Saturday, August 4, 2012

William Law on the Holy Spirit

Depending on the Holy Spirit 
Three paragraphs from a letter of advice written on March 5, 1753 
by William Law in Answer to a Question 

To speak of the operation of the Holy Spirit, as only an assistance, or an occasional assistance, is as short of the truth, as to say, that Christ shall only assist the resurrection, of our bodies. For not a spark of any divine virtue can arise up in us, but what must wholly and solely be called forth, by that same power, which alone can call our dead bodies, out of the dust and darkness of the grave. 
If you turn to your own strength, to have Christian piety, and goodness; or are so deceived, as to think, that learning, or logical abilities, critical acuteness, skill in languages, church systems, rules and orders, articles and opinions, are to do that for you, which the Spirit of Christ did, and only could do for the first Christians; your diligent reading the history of the gospel, will leave you as poor, and empty and dead to the divine life, as if you had been only a diligent reader of the history of all the religions in the world. But if all that you trust to, long after, and depend upon, is that Holy Spirit, which alone made the scripture-saints able to call Jesus Lord; if this be your one faith, and one hope, the divine life, which died in Adam, will find itself alive again in Christ Jesus. And be assured, that nothing but this new birth, can be the gospel Christian, because nothing else can possibly love, like, do, and be that, which Christ preached in his divine sermon on the mount. And be assured also, that when the Spirit of Christ, is the spirit that ruleth in you, there will be no hard sayings in the gospel; but all that the heavenly Christ taught in the flesh, will be as meat and drink to you, and you will have no joy, but in walking, as he walked, in saying, loving, and doing, that which he said, loved, and did. And indeed, how can it be otherwise? How can notions, doctrines, and opinions about Christ, what he was, and did, make you in him a new creature? Can anyone be made a Samson, or a Solomon, by being well versed in the history of what they were, said or did? 

Ask then, my friend, no more, where you shall go, or what you shall do, to be in the truth; for you can have the truth, nowhere, but in Jesus, nor in him, any further, than as his whole nature, and Spirit is born within you.


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