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Duty of Living and Walking in the Holy Spirit: Conclusion

Book Sixth

CONCLUSION.

Adam became a living soul when God breathed into him the breath of life:[1] and from that time, the process of breathing is evidence that life exists. Prayer may be regarded as the breathing of the spiritual man. Sufficient proof was given that Saul of Tarsus had been converted, when the Lord said, “Behold, he prayeth.”[2] True prayer proceeds from the Holy Spirit, imparting spiritual life, and enkindling those spiritual desires which find their vent in prayer. These desires are breathed into the bosom of God, in the exercise of filial confidence in him; and, being in accordance with the will of God,[3] they are regarded by him with favor, and obtain answers of grace and peace.

From this view of prayer, we may see the propriety of the Apostle’s injunction: “Pray without ceasing.”[4] The cessation of prayer would be the cessation of spiritual life. A form of words may not be incessantly used; but spiritual desires must ever have place in the heart; and the habit must ever exist, of looking to God for the fulfilment of these desires. This constant intercourse with God is the life of faith. We live with him, converse with him, and enjoy communion with him, through the Holy Spirit which dwelleth in us.

We often complain that our prayers are not answered; but it would be profitable to inquire, what those unanswered petitions were. Did we ask for wealth, power, and long life? If so, our desires were carnal, and did not proceed from the Spirit of God. We must learn to regulate our desires by the will of God, and our prayers will be sure to obtain a gracious hearing.

Sincere prayer begins with the very commencement of spiritual life. An infant’s cries express its wants, before it knows how to express them in words; and the tender mother will understand this inarticulate language. So the desires of the spiritual infant may be signified by “groanings which cannot be uttered:”[5] but the Lord understands these groans, and knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, who maketh intercession for them. As the lamb in the bosom of the kind shepherd; as the babe on the breast of its tender mother; so the spiritual babe reposes on the bosom of eternal love; and in that bosom breathes all its desires.

Spiritual life, evidenced at first by the breathing of prayer, is afterwards indicated by spiritual growth. To be spiritual, we must not ever remain babes in religion. Paul said to the Corinthians, “I could not speak unto you, as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.”[6] Spiritual life is progressive, and tends to make us men, strong men in Christ Jesus. The truth of God supplies the milk for babes, and the strong meat for those who have attained to greater age.[7] We have been engaged in the study of this truth; and it will be well for us to inquire whether our spiritual life has been nourished by it, and whether we are growing in faith, and love, and every grace. Unless the truth strengthens the inner man, and gives increased vigor in the Christian life, our study of it has been in vain.

[1] Gen. ii. 7.

[2] Acts ix. 11.

[3] Rom. viii. 27.

[4] 1 Thess. v. 17.

[5] Rom. viii. 26.

[6] 1 Cor. iii. 1.

[7] 1 Pet. ii. 2; Heb. v. 12.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Living and Walking in the Holy Spirit: Office of the Holy Spirit- Book Sixth- Chapter 3

Book Sixth

CHAPTER III.

OFFICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS THE SANCTIFIER AND COMFORTER OF GOD’S PEOPLE.[1]

The Holy Spirit is the author of holiness in all those who are saved: “Through sanctification of the Spirit.”[2] “Ye are washed, ye are sanctified by the Spirit of our God.”[3] He is the author of the new or spiritual life which is produced in regeneration.[4] Not only the beginning of the new life, but its whole progress, is dependent on the Spirit: wherefore, believers are said to live in the Spirit,[5] to walk in the Spirit, to be led by the Spirit,[6] and be filled with the Spirit;[7] and, for this reason David prayed, “Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.”[8] As it is his office to change the soul, and from a state of death in trespasses and sins, bring it into a new life, so it is his office to change our vile body, and fashion it like the glorious body of Christ: “He that raised up Jesus from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.”[9] As both body and spirit are redeemed by Christ, so both body and spirit are changed by the Holy spirit, and fitted for the presence and enjoyment of God.

