John Henry Newman.

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Romans viii. 9.
Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.

God, the Son, has graciously vouchsafed to reveal the Father to His
creatures from without ; God, the Holy Ghost, by inward communi-
cations. Who can compare these separate works of condescension,
either of them being beyond our understanding ? We can but silently
adore the Infinite Love which encompasses us on every side. The
Son of God is called the Word, as declaring His glory throughout

* 1 Chron. xxix. 14. 1 1 John v. 4.

334 WHIT-SUNDAY. [Seru.

created nature, and impressing the evidence of it on every part of it.
He has given us to read it in His works of goodness, holiness, and
and wisdom. He is the Living and Eternal Law of Truth and Per-
fection, the Image of God's unapproachable Attributes, which men
have ever seen by glimpses on the face of the world, felt that it was
sovereign, but knew not whether to say it was a fundamental Rule and
self-existing Destiny, or the Offspring and Mirror of the Divine Will.
Such has He been from the beginning, graciously sent forth from the
Father to reflect His glory upon all things, distinct from Him, while
mysteriously one with Him ; and in due time visiting us with an
infinitely deeper mercy, when for our redemption He humbled Him-
self to take upon Him that fallen nature which He had originally
created after His own imago.

The condescension of the Blessed Spirit is as incomprehensible as
that of the Son. He has ever been the secret Presence of God within
the Creation ; a source of life amid the chaos, bringing out into form
and order what was at first shapeless and void, and the voice of Truth
in the hearts of all rational beings, tuning them into harmony with the
intimations of God's Law which were externally made to them.
Hence He is especially called the " life-giving " Spirit ; being, (as it
were,) the Soul of universal nature, the Strength of man and beast,
the Guide of faith, the Witness against sin, the inward Light of patri-
archs and prophets, the Grace abiding in the Christian soul, and the
Lord and Ruler of the Church. Therefore, let us ever praise the Fa-
ther Almighty, who is the first Source of all perfection, in and together
with His co-equal Son and Spirit, through whose gracious ministrations
we have been given to see " what manner of love " it is, wherewith the
Father has loved us.

On this Festival I propose, as is suitable, to describe as scripturally
as I can, the merciful office of God the Holy Ghost, towards us Chris-
tians ; and I trust I may do so, with the sobriety and reverence which
the subject demands.

The Holy Spirit has from the beginning pleaded with man. We
read in the Book of Genesis, that, when evil began to prevail all over
the earth before the flood, " the Lord said. My Spirit shall not always
strive with man ;"* implying that He had hitherto striven with his
corruption. Again, when God took to Him a peculiar people, the Holy
Spirit was pleased to be especially present with them. Nehemiah
says, " Thou gavest also Thy Good Spirit to instruct them ;"f and
Isaiah, "They rebelled and vexed His Holy Spirit.":}: Further, He

» Gen. vi. 3. t Nch. ix. 20. t Isa. Ixiii. 10.


manifested Himself as the source of various gifts, intellectual and
extraordinary, in the Prophets, and others. Thus, at the time the
Tabernacle was constructed, the Lord filled Bezaleel " with the Spirit
of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all
manner of workmanship, to devise cunning works "* in metal, stone,
and timber. At another time when Moses was oppressed with his
labours, Almighty God vouchsafed to " take of the Spirit "f which was
upon him, and to put it on seventy of the elders of Israel, that they
might share the burden with him. "And it came to pass, that when
the Spirit rested upon them, they prophesied, and did not cease.'*
These texts will be sufficient to remind you of many others, in which
the gifts of the Holy Ghost are spoken of under the Jewish covenant.
These were great mercies ; yet, great as they were, they are as nothing
compared with that surpassing grace with which wef Christians are
honoured ; that great privilege of receiving into our hearts, not the
mere gifts of the Spirit, but His very presence, Himself, by a real not
a figurative indwelling.

