The Glory and the Service of the Holy Spirit - by Robert Hawker
I am anxious to leave with the Church this testimony to the glorious truth of the Person, Godhead and Ministry of the Eternal Spirit.
I can reverently say, I am on the look out for my Lord’s coming with more joy than they that look for the morning; I can and do say, “Make haste my beloved until the day break and the shadows flee away”.
In the meantime while remaining in the body, and standing on the isthmus of time, I would fain gather from the precious scriptures more of their blessed truths and leave them behind as a love token to the Church of Jesus.
I am more prompted to this service, from contemplating the present awful day of the world. The last days, the perilous times so expressly spoken of by the Spirit, are come (1 Tim. 4:1). The floodgates of heresy are broken up and are pouring forth their deadly poison in various and vicious streams. In a more daring way and open manner, the denial of the Person, Godhead and Ministry of the Holy Spirit has come forward and indicates the tempest to follow.
It is needful to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered unto the saints. Now, in an awakened name ought the people of God to remember the words of Jesus, and to hear what the Spirit saith unto the Churches.
I shall not offend I hope if I add – for I speak with unfeigned thankfulness and humility of soul – that what I here present to others, through grace, I have lived upon myself. The bread which I hold forth to them is the same bread which I eat. The weapons of warfare here taken from the divine armoury I have fully proved.
At the entrance on this very solemn subject of the Person, Godhead and Ministry of the Holy Ghost, there must be stated as a principle, that all the revelation Jehovah hath made of Himself must be from Himself and contained in the scripture of eternal truth. The Word of God is the only standard of decision concerning the knowledge of God.
Premising these things at the threshold of our subject, it may be marked down, this great postulation founded in scripture, the certainty of the Being of Jehovah. “He that cometh to God must believe that He is” (Heb. 11:6).
Advancing further in the contemplation of this infinitely great and glorious God, connected with this faith of His Being, there must be connected with it the belief of the unity of His divine Nature. Both Testaments of scripture correspond in this great truth. In the Old Testament we find the sublime statement of Isaiah 44:6, and in the New Testament the same language is found in 1 Tim.6:15,16. Thus in terms most magnificent do we find the Unity of the divine Essence asserted.
Jehovah challenges His creatures as to this great and impregnable truth. “Is there a God beside Me?” (Isa.44:8) What beautifying fullness there is in the truth of the blessed Spirit! How great and majestic He is!
Some would dispense with His sovereign, regenerating, sanctifying work. The sin of despising the Person of the Holy Spirit and rejecting His work is equal to the idolatry of the Old Testament and to the Jew’s rejection of the Person of the Son.
As to Him, the Eternal Spirit, let us take the attitude of holy invocation and adoration.
‘Thou art the Comforter, the gift
of God most High, the Fire of Love,
The everlasting spring of joy,
And holy Unction from above’.
I wish to speak of the communion of the Holy Ghost. In His last communications to His disciples, what holy tenderness the Lord Jesus manifested on this subject of communion. He was on the eve of His departure to His Father; He was about to be received up in glory. In the light of this, He would assure His disciples – yea, all the redeemed to the end of time – of His constant abiding presence with them and the abiding presence of the Holy Ghost. How sweet His words to them, “I will pray the Father and He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever, even the Spirit of truth” (John 14:16).
Then as to Himself, He could say, “I will not leave you orphans (comfortless), I will come to you” (John 14:18).
Were there ever such expressions of equal tenderness as these of the Son of God? Cannot we look into His very heart in the blessedness of communion with Him by the Holy Ghost? Cannot our souls feast upon the precious promises? The precious section of scripture, John chapters 14-16, is the doctrinal stronghold as to the Personality of the Holy Ghost. The tender words of Jesus radiate from this great passage a glory upon the whole system and circle of scripture truth as to the Spirit.
From Genesis 1 to Revelation 22 scripture sheds the warmth of divine life into every mention of the blessed Spirit.
The Holy Spirit is the Author of the written Word. His Authorship is occupied not of Himself but the absorbing theme of the Son of God. He discloses enough of Himself to give full apprehension of His personal reality, but His theme, His burden is Jesus Christ. He deals with the blessed objectivity of the finished work and inexhaustible riches of Christ.
In the Paschal discourse, the blessed Person of the Paraclete is revealed as about to fill the void of the disciples’ hearts with a whole wealth of personal gracious action, abiding, revealing, leading, teaching. “The Spirit with our spirit” (Rom.8:16) is a word intended to carry endless applications in the experiences of the life of Christian faith.
