William Guthrie -
"For I will pour water
upon him that is thirsty, and ftoods upon the dry ground: I will pour my Spirit
upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring.Isaiah xliv.
WE have .heard of the two commands that make way for the
promise, and ye have heard of the grounds on which they are pressed. When His
professing people hear of their danger, and try not to seek after a remedy, but
turn their back upon God, He cries, as it were, after them, and says, "Hear
another word, and take not away an ill report of God and His ways." But may we
say, "What is that word?" Why, it is just to hold by the covenant. The covenant
in given, not only to satisfy all your desires, but even to hold by until ye
hear a better word come forth from the Lord.
But; say ye, "If ye knew my
condition, ye could not bid me but fear." It is true I know not your condition,
but He that formed you from the womb says, "Fear not, 0 Jacob, my servant and
Jeshurun whom I have chosen." "Our iniquities are like to take hold upon us,"
say ye, "but sink them into the covenant," says He. "Lean down your burdens
there," says He; "and speak a word to Me, and if I answer not your condition,
then take it up again, if ye be able, and go your way." "Well," say ye, "we are
content to lean down our burden upon the covenant. Now what hast Thou to say
unto us, Lord I" "Then," says He, "I know ye want much, and I know the chief of
all your wants. I know ye want My blessing. Then stay and take it, and ye shall
prosper the bettor. I know that ye would have drink, although ye will not grant
ye are thirsty. Can ye not say dry ground? Then come and set to your mouths
here, and I will let out waters unto you. But know ye what I say?" says He.
"Not very well," say ye. "Then," says He, " I will tell you in plain terms.
I will pour out my Spirit upon you; for I will pour water upon him that
is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground." "But there are many," ye may say,
"that get that, who do not bear much fruit." "But," says He, "I will bless it
and make it grow, and ye shall avow your profession before the world; you shall
not hang down your heads when ye meet with a professor, but ye shall
avouch your interest in God, while He allows His Spirit and good-will to do you
1) The first point of doctrine. The Lord allows the pouring out of His
Spirit, to answer and satisfy the soul that is almost made deaf with the
challenges of conscience, and the threatenings of a broken law; and He will
have His people to satisfy themselves with it as their portion.
of this see Isaiah xli. 18 : - " I will open rivers in high places, and
fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of
water, and the dry land springs of water." And so (Joel ii. 28) when He has
forbidden them to fear He says, "I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and
your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams,
your young men shall see visions." The Lord holds out the covenant to a
trembling soul, or people. And He says, "Lean down your burden there, and hear
what I have to say to you." The man is content to stand and bear, but is not
content to lean down his burden, lest he be not able to raise or lift it up
again, till once he hear the covenant branched out to him. "Fear not, for I
have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name, and thou art mine."
Now, the reasons why the Lord allows His Spirit for the satisfying of His
people who are thus afraid, are
1. Because the Spirit can answer all ye can
object. There is nothing ye can want, but His Spirit makes way for it, and
follows all your doubts and fears. And
2. The Spirit differences the godly
from the wicked. For there are many who would rather have an outward delivery,
than a delivery for their soul. And therefore the Lord takes this way to
satisfy His own people.
Use. - Then try what ye take up with, when ye are
afraid and in trouble. And if ye be spiritual, ye will desire the Spirit; but
if otherwise, ye will desire an outward delivery. I say, "Take hold of this
promise to satisfy all your doubts and fears." But ye may say, "Ye know not
what ye want." Ye must have this much, and that much. I answer, "If it be
offered unto you to satisfy, and solve all your doubts and fears, take not
another way of it, for God will not be mocked. If ye will take it, it will
satisfy all your desires; for there is in Scripture to satisfy them all, be
what they will" But ye may say, "I want faith." "Then welcome," say I. "He is
the Spirit of faith." "But I want a promise." "Well, He is the Spirit of
promise." "I want holiness." "Then He is the Spirit of holiness." "But I trow,
I want all grace." "Well, then, He is called the Spirit of all grace and
supplication, yea, and glory too." "But I have an ill-natured, passionate
spirit." "Then He is called the Spirit of meekness." "But I have no
understanding." "Then He is called the Spirit of understanding that searches
all things, even the hidden things of God." "I am a fool, and destitute of
counsel; and I know not what to choose." "He is the Spirit of counsel and
direction." "But I cannot pray." "Then He is the Sgirit of prayer and
supplication." "I cannot love." "Then He is the Spirit of love: God is love."