When our Lord entered upon His Olinistry, He acted as though He
were a mere man, needing grace, and received the consecration of the
Holy Spirit for our sakes. He became the Christ, or Anointed, that
the Spirit might be seen to come from God, and to pass from Him to
us. And, therefore, the heavenly Gift is not simply called the Holy
Ghost, or the Spirit of God, but the Spirit of Christ, that we might
clearly understand, that He comes to us from and instead of Christ.
Thus St. Paul says, " God hath sent forth the Spirit of His Son into
your hearts ;" and our Lord breathed on His Apostles, saying, " Re-
ceive ye the Holy Ghost ;" and He says elsewhere to them, " If I
depart, I will send Him unto you."J Accordingly, this " Holy Spirit
of promise " is called " the earnest of our inheritance," the seal and
earnest of an Unseen Saviour ;"§ being the present pledge of Him who
is absent, — or rather more than a pledge, for an earnest is not a mere
token which will be taken from us when it is fulfilled, as a pledge
might be, but a something in advance of what is one day to be given
in full.

This must be clearly understood ; for it would seem to follow, that
if so, the Comforter which has come instead of Christ, must have
vouchsafed to come in the same sense in which Christ came ; I mean,
that He has come, not merely in the way of gifts, or of influences, or

* Exod. xxxi. 3, 4. t Numb. xi. 17. 25.

t Gal. iv. 6. John xx. 22. John xvi. 7.
§ Eph. i. 14. 2 Cor. i. 22. v. 5.

536 ^ WHIT-SUNDAY. [Serm.

of operations, as He came to the Prophets, for then Christ's going away
would be a loss, and not a gain, and the Spirit's presence would be a
mere pledge, not an earnest, but He comes to us as Christ came, by a
real and personal visitation. I do not say we could have inferred this
thus clearly by the mere force of the above cited texts ; but it being
actually so revealed to us in other texts of Scr;j:)turo, we are able to see
that it may be legitimately deduced from these. We are able to see
that the Saviour, when once He entered into this world, never so
departed as to suffer things to be as before He came ; for He still is
with us, not in mere gifts, but by the substitution of His Spirit for
Himself, and that, both in the Church, and in the souls of individual

For instance,^St. Paul says in the text, " Ye are not in the flesh, but
in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you." Again,
" He shall quicken even your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth
in you." — " Know ye not that your body is the Temple of the Holy
Ghost which is in you ? *' Ye are the Temple of the Living God, as
God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them." The same
Apostle clearly distinguishes between the indwelling of the Spirit and
His actual operations within us, when he says, " The love of God is
shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us ;"
and again, " The Spirit himself beareth witness with our spirit that we
are the children of God."*

Here let us observe, before proceeding, what indirect evidence is af-
forded us in these texts of the Divinity of the Holy Spirit. Who can
be personally present at once with every Christian, but God Himself?
Who but He, — not merely ruHng in the midst of the Church invisibly,
as Michael might keep watch over Israel, or another Angel might be
*' the Prince of Persia," — but really taking up His abode as one and the
same in many separate hearts, so as to fulfil our Lord's words, that it
was expedient that He should depart ; Christ's bodily presence, which
was limited to place, being exchanged for the manifold spiritual in-
dwelling of the Comforter within us ? This consideration suggests both
the dignity of our Sanctifier, and the infinite preciousncss of His office
towards us.

To proceed : the Holy Ghost, I have said, dwells in body and soul,
as in a Temple. Evil spirits indeed have power to possess sinners, but
His indwelling is far more perfect ; for He is all-knowing and omni-
present. He is able to search into all our thoughts, and penetrate into
every motive of the heart. Therefore, He pervades us (if it may be so

*Rom.viii. 9. 11. 1 Cor. vi. 19. 2 Cor. vi. 16. Rom. v. 5. viii. 16,


said) as light pervades a building, or as a sweet perfume the folds of
some honourable robe ; so that, in Scripture language, we are said to
be in Him, and He in us. It is plain that such an inhabitation brings
the Christian into a state altogether new and marvellous, far above the
possession of mere gifts, exalts him inconceivably in the scale of beings,
and gives him a place and an office which he had not before. In St.
Peter's forcible language, he becomes " partaker of the Divine Nature,"
and has " power" or authority, as St. John says, " to become the son
of God." Or, to use the words of St. Paul, " he is a new creation ; old
things are passed away, behold all things are become new." His rank
is new ; his parentage and service new. He is " of God," and " is not
his own," "a vessel unto honour, sanctified and meet for the Master's
use, and prepared unto every good work."*

