CHAPTER III.

I. THE SPIRIT IN THE COVENANT.

GOD has put his Spirit into the covenant: the Almighty, the eternal Spirit; the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of glory and of God.

This holy and eternal Spirit is first poured forth on our Head the Lord Jesus, to anoint him our Redeemer, to furnish and qualify him for that great undertaking. " The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek." Isaiah 61:1. "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, and of the fear of the Lord." Isaiah 11:2.

And he is promised to each member of Christ: " I will put my Spirit within you." Ezekiel 36:27. To all these he is granted, as a Spirit of wisdom and revelation; as a Spirit of holiness and sanctification; as a Spirit of truth and direction; and as a Spirit of comfort and consolation.

As a "Spirit of WISDOM AND REVELATION." Ephesians 1:17-18. To enlighten them, to open their blind eyes, and to shine into their hearts; to give them the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, that they may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints; to counterwork the spirit of this world, whose work is to blind men’s eyes, lest the light of the glorious gospel should shine unto them. 2Corinthians 4:4-6.

This is he by whom the Father hath called us "out of darkness into his marvellous light." 1Peter 2:9. The light that the Spirit brings in is a marvellous light, and that in three respects:

It is a marvellous thing that ever light should come into such dark souls. That those who were born blind, and upon whom the god of this world had, for many years together, been trying his skill to thicken their darkness, to increase and seal them up under it--that ever such eyes should be opened, and the light of life shine in upon such hearts, this is a marvellous thing. When our Lord Jesus in the days of his flesh opened the eyes of those who had been born blind, the people ran together and wondered at the sight. If you should see stones live, if you should. see dead stocks or dry bones walk up and down the streets, if you should see trees, or houses, or Mountains full of eyes, this were not more full of wonder, than to behold blind sinners receiving their sight. Thou was once darkness; art thou now light in the Lord? Stand and wonder at thy cure.

They are marvellous things which this light discovers. It is a wonder that such eyes should ever see at all; and lo, they see wonders, The gospel is a mystery full of wonders: there are heights, and depths, and lengths, and breadths. "We have seen strange things to-day:" strange love, strange grace, wonderful wisdom, wonderful pity, patience, mercy; wonderful providences, wonderful deliverances, incomprehensible excellences, ‘unspeakable joy and glory. It is a wonder there should be such things every day before our eyes, and yet we could not see them till now; and it is a wonder, that when we did not see them before, we should ever see them now—that those things which we despised, derided, mocked at, stumbled at, as mere foolishness and fancy, we should now see and admire, even to astonishment—that that Jesus who was to the Jews a stumbling-block, to the Greeks foolishness, should be to the same men when called, the wisdom of God and the power of God. Oh the deep things of God! Oh the unsearchable riches of Christ, which he that searcheth all things reveals unto the saints! Oh the hidden treasures they now discover in this deep mine! To you that believe, he is precious, a praise, an honour; all fair, all glorious; and you have seen his glory, as the glory of the only begotten Son of God, full of grace and truth.

Again, there are marvellous evils, as well as good things, which by this light are brought to light. Sin, with all the hidden things of darkness that lie below in those chambers of death—the secrets of the evil heart of man. Sin appears a wonder to the savingly enlightened soul: exceeding sinful, a world of wickedness. There is death, and hell, and the devil in every sin; unkindness, unthankfulness, folly, enmity; rebellion, spite, and the blackness of darkness. What once appeared as a pleasure, a delight, a beauty—or at least, if an evil, yet but a trifle, a matter of nothing—is become a plague, a terror, a burden, a bondage, bitterness, shame, sorrow; and such a high provocation, that whereas once he swelled and murmured, and cried out of rigor, severity, cruelty in the least punishment of it; now he wonders at the clemency, and patience, and forbearance of God, that such an affront and provocation had not long since turned the whole earth into a hell.

