“But the fruit of the Spirit is love” — Galatians 5:22.
The worst enemy we have is the flesh. Augustine used frequently to pray, “Lord, deliver me from that evil man, myself.” All the fire which the devil can bring from hell could do us little harm if we had not so much fuel in our nature. It is the powder in the magazine of the old man which is our perpetual danger. When we are guarding against foes without, we must not forget to be continually on our watch-tower against the foe of foes within. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit.” On the other hand, our best friend, who loves us better than we love ourselves, is the Holy Spirit. We are shockingly forgetful of the Holy Ghost, and therein it is to be feared that we greatly grieve him; yet we are immeasurably indebted to him: in fact, we owe our spiritual existence to his divine power. It would not be proper to compare the love of the Spirit with the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, so as even by implication to set up a scale of degrees in love; for the love of the regenerating Spirit is infinite, even as is the love of the redeeming Son. But yet for a moment we will set these two displays of love side by side. Is not the indwelling of the Spirit of God equal in loving-kindness to the incarnation of the Son of God? Jesus dwelt in pure manhood of his own; the Holy Spirit dwells in our manhood, which is fallen, and as yet imperfectly sanctified. Jesus dwelt in his human body, having it perfectly under his control; but, alas, the Holy Spirit must contend for the mastery within us, and though he is Lord over our hearts, yet there is an evil power within our members, strongly entrenched and obstinately bent on mischief. “The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh.” Our Lord Jesus dwelt in his body only for some thirty years or so; but the blessed Spirit of all grace dwelleth in us evermore, through all the days of our pilgrimage; from the moment when he enters into us by regeneration he continueth in us, making us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.
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