"He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you."John 16:14, 15.
Beloved friends, here you have the Trinity, and there is no salvation apart from the Trinity. it must be the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. "All things that the Father hath are mine", saith Christ, and the Father hath all things. They were always his; they are still his; they always will be his; and they cannot become ours till they change ownership, till Christ can say, "All things that the Father hath are mine"; for it is by virtue of the representative character of Christ standing as the surety of the covenant that the "all things" of the Father are passed over to the Son, that they might be passed over to us. "It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; and of his fullness have all we received." But yet we are so dull that, though the conduit-pipe is laid on to the great fountain, we cannot get at it. We are lame; we cannot reach thereto; and in comes the third Person of the divine unity, even the Holy Spirit, and he receives of the things of Christ, and then delivers them over to us. So we do actually receive, through Jesus Christ, by the Spirit, what is in the Father.
Ralph Erskine, in his preface to a sermon upon the fifteenth verse, has a notable piece. He speaks of grace as honeyhoney for the cheering of the saints, for the sweetening of their mouths and hearts; but he says that in the Father "the honey is in the flower, which is at such a distance from us that we could never extract it." In the Son "the honey is in the comb, prepared for us in our Immanuel, God-Man, Redeemer, the Word that was made flesh, saying, 'All things that the Father hath are mine; and mine for your use and behoof': it is in the comb. But then, next, we have honey in the mouth; the Spirit taking all things, and making application thereof, by showing them unto us, and making us to eat and drink with Christ, and share of these 'all things'; yea, not only eat the honey, but the honeycomb with the honey; not only his benefits, but himself." It is a very beautiful division of the subject. Honey in the flower in God, as in mystery; really there. There never will be any more honey than there is in the flower. There it is. But how shall you and I get at it? We have not wisdom to extract the sweetness. We are not as the bees that are able to find it out. It is bee-honey, but not man-honey. Yet you see in Christ it becomes the honey in the honeycomb, and hence he is sweet to our taste as honey dropping from the comb. Sometimes we are so faint that we cannot reach out a hand to grasp that honeycomb; and, alas! there was a time when our palates were so depraved that we preferred bitter things, and thought them sweet. But now the Holy Ghost has come, we have got the honey in the mouth, and the taste that enjoys it; yea, we have now so long enjoyed it, that the honey of grace has entered into our constitution, and we have become sweet unto God; his sweetness having been conveyed by this strange method unto us.
Beloved friends, I scarcely need say to you, do keep the existence of the Trinity prominent in your ministry. Remember, you cannot pray without the Trinity. If the full work of salvation requires a Trinity, so does that very breath by which we live. You cannot draw near to the Father except through the Son, and by the Holy Spirit. There is a trinity in nature undoubtedly. There certainly constantly turns up the need of a Trinity in the realm of grace; and when we get to heaven we shall understand, perhaps, more fully what is meant by the Trinity in unity. But if that is a thing never to be understood, we shall at least apprehend it more lovingly; and we shall rejoice more completely as the three tones of our music shall rise up in perfect harmony unto Him who is one and indivisible, and yet is three, for ever blessed, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, one God.
Now for the point which I am to open up to you this morning; though I cannot do it, but he must do it. We must sit here, and have the text acted out upon ourselves. "He shall glorify me. He shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you." May it be so just now!
First, what the Holy Spirit does: "He shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you." Secondly, what the Holy Spirit aims at and really effects: "He shall glorify me." And then, thirdly, how in doing both these things he is the Comforter. It is the Comforter that does this; and we shall find our richest, surest comfort in this work of the Holy Spirit, who shall take of the things of Christ, and show them unto us.
I. First, WHAT THE HOLY SPIRIT DOES. It is clear, beloved friends, that the Holy Spirit deals with the things of Christ. As our brother, Archibald Brown, said, when expounding the chapter just now, he does not aim at any originality. He deals with the things of Christ. All things that Christ had heard from his Father he made known to us. He kept to them. And now the Spirit takes of the things of Christ, and of nothing else. Do not let us strain at anything new. The Holy Ghost could deal with anything in heaven above, or in the earth beneaththe story of the ages past, the story of the ages to come, the inward secrets of the earth, the evolution of all things, if there be an evolution. He could do it all. Like the Master, he could handle any topic he chose; but he confines himself to the things of Christ, and therein finds unutterable liberty and boundless freedom.
