God is essentially invisible. “He dwells in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man has seen, nor can see.” (1 Tim. 6:16.) When, therefore, he would make himself known to the sons of men, it must be by his works or by his words. The first way of making his power and glory known is beautifully unfolded in Psalm 19—”The heavens tell of the glory of God. The skies display his marvelous craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or a word; their voice is silent in the skies; yet their message has gone out to all the earth, and their words to all the world.” This is the testimony which God gave of himself to the Gentile world, but which, through the depravity of man’s heart, has been universally misunderstood, perverted and abused, as the Apostle speaks—”since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse. For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (Rom. 1:19-21.)

The secret spring whence this flows, and the eternal foundation on which this rests, is the incarnation of God’s dear Son. He is “the Word”—the Word emphatically, originally, essentially; and so called not only because he is the express image of the Father, as the word is the image of the thought, but because he has declared or made him known, as our uttered word makes our thoughts known. John therefore bare witness of him—”No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father’s side, has made him known.” Had there, then, been no incarnate Word, there would have been no revealed word; and had there been no revealed word, there would have been no written word; for all that was revealed was not necessarily written, as John was bidden to seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not. (Rev. 10:4.) And as without the incarnate Word there would have been no revealed or written word—so the power of the written word is derived from the power of the incarnate Word.

God’s witness by his works, then, being insufficient, and failing, so to speak, through the depravity of man’s heart, he has revealed himself by and in his word—in those precious Scriptures which we hold in our hands, and the power of which some of us have felt in our hearts. It is, then, of this power of the written word that we have now to speak. But when we speak of the power of the word of God we do not mean thereby to convey the idea that it possesses any power of its own, any actual, original, innate force, which acts of itself on the heart and conscience. The word of God is but the instrument of a higher and distinct power, even the power of that Holy and eternal Spirit, the revealer and testifier of Jesus, by whose express and immediate inspiration it was written.

The power of an instrument is the power of him who uses it. This is true literally. The strength of the sword is in the hand of him who wields it. A child may take up a warrior’s sword, but can he use it as a warrior? If, then, the word of God is “quick (or living, as the word means) and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,” it is because he wields it of whom it is said, “You are the most handsome of all. Gracious words stream from your lips. God himself has blessed you forever. Put on your sword, O mighty warrior! You are so glorious, so majestic!” (Psalm 45:2, 3.) John, therefore, saw him in vision, as one “out of whose mouth went a sharp two-edged sword,” (Rev. 1:16,) both to pierce the hearts of his people and to smite the nations. (Rev. 19:13.)

So with the word which he wields. “Where the word of a king is there is power.” (Eccles. 8:4.) And why? Because it is the word of the king. Another may speak the word, but it has no power because he who speaks it has no power to execute it. When “the king said to Haman, Make haste, and take the apparel and the horse, as you have said, and do even so to Mordecai the Jew, who sits at the king’s gate; let nothing fail of all that you have spoken,” (Esther 6:10,) it was done. The man whom the king delighted to honor was honored. (Esther 6:10, 11.) When again the king said, “Hang him thereon,” it was done—”So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai.” (Esther 7:9, 10.) Here were life and death in the power of the tongue. (Prov. 28:21.) Thus we ascribe no power to the word itself, but to the power of him who speaks it. The Apostle therefore says of his speech and preaching that it was “in demonstration of the Spirit and of power;” (1 Cor. 2:4;) and of his gospel, that is, the gospel which he knew, felt, and preached, that it came unto the Thessalonians “not in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance.” (1 Thess. 1:5.) Twice had David heard, that is on two solemn and special occasions, “that power belongs unto God.” (Psalm 62:11.) To understand and explain this power passes our comprehension. It may be and is felt, and its effects seen and known, but “the thunder of his power who can understand?” (Job 26:14.) When God said, “Let there be light,” light burst forth at his creative fiat. But who can understand or explain how light came? Yet it could be seen when it filled the future creation with its bright effulgence.

But now let us consider the exercise and display of this power in its first movements upon the heart. Man being dead in sin, needs an almighty power to make him alive unto God; for what communion can there be between a dead soul and a living God? This, then, is the first display of the power of the word of God in the hands of the eternal Spirit. “You has he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” (Eph. 2:1.) And how? By the word. “Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (Jas. 1:18.) So testifies Peter—”Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which lives and abides forever.” (1 Pet. 1:23.) What James calls “begetting” Peter terms “being born again;” and this corresponds with what the Lord himself declared to Nicodemus—”Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” (John 3:3.) Almost similar is the language of John himself as taken, doubtless, from his divine Master—”Who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man—but of God.” (John 1:13.) So in his first epistle—”Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and every one that loves him that begat loves him also that is begotten of him.” (1 John 5:1.) We need not therefore enter into the controversy about the difference between begetting and being born again, as if the new birth exactly corresponded with the old, and as if the analogy could be precisely carried out between natural and spiritual generation. Figures (and this is a figure) must not be pressed home to all their logical consequences, or made to fit and correspond in all their parts and particulars. It is sufficient for us to know that the mighty change whereby a sinner passes from death unto life, (1 John 3:14,) is “delivered from the power of darkness, and translated into the kingdom of his dear Son,” (Col. 1:13,) is by the power of the word of God upon his soul.

Nor shall we, as we wish to avoid controversial topics, enter at any length into the question whether light or life first enters into the heart—”The entrance of your words gives light.” (Psalm 119:130.) There it would seem that light came first. And so the passage—”To open their eyes, and turn them from darkness to light.” (Acts 26:18.) So Saul at Damascus’ gate saw and was struck down by the light before the quickening words came—”Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” (Acts 9:4.) In grace, if not in nature, it would seem evident that we see before we feel; and thus the disciples “beheld his glory, as of the only begotten of the Father,” before they received the Son of God into their hearts and believed on his name. It will be seen from these hints that without entering into the controversy, or pronouncing any dogmatical opinion, our own view inclines to the point held by Mr. Huntington, that light precedes life. And yet, when we look back on our own experience, how difficult it is to determine whether we saw light before we felt life, or whether the same ray which brought light into the mind did not bring at the same moment life into the heart. At any rate we saw what we felt, and we felt what we saw. “In your light do we see light.” To see this light is to be “enlightened with the light of the living.” (Job 33:30.) And this our blessed Lord calls “the light of life.” “Then spoke Jesus again unto them, saying, I am the light of the world; he who follows me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life.” (John 8:12.)

So we will not put asunder what God has joined together—light and life. We know, however, the effect better than the cause; and need we wonder that we can neither understand nor explain the mystery of regeneration? Does not the Lord himself say—”The wind blows where it wills, and you hear the sound thereof, but can not tell whence it comes and where it goes; so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8.) It is our mercy if we have seen light in God’s light and felt the Spirit’s quickening breath, if we cannot understand whence it came or where it goes, except to believe that it came from God and leads to God—it began in grace and will end in glory.

The beginning of this work upon the soul is in Scripture frequently termed “a calling,” as in the well-known passage—”But unto them who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For you see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called.” (1 Cor. 1:24-26.) And thus we find “calling” one of the links in that glorious chain which, reaching down to and stretching through time, is fastened at both ends to eternity—”For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” (Rom. 8:29, 30.)

The very word “call” has a reference to something spoken or uttered, that is, a word addressed to the person called. If I call to a man, I speak to that man. My word to him is my call to him. Thus our Lord said to Levi, the son of Alphaeus, sitting at the receipt of custom, “Follow me.” Power attended the word. It fell upon Matthew’s heart. Light and life entered into his soul. His understanding was enlightened, his will renewed, his heart changed. What was the instantaneous effect? “And he arose and followed him.” (Mark 2:14.) Similar in cause and effect was the calling of Peter and Andrew, of James and John. (Matt. 4:18-22.) This calling is “by grace” or the pure favor of God; (Gal. 1:15;) a “heavenly calling,” as coming from heaven and leading to heaven; (Heb. 3:1;) a “holy calling,” (2 Tim. 1:9,) not only holy in itself, but leading to and productive of that “holiness without which no man shall see the Lord;” (Heb. 12:14;) and therefore a calling “to glory and virtue,” or excellency, as the word means—excellency here, (Phil. 1:10; 4:8,) glory hereafter. It is also a calling out of the world, as Abraham was called to “leave his country, and his kindred, and his father’s house;” and so we are bidden to “come out from among them and be separate, and not touch the unclean thing.” (2 Cor. 6:17.) It is “a high calling,” and therefore free from everything low, groveling, and earthly; “into the grace of Christ;” (Gal. 1:6;) a calling “to the fellowship of the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord;” (1 Cor. 1:9;) a calling “to peace” with God and his dear people, and as far as lies in us with all men; (Col. 3:15; 1 Cor. 7:15; Rom. 12:18;) “to liberty,” (Gal. 5:13,) to a “laying hold of eternal life,” (1 Tim. 6:12,) and “to the obtaining of the eternal glory of the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2 Thess. 2:14; 1 Pet. 5:10; John 17:22-24.)

