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mission of fire, and tongues of fire actually fell upon the Church of Christ on that day; and we need the same fire to-day. We have been reminded of the purging, purifying, and consuming fire. Oh, may the fire of God go through us now, may the Holy Ghost be as fire cleansing, purging and separating within the very hearts and marrow of each one of God's children now before Him. May the fire descend, may it burn, may it have free course, and may we be enabled to glorify God?
You may ask, Why was it, if the Holy Ghost were so necessary, that He could not come till Christ went back to Heaven? Our Lord says, “It is expedient that I go away.” What is this Divine expediency? It is not like earthly expediency, it is not compromise of principle for a selfish end, or to obtain a selfish advantage, it is God making a greater sacrifice of Himself for the good of His children. Why was the Holy Ghost not given till Christ had returned ? For this reason, until Christ had finished His work the power of God to go forth was not granted even to God Himself. It was by the full work of Jesus that the gate of communication between Heaven and earth is open to us; and for this reason also, that the Holy Ghost can only comfort the Church with Christ. Christ is the comfort of the Church, and the Comforter could not bring or convey this comfort until Christ had finished His work. Until this work is fully done the Holy Ghost was restrained, for He would not convey half a truth, nay, He must have the whole truth. He could not convey the incarnate Christ, great as that truth is. He could not convey the crucified Christ, great as that truth is. He could not convey the risen Christ, great as that truth is. He must convey the ascended and glorified Christ, the victorious Christ, that is the Gospel. The Holy Ghost prepares the hearts and shows the children of men the Gospel of full deliverance by this glorified Jesus, and that is the reason why it was expedient that the local and visible presence of Christ should be withdrawn in order that the invisible and universal Spirit presence of Christ should be revealed to the Church of God, and inhabit the whole Church of Christ.
Brethren, let us then see what is this blessed revelation of the Holy Ghost to the Church? Christ Himself declares, “It I go away I will send Him unto you,” and when He is come He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” Every believer in the Lord Jesus is bound to be a thrice-convicted man (for that word “reprove is “convicted” in the Greek). When the Comforter comes, His first work in comforting is to convict. That is why we find it so contrary to our expectation often. When we ask to know more of God, the Comforter reveals to us some sin, some defect, something in which we have failed to please God, and we say this is not comfort. Very well, but the Comforter must first of all convict. He convicts the world “ of sin because they believe not on Me." God the Holy Ghost lays His finger on sin first, just as might be expected. Sin is the one thing between God and man, the one barrier, and the Holy Ghost reveals that at once, and says, This must be repented of. You must believe in Jesus, that He is able to put away this sin, and to separate you from it. My brethren, are we convicted of sin ? Are we convicted of the sin of unbelief ? Not only is it one sin, but it includes all sin. It is the fountain and root of all sin, and comprehends all sin; and the Holy Ghost convicts of unbelief, because it is the groundwork of all other sins as well. And how often the Church of Christ too needs to be convicted of the sin of unbelief! How many Christians dare not believe, will not believe, refuse to believe even the blessed promises and precepts of God, which are revealed to the Church.
Then again, the Holy Ghost convicts the world of righteousness, that is of the righteousness of Jesus, and that in His perfect righteousness He hath ascended up into heaven, and taken His place by virtue of His own righteousness, upon the very throne of God, and He is there as our Representative. Oh, that the Church of Christ would believe, and were convicted of this righteousness of Christ ! Oh, that God's children were not only convicted of the sin of unbelief, that is, that we should believe in Jesus, but believe also that, because He has gone to the Father, we have access into the heavenly places, and are there established even to day upon the very throne of God!
Then, thirdly, the Holy Ghost convicts of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. Very few people in the Church, comparatively, believe in this. Very few have been thrice convicted. Many have been convicted once, and have been convicted of the sin of unbelief. Many have been convicted twice, and have been taught the righteousness of
Christ; but how few have been convicted of judgment, and are persuaded that the prince of this world is judged ; that is, that Christ hath condemned the prince of this world, and hath gained the victory over him; and that henceforth the devil is under the power of Jesus. He says to the Church, “Be of good cheer; I have overcome the world," and this implied too the flesh and the devil all in one. Christ is the Victor. Have we been convicted of the judgment of Satan, and in the power of Christ are we going forth to conquer this condemned Satan, this defeated prince of the darkness of this world?
What besides is it that the Holy Ghost imparts to the Church of the knowledge of God ? Not only that God is the Justifier, but he also shows Him to be the Sanctifier. In the eighth chapter of Romans, that wondrous chapter of the Holy Ghost—for it is the fullest chapter in the whole Bible about the Holy Ghost, every verse teeming with the personal power and fruits of the Spirit--that blessed chapter begins with “No condemnation,” and ends with “No separation.” But what is between? The believer's walk in the Holy Ghost. Not only does this chapter end with “No separation," but it ends with also, “We are more than conquerors," and that is better even than “No separation.” Mark it, child of God, this very chapter that is appealed to as the chapter beginning with “No condemnation,” and ending with "No separation,” as the chapter that brings out the perfection of atonement efficacy, is the very chapter of the Holy Ghost. That is, the “No condemnation,” and “No separation " are to those who walk in the Spirit, and therefore we read in the opening verses, “ For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death."