Do you think, dear friend, that you can be wiser than the Holy Spirit? And if his choice must be a wise one, will yours be a wise one if you begin to take of the things of something or somebody else? You will have the Holy Spirit near you when you are receiving of the things of Christ; but, as the Holy Spirit is said never to receive anything else, when you are handling other things on the Sabbath-day, you will be handling them alone; and the pulpit is a dreary solitude, even in the midst of a crowd, if the Holy Ghost is not with you there. You may, if you please, excogitate a theology out of your own vast brain; but the Holy Ghost is not with you there. And, mark you! there are some of us that are resolved to tarry with the things of Christ, and keep on dealing with them as far as he enables us to do so; and we feel that we are in such blessed company with the divine Spirit, that we do not envy you that wider range of thought, if you prefer it.
The Holy Spirit still exists, and works, and teaches in the church; but we have a test by which to know whether what people claim to be revelation is revelation or not: "He shall receive of mine." The Holy Ghost will never go farther than the cross, and the coming of the Lord. He will go no farther than that which concerns Christ. "He shall receive of mine." When, therefore, anybody whispers in my ear that there has been revealed to him this or that, which I do not find in the teaching of Christ and his apostles, I tell him that we must be taught by the Holy Spirit. His one vocation is to deal with the things of Christ. If we do not remember this, we may be carried away by vagaries, as many have been. Those who will have to do with other things, let them; but as for us, we shall be satisfied to confine our thoughts and our teaching within these limitless limits: "He shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you."
I like to think of the Holy Spirit handling such things. They seem so worthy of him. Now has he got among the hills. Now is his mighty mind among the infinities when he has to deal with Christ, for Christ is the Infinite veiled in the finite. Why, he seems something more than infinite when he gets into the finite; and the Christ of Bethlehem is less to be understood than the Christ of the Father's bosom. He seems, if it were possible, to have out-infinited the infinite, and the Spirit of God has themes here worthy of his vast nature.
When you have been the whole Sunday morning whittling away a text to the small end of nothing, what have you done? A king spent a day in trying to make a portrait on a cherry-stonea king, who was ruling empires; and here is a minister, who professes to have been called of the Holy Ghost to the employ of taking of the things of Christ, who spent a whole morning with precious souls, who were dying while he spoke to them, in handling a theme concerning which it did not signify the turn of a hair whether it was so or not. Oh, imitate the Holy Spirit! If you profess to have him dwelling in you, be moved by him. Let it be said of you in your measure, as of the Holy Ghost without measure, "He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you."
But, next, what does the Holy Ghost do? Why, he deals with feeble men, yea, he dwells with us poor creatures. I can understand the Holy Ghost taking the things of Christ, and rejoicing therein; but the marvel is, that he should glorify Christ by coming and showing these things to us. And yet, brethren, it is among us that Christ is to get his glory. Our eyes must see him. An unseen Christ is little glorious; and the things of Christ unknown, the things of Christ untasted and unloved seem to have lost their brilliance to a high degree. The Holy Spirit, therefore, feeling that to show a sinner the salvation of Christ glorifies him, spends his time, and has been spending these centuries, in taking of the things of Christ, and showing them to us. Ah! it is a great condescension on his part to show them to us; but it is a miracle, too. If it were reported that suddenly stones had life, and hills had eyes, and trees had ears, it would be a strange thing; but for us who were dead and blind and deaf in an awful sensefor the spiritual is more emphatic than the naturalfor us to be so far gone, and for the Holy Ghost to be able to show the things of Christ to us, is to his honor. But he does do it. He comes from heaven to dwell with us. Let us honor and bless his name.
I never could make up my mind which to admire most as an act of condescension; the incarnation of Christ, or the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. The incarnation of Christ is marvellousthat he should dwell in human nature; but, observe, the Holy Ghost dwells in human nature in its sinfulness; not in perfect human nature, but in imperfect human nature; and he continues to dwell, not in one body, which was fashioned strangely for himself, and was pure and without taint; but he dwells in our body. Know ye not that they are the temples of the Holy Ghost, which were defiled by nature, and in which a measure of defilement still remains, despite his indwelling? And this he has done these multitudes of years, not in one instance, nor in thousands of instances only, but in a number that no man can number. He continues still to come into contact with sinful humanity. Not to the angels, nor to the seraphim, nor to the cherubim, nor to the host who have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb, does he show the things of Christ; but he shall show them unto us.
