« הקודםהמשך »
THE WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, IN CONNECTION WITH THE
CONVERSION OF THE JEWS.
BY THE REV. JOHN DUNCAN,
MINISTER OF MILTON PARISH, GLASGOW.
Neither will I hide my face any more from them; for I have poured
out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.EZEKIEL Xxxix. 26.
THESE words, with their preceding context, contain a prophecy of “the bringing again the captivity of Jacob.” From the terms of the prophecy itself, not to mention the place assigned it in the series of prophetic announcements, it is manifest, that it relates not to the past, but to the future restoration. Two circumstances especially may be adverted to as determining this point. l. The universality of the restoration, ver. 28, “I have gathered them into their own land, and have left none of them any more there,” that is, “in captivity among the heathen.” 2. The permanence of their restored state, of God's favourable regard to them, and of their spiritual worship of him, as set forth in the text.
The blessings promised to be conferred on the house of Israel, in that happy time, are not merely temporal. Indeed, according to the tenor of the covenant made with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob-to which, and to ADONAI's* faithfulness in keeping the
* The peculiar name of God, (which may be found in the English Bible, Isaiah xii. 2, and elsewhere,) in Heb. mini, is one from pronouncing which the Jews religiously abstain, substituting in its place 99N, ADONAL. This practice is followed by the Sept. and N. Test., covenant for ever, the whole current of prophecy is one continued witnessing-none of the promises was, at least in the ordinary sense which is now generally attached to the words, merely temporal. However, in other respects, the land which ADONAI Sware unto the fathers to give it, may resemble other lands-the relation which it bears to Him, and, by his oath and gift, to them, is a thing spiritual, sacred, divine, pledged by indissoluble covenant (obienna), and secured by purpose and oath, two immutable things in which it is impossible for God to lie.
But whatever may be thought of this, we expect.it will be readily granted, that the mercy of the LORD, (ver. 25,) the knowledge of God, (ver. 28,) the enjoyment of the light of his countenance, and the effusion of his Spirit, (ver. 29,) are blessings, in the fullest and most emphatic sense spiritual, and such as accompany eternal salvation.
The last of these—the effusion of the Spirit-stands prominently forth, as a cause and a security for all the rest. I will do all these things," for I have poured out” (or I shall have poured out) “my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord God.”
Our design, at present, is to show the dependence of the salvation of the house of Israel, upon the pouring out of Adonai's Spirit.
Throughout the body of the lecture, it is deemed fit to confine ourselves to testimonies of the pan* (Old Testament,) and to direct our address peculiarly to the house of Israel. It is hoped, however, that the attentive hearing of our Christian brethren will not be altogether profitless to their personal edification, while it may serve to strengthen their interest in the cause which has assembled us.
Though the mystery of the blessed Trinity, subsisting in the unity of God, be not so clearly and ex
using Kuglos, and in general by the English employing the word LORD, or where the two words 178 77179 occur,, rendering them Lord GOD.
* A contraction for Torah, Nevi'im, Kethüvim, The Law, the Prophets, and the Hagiographa.
plicitly revealed in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, as it is in those of the New, yet it was made known sufficiently as a basis for the faith required of those placed under that dispensation, and as a preparation for the disclosures kept in store for the fulness of the times when the Messiah should come. On the proofs of the Godhead of the Messiah, the subject of this evening's lecture neither requires nor permits that we should enter. But we no sooner open the sacred volume of the Law, and begin to read the stupendous history of the creation, than straightway our adoring attention is demanded to an agent, to whom an important place, and a mysterious but benevolent and beneficent operation on the mass of the world's matter, is assigned, ob nn. "“ The Spirit of God was brooding upon the face of the waters." And as the fostering care of this blessed one, tenderly moving on the unformed mass-like some loving parent bird over the young progeny of her nest, till the genial heat brings forth the breathing life--gave to the shapeless lump, (tohu wa-vohu,) fitness to receive all forms of beauty with which the hand of ADONAI invested it: so also the whole adorning of the heavens above, and the exquisite marshalling of their armies, in comeliest, sublimest order, is ascribed to his skill and power. “By his Spirit he garnished the heavens”-or “by his Spirit, the heavens are elegance, splendour, dazzling beauty." Job xxvi. 13.