This wonderful change from darkness to light, through the entrance
of the Spirit into the soul, is called Regeneration, or the New Birth ;
a blessing which, before Christ's coming, not even Prophets and
righteous men possessed, but which is now conveyed to all men freely
through the Sacrament of Baptism. By nature we are children of
wrath ; the heart is sold under sin, possessed by evil spirits, and inherits
death as its eternal portion. But by the coming of the Holy Ghost, all
guilt and pollution are burned away as by fire, the devil is driven forth,
sin, original and actual, is forgiven, and the whole man is consecrated
to God. And this is the reason why He is called '* the earnest" of that
Saviour who died for us, and will one day give us the fulness of His own
presence in Heaven. Hence too He is our " seal unto the day of re-
demption ;" for as the potter moulds the clay, so He impresses the
Divine Image on us members of the household of God. And His work
may truly be called Regoneration, for though the original nature of the
soul is not destroyed, yet its past transgressions are pardoned once and
for ever, and its source of evil staunched and gradually dried up by the
pervading Health and Purity which has .set up its abode in it. Instead
of its own bitter waters, a spring of health and salvation is brought
■within it ; not the mere streams of that fountain, " clear as crystal,"
which is before the Throne of God,f but, as our Lord says, " a well of
water in him" in a man's heart, "springing up into everlasting life."
Hence He elsewhere describes the heart as giving forth, not receiving,
the streams of grace : " Out of his belly shall flow rivers of Living Wa-
ter." St. John adds, "this spake He of the Spirit.":}:

♦2Pet. i. 4. John i. 12. 2 Cor. v. 17. lJohniv.4. 1 Cor. vi. 19, 2D. 2 Tim.

t Rev. iv. 6. Pfi. xlvi. 4. t John iv. 14. vii. 38, 39.

Vol. I.— 22

338 WHIT-SUNDAY. [Serm,

Such is the inhabitation of the Holy Ghost within us, applying to us
individually the precious cleansing of Christ's blood in all its manifold
benefits. Such is the great doctrine which we hold as a matter offaith,
and without actual experience to verify it to us. Next, I must speak
briefly concerning the manner in which the gift of grace manifests
itself in the regenerate soul ; a subject which I do not willingly take
up, and which no Christian perhaps is ever able to consider without
some effort, feeling that he thereby endangers either his reverence
towards God, or his humility, but which the errors of this day and the
confident tone of their advocates oblige us to dwell upon, lest truth
should suffer by our silence.

The heavenly gift of the Spirit fixes the eyes of our mind upon the
Divine Author of our salvation. By nature we are bUnd and carnal ;
but the Holy Ghost, by whom we are new-born, reveals to us the God of
mercies, and bids us recognise and adore Him as our Father with a true
heart. He impresses on us our Heavenly Father's image, which we lost
when Adam fell, and disposes us to seek His presence by the very in-
stinct of our new nature. He restores to us a portion of that freedom
in willing and doing, of that uprightness and innocence in which Adam
was created. He unites us to all holy beings, as before we had relation-
ship with evil. He restores for us that broken bond, which, proceeding
from above, connects together into one blessed family all that is any
where holy and eternal, and separates it off from the rebel world which
comes to nought. Being then the sons of God, and one with Him, our
souls mount up to Him, and cry continually. This special characteris-
tic of the regenerate soul is spoken of by St. Paul soon after the text.
" Ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba,
Father." Nor are we left to utter these cries to Him, in any vague
uncertain way of our own ; but He who sent the Spirit to dwell in us
habitually, gave us also a form of words to sanctify the separate acts of
our minds. Christ left His sacred Prayer to be the peculiar possession
of His people, and the voice of the Spirit. If we examine it, we shall
find in it the substance of that doctrine, to which St. Paul has given a
name in the passage just quoted. We begin it by using our privilege of
caUing on Almighty God in express words as " our Father." We pro-
ceed, according to this beginning, in that waiting, trusting, adoring, re-
signed temper, which children ought to feel ; looking towards Him,
rather than thinking of ourselves ; zealous for His honour rather than
fearful about our safety ; resting in His present help, not with eyes tim-
orously glancing towards the future. His name, His kingdom, His will,
are the great objects for the Christian to contemplate and make his.
portion, being stable and serene, and " complete in Him," as beseems