I suppose that it means this, that he takes of the words of our Lordthose which he spoke personally, and by his apostles. Let us never allow anybody to divide between the word of the apostles and the word of Christ. Our Savior has joined them together. "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word." And if any begin rejecting the apostolic word, they will be outside the number for whom Christ prays; they shut themselves out by that very fact. I wish that they would solemnly recollect that the word of the apostles is the word of Christ. He tarried not long enough, after he had risen from the dead, to give us a further exposition of his mind and will; and he could not have given it before his death, because it would have been unsuitable. "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now." After the descent of the Holy Ghost, the disciples were prepared to receive that which Christ spoke by his servants Paul and Peter, and James and John. Certain doctrines which we are sometimes taunted about as being not revealed by Christ, but by his apostles, were all revealed by Christ, every one of them. They can all be found in his teaching; but they are very much in the parabolic form. It is after he has gone up into glory, and has prepared a people by his Spirit to understand the truth more fully, that he sends his apostles, and says, "Go forth, and open up to those whom I have chosen out of the world the meaning of all I said." The meaning is all there, just as all the New Testament is in the Old; and sometimes I have thought that, instead of the Old being less inspired than the New, it is more inspired. Things are packed away more tightly in the Old Testament than in the New, if possible. There are worlds of meaning in one pregnant line in the Old Testament; and in Christ's words it is just so. He is the Old Testament to which the Epistles come in as a kind of New Testament; but they are all one and indivisible; they cannot be separated.
Well, now, the words of the Lord Jesus, and the words of his apostles, are to be expounded to us by the Holy Spirit. We shall never get at the center of their meaning apart from his teaching. We shall never get at their meaning at all, if we begin disputing about the words, saying, "Now, I cannot accept the words." If you will not have the shell, you will never have the chick. It is impossible. "The words are not inspired," they say. Here is a man in the witness-box, and he has sworn to speak the truth, and he says that he has done so; and now he is cross-examined, and he says, "Now, I have spoken the truth, but I do not stand by my words." The cross-examining lawyer has got hold of a certain statement of his. The witness says, "Oh, I do not swear to the words, you know." The question is asked, "What, then, do you swear to? There is nothing else. We do not know anything about your meaning. All that you have sworn to must be your words." But what the fellow means is this, that he is a liar; he is a perjurer. Well, I say no more than common-sense would suggest to you if you were sitting in a court. Now, if a man says, "I have spoken the truth, but still I do not swear to the words;" what is there left? If we have no inspiration in the words, we have got an impalpable inspiration that oozes away between your fingers, and leaves nothing behind.
Well, take the words, and never dispute over them. Still, into their soul-fullness of meaning you cannot come until the Holy Ghost shall lead you into them. They that wrote them for you did not fully understand what they wrote in many instances. There were some of them who enquired and searched diligently to know what manner of things those were whereof the Holy Ghost had spoken to them, and of which he had made them speak. And you to whom the words come will have to do the same. You must go and say, "Great Master, we thank thee for the Book with all our hearts; and we thank thee for putting the Book into words; but now, good Master, we will not cavil over the letter, as did the Jews and the rabbis and the scribes of old, and so miss thy meaning. Open wide the door of the words, that we may enter into the secret closet of the meaning; and teach us this, we pray thee. Thou hast the key. Lead us in."
Dear friends, whenever you want to understand a text of Scripture, try to read the original. Consult anybody who has studied what the original means; but remember that the quickest way into a text is praying in the Holy Ghost. Pray the chapter over. I do not hesitate to say that, if a chapter is read upon one's knees, looking up at every word to him that gave it, the meaning will come to you with infinitely more light than by any other method of studying it. "He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." He shall re-deliver the Master's message to you in the fullness of its meaning.
But I do not think that is all that the text means. "He shall receive of mine." In the next verse the Lord goes on to say, "All things that the Father hath are mine." I do think that it means, therefore, that the Holy Spirit will show us the things of Christ. Here is a text for us"The things of Christ." Christ speaks as if he had not any things just then which were specially his own, for he had not died then; he had not risen then; he was not pleading then as the great Intercessor in heaven: all that was to come. But still, he says, "Even now all things that the Father hath are mine: all his attributes, all his glory, all his rest, all his happiness, all his blessedness. All that is mine, and the Holy Ghost shall show that to you."