As, then, those who are thus called are called to the experimental enjoyment of these spiritual blessings, with all of which they were blessed in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, according as they were chosen in him before the foundation of the world, it is plain that they must have a knowledge of them communicated to their soul; and as we know nothing of divine truth but through the written word and cannot by any wisdom of our own, even with that word in our hands, attain to a saving knowledge of these divine realities—it is equally plain that they must be revealed to us by a spiritual and supernatural power.

This is clearly and beautifully unfolded by the Apostle in 1 Cor. 2. We cannot quote the whole chapter, which, to be clearly understood, should be read in its full connection, but we cannot forbear citing a few verses as being so appropriate to, and casting such a light on our subject—No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”—but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man’s spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us.” (1 Cor. 2:9-12.)

The things which “God has prepared for those who love him” are the things which his people are called to know and enjoy; and that not merely as regards the future state of glory but the present state of grace—the things to be known on earth as well as the things to be enjoyed in heaven. This is plain from the words, “But God has revealed them unto us by his Spirit,”—not will hereafter reveal and make them known in heaven above, but has already revealed them on earth below. And where, but in the heart of his people? For it is there that they receive “the Spirit which is of God,” and this “that they might know the things that are freely given to them of God.”

Knowledge

, then, is clearly and evidently the first effect of that divine light of which we have spoken; and this corresponds with what the gracious Lord said in his intercessory prayer—”And this is life eternal, that they might knowyou the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.” (John 17:3.) The knowledge of the only true God must precede any fear of him, or any faith in him. While I am in nature’s darkness and death, I do not know God, and, therefore, I neither can nor do fear him.

Some of our spiritual readers may feel surprised at our putting the knowledge of God as the first effect of the power of the word upon the heart; and some may tell us that we should put conviction of sin, and others might insist that we should place the fear of God first. But if they will bear with us for a few moments, we think we can show them that a true spiritual knowledge of the only true God must go before both right conviction of sin and before the right fear of the Lord.

1. First, then, what is conviction of sin but a conviction in our conscience of having sinned against and before a pure, holy, and just God? But where can be my conviction of having sinned against him, if I have no knowledge of him? In nature’s darkness and death, I felt no conviction of sin, not only because my conscience was not awakened or divinely wrought upon, but because I knew nothing of him against whom I had sinned—nothing of his justice, nothing of his holiness, nothing of his power.

2. What is the fear of God but a trembling apprehension of his glorious majesty? But how can I have this apprehension of his glorious majesty if I am ignorant of his very existence, which I am—until he makes it known by a ray of light out of his own eternal fullness? Where do we see the fear of God more in exercise or more beautifully expressed than in Psalm 139? But how the whole of it is laid in the knowledge of the heart-searching presence of the Almighty—”O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. You hem me in—behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.” (Ps. 139:1-5.)

We can sometimes read past experience best in the light of present experience, as a traveler emerging from a dark and tangled forest sees from the hill-top the way by which he came far more clearly and better than when he was struggling among the thickets.

When, then, now do we seem most to see and feel the evil of sin? When do we now seem most to fear that Lord in whose presence we stand? Is it not in proportion to our knowledge of him, to our present realization of his majesty, power, and presence, and to that spiritual experimental acquaintance which we have gained of his dread perfections by the teaching, as we trust, of the Holy Spirit through the written word? And take the converse. When are our views and feelings of the evil of sin comparatively dim and cold, so that we do not seem to see and realize what a dreadful thing it is? Is it not when there is no sensible view nor present apprehension of the majesty, holiness, and presence of God?

Similarly with respect to godly fear. When does this fountain of life to depart from the snares of death run shallow and low, so as to be diminished, as by a summer drought, almost to a thin thread? When our present vital, experimental sight and sense, knowledge and apprehension of the majesty of the Lord are become dim and feeble, when the old veil seems to flap back over the heart, and like a half-closed shutter shuts out the light of day. If we read the early chapters of the book of Proverbs, we shall see how much is spoken in them of wisdom, instruction, knowledge, understanding, and the like, and how closely there the fear of the Lord is connected with the knowledge of the Lord—”The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; but fools despise wisdom and instruction.” (Prov. 1:7.) And, again—”My son, if you accept my words and store up my commands within you, turning your ear to wisdom and applying your heart to understanding, and if you call out for insight and cry aloud for understanding, and if you look for it as for silver and search for it as for hidden treasure, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord gives wisdom, and from his mouth come knowledge and understanding.” (Prov. 2:1-6.)

And, again—”When wisdom enters into your heart, and knowledge is pleasant unto your soul; discretion shall preserve you, understanding shall keep you.” (Prov. 2:10, 11.) So those that perish, perish from lack of this knowledge and of this fear as its fruit—”For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord; they would none of my counsel; they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.” (Prov. 1:29-31.) And more plainly and emphatically—”Fools die for lack of wisdom.” (Prov. 10:21.) Indeed, there is such a connection between true wisdom, which is “a knowledge of the holy,” (Prov. 30:3,) and the fear of the Lord, and such a connection between ignorance of the Lord and sin, that saved saints are called “wise,” and lost sinners are called “fools,” not only in the Old Testament, as continually in the Proverbs, but in the New.

Many of the Lord’s people look with suspicion upon knowledge, from not seeing clearly the vast distinction between the spiritual, experimental knowledge for which we are now contending, and what is called “head knowledge.” They see that a man may have a well-furnished head and a graceless heart, that he may understand “all mysteries” and all “knowledge” and yet be “nothing;” (1 Cor. 13:2.) And as some of these all-knowing professors are the basest characters that can infest the churches, those who really fear the Lord stand not only in doubt of them, but of all the knowledge possessed by them. But put it in a different form; ask the people of God whether there is not such a divine reality, such a heavenly blessing, as being “taught of God;” (John 6:45;) having “an unction from above whereby we know all things;” (1 John 2:20;) knowing the truth for oneself and finding it makes free; (John 8:32;) whether there is not a “counting of all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus our Lord,” and a stretching forth of the desires of the soul to “know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings;” whether there is not “a knowledge of salvation by the remission of sins;” (Luke 1:77;) “a knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ;” (2 Cor. 4:6;) a being “filled with the knowledge of his will,” (Col. 1:9,) an “increasing in the knowledge of God;” (Col. 1:10;) “a growing in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” (2 Pet. 3:18,)—ask the living family of God whether there be not such a knowledge as this, and if this knowledge is not the very pith and marrow, the very sum and substance of vital godliness? and they will with one voice say, “It is!”

By putting knowledge therefore, as the first effect of the word of truth upon the heart, we are not setting up, God forbid, that vain, empty, useless, deceptive thing, that delusion of the devil, “head knowledge”—but that divine, spiritual, gracious, and saving knowledge which is communicated to the soul and wrought into its very substance by the teaching and testimony of the Holy Spirit. This knowledge embraces every truth which we learn by divine teaching in living experience, from the first sigh to the last song, from the earliest conviction to the last consolation, from the cry of despair to the shout of triumph, from the agonies of hell to the joys of heaven. Need any one wonder, therefore, that we put first what stands first, that we lay down the first stone which is the foundation stone, and draw the first line where the Holy Spirit makes his first impression?

If, then, this knowledge is communicated by the Holy Spirit to the heart through the written word, two things follow, and we believe that the experience of every child of God will bear testimony to what we now advance concerning them—

1. That the word of God comes into the heart and conscience in and by regeneration, with a new and hitherto unfelt power. How carelessly, how ignorantly, how formally, if we read it at all, did we read the word of God in the days of our unregeneracy. What little heed we paid to the word preached, if we heard it at all. What thorough darkness and death wrapped us up, so that nothing of a spiritual, eternal nature touched, moved, or stirred us either with hope or fear. But at a certain, never-to-be-forgotten time, a power, we could not tell how or why, was put into the word and it fell upon our hearts, as a sound from heaven—as the very voice of God to our conscience. The word of God laid hold of us as the word of God; it was no longer the word of man, a dry, uninteresting, almost if not wholly hated book; but it got, we could not explain how, so into the very inside of us—armed with authority and power as a message from God.