Christian, thou complainest thou canst not see, thou canst not feel, thou canst not mourn, thou canst not break under all the guilt that lies upon thee; thy heart is hard, thine eyes are dry;- not a tear, not a groan, scarce a sigh will all this evil fetch out from thee. "Oh this blind and sottish mind! Oh this dead and senseless heart! what shall I do? what would I not do to. get me a melting, mourning, broken spirit? but I cannot, I cannot; I cannot see, I cannot bleed, nor break." O beg the light of this Holy Spirit; and if the sight he will present thee with, of this wonderful evil, do not rend thy heart, and turn thee, and open all thy sluices, and let out thy soul in sighs and groans, in shame and sorrow, thou mayest then well be a wonder to thyself. But be not discouraged, be not dismayed; do not say, This rock will never break, this iron will never melt; I may go sighing for sighs, mourning after tears, groaning after groans, but all in vain, it will never be; I am past feeling; sorrow flies from me, repentance is hid from mine eyes. Do not thus discourage thyself; wait for this Spirit, open to it and thou shalt see flowing in such streams of self-shaming, self-confounding light, as shall flow forth in self-abasing, self-abhorring streams of tears.

These marvellous things are revealed to them with marvellous clearness; that is, in comparison with What they are to the purblind world, and in comparison with what they. .themselves once saw. They come to see the glory, and the beauty, and the reality of the wonderful things of God. "We have seen his glory," saith the apostle. John 1:14. "The kindness of God our Saviour appeared;" "but we all, with open face, behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord." 2Corinthians 3:18. Out of Zion hath he appeared in perfect beauty. 

It is prophesied of the unbelieving world, that when they should see Christ, they should see no beauty in him. Isaiah 53:2. Strange! though he is all beauty, yet they should see him, and yet see no beauty; that is, they shall see him, and yet not see him. "What is thy beloved more than any other beloved? What is Christ more than an ordinary man? What is the gospel more than an ordinary story? What is the Spirit? What is truth? What is there in this faith and love, in this holiness and righteousness, in this peace of conscience, and joy of the Holy Ghost? What substance is there in them? Where is the glory, and wherein is the excellency of them? Which way came the Spirit of the Lord from me to thee ?" Thou shalt know in that day, when thou shalt call to the mountains to fall on thee, and the rocks to hide thee from the face of God and the Lamb. We know whom we have believed. We know that we know him. We speak that which we know, and -testify what we have seen. We have an unction from the Holy One, we know all things. God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all ‘hings, even the deep things of God. Now we have received not the spirit of this world,. but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. We have a clear and certain sight. We do not see men as trees walking, with our eyes half open: we see men as men, Christ as Christ, truth as truth, in its full lustre and evidence. This we have seen and do testify, neither deceiving nor being deceived. We thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

And as they see truth and holiness and goodness in their wonderful glory and beauty, so also folly and falsehood and sin in their wonderful ugliness and deformity. Sin appears to them to be sin, folly to be folly, falsehood to be falsehood; they see men as men, Christ as Christ, truth as truth, holiness as holiness; and they see beasts as beasts, fools as fools, sin as sin, devils as devils, hell as hell. They see all things as they are, temptations as they are, delusions as they are; they see what is under them, the hook under the bait, the sting in the locust’s tail, the war in the devil’s heart carried on under his fawning face; they are not ignorant of his devices.

Sinners, cease your wondering at the saints, let them be no longer for signs and for wonders in Israel; cease your wondering at the saints, and come and wonder with them. Wonder not that they speak not as you, live not as you, run not with you after the same follies and vanities. Oh, if you once come to see what they see, you will be a wonder to yourselves. Mock not at their blessedness: blessed are their eyes, for they see. The blind envy, but do not disdain the seeing. Say not, These men are in a dream, or drunk, or mad; take heed, blaspheme not the Holy Spirit, call not his light darkness, put not your darkness for light. Would you know, when these men testify what they have seen and heard, whether they are sober or beside themselves ? Come and see: I say not, stand and see; you cannot see at the distance you stand: come near, come in, and you shall see—see your blindness first, if ever you will see the light. Oh, bewail your darkness and seek light; seek, and you shall see it. "Son of David, have mercy on me." Why, what wilt thou, man ? "Lord, that I may receive my sight" Shall that be thy cry? O pity thy blind soul. O pray for eyes. They that see, pity the blind. O be eyes to thy blind, be a light to thy dark soul; let them that dwell in darkness see thy great light. Sinners, those whom you persecute do thus pity, do thus pray for you: "Lord, that their eyes might be opened." Will you say, Amen, to their prayers; or will you say, Lord, regard not their word, we desire not the knowledge of thy ways?

