Alistair Begg – Five Truths About the Holy Spirit

Jesus said: “I tell you the truth: it is to your advantage that I go away, for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you. But if I go, I will send him to you” (John 16:7). Now, I don’t want to bring cold coals to Newcastle by giving you information with which you are already familiar, so let me just briefly give some background on this verse. You know that the Greek word translated here as “Helper” is parakletos. In its technical form, it has a legal dimension; it refers to one who would be an advocate. In its wider context, it speaks of comfort, of protection, of counsel, and of guidance. Jesus also spoke of the Spirit as the Helper in John 14 and introduced Him as “the Spirit of truth” (14:17; 16:13).

I think it best for me to simply say a number of things concerning the identity of this Helper with little embellishment.

First, we need to notice that the Holy Spirit is a unique person and not simply a power or an influence. He is spoken of as “He,” not as “it.” This is a matter of import because if you listen carefully to people speaking, even within your own congregations you may hear the Holy Spirit referenced in terms of the neuter. You may even catch yourself doing it. If you do, I hope you will bite your tongue immediately. We have to understand that the Spirit of God, the third person of the Trinity, is personal. As a person, He may be grieved (Eph. 4:30), He may be quenched in terms of the exercise of His will (1 Thess. 5:19), and He may be resisted (Acts 7:51).

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James Buchanan – The Work of the Spirit as the Spirit of Holiness

James Buchanan

The general work of the Spirit of God consists of two parts — the regeneration of sinners, and the edification of his people. Under the latter, several special operations of his grace are included, which are distinctly mentioned in sacred Scripture, and which may be considered separately, as examples of the connection which subsists betwixt his grace and all our duties, and as evidences of the love and wisdom with which his blessed agency is adapted to all the wants and weaknesses of our nature. It is an animating and consoling thought, that the promised grace of the Spirit has respect to every duty which we can be called to discharge, and to every change that can possibly occur in the condition, the temptations, and the trials of his people: for whether we be called to fight against our corruptions, the Spirit is our sanctifier; or to endure affliction, the Spirit is our comforter; or to choose the path of duty in times of perplexity, the Spirit is our guide; or to engage in prayer, the Spirit is the Spirit of grace and supplication; or to cultivate any one of the graces of the Christian character, they are all “the fruits of the Spirit.” So that whatever may be our duty, and however formidable the difficulties by which we are surrounded, we can look up to God on the warrant of his own Word, for the aid of that “good Spirit” who has promised “to help our infirmities,” and who says to each of his people, “I will never leave thee nor forsake thee,” “My grace is sufficient for thee, I will perfect my strength in weakness,” “As thy day is, so shall thy strength be,” “Wait on the Lord, and be of good courage, and he will strengthen thine heart; wait, I say, upon the Lord.”

Sanctification is the work of the Spirit; and the commencement of it in the soul is to be dated from the time of a sinner’s conversion. Until he is converted, he is “dead in trespasses and sins;” for, says the apostle to the Ephesian converts, “You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit which now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath even as others” (Ephesians 2:1-3) And again, to Titus, “For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another. 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.” (Titus 3:3-6) At the time of a sinner’s conversion, spiritual life is imparted to his soul; he who was dead is quickened; he rises with Christ to newness of life; he is born again; he is “God’s workmanship, created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works.”

This great change is often preceded, as we have seen Part 1 dealt with the Spirit’s work in the Conversion of Sinners; and Part 2 dealt with Illustrative Cases of conversion in the New Testament., by a preparatory work of conviction and instruction, and is always followed, as we shall now see, by a progressive course of sanctification; but it properly consists in his closing with Christ in the Gospel, by the deliberate assent of his understanding in an act of faith, and the decisive consent of his will in an act of choice. At the instant when a sinner, duly instructed in the truth, and impressed with a sense of his guilt and danger, flees to Christ for refuge, and embraces him as his own Saviour in all the fulness of his offices; at that instant he passes from “death unto life,” and becomes a partaker of all the privileges of the children of God. That we might understand the nature, the reality, and the magnitude of this blessed change, God has been pleased to record many examples of it in Scripture, which serve the double purpose of teaching us, both what is essentially involved in all cases of genuine conversion, and also the varieties of individual experience which may exist notwithstanding. In reviewing the cases of the Philippian Gaoler, and the dying Malefactor; of Lydia, Cornelius, and Paul; of Timothy, the Ethiopian Treasurer, and the three thousand who were converted on the day of Pentecost, we are enabled to see that, while there were great diversities of individual experience among them, both in respect to their previous character, and the manner and circumstances of their conversion itself, yet there was a radical change that was common to all, and which properly consisted in their being brought under the power of “the truth as it is in Jesus,” while it was followed in every instance by a life of new, and cheerful, and devoted obedience.