But here let us guard ourselves. It is not always the exact words, or indeed any word of Scripture which lays hold of the conscience; but it is in every case the truth contained in the Scriptures. Eternity, judgment to come, the justice of God, his all-searching eye, his almighty hand, his universal presence, from which there is no escape—these, and other similar truths which fall with such weight upon the quickened sinner’s conscience, are all revealed in and only known by the Scripture. The truth of God is, therefore, the word of God, as the word of God is the truth of God. If, then, no particular word or words are applied to the conscience by the quickening power of the Holy Spirit, the truth, which is the word, is applied to the heart, and it is this entrance of the truth as the word of God, which gives light.

As a proof of this, no sooner do we receive the solemn truths of which we have spoken, into our conscience and feel their power, than we run to the Scriptures and find a light in and upon them hitherto unseen and unknown. The light, life, and power, which attended the truth as it fell upon the conscience gave the word a place in our hearts. And we shall always find that the place which the word has in the heart is in proportion to the light and power which attended its first entrance. Let us seek to explain this a little more fully and clearly.

The heart by nature is closed, shut, barred against the entrance of light. The light may, so to speak, play around the heart, but does not enter, for there is a thick veil over it. Thus our Lord said of himself, “While I am in the world I am the light of the world.” (John 9:5.) The light shone upon the world, but did not enter, for the “light shines in darkness and the darkness comprehended (that is apprehended or embraced) it not.” (John 1:5.) “My word,” said the Lord, “has no place in you.” (John 8:37.) But when the word comes with power, it seizes hold of the heart and conscience. They give way before it and leave a place for it, where it sets up its throne and becomes their Lord and Master.

Here, then, we shall for the present pause, leaving the word of truth in possession of the heart.

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In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. — John 1:1
 
An intelligent plain man, untaught in the truths of Christianity, coming upon this text, would likely conclude that John meant to teach that it is the nature of God to speak, to communicate His thoughts to others. And he would be right. A word is a medium by which thoughts are expressed, and the application of the term to the Eternal Son leads us to believe that self-expression is inherent in the Godhead, that God is forever seeking to speak Himself out to His creation. The whole Bible supports the idea. God is speaking. Not God spoke, but God is speaking. He is by His nature continuously articulate. He fills the world with His speaking Voice.

One of the great realities with which we have to deal is the Voice of God in His world. The briefest and only satisfying cosmogony is this: “He spake and it was done.” The why of natural law is the living Voice of God immanent in His creation. And this word of God which brought all worlds into being cannot be understood to mean the Bible, for it is not a written or printed word at all, but the expression of the will of God spoken into the structure of all things. This word of God is the breath of God filling the world with living potentiality. The Voice of God is the most powerful force in nature, indeed the only force in nature, for all energy is here only because the power-filled Word is being spoken.

The Bible is the written word of God, and because it is written it is confined and limited by the necessities of ink and paper and leather. The Voice of God, however, is alive and free as the sovereign God is free. “The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” The life is in the speaking words. God’s word in the Bible can have power only because it corresponds to God’s word in the universe. It is the present Voice which makes the written Word all-powerful. Otherwise it would lie locked in slumber within the covers of a book.

We take a low and primitive view of things when we conceive of God at the creation coming into physical contact with things, shaping and fitting and building like a carpenter. The Bible teaches otherwise: “By the word of the Lord were the heavens made; and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth. . . . For he spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” “Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God.” Again we must remember that God is referring here not to His written Word, but to His speaking Voice. His world-filling Voice is meant, that Voice which antedates the Bible by uncounted centuries, that Voice which has not been silent since the dawn of creation, but is sounding still throughout the full far reaches of the universe.

The Word of God is quick and powerful. In the beginning He spoke to nothing, and it became something. Chaos heard it and became order; darkness heard it and became light. “And God said — and it was so.” These twin phrases, as cause and effect, occur throughout the Genesis story of the creation. The said accounts for the so. The so is the said put into the Continuous present.

That God is here and that He is speaking — these truths are back of all other Bible truths; without them there could be no revelation at all. God did not write a book and send it by messenger to be read at a distance by unaided minds. He spoke a Book and lives in His spoken words, constantly speaking His words and causing the power of them to persist across the years. God breathed on clay and it became a man; He breathes on men and they become clay. “Return ye children of men,” was the word spoken at the Fall by which God decreed the death of every man, and no added word has He needed to speak. The sad procession of mankind across the face of the earth from birth to the grave is proof that His original Word was enough.

We have not given sufficient attention to that deep utterance in the Book of John, “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” Shift the punctuation around as we will and the truth is still there: the Word of God affects the hearts of all men as light in the soul. In the hearts of all men the light shines, the Word sounds, and there is no escaping them. Something like this would of necessity be so if God is alive and in His world. And John says that it is so. Even those persons who have never heard of the Bible have still been preached to with sufficient clarity to remove every excuse from their hearts forever. “Which show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing Witness, and their thoughts the mean while either accusing or else excusing one another.” “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse.”

This universal Voice of God was by the ancient Hebrews often called Wisdom, and was said to be everywhere sounding and searching throughout the earth, seeking some response from the Sons of men. The eighth chapter of the Book of Proverbs begins, “Doth not wisdom cry? and understanding put forth her voice?” The writer then pictures wisdom as a beautiful woman standing “in the top of the high places, by the way in the places of the paths.” She sounds her voice from every quarter so that no one may miss hearing it. “Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of men.” Then she pleads for the simple and the foolish to give ear to her words. It is spiritual response for which this Wisdom of God is pleading, a response which she has always sought and is but rarely able to secure. The tragedy is that our eternal welfare depends upon our hearing, and we have trained our ears not to hear.

This universal Voice has ever sounded, and it has often troubled men even when they did not understand the source of their fears. Could it be that this Voice distilling like a living mist upon the hearts of men has been the undiscovered cause of the troubled conscience and the longing for immortality confessed by millions since the dawn of recorded history? We need not fear to face up to this. The speaking Voice is a fact. How men have reacted to it is for any observer to note.

When God spoke out of heaven to our Lord, self-centered men who heard it explained it by natural causes: they said, “It thundered.” This habit of explaining the Voice by appeals to natural law is at the very root of modern science. In the living breathing cosmos there is a mysterious Something, too wonderful, too awful for any mind to understand. The believing man does not claim to understand. He falls to his knees and whispers, “God.” The man of earth kneels also, but not to worship. He kneels to examine, to search, to find the cause and the how of things. Just now we happen to be living in a secular age. Our thought habits are those of the scientist, not those of the worshipper. We are more likely to explain than to adore. “It thundered,” we exclaim, and go our earthly way. But still the Voice sounds and searches. The order and life of the world depend upon that Voice, but men are mostly too busy or too stubborn to give attention.

Every one of us has had experiences which we have not been able to explain: a sudden sense of loneliness, or a feeling of wonder or awe in the face of the universal vastness. Or we have had a fleeting visitation of light like an illumination from some other sun, giving us in a quick flash an assurance that we are from another world, that our origins are divine. What we saw there, or felt, or heard, may have been contrary to all that we had been taught in the schools and at wide variance with all our former beliefs and opinions. We were forced to suspend our acquired doubts while, for a moment, the clouds were rolled back and we saw and heard for ourselves. Explain such things as we will, I think we have not been fair to the facts until we allow at least the possibility that such experiences may arise from the Presence of God in the world and His persistent effort to communicate with mankind. Let us not dismiss such a hypothesis too flippantly.

It is my own belief (and here I shall not feel bad if no one follows me) that every good and beautiful thing which man has produced in the world has been the result of his faulty and sin-blocked response to the creative Voice sounding over the earth. The moral philosophers who dreamed their high dreams of virtue, the religious thinkers who speculated about God and immortality, the poets and artists who created out of common stuff pure and lasting beauty: how can we explain them? It is not enough to say simply, “It was genius.” What then is genius? Could it be that a genius is a man haunted by the speaking Voice, laboring and striving like one possessed to achieve ends which he only vaguely understands? That the great man may have missed God in his labors, that he may even have spoken or written against God does not destroy the idea I am advancing. God’s redemptive revelation in the Holy Scriptures is necessary to saving faith and peace with God. Faith in a risen Saviour is necessary if the vague stirrings toward immortality are to bring us to restful and satisfying communion with God. To me this is a plausible explanation of all that is best out of Christ. But you can be a good Christian and not accept my thesis.

