The Holy Spirit and
the Salvation of Israel
The spiritual condition of the Jewish People
We are sure that the Messiah has come, and we naturally
ask what may be the cause or causes of why, when He came to His own, His own
received Him not. This question been answered already in a former lecture, and
we do not recur to it further than is necessary to show the need of the
outpouring of the Spirit to remove these causes. Putting aside the minor
causes, we shall refer only to three which appear to be the most important.
The natural blindness of the mind, and hardness of the heart, common to Jews with all other men. To this, as unremoved, Moses directed the attention of the people in Deuteronomy 29:4: "The Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, nor eyes to see, nor cars to hear, unto this day." This cause evidently the outpouring of the Spirit would remove.
Judicial blindness inflicted because of their iniquities already spoken of. To this Isaiah testifies. But this being an effect of the Divine anger, win be turned away along with that anger, that this song may be sung in that day, "Though thou wast angry with me, thine anger is turned away, and thou comfortest me."
There is another cause remaining and, if we were to look only at second causes, it would appear to be the greatest of all. I mean the authority ascribed to the Talmud. But that gracious power of God which can burst through the depravity of man? nature, and find a way, notwithstanding the fierceness of God's deserved anger can surely make a speedy riddance of the cobwebs of man's inventions, the covering wherewith they cover, but not of Adonai's Spirit.
It pains me that I need to speak in such terms of what you reverence as part and parcel of the word of God. but before the Tanakh and before your own minds, when enlightened by the Spirit of God, to understand the Tanakh, the puerilities, fables, the silly stories of "Rabbi this, said so" and, "Another Rabbi said that, and another Rabbi still said so and so", the forced constructions of the plainest Scriptures, which our own common sense would revolt at, were it not crushed under the weight of a revered traditional authority, and which, as it is, you must feel ashamed to defend, before any who will not implicitly bend his mid to the same authority, the mass of histories, true or false, of the sayings doings of the later Rabbis, all delivered of God by word mouth to Moses, at mount Sinai, the astounding affirmations that the House of Kul. declared, that the decisions of the house of Hillel, and of the House of Shammai, in direct opposition to one another as they are, were still the one and the other, the words of the living God. And in addition to all this the blasphemies of that book, over which grief, shame, and love make me draw a veil: before the light of God's Word and Spirit, we say, these impious absurdities must be dispelled as the shades of night by the orb of day. That these things should be believed by sensible men having the oracles of God in their hands, shows the awful blindness and hardness of the human soul, the need there is for the outpouring of the Spirit, how easily that Spirit would turn this great mountain into a plain. It requires but a glimmering of common sense, conjoined with the least spark of downright honesty, to scatter the whole to the winds. But, alas! I where is poor Israel to receive that glimmering of sense, and that spark of integrity? Creation cannot impart it. It must be brought the Spirit of God.
Believe not me, dear Israelites; believe not any man on his own mere word. Sacredly reserve your faith for the word of the living God. Ye are Adonai's people, bound in covenant to fear, love, and serve Him alone. Remember it is He who sanctifieth Israel. You say, "Every thing is in the hands (power) of heaven, except the fear of heaven." Horrible pride of man! To acknowledge his obligation to God for all that He has, saving always and excepted the very best thing that any man can have, which if he arrogate to himself, he makes himself more his own debtor than God's. Not so runs the promise of God made unto you, and to your children: "I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them to do them good. but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me" (Jeremiah 32:40).
We have proved to you from the doctrinal statements of Scripture, from the prayers of the saints, and from the promises of God?s covenant, the need you have of the Spirit, in order to your answering at all the purposes for which the Lord set you apart to be a holy people unto Himself. However learned you may be without this, you must remain arrant fools in the things of God. and, however simple and foolish you may be, this will make you wiser than all your teachers, for to such does heavenly Wisdom proclaim, "Behold I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you."