"I am dead and lifeless in all performances." "Then He is the Spirit of life."
"I cannot unite with the people of God." "Then heard ye never of the Spirit of
unity in the bond of peace." "I cannot mourn over my sins and wants." "Then He
is the Spirit that makes one mourn as for an only son, or first-born."
what do ye want? He is the Spirit that worketh all things in all cases in all
His people. Therefore has He not good reason to offer His Spirit to answer all
their doubts and fears? It is like Fortunatus's purse, to use the similitude;
ye shall always find something in it. Sit down, then, and devise wants, and He
has something to answer them all; therefore seek the Spirit above all things.
Those who esteem not the Spirit above all things, know nothing of the Spirit of
God. This Spirit teachee humility, and teaches to call God Father. But ye may
say, that ye find it is elsewhere said, "Grieve not the Spirit;" "and that,"
say ye, "we do continually." Well, to satisfy you in that, He not only promises
His Spirit, but He promises His blessing also with His Spirit. "Thy blessing is
upon thy people." So John vi., when He blessed the five loaves, then they
were enough to satisfy all the multitude. And at the word, "Take up the
fragments," who could bear that which was blest? The Spirit and the blessing
answer all doubts and fears.
II. The Spirit is called water. Then observe
that God's Spirit in compared unto water. Now would ye know the reasons why
God's Spirit is called or compared unto water. They are these,
water is of a cleansing nature. It cleanseth; and so doth the Spirit. "Then
washed I thee with water; yea, I thoroughly washed away thy blood from
thee." He makes them clean and holy, that is, by the Spirit of truth.
The second reason wherefore the Spirit is compared unto water, is, that as it
cleanses, so it cools. It is of a cooling nature; and so is the Spirit of God.
Know ye what it is to be scorched with a spark of hell, so to speak, and to
have the hot displeasure of God burning in your bosom. Then this Spirit cools
and quenches this. "The water that I shall give him, shall be in him a well
springing up into everlasting life." It quenches terrible threatenings. Then
whenever ye have terrible challenges for sin, take the Spirit and quench them.
3. The third reason wherefore it is called water, is, because as it
cleanseth and cooleth, so it also makes fruitful, as water makes dry barren
ground fruitful. So.where the Spirit comes, and the blessing with it, then the
soul grows in grace. Now the fruits of the Spirit are peace, love, &c. And
if ye would know wherefore, He says, "I will pour floods upon the dry ground,"
it is just because God's Spirit is all in all; and I defy you to step this or
that way, if ye have got the Spirit and the blessing with it, but it will still
make you fruitful, grow, and increase.
4. A fourth season why the Spirit is
called water, or floods on the dry ground, is, because it carries down all
before it, and carries captivity captive. It carries all opposition in the way
down like a flood. "He comes skipping like a roe, or a young hart, upon the
mountains of Bether."
Use. - Are ye unclean, and would be cleansed from
sin; 0r would ye.be cooled from the heat of God s wrath? Are ye fruitless, and
would ye grow? Then come and lay hold of this promise. "I will pour my Spirit
upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring." By faith we hear that
word, that He bids all come that would be cleansed. "But to whom is that
promise made I" say you. Even unto those that are thirsty. "Then that cuts us
off at the web's end," say ye; but I say, "Ye shall be knit or cemented to
III. The next point of the doctrine answers your objection. The
Spirit here is promised to be poured forth upon the thirsty, and on the dry
ground. "I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry
ground." Then we see the party that He pours out His Spirit upon. They are
those that are thirsty, and the reasons why they are called thirsty, are: -
1. Because a thirsty man is pained; he is pained at the heart with drought. Say
ye, "That cuts me clean off." Now this is the pained man, that is pained with
fear of challenges, and the threatening of God's holy law. "That is not me," ye
may say. Well then; the thing that one will not, another will, as we commonly
say. Some will take hold of this word of promise, because they are pained at
the heart for sin indeed.