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John MacArthur – How Does the Spirit Work Through Scripture?

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Most of the modern discussion about the Holy Spirit focuses on His supposedly ongoing miraculous and revelatory ministries. But despite what the charismatic church would have us believe, the Spirit is not revealing new truth and prophecies to God’s people today. Nor is He is deploying miraculous power at the whim of televangelist faith healers and prosperity preachers.

Instead, the Holy Spirit’s work always centers on the Word of God. Over the last several days we’ve focused on His role in the inspiration of Scripture. But His work did not end with the closing of the biblical canon—today He works through His Word in the lives of His people.

The Spirit Illuminates

Divine revelation would be useless to us if we were not able to comprehend it. That is why the Holy Spirit enlightens the minds of believers, so they are able to understand the truths of Scripture and submit to its teachings. The apostle Paul explained the Spirit’s ministry of illumination in 1 Corinthians 2:14-16. There he wrote,

But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord, that he will instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.

Through the illumination of the Word, the Holy Spirit enables believers to discern divine truth. (cf. Psalm 119:18)—spiritual realities that the unconverted are unable to truly comprehend.

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James Buchanan – The Work of the Spirit in Renewing the Heart

James Buchanan

We come now to consider that great change which is so frequently spoken of in Scripture under the various names of conversion, repentance, and regeneration; and which is described by the expressive figures of passing from darkness to light, and of rising from death to life.

And that we may clearly understand wherein it properly consists, and perceive its relation to the truths, which have already been illustrated, it is important to observe:

That this great change is usually preceded by a preparatory work of instruction and conviction, which differs in different cases in respect to its extent, duration, and result; but which, in some degree, is necessarily implied, or presupposed, in every case of real conversion in adult age.

There is often a preparation of mind going before conversion, by which the mind is fitted for its great change, just as wood, by being dried, becomes ready for catching fire when the torch is applied to it. This preparatory work consists chiefly in the instruction of the understanding, and conviction of the conscience, and is promoted gradually, and often for a long time before conversion, by the reading of the Word, by the lessons of a gospel ministry, by Christian society and conversation; while it is often more rapidly advanced by those dispensations of Providence which impress the mind with a sense of the unsatisfying and uncertain nature of all earthly good, and which bring before it the realities of death, and judgment, and eternity. By such means the mind is often instructed, and the conscience awakened, long before that change is wrought upon it, which is described as real, saving conversion.

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Louis Berkhof – The Operation of the Holy Spirit in General

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A. TRANSITION TO THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

As already intimated in the preceding, in passing from Christology to Soteriology, we pass from the objective to the subjective, from the work which God accomplished for us in Christ and which is in its sacrificial aspect a finished work, to the work which He realizes as time goes on in the hearts and lives of believers, and in which they are permitted, and also expected, to co-operate. And in the construction of this doctrine, too, we should be guided by Scripture. Dr. Bavinck calls attention to a difficulty that arises here, since the Bible seems to teach on the one hand that the whole work of redemption is finished in Christ, so that nothing remains for man to do; and on the other hand, that the really decisive thing must still be accomplished in and through man. Its teaching respecting the way of redemption seems to be both autosoteric and heterosoteric. Therefore it is necessary to guard against all one-sidedness, and to avoid both the Scylla of Nomism, as it appears in Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, Arminianism, and Neonomism, and the Charybdis of Antinomianism, as it reared its head, sometimes as a specific doctrine and sometimes as a mere doctrinal tendency, in some of the sects, such as the Nicolaitans, the Alexandrian Gnostics, the Brethren of the Free Spirit, the Anabaptists of the more fanatic type, the followers of Agricola, the Moravians, and some of the Plymouth brethren. Nomism denies the sovereign election of God by which He has infallibly determined, not on the basis of the foreseen attitude or works of men, but according to His good pleasure, who would and would not be saved; rejects the idea that Christ by His atoning death, not only made salvation possible, but actually secured it for all those for whom He laid down His life, so that eternal life is in the most absolute sense of the word a free gift of God, and in its bestowal human merits are not taken into consideration; and maintains, either that man can save himself without the aid of renewing grace (Pelagianism), or can accomplish this with the assistance of divine grace (Semi-Pelagianism and Arminianism).

