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THE İNDWELLING OF THE SPIRIT.
THE BELIEVER, A TEMPLE.
“What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in yon?” i Cor. vi. 19.
That the religion of our adorable Immanuel is a reality,—no airy fiction, as is the Mahomedan, and no “cunningly devised fable," as is the Romish, — many, conclusive, and precious are the evidences. There is, however, to the true believer, one evidence, which, apart from, and superior to, all others, affixes the seal of credibility ;-I allude to the conviction of its truth arising from the indwelling of the Spirit in the heart. There is, in this great truth, something so palpable, so undoubted, so self-evident, that no sophistry of man, and no ingenuity of Satan, and no knowledge of the deep evil of our fallen nature, can weaken or overthrow it. It is God himself, as it were, taking the witness stand, and, setting aside all other testi
mony, challenging everything that would reduce his own work to a mere nonentity, and exclaiming, “Who is he that condemneth ?” Clad in the armour of this evidence, the feeblest disciple of Jesus takes higher ground in vindication of the truth of the Gospel, than the acutest reasoner, destitute of the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. It is true, the conviction arising from this source of evidence, is the strongest and most convincing to his own mind; yet, there is, in the simplicity, the honesty, and the boldness with which his belief is declared, that which carries a powerful conviction to the minds of others. He may be challenged by the sceptic,—there may be objections which he cannot meet,-arguments which he cannot answer, difficulties which he cannot explain, and sophisms which he cannot unravel, and yet, the “ witness within himself” shall throw such vigour into his reasoning, and tenderness into his spirit, and shall invest with an air of sincerity so touching, his whole demeanour, as shall compel his accusers to pay to him the tribute once awarded to his Lord, “He speaks as one having authority.” He believes and has experienced what he declares, and thus God has given him a “mouth and wisdom, which all his adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.”
But, let it not be supposed that we regard the indwelling of the Spirit in the believer, as presenting merely, or even mainly, an evidence in favour of the truth of the Gospel. This undoubtedly is one important induction, demanding a distinct and grateful recognition. But we must not rest here. We are to take a more enlarged view of the glory of God, as unfolded in this most holy and blessed doctrine,-his glory as secured to him in the comfort, holiness, and filial walk of the believer, conscious that he is a temple of the Holy Ghost. We feel the subject to be one of great and solemn moment. Its vastness is almost overpowering. The bare thought that, the “ High and Holy One, inhabiting eternity, whose name is holy,” should dwell with man, yea, in him,--that he should take out of the fallen race of his creatures, a people whose hearts should be so renewed and sanctified, as to form a dwelling-place of the Holy Ghost, that this heavenly visitant should take up his abode there, in all his regenerating, sanctifying, sealing, and comforting influences, the bear thought of this seems almost too illimitable and glorious for a poor finite mind to grasp. And yet, dear reader, the consolation flowing from this subject is so great, and the motives to holiness drawn from it, so persuasive, and God so glorified by it, that we feel constrained to place it in the foreground of this Treatise. May he himself
draw nigh, unfold his own truth to our minds, and sanctify us through its holy influence.
The first thought that presents itself to the mind in looking into this great subject, is that suggested by the passage placed at the head of this chapter, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you?” The great idea here conveyed is, that the believer is a temple,--the resident of that temple being God the Holy Ghost. With the converted Corinthians, to whom these words were addressed, the figure would be at once striking and significant. The magnificent city in which they dwelt, abounded with gorgeous temples erected to the honour of supposed deities, at whose idolatrous and superstitious rites, they had frequently, in the days of their ignorance, attended. Drawing their minds away from the service of idols, while, at the same time, he would employ it as an illustration of his fine idea, the apostle, by an easy and a beautiful transition of thought, leads them to consider themselves as temples in an eminent and holy sense, -formed, consecrated, and adorned for the indwelling of God the Holy Ghost. There is a depth of important and spiritual truth in this idea which we desire to unfold, as the Divine Teacher shall himself “ anoint us with that anointing which teacheth us of all things.”
In contemplating the believer as a temple of the Holy Ghost, it is natural and proper that we advert to the condition of the soul previous to the entrance of the Spirit of God. Man, in his original constitution, was a glorious temple. Two facts will prove it. First, he was like God in his moral image, and second, God dwelt in him. He was, in every respect, worthy of such a resident. He was the holy temple of a holy God. Not a flaw was there. The entire man was holy. There was perfect knowledge in the judgement, perfect holiness in the will, and perfect love in the heart. “ Holiness to the Lord,” was the inscription written on every window and every door, yea, on every part of this temple. O, beautiful structure was man in his original state! Well did the mighty Architect, as he gazed upon his work, pronounce it “ very good !”
But, behold what sin has done. Man has lost his original resemblance to God. It is true, he yet retains his spiritual, intelligent, and immortal nature, these he can never lose. But his moral likeness to God,—his knowledge, purity, justice, truth, and benignity, these glorious lineaments are blotted from his soul, and darkness, impurity, desolation, and death reign there. With the obliteration of his moral resemblance, the soul has lost all love to God. More than this. There is not only the