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of truth is come, he shall guide you into all truth.” He saves the members of Christ from such damnable errors, as strike at the foundation of religion and Christianity ; none of his teaching shall be given up to strong delusions, to believe lies.
4. The Spirit of the Lord, as to his qualities or properties, we are told in scripture, is,
1st, A renering Spirit: hence we read of “the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost." All the powers of the soul, and the image of God in them, are dislocated and defaced, the whole “ foundations are out of course;" but the Spirit of the Lord, in the work of regeneration, repairs the image of God, and sets every thing again in its proper place and order.
2dly, He is a sanctifying Spirit, therefore called “ the Spirit of holiness.” He draws the lineaments of the divine holiness upon us, and enables us more and more to die unto sin, and to live unto righteousness:' he takes the beauty of Christ and puts it upon us, whereby we are made comely.
3dly, He is a Spirit of glory : “ The Spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you,” says the apostle Peter. He makes “ the King's daughter all glorious within,” and so fits the soul for being brought to glory, “ makes us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light."
4thly, He is a Spirit of power; “ he giveth power to the faint, -makes the feeble as David.” When the Spirit of the Lord was with Samson, he slew the Philistines heaps upon heaps; but when the Lord departed, the locks in which his strength lay were cut.
5thly, He is a Spirit of love. Wherever he comes, he makes the heart to burn with love to God in Christ, so that the soul cannot but say, with David, “ Whom have I in heaven but thee ?" The man loves his ordinances, and the place where his honour dwells: he loves his people, and all that bear his image : “My delight is with the saints, the excellent ones of the earth."
6thly, He is a Spirit of a sound mind, for he gives a sound judgment and understanding of the things of God; hence it is, that one of the Lord's babes or little ones will have a more clear and sound uptaking of the things of God, than all the learned rabbies and plodding politicians in the world, that excel in human wisdom and literature.
I shall only add, 5. That the actings and operations of the Spirit of the Lord are set forth to us in scripture under different metaphors; as,
1st, He is sometimes resembled to fire, therefore called a Spirit of burning, Is. iv. 4. He consumes and burns up
dross of sin and corruption. As the sparks of fire fly upward, so he makes the soul to seek those things that are above.
2dly, He is sometimes resembled to water: Isa. xliv. 3: “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground." By his influences, the soul is so fructified, that it becomes as a tree planted by the rivers of waters, bringing forth fruit in season : “ I will be as the dew unto Israel, and he shall grow as the lily.”
3dly, He is sometimes resembled to wind : Cant. iv. 16: “ Awake, O north wind, and come, thou south, blow upon my garden.” John iii. 8: “ The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth.” When this wind fills the sails of the affections, with what speed and liveliness does the believer move in his voyage to the haven of glory, his everlasting rest!
4thly, He is sometimes resembled in his operations to oil : “ We have an unction from the holy One, and we know all things." We read of the anointing of the Spirit ; “God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”. And by this oil the countenance of the believer is made to shine, the joints of his soul are suppled, so that he runs and does not weary, walks and does not faint.
II. The second thing proposed was, to speak a little of the standard which is lifted up by the Spirit of the Lord. standard, as I told you in the explication of the words, I understand Christ the blessed ensign, which is lifted to the nations, Is. xi. 10: And he is fitly resembled to a standard, on the following accounts.
1. The standard is a signal of war; when war is proclaimed, the standard is set up, or the ensign displayed. When Christ descended to this lower world, and came upon an expedition of war against the god of this world, and his usurped empire over the children of men, this war was proclaimed, and the standard set up in Paradise, by that word, Gen. iii. 15: “ The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent." Accordingly, when he actually came into the world, he gave a shout of war against the enemy, saying, “The day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come.” Hence it was, that hell and its auxiliaries took the alarm, they raged, they “ imagined a vain thing against the Lord, and against his anointed, saying, Come, let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us :" but the man of God's right hand wounded his head over many nations, breaks him, and his adherents, as with a rod of iron. The incarnation of the Son of God was a sig
nal to a lost world that God was now with us, to deliver us from the power of Satan; his appearing in our flesh, was a displaying the standard, or a lifting up the banner, that we might gather to him as our leader and commander.
2. A standard is a signal of peace ; when peace is proclaimed, the white flag or ensign is displayed. As the appearance of God in the nature of man was a signal of war against hell, death and sin; so it was a signal of peace to man upon earth: hence the angels, at the birth of our Redeemer, cry, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men.” He is our peace: “ This man shall be the peace when the Assyrian shall come into our land.” He brought with him a peace of reconciliation with God, a peace of consolation with conscience, a peace of amity and friendship between man and man, and between man and his fellow-creatures.
