Page images

the fpirit upon their hearts--but to shew them the glory of Christ, so as to be taken up with him, that when they are asked, what is the reason of their hope, instead of gratifying their pride in telling their experiences, and the operations of the spirit upon their own hearts, whereby they are distingụished from others, they are led to speak of what they find in the word as evidenc, ing the allsufficiency of the work of Christ, as the only hope for the guilty, as this is evidenced by his resurrection from the dead, So the apostle Peter gives thanks in behalf of himself and the first disciples ist epif. į chap. 3d yerse: “ blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead." It is þy this they have the answer of a good conscience towards God, chap. ii. 2, By this it is, he is declared the Son of God with power according to the spirit of holiness, Romans i. 4. Soʻthat their hope appears agreeable to that in Romans viii. 33, 34. ! it is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth ? It is Christ that died ;. yea, rather, that is risen again. Here is that grace which when understood is allsufficient to answer any accusation that can be brought from without or from within, and is a foundation of everlasting confolation and good hope-not like those pretended experiences, operations or motions of the spirit, upon which those that build, do often recur, as the only or chief comfort to which they can resort when they find they are not so lively and active as once they were in religion ; but find themselves disappointed, as when a hungry or thirsty man dreameth that he eateth or drinketh, but he awaketh, and his soul is faint, and empty, and hath appetite ; as is evident by their being full of doubts and uncertainties. Yet as without these pretended experiences (or refuges of lies) they can take no comfort from the bare work of Christ, they will still like a drowning man catch at them as fomething to which . . H 2


they have continual reference to keep thein from fink-
ing, although they leave them perplexed almost to de.'
fpair, But the allsufficient foundation of hope held forth
in the gospel, being ever the fame, is allfufficient at all
times ; fo that the disciples of Christ may boldly fay,
the Lord is my helper, while they follow the faith of the
apostles, “ Jesus Christ the fame yesterday, and to day,
and for ever..
: Thus the teaching of the Spirit leads to the behold-
ing the glory of Christ, according to John i. 14. “And
we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten
of the Father, full of grace and truth.!! Just as wheil
a guide would shew another the way, he points him
forward, and draws his attention to the way he is to go
.:thine éar shall hear a word behind thee, saying, .
this is the way, walk ye in it.?? Saith Simeon (when
he took up the child Jesus in his arms) " mine eyes have
seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the
face of all people. John looking on Jesus as he walk-
ed, said, “ behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away
the sin of the world.'? The brazen serpent was set up
upon a pole, to be seen before the face of thofe that
were to be benefited thereby. And as Moses lift up
the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of
man be lifted up, &c.". Agreeable to this the apostle
John says (ist epift. i. 1, 2.)“ that which was from the
beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen
with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our
hands have handled of the word of life. For the life
was manifefted, and we have seen, and bear witness,
and shew unto you that eternal life that was with the
Father, and was manifested unto us. That which we have
seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may
have fellowship with us." Thus the disciples were
brought into fellowship with the apostles (whose fellow-
ship was with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ)
by the belief of their declaration concerning what they
had seen and heard of Jesus Christ. Similar to this is


the work and office of the Spirit, shewing the evidence of the truth, and certainty of what the word holds forth concerning Jesus Chrift; which being believed, produces Joy-believing ye rejoice. Thus the design of the work and office of the Spirit in testifying of Christ, and the design of the apostles testimony, are one ; as we see in the above declaration, verfe 4. 5. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full.”? So joy in believing is the same with joy of the Holy Ghost. 'ist of Thef. i. 6. ." Having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost.?

The apostle Paul speaking concerning the unbelieving Jews, says, “ the vail (upon their heart) remains untaken away in reading the Old Testament. Nevertheless, when it shall turn unto the Lord, the vail (hall be . taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit.” 2d of Cor. iii. 14--17. Whatever vail then be on the minds of any with respect to the scriptures, the knowledge of Christ takes it away ; for he is the great subject of the scriptures,--the spirit of them. And the Holy Spirit that indited the scriptures, takes of the things Christ, and shews them as they are testified of him in the scriptures. And it cannot be kown that any perfon has the Spirit, but by his being led to the knowledge of Christ, led to see the evidence of the truth reported in the Gospel concerning the dignity of the person, obedience and sacrifice of Christ, so as to be fully fatisfied therein-while others evidence they do not behold his glory, because they cannot find enough in him to satisfy their consciences, unless they have fome work of the spirit (as they call it) on their hearts, are born again, changed, sanctified, &c. Then they think they should be encouraged to believe, &c. Whereas the teaching of the Spirit shews a completeness in Christ in all these respects agreeable to the word* i ;

[ocr errors]



· * Here it may be again objected, that no mention is made in this treatise of the work of the Spirit respecting unbelievers. Doch not the Spirit strive,

As for being born again, without which a man canpoi see the kingdom of God, neither can enter there, into, he is instructed ist John v. 1.". Whosoever be

. . lieveth

[ocr errors]

lieveth that Jusus is the Christ, is born of God." It is by the belief of the truth concerning him, that any are brought to the knowledge of the King, or the nature of his kingdom, or become the subjects of it, which is to fee the kingdom of God, and enter theres into.

As for being fanctified, we are taught to look for it in Christ. "Hebrews xiii. 12.“ Jefus also that he might fanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate-agreeable to Hebrews X. 9, 10, 4 Lo, I come to do thy will, o God. By the which will we are fanctified through the offering of the body of Jefus Christ once." And believers may be faid to be fanctified by the Spirit, both as the fanctification

procured centros

Agreeable to the abovecited instances, when Jesus Christ speaks of the Spirit convincing the world of fin, &c. he doth not say, he will send the Spirit to the world for this purpose; but to his disciples, Joha xvi. 7. I will send him unto you: And when he is conte, he shall convince the world of fin,”---which was verified, Acts ïi. I to 4. “ they (viz. the disciples) were with one accord, in one plače, and it sat upon i hem. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost. This btoaght the multitude together. Confe quent upon this, they were able to adminifter matrer of conviction to them of their fin in refifting all the evidences of Jesus being the true Melliah, " for though he had done fo many miracles, yet believed they dot on him." John xii. 38.---Of sin because they believe nior on me.. ..

So when they proved, Acts ii. 33. that he was by the righe hand of God exalted, and had received the promise of the Holy Ghost, and had thed it forth according to his promise; it was manifest that his work was perfect, was finished, was to the Father's acceptance, that he was well pleased fox his righteousness fake.---Of righteousness because I go io my Father. .

Hence they could make manifeft, that there could be no fafety iq oppofition to him ; this oppofition being always under the government of the prisce of this world, who by Christ's exaltation is judged or cast out, and is to be made, with all his adherents, the footstool of the exalted" Jefus. 'verses 34, 35.“ The Lord faid unto my Lord, fic thou at my righe haad till I make thine enemies thy footitool."--. Of judgment becaufe the prince of this world is judged.

This feriptoral view of the Spirit's striving with men, may ferve to thew how he trives in all ages; and may shew the disciples their duty to strive to gether for the faith of the gospel, and to maintain the order of it (being in. fuenced by the hope of its as the principal means of conviction they are to use with the world around them. * Upon the whole it may be said, that though the Spirit strives with those in unbelief and disobedience, yet it is not raid, ro be given to them, to be fent unto them, or to work in them. But," the prince of the power of the air, is the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience," Eph. ij. 2.


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »