Andrew Murray.

The Spirit of Christ : thoughts on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer and the church online

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•for all her work and her missions, and that power will
■ only act mightily as the number increases of individual
believers wlio give tlum.>elves to be possessed, to be led,
j to be used of the Spiiit of Christ.

NOTES. 369

On Conscience (Chap. 21).

If man be the antitype of the temple, and his spirit
the most holy place where God dwells, it is not difficult
to fix the place and the meaning of that part of its
furniture which typifies conscience. This is none other
but the ark of the covenant. The marks of identilica-
tion are three. The ark was that in which the hiw of
God was contained and carried. Conscience is that
power which lias God's law as its contents ; as far as the
law, whether as written in the heart of the heathen, or
as transcribed in the heart of the believer by the Spirit,
is present there, so far conscience is able to do its
work. Even as the ark, it is the receptacle or holder of
the law. And then it was on the ark that the mercy-
seat rested, that the sprinkling of blood was effected,
and the throne of grace then set up for God to be
worshipped. And so it is specially to the conscience
that the blood is applied within us, and that the Spirit
witnesses of our being well-pleasing to God. The ark
was called the ark of the testimony, containing God's
law or His testimony to Israel. And so the Holy Spirit,
as writing the livmg law in the heart, is God's testi-
mony to His ledeemed people, the witness both of His
will and of His favour. And conscience, sprinkled with
the blood, and keeping watchful guard over the childlike
life of obedience, is tiie spiritual organ within our s^pirit,
to which, and through which, the Holy Spirit gives His
"witness. ' My conscience bearing me witness in the Holy

With what care was the ark treasured in Israel !
With what confidence followed by the ho^ts when
passing through Jordan to conquer Canaan and its
hosts ! With what qui- 1 ex23ectancy borne around
Jericho ! With what joy a place was prepared for it,

2 A

370 NOTES.

and God's presence with it claimed ! (Ps. cxxxii.).
Christian, treasure above everything the ark of the
testimony within thee. The law of the Spirit is within
it, the Blood is upon it. It is the place where thy God
dwells and rests and communes with thee. It is the
meeting-place, the point of contact, between God and
the soul — the seat of faith and the seat of God. Above
everything, bow in fear and reverence before the Holy
Presence which rests above the ark. Keep a conscience
void of offence.


The Light of the Spirit (Chap. 22).

(From Dr. A. Saphir, Christ Crucijied, p. 109.)

'But it may be asked : God revealed Himself and His
purpose in Christ, Why is another light, another teacher,
needed 1 The necessity is obvious from history. The
heathen world by wisdom knew not God, and when
Christ came He was rejected ; they who received Him
confessed it was owing to a supernatural illumination,
to the Spirit of God. Israel taught by holy men in-
spired of God, in possession of the Scriptures, the
perfect portrait of Him that was to come ; Israel, thus
highly favoured and fully instructed, was not able to dis-
cern the Divine features of that countenance, of which
Moses and the prophets, of which all their institutions,
testified. He came to His own, but His own received
Him not. They crucified Him. What greater proof
can Ave haA'e that Christ Himself remains unseen light,
iinless the Sjdrit reveals Him ?

'But look at the very disciples of our Lord. They
M ere drawn to Jesus by the Father. Their knowledge
that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, came not
by nature, by flesh and blood, but it was from above.

NOTES. 371

Thev lovec Jesus with all their hearts, cleavina; unto
Him with all the pities of their affection. And yef,
while He was here, they understood not tlie Scripfires.
Even the instructions of the blessed Master, received
with intensest admiration and affection, were not suffi-
cient. They stood at the threshold of truth : the Holy
Ghost alone can lead us into the Truth. God is in Christ;
but the Holy Ghost alone reveals Him who is God

' But let us go higher than the proof of actual history
and experience. God in His love reveals Himse'f, It
is His gracious will that I should know Him. In Christ
Jesus He reveals Himself perfectly. Jesus is Light, full
of brightness and sweet tenderness. And yet I require
another light to see the True Light. How is this 1

' Simply because there is no other God but the Triune,
— Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. God knows Himself
in His Spirit. It is in the Spirit of God that God is
Light in Himself, and therefore by the Spirit He sends
forth light into the world and into the hearts of His

' God reveals Himself. But who is God revealed ?
Who else but the Son 1 And hy whom does the Father
know and love the Son ? By that very Spirit by whom
Ha reveals Himself to man. Scripture is of the Father ;
its substance is Christ, and it is revealed by the Holy
Ghost. A revealing God, a revealed God, is the true
God, — Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

' So it is in redemption. We do not exalt the Lord
Jesus Christ, or approach Him more closely, when we
forget the Father and the Spirit. It is the glory of
Christ that He reveals the Father, and baptizes with the
Holy Ghost. Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are one in
majesty and glory, and one in love and grace.

' Remember, there is no bridge from this world unto
the land of glory ; remember, there is no ladder from
this earth unto heaven, unless from yonder shore and
from yonder height, God, the Triune, Himself comea

372 NOTES.

down and brings us salvation. Amor descendit, was a
saying of the ancients. Love descends from heaven.
What God in His infinite love, wisdom, and power hath
treasured up in Christ Jesus, Himself must give us hy
the power of the Holy Ghost. And thus we know and
assuredly believe, that nothing shall separate us from
the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, because
Christ is ours, not by our own reason, not by our own
energy, not by our own faithfulness, but by the Holy Ghost
Himself, who is very God and eternal God, who links us
unto the Lord Jesus Christ, to be His for evermore.

'The Holy Ghost, who is in essential and perfect
communion with the Father and the Son, reveals unto
us eternal realities. He alone knows the infinite love of
God with which He has loved us, for He alone can
fathom the depth out of which this love proceeds. Thus,
what the Holy Ghost reveals and imparts is the know-
ledge of realities which are eternal in God.

'He brings a living knowledge ; His light is tlie li^ht
of life. It is not informatic/U, an insight into the con-
nection of truths, and an appreciation of their beau y
and grandeur. Men may have such knowledge vast
and deep, and yet be destitute of the grace of God and
uninhabited by tlie Divine Spirit. To know God and
Jesus Christ whom He has sent is life eternal. This
knowledge of God, beholding Him and Christ, is the
spiritual, never-ending life which the Spirit creates
within us. Dead knowledge is not the work of the
Holy Spirit — knowledge which remains quiescent,
silent, and lonely ; for the knowledge which the Spirit
gives is communion. We see the Father and the Son ^5
seeing us. When we behold them by the revelation of
the Spirit, it is as beholding us with infinite love, and
bestowing upon us the blessings of grace. We know
because we are known. "Thou Father, Thou Son, see»t
me," is the immediate consciousness of the soul, when
fhere is a spiritual perception of God. In other words,
adoration, love, petition, lif^t' ning to God's voice.

NOTES. 373

reieiving the love and peace of Christ, communion, is
invoked in this knowledge.

' This knowledge is therefore also an cxjierience of
God ; when we know, w^e possess and recei\ e God and His
gifts. We know the Father, and He is our Father; we
know Chtist, we see His mediation ; we have come to
tlie blood of the new covenant, and we possess Christ,
and experience the power and efficacy of His death and
resurrection. We know the spiritual blessings in
heavenly places, and knowing them we possess them.
We have not merely the picture or image, but the
substance of Divine realities.

*It is the Spirit Himself who teaches and enlightens.
The truth itself, the preaching of the Gospel, the reading
of the Scriptures, has no inherent j^ower to bring know-
ledge into the soul. These are only the instruments, the
Spirit is the agent ; tpey are only the sword, the Spirit
is the energy, the hana that wields it. They shall be
taught of God. God causes the light of the Gospel to
shine into our hearts. How little we realize this truth,
so comforting and full of encouragement ! How apt are
we to foi'get the living Spirit in the gifts and channels
which He uses ! How fond we are of placing ourselves
in God's place; if not in the Father's, in Christ's; if
not in Christ's, in that of the Spirit ! *


On the Spirit guiding the Church (Chap. 23).

The whole teaching of the apostle to the Corinthians,
in regard to the need of the Spirit's revelation, if the
truth is to maintain its Divine power and freshness, and
if we are to be led farther and deeper into it, suggests
to us the danger that may attach to creeds as the ex-
pression, in words of human wisdom, of the truths of

374 KOTES.

Scripture. While they have their very high value as
temporary and secondary embodiments of the faith of
the Church, they may so easily in practice usurp the
place which theoretically we accord to the word of God
alone. They may especially become hurtful when they
are regarded as a sufficiently perfect and final formula of
what the word has to teach us, and unconsciously close
the heart against the expectation of any further teaching
of the Spirit for the clearer and fuller unfolding of what
is revealed in the word. The Holy Spirit has been
given to the Church as a whole to guide her into all
truth. We have to trace the way in which, during the
first five centuries, amid human controversy and weak-
ness, some of the great outstanding truths of revelation
were mastered and formulated. We thank God for the
restoration at the time of the Reformation of truths that
had been lost sight of, and displrced by error. But is
there no danger that many consider the leading of the
Spirit to have become less needful after our Reformation
creeds had been settled 1 They can hardly bear to think
that the Holy Spirit may have more to teach His Church,
or that a clearer and fuller setting forth of Divine truth
than is to be found in our standards may be expected.
This attitude towards the Holy Spirit and His teaching
is one of great danger. It closes the heart against that
teachable and expectant spirit to which alone the Divine
Spirit can reveal the truth of God in power. It fosters
that spirit of self-contentment with the correctness of
cur orthodoxy which unconsciously robs Holy Scripture
of its authority at the very moment we are insisting on
our allegiance to it. It tends toward the position of the
Jews in the time of Christ, in which, while they fondly
imagined that God's word was everything to them, it
was their human exposition of it, their human image of
God's truth, for which they were so zealous. We must
learn to trust the Hdy Spirit more in our theology;
He has sfill much to teach us. As the life and work of
the ministry comes more under the power of the Spirit,

NOTES. 375

and the leading of the Spirit in every heliever, as a
necessity and a privilege, is acknowledged, we shall
become familiarized with the thought of His leading the
Church into the truth, and look in confidence to Him to
do His work in ways we cannot beforehand mark out.

What makes many so unwilling to accept this truth
is the apparent danger connected with it. They see a
great number engaged in the task of reconciling the
truth of revelation to the instincts of the human mind,
to the spirit of the age, to the requirements of science.
All these seek emancipation from the creeds, not with
the view to the restoration of a more purely scriptural
theology, but in order to be free from all trammels in
the construction of a system of religion that shall satisfy
what is considered the religious consciousness of human
reason. It is not difficult to see how far asunder these
two parties stand, though both plead for liberty in regard
to the creeds. The one pleads for liberty of judgment,
to be free to follow the dictates of Reason as uttered
by our wisest men ; the other for the liberty of the
spirit, to be free to receive and to follow the teachings
of the Holy Spirit, as revealed to the Church wholly
under His rule, and waiting for His opening up of what
Scripture contains. It is well, in the interest of the
Church, to have these two parties carefully distinguished.
The Church and the faith have no truer friends than
those who, while acknowledging that in Reformation
truth a noble foundation was laid, yet believe that in
raising the superstructure there is still much that the
Holy Spirit needs to do, is willing to do, in revealing
the full proportion of Scripture truth, if He find the
Church ready to listen and obey His leading.

The following remarks, from one whose attachment to
the form of sound doctrine and deep insight into Scrij)-
ture are above all question, are worthy of careful con-
sideration. In his Christ and the Scrijjtures Dr. Saphir
says : —

' There is among us an uneasy feeling, a secret con-

376 NOTES.

sciousness of something being wrong. The development
of doctrine which is clearly opposed to that gospel which
has proved itself to the heart and experience of man
the power of God, is one cause of alarm ; and a return
to the bulwark of the Eeformation creed and theology is
naturally the remedy suggested. But against this two
considerations are urged. In the first place, Israel ought
never to look and turn back. The Lord Himself (and not
an image of Him) is a wall of fire round us. Life alone
can combat the errors of death. But, in the second
place, if the creeds could not even retain and preserve
life (as history proves they were not able to do), how
much less will they be able to rekindle a dying flame or
to bring to life the dead ! It is out of these very creeds
that the present state of things has come, either as a
development or as opposition, and our aim ought to be
to find out whether, in these creeds, the absence of
some sciiptural element, or the false representation and
emphasis of some scriptural element, be not the root of
the disease which is manifesting itself.

' And here it is evident that two parties meet which
may be essentially and radically different : those for
whom the crteds contain too much of the scriptural
element, and those for whom they contain too little of
that element, or do not contain it in sufficient purity.
The objectors to the creeds may be such either because
the cri etls are too Shemitic, or because they are not
Shemitic enough.'

