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The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary


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In Scripture language, strictly and properly speaking, these terms are only applicable to the Lord. In short, the very term means JEHOVAH himself, for he, and and he only, is holy in the abstract. Hence it is, that we so often meet with those expressions descriptive of his person and character. "Thus saith the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. Thus saith the High and Lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, I dwell in the high and holy place." (Isaiah 57:15) Hence the term is applied to all the persons of the GODHEAD distinctly and separately, and to all in common; the Father speaks of it with peculiar emphasis, yea, confirms his promises by the solemnity of an oath, and does this, by pledging his holiness as the fullest assurance of the truth: "Once have I sworn by my holiness, that I will not lie unto David." (Psalms 89:35) The Son of God is also spoken of with peculiar emphasis, as essentially holly in himself, in his divine nature, "being One with the Father, over all God blessed for ever, Amen." (Romans 9:5) Thus in special reference to the Lord Jesus, as the Son of God, when the prophet is speaking both of the Father and the Son, he joins in one verse the person of each, and gives to each the distinguishing character of the GODHEAD. "Fear not, thou worm, Jacob, and ye men of Israel: I will help, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel." (Isaiah 41:14) In like manner, God the Holy Ghost is peculiarly and personally considered under this Almightiness of character, his Holiness; and the same divine perfection declared to be essentially his, in common with the Father and the Son. Indeed, as if to define the glory of his person, Holy is the essential and incommunicable name by which the Eternal Spirit is known and distinguished throughout his sacred word. Hence, in his offices it is said of him, that by his overshadowing power acting on the body of the Virgin, at the conception of Christ, that Holy Thing, so called, should be born. (See Luke 1:35) So again, at the baptism of Christ, the blessed Spirit seen by Christ, decending like the hovering of a dove, and lighting upon the person of Christ, and thus distinguished in point of personality from God the Father, whose voice from heaven, in the same moment, declared Jesus to be his beloved Son, in whom he was well pleased. (Matthew 3:16-17) And holiness is essentially and personally ascribed to God the Holy Ghost, in that gracious office of his, when it is said of the Lord Jesus, that God the Father anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power. (Acts 10:38)

But what I beg the reader particularly to observe with me, under this glorious distinction of character, belonging to each and to all the persons of the GODHEAD, is the very peculiar manner in which the holiness of JEHOVAH is spoken of in Scripture. While each person of the GODHEAD is thus plainly said to be holy, in the abstract of the word, and in a way of holiness that can be ascribed to no other; the worship and adoration of the Holy Three in One is peculiarly offered up in this very character. When Isaiah saw Christ's glory, (see Isaiah 6:1-13 compared with John 12:41) the acclamations of the heavenly host resounded to the praises of JEHOVAH, under thrice ascriptions of the same, to the holiness of the Lord. So in like manner in John's vision. (See Revelation 4:8) Certainly (this Trisagium,) this peculiar adoration of JEHOVAH in the holiness of his nature, rather than to any of the other perfections of the Lord, must have a meaning. Wherefore this divine attribute should be singled out, rather than the faithfulness of JEHOVAH, which we know the Lord delights in, (see Deuteronomy 7:9) or the eternity of JEHOVAH, which the Lord describes himself by, (see Isaiah 57:15) I dare not venture even to conjecture. We are commanded to worship the Lord, indeed, in the beauty of holiness. (Psalms 96:9) And Moses's song celebrates the Lord's praise, in being glorious in holiness. (Exodus 15:11) And no doubt, as in the portrait of a man, to behold it in its most complete form, we should take all the prominent features of beauty, so the holy Scriptures of God, when sketching the divine representation, do it in all that loveliness of character, so as to endear the Lord to every heart, Hence David made this the "one great desire of his soul,"to dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of his life, to behold the beauty of the Lord, and to enquire in his temple." (Psalms 27:4) I must not forget, under this article yet farther to observe, that the thrice ascribing holiness to JEHOVAH in the song of heaven, hath been uniformly and invariably considered by the church, as the suited adoration to each person of the GODHEAD, and, at the same time, to all, collectively considered, in the one glorious and eternal JEHOVAH, existing in a threefold character of persons,"Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. (1 John 5:7)

Having thus briefly considered the subject, as referring to the holiness of JEHOVAH in his own eternal power and GODHEAD, the subject must now be considered in reference to the person of the God-man Christ Jesus, and then to the church in him.

