Archive for January, 2009

Grace has implications.  Implications for sin.  Implications for the individual.  Implications for society.  Implications for race.   Living out those implications can be joyous, and they can be costly.  Christ died for all people.  Some men are willing to lay their lives down to make Gospel implications lived out realities.  Listen to this short clip from King’s last speech. 

educationMachen was the New Testament professor at Princeton and founder of Westminster Theological Seminary. Machen’s testimony before the House and Senate committees is terribly thought provoking. Note how he attacks the presuppositions behind the creation of the department and note his critique of the stated goals of the department. Also noteworthy is the type of person that Machen believes educating people after this fashion will produce. In short, he believes it will produce a “reduced” (my words) person, who is unable to exceed the appearance of things but strives to simplify and reduce everything to categories.  As a committed and thoughtful Christian, Machen foresaw the effects that reductionistic  (and ultimately atheistic) philosophies would have on impressionable students.  Read it carefully.

It is for the latter reason that I am opposed to the bill which forms the subject of this hearing. The purpose of the bill is made explicit in the revised form of it which has been offered by Senator Means, in which it is expressly said that the department of public education, with the assistance of the advisory board to be created, shall attempt to develop a more uniform and efficient system of public common school education. The department of education, according to that bill, is to promote uniformity in education. That uniformity in education under central control it seems to me is the worst fate into which any country can fall. That purpose I think is implicit also in the other form of the bill, and it is because that is the very purpose of the bill that I am opposed to it….

The principle of this bill, and the principle of all the advocates of it, is that standardization in education is a good thing. I do not think a person can read the literature of advocates of measures of this sort without seeing that that is taken almost without argument as a matter of course, that standardization in education is a good thing. Now, I am perfectly ready to admit that standardization in some spheres is a good thing. It is a good thing in the making of Ford cars; but just because it is a good thing in the making of Ford cars it is a bad thing in the making of human beings, for the reason that a Ford car is a machine and a human being is a person. But a great many educators today deny the distinction between the two, and that is the gist of the whole matter. The persons to whom I refer are those who hold the theory that the human race has now got behind the scenes, that it has got at the secrets of human behavior, that it has pulled off the trappings with which human actors formerly moved upon the scene of life, and has discovered that art and poetry and beauty and morality are delusions, and that mechanism really rules all. I think it is very interesting to observe how widespread that theory is in the education of the present day.

Sometimes the theory is held consciously. But the theory is much more operative because it is being put into operation by people who have not the slightest notion of what the ultimate source of its introduction into the sphere of education is. In this sphere we find an absolute refutation of the notion that philosophy has no effect upon life. On the contrary, a false philosophy, a false view of what life is, is made operative in the world today in the sphere of education through great hosts of teachers who have not the slightest notion of what the ultimate meaning is of the methods that they are putting into effect all the time.

For my part, I cannot bring myself to think, with these persons, that the lower things in human life are the only things that remain, and that all the higher things are delusions; and so I do not adhere to this theory. And for that reason I do not believe that we ought to adopt this principle of standardization in education, which is writ so large in this bill; because standardization, it seems to me, destroys the personal character of human life.

read it all here

An excerpt from Thomas Boston’s Human Nature in its Fourfold State.  Click through to read the whole excerpt.  It is short, profound, and humbling.  Boston systematically works through denying man’s ability and exalting the grace of Jesus.  Well worth your time.  To read it all, click here

A man that is fallen into a pit cannot be supposed to help himself out of it, but by one of two ways; either by doing all himself alone, or taking hold of, and improving, the help offered him by others. Likewise an unconverted man cannot be supposed to help himself out of his natural state, but either in the way of the law, or covenant of works, by doing all himself without Christ; or else in the way of the Gospel, or covenant of grace, by exerting his own strength to lay hold upon, and to make use of the help offered him by a Saviour. But, alas! the unconverted man is dead in the pit, and cannot help himself either of these ways; not the first way, for the first text tells us, that when our Lord came to help us, ‘we were without strength,’ unable to recover ourselves. We were ungodly, therefore under a burden of guilt and wrath, yet ‘without strength,’ unable to stand under it; and unable to throw it off, or get from under it: so that all mankind would have undoubtedly perished, had not ‘Christ died for the ungodly,’ and brought help to those who could never have recovered themselves. But when Christ comes and offers help to sinners, cannot they take it? Cannot they improve help when it comes to their hands? No, the second text tells, they cannot; ‘No man can come unto me,’ that is, believe in me (John 6.44), ‘except the Father draw him.’ This is a drawing which enables them to come, who till then could not come; and therefore could not help themselves by improving the help offered. It is a drawing which is always effectual; for it can be no less than ‘hearing and learning of the Father,’ which, whoever partakes of, come to Christ (verse 45). Therefore it is not drawing in the way of mere moral suasion, which may be, yea, and always is ineffectual. But it is drawing by mighty power (Eph. 1:9), absolutely necessary for those who have no power in themselves to come and take hold of the offered help.