Let u":; still listen to the w^ords of another. When
John Kobinson, pastor of a congregation of refugee
Puritans at Leyden, was bidding farewell to the party
of exiles who were leaving in the Mayflower for New
Englaiifl, and were to become celebrated under the name
of ' the Pilgrim Fathers,' he spoke these memorable
parting words : ' I charge you, that you follow me no
larlher than you have seen me follow the Lord Jesus
Christ. The Lord has more truth to break forth out of
His holy word. I cannot sufficiently bewail the condi-

NOTES. 3*77

tion of the Reformed Churches, which are come to a
period in religion, and will go, at present, no farther than
the instruments of their reformation. Luther and Calvin
were great and shining lights in their times. Yet they
penetrated not into the whole counsel of God. The
Lutherans cannot be drawn to go beyond what Luther
saw ; and the Calvinists, you see, stick fast where they
were left by that great man of God. I beseech you
remember it ; it is an article of your Church covenant —
that you shall be ready to receive whatever truth shall
be made known to you from God's word.*

The whole subject is one of deep importance and no
little difficulty. The only safety for the Church is in
renewed faith and the unceasing expectation of the Holy
Spirit's working in the life of her believing members ;
out of this will grow that intense surrender to Him
which will quicken her capacity for taking in the whole
truth C'f Holy Scripture, and reproducimr it in life and
testimony in words which the Holy Spirit teacheth.


On Trusting the Spirit (Chap. 27).

In a little book entitled Reminiscences of the Keswick
Convention, 1879, with addresses by Pastor Stockmaier
(Partridge), I find some most suggestive thoughts in
reg.r^l to the work of the Holy Spirit, as He enables us
to die to om' own life, and to take Christ as our life. For
the sake of preserving these, and introducing thrm to
realers who may otherwise not have access to them,
1 give somewhat lengthy extracts here. The only way
in which the blessing of conference and spiritual revival
can b.come permanent, can flow ever fuller and deeper,
is th it each individual believer should know that what
he has received in the fellowship of the saints can be

378 NOTES.

secured and increased to him personally, through the
blessed ministry of that Holy Spirit whom He has dwell-
ing in Him, but whom he knows all too little.

' Phil. ii. 12, 13. " Work out your own salvation with
fear and trembling, for it is God that worketh in you
both to will and to do of His good pleasure." We shall
f^ar to disobey, because we are not in presence of human
work or human persons, but in presence of the Holy
Ghost ; it is not we who are working in us, it is the
Holy Ghost.

* When Moses came before the burning bush, the Lord
said to him, " Put off thy shoes from off thy feet, for the.
place whereon thou standest is holy ground." This is
holy ground, for it is God the Holy Ghost who works
the willing and the doing. In all questions of sanctifi-
cation or service we are in presence not of ourselves,
but of our God ; on holy ground, not on human ground ;
n'>t on ground of human persons, but on ground of the
Holy Ghost ; and for that reason, because it is God that
works in us to will and to do, work out your own salva-
tion with fear and trembling. And what is it to work
out our own salvation"? The Apostle tells us in the same
verse, " Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always
obeyed." I think that word " wherefore " brings us back
to verse 8, to Christ's work. Christ had become obedient
unto death. In verses 5-11 we have the work of Christ
— abasement ; and then, because He was abased. He
was exalted so high ; therefore ye also obey.

' In verses 12, 13 we have the work of the Holy Spirit,
working on the work of Jesus. Jesus has been obedient
unto death ; death is contrary to our nature, we do all
we can to keep our own life ; bnt as Christ, through the
Eternal Spirit, offered Himself without spot to God, and
by His death brought to an end His work of immola-
tion, so does the work of the Holy Ghost bring us into
fellowship, with a dying Christ. He makes us willing to
die by the power of Clirist; He makes us take the
position in which the death of Christ has placed us.

