“Then said Jesus to them again, Peace be unto you: as my Father hath sent me, even so send I you.
And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
(John 20:21-22; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
Cosin’s translation of this powerful old hymn is the oldest translation in the 1940 Hymnal. This is well and good as the Coming of the Holy Ghost was concurrent with the beginning of the Gospel Age. The prophecies of Isaiah of the coming Messiah were clear that God would no longer be veiled from us as the Most Holy was in the Temple. He would ABIDE with His people at the fulfillment of the prophecy: “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isaiah 7:14) “. . . . which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Matt 1:23) Christ, being God in a body of flesh, was with us until the ascension. But the Holy Ghost, being the Third Person of the Godhead, has been with us ever since in His powerful presence. He brings Love, Hope, and Liberty. “The Spirit of God first imparts Love; He next inspires Hope, and then gives Liberty; and that is about the last thing we have in many of our churches.” D.L. Moody.
COME HOLY GHOST
(Veni Creator Spiritus)
Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire,
and lighten with celestial fire.
Thou the anointing Spirit art,
who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.
Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love.
Enable with perpetual light
the dullness of our blinded sight.
Anoint and cheer our soiled face
with the abundance of thy grace.
Keep far from foes, give peace at home:
where thou art guide, no ill can come.
Teach us to know the Father, Son,
and thee, of both, to be but One,
that through the ages all along,
this may be our endless song:
Praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
Thy blessed unction from above
is comfort, life, and fire of love.
“Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire, and lighten with celestial fire. Thou the anointing Spirit art, who dost thy sevenfold gifts impart.” The Holy Ghost comes bearing heavenly gifts. Thomas Aquinas categorized these gifts from the study of Isaiah 11:2-3 thusly:
- Fear of the Lord.
The Holy Ghost is a Spirit and is therefore unrestricted in either time or geography. It is for this reason that Christ told his disciples: “These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you. But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” (John 14:25-26, see also 15:26-27) Herein we have a glimpse of the Personality of the Holy Ghost. He will not speak of himself, but will teach us all things and bring into remembrance those things we have read and studied from the Word (which is Christ written). See how the second stanza brings this out:
“Thy blessed unction from above is comfort, life, and fire of love. Enable with perpetual light the dullness of our blinded sight.” The Holy Ghost is Light and Truth. He reveals Christ to us, but will not speak of Himself. (see John 16:13) We know also that the Holy Ghost is a perfect manifestation of Holy and Fiery Love. Being full of Love, He is easily offended by those who impugn the name of the Lord. Though he knocks at the door of the sinner’s heart, he may never knock again if he is witness of egregious blasphemy. Though He may knock often, the sound of His knocking may be filtered out by the depraved ear, long grown callous by the rejection of God.
The Holy Ghost, like our Lord Jesus Christ, is a gentleman who intrudes not where He is not welcome. He will not impose Himself on us. We must INVITE that beautiful Personage to come to us: “ Come, Holy Ghost, our souls inspire.” When invited to abide in our hearts, the Holy Ghost will give that heart light and inspiration. The Holy Ghost is an ever-present Guide to all who receive Him. He sets us apart from the world and sanctifies us in a continual cleansing. He protects and keep our foot on the Straight Way while avoiding the perilous cliff.
“Anoint and cheer our soiled face with the abundance of thy grace. Keep far from foes, give peace at home: where thou art guide, no ill can come.” The Holy Ghost cheers us in spite of whatever turmoils and dangers we face. He was in the prison dungeon with John Bunyon, and He accompanied Archbishop Cranmer, Ridley, and Latimer to the Stake of Burning. Even then, He gave strength, comfort, and courage. It was Cranmer who held his hand to the fire to be consumed first due to signing and ill-conceived recantation. He spoke in the heart of Bishop Hugh Latimer at his sentence of death to remark: “I thank God most heartily that He hath prolonged my life to this end, that I may in this case glorify God by that kind of death‘ and later before the stake to Nicolas Ridley – his fellow martyr: ” Play the man, Master Ridley; we shall this day light such a candle, by God’s grace, in England, as I trust shall never be put out.” Can you imagine the courage of such words spoken just minutes before being set on fire at the cruel stake!
The last two prayers of the Holy Bible appear in the last two verses of that Book: “He which testifieth these things saith, Surely I come quickly. AMEN. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. AMEN.” (Rev 22:20-21) Since the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are One in purpose and in nature, we have the whole if we have the One.
“Teach us to know the Father, Son, and thee, of both, to be but One, that through the ages all along, this may be our endless song:
“Praise to thy eternal merit,
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.”
Let us remember that the Holy Ghost is our Teacher, but a teacher cannot teach if the student does not study. He cannot bring “all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you” if we have not even taken the effort to study the lesson (Holy Bible) – not just on Sunday, or Wednesday, but every day of every week and every year if it has become to us its proper purpose – Our DAILY Bread!
Finally, let us bear in mind that it is the Holy Ghost who, in our darkest night and most despondent hour, offers to us Songs in the Night to En-Courage (Impart courage) to our troubled hearts. He turns the night of sorrows in the brilliant sunrise of the morning!
“Thy blessed unction from above is comfort, life, and fire of love.”
This hymn has a living testimony and is remembered by numberless clergy who heard this proper hymn sung at their ordination to Holy Orders.