The Four Spirits

A SERMON – Preached on Sunday Morning, Feb. 18th, 1866, by

MR.   JAMES   WELLS

 

AT THE NEW SURREY TABE RNACLE, WANSEY STREET

 

"There are the four spirits of the heavens.''-Zechariah vi 5.

 

We have at the head of this chapter set before us, first, mystical Gerizim and Ebal: the one signifying the law, and the other the gospel. Upon the one mountain the curses were pronounced, upon the other the blessings; and the people stood, some on the declivity of the one mountain, some on the acclivity of the other; so that when the blessings and the curses were pronounced they were made acquainted with both, and were therefore prepared to go forth and tell to others what they had heard and seen. These two mountains, therefore, are called mountains of brass, because of their stability; and so the law of God-Christ came not to overturn that law, but to establish it, and he came to establish the gospel. And the four chariots which came out from between these two mountains I take to be the apostles especially referred to as the prophets are called the chariots of Israel, and the horsemen thereof, and so the Lord was with them and therefore they could neither be stopped nor overturned. And they are called four because the mission of the apostles was to go forth east, west, north, and south, according to the Saviour's words, "They shall come from the east, and the west, the north, and the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." I will not enter further, at present, into the meaning of these four chariots, nor into the meaning of the several things said concerning them, but will come at once to the language of our text. I think our text is an explanation of what they are: " The four spirits of the heavens;" the margin reads it, " the four winds of the heavens:" I shall avail myself of the marginal reading as well as of the textual reading to set before you those things this morning which I hope and trust will, as we go along, be profitable unto our souls. Now it is said of these four spirits that they "go forth from standing before the Lord." And so the apostles, they went forth with the gospel, not from man, but from standing before the Lord; their mission was from the Lord. They tarried in Jerusalem, and there they waited as before the Lord, and when the day of Pentecost arrived, they were favored with power by which they set out to commence that wonderful mission of preaching the gospel to every creature in all the world. And thus they are called four chariots because of the universality of their mission; and in our text called four spirits for the same reason; though of  course,  these four spirits of  the heavens  are in reality one.  I hold, then that the two mountains represent the law and the gospel, and that these chariots coming from between the two denote that everyone sent of God knows something of the law and something of the gospel such is my opinion.  And the apostle Paul sets this before us in his own mission; the law came to him, and showed him its stability, and then how the gospel was revealed to him in its stability; and thus he went forth claiming those things by which sinners should be converted to God, and transgressors should learn his ways. Now these spirits then are said to "go forth from standing before the Lord of all the earth" because Jesus Christ by what he hath done acquired universal power "All power in heaven and in earth is given unto me."

 

I will therefore take, this morning, a threefold view of the language of our text-these four spirits. First, it sets forth the work of the Holy Spirit:  Secondly, it sets forth the four spirits of the Lord Jesus Christ in which he appeared, thirdly, that it sets forth the four spirits of the gospel.

 