The Voice of God is a friendly Voice. No one need fear to listen to it unless he has already made up his mind to resist it. The blood of Jesus has covered not only the human race but all creation as well. “And having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.” We may safely preach a friendly Heaven. The heavens as well as the earth are filled with the good will of Him that dwelt in the bush. The perfect blood of atonement secures this forever.

Whoever will listen will hear the speaking Heaven. This is definitely not the hour when men take kindly to an exhortation to listen, for listening is not today a part of popular religion. We are at the opposite end of the pole from there. Religion has accepted the monstrous heresy that noise, size, activity and bluster make a man dear to God. But we may take heart. To a people caught in the tempest of the last great conflict God says, “Be still, and know that I am God,” and still He says it, as if He means to tell us that our strength and safety lie not in noise but in silence.

It is important that we get still to wait on God. And it is best that we get alone, preferably with our Bible outspread before us. Then if we will we may draw near to God and begin to hear Him speak to us in our hearts. I think for the average person the progression will be something like this: First a sound as of a Presence walking in the garden. Then a voice, more intelligible, but still far from clear. Then the happy moment when the Spirit begins to illuminate the Scriptures, and that which had been only a sound, or at best a voice, now becomes an intelligible word, warm and intimate and clear as the word of a dear friend. Then will come life and light, and best of all, ability to see and rest in and embrace Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord and All.

The Bible will never be a living Book to us until we are convinced that God is articulate in His universe. To jump from a dead, impersonal world to a dogmatic Bible is too much for most people. They may admit that they should accept the Bible as the Word of God, and they may try to think of it as such, but they find it impossible to believe that the words there on the page are actually for them. A man may say, “These words are addressed to me,” and yet in his heart not feel and know that they are. He is the victim of a divided psychology. He tries to think of God as mute everywhere else and vocal only in a book.

I believe that much of our religious unbelief is due to a wrong conception of and a wrong feeling for the Scriptures of Truth. A silent God suddenly began to speak in a book and when the book was finished lapsed back into silence again forever. Now we read the book as the record of what God said when He was for a brief time in a speaking mood. With notions like that in our heads how can we believe? The facts are that God is not silent, has never been silent. It is the nature of God to speak. The second Person of the Holy Trinity is called the Word. The Bible is the inevitable outcome of God’s continuous speech. It is the infallible declaration of His mind for us put into our familiar human words.

I think a new world will arise out of the religious mists when we approach our Bible with the idea that it is not only a book which was once spoken, but a book which is now speaking. The prophets habitually said, “Thus saith the Lord.” They meant their hearers to understand that God’s speaking is in the continuous present. We may use the past tense properly to indicate that at a certain time a certain word of God was spoken, but a word of God once spoken continues to be spoken, as a child once born continues to be alive, or a world once created continues to exist. And those are but imperfect illustrations, for children die and worlds burn out, but the Word of our God endureth forever.

If you would follow on to know the Lord, come at once to the open Bible expecting it to speak to you. Do not come with the notion that it is a thing which you may push around at your convenience. It is more than a thing; it is a voice, a word, the very Word of the living God.

What are distinguishing scripture evidences of a work of the Spirit of God.

Having shown, in some instances, what are not evidences that a work wrought among a people, is not a work of the Spirit of God, I now proceed, in the second place, as was proposed, to show positively, what are the sure, distinguishing scripture evidences and marks of a work of the Spirit of God, by which we may proceed in judging of any operation we find in ourselves, or see among a people, without danger of being misled.—And in this, as I said before, I shall confine myself wholly to those marks which are given us by the apostle in the chapter wherein is my text, where this matter is particularly handled, and more plainly and fully than any where else in the Bible. And in speaking to these marks, I shall take them in the order in which I find them in the chapter.

I. When the operation is such as to raise their esteem of that Jesus who was born of the Virgin, and was crucified without the gates of Jerusalem; and seems more to confirm and establish their minds in the truth of what the gospel declares to us of his being the Son of God, and the Saviour of men; is a sure sign that it is from the Spirit of God. This sign the apostle gives us in the 2d and 3d verses,. “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God; and every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God; and every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.” This implies a confessing not only that there was such a person who appeared in Palestine, and did and suffered those things that are recorded of him, but that he was Christ, i.e. The Son of God, anointed to be Lord and Saviour, as the name Jesus Christ implies. That thus much is implied in the apostle’s meaning, is confirmed by the 15th verse, where the apostle is still on the same subject of signs of the true Spirit; “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.” And it is to be observed that the word confess, as it is often used in the New Testament, signifies more then merely allowing: it implies an establishing and confirming of a thing by testimony, and declaring it with manifestation of esteem and affection; so Matt. x. 32. “Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.” Rom. xv. 9. “I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.” And Phil. ii. 11. “That every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” And that this is the force of the expression, as the apostle John uses it in the place, is confirmed in the next chapter, ver. 1. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God, and every one that loveth him that begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him.” And by that parallel place of the apostle Paul, where we have the same rule given to distinguish the true Spirit from all counterfeits, 1 Cor. xii. 3. “Wherefore I give you to understand that no man speaking by the Spirit of God, calleth Jesus accursed; (or will show an ill or mean esteem of him;) and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.”

So that if the spirit that is at work among a people is plainly observed to work so as to convince them of Christ, and lead them to him—to confirm their minds in the belief of the history of Christ as he appeared in the flesh—and that he is the Son of God, and was sent of God to save sinners; that he is the only Saviour, and that they stand in great need of him; and if he seems to beget in them higher and more honourable thoughts of him than they used to have, and to incline their affections more to him; it is a sure sign that it is the true and right Spirit; however incapable we may be to determine, whether that conviction and affection be in that manner, or to that degree, as to be saving or not.

But the words of the apostle are remarkable; the person to whom the Spirit gives testimony, and for whom he raises their esteem, must be that Jesus who appeared in the flesh, and not another Christ in his stead; nor any mystical fantastical Christ; such as the light within. This the spirit of Quakers extols, while it diminishes their esteem of and dependence upon an outward Christ—or Jesus as he came in the flesh—and leads them off from him; but the spirit that gives testimony for that Jesus, and leads to him, can be no other than the Spirit of God.

The devil has the most bitter and implacable enmity against that person, especially in his character of the Saviour of men; he mortally hates the story and doctrine of his redemption; he never would go about to beget in men more honourable thoughts of him, and lay greater weight on his instructions and commands. The Spirit that inclines men’s hearts to the seed of the woman, is not the spirit of the serpent that has such an irreconcileable enmity against him. He that heightens men’s esteem of the glorious Michael, that prince of angels, is not the spirit of the dragon that is at war with him.

II. When the spirit that is at work operates against the interests of Satan’s kingdom, which lies in encouraging and establishing sin, and cherishing men’s worldly lusts; this is a sure sign that it is a true, and not a false spirit. This sign we have given us in the 4th and 5th verses. “Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them; because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. They are of the world, therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.” Here is a plain antithesis: it is evident that the apostle is still comparing those that are influenced by the two opposite kinds of spirits, the true and the false, and showing the difference; the one is of God, and overcomes the spirit of the world; the other is of the world, and speaks and savours of the things of the world. The spirit of the devil is here called, “he that is in the world.” Christ says, “My kingdom is not of this world.” But it is otherwise with Satan’s kingdom; he is “the god of this world.”

What the apostle means by the world, or “the things that are of the world,” we learn by his own words, in the 2d chapter of this epistle, 15th and 16th verses. “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world: if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him: for all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” So that by the world the apostle evidently means every thing that appertains to the interest of sin, and comprehends all the corruptions and lusts of men, and all those acts and objects by which they are gratified.

So that we may safely determine, from what the apostle says, that the spirit that is at work amongst a people, after such a manner, as to lessen men’s esteem of the pleasures, profits, and honours of the world, and to take off their hearts from an eager pursuit after these things; and to engage them in a deep concern about a future state and eternal happiness which the gospel reveals—and puts them upon earnestly seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness; and the spirit that convinces them of the dreadfulness of sin, the guilt it brings, and the misery to which it exposes; must needs be the Spirit of God.

