Vol I No. 7
Daily Thought

William Law with Commentary: Adresses xviii-xix

by William J. Martin


[Addr-18] Divine Inspiration was essential to man’s first created State. The Spirit of the triune God, breathed into, or brought to Life in him, was that alone which made him a holy Creature in the Image and Likeness of God. To have no other Mover, to live under no other Guide or Leader, but the Spirit, was that which constituted all the Holiness which the first man could have from God.

Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Gen. i. 26) Man is given life from God alone. Man is made in the Image of the Trinity. ‘The Image’ is the essence or substance of the ‘Our’, or the Three Persons. God alone moves to make all things out of nothing. All things have their being from God. God alone informs or defines all things and thus gives them meaning. God is the Guide, Leader, Ruler, and Governor of the created universe. Holiness is not infused into man’s life naturally, such that a man is by his nature holy. Holiness must be desired or freely chosen by the Man who can be made in the Image and Likeness of God or not. Man was not made holy. It is only when the rational creature chooses to obey God that holiness is generated by God’s Grace in the soul. Angels and men alone therefore are capable of being defined by the holiness that they choose to be made and defined by, just as God freely chooses to make and define all things.

Had he not been thus at the first, God in him and he in God, brought into the World as a true offspring and real Birth of the Holy Spirit, no Dispensation of God to fallen man would have directed him to the Holy Spirit, or ever have made mention of his Inspiration in Man. For fallen Man could be directed to nothing as his Good, but that which he had, and was his Good, before he fell.

Now, again, what man had before he fell from God’s Grace was the effect of obedience to his Maker through free will. Thus he enjoyed, if even for ever so short a period, holiness as the effect of God’s Grace. What a man has fallen out of is obedience as cause and holiness as effect. Thus, in some strange and mysterious way, man remembers his union and communion with God. What this means, in all likelihood, is that man remembers spiritually whence he comes. This is the memory of God in the image’s created integrity. It is hidden because of our Fall in Adam, but it is nevertheless constitutive of our innermost being and essence as humans. And so with God’s Salvation Response to our Fallen State we find that we are being carried back to the Good of our original condition. The Good which we have forsaken must come to us from without before we can rediscover it within. Thus the Good comes to us through the humanity of Jesus Christ, that then leads us to the Eternal Word, through which, in turn, we are reconciled to the Father. The Good that we discover is the original Word of God, by which alone we were once obedient to God and can be made obedient again.

And had not the Holy Spirit been his first Life, in and by which he lived, no inspired Prophets among the Sons of fallen Adam had ever been heard of, or any holy men speaking as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. For the Thing would have been impossible, no fallen Man could have been inspired by the Holy Spirit, but because the first Life of Man was a true and real Birth of it; and also because every fallen Man had, by the Mercy and free Grace of God, a secret Remains of his first Life preserved in him, though hidden, or rather swallowed up by Flesh and Blood; which Secret Remains, signified and assured to Adam by the name of a Bruiser of the Serpent, or Seed of the woman, was his only capacity to be called and quickened again into his first Life, by new Breathings of the Holy Spirit in him.

Now the Good originally bound man to God’s Word by an act of will by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit remains present to Fallen Man even after the Fall. Man is not totally depraved, otherwise God would have to save him by destroying him. Grace redeems and does not destroy nature. So a ‘secret Remains’ of the Holy Spirit remains within man, though He is imprisoned in flesh and blood. He shall find new life breathed into him through the pain and labor of temptation and child birth. In other words, the Holy Spirit will come alive in man now only by way of a long journey towards and then out of Christ’s Incarnation.

[Addr-19] Hence it plainly appears that the Gospel State could not be God’s last Dispensation, or the finishing of Man’s Redemption, unless its whole Work was a Work of the Spirit of God in the Spirit of Man; that is, unless without all Veils Types, and Shadows, it brought the Thing itself, or the Substance of all former Types and Shadows, into real Enjoyment, so as to be possessed by Man in Spirit, and in Truth.

The thing itself or the substance of man’s true life is to obey God in order that God’s will might issue forth into the goodness of the Holy Spirit. Man is made to come back into Communion with the Father, through His Word, and by the Holy Spirit. Thus, by moving through Christ’s Holy Incarnation, man can return to unity with the Father. But this is possible only if and when the Holy Spirit makes the Word flesh in the new members of Christ’s Body, the Church. The Real Enjoyment that the Holy Spirit brings alive in man is the actualization of God’s will in human life as the Word made flesh.

Therefore immediate Inspiration is as necessary to make fallen Man alive again unto God, as it was to make Man at first a Living Soul after the Image and in the Likeness of God. And Continual Inspiration is as necessary, as Man’s Continuance in his redeemed State. For this is a certain Truth, that That alone which begins, or gives Life, must of all Necessity be the only Continuance or Preservation of Life. The second Step can only be taken by That which gave Power to take the first.— No Life can continue in the Goodness of its first created, or redeemed State, but by its continuing under the Influence of, and working with and by that Powerful Root, or Spirit, which at first created, or redeemed it. Every Branch of the Tree, though ever so richly brought forth, must wither and die, as soon as it ceases to have continual Union with, and Virtue from that Root, which first brought it forth. And to this Truth, as absolutely grounded in the Nature of the Thing, our Lord appeals as a Proof and full Illustration of the Necessity of his immediate indwelling, Breathing, and Operating in the redeemed Soul of Man, saying, “I am the Vine, ye are the Branches, as the Branch cannot bear fruit of itself, no more can ye, except ye abide in me. He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much Fruit. If a man abides not in me, he is cast forth as a withered Branch; for without me, ye can do Nothing,” John xv.

[Addr-20] Now from these Words let this conclusion be here drawn, viz. that therefore to turn to Christ as a Light within us, to expect life from nothing but his holy Birth raised within us, to give ourselves up wholly and solely to the immediate continual Influx and Operation of his Holy Spirit, depending wholly upon it for every Kind and Degree of Goodness and Holiness that we want, or can receive, is and can be Nothing else, but proud, rank Enthusiasm.

Now that man needs the Holy Spirit to incorporate him back into communion with God should not surprise us. At the first, Adam was able to obey God and continue in that state through the effectual operation of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit of God gives life and being to all things. The same Spirit enables irrational creatures to fulfill their ends and thus imitate their make imperfectly. The Spirit is the Person of the Trinity that is immediately present to all things as what gives life and enables creatures to realize the ends appointed for them by the Father and through the Word. Now because they are rational creatures, angels and men can perfect their God-given natures only by an act of will. So they must desire to be made faithful and obedient to God through His Grace alone. And yet for men this Grace is effectual only through the God-Man, Jesus Christ. For it is by way of participating in the Word made flesh, the Second Adam, that man is enabled to be returned or delivered back to the Father. The obedience and faithfulness of the Second Adam longs to be Writ Large in the new members of His Body, the Church, and by the ongoing inspiration of His Holy Spirit. Christ says that we must choose to ‘abide in Him’. ‘He is the Vine and we are the Braches’. But to abide in Him means that we must bear forth fruit, and this is accomplished through the direct inspiration and indwelling of His Spirit. Christ longs to be conceived, born, and perfected in all of us. And this comes about when His Spirit is not only animating us but is informing and defining our thoughts, words, and works. If Christ is alive in us then His Spirit will generate all manner of virtue in our lives, such virtue as is necessary for our salvation. But to have it, we must long for it with the deepest passion of our hearts. To be benefited by it, we must embrace what shall slowly but surely generate a wholesome and hearty enthusiastic love of it!