First, then, we have here indicated the work of the Holy Spirit.  In the 7th of Ezekiel the Holy Spirit is spoken of as coming from the four winds. Come from the four winds, 0 breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live. Let us enter carefully into this solemn, matter, then; for I should not have felt at liberty to come before this assembly with these words if there were not something in them practical something in them essential, something in them that deeply concerns us all.   Now we must not forget that our text calls these spirits the heavenly spirits; it is something heavenly, something divine. In the 37th of Ezekiel you have our state by nature, and the work of the Holy Spirit set forth under the similes there employed.   In the first place, our state by nature is represented by dry bones.   But we must be careful how we handle this matter. The dry bones are but a figure; they are but a simile, and they are intended to set forth our state by nature.    When convinced of sin, a sinner sees   and feels that he is helpless and as worthless as a dry bone in Ezekiel's valley.    This, I think, is the idea.    Hence, in the 11th verse of that chapter you have the precise feeling of the convinced sinner described; and let us ask if we know what that feeling is. The Lord said to Ezekiel, "These bones are the whole house of Israel." that is the whole election of grace; in other words, Ezekiel saw the whole election of grace brought into eternal life.  Behold, they say our bones are dried, and our hope is lost, we are cut off form our parts;" that is, we are cut off from God. "Our bones are dried:" What is the feeling of a sinner taught of God? Why, his feeling is this,-If I had holiness in the first Adam it is dried up and gone; if I had righteousness in the first Adam, it is dried up and gone! If I had love-if I had anything good (for God made man upright), it is all gone. I feel I am a poor, sin-withered, a poor sin-smitten, a poor sin-dried creature.  "Our bones are dried,” What am I?  A mere brand plucked out of the fire.  Shall I, a mere dry bone, then boast of my supposed dignity, of my worth, of my Excellency?  What value do men attach a dry: bone, especially a human bone? The feeling generally is, bury it out of my sight.  And such a one feels, well, it is a wonder that the great God has not cast me into the pit of hell ere this, out of his sight.  This is real humiliation work.  "And our hope is lost."  It is a great discovery, believe me, though it may seem simple, it is a great discovery to be made to see and feel that you have no hope by nature.  All men have a false hope; we all delude ourselves while in a state of nature with a false hope; but when the Lord becomes the teacher,  such a one  convinced of his state, saith, Well, now, what reason have I to have any hope in God?    No reason at all; l am without hope, destitute of hope.   Then you will be led to see, in the Lord's own time, that you can have no hope in God but by faith in the atonement of Christ, by faith in the righteousness of Christ, by faith in the promise of God that is by Jesus Christ. There you may hope with a sure hope, there you may hope with a glorious hope, there you may hope with a lively hope by the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.  And "we are cut off form our parts," cut off from God.  So we are by sin cut off from God, and there  is no way of unity  with  him  but  by  precious  faith  in  his  dear  Son.   But not to dwell here, let us look  at  the  work  of the Holy Spirit “O ye dry bones,  hear  the  word  of  the  Lord."    We  will  say,  first,  there  is the sinner  dead;  he hears the word of the Lord, the  Lord  attends  that word with power, and what  is the first effect?  What is the first effect of the Spirit of heaven   taking possession?  What is the first effect of the Holy Spirit beginning the work?  Why,  it  is  said when  these dry bones  heard  the voice of  the Lord  "there  was  a noise."  So look back, some of you, at the time, and you will see that there was a noise made by your sins; your sins made a noise in your conscience, they made a noise in your feelings, and then your soul began to make a noise; you then began to sigh, you then began to groan, you then began to pray, you then began to say, "God be merciful to me a sinner."   And perhaps you tried with your own supposed goodness, resolutions, and doings, to silence this noise; but this noise continued, because it was the voice of the Holy Spirit.  And thus this heavenly wind came and  brought  the tempests of God's threatening’s into your conscience, and you heard the sound thereof, but  could  not tell  whence  it came, nor whither  it would go, nor what would  become  of you; but  there was a noise.  