It is not to be supposed that Satan would convince men of sin, and awaken the conscience; it can no way serve his end, to make that candle of the Lord shine the brighter, and to open the mouth of that vicegerent of God in the soul. It is for his interest, whatever he does, to lull conscience asleep, and keep it quiet. To have that, with its eyes and mouth open in the soul, will tend to clog and hinder all his designs of darkness, and evermore to disturb his affairs, to cross his interest, and disquiet him, so that he can manage nothing to his mind without molestation. Would the devil, when he is about to establish men in sin, take such a course, in the first place, to enlighten and awaken the conscience to see the dreadfulness of sin, and make them exceedingly afraid of it, and sensible of their misery by reason of their past sins, and their great need of deliverance from their guilt? Would he make them more careful, inquisitive, and watchful to discern what is sinful; and to avoid future sins; and so more afraid of the devil’s temptations, and more careful to guard against them? What do those men do with their reason, that suppose that the Spirit that operates thus, is the spirit of the devil?

Possibly some may say, that the devil may even awaken men’s consciences to deceive them, and make them think they have been the subjects of a saving work of the Spirit of God, while they are indeed still in the gall of bitterness. But to this it may be replied, that the man who has an awakened conscience, is the least likely to be deceived of any man in the world; it is the drowsy, insensible, stupid conscience that is most easily blinded. The more sensible conscience is in a diseased soul, the less easily is it quieted without a real healing. The more sensible conscience is made of the dreadfulness of sin, and of the greatness of a man’s own guilt, the less likely is he to rest in his own righteousness, or to be pacified with nothing but shadows. A man that has been thoroughly terrified with a sense of his own danger and misery, is not easily flattered and made to believe himself safe, without any good grounds. To awaken conscience, and convince it of the evil of sin, cannot tend to establish it, but certainly tends to make way for sin and Satan’s being cut out. Therefore this is a good argument that the Spirit that operates thus, cannot be the spirit of the devil; except we suppose that Christ knew not how to argue, who told the Pharisees—who supposed that the Spirit by which he wrought, was the spirit of the devil—that Satan would not cast out Satan, Matt. xii. 25, 26.—And therefore, if we see persons made sensible of the dreadful nature of sin, and of the displeasure of God against it; of their own miserable condition as they are in themselves, by reason of sin, and earnestly concerned for their eternal salvation—and sensible of their need of God’s pity and help, and engaged to seek it in the use of the means that God has appointed—we may certainly conclude that it is from the Spirit of God, whatever effects this concern has on their bodies; though it cause them to cry out aloud, or to shriek, or to faint; or, though it throw them into convulsions, or whatever other way the blood and spirits are moved.

The influence of the Spirit of God is yet more abundantly manifest, if persons have their hearts drawn off from the world, and weaned from the objects of their worldly lusts, and taken off from worldly pursuits, by the sense they have of the excellency of divine things, and the affection they have to those spiritual enjoyments of another world, that are promised in the gospel.

III. The spirit that operates in such a manner, as to cause in men a greater regard to the Holy Scriptures, and establishes them more in their truth and divinity, is certainly the Spirit of God. This rule the apostle gives us in the 6th verse:. “We are of God; he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us: hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.” We are of God; that is, “We the apostles are sent forth of God, and appointed by him to teach the world, and to deliver those doctrine and instructions, which are to be their rule; he that knoweth God, heareth us,” &c.—The apostle’s argument here equally reaches all that in the same sense are of God; that is, all those that God has appointed and inspired to deliver to his church its rule of faith and practice; all the prophets and apostles, whose doctrine God has made the foundation on which he has built his church, as in Eph. ii. 20. in a word, all the penmen of the Holy Scriptures. The devil never would attempt to beget in persons a regard to that divine word which God has given to be the great and standing rule for the direction of his church in all religious matters, and all concerns of their souls, in all ages. A spirit of delusion will not incline persons to seek direction at the mouth of God. To the law and to the testimony, is never the cry of those evil spirits that have no light in them; for it is God’s own direction to discover their delusions. Isa. viii. 19, 20. “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? For the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” The devil does not say the same as Abraham did, “They have Moses and the prophets, let them hear them:” nor the same that the voice from heaven did concerning Christ, “Hear ye him.” Would the spirit of error, in order to deceive men, beget in them a high opinion of the infallible rule, and incline them to think much of it, and be very conversant with it? Would the prince of darkness, in order to promote his kingdom of darkness, lead men to the sun? The devil has ever shown a mortal spite and hatred towards that holy book the Bible: he has done all in his power to extinguish that light; and to draw men off from it: he knows it to be that light by which his kingdom of darkness is to be overthrown. He has had for many ages experience of its power to defeat his purposes, and baffle his designs: it is his constant plague. It is the main weapon which Michael uses in his war with him: it is the sword of the Spirit, that pierces him and conquers him. It is that great and strong sword, with which God punishes Leviathan, that crooked serpent. It is that sharp sword that we read of, Rev. xix. 15. That proceeds out of the mouth of him that sat on the horse, with which he smites his enemies. Every text is a dart to torment the old serpent. He has felt the stinging smart thousands of times; therefore he is engaged against the Bible, and hates every word in it: and we may be sure that he never will attempt to raise persons’ esteem of it, or affection to it. And accordingly we see it common in enthusiasts, that they depreciate this written rule, and set up the light within or some other rule above it.

IV. Another rule to judge of spirits may be drawn from those compellations given to the opposite spirits, in the last words of the 6th verse,. “The spirit of truth and the spirit of error.” These words exhibit the two opposite characters of the Spirit of God, and other spirits that counterfeit his operations. And therefore, if by observing the manner of the operation of a spirit that is at work among a people, we see that it operates as a spirit of truth, leading persons to truth, convincing them of those things that are true, we may safely determine that it is a right and true spirit. For instance, if we observe that the spirit at work makes men more sensible than they used to be, that there is a God, and that he is a great and sin-hating God; that life is short, and very uncertain; and that there is another world; that they have immortal souls, and must give account of themselves to God, that they are exceeding sinful by nature and practice; that they are helpless in themselves; and confirms them in other things that are agreeable to some sound doctrine; the spirit that works thus operates as a spirit of truth; he represents things as they truly are. He brings men to the light; for whatever makes truth manifest is light; as the apostle Paul observes, Eph. v. 13. “But all things that are reproved (or discovered, as it is in the margin) are made manifest by the light; for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.” And therefore we may conclude, that it is not the spirit of darkness that doth thus discover and make manifest the truth. Christ tells us that Satan is a liar, and the father of lies; and his kingdom is a kingdom of darkness. It is upheld and promoted only by darkness and error. Satan has all his power of dominion by darkness. Hence we read of the power of darkness. Luke xxii. 53. And Col. i. 13. And devils are called “the rulers of the darkness of this world.” Whatever spirit removes our darkness, and brings us to the light, undeceives us, and, by convincing us of the truth, doth us a kindness. If I am brought to a sight of truth, and am made sensible of things as they really are, my duty is immediately to thank God for it, without standing first to inquire by what means I have such a benefit.

V. If the spirit that is at work among a people operates as a spirit of love to God and man, it is a sure sign that it is the Spirit of God. This sign the apostle insists upon from the 6th verse to the end of the chapter. “Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and every one that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God: he that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love,” &c. Here it is evident, that the apostle is still comparing those two sorts of persons that are influenced by the opposite kinds of spirits; and mentions love as a mark by which we may know who has the true spirit: but this is especially evident by the 12th and 13th verses. “If we love one another, God dwelleth in us, and his love is perfected in us: hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” In these verses love is spoken of as if it were that wherein the very nature of the Holy Spirit consisted; or, as if divine love dwelling in us, and the Spirit of God dwelling in us, were the same thing; as it is also in the last two verses of the foregoing chapter, and in the 16th verse. of this chapter. Therefore this last mark which the apostle gives of the true Spirit he seems to speak of as the most eminent: and so insists much more largely upon it, than upon all the rest; and speaks expressly of both love to God and men; of love to men in the 7th, 11th, and 12th verses;. and of love to God, in the 17th, 18th, and 19th verses.; and of both together, in the last two verses; and of love to men, as arising from love to God, in these last two verses.