2. It is a reason wherefore he is called
thirsty, that he is not able to delay drinking. So in like manner those who are
pained with the threatenings and challenges of a broken law, are not able to
delay the taking hold of some promise answerable to their condition. "But," say
ye, "that belongs not to me."
3. Bring water unto a thirsty man, and yet
give him none of it to drink, and he is just like to faint, or die away for
thirst. In like manner, a man pained at the heart with challenges, when a day
of the promises comes, and he gets none ready to answer his case, then he
becomes almost faint. But some of you may say, "That is not my case; for I can
hear all that, and be in no danger of fainting at all." But here we shall
descend a little lower yet. And,yet, A thirsty man cannot eat his meat well.
Now if ye take this with regard to your natural food, ye will think it as hard
and difficult as the rest; but I mean spiritually. So it is with the man that
is pained at the heart with thirst for God. He cannot eat well; because he must
have a drink of water. Now, if thou be one of these, what use makest thou of
that which is laid to thy hand daily? Art thou saying, "I am not able to eat
it. I must have somewhat to make it go down." Then here is water for him that
is thirsty. Seek His Spirit and that will put it down and make all your food
digest in due season.
2ndly, A thirsty man is not able to speak well. "But
this is not applicable to me," say some of you; "for I can speak enough about
anything in the world." But, let me ask you, "Were ye ever in such a case that
ye could pray none? " then be what thou wilt, thou art a thirsty man.
3rdly, A man is not able to work well, but hangs down his head at his business.
Well, art thou in this case that thou canst go about no duty, but thou still
thinkest thou wantest something. That is the man that the promises of the water
of His Spirit have respect unto; a man that is not able to speak well, eat
well, nor work well. But after all, ye may say, "I cannot think that is the man
He offers His Spirit unto." But when the people of God see a promise that
requires a brave qualification, they think that none should take that, but
those that have this qualification, as that promise, "Come unto me all ye that
labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." And, "Ho, every one
that thirsteth, come ye to the waters: and he that hath no money, come ye, buy,
and eat: yea, come, buy wine and milk without money, and without price." Ye
think these are only to those that are pressed down with the sense of their
sins, and those who are pained with such a great thirst. But indeed ye are
mistaken. The Lord speaks unto them only; and why? Because it is only these who
are most loath to meddle with it. He gives it out under their name, but
everyone may take it under that name. But ye will say, "That is a strange
doctrine that ye preach, for who may lay claim to, or take the promise, but
those who have these qualifications therein required?" But will ye tell me in a
word, "What is the least qualification that ye may take a promise upon? "
Indeed I dare not name one, that we may take a promise upon, under the pain of
God's displeasure. I may not judge upon that; for, "Cursed is he that addeth
any thing to God's word." For He will seek a less qualification than we would
require. But I will tell you somewhat of it. If ye have any need of a promise,
that is a qualification good enough. For if ye see that the promise can do you
any good, and that ye have need of it, that is a qualification to take the
promise. "But how can these things be?" ye will say. Ye would think it strange
for me to prove it from the word "thirsty." Yes, for the Lord neither says,
those that have a great thirst, or a burning thirst; but He sets it down so
universally, that all are bound or commanded that are thirsty under heaven, to
take it; because we must not make the promise more narrow than He hath made it.
"And let him that is athirst come and whosoever will, let him come, and take of
the water of life freely."
But ye will then say, "This is spoken to those
that are thirsting after the world too." I allow so it is. "Come ye that spend
your money on that which is not bread, and your labour for that which
satisfieth not." And folk that are thirsting after the world, are commanded to
come, and He will pour out His Spirit upon them.. "But what," say ye, "if we he
thirsting for nothing." Then ye are a piece of dry ground. And you have it in
the text; "I will pour floods upon the dry ground." This is what I was saying,
that it is to the thirsty that could not eat, speak, or work well; but if they
will not be satisfied with that word, "I will pour water upon him that is
thirsty;" then He gives you another word to suit your condition; and will that
satisfy you? "I will pour flood. upon the dry ground." Which brings me unto
IV. A fourth point of doctrine is, The Lord will pour floods upon the dry
ground. "Sing, 0 barren, thou that didst not bear; break forth into singing."