preached Jan 18, 2009

One of the great things about the lectionary that we follow is that you become very familiar with certain portions of Scripture.  And while I am excited about the benefit to be gained from hearing certain scriptures read many times, it also makes it difficult for the preacher to keep those scriptures fresh.  One such scripture is the temptation of Jesus in the desert that we find in Luke 4 as well as Matthew 4 and a condensed account in Mark 1.  So what I want to do today, by the help of the Holy Spirit, is to refresh this passage for you a bit and help you see things that perhaps do not stand out on a surface reading of the text.  Today, I hope to draw from this text two things to be learned about God, one thing to be learned about Jesus, and one application for our life as Christians living in the world today. 

1st Thing to Learn about God:  God satisfies our every need

Greek mythology tells the story of a man named Tantalos.  Tantalos was punished by the gods of Greek mythology for committing a horrific crime.  Tantalos’ punishment was creative.  He was placed in a lush area, surrounded by beautiful fruit.  The gods gave Tantalos an insatiable lust for this fruit.  In his lusting after the fruit he would grasp at it, but every time he reached for the fruit the limb would move and the fruit would exceed Tantalos’ grasp.  That was his torment for eternity.

For me, Tantalos’ punishment is a good analogy to our experience in the world.  You and I desire and lust after things.  As Christians, you might have been told that those two words, desire and lust, are bad words.  But I would want to tell you that they’re not.  You see, we were created to desire and lust after certain things, things that would satisfy.  Our problem is not that we desire, or lust, but that we desire and lust after the wrong things.  Things that won’t satisfy.  And so we find ourselves in a similar situation as Tantalos, eternally grasping after satisfaction, only to find that it exceeds our grasp. (more…)

Neil Robbie is a Brit currently serving in St. Luke’s in Wolverhampton. I passed through Wolverhampton once during my time over there. Sadly, I don’t remember much of it. Neil’s blog is great and he has a wonderfully edifying testimony. Go check out his site here. Check out his parish’s website here. In the post below, Neil does the excellent job of upholding God’s continued acts of healing today, but he also points us towards God’s most definite and astonishing act of healing. That of the cross. Check it out below.

“Healing ministry” has become a popular aspect of church services, largely in charismatic churches, but not confined to that constituency. I have no doubts that God heals people of physical sickness, gradually and instantly and that we should pray for God to act when someone is ill. It’s obvious, too, that Jesus uses miracles to validate the authority of his word (Mark 2:1ff, John 11:1ff). In this quote from the 5th chapter of God’s Way of Holiness, Horatius Bonar shows how the cross has the power to heal. It is the cross, therefore, that our healing ministries should ultimately point to:

it is by the abundance of that peace and truth, revealed to us in the cross, that our cure is wrought.

The cure is not perfected in an hour. But, as the sight of the cross begins it, so does it complete it at last. The pulses of new health now beat in all our veins. Our whole being recognizes the potency of the divine medicine, and our diseases yield to it.

Yes, the cross heals. It possesses the double virtue of killing sin and quickening holiness. It makes all the fruits of the flesh to wither, while it cherishes and ripens the fruit of the Spirit, which is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance” (Gal 5:22). By this the hurt of the soul is not “healed slightly,” but truly and thoroughly. It acts like the fresh balm of southern air to one whose constitution the frost and damp of the far north had undermined. It gives new tone and energy to our faculties, a new bent and aim to all our purposes, and a new elevation to all our hopes and longings. It gives the death-blow to self, it mortifies our members which are upon the earth. It crucifies the flesh with its affections and lusts. Thus, looking continually to the cross, each day, as at the first, we are made sensible of the restoration of our soul’s health; evil loosens its hold, while good strengthens and ripens.