3. A standard is an ensign of victory; the victorious general sets up his standard in the field of battle, as an evidence of the enemy's being foiled. So a risen and living Redeemer, is a signal of his victory over the powers of hell; for “ when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive,” he returned from the field with displayed ensigns, carrying the spoils of his enemies along with him; upon the sight of which the church cries, in a way of triumph, Psal. Ixviii. 20: “ He that is our God, is the God of salvation; and unto God the Lord belong the issues from death." 4. A standard is a signal of gathering; when the standard
army is to gather, volunteers are to be listed. The manifestation of Christ in the flesh, and the revelation of him in the gospel, is a signal to lost sinners, to shake off the tyrannical yoke of sin and Satan, that they may, under Christ's conduct, recover their ancient liberty that they enjoyed at their creation : hence is that prophecy of Jacob, Gen. xlix. 10: “ Unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” Is. xi. 10: “He shall be set for an ensign to the nation; to him shall the Gentiles seek, and his rest shall be glorious.” And O how glad is he when volunteers come in as flocks of doves to their windows ! Matth. xxiii. at the close, “ How often would I have gathered thee, as the hen gathereth her chickens under her wings !"
5. A standard is for direction and order. When the army is to march, the standard goes before, and the soldiers know in what direction to move by the motion of their standard. Christ is given for a leader to the people; it is by eyeing of him the saints know how to direct, and to bend their course in their travels through the wilderness. Hence the apostle exhorts believers to run their race with patience, looking
is set up,
unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of their faith," Heb. xii. 1, 2. Thus, you see, that Christ is the standard, and why so called.
III. The third thing was, to speak a little of the lifting up of this blessed standard.
1. The first uplifting of it was in the eternal counsel of Heaven, before ever the foundation of the world was laid : Prov. viii. 23: “I was set up,” says Christ, “ from everlasting, from beginning, or ever the earth was." From all eternity, God had a purpose of love towards lost sinners of Adam's family, and a purpose of war against the powers of hell, by Jesus Christ.
2. This standard was lifted up in the first promise, Gen. iii. 15: “ It shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel ;" that is, My eternal Son, in the nature of man, shall, in the fulness of time, avenge the quarrel of the woman and her seed, in thy total ruin and overthrow.
3. This standard was set up in the actual incarnation, obedience, and death of the Son of God; for then it was that “through death he destroyed him that had the power of death ;" then it was he destroyed the works of the devil, turned the counsel of that froward spirit headlong, outshot him in his own bow. The devil and the world thought that they had Christ undermost, when they had brought him to the dust of death; but our glorious Emmanuel wrests death out of the devil's hand, and slays him with his own weapons.
4. This standard was lifted up by the resurrection of Christ from the dead, and his exaltation at the right hand of the Majesty on high. We are told, Psal. cx. 7, that “having drunk of the brook in the way, he lifted up the head :" and by his uplifting, he draws all men after him. O, sirs, lift up your eyes to heaven, and behold this royal standard now set up in Emmanuel's land, “far above all principality and power, might and dominion.” “God hath highly exalted him, and given him a name above
every name." 5. This standard is lifted up in the dispensation of the everlasting gospel, which began first to be preached by the apostles immediately after his resurrection, and afterward by other ministers called of God for that end, which are to continue in a succession to the end of the world. O how successfully was this standard lifted up by the apostles, when set up immediately after his exaltation, when whole thousands, by the preaching of a sermon concerning the death and resurrection of Christ, were brought into the service of Christ; when whole nations were born to him at once ; when heathenish idolatry fell down before the everlasting gospel ; by which was fulfilled that prophecy of Isaiah, chap. Ix. 8 : “Who are these that fly as a cloud, and as the doves to their windows ?”
6. Again, when there is any remarkable appearance for Christ and his cause, in a church or nation, in opposition to error, superstition, profaneness, or any of the works of the devil; when the Lord inspirits his ministers, and the judicatories of his church, to give a fair, full, and faithful testimony for Christ, in opposition to any of these works of darkness; then is it that this standard is lifted up. What a pity is it that there should be such a faint display of Christ's banner against that damning heresy of Arianism, vented of late in this church! It is to be feared, we shall never be honoured to do any signal service for Christ, when such an opportunity of doing him justice has been slighted; however, he will give the banner to them that fear him, that it may be displayed because of truth.”
7. When God in his providence breaks and baffles wicked and blood-thirsty persecutors, who were making havoc of his church and people, granting them respite and deliverance from trouble; then is it that this standard is lifted up, when he raises up saviours in mount Zion, to judge the mount of Esau. How remarkably was this standard listed up for Israel, when Pharaoh and his host, in their pursuit, were overthrown in the Red sea, and made “ to sink like lead in the mighty waters!" or when, by his servant Cyrus, he overthrew the power of Babylon, and brought back his people again to their native land ? on which occasion, Israel could not but say, “When the Lord brought back the captivity of his people, we were like men that dreamed.” Thus, God lifted up the standard in our land, when in his providence he raised up the Prince of Orange, as the instrument of our deliverance, when we were upon the point of being swallowed up with a deluge of popish darkness and tyranny.
8. This royal standard is lifted up by the Spirit of the Lord in the morning of conversion, when through discoveries of the glory of Christ, the soul is determined to make a surrender of itself, and to lift up the everlasting doors, that this King of glory may come in. And 0, when he comes in, how remarkably does he drive back the enemy! he binds the strong man, spoils him of his goods; translates the poor soul from the power of darkness to his own kingdom of light, life, and liberty.
9. The Spirit of the Lord lists up the standard in every renewed manifestation and discovery of the glory of Christ, especially after a dark night of desertion, temptation, and despondency. Perhaps the poor believer was “going mourning without the sun ;" the wild beasts of hell, the roaring lion,