What makes Him speak to the barren and dry ground? It is because all the world
is dry ground. And are they not as dry ground that bear nothing? Are they not
all dry, withered, and dead in trespasses and sins? And the reasons are
Because there is no such ground in the world but it is dry and barren until God
gives it something. What is any in the world, but as dry barren ground? And
therefore the wickedest in the world may come and take it freely.
second reason wherefore it is offered unto dry ground, is, because God never
put away any that came unto Him. "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no
wise cast out." Wherever He comes in the word of His gospel, He excludes
none but those who exclude themselves. And so the promises are holden out unto
all. "For the promise is to you, and to your children, and to all that are afar
off, even an many as the Lord our God shall call." That is, an outward calling
them that are afar off. God offers the promises freely to all that will take
them. "Whosoever will, let him come, and take of the water of life freely." God
loves freely, and He does not regard whether they be wicked, or not wicked, if
once they will come unto Him. Nothing in this case will hinder them from
receiving the promises.
3. The third reason for which He calls it dry
ground, is, that He may meet with the cases that His people are most often in.
Therefore, anyone that is useless, fruitless, hopeless, and helpless; come;
this is the word that He has bid you abide by, and take with you. But ye will
say, "We are very barren." So is the world until God cultivate it. "Sing, 0
barren, thou that didst not hear; break forth into singing, and cry aloud, thou
that didst not travail with child; for more are the children of the desolate
than the children of the married wife, saith the Lord." But some of you may be
saying, "I am worse than barren, for I bear nothing but briers and thorns,
thistles, and so. And the Scripture says, such as are rejected, and nigh unto
cursing, whose end is to be burned. "
But yet let such come unto Him, He
shall take you from under that curse. "I will cut off the names of the idols
out of the land, and they shall no more be remembered." "Instead of the thorn
shall come up the fir-tree; and instead of the brier shall come up the
myrtle-tree; and it shall be unto the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign
that shall not be cut off." And whereas ye say ye are useless and fruitless;
you see here that it shall be to the Lord "for a name, and for an everlasting
covenant that shall not be cut off."
Objection 1. If this be the case, then
any man or woman in the world, in a natural state, may take a
Answer. And what dare you say to the contrary? What were any that
ever took a promise but runaways from God? All that are spending their money
for that which is vanity, may come and take it if they will.
But we find many in a natural state taking, or laying claim to, the promises,
that have no right to them. Answer. I am very sure that these folk take none;
(1.) No person takes a promise, but those that have a right to it. And
prove it by this: they have no particular needs to be answered by the promise,
or to meet the promise with; and therefore they have no right to it.
They were never caused to take it. "Remember thy word, on which thou best
caused me to hope." They were never caused to take a promise, and therefore
they never took one.
(3.) Tell me when then wast served heir to the
promise; for one must know when he was served heir to the promise. And that the
natural man does not; but the child of God know, when and where this took
(4.) The natural man never took it, because it was never sealed over
unto him an to those which believe. "In whom also after ye believed, ye were
sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise." They think they have a right to it,
because they can speak well of it, or about it; like a beggar, who can tell
over the several parts of a charter very distinctly, but yet he has no right
(see below) unto any article therein at all.
(5.) I prove that thou art a natural man, for thou never knewest the
different parts or dimensions of the promise; thou never drewest rent, or
increase of the promise. But the child of God can discourse of all the
principal parts and appendages of the promises; and he draws the rent of the
promise, when once he hath laid hold of it. And,
(6.) I prove that he has
not taken hold of the promise, because it doth not cleanse and purify him from
the filth and pollutions of the flesh and spirit, which it does indeed unto the
spiritual man. "Having these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves
from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit." It makes the spiritual man never
rest till he attain unto a cleansing of the soul in some measure.
finally, I say the natural man has not these things now noticed, and therefore
be has never yet taken hold of the promise; and if you get it you shall, sooner
or later, know when and where you got it. "For I will pour water upon him that
is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my Spirit on thy seed,
and my blessing upon thine offspring.
RIGHT here must be meant an actual interest in the promise faith; for with
respect to a right of access, all gospel-hearers are on a level, that is, they
are equally warranted to receive and apply the promises to themselves; since
the promise of the gospel is directed (as it is suitable) to sinners of mankind
without exception. (Acts ii. 39. Prov. viii. 4.)
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