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plied to the nature of the divine Being, it is used in an absolute sense, as, "God is a spirit." But the term "Spirit of God" is relative only, and is always to be understood of a sensible mode by which we are enabled to form some ideas of his attributes. "The invisible things of him are understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and godhead." So that the definition which appears to me to accord with most, if not with all expressions of this kind, is, THE VISIBLE EFFECT OF AN INVISIBLE CAUSE. To this, the term itself, in the original language, seems strictly applicable. Our English word spirit is derived from the Latin spiritus, in which, and in the Greek, it signifies breath or wind, which is the object of the senses of hearing and feeling only. "The wind," says our Saviour to Nicodemus, "bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh nor whither it goeth-so is every one that is born of the spirit." The effects only, not the cause, are presented to our sight-this is kept out of sensible view, and is only to be discovered by the exercise of reason. So that by the word spirit, in its relative sense, we are clearly to understand, the mind, the will, the purpose of God, of man, or of any other intelligent agent, manifesting itself by its effects.-We are at present to confine our consideration of it to the agency of the Divine Being.
This agency is expressed by several different terms, but all of synonymous import, such as, the voice the word-the breath-the spirit of the Lord. "The voice of the Lord is upon the waters-is powerful-divideth the flames of fire-shaketh the wil
derness-maketh the binds to calve."* word of the Lord were the heavens made by the word of God the heavens were of old-his word runneth very swiftly-he sendeth out his word and melteth them-stormy wind fulfilling his word." God “ breathed into man's nostrils the breath of life-the breath of the Almighty hath given him life—by the breath of God frost is given-all the host of heaven were made by the breath of his mouth." "The spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters-thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created-the spirit of God is in my nostrils-the spirit of God hath made me by his spirit he garnished the heavenshe telleth the number of the stars, he calleth them all by names." What is it but the same almighty, ever active Spirit, which directs the various and stupendous processes, continually carrying on in the several elements-which preserves unbroken the innumerable links in the chain of being-keeps distinct, without confusion or intermixture, the innumerable tribes of animals-furnishes each with its peculiar instincts and powers for answering the ends of existence, providing them liberally with the means of enjoyment; and what are all the rational faculties of the human race, but the spirit which the Almighty hath put in man, and his inspiration which hath given him understanding? It is his breath that fans the flame of life-it is his all-actuating impulse that heaves our lungs, and propels the vital fluid through every vein and artery-motions, which, though ab
*If it be supposed that by the voice of the Lord, in these instances, is meant thunder, still they are the visible effects of an invisible cause,
solutely necessary to our existence, are not at our own command, and carried on with perfect regularity, during the unconscious hours of sleep. 'Tis the hand of the great Artificer that adjusts every part of this delicate, curious, and complicated machine-that keeps in tune this "harp of thousand strings." In the sublime and expressive language of the apostle, it is "in him we live and move and have our being.” And if, from this little spot of earth, and the system of which it is a part, I could carry you through the infinite multitude of worlds with which universal space is replenished-could I open to your view their various magnitudes, revolutions, relations and aspects could I describe to you the different species of beings which inhabit them, their forms, powers, and capacities, you would still behold the uninterrupted operations and influences of the same allcreating, all-animating, all-preserving and omnipresent SPIRIT; but the GREAT AGENT himself would still be invisible, although, in some more highly favoured regions of his boundless dominion, a brighter revelation of his glory might be made than in others. And if he were to withdraw or suspend his all-sustaining energy, what an hideous mass of confusion, destruction and death, would all creation become !— We should in one moment behold the wrecks of matter and the crush of worlds," and the next be ourselves involved in the universal catastrophe. And if, in this view of our subject, we advert to the scriptural application of the term power, we shall find that it means exactly the same thing as spirit. "He divideth the sea with his power-the thunder of his power who can understand-who setteth fast the mountains, being girded with power-praise him in
the firmament of his power-he made the earth by his power-he bringeth forth the host of heaven by number, and it is because he is strong in power that not one of them faileth."
It cannot have escaped your notice, that all the instances I have now adduced from scripture, of effects, of which the cause is invisible, relate to what we behold, either constantly or occasionally, in the works of nature; either to creation itself, or to the general course of things, established from the beginning. These, therefore, may be properly denominated the ordinary operations of the spirit, or energy of God. But, on examination, we shall find that the same terms-voice, breath, word, spirit, power, are also applied to things out of the common course of nature, and which may properly be deemed extraordinary, although equally easy to omnipotence; for, notwithstanding this diversity, the spirit is the same. Thus a voice from heaven delivered the precepts of the decalogue, accompanied the descent of the spirit on Jesus at his baptism, and bore testimony to him on the mount of transfiguration. The word of the Lord was the intimation of his will, and the evidence of their mission, to the prophets. Moses, in his song of triumph after the passage of the Red sea, says"With the blast of thy nostrils the waters were gathered together." The extraordinary judgments, to be inflicted on offending nations, are described by Isaiah, as a pile ready to be kindled by the breath of the Lord, as a stream of brimstone. Christ breathed on his disciples, as an intimation of the manner in which they were to receive the spirit; and almost every extraordinary effort, whether of body or mind, made by men, and which was evidently beyond the
usual limits of the human faculties, is ascribed to the spirit of the Lord which came upon them. In very many passages of the New Testament, the operations of the holy spirit are expressly denominated, or clearly implied, to be the power of God. The multitude, when they saw the sick of the palsy healed, “glorified God who had given such power unto men." At the cure of the epileptic "all were amazed at the mighty power of God." The power of the Lord was present to heal them. Tarry at Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high. God anointed Jesus with the holy spirit and with power. God hath given us the spirit of power, &c." As to the different terms made use of, that is to say, the spirit of the Lord, the spirit, and the holy spirit, it may suffice to observe that the first is chiefly used, when it is introduced in relation to things not immediately connected with the manifestation of the divine will, or the revelation of the gospel, but it is in general otherwise with respect to the two latter, and in almost every instance where the epithet holy has occurred, which it does most frequently in the book of the Acts, our early English translators, instead of the title spirit, chose to adopt that of ghost, probably because, being persuaded that the holy spirit was a person, and believing in the reality of apparitions, they thought this term more suitable, as a ghost was supposed to represent the person of the deceased. It is full time to lay aside such an antiquated and unmeaning word. It has been very properly dropped by all late translators, even of orthodox sentiments, for the original word is every where the same. must have been through a strong and strange prejudice that the notion of the spirit's personality should