The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit,
that we are the children of God
Questions of the soul
Sometimes the soul, because it has somewhat remaining in it of the principle that it had in its old condition, is put to question whether it is a child of God or not; and thereupon, as in a thing of greatest importance, puts in its claim, with all the evidence it hath to make good its title.
The Spirit comes and bears witness in this case.
It is an allusion to judicial proceedings in point of titles.
The judge being set, the person concerned lays his claim, produces his evidences and pleads them, his adversaries endeavouring all that in them lies to disannul his plea.
In the midst of the trial a person of known and proved integrity comes into the court, and gives testimony fully and directly on behalf of the claimer, which stops the mouth of all his adversaries, and fills the man with joy and satisfaction.
So is it in this case.
The soul, by the power of its own conscience, is brought before the law of God; there a man puts in his plea that he is a child of God, and for this end produceth all his evidences, everything whereby faith gives him an interest in God.
Satan, in the meantime, opposeth with all his might; many flaws are found in the evidences; the truth of them all is questioned, and the soul hangs in suspense as to the issue.
In the midst of the contest the Comforter comes, and overpowers the heart with a comfortable persuasion, and bears down all objections, that his plea is good, and that he is a child of God.
When our spirits are pleading their right and title, He comes in and bears witness on our side, at the same time enabling us to put forth acts of filial obedience, crying, “Abba Father.”
A double testimony
Believers have a double testimony, one outside, and one inside themselves.
- The witness inside us will go with us, wherever we go: it will accompany us through all straits and difficulties.
- The external testimony may be taken from us, our Bibles, our teachers, our friends; or they may imprison us where we cannot enjoy them.
But whatever those who are in the world may take from us, they are not able to ever take the Spirit of the Christ from you.
This witness within is a permanent, settled, habituate, standing witness.
The witness of the Spirit
The witness of the Spirit, from its nature as a witness, must be instantaneous.
A witness deposes to a particular fact; and there must be a particular instant of time when his testimony is given.
- The mathematician slowly, by the use of single cyphers and symbols, works out his problems in order to find a result concerning which he is altogether in doubt;
- The chemist slowly and cautiously conducts experiments to find out the nature of substances concerning which he is totally ignorant;
- But a witness enters a court to depose to a fact of which he has already a full knowledge, and whose testimony the court is now waiting to hear.
He who believes in Jesus Christ is in a scriptural condition to receive the witness of the Spirit that he is a child of God; and the case neither requires nor admits that the witness should be gradually imparted.
When a parent has forgiven his child he does not gradually reveal that fact to him, but gives immediate proof in his countenance and actions, if not in words, that he again loves him.
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