Therefore, when the spirit that is at work amongst the people, tends this way, and brings many of them to high and exalting thoughts of the Divine Being, and his glorious perfections; and works in them an admiring, delightful sense of the excellency of Jesus Christ; representing him as the chief among ten thousand, and altogether lovely, and makes him precious to the soul; winning and drawing the heart with those motives and incitements to love, of which the apostle speaks in that passage of Scripture we are upon, viz. The wonderful, free love of God in giving his only-begotten Son to die for us, and the wonderful dying love of Christ to us, who had no love to him, but were his enemies; must needs be the Spirit of God, as ver. 9, 10. “In this was manifested the love of God towards us, because God sent his onlybegotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love; not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” And ver. 16. “And we have known, and believed, the love that God hath to us.” And ver. 19. “We love him because he first loved us.” The spirit that excites to love on these motives, and makes the attributes of God as revealed in the gospel, and manifested in Christ, delightful objects of contemplation; and makes the soul to long after God and Christ—after their presence and communion, acquaintance with them, and conformity to them—and to live so as to please and honour them; the spirit that quells contentions among men, and gives a spirit of peace and good will, excites to acts of outward kindness, and earnest desires of the salvation of souls-and causes a delight in those that appear as the children God, and followers of Christ; I say, when a spirit operates after this manner among a people, there is the highest kind of evidence of the influence of a true and divine spirit.

Indeed there is a counterfeit love, that often appears among those who are led by a spirit of delusion. There is commonly in the wildest enthusiasts, a kind of union and affection, arising from self-love, occasioned by their agreeing in those things wherein they greatly differ from all others, and from which they are objects of the ridicule of all the rest of mankind. This naturally will cause them so much the more to prize those peculiarities that make them the objects of others’ contempt. Thus the ancient Gnostics, and the wild fanatics that appeared at the beginning of the reformation, boasted of their great love one to another; one sect of them, in particular, calling themselves the family of love. But this is quite another thing, than that christian love I have just described: it is only the working of a natural self-love, and no true benevolence, any more that the union and friendship which may be among a company of pirates, that are at war with all the rest of the world. There is enough said in this passage of the nature of a truly christian love, thoroughly to distinguish it from all such counterfeits. It is love that arises from apprehension of the wonderful riches of the free grace and sovereignty of God’s love to us, in Christ Jesus; being attended with a sense of our own utter unworthiness, as in ourselves the enemies and haters of God and Christ, and with a renunciation of all our own excellency and righteousness. See ver. 9, 10, 11, and 19. The surest character of true divine supernatural love—distinguishing it from counterfeits that arise from a natural self-love—is, that the christian virtue of humility shines in it; that which above all others renounces, abases, and annihilates what we term self. Christian love, or true charity, is an humble love. 1 Cor. xiii. 4, 5. “Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, doth not behave itself unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked.” When therefore we see love in persons attended with a sense of their own littleness, vileness, weakness, and utter insufficiency; and so with self-diffidence, self-emptiness, self-renunciation, and poverty of spirit; these are the manifest tokens of the Spirit of God.

He that thus dwells in love, dwells in God, and God in him. What the apostle speaks of as a great evidence of the true Spirit, is God’s love or Christ’s love; as ver. 12.—”his love is perfected in us.” What kind of love that is, we may see best in what appeared in Christ’s example. The love that appeared in that Lamb of God, was not only a love to friends, but to enemies, and a love attended with a meek and humble spirit. “Learn of me,” says he, “for I am meek and lowly in heart.”—Love and humility are two things the most contrary to the spirit of the devil, of any thing in the world; for the character of that evil spirit, above all things, consists in pride and malice.

Thus I have spoken particularly to the several marks the apostle gives us of a work of the true Spirit. There are some of these things which the devil would not do if he could: thus he would not awaken the conscience, and make men sensible of their miserable state by reason of sin, and sensible of their great need of a Saviour; and he would not confirm men in the belief that Jesus is the Son of God, and the Saviour of sinners, or raise men’s value and esteem of him: he would not beget in men’s minds an opinion of the necessity, usefulness, and truth of the Holy Scriptures, or incline them to make much use of them; nor would he show men the truth, in things that concern their souls’ interest; to undeceive them, and lead them out of darkness into light, and give them a view of things as they really are. And there are other things that the devil neither can nor will do; he will not give men a spirit of divine love, or christian humility and poverty of spirit; nor could he if he would. He cannot give those things he has not himself: these things are as contrary as possible to his nature. And therefore when there is an extraordinary influence or operation appearing on the minds of a people, if these things are found in it, we are safe in determining that it is the work of God, whatever other circumstances it may be attended with, whatever instruments are used, whatever methods are taken to promote it; whatever means a sovereign God, whose judgments are a great deep, employs to carry it on; and whatever motion there may be of the animal spirits, whatever effects may be wrought on men’s bodies. These marks, that the apostle has given us, are sufficient to stand alone, and support themselves. They plainly show the finger of God, and are sufficient to outweigh a thousand such little objections, as many make from oddities, irregularities, errors in conduct, and the delusions and scandals of some professors.

But here some may object to the sufficiency of the marks given, what the apostle Paul says in 2 Cor. xi. 13, 14. “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ; and no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light.”

To which I answer, that this can be no objection against the sufficiency of these marks to distinguish the true from the false spirit, in those false apostles and prophets, in whom the devil was transformed into an angel of light, because it is principally with a view to them that the apostle gives these marks; as appears by the words of the text, “Believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God;” and this is the reason he gives, because many false prophets are gone out into the world: viz. “There are many gone out into the world who are the ministers of the devil, who transform themselves into the prophets of God, in whom the spirit of the devil is transformed into an angel of light; therefore try the spirits by these rules that I shall give you, that you may be able to distinguish the true spirit from the false, under such a crafty disguise.” Those false prophets the apostle John speaks of, are doubtless the same sort of men with those false apostles, and deceitful workers, that the apostle Paul speaks of, in whom the devil was transformed into an angel of light: and therefore we may be sure that these marks are especially adapted to distinguish between the true Spirit, and the devil transformed into an angel of light, because they are given especially for that end; that is the apostle’s declared purpose and design, to give marks by which the true Spirit may be distinguished from that sort of counterfeits.

And if we look over what is said about these false prophets, and false apostles, (as there is much said about them in the New Testament,) and take notice in what manner the devil was transformed into an angel of light in them, we shall not find any thing that in the least injures the sufficiency of these marks to distinguish the true Spirit from such counterfeits. The devil transformed himself into an angel of light, as there was in them a show, and great boast, of extraordinary knowledge in divine things; Col. ii. 8. 1. Tim. i. 6, 7. and chap. vi. 3-5. 2 Tim. ii. 14-18. Tit. i. 10, 16. Hence their followers called themselves Gnostics, from their great pretended knowledge: and the devil in them mimicked the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit, in visions, revelations, prophecies, miracles, &c. Hence they are called false apostles, and false prophets: see Matt. xxiv. 24. Again, there was a false show of, and lying pretensions to, great holiness and devotion in words: Rom. xvi. 17, 18. Ephes. iv. 14. Hence they are called deceitful workers, and wells and clouds without water. 2 Cor. xi. 13. 2 Pet. ii. 17. Jude 12. There was also in them a show of extraordinary piety and righteousness in their superstitious worship: Col. ii. 16-23. So they had a false, proud, and bitter zeal: Gal. iv. 17, 18. 1 Tim. i. 6. and chap. vi. 4, 5. And likewise a false show of humility, in affecting an extraordinary outward meanness and dejection, when indeed they were “vainly puffed up in their fleshly mind:” and made a righteousness of their humility, and were exceedingly lifted up with their eminent piety: Col. ii. 18, 23. But how do such things as these in the least injure those things that have been mentioned as the distinguishing evidences of the true Spirit?—Besides such vain shows which may be from the devil, there are common influences of the Spirit, which are often mistaken for saving grace; but these are out of the question, because though they are not saving, yet are the work of the true Spirit.

Having thus fulfilled what I at first proposed, in considering what are the certain, distinguishing marks, by which we may safely proceed in judging of any work that falls under our observation, whether it be the work of the Spirit of God or no; I now proceed to the Application.

Section II of the document:

THE DISTINGUISHING MARKS
OF A WORK OF THE SPIRIT OF GOD,
APPLIED TO THAT UNCOMMON OPERATION THAT HAS LATELY APPEARED ON THE MINDS OF THE PEOPLE OF NEW ENGLAND:
WITH A
PARTICULAR CONSIDERATION OF THE EXTRAORDINARY CIRCUMSTANCES WITH WHICH THIS WORK IS ATTENDED

Jonathan Edwards

The following is from Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion Book II Chapter II.