Previously to this your sins were quiet; your conscience was quiet, your soul was quiet, you were quiet, fast asleep in the sleep of death.  The  strong man  keepeth the  palace,  and  the  goods  are  in  peace but  when  a  stronger  than he shall come, and shall take  the amour  from the strong man, and cast him out, then your soul began to mourn and to long after something it had never sought before.   "There was a noise."   And  then the next step is, "and behold a shaking ;'' and so you will be shaken out of  all your false confidences; you will  try to  build  yourself  up  here  and  there, but  all must  be  brought  to  naught.    I take  the  shaking  there  to mean  that trembling which  everyone is more or less  partaker  of.   "To this man will I look, that is poor, of a contrite spirit, and that trembles at my word."   Why,  where  is there  a  Christian  that  does  not  now at  times tremble at  many  searching  scriptures?   Such, for instance, as this: ­ "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, and few there be that find it."  That  has  made  many  an  old  Christian  tremble, as well  as  many a young one, because it comes home thus :-if only few shall find it, am I one of that few?   Am I one of  the few that shall enter by the strait gate of the Saviour's finished work, and shall walk in that narrow way of vital experience, even  in  that  path  of downward  experience,  and of solemn fellowship with God by Christ Jesus, which  the vulture's eye has never seen?  Here, then, is a movement towards God.   What was the third step?  The third  step was  that " the bones  came together, bone to his bone;" that  is  to  say,  unity; you  come  into unity, and  so that is the unity  to Christ Jesus; you begin  to say, here is Jesus Christ just  suited to me  a  lost  sinner; his  fullness  is  just  suited  to  my  emptiness,  and his  power to save is just suited to my necessity.  And also you will hereby come into unity with the people of God.   When  you  read,  for instance, in the Book of Psalms of the downward experiences and trials of David, you will find those experiences just like your own, and your own just  like  them; and when you  read  in the 7th of Romans of  what  the flesh is, and what the apostle felt, you will say, "I feel just  the same;" and when you hear him  bear the testimony that the flesh  and  the spirit are contrary the one to the other, and that he could not do the things that he would, you will say, "That's just what I feel."   And when the Saviour describes  the  sins  of  the  heart,  the  evil  thoughts that  proceed  from it, you will say, " That's just me."   And so you will feel a union of soul to the prophets and to the apostles, and to those people of God that you might meet with that are the subjects of this experience.  Here, then, is a consciousness of our helpless condition; here is a noise in the conscience which nothing but the blood of Christ can silence; he alone can  say to our sins," Peace, be still ;" and he alone can bring our souls out of such a tempestuous sea into the haven of peace and quiet; and here is a shaking, and here is a unity.  Now comes the beatification.  "I will lay sinews upon you."   You will now begin to receive the doctrines, and they to form you into a Christian.  The great doctrines of the gospel will become a kind of sinews, as it were, and will make a good strong  man of you; for I can tell you that the doctrines of the gospel are good strong sinews; those men that have good strong sinews are generally pretty elastic, and generally tough- take a great deal to kill them.  And those that have these spiritual sinews, the glorious truths of the gospel, they are pretty wiry, they are pretty tough, and neither the devil, nor sin, nor hell, will ever be able to kill them; no; they are so well sinewed, and so well put together, and so well formed in Christ Jesus, that they can never be deformed again. And so to part with any one blessed truth of the gospel would be to part with the very sinews of our spiritual existence:  Why, we should cease to be strong, and we should cease to be elastic, and we should cease to be wiry Christians. I like a good wiry Christian that can stand anything and everything, and love the Saviour still; that can stand anything and everything, and wait upon the Lord still, and cleave to the Lord still. I like a good wiry Christian, as wiry and sinewy as Job was when he said, "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him."   “And I will bring up flesh upon you."   Now here comes the muscle, and I like the real muscular Christian.   Oh, say you, what is the flesh, the muscles that he will cover us with?   Why, strong faith, and strong hope, and strong love. I like a good muscular Christian.  