The Light Of The Spirit (Chap. 22).
(From Dr. A. Saphir, Christ Crucified, p. 109.)
'But it may be asked: God revealed Himself and His purpose in Christ, Why is another light, another teacher, needed? The necessity is obvious from history. The heathen world by wisdom knew not God, and when Christ came He was rejected; they who received Him confessed it was owing to a supernatural illumination, to the Spirit of God. Israel taught by holy men inspired of God, in possession of the Scriptures, the perfect portrait of Him that was to come; Israel, thus highly favoured and fully instructed, was not able to discern the Divine features of that countenance, of which Moses and the prophets, of which all their institutions, testified. He came to His own, but His own received Him not. They crucified Him. What greater proof can we have that Christ Himself remains unseen light, unless the Spirit reveals Him?
'But look at the very disciples of our Lord. They were drawn to Jesus by the Father. Their knowledge that Jesus was the Messiah, the Son of God, came not by nature, by flesh and blood, but it was from above. They loved Jesus with all their hearts, cleaving unto Him with all the pities of their affection. And yet, while He was here, they understood not the Script,ires. Even the instructions, of the blessed Master, received with intensest admiration and affection, were not sufficient. They stood at the threshold of truth: the Holy Ghost alone can lead ns into the Truth. God is in Christ; but the Holy Ghost alone reveals Him who is God manifest.
'But let us go higher than the proof of actual history and experience. God in His love reveals Himself. It is His gracious will th,it I should know Him. In Christ Jesus He reveals Himself perfectly. Jesus is Light, full of brightness and sweet tenderness. And yet I require another light to sea the True Light. How is this 1
'Simply becaust, there is no other God but the Triune, —Eatl>er, Son, and Holy Ghost. God knows Himself in His Spirit. It is in the Spirit of God that God is Light in Himself, and therefore by the Spirit He sends forth light into the world and into the hearts of His children.
'God reveals Himself. But who is God revealed? Who else but the Son? And by whom does the Father know and love the Son? By thai very Spirit by whom He reveals Himself to man. Scripture is of the Father; its substance is Christ, and it is revealed by the Holy Ghost. A revealing God, a revealed God, is the true God,—Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
'So it is in redemption. We do not exalt the Lord Jesus Christ, or approach Him more closely, when we forget the Father and the Spirit. It is the glory of Christ that He reveals the Father, and baptizes with the Holy (Jhost. Father, Sun, and Holy Ghost are one in majesty and glory, and one in love and grace.
'Remember, there is no bridge from this world unto the land of glory; remember, there is no ladder from this earth unto heaven, unless from yonder shore and from yonder height, God, the Triune, Himself comes down and brings us salvation. Amor descendit, was a Baying of the ancients. Love descends from heaven. What God in His infinite love, wisdom, and power hath treasured up in Christ Jesus, Himself must give w by the. power of the Holy Ghost. And thus we know and assuredly believe, that nothing shall separate us from tho love of God, which is in Christ Jesus, because Christ is ours, not by our own reason, not by our own energy, not by our own faithfulness, but by the Holy Ghost Himself, who is very God and eternal God, who links us unto the Lord Jesus Christ, to be His for evermore.
'The Holy Ghost, who is in essential and perfect communion with the Father and the Son, reveals unto u< eternal realities. He alone knows the infinite love of God with which He has loved us, for He alone can fathom the depth out of which this love proceeds. Thus, what the Holy Ghost reveals and imparts is the knowledge of realities which are eternal in God.
'He brings a living knowledge; His light is the light of life. It is not information, an insight into the connection of truths, and an appreciation of their beau'y and grandeur. Men may have such knowledge vast iind deep, and yet be destitute of the grace of God and uninhabited by the Divine Spirit. To know God and Je^us Christ whom He has sent is life eternal. This knowledge of God, beholding Him and Christ, is the spiritual, never-ending life which the Spirit creates ,within us. Dead knowledge is not the work of the Holy Spirit — knowledge which remains quiescent, silent, and lonely; for the knowledge which the Spirit gi ves is communion. We see the Father and the Son as seeing us. When we behold them by the revelation of the Spirit, it is as beholding us with infinite love, and bestowing upon us the blessings of grace. We know because we are known. "Thou Father, Thou Son, seest me," is the immediate consciousness of the soul, when t here is a spiritual perception of God. In other words, adoration, love, petition, listening to God's voice,
receiving the love and peace of Christ, communion, is invoked in this knowledge.
'This knowledge is therefore also an experience of God; when we know, we possess and receive God and His gifts. We know the Father, and He is our Father; we know Christ, we see His mediation; we have come to the blood of the new covenant, and we possess Christ, and experience the power and efficacy of His death and resurrection. We know the spiritual blessings in heavenly places, and knowing them we possess them. We have not merely the picture or image, but the substance of Divine realities.
'It is the Spirit Himself who teaches and enlightens. The truth itself, the preaching of the Gospel, the reading of the Scriptures, has no inherent power to bring knowledge into the soul. These are only the instruments, the Spirit is the agent; they are only the sword, the Spirit is the energy, the hand that wields it. They shall be taught of God. God causes the light of the Gospel to shine into our hearts. How little we realize this truth, so comforting and full of encouragement! How apt are we to forget the living Spirit in the gifts and channels which He uses! How fond we are of placing ourselves in God's place; if not in the Father's, in Christ's; if not in Christ's, in that of the Spirit I'