You say the Talmud is the word of God. we say it is not. We say the New Testament is the word of God; you deny it. We say that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of the living God, that your fathers crucified him as a blasphemer, and you say you see no reason to forsake the wisdom of your fathers. Well one thing is sure, and on all hands confessed: Adonai is the only God, and the Tanakh is His blessed word. In that word He has promised His Holy Spirit. The holy men of old read the promise, and implored the gift. The promise is in your hands, and reading, you should repair to Adonai: He may be found. He is near. He says, "Call upon me, and I will answer thee, and show thee great and wonderful things which thou knowest not."
The Holy Spirit and Confession of Sin
He never said to the seed of Jacob, "Seek ye me in vain." You should pour out your heart before Him, importunately, perseveringly, unremittingly till answered, in the cry, "Take not (or keep not) thy Holy Spirit from me. Restore unto me, (or bestow upon me) the joy of Thy salvation, and uphold me with Thy free Spirit. Thy Spirit is good, lead me unto the land of uprightness."
Adopt all the prayers of the saints on this subject, turn all the promises into prayers. Take no denial; this is no vain thing, for it is thy life. Thus praying, show the sincerity of your prayers, by cultivating the dispositions which befit your requests; candour and downright sincerity, a sacred regard to truth and to the God of truth, a determination to adopt nothing as matter of your faith but what you receive from the mouth of God, but to receive and entertain all that He makes known, however contrary it may be to your prejudices, your natural inclinations, most cherished desires, and fondest hopes; however contrary to all human authority which you may have hitherto venerated the most; and be the consequences to your worldly interests, in believing, professing, and partaking, whatever they may. And when you feel any thing contrary to this disposition, confess it as sin, and redouble your prayer for the Spirit of God to remove it.
With your eye thus directed in singleness of heart towards Adonai, for His good Spirit to instruct you, read, study, meditate by day and by night on the Tanakh, the acknowledged, the indubitable word of God. What the result will be I know full well. If Adonai grant your request-and when did He put away the prayer of His servants who desire to fear His name? Then will the Lord reveal Himself to you by the word of the Lord. You shall behold the beauty of the Lord, and the majesty of your God. When your heart is turned to the Lord, the veil which is upon your heart shall be taken away, and you shall behold wonders out of His law with adoring astonishment joined to surprise at your own blindness, which hid them so long from your view.
Adonai, Adonai God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgression, and sin, and who win by no means clear the guilty, will draw near to you in and by His word, and ye shall behold His glory. The glory of the infinite and eternal excellencies which He possesses in Himself, you shall also see enstamped on every commandment of His holy, just, and good law. You will know and feel that the law is spiritual. That eternal righteous is in all His testimonies. Conscience awakened will testify to the reasonableness and necessity of being holy as he is holy. And ah! then will come the appalling discovery that you are in very nature sinful, carnal, sold under sin; that in you, that is in your flesh, dwelleth no good thing. Then will the curses which are written in the book of the law dart on your trembling soul, lightnings more vivid than those of Sinai, and the intolerable misery of being sinful, that is unlike and opposed to the holy Adonai and His holy law, will wring your heart with anguish unutterable. When striving to obey (for if the Spirit of God be poured out upon you, nothing can so discourage that effort so as to abolish it), when ever striving to obey, and ever failing, you shall be at last convinced that your carnal mind is enmity to God, since it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.
Oh! heart will die within you, and all your natural hope expire. Neither the merits of ancestors, nor b'rit milah,5 nor tephillin,6 nor tzitzit, nor mezuzoth, nor the reading of the Shema, purifications, nor daily prayers, nor festivals, not even Day of Atonement itself, nor death as an atonement for sin, nor the flattering maxim that "all Israel hath a share in the world to come", nor ought beside that leaves the malady uncured, will ease your heart throbbing with the consciousness, "I have violated Adonai's law, and thus raised my sacrilegious hand against Adonai's perfections and very being, manifested in that very law in which He reveals Himself and comes near, demanding and exhibiting Himself as infinitely worthy of all my love. Oh misery of miseries, to stand justly exposed to all that the wrath of the justly incensed Lord can inflict, misery deeper still to have done such things, to have a heart that could prompt such conduct and which, if unchanged (and I cannot change it), will lead to transgress again, and for ever." These things ye shall know if ye know the law. and, if the Lord pour out His Spirit, He will make His words (the words of His holiness) known unto you.