I do not like that sort of faith that says, do you think it is of grace?   Do you think election is true?   Right enough for the little ones  inquiring mind,  I am  not despising the little inquirer;  but  those sort of  flabby professors  that say, " I don't know, I am sure, hardly ;" never settled ; no muscle about  them, no strength.   I like a man, a Christian, to be a good muscular Christian, as Abraham was when he staggered not at the promise through unbelief.    God has given the promise, God is able to perform what he has promised.   How he will do it, when he will do it, what lies between this and the fulfilment, I do not know; but I am not going to stagger, but  stand like a muscular, strong man.   And though I am called upon to slay my son Isaac, I will do just as the Lord tells me; and if my son Isaac is burnt to ashes, God can raise him up again; whether it shall be so or not, I will go as far as he tells me to go, and then when he tells me to stop I will stop.   And so, accounting that God was able to raise him up from the dead, God stepped in and stopped him at the point where he intended to stop him, and so Isaac was freed, Abraham was honored, and God was glorified.   "I will bring up flesh upon you, and cover you with skin."   Job experienced this almost literally, I was going to say; for poor Job says, "After my skin"-my skin is gone, disease has taken that away; and sin is compared to the leprosy, and in the 33rd of Job a poor sinner brought out of that leprosy into health is represented thus: "His flesh shall be fresher than a child's," So that this is the outward beatification.  Now we must not say here that “beauty is only skin deep." In the regions of mortality we say "beauty is only skin deep," and might fade in an hour; but not so here spiritually,-no.   It is the likeness of Jesus Christ; his countenance as the sun; beautiful because it is holy, because it is immortal; so they are thus conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.  Thus, then, here is our worthlessness, and a consciousness  of it; here is the noise which can  be  silenced  only  by  the  peace speaking  blood of Christ; here is the trembling; here are he sinews; here is the flesh, and then covered  with  skin.  But now they want freedom; there is no breath of freedom in them yet. Now comes that which our text seems to refer to. “Come from the four winds, 0 breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live."  Before I describe this part, we must have just a word upon this sublime representation, of the Holy Spirit’s independence.  We have a pretty strong hurricane sometimes; does the wind come and; knock at your door, and ask you if it may blow?  No. And when the wind goes round from one quarter to another, does it knock at your door and say; May I blow from the east to the west, or from the north to the south?   How would your majesty free-will and duty-faith like to have it?   I can't blow if you don’t let me.   No, say you, it does not do that.   I know it does not.   I go to the 3rd of John, run off to the 40th of Isaiah: "The wind bloweth where it listeth; The Holy Spirit giveth to every man severally as he will."  He lives in his own entity, in his own majesty, in his own eternity; bloweth where he listeth, 40th of Isaiah: "Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him?  With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and showed to him the way of understanding?   Behold, the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold, he taketh up the isles as a very little thing; and so he doeth as he pleases.   This has been, ever since I have known the liberty of the gospel, and ever since I have been a minister-this independence of the Holy Spirit has been very dear to me.    Oh, I hate the doctrine that would bring the Holy Spirit into bondage.  He doeth as he pleases, bloweth where he listeth, and  if  he  has  lighted  up thy soul and  shown unto thee that thou art but it dry bone, and shall create a noise in thy conscience, has given thee a trembling, a godly trembling heart, has given thee the spirit of unity, has made thee a sinewy Christian, and has clothed thee with muscles, and covered thee with skin, and  now thou art longing to realize the full freedom thereof; if he has done this, then   not unto you but unto him be all the glory, that thus bloweth were he listeth.   The second reason that he is thus spoken of as the four Winds is because of the universality of his power.  There is no place where he hath not power. He garnished the heavens with planetary worlds; he moved at the creation upon the face of the deep, for not a blade of grass, not a vegetable, not a tree, ever would have grown upon this earth but for that act of the Holy Spirit.  He moved upon the face of the deep.  Milton has caught the idea,-

