Essex Congregational Remembrancer
You stiff necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, you do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do you.…
I. THE CHARACTER HERE GIVEN OF IMPENITENT AND UNGODLY MEN.
1. Their leading feature is obduracy, which the Scriptures call hardness of heart. There may be a variety of dispositions, yet all merging in this spirit.
(1) Stiff-neeked means nearly the same as stout-hearted; one who is unyielding and obstinate; who sets at nought the councils of God and follows his own.
(2) Uncircumcised in heart and ears. Circumcision was a rite intended to point out the nature and necessity of spiritual renovation (Deuteronomy 10:16-18).
2. The obduracy of an ungodly man may be resolved into —
(1) Sensuality (Deuteronomy 21:18-20).
(2) Pride and prejudice (Jeremiah 6:10-13).
(3) Habitual negligence and the spirit of slumber (Isaiah 66:8, 4; Isaiah 29:9-13).
II. HOW UNGODLY MEN RESIST THE HOLY GHOST. That a creature should rise in rebellion against the great Creator might seem incredible, had we not demonstration of the fact. Gamaliel said, "If this council, or this work, be of God, ye cannot overthrow it, lest ye haply be found even to fight against God." There are many ways in which men do fight against God; but the most awful is in resisting the Holy Ghost. The Sovereign of the universe maintains a communication with our fallen world by the agency of His Spirit. Now this Divine Spirit is called —
1. The Spirit of Truth. He revealed the will of God to us. When any one opposes Divine truth, he resists the Holy Ghost. The grand doctrines of the gospel are confessedly clear and plain in the Word. How then is it that they are not received? (Isaiah 30:8-13; John 3:19.) To those who prefer agreeable things, which flatter the roving imagination, and the unrenewed heart, a full exhibition of Divine truth, will ever be unwelcome. Herein consists the guilt of obstinate unbelief and impenitence. Hence, too, arises the sophistry which contrives a thousand subtle devices to nullify the Word of God.
2. The spirit of purity. He is the sole source and efficient author of sanctity. He has given a hallowed and peculiar stamp to the various precepts, ordinances, and institutions of true religion. Now, the man who labours to stain this stamp of purity resists the Holy Ghost.
3. The Spirit of Grace. God engaged to pour out the spirit of grace and of supplication. The favour of Jehovah is eminently manifested through the agency of the Holy Ghost. Yet, alas I great numbers resist this Divine Agent of mercy, stifling those convictions which are produced by His power. The truth is heard, but not heeded and applied.
III. THE TREMENDOUS CONSEQUENCES OF RESISTING THE HOLY GHOST.
1. Those persons who have long and obstinately opposed truth, are usually given over to a reprobate mind. The light which they have laboured so hard to exclude is withdrawn, and they are enveloped in the thick darkness they love. Compunction of conscience gradually abates till they are past feeling. "My Spirit shall not always strive with man," etc. "Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone." "For it is impossible for those who were once enlighted," etc.
2. The future punishment of those who have resisted the Holy Ghost will be beyond expression dreadful. Though for a time they may be hardened, so as to have little or no fear, the justice of God is preparing their doom. He that despised Moses' law, died without mercy, under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment, etc. "Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker!"
(Essex Congregational Remembrancer.)
Parallel VersesKJV: Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.