read Neil’s post in its original context here

It is a good distinction Spurgeon draws here. We are elected to union with Christ, which requires righteousness and holiness. This is the nature of all those who dwell in heaven. While of course Spurgeon would say election is about heaven and eternal life, he is drawing our attention to the fact that EVERYONE wants to be in heaven, but NOT EVERYONE wants to be righteous. For Spurgeon, heaven is the home for those who have been declared righteous through the blood of Christ and made righteous by the Holy Spirit. Those who do not want to partake of these things do not, therefore, really want to be in heaven. Read the whole sermon here

But there are some who say, “It is hard for God to choose some and leave others.” Now, I will ask you one question. Is there any of you here this morning who wishes to be holy, who wishes to be regenerate, to leave off sin and walk in holiness? “Yes, there is,” says some one, “I do.” Then God has elected you. But another says, “No; I don’t want to be holy; I don’t want to give up my lusts and my vices.” Why should you grumble, then, that God has not elected you to it? For if you were elected you would not like it, according to your own confession. If God this morning had chosen you to holiness, you say you would not care for it. Do you not acknowledge that you prefer drunkenness to sobriety, dishonesty to honesty? You love this world’s pleasures better than religion; then why should you grumble that God has not chosen you to religion? If you love religion, he has chosen you to it. If you desire it, he has chosen you to it. If you do not, what right have you to say that God ought to have given you what you do not wish for? Supposing I had in my hand something which you do not value, and I said I shall give it to such-and-such a person, you would have no right to grumble that I did not give to you. You could not be so foolish as to grumble that the other has got what you do not care about. According to your own confession, many of you do not want religion, do not want a new heart and a right spirit, do not want the forgiveness of sins, do not want sanctification; you do not want to be elected to these things: then why should you grumble? You count these things but as husks, and why should you complain of God who has given them to those whom he has chosen? If you believe them to be good and desire them, they are there for thee. God gives liberally to all those who desire; and first of all, he makes them desire, otherwise they never would. If you love these things, he has elected you to them, and you may have them; but if you do not, who are you that you should find fault with God, when it is your own desperate will that keeps you from loving these things—your own simple self that makes you hate them? Suppose a man in the street should say, “What a shame it is I cannot have a seat in the chapel to hear what this man has to say.” And suppose he says, “I hate the preacher; I can’t bear his doctrine; but still it’s a shame I have not a seat.” Would you expect a man to say so? No: you would at once say, “That man does not care for it. Why should he trouble himself about other people having what they value and he despises?” You do not like holiness, you do not like righteousness; if God has elected me to these things, has he hurt you by it? “Ah! but,” say some, “I thought it meant that God elected some to heaven and some to hell.” That is a very different matter from the gospel doctrine. He has elected men to holiness and to righteousness and through that to heaven. You must not say that he has elected them simply to heaven, and others only to hell. He has elected you to holiness, if you love holiness. If any of you love to be saved by Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ elected you to be saved. If any of you desire to have salvation, you are elected to have it, if you desire it sincerely and earnestly. But, if you don’t desire it, why on earth should you be so preposterously foolish as to grumble because God gives that which you do not like to other people?

Spurgeon, while not educated in the classical sense, was no doubt an educated and well read man. His library at the time of his death contained hundreds of thousands of well worn volumes. So, I read the sermon below in the context of certain theories put forward by Charles Darwin twenty years before this sermon was preached. I also assume that Spurgeon understood said theories and understood their implications. What I want to draw the reader’s attention to is Spurgeon’s literal reading of Genesis while at the same time accepting the discoveries of science in his day. The point here being, that the great men of the church have never feared scientific discovery because they could not conceive that good science would ever contradict the word. Would only the contemporary conservative church follow Spurgeon’s example

