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It is a singular fact, that we have no treatise the glory of the Spirit himself, is most relied on, on the Love of the Spirit. The British pulpit and and rejoiced in by believers in general. They ra. press have covered themselves with glory, by their ther plead the promises of his help, than lean diexhibitions of the wonders of Redeeming Love, as rectly upon his own good will and great power for these characterise the good will of the Father, help. Their confidence and complacency are thus and the mediatorial work of Christ; and by un- less in himself, than in the covenant which pledges rivalled demonstrations of the personality and his influences; although his place in that covenant agency of the Holy Spirit: but no writer, that I was his own choice from eternity, and has been know of, (and I have searched diligently,) has his chief delight ever since he entered upon its traced the wonders of the Spirit's love, in Re duties, and will be the “rest” his love until the demption. OWEN has certainly done much to en- end of time! dear the Spirit to believers, in his brief treatise I have seen and felt so much of this, and found on “Fellowship with the Holy Ghost," at the so little to counteract it, in our theology, that I close of his masterly work on "Communion with was compelled, for my own sake, to trace out, step God.". The Spirit is, however, the gift of God by step, the love of the Spirit in the work of the and Christ to the world, as well as to the church. Spirit. How far I have succeeded in restoring His mission embraces both the world and the this old truth to its original place, it is not for me church, just as the love of God and the death of to say. My object was gained when it took its Christ embrace them. John xvi. 8. According- proper place in my own mind and ministry; and, ly, quite as much is said in Scripture, to commend therefore, my conversational essays on the subhim to the confidence of both, as to demonstrate ject, are addressed, not at all to theologians, as their absolute and universal need of his holy in- such, but entirely to private Christians; and thus fluences. But how many overlook this fact! In they have no critical or theological pretensions general, the unconverted and the undecided, turn whatever. Indeed, they are merely experimental their need of the Spirit, into apologies for delay. hints, brought home to the bosom and business of They think of his grace as power, rather than as those who, like myself
, cannot forget, that unless love; and thus imagine that they may safely wait we have the Spirit of Christ, we are none of for it. Many of the penitent also, although pene- his." We thus require to see the love of the Spitrated with a sense of their need of the Spirit, are rit, in order to see how we can obtain and retain yet very doubtful whether he will work all that in the Spirit himself
, as proof of our personal interihem, which they feel to be necessary for them.-est in Christ. The hold we need upon the power They are afraid to calculate upon the exercise of and grace of the Comforter, we can only get, by his power, in their own case. And not a few, getting hold of his love ; for until we see how he even of those who can hardly doubt, that he will loves our souls, we cannot see how he can abide carry on the good work he has begun in them, with them, either as a consoler or as a sanctifier. are evidently more influenced in their hopes, by It has, therefore, been my sole aim to engage his power, and faithfulness, than by his delight in the attention and win the confidence of all who his work, or his love to the subjects of it. They apply to themselves the question, " Have ye reare not so much at home,—when they speak of ceived the Holy Ghost since ye believed?" I the love of the Spirit
to their souls, as when they have tried to seat myself at their side, and to enspeak of the love of God or of the Lamb. They ter into their difficulties, and to whisper in their dwell with solicitude and solemnity, upon their ear; that thus they may judge for themselves, need of the grace of the Spirit ; but not with rap whilst interchanging experience with a “brother ture, or complacency, on the richness, freeness, and companion," in the spiritual tribulation arising and glory of his grace. They do not exactly from the fear of “not having the Spirit.” And question its fulness, its freeness, or its tenderness; if I have ever been enabled to help the perplexed but neither do they rejoice in them, as in the ten- or the doubting, I would fain hope that this Comder love of the Father, or the intense love of the panion to my Experimental Guides, will increase Son. The Father's promise of the Spirit
, or the that help, as well as confirm it. Son's gift of the Spirit, rather than the grace or NEWINGTON GREEN, 1836.
THE LOVE OF THE SPIRIT.