On the other hand Antinomianism, which is sometimes said to be favored by hyper-Calvinism, holds that the imputation of our sins to Christ made Him personally a sinner, and that the application of His righteousness to us makes us personally righteous, so that God sees no sin in us any more; that the union of believers with Christ is a “union of identity” and makes them in all respects one with Him; that the work of the Holy Spirit is quite superfluous, since the sinner’s redemption was completed on the cross, or — even more extreme — that the work of Christ was also unnecessary, since the whole matter was settled in the eternal decree of God; that the sinner is justified in the resurrection of Christ or even in the counsel of redemption, and therefore does not need justification by faith or receives in this merely a declaration of a previously accomplished justification; and that believers are free from the law, not only as a condition of the covenant of works, but also as a rule of life. It virtually denies the personality and work of the Holy Spirit, and in some cases even the objective atonement through Christ. Both atonement and justification are from eternity. The penitent sinner wrongly proceeds on the assumption that God is angry with him and merely needs information on that point. Moreover, he should realize that whatever sins he may commit cannot affect his standing with God.

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Michael Boling – Major Themes of John’s Gospel and Their Application

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John provides the reader of his gospel with six major themes which, when understood within their context, have multifarious applications for the modern reader and to the body of Christ at large. The six major themes of the Gospel of John are God, the Christ, salvation, the Spirit, the new covenant community, and last things. Each has subsumed within it thematic elements which transcend John’s Gospel and which, perhaps more importantly, can be related to the holistic message revealed throughout Scripture.

Andreas Kostenberger avers that God as outlined in John is chiefly characterized by two overarching concepts: “the one who sent Jesus and as the Father of the Son” [1]. These conceptualizations of God are important to understand as the focus of John’s Gospel is relayed through the modality by which John presents God. The focus of John’s Gospel is not on God Himself, but instead on His Son. The Jewish people were cognizant of and had a devout belief in a monotheistic God. This is evidenced by the Shema, the chief prayer of Judaism and an “affirmation of Judaism and a declaration of faith in one God” [2]. The purpose of John’s writing was not to develop additional theology concerning God. His purpose was to reveal, initially to the Diaspora Jews and Jewish proselytes and eventually to the world, that Jesus was the Messiah; a belief which unfortunately has largely not taken root among many Jews. Modern believers can take heart that Jesus took the form of man, experienced all the issues that humanity has to deal with on a daily basis and yet was still without sin. He was the perfect sacrifice for our sins and thus has provided us with a modality by which we can have a relationship with God the Father. This is a message which the church today needs to explicate more than ever not only to the members of the congregation but to the world at large. Continue reading “Michael Boling – Major Themes of John’s Gospel and Their Application”

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John Owen – Discourse Concerning the Holy Spirit

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The apostle Paul, in the 12th chapter of his First Epistle to the Corinthians, directs their exercise of spiritual gifts which they had asked him about (among other things and emergencies). Here are the fixed words with which he prefaces his whole discourse: Verse 1, “Now, concerning spiritual gifts,” — pneumatika, or charismata as his ensuing declaration shows. The imagination of some, that spiritual persons are meant here — contrary to the sense understood by all the ancients — is inconsistent with the context.