Years ago we thought the beginning of this world was when Adam came upon it; but we have discovered that thousands of years before that God was preparing chaotic matter to make it a fit abode for man, putting races of creatures upon it, who might die and leave behind the marks of his handiwork and marvellous skill, before he tried his hand on man. But that was not the beginning, for revelation points us to a period long ere this world was fashioned, to the days when the morning stars were begotten; when, like drops of dew, from the fingers of the morning, stars and constellations fell trickling from the hand of God; when, by his own lips, he launched forth ponderous orbs; when with his own hand he sent comets, like thunderbolts, wandering through the sky, to find one day their proper sphere. We go back to years gone by, when worlds were made and systems fashioned, but we have not even approached the beginning yet. Until we go to the time when all the universe slept in the mind of God as yet unborn, until we enter the eternity where God the Creator lived alone, everything sleeping within him, all creation resting in his mighty gigantic thought, we have not guessed the beginning. We may go back, back, back, ages upon ages. We may go back, if we might use such strange words, whole eternities, and yet never arrive at the beginning. Our wing might be tired, our imagination would die away; could it outstrip the lightnings flashing in majesty, power, and rapidity, it would soon weary itself ere it could get to the beginning. But God from the beginning chose his people; when the unnavigated ether was yet unfanned by the wing of a single angel, when space was shoreless, or else unborn when universal silence reigned, and not a voice or whisper shocked the solemnity of silence; when there was no being and no motion, no time, and nought but God himself, alone in his eternity; when without the song of an angel, without the attendance of even the cherubim, long ere the living creatures were born, or the wheels of the chariot of Jehovah were fashioned, even then, “in the beginning was the Word,” and in the beginning God’s people were one with the Word, and “in the beginning he chose them into eternal life.” Our election then is eternal.

read the sermon here

Here are two essays I’ve written while I’ve been down here on cont ed. If you’d like check them out by clicking through. In one of the essays there is a pretty bad misreading of Calvin. See if you can spot it! If so, I would argue that the misreading is based on what Calvin should have done, not what he actually did 🙂

(more…)

Found this over at StandFrim. Watch it all. Powerful and moving. I found myself tearing up about 40 seconds in. Do yourself a favor and watch it all

A Little Rest From the Books

Posted: January 12, 2009 by limabean03 in Trinity Tidings
Tags: ,

I dropped Steph and David off at the airport this morning.  I’ll be spending the rest of the week here by myself.  I was pretty sad to see them go.  It was a lot harder than I thought it would be.  But I”m glad they’re home safe and as much as I hate it, it does give me the chance to be a more dedicated student.  I spent the morning writting a paper for class and will write one more this evening.  I’ll be posting some of the work I’ve done while I’ve been down here if anyone is interested.   But I thought I might show you guys some of the fun things I did this afternoon. 

Riding the "Kraken" at Seaworld

Riding the "Kraken" at Seaworld

Below is a picture I took at the whale show.  I sat right on the front row and got soaked.  It was like someone dumped a tub load of salt water on me. It was pretty cool.  Off topic, I got a bit thirsty while I was at Seaworld and found I couldn’t buy water for less than $4.  But you know what?  Beer was free.  That’s right.  Beer was free.  Unfortunately it was Budweiser, but they had some good stuff on offer including a nice winter ale (although the finish tasted a bit artificial) and I also tried out their new “All American Ale”.  It was a good offering.  Check out the whale pic below.

Right on the Front Row!

Right on the Front Row!

While you’re at it, why not check out little David’s encounter with the whale on video here

jonathan_edwardsO.k. So it’s a little late to make a New Year’s resolution and still be on time.  But why not make one a few days late?  These are the resolutions of Jonathan Edwards as a 19 year old student at Yale in 1722.  His last resolution was made in 1723 at the age of 20.  Though Edwards never recorded resolutions after this, he no doubt reflected on them for the rest of his life, as his journals attest.  Here is a man who was utterly serious and committed about working out his Christian faith.  Though he would later come to regret the attitude he brought to these resolutions as a young man, he never regretted having made them as they informed his spiritual life until the day he died. The first twenty resolutions were made in one sitting.   After they, he added them intermitently over the course of the following year.  By the way, with Lent approaching, why not take on one of Jonathan Edwards’ resolutions?  Not for a season only, but for the rest of your life. 

BEING SENSIBLE THAT I AM UNABLE TO DO ANYTHING WITHOUT GOD’ S HELP, I DO HUMBLY ENTREAT HIM BY HIS GRACE TO ENABLE ME TO KEEP THESE RESOLUTIONS, SO FAR AS THEY ARE AGREEABLE TO HIS WILL, FOR CHRIST’ S SAKE.


Remember to read over these Resolutions once a week.

1. Resolved, that I will do whatsoever I think to be most to God’ s glory, and my own good, profit and pleasure, in the whole of my duration, without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence. Resolved to do whatever I think to be my duty and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general. Resolved to do this, whatever difficulties I meet with, how many soever, and how great soever.