20. Man’s knowledge of God is God’s own work

If we were persuaded of a truth which ought to be beyond dispute, viz., that human nature possesses none of the gifts which the elect receive from their heavenly Father through the Spirit of regeneration, there would be no room here for hesitation. For thus speaks the congregation of the faithful, by the mouth of the prophet: “With thee is the fountain of life: in thy light shall we see light,” (Ps. 36: 9.) To the same effect is the testimony of the Apostle Paul, when he declares, that “no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost,” (1 Cor. 12: 3.) And John Baptist, on seeing the dullness of his disciples, exclaims, “A man can receive nothing, unless it be given him from heaven,” (John 3: 27.) That the gift to which he here refers must be understood not of ordinary natural gifts, but of special illumination, appears from this – that he was complaining how little his disciples had profited by all that he had said to them in commendation of Christ. “I see,” says he, “that my words are of no effect in imbuing the minds of men with divine things, unless the Lord enlighten their understandings by His Spirit.” Nay, Moses also, while upbraiding the people for their forgetfulness, at the same time observes, that they could not become wise in the mysteries of God without his assistance. “Ye have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, unto Pharaoh, and unto all his servants, and unto all his land; the great temptations which thine eyes have seen, the signs, and these great miracles: yet the Lord has not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this, day,” (Deut. 29: 2, 3, 4.) Would the expression have been stronger had he called us mere blocks in regard to the contemplation of divine things? Hence the Lord, by the mouth of the Prophet, promises to the Israelites as a singular favour, “I will give them an heart to know me,” (Jer. 24: 7;) intimating, that in spiritual things the human mind is wise only in so far as he enlightens it.

This was also clearly confirmed by our Saviour when he said, “No man can come to me, except the Father which has sent me draw him,” (John 6: 44.) Nay, is not he himself the living image of his Father, in which the full brightness of his glory is manifested to us? Therefore, how far our faculty of knowing God extends could not be better shown than when it is declared, that though his image is so plainly exhibited, we have not eyes to perceive it. What? Did not Christ descend into the world that he might make the will of his Father manifest to men, and did he not faithfully perform the office? True! He did; but nothing is accomplished by his preaching unless the inner teacher, the Spirit, open the way into our minds. Only those, therefore, come to him who have heard and learned of the Father. And in what is the method of this hearing and learning? It is when the Spirit, with a wondrous and special energy, forms the ear to hear and the mind to understand. Lest this should seem new, our Saviour refers to the prophecy of Isaiah, which contains a promise of the renovation of the Church. “For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee,” (Is. 54: 7.) If the Lord here predicts some special blessing to his elect, it is plain that the teaching to which he refers is not that which is common to them with the ungodly and profane.

It thus appears that none can enter the kingdom of God save those whose minds have been renewed by the enlightening of the Holy Spirit. On this subject the clearest exposition is given by Paul, who, when expressly handling it, after condemning the whole wisdom of the world as foolishness and vanity, and thereby declaring man’s utter destitution, thus concludes, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, for they are spiritually discerned,” (1 Cor. 2: 14.) Whom does he mean by the “natural man”? The man who trusts to the light of nature. Such a man has no understanding in the spiritual mysteries of God. Why so? Is it because through sloth he neglects them? Nay, though he exert himself, it is of no avail; they are “spiritually discerned.” And what does this mean? That altogether hidden from human discernment, they are made known only by the revelation of the Spirit; so that they are accounted foolishness wherever the Spirit does not give light. The Apostle had previously declared, that “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love him;” nay, that the wisdom of the world is a kind of veil by which the mind is prevented from beholding God, (1 Cor. 2: 9.) What would we more? The Apostle declares that God has “made foolish the wisdom of this world,” (1 Cor. 1: 20;) and shall we attribute to it an acuteness capable of penetrating to God, and the hidden mysteries of his kingdom? Far from us be such presumption!

We model our practices after what we find in the scriptures because that is all we can do to accurately follow God’s word. It is indeed written there for us to follow. Just as in the time of Ezra and Nehemiah, the scriptures are read to the people and we change our lives to follow them, not human traditions.

It does not matter what some so-called early Christians wrote regarding doctrinal practices.  A major reason we have the scriptures is to make sure that God’s word is correctly preserved.

In many places in the New Testament the apostles confirm that even while they were alive false teachers had gone out into the world.

1John 4:1 ESV
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Peter explained to the church when he was getting ready to die that he would leave them scriptures to ensure that they were reminded of the gospel. He did not say he left a successor he said he was leaving scripture.

2 Peter 1:12-21ESV
12 Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. 13 I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. 15 And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things.16 For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain. 19 And we have something more sure, the prophetic word, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation. 21 For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.

Peter is clear that the apostles are eyewitnesses of Jesus and that they have the prophetic word and that they themselves didn’t humanly interpret what the Holy Spirit was inspiring them to say, but that they wrote down exactly what he wanted them to say, so he is saying that the scriptures that the apostles are writing are the written word of God himself.

So, in all doctrinal matters, all that matters is what the Bible says.

–David

The Lamb of God

April 3, 2011

The Lamb of God

Genesis 22: 1-8 ESV
After these things God tested Abraham and said to him, “Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 2 He said, “Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” 3 So Abraham rose early in the morning, saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him, and his son Isaac. And he cut the wood for the burnt offering and arose and went to the place of which God had told him. 4 On the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes and saw the place from afar. 5 Then Abraham said to his young men, “Stay here with the donkey; I and the boy will go over there and worship and come again to you.” 6 And Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son. And he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So they went both of them together. 7 And Isaac said to his father Abraham, “My father!” And he said, “Here am I, my son.” He said, “Behold, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” 8 Abraham said, “God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son.” So they went both of them together.

Here we see one of the earliest and greatest prophecies of the future atonement of the Lord Jesus Christ. Abraham and Issac are on Mt. Moriah, the mountain that would be the temple mount. Abraham tells his beloved son that the Lord would provide the Lamb. We see that indeed the Lord stopped Abraham’s hand.

Genesis 22:9-14 ESV
9 When they came to the place of which God had told him, Abraham built the altar there and laid the wood in order and bound Isaac his son and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. 10 Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. 11 But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, “Abraham, Abraham!” And he said, “Here am I.” 12 He said, “Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.” 13 And Abraham lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram, caught in a thicket by his horns. And Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering instead of his son. 14 So Abraham called the name of that place, “The Lord will provide”;  as it is said to this day, “On the mount of the Lord it shall be provided.” 

That day was long ago. The recorded event occurred approximately 2050 B.C. Moses the man God inspired to write Genesis wrote this approximately 1425 B.C. The Temple of God was built on that location years later approximately 966 B.C. It was a house of prayer and worship for those who were seeking God.

Isaiah 56:7 ESV
7 these I will bring to my holy mountain,
and make them joyful in my house of prayer;
their burnt offerings and their sacrifices
will be accepted on my altar;
for my house shall be called a house of prayer
for all peoples.”

From Abraham throughout the Old Testament the Lamb God would provide as atonement for sin was foretold.

Isaiah 53:5-7 ESV
But he was wounded for our transgressions;
he was crushed for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,
and with his stripes we are healed.
6 All we like sheep have gone astray;
we have turned—every one—to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted,
yet he opened not his mouth;
like a lamb that is led to the slaughter,
and like a sheep that before its shearers is silent,
so he opened not his mouth.

Jesus Christ is the Lamb of God. John the Baptist professed this to all who could hear him:

John 1:29-34 ESV
29 The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30 This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31 I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32 And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33 I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34 And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

In the year 29 A.D at a place called Golgotha on the same mount Moriah not far from the temple God fulfilled these prophecies concerning Jesus Christ and provided the lamb.

Mark 15:22-39 ESV
22 And they brought him to the place called Golgotha (which means Place of a Skull). 23 And they offered him wine mixed with myrrh, but he did not take it. 24 And they crucified him and divided his garments among them, casting lots for them, to decide what each should take. 25 And it was the third hour when they crucified him. 26 And the inscription of the charge against him read, “The King of the Jews.” 27 And with him they crucified two robbers, one on his right and one on his left. 29 And those who passed by derided him, wagging their heads and saying, “Aha! You who would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days, 30 save yourself, and come down from the cross!” 31 So also the chief priests with the scribes mocked him to one another, saying, “He saved others; he cannot save himself. 32 Let the Christ, the King of Israel, come down now from the cross that we may see and believe.” Those who were crucified with him also reviled him. 33 And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” 35 And some of the bystanders hearing it said, “Behold, he is calling Elijah.” 36 And someone ran and filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on a reed and gave it to him to drink, saying, “Wait, let us see whether Elijah will come to take him down.” 37 And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last. 38 And the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. 39 And when the centurion, who stood facing him, saw that in this way he breathed his last, he said, “Truly this man was the Son of God!”