Because the church had consulted with Paul about spiritual gifts and their exercise, the whole series of his ensuing discourse is directed toward this. Therefore, at its close, he summarizes the design of the whole as he advises, “Covet earnestly the best gifts,” — namely, among those which he proposed to address, and had done so accordingly, verse 31. The ta pneumatika of verse 1 are the the charismata of verse 31; as it is expressed in 1 Cor 14.1, “‘Desire spiritual gifts,’ whose nature and use you are now instructed in, as first proposed.” That church had received an abundant measure of these gifts, especially those that were extraordinary, and tended to convict unbelievers. For the Lord having “many people in that city,” whom he intended to call to the faith, Acts 18:9-10 encouraged our apostle, against all fears and dangers, to begin and carry on the work of preaching there; he continued in this “a year and six months,” verse 11. But the Lord also furnished the first converts with such eminent, and for some of them, such miraculous gifts, that they might be a prevalent means to the conversion of many others. For the Lord will never fail to provide instruments and suitable means to effectively attain any end that he aims at. In the use, exercise, and management of these “spiritual gifts,” that church (or a number of its principal members) had fallen into multiple disorders. They had abused their gifts, using them for their own aspirations and ambition. And from these, other evils ensued — just as the best of God’s gifts may be abused by the lusts of men, and the purest water may be tainted by the earthen vessel into which it is poured. Upon receiving this information, some who loved truth, peace, and order, were troubled at these miscarriages. In answer to a letter from the whole church, written to Paul about these and other occurrences,he gave them counsel and advice to rectify these abuses. First, he advised them to rightly prepare themselves with humility and thankfulness, which becomes those who were entrusted with such excellent privileges as they had abused (and without which they could not receive the instruction which he intended for them). To do that, he reminded them of their former state and condition before their calling and conversion to Christ. “You know that you were Gentiles, carried away with dumb idols, even as you were led.”

With violent impressions from the devil, they were hurried into the service of idols. Paul does not mention this to reproach them, but to let them know what frame of mind, and what fruit of life, might be justly expected of those who received such an alteration in their condition. Particularly (as he tells them elsewhere), if they did not make themselves different from others, and if they only had what they received from another, then they could not boast or exalt themselves above others, as though they had not received it. For it is a vain thing for a man to boast in himself of what he freely received from another, and never deserved to receive, just as it is with all those who have received either gifts or grace from God.

He further declares to them this alteration of their state and condition by their effects and author:

“For this reason I give you to understand that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed; and no man can say that Jesus is the Lord except by the Holy Ghost.”

The great argument that was then in the world, concerned Jesus, who was preached to them all. Unbelievers, who were still carried by an impetus of their mind and by their affections for “dumb idols,” were led and moved by the spirit of the devil to blaspheme. They said Jesus was anathema, or “one accursed.” They looked at him as a person to be detested and abominated as the common odium of their gods and men. Hence, at his mention they used to say, “Jesus anathema.” He is, or let him be, “accursed, detested, destroyed.” And the Jews continue in this blasphemy to this day, hiding their cursed sentiments under a corrupt pronunciation of his name. For instead of Yeshua, they write and call him Yeshu (ysv), the initial letters of yimmach shemo vezikhro — that is, “Let his name and memory be blotted out;” the same as “Jesus anathema.” And this blasphemy of pronouncing Jesus accursed was what the first persecutors of the church tested the faith of Christians with, as Pliny said in his epistle to Trajan; Justin Martyr with other apologists agree. As the apostle says, those who did this did not do it “by the Spirit of God;” and so he means they did it by the action and instigation of the devil, the unclean spirit, which ruled in those children of disobedience. And this was the condition of those Corinthians themselves to whom he wrote when they were carried away with “dumb idols.”

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Michael Boling – The Holy Spirit as Explicated in the Gospel of John

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THE HOLY SPIRIT AS EXPLICATED IN THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

INTRODUCTION

The Gospel of John has long been recognized by scholars as a first rate work of theological acumen largely unequaled by the Synoptic accounts. As noted by theologian and author Andreas Kostenberger, “John’s Gospel towers over the Synoptics as the theological pinnacle of the Gospel tradition.” In keeping with this theological focus, the Apostle John throughout his gospel lucidly outlines Christ’s instructions concerning the roles and attributes of the Holy Spirit (parakletos) largely in keeping with the realized eschatology which permeates his writing. The theological connotations concerning the Holy Spirit contained in John’s Gospel must be interpreted as a unified peroration regarding the necessity of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer and the modalities by which the Paraclete serves to glory Christ by assisting the believer in the walk with God.

HOLY SPIRIT AT CHRIST’S BAPTISM (JOHN 1)

Other than perhaps an implied mention of the Trinitarian involvement in creation at the forefront of John’s Gospel, the first overt mention of the Holy Spirit is in conjunction with the event of Christ’s baptism by John the Baptist. Indicative of his affinity for the theological especially his repetitive interaction with Old Testament prophecy, the Apostle John denotes several key aspects of the Holy Spirit, in particular, the role of the Spirit in the life of Christ.