2. Resolved, to be continually endeavoring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the aforementioned things.

3. Resolved, if ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, never to do any manner of thing, whether in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God; nor be, nor suffer it, if I can avoid it.

5. Resolved, never to lose one moment of time; but improve it the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, to live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, never to do anything, which I should be afraid to do, if it were the last hour of my life.

8. Resolved, to act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God. July 30.

9. Resolved, to think much on all occasions of my own dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

11. Resolved, when I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances do not hinder.

12. Resolved, if I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

13. Resolved, to be endeavoring to find out fit objects of charity and liberality.

14. Resolved, never to do any thing out of revenge.

15. Resolved, never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings.

16. Resolved, never to speak evil of anyone, so that it shall tend to his dishonor, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

17. Resolved, that I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

18. Resolved, to live so, at all times, as I think is best in my devout frames, and when I have clearest notions of things of the gospel, and another world.

19. Resolved, never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour, before I should hear the last trump.

20. Resolved, to maintain the strictest temperance, in eating and drinking. (more…)

David and Steph return to Myrtle Beach tommorow without me 😦 .  I’m going to miss them a lot.  So we spent a really fun last afternoon together.  Watch the video to see tiny David and the great beast!

CNN: “Cancer Free” Baby Born

Posted: January 9, 2009 by limabean03 in Uncategorized

This of course has been going on for some time, although not with cancer.  But the issue is fairly problematic.  The assumption behind this procedure is that there are some diseases which make life not worth living.  Note, only some diseases.  Who gets to determine if the life is worth living?  The parents.  Quite specifically the mother.  As was famously reported, one pregnancy was terminated in England because the child had a cleft palate.  Forty babies in the U.K. have been terminated from 1996-present because of predicted disabilities (cleft palate, club foot).  How does this affect the way we perceive the handicapped?  How does this affect the way we perceive those who will be diagnosed with cancer?  I’m afraid that this will essentially devalue them and implicitly endanger their quality of life and care in the womb and outside of it.  For example, if we can predict who might (a big if!) develop certain conditions over time, then perhaps they will be a bigger drain on public health care.  What will prevent them from being looked on as folks who are a drain on the system?  Where as before they were humans who needed care, now they’re simply accidents that could have been prevented.  And of course, this is a personal issue.  Perhaps if my dad had been screened (who died of cancer at the age of 62) he may have been terminated.  But who are we to judge if his life was not worth living? 

LONDON, England (CNN) — The first child in Britain known to have been screened as an embryo to ensure she did not carry a cancer gene was born Friday, a spokesman for University College London told CNN.

Her embryo was screened in a lab days after conception to check for the BRCA-1 gene, linked to breast and ovarian cancer.

People with the gene are known to have a 50-80 percent chance of developing breast or ovarian cancer in their lifetimes.

British newspapers have dubbed the girl the “cancer-free” baby.

“This little girl will not face the specter of developing this genetic form of breast cancer or ovarian cancer in her adult life,” said Paul Serhal, a consultant at University College London Hospital and Medical Director of the Assisted Conception Unit.

“The parents will have been spared the risk of inflicting this disease on their daughter. The lasting legacy is the eradication of the transmission of this form of cancer that has blighted these families for generations.”

Yet not everyone is thrilled with the idea of testing embryos for genes that could cause health problems later in life, a process known as preimplanatation genetic diagnosis.

“This is not a cure for breast cancer,” said Josephine Quintavalle, co-founder of Comment on Reproductive Ethics, which describes itself as group that focuses on ethical dilemmas related to reproduction.

“This is simply a mechanism for eliminating the birth of anybody (prone to) the disease,” she said. “It is basically a search-and-kill mechanism.”

She opposes the procedure because embryos found to carry disease-causing genes often are discarded. She says that is essentially murder.