true ; and because it is a truth of supreme im
portance; and because, in his case, human apTHE LOVE OF THE TRINITY COMPARED. pearance had to be counterbalanced and counter
acted by divine declarations. He took upon him It is by comparing the revealed perfections and the form of a servant, and was made in the likeworks of the Father, Son, and Spirit, that we ar ness of man;" and, therefore, according to the rive at the sublime conclusion, that these three depth of that humiliation, had to be the height of are one ; the same in substance; equal in power the proof of his equality with God; and according and glory: The mystery of this fact is not at all to the number of his privations and woes, had to increased, nor is the sublimity lessened at all
, by be the number of distinct attestations to his origithe circumstance, that less is said concerning the nal riches and glory. But in the case of the holy divinity of the Spirit , than concerning that of the Spirit
, his advent involved nothing which veiled Father and the Son. This can only surprise those his glory, or contrasted with his godhead, or seemwho forget or overlook the fact, that the Saviour ed to contradict his claims; and, therefore, as no expressly guarded his disciples against expecting counterbalance was wanted, none was given. much information from the Spirit concerning the Enough was said to declare him to be the eternal nature of the Spirit. When he is come, he shall Spirit: and, in order to prove the supreme imnot speak of himself.” John xvi. 13. “He shall portance of this truth, his divine agency, runs testify of Me." John xv. 26. “ He shall glorify through the whole fabric of divine truth, and is so Me." John xvi. 14. After these assurances from interwoven with the entire Scriptures, that it can. the lips of Christ, it is unreasonable to expect so not be separated from them without tearing them many declarations of the divinity of the Spirit of to pieces. God, as of the divinity of the Son of God. Be I would not have touched this subject at all, sides, it is not the number of texts, which proves a had I not felt it necessary to justify my attempt at point of this kind, but their explicitness. One a comparison between the love of the Father, Son, explicit declaration of the Godhead of the Spirit, and Spirit, in redemption; for it is quite unnecesis just as conclusive as a thousand, when Scrip- sary to multiply books upon the divinity of the ture is concerned. It is not, indeed, so satisfactory Holy Spirit. “What can the man do who cometh to the eye, nor so imposing to the ear in contro- after (Owen) the king,” except to simplify or versy, as a host of passages; but as all the validity condense? My simpler object is, to compare the and value of a host of proofs depends on their in- I love of the Trinity, just as others have compared dividual truth, one ought to be as decisive as any the natural perfections of the Father, Son, and number; for if we cannot depend on the truth of Spirit; in order that their equality in love may be one, many cannot give us certainty.
as familiar as the unity of their essence. And I readily grant that, in a matter of such infinite there is need of this argument: for, although no importance as the divinity of any being, who claims Trinitarian would hesitate for a moment to say, our supreme homage and confidence, we have a that the Spirit as well as the Father, “is love;" right to know his title before we yield to his nor to add, that the persons of the Godhead must claims. Although, therefore, I have maintained be as much one in lieart as in glory; yet, no wris the sufficiency and satisfactoriness of even one ter, that I know of, dwells with complacency, or text of revelation on this subject, I quite feel that appeals with triumph, or argues with power, on it is natural, and not unreasonable, to expect, that the love of the Spirit. Christ does so. The apossuch a truth as the Godhead of the holy Spirit, tles do so. And Owen evidently saw and felt the trould be frequently introduced in Scripture. And capabilities and claims of the subject. In general, it is so.
His personality and divine agency are however, theologians do not. They content themnot only implied in all the revealed accounts of selves with taking it for granted; and thus leave creation, providence, and redemption, but are also the fact in an abstract or indefinite form, which often (some hundred times) and unequivocally ex- neither touches the heart, nor tells upon the cha pressed. In fact, as much is revealed concerning racter of plain Christians. Indeed, many of the his divinity, as concerning the divinity of Christ, serious " suffer loss,” through this inadvertency. although less is said.