Christians, be marvels. You that have seen marvellous things, be Marvellous persons. Let your light shine, let the light which hath shined into your hearts shine forth in all your paths: let the ‘Spirit of light within you be a Spirit of glory resting upon you.

Once you were darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord; walk as children of the light. Be ye holy, harmless, the children of God, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked generation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world.

Beclouded Christian, thou goest on bemoaning and bewailing thyself, complaining that thou art still blind; that the light bath shined into thy. darkness, but thy darkness Comprehendeth it not; thine eye is yet bit tender, at least, and thou canst.sec but. little—but little of Christ, the sun is but as a spark to thee—hut little of sin, that mountain looks yet but as a molehill; it is"neither clear nor dark," neither night nor perfect day. Thou didst hope that long ere this thy scales would have fallen off, that the veil would have been removed, but they abide upon thee; thou waitest for light, but behold obscurity for brightness, but thou walkest in darkness; thou goest on, adding darkness to darkness, the darkness of sorrow to the dimness of sight. Thou fcarest that the gospel is hid from thee, that it is still night, because. it is not yet noon with thee. But hearken: As little as thou seest of Christ, dost thou see so much that thou prizest and lovest and cleavest to him above all? iVs little as thou seest of sin, dost thou see so much that thou loathest and shunnest it above all things ? Dost thou walk in that little light thou hast; dost thou love, long, wait, cry for the light ? "Send forth thy light and thy truth, lift up the light of thy countenance; Sun offighteousness, shine upon me; why are the wheels of thy chariot so long in coming ? when, Lord ? Make haste, my beloved; O might I once see thy face, as the sun, looking over the mountains." Is this thy voice; are these the breathings of thy soul ? Be of good comfort, these are the glimmerings and groanings of that Holy Spirit within thee, who hath already delivered thee from darkness, and will bring thee forth into his marvellous light; thou shalt know, if thou follow on to know the Lord. "Arise, shine; thy light is come; the glory of the Lord is risen upon thee." Though yet, as to thy sense, it be neither clear nor dark, neither night nor perfect day, "at evening time it shall be light."

II. As a Spirit of HOLINESS AND SANCTIFICATION.

He is given as a holy Spirit, and as a sanctifying Spirit; therefore sanctification is called the "sanctification of the Spirit." 2 Thessalonians 2:13. He comes to change us into his own nature, to make us partakers of his holiness; he is a refiner’s fire, and fuller’s soap, Malachi 3:2, to purge and work and wash off the filth and corruption of our nature. It is said, he shall be to the church "a Spirit of judgment and a Spirit of burning," to wash away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and to purge the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof. Isaiah 4:4. "A Spirit of judgment," that is, in the rulers of Israel—stirring them up to do justice and execute judgment, that so the guilt of blood may be taken away; Find "a Spirit of burning," that is, in the hearts of the people of Israel, to consume and destroy the inward lusts of their hearts; that no more such wickedness be committed among them,

What he is to the church, this he is’ to every saint, a Spirit of judgment, to give sentence against their lusts, to condemn them to the fire: these must be cast out. "To the fire with them; away with than; get ye hence, ye sons of the bond-woman; ye may not be heirs with the sons of the free woman." The Spir it of the Lord first discovers and convinces of sin, judges between light and darkness, grace and sin, and then gives sentence: "Away with these lusts, they may not be suffered to live." It is a Spirit of ‘burning, to execute the sentence, to consume them in the fire. The Spirit of sanctification is a Spirit of mortification. "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the ‘body, ye shall live." Rona, 8:13. It is the Spirit that kills sin, the flesh profiteth nothing.

The Spirit implants the soul into Christ, gives it an interest in his death, brings it under the influence of his death. It is the death of Christ that is the death of sin; these thieves are crucified with him: "Our old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should no longer serve sin." Romans 6:6. Hell knew not what they did when they crucified Christ; death and all its armies were put to death with him.

The Spirit raises up another party in the soul, a party against a party, an army against an army; brings grace in to take up arms against sin. Grace doth not only fight against sin, but is in the very nature of it the death of sin. Humility is pride dead; meekness is sinful passion and frowardness dead; patience is impatience slain.