 

“Sat brooding upon the vast abyss.”

 

He gave vitality to the earth.

 

When you see a blade of grass, say that is the Holy Spirt that originally gave the earth vitality to bring it forth: when you see the herb, the flourishing herb, say That is the Holy Spirit gave the earth vitality to bring it forth. When you see the tree whether the fruit-tree, or the mighty cedar, say, that is the Holy Spirit that gave the earth originally vitality to bring it forth.   When you see a Christian, a little Christian, blade of grass, say, That is the Holy Spirit that has given that  man life; and when you see him grow into an herb, say, That is the Holy Spirit that soul vitality; and when you see that man become a fruit tree, if you get some grapes from him, or an apple from him – for we get a little fruit from each other sometimes- bear a little fruit sometime, - say, That is the Holy Spirit has given vitality to that man’s soul; and when you see tall cedars , like the apostles and prophets, say, Those are cedars of the Lord's planting; the  Holy Spirit  has  given  them vitality. The universality of his power, then, as he vitalized the whole globe, the sea, and all of it---no animal life nor vegetable life without his vitalizing power, so there is no spiritual life now without the vitalizing power of the eternal Spirit of God. Why, some of us are not half Trinitarians; we think and speak of the Holy Spirit as though he were some vapor;  as though he were some shadow.  Why, he is one of the omnipotent and eternal Three. Whatever the Father, that is the Holy Spirit; whatever is the Saviour as God that is the Holy Spirit. These three are one. So that the prophets, when the spoke, they spoke by the almighty and unerring Spirit; the apostles, when they went forth, they went forth by his vitalizing, this almighty and unerring Spirit of God. Called the four winds, then, I say, because of his universality- the universality of his power. Thirdly, he is called the four winds also because of his omnipresence. How many ministers of God are preaching to-day I do not know; how many people of God are hearing today I do not know; I do not know either of those things, but I do know one thing, that the Holy Spirit is with the whole of them; he is with every one of them; whether they feel his comfort or not, there he is with them; he is with every one of them. “Whither shall I go from thy spirit?” There he is in heaven, the saints there realizing in perfection his indwelling; he is on the earth, to the ends of the earth, he is with every one of his people, never forsakes one soul for a moment, waters the work in your soul,-your soul, -your soul,-in the souls of thousands and tens of thousands at the same moment of time.   God help us to reverence, to worship, and to prize a teacher so divine. Oh, how high, then, is the privilege of the real Christian, thus to be taught by such an independent, such a vitalizing, such an omnipresent teacher as this! But he is spoken of in this character also for another reason, which I just state, which I have partially anticipated-for his life-giving power. "Come from the four winds, 0 breath, and breathe upon these slain, that they may live." He came, "And they lived, and stood up upon their feet, an exceeding great army." The prophets were not favored to see the actual accomplishment of salvation, the Saviour actually in the world, but they were favored in other respects more than we are. What one minister is there living now that has ever been able to grasp the triumphant standing of the whole election of grace? Ezekiel here, whether in the body or out of the body-I do not suppose he was aware; which,-he says, " The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the Spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones." Mark that; he did, by some mysterious act of mind, for which the Holy Spirit capacitated the mind, grasp the whole election of grace. Read out the contrast.  Just now they were dry bones, scattered upon the grave's  mouth, and now they are standing on the vantage-ground of victory; they have received the Saviour’s conquest the Saviour's triumph, and there  they stand  to  a man, palms  in their hands, their faces shining, their souls happy, the victory wrought, the work done, the devil defeated, sin conquered, the grave no more, hell closed heaven opened, God glorified, the covenant established, the promise fulfilled, grace reigning, mercy triumphing, and they rolling the praises of God along like mighty waters and like mighty thundering. The Lord give us more expansive views of these eternal things. It transforms the soul into the likeness of Christ, and helps us-