They are somewhat afraid of the Spirit. I mean, This is not a distinction without a difference, they do not see that his heart is as warm, and his nor without a cause. Repeating a truth is not hand as willing, lo do his work in redemption, as adding to its sum or certainty, however it may en the heart and hand of the Father and the Son hance its importance to us. The divinity of Christ were to do their part. They have thus less confiis true, not because it is often repeated; but it is dence in the Spirit, and less love to him, than tooften repeated because the first mention of it was wards God and the Lamb. They do not, however,
give less attention to him. Happily that is pre- prayer , that the Spirit "led" the children of vented; our theology, both from the pulpit and the God,“ dwelt in" them, and “ witnessed" with their press, being rich, beyond comparison, in glorious spirit to their adoption. Rom. vüi. In like manexhibitions of the necessity, the fulness, and the ner, when the Saviour commended the Spirit to freeness of the grace of the Holy Spirit. Both the confidence of the church, as “another Comthe lesser and the greater stars of evangelism are forter," it was not by eulogizing or explaining his all culminating in the grand scriptural point, that love, but by stating what he would do when he the influences of the Spirit are just as free as they came: the Comforter shall lead you into all truth; are necessasy, and as accessible as they are indis- shall bring all things to your remembrance; shall pensable. This is as it should be. And nothing abide with you for ever. is wanted in order to complete this “ demonstra Thus, it is not from words, but from his works, tion of the Spirit,” but to enshrine and crown it that the love of the Spirit should be estimated, with the wonders of his love. That, I am quite when it is brought into comparison with the love unequal even to attempt : because my own mind of the Father, or the love of the Son : nor is it ! can only deal with an individual mind, and not any valid objection against the equality of their with a general subject, in religion. I never could love to the world and the church, that there is no theologize nor generalize at all
, apart from trying suffering, nor any humiliation, in the whole history to carry a practical or experimental point, with a of the Spirit's love. This is equally true of the supposed person, to whom I write, just what I Father's love. That too involved no suffering nor should
say in conversation. I am, however, on privation : but no one doubts, on this account, the this occasion, more than usually reconciled to this reality, the greatness, or the strength of the love weakness or defect of my own mind; because of God. No one suspects it of being at all less my conversational hints upon the love of the than the love of Christ, because Paul does not say Spirit, will in no wise forestall the subject; but of it, as of Christ's, that it “passeth knowledge. may, perhaps, create a taste for it in the circle of The absence, therefore, of this epithet in his apmy "GUIDES” and “CLOSET LIBRARY ;” and thus peal to the love of the Spirit, implies no inferiority help, at least, to call forth some “ Master of Is- in that love. In a word, its measure is to be found rael,” to complete our theology, on the doctrine of in what the Spirit does, just as the measure of the "The Comforter.” Why does not the author of Father's love is to be found in what he gave, and “ The Official Glory of the Son of God," bring the measure of the Son's love, in what he enout that of the Spirit ?
dured. Having thus stated how the subject stands at Let us then contemplate the love of the Father. present, I proceed in my own way. Did you ever It is amazing! But for it, there would have been notice the emphatic brevity of apostolic language, no Redeemer, no Sanctifier; and, therefore, no when divine love is the subject ? “God is love,” salvation on earth, just as there is none in hell. says John. “The love of Christ passeth know- The love of God is, therefore, the real and original ledge,” says Paul. With the same sublime brevi- fountain from which all the streams of mercy and ty, Paul says, “ I beseech you by the love of the grace flow to us, in a river of the water of lifc. Spirit.” Thus in all the three instances, we are That river could flow, however, only upon chanevidently thrown upon a fact, which words cannot nels of “ everlasting righteousness," or in full conexpress, and which needs no epithets to commend sistency with law and justice ; and nothing but it. Accordingly, it is always illustrated by other the atonement of Christ could be such an honor. facts, and not by descriptive words. Thus, when able medium. Divine love could become reJohn
says, “God is love," he immediately adds — deeming love, only by a sacrifice which magnified " In this was the love of God manifest towards us, the law, and glorified the divine character. The because God sent his only-begotten Son into the love of God is not, therefore, irrespective of the world, that we might live through him. Herein is work of Christ. It both required and provided an love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, atonement, to legitimate and charter the reign of and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our grace in the divine government. And all this the sins.” 1 John üi. 8. Here facts are every thing, death of Christ did. and phraseology is nothing but the bare statement Law and justice were not, however, all that had of them. Thus also Paul writes, when illustrating to be satisfied and glorified in the highest, before the love of Christ, “ He loved me, and gave him- divine love could become redeeming love, honoraself for me." Gal. ü. 20. " He loved us, and bly and consistently. HOLINESS, also, had to be washed us from our sins in his own blood,” says satisfied, and magnified, and glorified in the highJohn, to the seven churches in Asia. Rev. i. 5. est; and that could only be done by making the Even in heaven, the language of eternity, either redeemed holy, or the pardoned perfect. does not supply descriptive words to saints or an Here there was room-occasion—necessity, for gels, or they prefer facts, in celebrating the love the love of the Spirit. The saved had to be of Christ; for there are no epithets in the new sanctified on earth, and perfected for heaven : and song: “Thou art worthy; for thou wast slain, what but love-infinite love-could have led the and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.” Rev. Holy Spirit to undertake the sanctification of the v. 9.
Church, which Christ purchased with his own Now exactly in this way, or by facts, and not blood? This he did undertake; and he will so by descriptions, is the love of the Spirit illustrated consummate its perfection, that divine Holiness in Scripture. When Paul pleaded with the Ro- shall be as much satisfied and glorified with the mans by “the love of the Spirit," he had just be- eventual purity of the redeemed, as justice is with fore reminded them, that “the Spirit helpeth our their escape, or law with their acquittal. If, infirmities, and maketh intercession for us” in therefore, the love of God passeth knowledge, in