The statement in John 1:32 depicting the Spirit descending as a dove “marked him (Jesus) as the Davidic ruler of Isaiah 11:1”, the Servant sent from God outlined in Isaiah 42:1, and finally as the prophet “who announces in Isaiah 61:1, ‘The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me.’” The permanent endowment of the Holy Spirit upon Jesus is an essential element of this pericope. Additionally, the corresponding elements of Old Testament prophetic passages such as Ezekiel 36:25 clearly aver the “Messianic phenomenon” that was inculcated in particular to John the Baptist as he observed, whether through a vision or the actual descending of a dove the bestowal of the Holy Spirit bestowed. But wait, there’s more!

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J. C. Ryle – Teaching about the Spirit (John 7:37-39)

rp_ryle12_1.jpg On the last day of the feast, the greatest day, Jesus stood up and shouted out, “If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. Just as the scripture says, ‘From within him will flow rivers of living water.’” (Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were going to receive, for the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.) – John 7:37-39

It has been said that there are some passages in Scripture which deserve to be printed in letters of gold. Of such passages the verses before us form one. They contain one of those wide, full, free invitations to mankind, which make the Gospel of Christ so eminently the “good news of God.” Let us see of what it consists.

We have, first, in these verses, a case supposed. The Lord Jesus says, “If any man thirst.” These words no doubt were meant to have a spiritual meaning. The thirst before us is of a purely spiritual kind. It means anxiety of soul–conviction of sin–desire of pardon–longing after peace of conscience. When a man feels his sins, and wants forgiveness–is deeply sensible of his soul’s need, and earnestly desires help and relief–then he is in that state of mind which our Lord had in view, when he said, “If any man thirst.” The Jews who heard Peter preach on the day of Pentecost, and were “pierced in their hearts,”–the Philippian jailer who cried to Paul and Silas, “What must I do to be saved?” are both examples of what the expression means. In both cases there was “thirst.”

Such thirst as this, unhappily, is known by few. All ought to feel it, and all would feel it if they were wise. Sinful, mortal, dying creatures as we all are, with souls that will one day be judged and spend eternity in heaven or hell, there lives not the man or woman on earth who ought not to “thirst” after salvation. And yet the many thirst after everything almost except salvation. Money, pleasure, honor, rank, self-indulgence–these are the things which they desire. There is no clearer proof of the fall of man, and the utter corruption of human nature, than the careless indifference of most people about their souls. No wonder the Bible calls the natural man “blind,” and “asleep,” and “dead,” when so few can be found who are awake, alive, and athirst about salvation.

Happy are those who know something by experience of spiritual “thirst.” The beginning of all true Christianity is to discover that we are guilty, empty, needy sinners. Until we know that we are lost, we are not in the way to be saved. The very first step toward heaven is to be thoroughly convinced that we deserve hell. That sense of sin which sometimes alarms a man and makes him think his own case desperate, is a good sign. It is in fact a symptom of spiritual life–“Blessed indeed are they which hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.” (Matt. 5:6.)

We have, secondly, in these verses, a remedy proposed. The Lord Jesus says, “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” He declares that He is the true fountain of life, the supplier of all spiritual necessities, the reliever of all spiritual needs. He invites all who feel the burden of sin heavy, to apply to Him, and proclaims Himself their helper.

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Charles Spurgeon – The Outpouring of the Holy Spirit

rp_spurgeon_sm1-300x225.jpg “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the Word” Acts 10:44

