Category Archives: Holy Spirit

“Can there be a more delightful employment, this side of heaven, than to send the blessed news of salvation to a perishing world?” by Lemuel Haynes

“I stand here this day, my friends and brethren, to plead for thousands of poor, perishing, dying, fellow mortals, who need the bread of life, and whose cries and distresses call for compassion.

We stand this day to plead the cause of Jesus, who sits upon the holy hill of Zion with pardon in His hands.

We plead the promises and predictions of God’s Word that may encourage your hope and trust.

Be not afraid of the haughty mandate of the prince of darkness, for it shall be made to subserve the interest of Christ’s kingdom.

Can there be a more delightful employment, this side of heaven, than to wrest souls from the jaws of death and hell, and to send the blessed news of salvation to a perishing world?

To promote the felicity of the universe is the happiness of the redeemed in glory. And this spirit among Christians is heaven begun on earth.

If your hearts do not glow with holy affections towards perishing sinners, by which you are disposed to do something for their relief, then you have reason to fear and tremble that you have no inheritance among the saints in light.”

–Lemuel Haynes, “Divine Decrees: An Encouragement to the Use of Means,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 99-100.

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“Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, will be the great topic and darling theme of his preaching” by Lemuel Haynes

“A minister that watches for souls as one who expects to give account will have none to please but God.

When he studies his sermons, this will not be the enquiry, ‘How shall I form my discourse so as to please and gratify the humors of men, and get their applause?’ but ‘How shall I preach so as to do honor to God, and meet with the approbation of my Judge?’

This will be his daily request at the throne of grace. This will be ten thousand times better to him than the vain flattery of men. His discourses will not be calculated to gratify the carnal heart, but he will not shun to declare the whole counsel of God.

The solemn account that the faithful minister expects to give another day will direct him in the choice of his subjects. He will dwell upon those things which have a more direct relation to the eternal world.

He will not entertain his audience with empty speculations, or vain philosophy, but with things that concern their everlasting welfare. Jesus Christ, and Him crucified, will be the great topic and darling theme of his preaching.

If he means to save souls, like a skillful physician, he will endeavor to lead his patient into a view of their maladies, and then point them to a bleeding Savior as the only way of recovery. The faithful Watchman will give the alarm at the approach of the enemy, will blow the trumpet in the ears of the sleeping sinner, and endeavor to awake him.”

–Lemuel Haynes, “The Character and Work of a Spiritual Watchman Described,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 49-50.

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“None but He who spoke all nature into existence can triumph over the opposition of the heart” by Lemuel Haynes

Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. I would consider the agent, or who it is that effects this great work.

If we consider the state that mankind are by nature, as has been described above, we need not stand long to know who to attribute this work to. It is a work too great to attribute to men or angels to accomplish.

None but He who, by one word’s speaking, spoke all nature into existence, can triumph over the opposition of the heart. This is the work of the Holy Spirit, who is represented in Scripture as emanating from the Father and the Son, yet co-equal with them both.

It is God alone that slays the native enmity of the heart– that takes away those evil dispositions that govern man– takes away the heart of stone and gives a soft heart– and makes him that was a hater of God, an enemy to God, to become friendly to His divine character.

This was not wrought by any efficiency of man, or by any external motives, or by any light let into the understanding, but of God. Hence we read that those that receive Christ are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:13).

And that is a gift of God (Eph. 2:8). Also it is God which worketh in us (Phil. 2:13).”

–Lemuel Haynes, “A Sermon on John 3:3,” in Black Preacher to White America: The Collected Writings of Lemuel Haynes, 1774-1833, Ed. Richard Newman (Brooklyn, NY: Carlson Publishing, 1990), 34.

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“The safe-guard of Christ’s Church” by J.C. Ryle

“That old enemy of mankind, the devil, has no more subtle device for ruining souls than that of spreading false doctrine. ‘A murderer and a liar from the beginning,’ he never ceases going to and fro in the earth, ‘seeking whom he may devour.’

Outside the Church he is ever persuading men to maintain barbarous customs and destructive superstitions. Human sacrifice to idols,—gross, revolting, cruel, disgusting worship of abominable false deities,—persecution, slavery, cannibalism, child-murder, devastating religious wars,—all these are a part of Satan’s handiwork, and the fruit of his suggestions. Like a pirate, his object is to ‘sink, burn, and destroy.’

Inside the Church he is ever labouring to sow heresies, to propagate errors, to foster departures from the faith. If he cannot prevent the waters flowing from the Fountain of Life, he tries hard to poison them. If he cannot destroy the medicine of the Gospel, he strives to adulterate and corrupt it. No wonder that he is called ‘Apollyon, the destroyer.’

The Divine Comforter of the Church, the Holy Ghost, has always employed one great agent to oppose Satan’s devices. That agent is the Word of God.

The Word expounded and unfolded, the Word explained and opened up, the Word made clear to the head and applied to the heart,—the Word is the chosen weapon by which the devil must be confronted and confounded.

The Word was the sword which the Lord Jesus wielded in the temptation. To every assault of the Tempter, He replied, ‘It is written.’

