The Gospel, the Ministry and the Holy Spirit - by Rev. B. P. Aydelott, D.D.Pastoral Theology and Expository Preaching Articles
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Extracts from a manuscript Lecture upon 1 Tim. 3:10, “Believed on in the world,” (Originally Published in the mid-1800’s)
THE Gospel is not only written in a book, and clearly embodied in two simple ordinances, but it is committed also to a LIVING MINISTRY—such a Ministry as the world never saw before.
Not a particular family or tribe was chosen to give religious instruction and perform religious rites to one nation, or portion of the human family. Such is not the Christian Ministry. But a succession of men has been raised up and qualified, and called, individually and specially, \>y the Holy Ghost, out of the Church itself, the company of regenerated people, God’s faithful family, wherever found. And these men, themselves regenerated and sanctified, and called by the Holy Spirit to the office and work of the Gospel Ministry, are commanded and commissioned to ” go into all the WORLD, and preach the Gospel to every creature”—with the promise that Christ will always be with them, to own and bless their faithful endeavors.
They are not, then, merely man-instructed scholars, and man-instructed theologians; but they are a divinely enlightened, converted, holy Ministry—God-taught and God-sent—to give, what only such a Ministry could give, a living, experimental, hearty testimony for the Gospel, and to call their dying fellow-men to the knowledge of that Saviour whom they themselves profess to have found so precious to their own souls.
“”WE BELIEVE, AND THEREFORE WE SPEAK.” This has ever been the assured language of Christ’s faithful ministers. We have experienced the salvation of the Gospel ourselves, and therefore we preach it to others. We are, through grace, holy and happy ourselves, and therefore we wish to see all others holy and happy. We are saved ourselves, and therefore earnestly do we desire to see all around us saved—the whole world brought back to God and His glorious kingdom—by the power of the Cross.
In a word, the Gospel is not like the systems of heathen philosophy, confined to the schools and to a select number of rare intellects. Neither is it like Judaism, nearly altogether restricted to one people, and taught to them by an hereditary, and, for the most part, an unconverted priesthood.
But it is to be carried to the whole world, and published to all nations and classes of men, by the Heaven-sent, Divinely-enlightened, regenerated, holy, faithful Ministry; expressing, too, and confirming by their own example, the Gospel and the salvation they preach to others.
But this is not all—indeed, were it so, it is to be feared, nay, it is certain, that even the Gospel, so conveyed and so recommended to the world, would, like all previous dispensations, have left the great mass of men to perish in darkness and sin.
Be it then observed, that the grand dement of flower in the Gospel, its crowning blessing, is the Holy Spirit.
The influences of the Spirit are promised in the Gospel, in richest variety and abundance.-Paul might, indeed, plant, and Apollos water, all in vain, and certainly would, if left to themselves; yet God will, by the mighty energies of the Holy Ghost, sent down from Heaven, give a wondrous increase.
And thus was it to be continually and most clearly demonstrated every-where, and in all ages, that it is not by human might or by man’s power, but by the Spirit of God, that men are awakened, converted, sanctified, and saved.
But the operations of the Spirit are diverse. Sometimes one, here and there, is seriously impressed, and brought to the Saviour under the preaching of the Gospel. Then, again, a great increase of the power of religion is witnessed in a whole Church, or in many of its members, and this revival among God’s people is, sooner or later, by their faithful endeavors, extended through the mass of worldly-minded hearers. Hence this latter work is usually and justly called a revival, because it begins by an increased work of grace in Christians themselves, and is, by their instrumentality, spread through the community of unconverted persons. But in every case— both in the revival of the graces of God’s people, and the conversion of sinners—it is all the work of the Holy Spirit. Nothing has been more clearly proved than the fact that the use of the most abundant means without the influences of the Spirit, is utterly powerless for the conversion of sinners and the sanctification of the Church; but that, with these influences, the weakest means and instrumentalities will prove the power of God unto salvation to multitudes. “We are not to think, indeed, that the Holy Spirit did not operate under former dispensations —for it is only through His agency that any sinner was ever converted and saved—but this we do say, that the distinguishing excellence of the Gospel dispensation is its larger promises of the HOLY SPIRIT. To this fact all the Prophets bare testimony, declares Peter, as they looked forward with hope and joy to Gospel times. And the New Testament itself is full of promises of the Spirit and glorious exhibitions of His power.