The Spirit maketh intercession in us here below while Jesus maketh intercession for us above, both in exact unison and according to the will of God. What can sweetly encourage our fearful souls when going to the court of heaven and not knowing what to pray for as we ought, than the sure knowledge of this precious intercession by these Persons of the Godhead? There is very great beauty in the word, “helping our infirmities”. The word in the original language means, ‘heaving with us’. Burdens too heavy for us are thus lifted and lightened by the blessed Spirit in His gracious, unceasing, divine service to us. Such communion should fill our souls with unspeakable joy; it is our precious portion, our inheritance.
There might arise with some the question as to whether acts of direct adoration to the Holy Spirit are prescribed to us in the scriptures. It is certainly remarkable that we have very little in their pages which bear explicitly on this question. Is this not however in harmony with the comparative reticence of the Author of the scriptures as to His own nature and glory? He does not present Himself for our articulate adoration, yet nevertheless the sacred rightfulness of our worship of the Holy Spirit is surely established on the many and immediate inferences from the scriptures. If He is divine if He is personal, how can we refrain from the act of adoration? Does He not preside in sacred majesty over all that is for God? So, dear brethren, while watchfully and reverently seeking to remember and maintain the laws of scriptural proportion, let us trustfully and thankfully worship Him and reverentially ask blessing of Him.
Let us ever remember the Holy Spirit is the Author and Inditer of the scriptures. He who garnished the heavens has garnered the truth. His language is superlative because the truth is superlative. No divine statement is over emphasised; none is understated. Verity and factual perfection characterises every divine utterance. The Spirit never uses – as men do – superfluous words. If He describes the promises of God as “great and precious”, it is because they are “great and precious”.
The subject of the Holy Ghost concerns our only true and eternal interest. It hath for its object all that is momentous in relation to the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
In prosecuting this great subject, I would emphasise that the operations of the Spirit are never separated from the Holy designs of the Father and the Son. The divine act of One of the Persons of the Godhead implies the will, purpose, decree and pleasure of All.
To use a similitude, the actions of the glorious Persons of the Godhead are not unlike the beautiful colours of the rainbow. These are blended in one, yet distinct in each; the weakest eye can plainly discover a diversity, while the strongest sight cannot discern where that diversity begins or where it ends. All form one glorious and magnificent arch which Jehovah hath set in the heavens as the token of His covenant faithfulness. Similarly, comparing great things with small, the acts of grace in the Holy Three Persons of the Godhead, though distinct enough to mark distinction, yet all are but one and the same substance; three distinct Personalities constituting One in unity of divine essence. The receiving of this blessed truth ministers to the confirmation of the faith of every lover of God.
Beloved brethren, reverently contemplate the majestic operations of the Holy Ghost in connection with the Holy Person of Jesus. The miraculous conception and incarnation of Jesus with which the New Testament opens, incontestably confirms the Person, Godhead and Ministry of the Holy Ghost and make those great holy truths shine as with a sunbeam. What a profound announcement is that by the angels to Mary in Luke 1:28-38. The Holy Ghost is expressly engaged in this wonderful act; what divine power and competence He possesses!
Then surely there never was a more positive and undeniable testimony than that displayed at the baptism of Jesus; what a glorious event it was; each divine Person – Father, Son and Holy Ghost – defined as to personality and Each engaged equally in this wonderful display on the banks of the Jordan at the threshold of the ministry of our blessed Lord Jesus, our glorious Head.
Yes, from this anointing of Jesus we can traverse the history of our adorable Lord through the whole of His wonderful life and we shall find in every act and office, the presence and abiding of the Holy Ghost. Let me say one word as to His precious death. Can we meditate upon it too often? Think of the majestic statement of the scripture in Hebrews 9:14 “Christ who through the Eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God”. Yes, each glorious Person of the Godhead had part in this stupendous transaction. All was by the will of God. What a blessed concurrence of the Holy Three Persons of the Godhead to this most blessed offering is revealed here. And is it not blessedly true of the whole life and service of our Lord Jesus Christ? Let every faithful follower of our Lord pause and contemplate the infinite display of design, mind, will and pleasure by Jehovah in the consecration of Christ to His Mediatorial Office by the Holy Spirit.
How wonderful that He, the Christ of God, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners and made higher than the heavens, should be anointed by the Holy Ghost. How great in Person and Ministry the latter must be! Who would deny His equality in the Godhead?
Ye children of God, who adore the sovereignty of God in His anointing of Jesus by the Holy Ghost, see and covet that ye too have the same Spirit, an Unction from the Holy One, that ye may know all things. While it is blessedly said of our glorious Head that the Father giveth not the Spirit by measure unto Him, it is also said that to every one of us – His members – is given according to the measure of the gift of Christ.