The Word is the sword which His ministers must use in the present day, if they would successfully resist the devil.

The Bible, faithfully and freely expounded, is the safe-guard of Christ’s Church.”

–J.C. Ryle, Knots Untied: Being Plain Statements on Disputed Points in Religion (London: William Hunt and Company, 1885), 347–348.

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“Seeing is a gift” by John Piper

“No one decides to see glory. And no one merely decides to experience the Christian Scriptures as the all-compelling, all-satisfying truth of one’s life.

In the end, seeing is a gift. And so the free embrace of God’s word is a gift.

God’s Spirit opens the eyes of our heart, and what was once boring, or absurd, or foolish, or mythical is now self-evidently real.

You can pray and ask God for that miracle. I ask daily for fresh eyes for His glory.”

–John Piper, A Peculiar Glory (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016), 283.

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“The heartbeat of God’s entire revelation” by Herman Bavinck

“In the doctrine of the Trinity we feel the heartbeat of God’s entire revelation for the redemption of humanity. Though foreshadowed in the Old Testament, it only comes to light fully in Christ.

Religion can be satisfied with nothing less than God himself. Now in Christ God Himself comes out to us, and in the Holy Spirit He communicates Himself to us.

The work of re-creation is trinitarian through and through. From God, through God, and in God are all things.

Re-creation is one divine work from beginning to end, yet it can be described in terms of three agents: it is fully accomplished by the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and the communion of the Holy Spirit.

A Christian’s faith life, accordingly, points back to three generative principles. ‘We know all these things,’ says article 9 of the Belgic Confession, ‘from the testimonies of holy Scripture, as well as from the operations of the persons, especially from those we feel within ourselves.’

We know ourselves to be children of the Father, redeemed by the Son, and in communion with both through the Holy Spirit. Every blessing, both spiritual and material, comes to us from the triune God.

In that name we are baptized; that name sums up our confession; that name is the source of all the blessings that come down to us; to that name we will forever bring thanksgiving and honor; in that name we find rest for our souls and peace for our conscience.

Christians have a God above them, before them, and within them. Our salvation, both in this life and in the life to come, is bound up with the doctrine of the Trinity.”

–Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics: Holy Spirit, Church, and New Creation, Vol. 4, Ed. John Bolt, and Trans. John Vriend, (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2008), 4: 333–334.

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“There is another kind of reading” by John Piper

“The Bible is a book. Jesus came in the flesh and was called the Word of God. He taught many things, and He did many things. He died for sins, and He rose again. He founded the church and poured out the Holy Spirit.

All that foundational speaking and doing is preserved in a book. My ninth point is this: reading a substantial book well is hard mental work.

You learned your native language when you were very young– before you were five years old. You didn’t know you were working when you did it. And so most of us assume that reading just comes naturally.

But there is more than one kind of reading. One kind of reading is passive and involves very little aggressive effort to understand. We just take what comes and let it happen to us.

But there is another kind of reading that is very active, and digs down into the author’s mind, and wants to understand everything it sees. It may sound strange to say it, but one of the most scholarly things I ever learned was that many parts of the Bible (like Paul’s letters and Jesus’s sermons) are less like a string of pearls and more like chains of steel.

That is, the authors don’t just give a sequence of spiritual gems; they forge a chain of logical argumentation. Their statements hang together. They are linked. One connects to another, and those two connect to another, and those three to another, and so on as the unbreakable argument of glorious truth extends through a passage.

And, when the Holy Spirit enlightens our minds, this chain of argumentation is on fire.

Rigorous reading– scholarly reading– traces these kinds of argumentation. Each proposition begins with a logical connector (‘for,’ ‘that is,’ ‘as,’ ‘because,’ ‘ever since,’ ‘and,’ ‘therefore,’ etc.). These small words are among the most important in the Bible. They tell us how the statements are related to each other…

On and on the chain of argumentation grows. Words become statements, and statements are linked to form larger units. And these larger units are linked to build whole books.

The point here is simply: since much of the Bible is written this way, pastors are called to trace these arguments with active, careful, rigorous reading, and explain statements and the connections and the larger units to their people, and then apply them to their lives. This kind of reading is exceedingly demanding.

All this is involved in the fact that God revealed Himself to the church through the centuries in a book. He did not have to give the church a book. He could have done it in another way. He could have just given daily dreams to His people. He could have caused dramatizations to appear in the sky.

He could have communicated to a select few with secret knowledge and made them memorize everything and pass it on to another select few in each generation. He could have communicated to us any way He wanted to. And He did it in a book.

This is one reason that everywhere the Christian church has spread, there have been not only churches and hospitals, but also schools– places of rudimentary and then advanced scholarship. It’s because we’re dependent on a book. Since our faith is rooted in the understanding of a book, we want people to learn to read, and then to have the Bible in their language, and to learn how to think carefully and doctrinally about the book.

So the very existence of the Bible as a book signals that the pastor is called to read carefully and accurately and thoroughly and honestly.”

–John Piper and D.A. Carson, The Pastor As Scholar and the Scholar as Pastor (Wheaton: Crossway, 2011), 64-66.

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