NOTES. 379

He died "that they wliicli live should not henceforth
live unto themselves, but unto Him that died for them
and rose again." Such a position as is given to us hy
Christ no man is willing to enter into ; it is the Holy Ghost
who takes us by the hand, and brings us out of our own
life, and makes us willing to like and seek the fellowship
of the dead and of the risen Christ. *' Now also in my
absence," go on yieMing to the Holy Ghost, who will
teach you to follow the Lamb, making you willing to die
with Christ, that you may serve, and love, and walk in
newness of life; and all this in fear and trembling,
because it is God who works. The only fear we want,
is to follow^ the Holy Ghost in all His o^ierations, flying
from self and yielding to Him, that He may have us in
His hand, that He may be able to work for God's glory,
to leave all the matter in His hands ; and so soon as our
fears are concentrated on that point, — to grieve not the
Saviour, — we have nothing more to fear ; we can then
seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and
all other things shall be added unto us ; because as a
heaven surrounds our earth on all sides, so the work of
the Holy Ghost leaves no'hing out of its reach in our
being, brings all under His action and transfoiming power.
' We must come Vjack to our holy ground frtmi which
we S[)rang. God ought to have what is His. We came
from Him, and were made for Him ; we must Larn to
honour the Holy Ghost, and to consider His working
the most precious thing we have, fearing to lose e\ en
one hint of His, because all that He works involves
infii.ite labour, and in loving any work of the Holy
Ghost we love more infinite labour than we know. It
is a matter of expeiience that in measure as we know
more of the love of God, we learn also more to fear
Him ; one involves the other and regulates the other ;
there is no opposition.

380 NOTES.

*Iii James iv. 1 we read of "lusts which war in yoar
members," but in tlie same pa.ssag*^ (ver. 5) we read of
the lust of the Spirit, so you cannot put quite the sa.r>«
signification on the word which we generally put upon
it. The word here does not mean sinful lust, the Spirit
of God cannot have sinful lust ; we see here two
tendencies, two powers, two worlds that have nohing in
common, separated as completely as heaven from earth,
— the flesh and the Spirit ; and we are responsible moral
beings, having our responsibility through the work of-
the Holy Spirit ; responsibility as to which of these two
adversaries we will give movement and action in our
interior and exterior life.

' I know a position in which no rising from impure
feeling can take place in the heart, or take form even
as a flash in a second of time. Such a Christian has
learned to let himself be kept by Christ from such
risings, and they no more appear ; and yet these same
Christians have a consciousness of the tendency of the
flesh to form such risings.

' There are infinite degrees from impurity to full purity ;
and only after we have been fully delivered from such
impure risings can the Ilolv Ghost go dee})er and deeper
in His purifying work. This cannot be expressed, it
must be realized ; and we are not easily conscious how
much our experience and the experience of others, the
level of Christian life in the Church, influence our
explanations of Scripture. Have you ever attended
such meetings as those of Keswick and Oxford without
experiencing that, in measure as God the Holy Ghost
draws nearer and nearer, your interior atmosphere is
modified, and there comes a moment in which you breathe
the mountain air] And in measure as we come under
the shadow of the Holy Ghost, the power of the Holy
Ghost on our life is different to ordinary. When we
come back to the first days of the Church at Jerusalem,
then we shall fully experience the power of the Holy
Ghost to keep us sheltered against the tondencies of

NOTES. 381

our flesh. But we are a family, and we cannot experi-
ence individually the fulness of Jesus Christ our Ht\ul,
without the rest following us ; we want the life of tlie
members in order to realize the life of the Holy Ghost.
It is difficult to abide under the shadow of the Ahnighty
when you are surrounded by sick Christians, slumbering
Christians, Christians who do not fully trust their
Saviour. Our daily life, our conversation, our very coun-
tenance, must testify that we have found life abundantly
in our Good Shepherd. Oh, dear Christians, cease from
keeping your own life, defending your own life, when
the Holy Ghost works to bring to die every portion of
your own life. Oh, beloved brethren, we are so wo/id-
like ; our world-like life is the great hindrance to con-
versions, the great reason why the Gospel has so little
success. Yet remember, every Christian has had a time
Tvhen he has given up all to his Lord ; then you were
happy, and the very reason of your unhappiness now is
that you have not given up all your life, and that in
daily life, in daily conversation, in daily occurrences,
sometimes you are hesitating between your will and
God's will. Oh, my brethren, I would no more open my
heart to any human wish or human desire, because it

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Online LibraryAndrew MurrayThe Spirit of Christ : thoughts on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer and the church → online text (page 25 of 27)