The Place Of The Indwelling (Chap. 6).
In studying the teaching of Scripture on the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, it is of great consequence to see clearly what it tells us of the place where the Spirit dwells, and the mode in which He works. And to this end we need to be specially careful to seek correct views as to the difference between the soul and the spirit of man, and. their mutual relation.
In the history of man's creation we read, 'The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground,'—thus was his body made,—' and breathed into his nostrils the breath' or spirit 'of life :' thus his spirit came from God; 'and man became a living soul.' The Spirit quickening the body made man a living soul, a living person with the consciousness of himself. The soul was the meeting-place, the point of union between body and spirit. Through the body, man, the living soul, stood related to the external world of sense; could influence ic, or be influenced by it. Through the spirit he stood related to the spiritual world and the Spirit of God, whence he had his origin; could be the recipient and the minister of its life and power. Standing thus midway between two worlds, belonging to both, the soul had the pnwer of determining itself, of choosing or refusing the objects by which it was surrounded, and to which it stood related.
In the constitution of these three parts of man's nature, the spirit, as linking him with the Divine, was the highest; the body, connecting him with the sensible and animal, the lowest; intermediate stood the soul, partaker of the nature of the others, the bond that united them, and through which they could act on each other. Its work, as the central power, was to maintain them in their due relation ; to keep the body, as tue lowest, in fcubjection to the spirit; itself to rece've through the spirit-, a<i tlie higher, from the Divine Spirit what was waitiiiL' it for its perfection; and so to pass down, evi,n to the body, that by which it might be partaker of the Spirit's perfection, and become a spiritual body.
The wondrous gifts with which the soul was endowed, specially those of consciousness and self-determination, or mind and will, were but the mould or vessel into which the life of the Spirit, the real substance and truth of the Divine life, was to be received and assimilated. They were a God-given capacity fur making the. knowledge and the will of God its own. In doing this, the personal life of the soul wouM have become filled and possessed with the life of the Spirit, the whole man would have become spiritual. We know how the opposite of this took place. The soul yielded to the solicitations of sense, and became its slave, so that the Spirit no longer ruled, but vainly strove to vindicate for God His place, until God said, 'My Spirit shall not strive with man for ever, for that he also is flesh,' wholly under the power of the flesh. The spirit in man became dormant,—a capacity for knowing and serving God which would have to wait its time for deliverance and quickening. The soul ruled instead of the spirit, and the great mark of all religion, even in its most earnest struggles after God, is that it is the soul, man's own energy without the Divine Spirit, putting forth its effort to find and to please God.
In regeneration it is this spirit of man which is quickened again and renewed. The word regeneration, or being born again, Scripture uses as that change whereby the soul passes from death to life, effected like the natural birth, at once and once for all. The word renewed is used of that continuous and progressive work by which the life of the Spirit of God enters more fully into our life, and asserts its supremacy through our entire nature.
In the regenerate man the original relation between the soul and the spirit has been restored. The spirit of man has Ken quickened to become an habitation of God's Spirit, who is now to teach and to lead, by communicating as a Divine life, as something substantial and real, the Truth, the actual good things which Christ has lor us. This Divine leading into th<: Truth by the Spirit of God takes place not in our soul or mind, in the first place, but in our spirit, in the inner recesses of a life deeper than mind or will. And it takes place only as the soul, in the confession of how blinded it has become, of how slowly its faculties really become spiritual and divinely enlightened, in the willingness to be foolish and ignorant, and in teachableness to wait on God's Spirit to give His Truth in the life, yields itself to that complete supremacy of the Spirit which was its original destiny.
And now comes the most important lesson, not easy to learn, for the sake of which we have at some length spoken of the relation between the soul and spirit. The greatest danger the religion of the Church or the individual has to dr. ad is the inordinate activity of the soul, with its power or mind and will. It has been so long accustomed to rule, that even when in conversion it has surrendered to Jesus, it too easily imagines that it is now its work to carry out that surrender, and serve the King it has accepted. Many a believer has no conception of the reality of the Spirit's indwelling, and of the extent to which He must get the mastery of the soul, that is. of our whole self in all our feeling and thinking and willing, so as to purge out all confidence in the flesh, and work that teachableness and submissiveness which is indispensable to the Spirit's doing His work. The call of the Master to hate our own life, not to seek it but to lose it (the word used is psyche—soul), is the call to give the soul, with its power of willing and acting, unto death, that it may find its true life again in the quickening and leading of the Spirit. As long as this is not understood, there will not be that fear of self and its wisdom, that absolute dependence and waiting on the Spirit, which is the first condition of the spiritual life.