He rose from the dead:

John 20:1-16 ESV
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. 2 So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” 3 So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. 4 Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, 7 and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. 8 Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9 for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes. 11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).

John 20:24-28 ESV
24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.” 26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”

Worthy is the Lamb:

Revelation 5 ESV
Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. 2 And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” 3 And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, 4 and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. 5 And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.” 6 And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. 7 And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. 8 And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. 9 And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll
and to open its seals,
for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God
from every tribe and language and people and nation,
10 and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God,
and they shall reign on the earth.” 11 Then I looked, and I heard around the throne and the living creatures and the elders the voice of many angels, numbering myriads of myriads and thousands of thousands, 12 saying with a loud voice, “Worthy is the Lamb who was slain, to receive power and wealth and wisdom and might and honor and glory and blessing!” 13 And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea, and all that is in them, saying, “To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be blessing and honor and glory and might forever and ever!” 14 And the four living creatures said, “Amen!” and the elders fell down and worshiped.

–David

Who is God?

April 1, 2011

The Scriptures are the written revelation of God to us. They tell us who and what he is and show us what is good and instruct us in all Godly things we need.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 ESV
16 All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.

There have been many documents written that give sound exegesis of scripture regarding what it reveals about God. I would like to look at one in particular that I believe offers a good sound scriptural look at God.

The Westminster Larger Catechism is an important document in the history of the church and has instructed many Godly people in the ways of righteousness over the centuries. It is a question and answer format catechism. The word catechism simply means “instruction.” It was penned during the Westminster assembly that met at Westminster Abbey from 1643-1649.

Personally, I am a Baptist and I do not agree with all of the Westminster Standards; however, they are far too valuable and well done to ignore. There is much in the Westminster Standards that should be studied and taken to heart.

Let’s take a look at what the Westminster Larger Catechism teaches about God:

Q. 7. What is God?
A. God is a Spirit (1), in and of himself infinite in being,(2) glory,(3) blessedness,(4) and perfection;(5) all-sufficient,(6) eternal,(7) unchangeable,(8) incomprehensible,(9) everywhere present,(10) almighty,(11) knowing all things,(12) most wise,(13) most holy,(14) most just,(15) most merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth.(16)

1. John 4:24 ESV
24 God is spirit, and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth.”

2. Exodus 3:14 ESV
14 God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”

Job 11:7-9 ESV
7 “Can you find out the deep things of God?
Can you find out the limit of the Almighty?
8 It is higher than heaven —what can you do?
Deeper than Sheol—what can you know?
9 Its measure is longer than the earth
and broader than the sea.

3. Acts 7:2 ESV
2 And Stephen said:
“Brothers and fathers, hear me. The God of glory appeared to our father Abraham when he was in Mesopotamia, before he lived in Haran,

4. 1 Timothy 3:16 ESV
15 which he will display at the proper time—he who is the blessed and only Sovereign, the King of kings and Lord of lords,

5. Matthew 5:48 ESV
48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

6. Genesis 17:1 ESV
When Abram was ninety-nine years old the LORD appeared to Abram and said to him, “I am God Almighty; walk before me, and be blameless,

7. Malachi 3:6 ESV
6 “For I the LORD do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.

8. 1 Kings 8:27 ESV
27 “But will God indeed dwell on the earth? Behold, heaven and the highest heaven cannot contain you; how much less this house that I have built!

9. Psalm 139:1-13 ESV
1 O Lord, you have searched me and known me!
2 You know when I sit down and when I rise up;
you discern my thoughts from afar.
3 You search out my path and my lying down
and are acquainted with all my ways.
4 Even before a word is on my tongue,
behold, O Lord, you know it altogether.
5 You hem me in, behind and before,
and lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;
it is high; I cannot attain it.
7 Where shall I go from your Spirit?
Or where shall I flee from your presence?
8 If I ascend to heaven, you are there!
If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there!
9 If I take the wings of the morning
and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
10 even there your hand shall lead me,
and your right hand shall hold me.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,
and the light about me be night,”
12 even the darkness is not dark to you;
the night is bright as the day,
for darkness is as light with you.
13 For you formed my inward parts;
you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.

10. Revelation 4:8 ESV
8 And the four living creatures, each of them with six wings, are full of eyes all around and within, and day and night they never cease to say,
“Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God Almighty,
who was and is and is to come!”

11. Hebrews 4:13 ESV
13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

12. Romans 16:27 ESV
27 to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

13.  Isaiah 6:3 ESV
3 And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”

14. Revelation 15:4 ESV
4 Who will not fear, O Lord,
and glorify your name?
For you alone are holy.
All nations will come
and worship you,
for your righteous acts have been revealed.”

15. Deuteronomy 32:4 ESV
4 “The Rock, his work is perfect,
for all his ways are justice.
A God of faithfulness and without iniquity,
just and upright is he.

16. Exodus 34:6 ESV
6 The LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness,

Q. 8. Are there more Gods than one?
A. There is but one only, the living and true God.(1)

1. Deuteronomy 6:4 ESV
4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one.

1 Corinthians 8:4,6 ESV
4 Therefore, as to the eating of food offered to idols, we know that “an idol has no real existence,” and that “there is no God but one.”
6 yet for us there is one God, the Father, from whom are all things and for whom we exist, and one Lord, Jesus Christ, through whom are all things and through whom we exist.

Jeremiah 10:10 ESV
10 But the Lord is the true God;
he is the living God and the everlasting King.
At his wrath the earth quakes,
and the nations cannot endure his indignation.

Q. 9. How many persons are there in the Godhead?
A. There be three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory; although distinguished by their personal properties.(1)

1. Matthew 3:16-17 ESV
16 And when Jesus was baptized, immediately he went up from the water, and behold, the heavens were opened to him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and coming to rest on him; 17 and behold, a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.”

Matthew 28:19 ESV
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV
14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

Q. 10. What are the personal properties of the three persons in the Godhead?
A. It is proper to the Father to beget the Son,(1) and to the Son to be begotten of the Father,(2) and to the Holy Ghost to proceed from the Father and the Son from all eternity.(38)

1. Hebrews 1:5-6,8 ESV
5 For to which of the angels did God ever say,
“You are my Son,
today I have begotten you”?
Or again,
“I will be to him a father,
and he shall be to me a son”?
6 And again, when he brings the firstborn into the world, he says,
“Let all God’s angels worship him.”
8 But of the Son he says,
“Your throne, O God, is forever and ever,
the scepter of uprightness is the scepter of your kingdom.

2. John 1:14-18 ESV
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

3. John 15:26 ESV
26 “But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.

Galatians 4:6 ESV
6 And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!”

Q. 11. How doth it appear that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father?
A. The Scriptures manifest that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father, ascribing unto them such names,(1) attributes,(2) works,(3) and worship,(4) as are proper to God only.

1. Isaiah 6:3,5,8 ESV
3 And one called to another and said:
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts;
the whole earth is full of his glory!”
5 And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!”
8 And I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?” Then I said, “Here am I! Send me.”

John 12:41 ESV
41 Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.

Acts 28:25 ESV
25 And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:

1 John 5:20 ESV
20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life.

Acts 5:3-4 ESV
3 But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back for yourself part of the proceeds of the land? 4 While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not at your disposal? Why is it that you have contrived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.”

2. John 1:1 ESV
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

Isaiah 9:6 ESV
6 For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

John 2:24-25 ESV
24 But Jesus on his part did not entrust himself to them, because he knew all people 25 and needed no one to bear witness about man, for he himself knew what was in man.

1 Corinthians 2:10-11 ESV
10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.

3. Colossians 1:16 ESV
16 For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.

Genesis 1:2 ESV
2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
4. Matthew 28:19 ESV
19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in [1] the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit,

2 Corinthians 13:14 ESV
14 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

I pray that you are blessed by studying the topic of God from the Westminster Larger Catechism.

–David