Yet, with the Spirit of the Lord resting on you, and the book of God in your hands, you shall not be cast down utterly. The name of Adonai, merciful and gracious, presents a ground of hope to which His good Spirit will guide you. Feeling yourself in every way a sinner, the only hope you will find will be in His name, His free grace, and bounteous love. To this you will trace all the precious promises which are scattered, as so many precious jewels, through the entire book and adorn its every page. These, as you continue your studies under the Spirit's guidance, you will gradually find arranging themselves into one consistent and magnificent plan, an everlasting covenant well ordered in all things and sure. The fundamental promise of all you will find to be the remission of sins. All other blessings God promises to bestow on the house of Israel for, saith He, "I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and iniquities will I remember no more."
Your hearts thirsting for forgiveness, yet jealous of the honour of the law, will be further established by your being led to see the importance of the bloody sacrifice which God connected with the bestowment of forgiveness; and the whole of the ceremonial law will appear in a new light most interesting, not only to your understanding, but also to your heart and conscience.
But being soon made aware, as a heart in which is God's law and which, therefore, feels the demerit and malignity of sin easily, I had almost said, instinctively, perceives that the blood of bulls and of goats cannot take away sin, nor make the worshippers perfect as concerns the conscience. you be led to enquire more deeply into the meaning of sacrifice and to connect this instructive and most important rite with the promise of the Messiah, first announced in Gan Eden11 on the day when Adam ha-rishon fell, as the Seed of the woman who should bruise the Serpent's head, while his own heel should be bruised in achieving the conquest. Your sin-slain soul will revive at the announcement of a suffering and triumphing Saviour from sin and the old Serpent. And when you come to read in the book of the prophet the place where it is written, "He was wounded for our transgressions; He was bruised for our iniquities. the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. We all had gone astray as lost sheep; we had wandered, every one, after his own way. and the Lord laid upon Him the iniquities of us all. When His soul shall make an offering for sin, He shall see His seed; He prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hands" (Isaiah 53), you shall exclaim, "This is just what my case demands! This is just the Messiah, the deliverer for me!"
And, thus prepared, you would speedily find Him of Moses in the law and the prophets did write, Jesus of Nazareth. We have His own authority and that of His prophets, for submitting the proof of the Gospel to the evidence of the Tanakh and for affirming that the genuine faith of the latter would inevitably issue in the reception of the former. "Do not think," saith Jesus, "that I will accuse you to the Father: there is one accuseth you, even Moses, in whom ye trust. For, had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of Me. But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe My words?" (John 5 45-47).
"For, (saith an apostle) they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew Him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him" (Acts 13: 27).
And in the case of that apostle, it was when by the law he had attained to the knowledge of sin, that he found redemption in the blood of the Messiah, and knew undoubtedly that Jesus is that Messiah.
But you say, "I know not that these would be the results." I know you do not; you cannot till you try. But this I ask, let the results be what they may, can you deny that we have proved, aye, to the approbation of your own consciences, that the plan suggested, the exhortation tendered, is founded on the infallible word of the Lord, and that you are bound, that you are necessitated, to follow it, unless you would s in rebelliously, with a high hand cast off the fear of the Lord and refuse to tremble at Him, and at the words of His holiness? And how instructive, how consolatory and encouraging, if there be any sincere Israelite here, who, tossed about by the conflict of opposing systems, is alarmed lest he should dishonour the God of Israel by either, on the one hand, rejecting the Messiah or, on the other, receiving an impostor, to be assured that if any man do the will of Adonai, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether Jesus speaks of Himself.
Having thus studied the Old Testament, and penetrated to the core with its truths in the living spirit of them, read then, in the same prayerful dependence on the Holy Spirit, the Talmud, much or little of it, as you may find it good and profitable-and believe it to be the word of the living God, if you possibly can. Read still, with the same dependence on the Holy Spirit, the New Testament of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and disbelieve it to be the word of the living God if, you possibly can.