“They will be destroyed,” she said. “They will never be allowed to live.”

read the rest here

Self Portrait

Bacon: Self Portrait

Properly speaking, this is not potential to become something greater than what you are right now through aptitude, but rather being restored to what God intended you to be at creation solely through his sovereign grace and mercy.  Calvin instructs us to keep in mind the telos (goal) of a human being.  The goal is simply to display his glory by bearing his image.  What are the implications of this?  First, I think we should pray fervently that God might restore our distorted image by the blood of his Son and the power of His Spirit.  Second, we must not look at people as they currently are…ever.  But rather we must look at them as they could be as fully restored image bearers of God.  This should work in us an enormous amount of patience and grace for sinners of all stripes (including ourselves!).  Third, we must labor not to impede this divine movement from distorted image to restored image.  To put some flesh on that, I think Calvin’s excerpt gives a theological, Gospel centered case against abortion.  The argument is no longer centered on when the embryo becomes a human, but the argument is centered on the telos of the embryo, which is to bear the image of God.  Furthermore, the embryo has a telos independet of the body it is nurtured in.  No one has any claim to impede the embryo’s progression because God himself has laid claim to the telos of the embryo.  Fourth and finally,  I think we must imagine what cultures look like once they formed by image bearers.  I don’t think they look much like the evangelical sub-culture, which seems rather to bear the image of the market economy.  I think Acts 4.32-37 is  a good snap shot of a culture being formed by image bearers and in some unfinished sense on its way towards being a restored creation.  Note that the culture of the church as image bearers has economic, racial, and class implications (seen 1 and 2 Corinthians especially).  Check out Calvin’s quote just below.

 “Should any one object, that the divine image has been obliterated, the solution is easy; first, there yet exists some remnant of it, so that man is possessed of no small digniity; and secondly, the Celestial Creator himself, however corrupted man may be, still keeps in view the end of his original creation; and according to his example, ought to consider for what end he created man, and what excellence he has bestowed upon them above the rest of living things”

Calvin’s Commentary on Genesis ch. 9 vs. 7

doveHow do we think of the Holy Spirit? Some churches don’t think about him at all. But those who do, often think of him as a power or influence. So in some churches the Holy Spirit is articulated as a force that works on the heart for conversion. In other churches the Holy Spirit is a force that makes us feel good. In other churches the Holy Spirit is a force that creates power for believers to perform miraculous works of healing. Some go so far as to imagine him as a wild storm, blowing throughout the church thoughtlessly and without purpose. But here is the problem with that kind of thinking. When we reduce the Holy Spirit to a power, and not a person, then he is merely an accessory (albeit a neccessary asscessory) to the persons of the Father and the Son. You can have a relationship with a person, but not an accesssory. But the scriptures understand the Spirit as a person. He is powerful, but he is not power. He is a person who applies his power thoughtfully and purposefully. And how is it applied? Bonar says it is applied chiefly through love, thus he calls it “The Gospel of the Love of the Holy Spirit.” Enjoy!

Perhaps much of our slow progress in the walk of faith is to be traced to our overlooking the love of the Spirit. We do not deal with Him, for strength and advancement, as one who really loveth us, and longs to bless us, and delights to help our infirmities (Rom 8:26). We regard Him as cold, or distant, or austere; we do not trust Him for His grace, nor realize how much He is in earnest in His dealings with us. More childlike confidence in Him and in His love would help us on mightily. Let us not grieve Him, nor vex Him, nor quench Him by our untrustfulness, by disbelieving or doubting the riches of His grace, the abundance of His loving-kindness.

He is no mere “influence,” but a living “Personality”; and there is a vast difference between these two things. An “influence” cannot love us, and we cannot love an “influence.” If there is to be love, there must be personality; and, in this case, it must be the personality of love. The fresh breath of spring is an influence, but not a personality. It cannot love us nor call on us to love it. The voice of that which we call “nature” is an influence, but not a personality. There can be no mutual love between it and us. But a being with a soul is a personality, not an influence; and the love of man or woman is a personal thing, a true and real affection-one eye looking into another, and one heart touching its fellow. So is it with the love of the Spirit. There is a personality about Him passing all the personalities of earth,-passing all the personalities of men or angels; and it is this divine personality that makes His love so precious and so suitable, as well as so true and real. There is no reality of love like that of the Spirit. It has nothing in common with the coldness or distance of a mere “influence.” It comes closely home to a human heart, because it is the love of Him who formed the heart, and who is seeking to make it His abode for ever.

The proofs of His love are abundant. They are divine proofs; and, therefore, assuredly true. It is God who has given them to us, that no doubt of the Spirit’s love may ever enter our minds. They are spread over all Scripture, in different forms and aspects. While the Bible was meant to be specially the revelation of the Son of God, it is also the revelation of the Holy Spirit. He reveals Himself while revealing Christ. He utters His own love while showing us the love of the Father and the Son.

Bonar, “The Gospel of the Holy Spirit’s Love” Read it all here