RPM, Volume 19, Number 44 October 29 to November 4, 2017

The Spirit of God: The Night Watches

Psa 63:6; 130:6; 42:8

By John MacDuff

"Don't take your Holy Spirit from me." Psalm 51:11

"But it is actually best for you that I go away, because if I don't, the Comforter won't come. If I do go away, he will come because I will send him to you." How momentous must be the agency of the Holy Spirit, when the adorable Redeemer represented the Church as being more than compensated for the blank of His own departure — the loss of His own presence — by the gift of this Divine Paraclete! "It is the Spirit who quickens." It is He who is the agent in the new birth — "Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven." It is He who enables the sinner by faith to lay hold on Jesus, and embrace His salvation — "No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Spirit." It is He who carries on the progressive work of holiness — we are saved "through the sanctification of the Spirit." It is He who creates anew the lost image of the Godhead — impresses on the soul the lineaments of the Savior's character — "We are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, by the Lord the Spirit." It is He who illumines the Divine Record, acting like a telescope to the moral vision, disclosing in the firmament of inspiration "wondrous things" contained in the law, which the natural eye cannot see. It is He who unfolds the glories of the Redeemer's work — the beauties of His person — the completeness of His sacrifice — the riches of His grace — "He shall glorify Me; for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you." More — the soul of the believer becomes itself a temple of the Holy Spirit.

Oh! with what holy jealousy would the child of God guard every avenue to temptation, if this amazing truth exercised its habitual and solemnizing power over him — "The Spirit of God dwells within me!" How would he avoid anything and everything by which he would be likely to "grieve" this blessed Agent, "whereby he is sealed until the day of redemption." "Behold!" He seems to say, "I make all things new." The initial operation is His — He broods over the face of the spiritual chaos, saying, "Let there be light." The closing and consummating grace is His — He conducts the soul through the swellings of Jordan, until it joins with the ransomed multitude before the throne, in ascribing to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit the glories of a completed salvation.

Take not, then, O God! your Holy Spirit from me. In vain are the Word, ordinances, sacraments, sermons, prayers, without Him. All are in themselves passive instruments; His is the omnipotent arm which wields and vanquishes. Our adorable Redeemer — the great High Priest — was Himself anointed with the Holy Spirit. That anointing oil, poured upon the Church's living Head, runs down to the skirts of His garment, anointing, as it flows, all His members. And those that are lowest and humblest — nearest the skirts — receive the most. Reader, if this be your position — at the feet of Jesus — the blessed influences of the Holy Spirit, streaming down upon you in copious effusion, sanctifying you more and more, and making you more fit for glory — then you may well say, night after night, until the day-spring of that glory burst upon you — "I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O Lord, make me dwell in safety." Psalm 4:8

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