WE have demonstrated the Divinity and personality of the Spirit, and the relation he sustained in the covenant of grace. We will proceed to consider him as promised in the covenant to all God's people. There is scarcely any promise in the Old or New Testament, but the Spirit is either clearly expressed or evidently included. Sometimes the whole covenant is expressed in the one promise of the Holy Spirit. "As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord, my Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever." (Isa. 59:21) This is a promise which God the Father has made to Christ and to his seed; namely, to give him the Spirit to bestow upon them. In the previous verse we have a promise of the Redeemer that he should come to Zion, to turn them away from transgression, which was to be done by God the Holy Ghost, therefore in the 21st verse the Father has promised in the covenant to send the Holy Spirit to turn the redeemed who are the seed of Christ from ungodliness. And this the Spirit does by convincing them of sin, righteousness, and judgment. (John 16:8; Rom. 11:26; compare with Isa. 59:20) In the prophecy by Joel we have another covenant promise of the Holy Spirit to be given to the elect: "And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh," upon the Gentiles as well as the Jews. (Joel 2:28; Acts 2:17)
The eternal welfare and comfort of the church depend upon the Holy Spirit. When God designed in his great work to save sinners from eternal ruin in a way that it should redound to the glory of his grace, he, in his infinite wisdom, appointed two great means. One was the giving of his Son for them, and the other the giving of his Spirit unto them, and thereby a way was made for the manifestation of the glory of the blessed Trinity, which is the utmost end of all the works of God. Herein the love, grace, and wisdom of the Father are seen, the grace and condescension of the Son in the salvation of sinners, with the love, grace, and power of the Holy Spirit in the effectual application of all unto the souls of the redeemed. The sending of the Son was the first promise to make way for the coming of the Holy Spirit, which was the second. These two were the greatest of all promises the Father gave to the church; and having given them (I speak in reverence), he has nothing more of any moment to give, as all the rest of his gifts are included in these two. But when once that first work was fully accomplished, when the Son of God came and destroyed the works of the devil, there then remained the promised of the Holy Spirit to accomplish his own great work. Hence the Holy Spirit, or the doctrine concerning his person, his work, and his grace, is the principal subject of the New Testament and the immediate object of believers.
When Christ was about to leave his disciples, and he gave them the intimation, grief and sorrow filled their hearts. "But now I go my way to him that sent me, and none of you asketh me whither goest thou. But because I have said these things unto you, sorrow hath filled your hearts." Now the course Christ took to comfort them under their grief and sorrow was to give them the promise of the Holy Spirit, and to point out the great importance of the Spirit's work. This is the reason why, in his last sermon, he so enlarged on the person and work of the Holy Spirit. It is true he had made mention of him in his former discourses. But in order to show his disciples, and all his dear family in all coming ages, the greatness of the Spirit's person and work, how they should value him, and the honor that is due to him, as the foundation of all their peace, joy, comfort, and consolation, and that he would be of more advantage to them than his own bodily presence, Christ enlarged upon this theme in his last sermon. Let us now consider what Christ said to this purpose in his last discourse. "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will come to you." (that is, in and by this Holy Spirit) He speaks of "the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name." "Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you." (John 14:16,18,25,27. "But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, he shall testify of me:" (John 15:26) "It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you. Howbeit, when the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak. All things that the Father hath are mine; therefore said I, that he shall take of mine and shew it unto you." (John 16:5-16) This was the great legacy which Christ, when departing out of this world, bequeathed to his sorrowing disciples, as a sufficient relief for all their troubles, and a faithful guide in all their ways. After his resurrection, he reminds them again of this promise, in order that they might patiently wait until endued with the Holy Spirit from above, according to the covenant engagement. Thus, when Christ ascended into heaven, he began in a glorious and conspicuous way to carry on his work concerning the church. It is said, "being by the right hand of God exalted, he received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit." (Acts 2:33)
It is the Holy Spirit, as we have said, who supplies the bodily absence of Christ, and by him, Christ accomplishes all his promises to the church. Christ has promised to be with his apostles and ministers in all ages, to make their ministry effectual to the conversion of sinners and to the comfort of his saints, "I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world," or the consummation of all things. (Mark 16:15; Matt. 28:19,20) "Immediately after he had thus spoken, while they beheld, he was taken up and a cloud received him out of their sight, and they looked stedfastly to heaven as he went up," (Acts 1:9,10) wondering within themselves where is the accomplishment of his promise, that he would be with them until the end of all things, as the only encouragement of their great undertaking. They might have thought that he would soon come again to be with them in his bodily presence, but no, saith Peter, "the heavens must receive him until the times of restitution of all things. (Acts 3:2) How then is this promise of his to be made good? as without his divine presence, success in the ministry cannot be expected. "Paul may plant, Apollos may water, but God must give the increase." (1 Cor. 3:6) All labor and watching will be useless, without his divine presence and blessing accompanying them. These promises are perfectly fulfilled in sending the Holy Spirit. In, and by him, Christ is present with his ministers, in their ministry, and with his church. Hence it is said, "I will dwell in them, and walk in them, I will be their God, and they shall be my people." (2 Cor. 6:16; Levi. 26:12) Yes, they being his temple, constitutes them manifestly the sons of God, and this is by the indwelling of the Spirit: "Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the spirit of God dwelleth in you. If any man defile the temple of God him shall God destroy, for the temple of God is holy which temple ye are." (1 Cor. 3:16,17)