To those who would be saved from these danger, who would fain return to the normal state in which, and for which, God created man, the way is open, though not always easy. Begin with the prayer that we may know the Holy Spirit, His dwelling-place, His way, and His work, and what He claims. Seek a deep impression of the holy mystery and the Divine reality of His indwelling. As truly as God dw,lt in the flesh of Jesus of Nazareth, so truly, though in a different way, doth He dwell in Thee. Have a deep reverence for the Holy Presence. Be very jealous of aught that would grieve Him. Remember especially that what grieves Him most, next to i,in, and what is sometimes more dangerous to ourselves than sin, is the soul repeating the first offence, and following Us own thoughts about what is good and wise. Understand ti at thou hast received the Spirit, that now the soul may be entirely under His dominion. Imagine not that the fact of thy admitting that thou needest the Spirit's teaching, or that thou askest for Him, is enough to secure His working. No indeed. It needs a very real giving up of the life of the soul, of all its .,-trength and wisdom day by day, and a very real subjection of the whole mind and will to wait for His quickening and His teaching, if thou art inde, d to learn to know and worship God in the Spirit.
To gather up what has been said. The spirit is the seat of our God - consciousness; the soul of our selfconsciousness; the body of our world-consciousness. In the spirit God dwells, in the soul self, in the body sense. As long as the right relation existed, and the soul with its self was subject to the spirit, and through it to God, all was well. But sin came as the assertion of self in seeking its life through sense and not obedience to the spirit. And so the soul, self, selfishness became the ruling principle of man's life.
In the regenerate man there is no more subtle temptation than this, that even in the service of God self still seeks to assert itself, and in its will and strength to do God's will, instead of waiting in dependence on the Holy Spirit for Him to work, both to will and to do. This is why the Lord Jesus said so distinctly. ' Let a man deny himself, and take up his cross;' the life and the power of self must he sacrificed and given up for the Spirit to work. Even so He speaks of our hating and loving our life (soul) if we are to find the true life, the life of the Spirit. In the believer there is ever going on a secret struggle between the soul and the Spirit. On behalf of God, the Spirit seeks to possess and pervade all. On behalf of self, the soul seeks to take the first place, and to assert the right of independent action. As long as this is the case, and the soul takes the lead, expecting the Spirit to follow, and help and bless what it does, our life and work will be barren of truly spiritual results. Only when the soul, with all of self, its willing and running, is daily denied and laid in the dust for the Spirit to work, will the Power of God be manifest in our service). Here is the cause of such frequent failure in the spiritual life, of the evanescent character of many of our most precious experiences; our faith stood more in the wisdom of man, in the influence of human teaching and human apprehension, than in the power of God and His Spirit.
This is what is meant in Heb. iv. 12: 'The word of God is living, and active, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit.' Just as in creation the first work of the word was to divide, separating between light and darkness, earth and sea, so, as the Living Word, by the Holy Spirit, does it work in us, the difference between the spirit as the higher and the seat of the Divine, and the soul as the lower, ever with all its powers to be kept subject to the spirit, becomes clear to us. And we learn to understand that in the renewed spirit is the home of God's Holy Spirit.
• Master, where dwellest Thou?' the disciples asked, T
when first they began to know Jestis. 'Come and see,' was His answer, and they abode with Him that night. 'Holy Teacher, where dwellest Thou 1' is a question we may indeed ask, as we long to know the Spirit. The iiiiswer Jesus has given us: 'He shall be in you.' In that inner shrine of our wondrous nature, the spirit, deeper than the soul, with all its life of feeling, and thought, and will, which God made for Himself, in the spirit quickened by His power, there dwells the Holy S/drit. There, in the life which He has imparted, there He dwells; that life He leads ever deeper into the Truth, the actual possession of the substance of the grace revealed in Christ. It is only the soul that knows that He dwells there, and waits for His teaching there, to whom will be given as much as it needs and can hear of that truth in the intellect, which otherwise is so impotent and even dangerous. Paul writes: 'God, whom I serve in my spirit.' It is as I know that I have a spirit, 'the seat of self-collectedness, the inner sanctuary,' formed for receiving the communications from the Divine world, deeper than thought or feeling, and' retire there to wait on God's Spirit, and set it open to Him, that I will learn to know where He dwells. Only when He is acknowledged and honoured there, will He come forth from the secret place, to manifest His power in the region of the soul and its conscious life. When speaking of the believer as a temple, 1 shall have occasion again to point out the difference between the holy place, the soul, and the most holy, the spirit. (2ith Day.)