The question then between us, my much-longed-for friends, is brought to the fair issue of a practicable experiment, warranted and demanded by the word of God, fully admitted, and received by us both as such.
Standing in the presence of the great judge of all, in the view of what I owe to the truth of my Lord and God, who bought me with His own blood, and through Whose mediation alone I know, and am assured, that the Holy Spirit is bestowed; and Whose name alone, through faith in His name, can give soundness to the sin-destroyed soul and in the view of what I owe to your souls, knowing that it is at the peril of my everlasting condemnation, if I attempt to deceive any, especially to seduce the chosen people of the Lord from their allegiance to their covenant God, I tremble not at the consequences of having addressed to you this word of exhortation, I tremble only, lest through the contemptuous rejection, or callous neglect of it by any hearer, I should become the savour of death unto him.
The Holy Spirit and Salvation
And now you know your immediate duty. You must perforce approve of it. Will you dare, under Adonai's eye, ever but now especially upon you-will you dare to neglect to defer it for a single instant? Delays are dangerous, flee for thy life, tarry not in the plain, look not back, lest thou be made an eternal monument of Adonai's tremendous displeasure. Seek ye the Lord while He may be found, call ye upon Him while He is near. He is waiting to be gracious unto thee; He is exalted, that He may show thee mercy. Wilt thou be obstinately dumb and restrain prayer God? Wilt thou not, from this time, cry, "Pour out Thy Spirit upon me, make known thy words unto me."
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel, is that they may be saved. and that for their salvation, He pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, even now, on such as may be present, speedily on the whole nation, the Spirit of grace and supplication, that they may look on Adonai, whom they pierced, and may mourn for Him, as one mourneth for an only son, and be in bitterness for Him, as one that is in bitterness for his first born. In which day of doleful mourning there shall be a fountain opened for sin, and for uncleanness for the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem (Zechariah 12: 10; 13: 1). The Lord hasten it speedily in our days.
And as for you, my Christian friends, not in name only but in reality, who have been made partakers of the dwelling of the Holy Spirit, and who live in the blessed fellowship of Him who glorifies Christ, by taking of His, and showing it unto you, let me address myself unto you in behalf of the lost sheep of the house of Israel. By means of the additional light of New Testament Scripture, and by your own heart-felt experience, you know better than they do, where the salvation of Israel is to be found. Before the departure of our Lord and Saviour to His Father's glory, He promised to send the Holy Spirit, who, when He was come, should convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgement: of sin, because they believe not in Him; of righteousness, because He has gone to the Father, and we see Him not, of judgement, because the prince of this world is judged. Ye know that in fulfilment of this promise the Spirit was poured out on the day of Pentecost, immediately succeeding our Lord's ascension into heaven. You know the truth of all this, by many indubitable evidences, and by this, to your own minds, the most convincing of any -your own experience.
The Holy Spirit, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him, ye know, for He is with you, and abideth in you. You know how needful His communion is to sinful men, whether Jews or Gentiles: for once, ye were carnal, not having the Spirit. Then ye know ye did not, ye could not see the kingdom of God, ye did not receive the things of the Spirit of God, neither could ye know them, but they were foolishness unto you, because they are spiritually discerned. You are aware, that besides the natural depravity of fallen nature, there are in the case of the Jews, peculiar superadded circumstances, flowing indeed from this the source of all human evil, yet adding immensely to the danger and difficulty in respect of them. Human power is in itself, you are aware utterly vain, but you are aware also, that the promise of God who cannot he, is pledged for Israel?s conversion: "Upon the land of my people shall come up thorns and briers - until the Spirit be poured upon them from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest. Then judgement shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field" (Isaiah 32:13).
