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No. VIII. The Work of the Holy Spirit a Failure.
It is objected that this doctrine disparages the work of the Holy Spirit.
Not so! For what is the work of the Holy Spirit ? He is gathering the bride. He teaches, guides, and comforts her,45 until she is presented to Christ.
At the same time he reproves the world of sin, and of righteousness, and judgment. John 16:8.
He may be grieved,47 resisted,48 and quenched49 now, but He will not always strive with man." His present work will be finished, and the King of kings and Lord of lords will come forth with the armies of heaven to subdue His enemies (Rev. 19) and finish the work.51
(45) John 14:17. Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him : but ye know him ; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
26. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
John 16:13. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
15. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
(46) Eph. 5:25. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it ;
26. That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word,
27. That he might present it to himself a glorious church,
not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without bleme ish.
(47) Eph. 4:30. And grieve not
the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.
(48) Acts 7:51. Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost : as your fathers did, so do ye.
(49) 1 Thes. 5:19. Quench not the Spirit.
(50) Gen. 6:3. And the Lord said, My Spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
(51) Rev. 19:11. And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat
was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.
12. His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns;
and he had name written, that no man knew, but he himself.
13. And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood : and his name is called The Word of God.
14. And the armies which were in heaven followed him
upon white horses, clothed
in fine :inen, white and clean.
It was “the Spirit of God,” which “moved upon the face of the waters” in the beginning (Gen. 1:2), and we believe He had a part in all the work of creation, Gen. 1:26. He strove with sinners before the flood, Gen. 6:3. He spake by the prophets, Acts 1:16; 2 Pet. 1:21. He was specially granted unto Joseph and others. Gen. 41:38; Ex. 31:3; Num. 11:17; 24:2; 27:18; 2 Kings 2:9, etc. In short, He has been engaged in all the work of creation and redemption. We do not believe that His work is a failure because of the flood, nor because the Jews have rejected Christ, and as natural branches, have been broken off. Rom. 11:20. Neither do we believe His work will be a failure, though the preaching of the gospel in the present dispensation shall only result in the salvation of “some.! 52 We feel sure that He shall have a part in the glory and triumph of the millennial dispensation, for even the Israelites shall then have a new Spirit within them.53 And the nations are to be ruled, in peace and righteousness, by Him upon whom the Spirit of the Lord doth rest.54
15. And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations, and he shall rule them with a rod of iron : and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.
16. And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
Rom. 9:28. For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness : because short work will the Lord make upon the earth.
(52) Luke 13:23. Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved ? And he said unto them,
24. Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able.
25. When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock at the door, saying, Lord. Lord,
open unto us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know you not whence ye are.
1 Cor. 9:22. To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.
(53) Ezek. 11:19. And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh.
(54) Isa. 11:2. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord;
3. And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hear. ing of his ears:
Let us then have no fear of jealousy on the part of the Spirit, because of the triumphs of Christ. Rather let us be sure that He seeks to hasten the presentation of the bride, —which is being sealed by Him (Eph. 4:20),-unto her Lord-who hath the Spirit without measure, 55 that these twain, united into one,56 may be the one perfect man,57 the Holy temple, 58 built for the habitation of God in Spirit.59 And who can estimate what shall be accomplished by the Spirit, through this holy, living Temple, in which He shall dwell. No wonder that He yearns to hasten its completion. See the type of His haste in Gen. 24:56.60 But this completion shall not take place until the Lord comes, when the Head shall forever be united to the body. 1 Thes. 4:18. Therefore, in this we may realize, to some extent, the meaning of that yearning cry of the Spirit "EVEN SO COME LORD JESUS.” Rev. 22:20.
No. IX. The Gospel a Failure.
It is said that it makes the gospel a failure.
4. But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked.
Isa. 61:1-3. See pg. 56.
(55) John 3:34. For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
(56) Eph. 5:30, Because we are members of his body.
31. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife; and the two shall become one flesh.
32. This mystery is great : but I speak in regard of Christ and of the church.
(57) Eph. 4:13. Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto
the measure of the stature of the
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?
Also 6:19 and 2 Cor. 6:16.
(59) Eph. 2:20. Being built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the chief corner stone;
21. In whom each severa) building, fitly framed together, groweth into a holy temple in the Lord; 22. In whom ye
are builded together for habitation of God in the Spirit.
(60) Gen. 24:56. And ho said unto them, Hinder me not, seeing the Lord hath prospered my way; send me away that I may go to my master.
57. And they said, We will
power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth (Rom. 1:16). It is not the incompetency of the gospel, but the willful unbelief of sinners that prevents the conversion of the world. Jesus said: “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out." John 6:37. But He also said “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.” John 5:40. While we are to preach the gospel everywhere, we are not to expect that all will receive it. For, when He said unto them, “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature,” He also added, "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.” Mark 16:15-16. But "what if some did not believe? Shall their unbelief make THE TRUTH of God of none effect ? God forbid.” Rom. 3:3. Salvation shall be revealed in the last time.61
Jesus shall see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied. Isa. 53:11.
“After this I beheld, and lo, a great multitude, which na man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes and palms in their hands, and cried with a loud voice, saying: Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb." Rev. 7:9-10. Alleluia; Amen; Alleluia. No. X. The Gospel Not Preached in All the World.
It is objected that the gospel has not yet been preached in all the world, as Christ asserted it should be, in Mat. 24:14, and therefore we cannot yet look for Christ, nor the end to come. Let us carefully examine this passage:
"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.”
call the damsel, and enquire at her mouth.
58. And they called Rebekah, and said unto her, Wilt thou go with this man? And she said, I will go.
(61) 1 Pet. 1:5. Who kept by the power of God through
faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
Col. 1:23. If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is, under heaven.
1st. The end is unquestionably the end of the age (Tou ai@vos - tou aionos) of which the disciples asked in verse 3.
2d. The world (olkovuévn-oikoumenee) means habitable, that is, the inhabited earth.
3d. The gospel of the kingdom is the good news, or glad tidings of the kingdom to come.
These glad tidings, it is asserted, shall be proclaimed in all the inhabited earth for a witness unto all nations and then (TÓTE—tote) shall come the end of this age-or dispensation. It will be noticed that the time, during which the preaching shall continue, is determined entirely by the qualifying clause "for a witness unto all nations.” When the witness is complete, then shall the end come.
When the Witness Is Complete. Now, no finite mind can determine when the witness is complete. If we could, the evidence is to the effect that it has passed already. For when the gospel was preached on the day of Pentecost, there were present “devout men out of every nation under heaven." Acts 2:5. Afterward the disciples were scattered abroad and went about preaching the Word. Acts 8:4. “And they went forth and preached everywhere.” Mark 16:20.* Paul says, in Rom. 10:18, “Their sound went into ali the earth, and their words unto the ends of the world,”** (world here being from the same word oikovmévr, -oikoumenee that is used in Mat. 24:14).
And again he says in Col. 1:23*† that the gospel had already been “preached to every creature which is under heaven."
These inspired statements as to the universal preaching of the gospel ought to be conclusive. Mighty as it makes the work of the early disciples, I do not see how we can refuse to accept it. (See Dr. A. Clarke on Mat. 24:14 as to the special point of the universality of this preaching, also the authorities previously cited.) Surely we must
*See Bengell's Gnomon.