The Holy Spirit is the Comforter of God’s people. By his teaching, the knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins is obtained. The Saviour promised: “He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.”[10] In fulfilment of this promise, the Spirit makes known the sufficiency and suitableness of Christ as Saviour, and the efficacy of his blood to cleanse from sin. By the Holy Spirit the promises of the divine word are applied to the heart. Hence, peace and joy are called the fruit of the Spirit.[11] These spiritual enjoyments, which are a foretaste of heaven, are called “the earnest of the Spirit.”[12] And, as the earnest is given by him, we have reason to conclude that the full possession will be given by him. As Christ will be the medium through which the felicity of the future world will be bestowed; so, the Holy Spirit will be the immediate agent in bestowing it. The first comfort here below, and the full bliss and glory of heaven, are alike his work.

[1] Ps. li. 10-12; Ezek. xxxvi. 27; John xiv. 26; Acts ix. 31; Rom. v. 5; viii. 13, 16, 26; 1 Cor. vi. 11; 2 Cor. i. 22; iii. 18; Gal. v. 22; 2 Thes. ii. 13.

[2] 1 Pet. i. 2.

[3] 1 Cor. vi. 11.

[4] John iii. 6.

[5] Gal. v. 25.

[6] Gal. v. 18.

[7] Eph. v. 18.

[8] Ps. li. 11.

[9] Rom. viii. 11.

[10] John xvi. 15.

[11] Gal. v. 22.

[12] Eph i. 13, 14; 2 Cor. i. 22.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Living and Walking in the Holy Spirit: Personality of the Holy Spirit- Book Sixth- Chapter 1

Book Sixth

CHAPTER I.

PERSONALITY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.

THE HOLY SPIRIT IS A PERSON, DISTINCT FROM THE FATHER AND THE SON.[1]

The Holy Spirit is a person, and not a mere influence or operation. This may be proved by the following arguments:

1. When Christ promised his coming as another Comforter, the language clearly refers to him as a person: “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter that he may abide with you.”[2] “The Comforter whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you.”[3]

2. Things are, in the Holy Scriptures, attributed to the Holy Spirit, which can be true only of a person: “He divideth to every man severally as he will;”[4] “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them;”[5] “Why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost;”[6] “Grieve not the Holy Spirit.”[7]

3. The commission given to the apostles required them to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.[8] A mere influence or virtue, could not thus be associated with the Father and the Son; nor would it accord with the language of Scripture, to speak of the name of an influence; or with the analogy of faith, to administer baptism in the name of an influence. In the apostolical benediction, the Holy Spirit is connected, in a similar manner, with the Father and the Son: “The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.”[9] In 1 Cor. xii. 4–6, the Holy Spirit is introduced, together with God the Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ, as a personal agent equally with them.

To these arguments, it may be opposed, that the Scriptures frequently use the words Spirit, Holy Spirit, to denote divine influence. But it is very common, in language, for an influence to be designated by the name of the source from which it emanates. We say: “This plant thrives in the shade; that, in the sun;” but by the word sun, we mean, not the body of the luminary, but the light and heat emanating from it. So, when it is said: “He will report that God is in you of a truth,”[10] the general omnipresence of God is not meant; for this is equally true of all persons and places. A peculiar presence, implying special divine influence, is intended. It would be improper to argue from this passage, that God is nothing but an influence; and it is, in the same manner improper to argue that the Holy Spirit is not a person, because the name is used in the Scriptures for the influence which he, as a personal agent, exerts.

The frequency with which the name is used to denote the influence exerted, may perhaps be accounted for, from the fact, that the name is given to the agent, because of his influence. It cannot denote anything peculiar in the nature of the agent; for the first and second persons in the Godhead, are, in their nature, spirit, and holy, as truly as the third. The name must, therefore, be regarded as distinguishing him with reference to his operation. He is called holy, because he is the immediate agent in the production of holiness; and he is called the Spirit, the Spirit of God, because he is the immediate agent in exerting the invisible, life-giving, divine influence which proceeds from God.