 

“To scorn the trifles of a day

For joys that none can take away.”

 

Thus, then, this is one reason-"the four spirits of the heavens "-the Holy Spirit in the dear characters he bears.  But one more reason that he is called the four spirits of the heavens, which I enter upon, though I shall say but little upon it, with a great deal of delight, is because he compasses the Christian on every side. Let the devil come where he may, there is the Holy Spirit to protect the Christian. Yes, if Satan should drop upon our heels, there, by the Holy Spirit, we hear a voice saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it." If Satan be at our right hand, the Holy Spirit comes in an brings in the victory Christ has wrought; If on our left hand, the Holy Spirit shows that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness; and if Satan would stop us, then the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus Christ as our forerunner, and that Christ is the way, that way in which Satan cannot stop us; he compasses us on every side.  See how this accords with what the word of God saith: "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord will be round about his people henceforth and forever." Thus, then,  the  Holy  Spirit  is  called  four spirits for the reasons I have  stated, but still  these  four are  one.  He is called seven spirits, not that be is abstractedly more than one Spirit; but he appears in these forms for our instruction and for our advantage. These are the spirits of the heavens.

 

Secondly, let us see how this sets forth the four spirits of the Lord Jesus Christ in which he appeared. Let us look at four spirits in which he came; and let us see whether we ourselves are partakers of that Spirit called the four spirits, for they are one. 85th Psalm, there are four spirits there, to which the Saviour beautifully answers.  What is the first?  Mercy.   Did he not come in a spirit of mercy? Did he not come to show mercy to the poor creature fallen among thieves?  And was not this the great offence that he gave to the Pharisees at large, because he was merciful? Why, your Master eats with publicans and sinners! Yes, because he is come in the spirit of mercy. Go, ye Pharisees, and learn what that means, "I will have mercy, and not sacrifice; and I am come not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. If ye had known what that means," I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless." Was there one case during the whole of his wondrous life that came before him to seek mercy that he did not show mercy to?-the ruler for his daughter, the poor woman that had suffered for twelve years, the palsied man, or at the very last the thief on the cross. All the insults, persecutions, and ill-usage the Son of God met with on this earth could not wear his mercy out; he had enough left to save the thief in his dying hour.  The spirit of mercy-, "Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy." Secondly, that of truth­ "mercy and truth." So he came with truth; that is, with new covenant truth. See the 6th and the 17th of John, and all the scriptures where he dwelt upon new covenant truth. "This is my blood of the new testament."   He came to confirm the truth that was sworn to Abraham.  The Roman Catholics make the Virgin Mary a kind of goddess. If they understood the truth of Christ's mission as well as she did in the 1st of Luke, they would not do that. She said, "He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; as he spake to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever." So, then, truth was another spirit in which he came; yea and amen truth. "In blessing I will bless thee."  Why, it is part of my existence; I should not have a sinew, a muscle, or a bit of skin left if you were to take that from me; it is the very essence of my existence, yea and amen truth, infallible truth, unalterable truth; truth my shield and buckler; truth that makes me free; truth that makes me strong; truth that gives me every information, and shows me the way in which I have everlasting consolation. It is the very essence of the Christian's existence. The spirit of the heavens-mercy and truth, righteousness- that is the next; and I am sure Jesus Christ came in the spirit of righteousness, friends.  "Think not "-no, thou infinitely loved and adored Redeemer, we would not think so-"think not that I am come to destroy the law." Satan came to destroy it, sin came to destroy it, but they could not. The law destroyed man; man could not destroy the law. "Think not that I am come to destroy the law." I am come to leave the law as I found it.  Say you, it does not read so No, no, friends, thanks to his dear name, it does not. "I am come to fulfil the law." And without any presumption I declare this, that if Jesus Christ hath done it, I will never attempt to do it again.  He hath done it so well, I will make not the least attempt at it. I will run away from it, and I will cleave to Jesus Christ." I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only." So, if he hath fulfilled it, I will join with the apostle and say that I am dead to the law, and the law is dead to me, but I am alive unto God by our Lord Jesus Christ.  He came in the spirit of righteousness; righteously met the law, righteousness met justice, and righteously met sin, and righteously met Satan; in righteousness did he judge and make war.  And also peace.  Does he answer to this?  Yes, say you that is self-evident.   We were at war with our own souls, and he came to make us at peace with our own souls. We were at war with God, and be came to bring us out of that deadly hostility, blindness, guilt, misery, and destruction, and to reconcile us to God.  Hence the very song, "Thou hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of all nations, kindred, peoples, and tongues." He is our peace; he is our tranquility. Hence, at the end of this vision it is said that the horses, meaning the apostles, went towards the north,-that is, where the people of God are in captivity; and it is said, "These have quieted my spirit in the north country." And what quiets the Lord's Spirit?  First, the mediatorial work of Christ, meeting all the claim of law and justice; but that is not the meaning there. What quieted the spirit of the father in the 15th of Luke? Why, to see that his son, who had been dead, was alive again; that his son, who had been lost, was found; that his son, who had wandered, was now at home and quiet.  Nothing but the eternal salvation of all the people of God could quiet God's Spirit, " For Zion's sake I will not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth.” Now are mercy and truth, righteousness and peace-are they friendly? "They have kissed each other;" and that is a divine kiss; mercy is incapable of kissing without sincerely meaning it; truth is incapable of a hypocritical kiss; righteousness would do wrongly to kiss deceitfully, and the very character of peace is that of honesty. So they kiss each other, to denote the eternal oneness between mercy, truth, righteousness, and peace; the eternal oneness between Christ and his people.

 

One more idea, and I close. I think it means also the gospel. Let me give you the four spirits of the gospel. And some of you here this morning, you possess three of the spirits of the gospel; but there is one you do not possess.  Say you, which is it?  You know perfectly well, I am sure. The first spirit is that of discipleship. "Go ye and teach all nations." The original word means, " disciple all nations," or make disciples of all nations.  Therefore the very first spirit of the gospel is that of discipleship. A disciple means a learner; and the poor sinner, when he is taken into the school of Christ, he then becomes a willing learner. "Open thou mine eyes, that I may behold wondrous things out of thy law." Lord, what is the meaning of this parable? what is the meaning of that parable? what is the meaning of the other parable? Here is the spirit of discipleship. This spirit we shall have all our days, and we shall be encouraged by the Saviour's own words, "If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" The spirit of discipleship, therefore; the spirit of prayer, the spirit of inquiry, the spirit of humility, willing to be taught by the Lord, and seeking to be taught and to be guided by him; for who teaches like him?  The second spirit some of you do not possess. Whatever are you going to say? Say?  why, what the word of the Lord says, " Go  ye and disciple all nations;  baptizing them in the name of the Father,  because he hath buried all your sins by his counsels, and plan, and purposes of mercy; "and in the name of the Son," because he has cast your sins into the depths of the sea, never to come up again  "and in the name of the Holy Ghost," because he has brought you into a death to sin, death to the law, made you alive to God. This is the spirit of the gospel.  Well, says one, if I do not be baptized as soon as I can! It never struck me before that it was the spirit of the heavens. It is, though. Well, then, what must my spirit be to oppose it? Not the spirit of the heavens, depend upon it; so you see you are wrong.