The Descent of the Holy Ghost

J. N. Darby.

The Bible Herald, 1879, pp. 156[?].

The descent of the Holy Ghost at Pentecost characterizes the interval between the ascension of the Lord to the right hand of God, that He might take His place of Head over all things to the Church which is His body, and His coming again to receive her to Himself. As the promise of the Father, He is the witness of the glory into which the Son of His love has entered; and of the Father's delight in Him, into whose hands He has committed all things, that all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. As sent from the Son, He is the glorifier of Christ, testifying to us of Him, and taking of His things and showing them unto us, assuring us that we are loved with the same love wherewith He Himself is loved, and blessed as He is blessed. As proceeding from the Father, and the Son, He gathers out the members of Christ and quickens them into life, giving them conscious union with Christ in whom they are one. As the Spirit of adoption, He witnesses to us that we are the sons of God; and as indwelling, sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts, enabling us to joy in Him, and rejoice in hope of the glory. As the Comforter, He is the companion and sharer in all the exercises and right experiences, to which He guides the Church as the spirit of truth, in the path where we walk as led of the Spirit, and as in fellowship with the Father and the Son in the light where God dwells. Beside these personal operations as the indwelling Spirit, we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Gentiles, bond or free, and have been all made to drink into one spirit (1 Cor. 12:13) — "endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace." Individually, too, we have received the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God, which things also we speak; moreover, we are strengthened with might by His Spirit in the inner man, and are the epistle of Christ, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God, not in tables of stone, but in the fleshy tables of the heart, known and read of all men.

In this circle of God's delights, and of the Son's joy, the Holy Ghost has taken His place, and works out the counsels of the Father's good pleasure given us in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world — "to as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name; which were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." One with the Second man in heaven, head of the new creation, in life and righteousness, we are a new people upon earth, sealed by the Holy Ghost, and waiting for the shout that shall bid us rise up to meet the Lord in the air — to be with Him, and be like Him, and to see Him as He is. Born out of death — out of the deep sleep which fell upon the last Adam — and one with the risen Lord in a new life and nature, we are redeemed unto God by the blood of Christ, to live for Him here till He comes.

The great outward and visible creation has given forth its secret to us, not in the first Adam, the sinner, but in the Second man, "the Word made flesh." The corn of wheat has fallen into the ground and died, that it might bring forth much fruit: Christ is no longer straitened, but has passed through His baptism of sufferings and of blood. He came up into His garden in the title of resurrection, and went out of it in the undisputed rights of ascension, having the keys of death and of Hades. "I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive for evermore," are His new styles and dignities, by which He has passed into a sphere beyond the vulture's eye, and which no fowl knoweth; which the lion's whelps have not trodden, nor the fierce lion passed by it who, "for the joy that was set before Him, endured the cross, despised the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God" — as the glorifier of the Father. What a place for man, and yet it is there that the Son of man is — the Head and the beginning of the new creation of God. "He was made sin for us who knew no sin — that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." Thus we pass out of these mighty ruins below, into the eternal glory where He is, to see Him, and to be like Him, and to be with Him for ever.