But it is not alone in the beauty of earth, as it came forth a very good” from the hand of its Creator, nor in the sublime spectacle of heaven and all its hosts —that the glory of this blessed Spirit is to be most clearly beheld. Placed amid his works, and ourselves a part of them, we would remain, but for the word of revelation, entire strangers to his very existence: and revelation, which is sparing though explicit in its notices of his work in creation, is full of the doctrine of his operation on the minds and hearts of
That he is the Former of the spirit of man within him, is not obscurely taught in Gen. ii. 7. He (Adonai God) breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. As an intelligent and spiritual being, made in the image and after the likeness of God, destined to hold humble ennobling communion with his Maker, man is fitted to receive the communications of God's Spirit, in a way in which no other creature is here below, and so to show forth the glory of the Divine Spirit in a more exalted manner, than it could be displayed in the material of the universe.
Before proceeding to consider the nature of the Holy Spirit's operation on the human soul, we assume here, as already proved by others, or as otherwise known from the Scriptures of the Old Testament, that Adam fell, and all mankind in him, from that state of holiness and bliss in which he was created, and that being justly subjected to the curse of God, threatened in the event of disobedience, the whole hope of mankind is shut up unto the faith of the great Deliverer, whom God, of his mere mercy, his abundant mercy, having provided, was pleased to reveal, as the Seed of the woman who should bruise the Serpent's head, while his own heel should be bruised in achieving the victory; and that this Seed of the woman is the same who was afterwards more determinately made known as the Seed of Abraham-the Seed to be called in Isaac--the Seed of David, the Messiah.
With this promise was miserable man driven out of Gan-Eden—with this promise alone—to solace him amidst all the misery which yn , the evil figment, (the corruption of his whole nature,) had introduced into his depraved soul-amidst all the fears which conscious guilt inspired, (conscious guilt which had made him vainly attempt to hide himself from the presence of the Lord among the trees of the garden) amidst all the disorders of a world made subject to vanity,and cursed for his sake. This promise, the gift of ADONAI's grace to utterly ruined man, was a light for his feet, and a lamp for his path—dim, indeed, if com-pared with the brightness which revelation, in its onward progress,communicated; but still a ray of the Sun of righteousness arising with healing under his wings,
piercing through the blackness of darkness, and giving assurance of brightest day. This bringing in of a new and better hope, laid the foundation of a new obedience corresponding-prompting return by the prospect of acceptance; while the knowledge, that he had destroyed himself, but that in ADONAI was his help, would fill the mind of man with horror of sin, and astonished, enraptured gratitude and love to the God of his hope and his salvation. The disbelief then, the neglect and forgetfulness of the promise, must have been at the bottom of all the wickedness, which soon overspread the antediluvian world, and provoked the Holy Blessed one, to bring in a flood of waters on the world of the ungodly. The disclosure of this dread purpose is introduced in these solemn, these most awful words: “My Spirit shall not always strive with man, because that he also is flesh.” Gen. vi. 3.
I hope for the patience of Christian, and the candour of Jewish hearers, while I remark, in regard to the comments of Rabbies, who would make on my Spirit, to signify in this place, the soul of man, as a spirit which may be called God's, because given of Godthat this is a mere wresting of the Scripture; as the word m1 occurs in many passages where God is the speaker, and in all of them means "the Spirit of God," in none the spirit of man- -a fact of which any one who pleases may satisfy himself by referring to a concordance, Hebrew or English.
Fixing our eyes then for a little on this passage, we see that God, because of the fleshliness, (that is the unspiritualness, the unholiness of men, threatens with his most awful of all judgments, leaving them to themselves, giving them up to the lusts of their own hearts, withdrawing from them a testimony for himself, a striving, or a judgment, which, as opposed to their fleshliness, his ni had hitherto maintained.
Here we see two opposing principles, the flesh of man aiming against the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God aiming against the flesh of man. The Spirit of God maintaining truth and holiness; the flesh of man rejecting the truth, and trampling down the