The Spirit excites and stirs up the soul against sin; sets it a praying against it: the Spirit of grace is a Spirit of supplication, it fetches down hailstones and thunderbolts from heaven to destroy these Amorites, sets a watch against sin, presses the soul to deal wisely with it, to keep it low by cutting off all provision from the flesh, restraining and keeping it short of all those fleshly objects which would keep it in heart, and so it is starved to death. It is true, our own greatest wisdom, watchfulness, abstinence, self-denial, and all external means alone, will fall short of killing one lust; it is the Spirit who killeth, without him the flesh profiteth nothing. All external attempts for the mortification of the flesh, are but a fleshly mortification. But if ye, through the Spirit, do mortify the flesh, praying in the Spirit, watching in the Spirit, curbing and keeping tInder this body, seeking always the assistance of the Spirit, then it shall die.

Christian, thou livest in a weary land, And thou hast but a weary life of it; briers and thorns are with thee, the Canaanite is yet in the land, thou sojournest in Meshech, and hast thy habitation in the tents. of Kedar; and thou bast a Meshech and Kedar within thee—thou hast armies within thee of fleshly lusts which fight against thy soul. Thou goest mourning daily, because of the oppressor—those spiritual wickednesses which lie in thy heart, and war in thy members. Thou often groanest and criest out to thy God, "Liberty, liberty; redemption, redemption. Oh, this proud heart ! Oh, this vain heart! Oh, this earthliness ! Oh, this &silliness, this slothfulness, this enmity and rebellion against the law of my mind, and my God ! When I would do good, evil is present with me. I cannot, I cannot do the things that I would. I can with no peace serve or enjoy my God and my soul my duties are either prevented or polluted, my comforts are either wasted or made quite to vanish and disappear. When I would serve my God, I must away:to serving my appetites, or my pride, or my friends; when my soul is a little got upon the wing, and soaring in the upper region, it is presently checked, pulled down again to the earth. Oh, my pinioned, imprisoned soul ! Woe is me, wretched man that I am ! who shall deliver me from the body of this death ?" Yet comfort thy heart; the enemy flies upon thee as a flood, but the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him. Thou complainest thy gold is become drosS; yet he will turn his hand upon thee, and purely purge away -thy dross, and take away all thy tin: Though these briers and thorns be set in battle against thee, yea, and against him also, yet he will go through therii, he will burn them together. Isaiah 27:4.

Thou complainest that thy garments are defiled, thy glory is stained, thy beauty is marred, the image of thy God is so defaced that there is but here and there a spot of it left upon thee. While thy Lord says, "Thou art all fair, O my love," thou criest out, "I am all foul, O my Lord:" thou wouldst be holiness to thy Lord, but thou art an offence to him; holiness is still thy love and thy desire and thy longing, but it flies from thee; it is rather thy wish than thy hope; thou canst weep over, but thou canst not weep out thy ‘deformity; thine iniquity is still marked before the Lord. If there be a little grace in thee, yet there is such a weakness in its sinews, such a paleness in its face, that it is not like to live; or if it live, O how little hope that ever it should thrive or flourish.

Thus thou complainest, thus thou goest- mourn--big and sighing- and sinking and fainting in thy mind, and now and then venturest out a desponding prayer: "Lord, pity; Lord, look upon my sorrow and my sin; Lord, wash me; Lord, help me." Why, the Lord God hath sent thee his help out of his sanctuary, and his strength out of Zion. The eternal Spirit is come down on purpose to give battle to the flesh, to subdue thine iniquities, and bring all those that rise up within thee under thy feet. Thou mistakest thyself and thine enemies, if thou thinkest they will be conquered by one blow of thine arm; this kind goeth not out so; "not by might nor by power," much less by weakness and by flesh, by any weak attempts of thine own, "but by my Spirit, saith the Lord." It is work for a God, to relieve and cleanse such a heart, to turn such a hell into a heaven. What thou canst not do, being weak through the flesh, behold, he comes down to do for thee; thou hast proved thine own weakness, now try everlasting strength. He stands at the door and knocks, hear his voice at the door: "Wilt thou be -made clean ? Wilt thou be made whole ? Wilt thou be delivered ?" Open to him, and with him deliverance comes in. He stands at the pool, stirring the waters for thee; put in thy cripple-soul, and be healed of all thy. diseases; say to him, "Lord, if thou wilt thou canst make me clean," and thou shalt soon have this answer, "I will; be thou clean."