one who has the gracious presence of His Spirit within him. And,
when he goes on to think of himself, he prays that he may be enabled
to have towards others what God has shown towards himself, a spirit of
forgiveness and loving-kindness. Thus he pours himself out on all
sides, first looking up to catch the heavenly gift, but, when he gains it,
not keeping it to himself, but diffusing "rivers of living water'' to the
whole race of man, thinking of self as little as may be, and desiring ill
and destruction to nothing but that principle of temptation and evil,
which is rebellion against God ; — lastly, ending, as he began, with the
contemplation of His kingdom, power, and glory everlasting. This is
the true " Abba Father," which the Spirit of adoption utters within the
Christian's heart, the infallible voice of Him who " maketh intercession
for the Saints in God's way." And if he has at times, for instance,
amid trial or affliction, special visitations and comfortings from the
Spirit, " plaints unutterable" within him, yearnings after the life to
come, or bright and passing gleams of God's eternal election, and deep
stirrings of wonder and thankfulness thence following, he thinks too
reverently of " the secret of the Lord," to betray (as it were) His con-
fidence, and by vaunting it to the world, to exaggerate it perchance into
more than it was meant to convey ; but is silent, and ponders it as
choice encouragement to his soul, meaning something, but he knows
not how much.

2. The indwelling of the Holy Ghost raises the soul, not only to
the thought of God, but of Christ also. St. John says, " Truly our
fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ." And
our Lord Himself, " If a man love Me, he will keep My words ; and
My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make our
abode with him."* Now, not to speak of other and higher ways in
which these texts are fulfilled, one surely consists in that exercise of
faith and love in the thought of the Father and Son, which the Gospel ,
and the Spirit revealing it, furnish to the Christian. The Spirit came
especially to " glorify " Christ ; and vouchsafes to be a shining Light
within the Church and the individual Christian, reflecting the Saviour
of the world in all His perfections, all His offices, all His works. He
came for the purpose of unfolding what was yet hidden, while Christ
was on earth ; and speaks on the house-tops what was delivered in
closets, disclosing Him in the glories of His transfiguration, who once
had no comeliness in His outward form, and was but a man of sorrows
and acquainted with grief. First, He inspired the Holy Evangelists to
record the hfe of Christ, and directed them which of His words and

* 1 John i. 3. John xiv. 23.

340 WHIT-SUNDAY. [Serm.

works to select, which to omit ; next He commented (as it were) upon
these and unfolded their meaning in the Apostolic Epistles. The
birth, the hfe, the death and resurrection of Christ, has been the text
which He has illuminated. He has made history to be doctrine ; tell-
ing us plainly, whether by St. John or St. Paul, that Christ's concep-
tion and birth was the real Incarnation of the Eternal Word, His Hfe,
" God manifest in the Flesh," His death and resurrection, the Atone-
ment for sin, and the Justification of all believers. Nor was this all :
He continued His sacred comment in the formation of the Church,
superintending and overruling its human instruments, and bringing out
our Saviour's words and works, and the Apostle's illustrations of them,
into acts of obedience and permanent Ordinances, by the ministry of
Saints and Martyrs. Lastly, He completes His gracious work by con-
veying this system of Truth, thus varied and expanded, to the heart of
each individual Christian in whom He dwells. Thus He vouchsafes to
edify the whole man in faith and holiness ; ♦' casting down imaginations
and every high thing that exaltcth itself against the knoM'ledge of God,
and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ."*
By His M'onder-working grace all things tend to perfection. Every
faculty of the mind, every design, pursuit, subject of thought, is hal-
lowed in its degree by the abiding vision of Christ, as Lord, Saviour,
and Judge. All solemn, reverent, thankful, and devoted feelings, all
that is noble, all that is choice in the regenerate soul, all that is self-
denying in conduct, and zealous in action, is drawn forth and offered
up by the Spirit as a living sacrifice to the Son of God. And, though
the Christian is taught not to think of himself above his measure, and
dare not boast, yet he is also taught that the consciousness of the sin
which remains in him, and infects his best services, should not separate
him from God, but lead him to Him who can save ; he reasons with St.
Peter, '* To whom should he go?" and, without daring to decide, or
being impatient to be told how far he is able to consider as his own
every Gospel privilege in its fulness, he gazes on them all with deep
thought as the Church's possession, joins her triumphant hymns in
honour of Christ, and listens wistfully to her voice in inspired Scrip-
ture, the voice of the Bride calling upon and blest in the Beloved.