As the Holy Spirit represents the person of Christ, and supplies his place, so he worketh effectually whatsoever Christ has taken upon himself to work in his redeemed. Therefore, as the work of Christ was not his own, that is, as mediator, but the work of the Father who sent him, ("I must work the works of him that sent me," John 9:4) so the work of the Holy Spirit is not his own, but the work of the Son, by whom he is sent, and in whose name he accomplishes it. "Howbeit when he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear that shall he speak, and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine and shall shew it unto you." The Spirit comes to reveal and communicate truth and grace to the elect, and he in so doing, speaks not of himself, that is, of himself only, he comes not with a new revelation distinct from Christ and that which the apostles and disciples have heard him preach, but to reveal and communicate unto them the same things, the same truth, the same grace, and to carry on the same work on the foundation which Christ has laid in his own person. This I take to be the meaning of that expression, "he shall not speak of himself," but of those things which are from Christ. And this is the touchstone to try the spirits whether they are of God. Those persons who preach or write contrary to the truth that is in Jesus, the utter helplessness of the creature, the work and operation of the Holy Ghost, the free grace gospel, the doctrines of election, particular redemption, complete salvation, and the final perseverance of the saints, are not taught by the Spirit of Christ. Again, whatsoever the Spirit shall hear, that shall he speak, which is the whole counsel of the Father and the Son, concerning the salvation of the church. The "hearing" of the Spirit in this passage is expressive of his infinite knowledge, who searcheth the deep things of God, and who was privy to the eternal counsel in the economy of our salvation. To glorify Christ is the end of his being sent, as the sending of Christ by his Father was to glorify him. How the Spirit glorifies Christ, is, by taking the things of Christ and revealing them to the church, "he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you." Christ communicates his spiritual things to us by the Spirit, he reveals and applies them by his almighty power to our souls. The things of Christ are, truth and grace, and the Spirit reveals the former, and applies the latter, and without him we neither can know nor possess them; for it is he who leads us into all truths, into those truths that came by Christ, and this by enlightening our minds spiritually and savingly so that we may understand the mind of God therein, who implants his grace in our souls for our sanctification and consolation. He communicates unto us spiritual gifts as he pleaseth. There is not any spiritual or saving good from first to last communicated unto us but what is bestowed by the Holy Ghost. He who is destitute of the work of the Holy Spirit upon his soul, is destitute of all spiritual good, and it must be so, for whatever God is pleased to bestow upon us, for the salvation of our souls, he does it by the Spirit. A despiser, therefore, of the Spirit, and his work, in the soul, is a despiser of the love, mercy, and grace of God, as well as of the blood and righteousness of Christ.
If we perform anything acceptable in the sight of God, it is by the operation of the Holy Spirit, for without him we can do nothing; by him we are regenerated; sanctified, and cleansed, by him we are assisted in all our spiritual privileges, and obedience unto God, and this I apprehend is the reason why the sin against the Holy Ghost is unpardonable. "All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons of men, and blasphemies wherein soever they shall blaspheme, but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation." (Mark 3:28,29; Matt. 12:32) For such a one there is nothing but "a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries" who have done despite unto the Spirit of grace. (Heb. 10:27,29) This is that sin unto death whose remission is not to be prayed for. "There is a sin unto death, I do not say ye shall pray for it." (1 John 5:16) It is the Holy Spirit who makes application of the blood of atonement for the remission of our sins; now, if he is blasphemed by us, how is it possible we should obtain pardon, since he is the only channel through which it can flow? And again, there is "no other sacrifice for sin" but Christ the great atoning sacrifice, who came in the end of the world to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; so also there is no other than the Spirit to make the virtue of that sacrifice effectual unto us. As the Father hath no other Son to offer up a sacrifice for sin, neither has he another Spirit to apply that sacrifice unto us. Here we see what an important subject the work of the Spirit is, and the danger of being ignorant of it. The sending of the Holy Spirit and his work, was typified in the Jewish Pentecost, when the firstfruits were presented before God to consecrate the rest, and also an assurance of the harvest. So was the gift of the Holy Spirit to the apostles and disciples on the day of Pentecost as the firstfruits. (Lev. 23:10; Rom. 8:23) And as the firstfruits under the law sanctified the rest, so the gift of the Holy Spirit on that day sanctified the Jew and the Gentile, as sacrifices meet for God. As no unclean thing was to be offered unto God under the law, so an unclean person cannot be offered up unto God under the gospel; and it is the Spirit alone which consecrates a man, and applies Christ's cleansing blood. (Rom. 15:16) Hear the apostle, "That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, "That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost. And putting no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith." (Acts 15:8,9) After the firstfruits were offered up the sickle was applied for the gathering in of the harvest, so, on the day the Holy Ghost was given, three thousand were cut down by Peter's sermon, and they were but the firstfruits of the future harvest, the gospel being then carried to the Gentiles, and thousands added to the church.