III. As a Spirit of TRUTH AND DIRECTION. 

John 16:13. He shall guide them by his counsel, he shall lead them in the way that they should go. They shall hear a word behind them, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left. Isaiah 30:21. He shall lead them into all truth, to prevent mistakes; and into all righteousness, to prevent miscarriages. Nay, more, he shall not be only their star, but their strength too; he shall guide them on, and help them on; they shall be led by the Spirit, bound in the Spirit, pressed in the Spirit; they shall be excited, assisted, carried on in the power of the Spirit, in the way that they should go; he will cause them to walk in the statutes of the Lord. Whatsoever thy waywardness and thy wanderings have been, Whatever thy feebleness and fickleness be, whatever false lights and false ways are before thee, whatever temptations thou meetest with to turn thee aside out of the right way, whatever doubts hence arise in thy heart, "I shall one day or other perish from the way, and be a lost sheep at last;" yet his guidance shall be prosperous, and the event shall be sure; he shall so guide thee by his counsel, that he shall bring thee to glory. He shall gather his lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead those that are with young.

IV. As a Spirit Of COMPORT AND CONSOLATION.

"If I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you." John 16:7. He shall come unto them, and abide with them, to supply the absence of their Redeemer, to support them under their affliction, to witness their adoption, to seal them up unto the day of redemption, and to be the earnest of their inheritance. Ephesians 1:13-14.

"He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you." John 16:14. "He shall receive of mine," that is, not only of the truths, those treasures of wisdom that are in me, though that be specially intended, but of my love, my righteousness, my holiness, and all those treasures-of grace and mercy that are laid up in me: whatever there is in me. that may stand you in any stead, yield you any relief or support, the Comforter whom I Will send yOu shall bring it down to you; he shall take my blood and the pardons it bath purchased for you, my compassions that are working in me towards you, my prayers and inter. ‘cessions I am offering up for you; he shall take of all those treasures of grace and everlasting consolations which are laid up for you with me; he shall take of mine, and show it unto you. As much as you have in the world to afflict and amaze you, as little as you have of your own to comfort you, either in your hearts Or in your houses, or among your friends, he shall show what I have for you to refresh you.

O Christians, a sight of Christ in our sorrows, in our fears, in our thickest darkness, what daylight would it bring in! When thou lookest into thy heart, and art astonished and confounded at what thou findest there—at the blindness and-the hardness, the poverty and the emptiness, the guilt and the guile, the pride and the peevishness, the evil thoughts, the vile affections, the filthy lusts, that are swarming and working in thee; when thou lookest into the world, and tremblest at what thou beholdest there—the malice, the craft, the power, that is engaged against thee; the furious spirits, the fiery tongues, the fierce looks, the violent hands, that are flying upon thee, and the little relief the earth will afford thee; when thy heart faints and dies within thee at the sense of this thy woful and forlorn state, a sight of what thou hast in thy Lord is presented to thee by his Spirit. Look thou here, soul, what thy Jesus has sent thee down—a glance from his eye, a drop from his heart, food from his table; and all to tell thee, Yet do I not forget thee; behold the care I take of thee, the treasures I have for thee, to encourage thy love and reward thy faithfulness. Oh, how will this make all thy darkness depart, and turn the shadow of death into the morning!

Thus is the Holy Spirit given to the saints, to be the light of their eyes, the death of their sins, the guide of their ways, the stay of their hearts; to uphold their grace, and to maintain their peace; to subdue their enemies and their fears; to secure them from temptations, or succour them when tempted; to wipe off their reproach, or make it their crown; to heal their diseases, or make them their cure; to help their infirmities, to work their works, to make their yoke easy and their burdens light; to turn their sighs into songs, to form their groans into prayers, send them up to their Lord, and bring down returns; to comfort their hearts, to establish, strengthen, settle them, that they be neither offended at the rod nor moved from the hope of the gospel.

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