When His influence is put forth within us
(James Smith, "The Spirit of Grace" 1864)
All that the Spirit does for us, and all that He works within us — is of grace. He graciously . . .
quickens the dead,
instructs the ignorant,
liberates the captives,
restores the wanderers,
comforts the dejected,
strengthens the weak,
and sanctifies the impure.
His work is His delight — and to see us holy and happy is His pleasure!
The Holy Spirit produces all our graces within us. He is the root — and our graces are His fruits; hence we read, "The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance."
When His influence is put forth within us — then we . . .
believe God's Word,
hope in His mercy,
rejoice in His goodness,
cleave to His cause,
walk in His ways,
love His truth, His people, and Himself,
holiness is then happiness,
duties are then pleasant, and
even the cross lays light upon our shoulders.
But if the Spirit hides Himself, withdraws His influences, and leaves us to ourselves — then we . . .
doubt and fear,
fret and pine,
kick and rebel,
rove from thing to thing, and
nothing will either please or satisfy us.
We often then . . .
question the past,
are wretched at present,
and dread the future.
But when He puts forth His power in us again . . .
our graces shoot forth like bulbous roots in the spring,
our sighs are exchanged for songs,
our fears are exchanged for fortitude,
our doubts are exchanged for confidence, and
our murmurings are exchanged for gratitude and love.
We then . . .
sink into the dust of self-abasement,
admire the forbearance and patience of God,
condemn our own conduct, and
wonder that we are out of Hell.
Then we take down our harps from the willows, and with a melting heart, a weeping eye, and a tremulous voice we sing, "The winter is past; the rains are over and gone. Flowers appear on the earth; the season of singing has come, the cooing of doves is heard in our land. The fig tree forms its early fruit; the blossoming vines spread their fragrance." Our wilderness is now turned into an Eden — and our desert into the garden of the Lord!
Come, Holy Spirit, come, and produce a spring season in our souls!
Brethren, we need the Holy Spirit, as the Spirit of grace — to make us gracious and graceful Christians. Without the Spirit of grace . . .
we cannot live up to our profession;
we cannot copy the example of our beloved Master;
we cannot keep His commandments;
we cannot love one another as He has loved us;
we cannot sympathize with lost sinners as we should;
we cannot keep God's glory in view in all that we do;
we cannot walk in high and holy fellowship with God;
we cannot meet death with peace and joy!