« PreviousContinue »
a comforter and a person, as all allow. He declares that the Father would send him; that he would accordingly come; and that to teach, to lead, to guide them, and to bring things to their remembrance:that he should tes-tify, or bear witness; that he should reprove the world; that he should hear, speak, receive of Christ, and shew it to them. All these things are spoken, not occasionally, but in a direct continued discourse, purposely designed to inform the disciples who he was, and what he would do for them. And if nothing more were spoken of him in the a whole Scripture, this alone would convince all unprejudiced men that he is a Divine Person.
There are two other remarkable texts to the same purpose. The first, Acts xiii. 2. 4, As they ministered unto the Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me (in the Greek, separate unto me) Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.' Here ob-a serve the Holy Ghost's designation of himself, as the person to whom, and to whose work Barnabas and Saul were dedicated. Some person is certainly intended by the pronoun me; and the Holy Ghost is, no doubt, the person intended, the author of the command, and the object of the duty required. Now to call men to the work of the ministry, is a free act of authority and choice, applicable only to a person; nor is either the Father or the Son more directly clothed with personal properties than the Holy Ghost is in this passage. The whole is confirmed, ver. 4, and they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed.' He called them to the work; he commanded them to be set apart by the church; and he sent them forth by an impression of his authority on their minds.
The other text referred to (Acts xx. 28) is to the same effect. Take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers.' What was reported in the former text, in an extraordinary case, as matter of fact, is here doctrinally applied to an ordinary case. The same act of wisdom and authority is assigned to him, for he makes the overseers of the church. If he did so then, he does so now; for these were persons not extraordinarily inspired, but the ordinary officers of the church; and it is the concern of ministers now to inquire, what there is in their whole undertaking that they can ascribe to the Holy Ghost. Persons fur
nished with no spiritual gifts or abilities, engaging in this work for secular advantages, will not easily satisfy themselves in this inquiry, when they shall be forced to make it at last.
Another kind of testimony to the same purpose remains to be considered. The Holy Spirit is often spoken of as the object of such actions of men as can only be applied to a person. Thus he is said to be tempted: You agree together to tempt the Spirit of the Lord.' Acts. v. 9. How can a quality, an accident, an emanation be tempted? None can be tempted but he who has understanding to consider the proposals made to him, and a WILL to determine on them. So Satan tempted our first parents ;-so men are tempted by their own lusts; so are we said to 'tempt God,' when we provoke him by our unbelief, or make unwarrantable experiments of his power. Thus Ananias and Sapphira tempted the Holy Ghost, when they sinfully ventured on his omnisciente, as if he could not discover, their sin; or on his holiness, that he would patronize their deceit. Thus Ananias lied to the Holy Ghost, ver. 3, which supposes a person capable of hearing and receiving a testimony; for a lie is a false testimony. In like manner he is said to be resisted, Acts vii. 59; which is the moral re-action or opposition of one person to another. We are also commanded not to grieve him, Eph. iv. 30; and they of old are said to have rebelled, and vexed the Holy Spirit, Isa. lxiii. 10. These things are so plain and positive, that the faith of believers will not be concerned in the sophistical evasions of our adversaries.
This truth is still more evident in the discourse of our Saviour, Matt. xii. 24, concerning the sin against the Holy Ghost; in which the Spirit is expressly distinguished from the Son; they are both spoken of with respect to the same things, in the same manner. Now, if the Spirit were only the power of God present with Christ, Christ and that power could not be distinctly spoken against. The Pharisees blasphemed, saying, that he cast out devils, by the prince of the devils.' A person they intended, and described him by his name, nature, and office. To which our Lord replies, That he cast out devils by the Spirit of God: a divine person opposed to a diabolical one; and then cautions them against blaspheming that Holy Spirit, by ascribing his operations to the Devil;
and blasphemy against him directly manifests who he is. It is admitted that blasphemy may be against the person of the Father, Lev. xxiv. 11. The Son, as to his distinct person, is, in this passage, said to be blasphemed; and it is added, that the Holy Ghost also may be distinctly blasphemed, or be the immediate object of that sin which is inexpiable. To suppose, therefore, that this Holy Ghost is not a divine person, is for men to dream while they seem to be awake.