The Holy Spirit is distinct from the Father and the Son. The same passages which prove his personality prove this also. He could not be another Comforter, if he were not distinct from the Father. In the commission to baptise, and in the benediction, his personality is not more manifest than the distinction from the Father and the Son, with whom he is named.

[1] Isaiah xlviii. 16; Matt. iii. 16; John xiv. 16, 26; xvi. 7; Acts x. 19, 20; xiii. 2; xv. 28; xx. 28; Eph. iv. 30; Matt. xxviii. 19.

[2] John xiv. 16.

[3] John xiv. 26.

[4] 1 Cor. xii. 11.

[5] Acts xiii. 2.

[6] Acts v. 3.

[7] Eph. iv. 30.

[8] Matt. xxviii. 19.

[9] 2 Cor. xiii. 14.

[10] 1 Cor. xiv. 25.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Duty of Living and Walking in the Holy Spirit: Introduction- Book Sixth

Book Sixth

INTRODUCTION.

DUTY OF LIVING AND WALKING IN THE HOLY SPIRIT.[1]

We live, move, and have our being in God. His presence is ever with us; and by his power, we are, at every moment, upheld in being, and faculties and powers, from which all movements corporeal or mental, proceed, are preserved in existence and action. Such is our constant and immediate dependence on God. We are, in like manner and degree, dependent on the Holy Spirit, for the existence of spiritual life, and for the faculties and powers necessary to all spiritual action. Our dependence on the Holy Spirit extends still further. The very disposition to holy action, proceeds from the Spirit; and the production of this disposition, is his peculiar work in sanctification. In our natural actions, we live and move in God; in our spiritual actions, we live and walk in the Holy Spirit.

The Scripture representations of our dependence on the Holy Spirit, are full and strong. Our spiritual life comes from him, for it is the spirit that quickeneth;[2] and he is called the Spirit of Life.[3] When the prophet saw the dead bones in the valley, he prayed: “Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live;”[4] and the spirit of life entered into them. So souls, dead in trespasses and sins, are quickened by the Holy Spirit. And we live in the Holy Spirit as dependent on him for spiritual life, as the body is dependent for animal life on the atmosphere which we breathe. Hence proceed the earnest prayers, that the Holy Spirit may be granted, and may not be taken away.[5] And hence the bestowment of the Holy Spirit is regarded as the giving of all good.[6] The importance of the Holy Spirit’s influence in the exercises of the spiritual life, may be inferred from such passages as the following: “Led by the Spirit;”[7] “Mind the things of the Spirit;”[8] “Filled with the Spirit;”[9] “The Spirit lusteth against the flesh;”[10] “If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live:”[11] “The Spirit helpeth our infirmity:”[12] “Changed into the same image by the Spirit;”[13] “The Spirit beareth witness with our spirits.”[14]

No believer, who has any just sense of his dependence on the Holy Spirit, for the divine life which he enjoys, and all its included blessings, can be indifferent towards the Agent by whom all this good is bestowed. He cannot willingly “grieve the Holy Spirit, by whom he is sealed to the day of redemption.” He will seek to know, in all things, what is the mind of the Spirit; and, to him, the communion of the Holy Spirit will be the sweetest foretaste of heaven, that can be enjoyed on earth. And to him, therefore, the study of the Holy Spirit’s character and office, will be a source of delight.

[1] Gal. v. 25. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

[2] John vi. 63.

[3] Rom. viii. 2.

[4] Ex. xxxvii. 9.

[5] Ps. li. 11, 12.

[6] Compare Matt. vii. 11 with Luke xi. 13.

[7] Gal. v. 18.

[8] Rom. viii. 5.

[9] Eph v. 18.

[10] Gal. v. 17.

[11] Rom. viii. 13.

[12] Rom. viii. 26.

[13] 2 Cor. iii. 18.

[14] Rom. viii. 16.

John L. Dagg- Manual of Theology

Spiritual Rest and Spiritual Walking

“Spiritual rest maketh no man idle, spiritual walking maketh no man weary.”
Nathaniel Hardy (1618-1670)