What hands were employed in preparing this instrument of a cruel death? To such questions no answer can be given–and none is needed. The cross was a common mode of punishment among several nations, and among the Romans was reserved for the punishment of slaves and the vilest malefactors. It was never made use of by the Jews. If they had had the power of execution in their hands when Christ suffered, the punishment for the offence alleged against him would have been stoning. But by the ordering of divine Providence, our Lord was put to death in that way which was accursed, according to the Jewish law; for it was written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.” Read more