But I might almost read my text in another light, for he has died, and risen, and gone on high, and lo, he cometh. His chariots are on the way. Now, there are certain things which the Father hath, and which Jesus Christ hath, which are truly the things of Christ, emphatically the things of Christ; and my prayer is, that you and I, preachers of the gospel, might have this text fulfilled in us: "He shall take of minemy thingsand shall show them unto you."
Suppose, dear brethren, that we are going to preach the word again, and the Holy Spirit shows to us our Master in his Godhead. Oh, how we will preach him as divinehow surely he can bless our congregation! How certainly he must be able to subdue all things unto himself, seeing that he is very God of very God! It is equally sweet to see him as man. Oh, to have the Spirit's view of Christ's manhood! distinctly to recognize that he is bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh, and that in his infinite tenderness he will compassionate me, and deal with my poor people, and with the troubled consciences that are round me; that I have still to go to them, and tell them of One who is touched with the feeling of their infirmities, having been tempted in all points like as they still are! Oh, my brothers, if we once, nay, if every time before we preach, we get a view of Christ in his divine and human natures, and come down fresh from that vision to speak about him, what glorious preaching it would be for our people!
It is a glorious thing to get a view of the offices of Christ by the Holy Spirit; but especially of his office as a Savior. I have often said to him, "You must save my people. It is no business of mine. I never set up in that line, or put over my door that I was a saviour; but thou hast been apprenticed to this trade. Thou hast learned it by experience, and thou dost claim it as thine own honor. Thou art exalted on high to be a Prince and a Savior. Do thine own work, my Lord." I took this text, and used it with sinners the other Sunday night, and I know that God blessed it when I said to them, "May the Holy Ghost show you that Christ is a Savior! A physician does not expect you to make any apologies when you call upon him because you are ill, for he is a physician, and he wants you in order that he may prove his skill; so Christ is a Savior, and you need not apologize for going to him; because he cannot be a Savior if there is not somebody to be saved." The fact is, Christ cannot get hold of us anywhere except by our sin. The point of contact between the sick one and the physician is the disease. Our sin is the point of contact between us and Christ. Oh, that the Spirit of God would take of Christ's divine offices, especially that of a Savior, and show them unto us!
Did the Holy Ghost ever show to you these thing of Christ, namely, his covenant engagements? When he struck hands with the Father, it was that he would bring many sons unto glory; that of those whom the Father gave him he would lose none, but that they should be saved; for he is under bonds to his Father to bring his elect home. When the sheep have to pass again under the hand of him that telleth them, they will go under the rod one by one, each one having the blood-mark; and he will never rest till the number in the heavenly fold shall tally with the number in the book. So I believe and it has seemed delightful to me to have this shown to me when I have gone to preach. It is a dull, dreary, wet, foggy morning. There are only a few present. Yes; but they are picked people, whom God hath ordained to be there, and there will be the right number there. I shall preach, and there will be some saved. We do not go at a peradventure; but, guided by the blessed Spirit of God, we go with a living certainty, knowing that God has a people that Christ is bound to bring home, and bring them home he will; and while he shall see of the travail of his soul, his Father shall delight in every one of them. If you get a clear view of that, it will give you backbone and make you strong. "He shall take of mine, and shall show you my covenant engagements, and when you see them you shall be comforted."
But, beloved, the Holy Ghost favors you by taking what is peculiarly Christ's, namely, his love, and showing that to you. We have seen it, seen it sometimes more vividly than at other times. But if the full blaze of the Holy Spirit were to be concentrated upon the love of Christ, and our eyesight enlarged to its utmost capacity, it would be such a vision that heaven could not excel it. We should sit with our Bible before us in our study, and feel, "Well now, here is a man, whether in the body or out of the body, I cannot tell. Such a man is caught up into the third heaven." Oh, to see the love of Christ in the light of the Holy Ghost! When it is so revealed to us, it is not merely the surface which we see, but the love of Christ itself. You know that you never saw anything yet, strictly speaking. You only see the appearance of the thingthe light reflected by it; that is all you see. But the Holy Ghost shows us the naked truth, the essence of the love of Christ; and what that essence isthat love without beginning, without change, without limit, without end; and that love set upon his people simply from motives within himself, and from no motive ab extrawhat that must be, what tongue can tell? Oh, it is a ravishing sight!
I think that if there could be one sight more wonderful than the love of Christ, it would be the blood of Christ.
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