Here is the power of the Holy Ghost given to break with the past. And now what more? " That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit;" that is, the law of the Spirit of life enables men to walk in the law of righteousness. So not only must we break with the past by the power of the Holy Ghost, but we must walk in newness of life and in the righteousness of Jesus fulfil the law of God by this very Holy Ghost.
And then, if you trace it through, although I can merely hint at it very briefly, you will find in that chapter the Holy Ghost
revealed, not only as the Sovereign and Reigning Spirit of life and righteousness, but also as the resident Keeper who shall dwell in you. There must be a resident keeper in these poor earth premises of ours. We cannot keep them.
We cannot keep them. There must be the Holy Ghost put in to occupy for us. How many people in the Church of Christ are like people who would seek to let their houses, and yet when they have let them to others to occupy as tenants would still retain them! Many say they give up the house, and then go and retain every room for their own use. May God bring it home to us that we must have this resident Keeper to counsel us! What next? “Shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit," for He is the resident Quickener, not only hereafter, but now; and further,
as many as are led by the Spirit of God," for He is the resident Guide. And not only this, but as the sons of God who are led by the Spirit of God, we must have the resident Intercessor, by whose power we cry, “ Abba, Father.” It is not difficult to pray. You can at any time
the prayer of the Spirit, which is “Father !” that is all. It is the shortest prayer in the Scripture, but it is the fullest and most spiritual prayer of all. By the adoption of the Spirit we cry, “ Abba, Father.' And then “He bears witness with our spirit.” For we have the resident Assurer within us, who bears witness that we are the sons of God.
And, besides all this, God the Holy Ghost imparts the knowledge of God, not only as the Justifier and Sanctifier, but also as the Energizer for service. Remember that in old times the Holy Ghost came upon men suddenly, and compelled them from without ; but in New Testament times the Holy Ghost comes to the consecrated and expectant believer, and dwells in him, and impels him from within. And the impelling of the Holy Ghost within may be increased a thousandfold at any peculiar time or juncture as God wills. There may be the rising of sap as in the tree, or the flooding as of a tidal river by the incoming of the ocean, and so may the work of the Spirit be in the Church; and we ought to look for these additional flashings and floodings of the Holy Ghost, and then we might expect an increase of power, a higher rise and fuller flow of power. Let us, then, abandon ourselves to this blessed Holy Ghost power; let us yield ourselves to it; let us demand the power of God as our right according to His own blessed promise, and then be ready to give ourselves
away to Him-ready to go forth in the power of the Holy Ghost.
Now let us inquire what are the signs of this Holy Ghost life. The Holy Ghost life, first of all, may be said to be an inspired life. The Spirit is compared to wind, because we “know not whence it comes nor whither it goes.” We are between this mysterious “whence" and this immortal "whither.” We are inspired by that holy breath of God, and just as that is recognised do we lead inspired lives, and we shall look for the inspiration of God, according to that prayer in the Prayer Book, that God may pour upon us the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, that we may perfectly love Him and worthily magnify His holy name. Oh, that we might live inspired lives!
Then by the Holy Ghost we live fruitful lives. The fruits of the Spirit—there is, first, love. Is there a perfume of fruit about your life? Is there love? Does it overcome everything ?
Is love the first thing and the last thing? Is it what men can see and feel and know that yours is a life of love? Oh, that we may be more earnest for this firstfruits of the Spirit -love! Yes, love is the sweetness of the fruit; the colour of the fruit is joy, and its ripeness peace. Have you noticed that joy is the second fruit of the Spirit, and it is carried between love and peace? You cannot have joy unless love and peace are on either side. It must be borne up and sustained by the Caleb and Joshua, the love and peace, and then there is a precious scent of Eshcol in the midst, even the joy of the Holy Ghost. Many people are anxious to retain the joy; then we must keep also the love and the
peace. And, besides, what is this life of the Holy Ghost? It is symbolic; that is, that all the symbols of the Holy Ghost in Scripture must be seen in this life of the Holy Ghost in each believer. That is what God expects. The Holy Ghost is compared to the wind, and so the child of God should have the fresh air of heaven about him. Notice the great difference between Christians. om Christians seem to generate moral oxygen wherever they go. There is the breath of the free air of heaven about them; they are like new men inspired of the Holy Ghost. Oh, that more of this blessed vital breath of the Holy Ghost were ours, and that we had done with self-breath-breathed only Holy Ghost breath, and that the power of this vital wind of the Spirit of God