3. St. John adds, after speaking of " our fellowship with the Father
and His Son ;" " These things write we unto you, that your joy may
be full." What is fulness of joy but feace ? Joy is tumultuous only
when it is not full ; but peace is the privilege of those who are " filled
with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the

» 2 Cor. I. 5.


sea." "Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on
Thee, because lie trusteth in Tiiee."* It is peace springing from trust
and innocence, and then overflowing in love towards all around him.
What is the effect of mare animal ease and enjoyment, but to make a
man pleased with every thing which happens? "A merry heart is a
perpetual feast ;" and such is peculiarly the blessing of a soul rejoicing
in the faith and fear of God. He who is anxious, thinks of himself, is
is suspicious of danger, speaks hurriedly, and has no time for the in-
terests of others ; he who lives in peace is at leisure, wherever his lot
is cast. Such is the work of the Holy Spirit in the heart, whether in
Jew or Greek, bond or free. He Himself perchance in His mysterious
nature, is the Eternal Love whereby the Father and the Son have
dwelt in each other, as ancient writers have believed ; and what He is
in Heaven, that He is abundantly on earth. He lives in the Christian's
heart, as the never-failing fount of charity, which is the very sweet-
ness of the living waters. For where He is, " there is liberty" from
the tyranny of sin, from the dread, which the natural man feels, of an
offended, unreconciled Creator. Doubt, gloom, impatience have been
expelled ; joy in the Gospel has taken their place, the hope of Heaven,
and the harmony of a pure heart, the triumph of self-mastery, sober
thoughts, and a contented mind. How can charity towards all men
fail to follow, being the mere affectionateness of innocence and peace ?
Thus the Spirit of God creates in us the simplicity and warmth of
heart which children have, nay, rather the perfections of His heavenly
hosts, high and low joined together in His mysterious work ; implicit
trust, ardent love, abiding purity belonging both to little children and
to the adoring Seraphim !

Thoughts such as these, will affect us rightly, if they make us fear
and be watchful, while we rejoice. The)' cannot surely do otherwise ;
for the mind of a Christian, as I have been attempting to describe it,
is not so much what we have, as what we ought to have. To look in-
deed, after dwelling on it, upon the multitude of men who have been
baptized in Christ's name, is too serious a matter, and we need not
force ourselves to do so. We need not do so, further than to pray for
them, and to protest and strive against what is evil among them ; for
as to the higher and more solemn thought, how persons, set apart indi-
vidually and collectively, as Temples of Truth and Hohness, should
become what they seem to be, and what their state is in consequence
in God's sight, is a question, which it is a great blessing to be allowed
to put from us as not our concern. It is our concern only to look to

* Is. xivi. 3.

342 WHIT-MONDAY. [Serm.

ourselves, and to see that as we have received the gift, we " grieve not
the Holy Spirit of God, whereby we are sealed unto the day of re-
demption ;" remembering that " if any man destroy the temple of
God, him shall God destroy." This reflection, and the recollection of
our many backslidings, will ever keep us, please God, from judging
others, or from priding ourselves on our privileges. Let us but con-
sider how we have fallen from the light and grace of our Baptism.
Were we now what that Holy Sacrament made us, we might ever " go
on our way rejoicing ;" but having sullied our heavenly garments in
one way or other, in a greater or less degree, (God knoweth ! and our
own consciences too in a measure,) alas ! the Spirit of adoption has in
part receded from us, and the sense of guilt, remorse, sorrow, and pe-
nitence must take His place. We must renew our confession, and seek
afresh our absolution day by day, before we dare call upon God as
*' our Father," or offer up Psalms and Intercessions to Him. And
whatever pain and affliction meets us through life, we must take it as a
merciful penance imposed by a Father upon erring children, to be
borne meekly and thankfully, and as intended to remind us of the
weight of that infinitely greater punishment, which was our desert by
nature, and which Christ bore for us on the Cross.



Daniel ii. 35.

The stone that smote the Image became a great Mountain, and filled the whole

Doubtless, could we see the course of God's Dispensations in this
world, as the Angels see them, we should not be able to deny that it was
His unseen hand that ordered them. Even the most presumptuous sin-


Online LibraryJohn Henry NewmanParochial sermons (Volume 1) → online text (page 38 of 76)