I trust that, by these testimonies, we have fully proved that the Spirit is an holy, intelligent subsistent, or person; --a divine, self-subsisting, self-sufficient person, together with the Father and the Son, equally participant of the divine nature. This will appear still more plainly from the following testimonies :
1. He is expressly called GOD; and having the name of God directly given to him, with respect to spiritual things, or things peculiar to God, he must have the nature of God also. Ananias is said to lie to the Holy Ghost; this is repeated and interpreted: Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." The same person is expressed in both places; and, therefore, the Holy Ghost is God. So also he is called LORD, in a sense appropriate to God alone:
Now the Lord is that Spirit,' 2 Cor. iii. 17, 18; and we are changed from glory to glory by the Lord, the Spirit,' where also divine operations are ascribed to him. The same is drawn by just consequence from the comparing of Scriptures together; wherein what is spoken of God absolutely in one place, is applied directly to the Holy Ghost in another; for instance, I will set my tabernacle amongst you; and I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people.' Lev. xxvi. 11, 12. The accomplishment of this promise is declared by the apostle: Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk among them,' &c. 2 Cor. vi. 16. How, and by whom is this done? Know you not that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?-for the temple of God are ye.' I Cor. iii. 16, 17. If it was God then who of old was promised to dwell in his people, and to make them his temple thereby, then is the Holy Spirit God; for he it is who, according to that promise, thus dwelleth in them.
Observe, in the last place, that divine properties are
assigned to him; as Eternity, he is the Eternal Spirit * :' Immensity, whither shall I flee from thy Spirit †?' Omnipotence, the Spirit of the Lord is not straitened:" Prescience, this Scripture must be fufillled, which the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of David, spake before concerning Judas: Omniscience, the Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God j.' The divine works assigned to him are usually pleaded to the same purpose; but as we shall have occasion distinctly to consider them, we shall not insist upon them here. What has been proposed may be sufficient to shew wнo he is; of whose works and grace we design to treat.
Peculiar Works of the Holy Spirit in the First or Old
NTENDING to treat of those operations which are oost, it first,
speak of the operations of the Godhead in general. All divine operations, whether in nature or in grace, are usually ascribed to God absolutely; because the several persons are undivided in their operations, acting by the same will, the same wisdom, the same power. Each person, therefore, is the author of every work of God, because each person is God; and the divine nature is the
ame undivided principle of all divine operations. The divine persons are one in essence; but in their manner of subsistence there is distinction and order among them. Hence every divine work is distinctly assigned to each person, and eminently to one; as the work of creation is distinctly ascribed to the Father (Acts iv. 24.)—to the Son (John i. 3.)-and to the Spirit (Job xxxiii. 4.); but by way of eminence to the Father, and absolutely to God, who is Father, Son, and Spirit.
Divine works are eminently ascribed to one person particularly, when a special impression of the distinguishing property of that divine person is made on the work itself;
Heb. ix. 14.
+ Psalm cxxxix. 7.
Mic. ii. 8. compare Is. xl. 28.
f 1 Cor. ii. 10, 11.
as of the power and authority of the Father on the old creation, and of the grace and wisdom of the Son in the new; or, where there is a peculiar condescension of one person to a work, wherein the other persons concur only by approbation and consent. Such was the susception of the human nature by the Son, and such was the condescension of the Holy Ghost to his office, which intitles him eminently to his own immediate works.
Whereas the order of operation among the distinct persons, depends on the order of their subsistence. The completing and perfecting acts are ascribed to the Holy Ghost; hence they are also the most mysterious. The beginning of divine operations is assigned to the Father; for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things.' The subsisting, establishing, and upholding of all things is ascribed to the Son; for he is before all things, and by him all things consist;' and the finishing of all these works is ascribed to the Holy Ghost, as we shall find in our progress.
These things being premised, we proceed to consider the peculiar operations of the Holy Spirit in nature and in grace; or, in the old and new creation.
The general parts of the creation are 'the heavens, the earth, and all their host;' the forming and perfecting of which is assigned peculiarly to the Spirit of God. As to the heavens, by his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens, his hand hath formed the crooked serpent ;'-by him they were curiously wrought' and disposed; adorned with the moon and stars, and rendered beautiful and glorious, to shew forth the praise of his power and wisdom.
It was thus also with the earth. God at first created out of nothing this inferior globe: the material mass of earth and water blended. This mass being thus framed and mixed, the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters. The word moved (MERACHEPHETH) signifies a gentle motion, like that of a dove over its nest, to communicate vital heat to its eggs, or to cherish its young. Without him, all was rude inform chaos;-but by the moving of the Spirit of God upon it, he communicated a prolific virtue. The principles of all those kinds and forms of things, which in an inconceivable variety compose its host and ornament, were communicated to it; and this is a better account of the original of all things han is given us by any of the philosophers, ancient or