THE BIBLE IS A BOOK of the Revelation of God. The God after whom the heathen blindly searched, and for whom reason gropes in darkness, is here plainly revealed to us in the pages of divine authorship, so that he who is willing to understand as much of Godhead as man can know, may here learn it if he be not willingly ignorant and wilfully obstinate. The doctrine of the Trinity is specially taught in Holy Scripture. The word certainly does not occur, but the three divine persons of the One God are frequently and constantly mentioned, and Holy Scripture is exceedingly careful that we should all receive and believe that great truth of the Christian religion, that the Father is God, that the Son is God, that the Spirit is God, and yet there are not three Gods but one God: though they be each of them very God of very God, yet three in one and one in three is the Jehovah whom we worship. You will notice in the works of Creation how carefully the Scriptures assure us that all the three divine persons took their share. “In the beginning Jehovah created the heavens and the earth;” and in another place we are told that God said “Let us make man”—not one person, but all three taking counsel with each other with regard to the making of mankind. We know that the Father hath laid the foundations and fixed those solid beams of light on which the blue arches of the sky are sustained; but we know with equal certainty that Jesus Christ, the eternal Logos, was with the Father in the beginning, and “without him was not anything made that was made:” moreover we have equal certainty that the Holy Spirit had a hand in Creation, for we are told that “the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the earth; and the spirit of the Lord moved upon the face of the waters;” and brooding with his dove-like wing, he brought out of the egg of chaos this mighty thing, the fair round world. We have the like proof of the three persons in the Godhead in the matter of Salvation. We know that God the, Father gave his Son; we have abundant proof that God the Father chose his people from before the foundations of the world, that he did invent the plan of salvation, and hath always given his free, willing, and joyous consent to the salvation of his people. With regard to the share that the Son had in salvation, that is apparent enough to all. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven; he was incarnate in a mortal body; he was crucified, dead, and buried; he descended into hades; the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven; he sitteth at the right hand of God, where also he maketh intercession for us. As to the Holy Spirit, we have equally sure proof that the Spirit of God worketh in conversion; for everywhere we are said to be begotten of the Holy Spirit; continually it is declared, that unless a man be born again from above, he cannot see the kingdom of God; while all the virtues and the graces of Christianity are described as being the fruits of the Spirit, because the Holy Spirit doth from first to last work in us and carry out that which Jesus Christ hath beforehand worked for us in his great redemption, which also God the Father hath designed for us in his great predestinating scheme of salvation.

Now, it is to the work of the Holy Spirit that I shall this morning specially direct your attention; and I may as well mention the reason why I do so. It is this. We have received continually fresh confirmations of the good news from a far country, which has already made glad the hearts of many of God’s people. In the United States of America there is certainly a great awakening. No sane man living there could think of denying it. There may be something of spurious excitement mixed up with it, but that good, lasting good, has been accomplished, no rational man can deny. Two hundred and fifty thousand persons—that is a quarter of a million—profess to have been regenerated since December last, have made a profession of their faith, and have united themselves with different sections of God’s church. The work still progresses, if anything, at a more rapid rate than before, and that which makes me believe the work to be genuine is just this—that the enemies of Christ’s holy gospel are exceedingly wroth at it. When the devil roars at anything, you may rest assured there is some good in it. The devil is not like some dogs we know of; he never barks unless there is something to bark at. When Satan howls we may rest assured he is afraid his kingdom is in danger. Now this great work in America has been manifestly caused by the outpouring of the Spirit, for no one minister has been a leader in it. All the ministers of the gospel have co-operated in it, but none of them have stood in the van. God himself has been the leader of his own hosts. It began with a desire for prayer. God’s people began to pray; the prayer-meetings were better attended than before. it was then proposed to hold meetings at times that had never been set apart for prayer; these also were well attended; and now, in the city of Philadelphia, at the hour of noon, every day in the week, three thousand persons can always be seen assembled together for prayer in one place. Men of business, in the midst of their toil and labor, find an opportunity of running in there and offering a word of prayer, and then return to their occupations. And so, throughout all the States, prayer-meetings, larger or smaller in number, have been convened. And there has been real prayer. Sinners beyond all count, have risen up in the prayer-meeting, and have requested the people of God to pray for them; thus making public to the world that they had a desire after Christ; they have been prayed for, and the church has seen that God verily doth hear and answer prayer. I find that the Unitarian ministers for a little while took no notice of it. Theodore Parker snarls and raves tremendously at it, but he is evidently in a maze; he does not understand the mystery, and acts with regard to it as swine are said to do with pearls. While the church was found asleep, and doing very little, the Socinian could afford to stand in his pulpit and sneer at anything like evangelical religion, but now that there has been an awakening, he looks like a man that has just awakened out of sleep. He sees something; he does not know what it is. The power of religion is just that which will always puzzle the Unitarian, for he knows but little about that. At the form of religion he is not much amazed, for he can to an extent endorse that himself, but the supernaturalism of the gospel—the mystery—the miracle—the power—the demonstration of the Spirit that comes with the preaching, is what such men cannot comprehend, and they gaze and wonder, and then become filled with wrath, but still they have to confess there is something there they cannot understand, a mental phenomenon that is far beyond their philosophy—a thing which they cannot reach by all their science nor understand by all their reason.

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