We earnestly recommend to your attentive perusal the third chapter of second Corinthians, especially from the twelfth verse: "Seeing then that we have this hope [i.e. that Spirit of God doth and ever will accompany our doctrine with His demonstration and power, commending it to the consciences and writing it on the hearts of men] we use plainness [or liberty, boldness] of speech. and not as Moses who put a veil over his face, that the children of Israel could not look steadfastly to the end of that which is abolished [i.e. the legal dispensation (v7) the end of which is Christ (Romans 10:4] but their minds were blinded; for until this day remaineth the same veil untaken away in the reading of Old Testament [hiding from them the glory of the Lord, which shines even in it]; which veil is done away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon the hearts. Nevertheless, when it shall turn to the Lord [that is, as I judge, to Adonai, the one living and true God, the blessed Trinity, but especially the Holy Spirit, whose dealing with the heart is most immediate] the veil shall be taken away. Now the Lord [unto whom their heart shall turn] is that Spirit [of whose administration we have been throughout the chapter speaking]. and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. But we all [who are enlightened by the Spirit] with unveiled face beholding in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord [rather: by the Lord, the Spirit]."
Having therefore these promises, be persuaded, dear brethren, be stirred up, to pray for the outpouring of the Spirit on the house of Israel. Whatever means God has appointed, let these be vigorously, efficiently employed. But let us ever remember, that mighty as these may be, as they assuredly shall be, through the power of the Spirit of God, they are, in and of themselves, absolutely nothing. The excellency of the power is entirely of God, and in reference to this sublime truth, there is nothing left us that we can do but to pray. Societies may be formed, churches as such may enter into the field, sermons may be preached, inquiries may be made, information obtained, plans organised, funds profusely furnished, missionaries instructed and sent forth, institutions formed, Bibles and tracts distributed with the most abundant liberality, and discussions upon discussions held interminably, but all in vain without the Spirit. God will not give His glory to another. The residue of the Spirit is with Him, and it will be bestowed in answer to believing and earnest, importunate, persevering prayer. Oh, then, pray. Pray without ceasing, that the salvation of Israel may come out of Zion.
If I thought you could need any further stimulus, I would call on you to remember the days of old, when Israel was holiness to the Lord, the first fruits of His increase, the time when God left all nations to walk in the way of their own hearts. How bright then the beauty over whose departure for a time - for a time - but only for a time, we mourn! He showed not such favour to any nation, for they had not known His judgements. Think on all the exalted privileges conferred on them by Him who had mercy on them: the adoption, and the glory, the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God. Think that theirs are the fathers; and, the greatest of all, that of them, as concerning the flesh, Christ came, God over all blessed for ever.
Think of our obligations to them. When we were poor aliens they thought of us, they prayed us: "We have a little sister, and she hath no breasts; what shall we do for our sister in the day when she shall be spoken for?" (Song of Songs 3:8). "God be merciful unto us and bless us, may He cause His face to shine upon us, Selah. That Thy way may be known upon the earth, Thy salvation among all [heathen] nations. Let peoples praise thee, O God, let peoples praise thee-all of them. Let communities rejoice and sing glad songs: for thou shalt peoples judge with equity and communities on earth-thou shall conduct them, Selah (Psalm 67:1-5).
Into their olive tree we have been ingrafted and partake of the root and fatness: on the skirts of a Jew we hang for life everlasting. "Salvation is of the Jews." Think of the benefit still in prospect for ourselves, to whom the receiving of them shall be as life from the dead. And think, above all, on the pleasure of the Lord prospering in Messiah's hand. Oh! what shall be the delight with which her Maker, her husband, shall receive back again His adulterous, His penitent spouse. when He who is a father to Israel shall welcome home His wandering sons, who were dead, and are alive again, who were lost and are found. He will rejoice over Jerusalem with singing. He will rest in His love. And never shall they stray from their home. "He will not turn away from them to do them good. and will put his fear in them, that they shall not depart from Him." (Jeremiah 32:40).
"Return, O Lord, return to the ten thousands of Israel."
"Hear me, O Adonai, hear me, that this people may know that thou art Adonai God, and that thou hast turned their heart back again."
Home | Links | Hall | Writings | Biography