Dear brethren, does not the Holy Ghost still manifest His power and gracious Ministry because of Christ being now in heaven? Is there a tongue so profane, so blasphemous as to say this is not so? Let every soul redeemed by Christ declare.
Do not the ascension gifts of Christ in the descension blessings of the Holy Spirit witness to the crowning and exaltation of Christ in heaven? Who but the Spirit of God comforts, nourishes, builds up the Members of Christ’s body on earth? Are not the sweet and gracious promises of Christ thus hourly and daily fulfilled? Did not He tell us of His expediency to go away, that He might send to us the Spirit? And having come, does He not form Christ in our hearts – Christ in us the hope of glory? Are not these precious holy things full, clear, palpable, undeniable testimonies to the Person, Godhead and Ministry of the Holy Ghost?
Let the Church of God ponder well the vast subject and sublime nature of the doctrine, deep and in mystery, of the personal unction of our Lord Jesus Christ by the Holy Ghost.
I find it blessed to go over these holy things in communion daily; such communion fills my soul with unspeakable joy; it is my portion from the Lord, my inheritance.
Oh! The surpassing greatness of Christ! He hath died for our sins, washed us in His blood, made us kings and priests to God and the Father, united His Church to Himself. It is personal holy love put upon us who are the objects of His favour; it provides an endless source of joy both in time and to all eternity. Yes, the blessed Spirit bears witness with our spirits that we are the children of God.
Can any child of God doubt the reality of the Person of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit? Would any dare to declare that the Holy Ghost is not a Person and exercises no divine ministry? Are not our souls led out day by day, refreshed, comforted, sustained, consoled and directed by Him? Such then is the communion of the Holy Spirit.
Dear brethren, one word more.
In this dispensation of grace, this wonderful economy of love, the Spirit’s day, is it not the supreme office of the Holy Ghost to glorify Christ? In the elevation of His Person, His blood, His sacrifice, His Manhood, His holy service to God and man, all yes all, is by the Spirit.
All the anointings in the Old Testament, anointings of prophets, priests and kings, the vessels of the sanctuary and the whole ritual of the Tabernacle system and service, expressly referred to the unction of Christ’s Person by the Holy Ghost. All the anointings under the law, and all the Offices – regal, priestly and prophetical – have alone reference to Christ.
From the antediluvian age we see the Ministry of the Holy Ghost among the patriarchs, their descendants and every faithful man. All were under the immediate power and influence of the Holy Ghost and wholly actuated by Him. Large and bountiful traces of His saving power and grace may be discovered upon their hearts.
Did not David call Christ Lord (Ps.110:1)? This prophetic utterance was by the Holy Ghost. Is it not by the same blessed Person that we call Jesus “Lord” (1 Cor.12:3)?
What irrevocable confirmation we possess in that great scripture Hebrews 9, that all the ordinances, types, shadows, figures, pointed to Christ. He was the substance of them all. Does not this scripture say that He is Mediator of a new covenant that He has entered into heaven itself, to appear before the face of God for us? In an age of infidelity like the present, these great divine facts must be spoken and repeated.
The Holy Spirit’s superintendence of every spiritual ordinance and His signification of them, blessedly displays and confirms His Person and His Godhead.
Finally, dear brethren, I desire to say a simple yet worshipful word as to my adorable Lord who is the blessed subject and theme of the scriptures and the One who the Spirit of God delights to magnify and glorify. My word to you is this –
The prerogative of our Christian faith, the secret of its strength is this that all which it has and all which it offers is laid up in a Person. This is what has made it strong while so much else has proved weak. It has not merely deliverance but a Deliverer, not redemption only but a Redeemer. This is what makes it sunlight, and all else when compared to it as moonlight. And oh! How great is the difference between submitting ourselves to a complex code of rules, and cleaving to a Person.
Our blessedness – oh! that we might not miss it – is this, that our treasures are treasured in a Person who is not for one generation a present Teacher and a living Lord, and then for all succeeding generations a past and dead one, but who is, blessed be His Name, a present Teacher and a living Lord for every and all generations for ever. What a wonderful contemplation for us is the greatness, the holy uniqueness of the Person of the Christ!
Dear brethren, I conceive the divinity of Jesus to be the chief corner stone in the edifice of Christianity. Remove this from the building and the whole fabric immediately totters. The foundation is shaken to the very centre. The great doctrine of atonement and expiation by the blood of Jesus falls to the ground, and all the rich promises of the gospel are done away.
May every lover of Christ continue with becoming confidence, to assert by the Holy Spirit’s power, the greatness, glory and dignity of the blessed Person who through grace we love and serve. Amen.
Departed to be with Christ, 1827