As strictly and properly speaking, the term "holy" can belong to none but JEHOVAH, and so the song of Hannah beautifully set forth, (1 Samuel 2:2) so none but the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Christ of God, can be holy. The highest order of created beings, angels of the first magnitude, have only a derived holiness from the Lord, as the moon's brightest light is only borrowed from the sun. The holiness of creatures can be no other than as the shadow to the substance. Hence we are told, that in the very moment of adoration "angels veil their faces," as if to testify their nothingness in the presence of the Lord. (Isaiah 6:2) But, by the union of that pure holy portion of our nature which the Son of God hath united to himself in the GODHEAD of his nature, he hath communicated an infinite dignity to that nature, and made it holy as himself. In fact, it is truly and properly himself; for in Christ, God and man in one person, dwelleth "all the fulness of the GODHEAD bodily." (Colossians 2:9) And hence, in proof, we have these blessed Scriptures. Daniel, when speaking of Christ as coming "to finish transgression, and to make an end of sin," saith, that this is "to anoint the Most Holy." (Daniel 9:24) And another prophet calls Christ, as Christ, the Holy One. "Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption." (Psalms 16:10) And the Lord Jesus had this name specifically given him before his incarnation, the Holy Thing. (Luke 1:35) And Peter, in his sermon, peculiarly denominates the Lord Jesus Christ, in his mediatorial character, the Holy One, and the Just. (Acts 3:14) All which, and more to the same amount, are expressly spoken of the Lord Jesus Christ, in his person and character as the Head of his body the Church, God and man in one person. "For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens." (Hebrews 7:26) Such, then, is the personal holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ—an holiness higher than the angels, be cause the infinite holiness of the GODHEAD in him is underived. Hence of angels, it is said, the Lord "chargeth them with folly;" (Job 4:18) that is, with weakness, and the possibility of sinning. But of the Son, he saith, "Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever;" that is, his mediatorial throne, as is plain by what follows: "Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore, God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." (Hebrews 1:8-9) Here is a double proof that this is said to Christ, as Christ; for in the first place, the anointing of the Lord Jesus could not have been as God only, but as God and man in one person. And, secondly, this anointing with the oil of gladness is expressly said to have been, "for, or above his fellows," that is, his body the Church; evidently proving hereby, that he is considered, and here spoken of, as "the glorious Head of his body the church, the fulness of him that filleth all in all." (Ephesians 1:22-23)

Next, we must take a view of the term holy and holiness; as relating to Christ's church, made so only by virtue of her union with him. And this becomes a most interesting part to be considered, because without an eye to the Lord Jesus, nothing in the creation of God can be farther from holiness, than poor, fallen, ruined, undone man. I beg the reader's particular attention to this, as forming one of the sweetest features of the gospel. The whole Scriptures of God declare, that the great purpose for which the Son of God became incarnate, was to destroy the works of the devil, and to raise up the tabernacles of David that were fallen down, and to purify to himself "a peculiar people, zealous of good works." One of the apostles, in a very interesting and beautiful manner, describes the Lord Jesus in this endearing character, as engaged in the great work of salvation. "Christ (saith he) loved the church, and gave himself for it: that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water, by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish." (Ephesians 5:25-27) And hence, in conformity to this gracious design of the Lord Jesus, we find the church of God, beheld as in oneness and union with her glorious Husband, spoken of, in all ages of the church, under this precious character. "Ye shall be (saith Moses to the true Israel of God) a peculiar treasure unto me above all people; and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation." (Exodus 19:5-6) And hence the gospel-charter, corresponding to the same as the law by Moses had typically represented, makes the same proclamation. "Ye are (saith Peter) a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light." (1 Peter 2:9) And if it be asked, as well it may, how is it that the church of the Lord Jesus, which in every individual member of it is continually complaining of a body of sin and death, believers carry about with them from day to day, how is it that such can be called holy before the Lord? The answer is at hand, and perfectly satisfactory: They are so, from their union with, and their right and interest in their glorious Head; for if he was made sin for them, who knew no sin, it is but just that they, who in themselves have no righteousness, should be made "the righteousness of God in him." (2 Corinthians 5:21) And if the church be commanded, as that the church is, and by God the Father himself; to call Christ "the Lord our righteousness," equally proper is it, and by the same authority also, that the church should be called the Lord our righteousness, as the lawful wife bearing her husband's name. (Compare Jeremiah 23:6 with Jeremiah 33:16) And all this because the Lord Jesus hath married his church, hath made her holy in his holiness and is become to her, by God the father's own covenant-engagements, "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; that, according as it is written, he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." (1 Corinthians 1:30) Such, then, are the beautiful Scripture views of holy and of holiness, in the lovely order of it. First, as beheld in the persons of the GODHEAD, in the very being of JEHOVAH. Secondly, as the same in the personal holiness of the Lord Jesus Christ, as the Christ of God, and the glorious Head of his body the church. And thirdly, as making holy the whole body of the church in Jesus, and from Jesus, and by Jesus, united to him. And hence, from this union, every thing that is called holy in Scripture, derives that sanctity. The temple, the holy of holies, the vessels of the sanctuary, the ordinances, sacrifices, and all that belonged to the Jewish church. And, under the Christian dispensation, every thing found in the simple services of Christ's church is no otherwise holy, than as it derives that purity from Christ's person; Christ is all, and in all. Yea, heaven itself, into which Jesus is gone as the forerunner of his people, hath all its holiness and blessedness from him. John tells the church, that "he saw no temple there, for the Lord God Almighty, and the Lamb, are the temple of it." (Revelation 21:22)

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Bibliography Information
Hawker, Robert D.D. Entry for 'Holiness'. Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance and Dictionary. London. 1828.

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