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communion of the Holy Ghost for once, it may be forfeited in as short a time as the forecited benediction would take in repeating. “Wherefore let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall” (Cor. I. x. 12). For
4, Opposite to the presence and communion of the Holy Spirit, we have to apprehend in certain cases his Absence and Retirement ; properties as real and positive as any of the above mentioned : insomuch that David, feeling his liability to this affliction deprecates it sometimes most feelingly in this and the like expressions,“ Have mercy upon me, O God, after thy great goodness : according to the multitude of thy mercies do away mine offences.
Cast me not away from thy presence: and take not thy Holy Spirit from me” (Ps.li. 1, 11). But this withdrawing of the Holy Spirit, or which is the same its retirement, may be imagined by such men as David when it is most present; as when he thought, “I will cry unto God with my voice : even unto God will I cry
voice. Will the Lord absent himself for ever : and will he be no more intreated ? Is his
gone and is his promise come utterly to an end for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious : and will he shut up his loving kindness in displeasure ?” (Ib. lxxvii. 1, 7, 8, 9.) But he soon recollected himself and began to say with an altered tone, “ It is mine own infirmity. But I will remember the years of the right hand of the most High : I will remember the works of the Lord; and call to mind thy wonders of old time. I will think also of all thy works : and my talking shall be of thy doings ” (Ib. 10, 11, 12). For one man not feeling immediately the comfort and edification of the Spirit, is made to know him, and the value of his gifts of comfort and admonition by imagining, that he feels the want of him; as another may falsely imagine that he feels his presence and application, when in truth nothing can be farther from him. We cannot, for example, possibly imagine ourselves, that the Holy Spirit was absent from David when he attuned his harp to the
effusions of a contrite heart; however it might have been so in his food for contrition. But hear him again
“Like as the hart desireth the water brooks, so longeth my soul after thee, O God: My soul is athirst for God : yea, even for the living God: when shall I come to
appear before the presence of God ? (Ps. xlii. 1, 2.) “ Thus my heart was grieved: and it went even through my reins : so foolish was I, and ignorant; even as it were a beast before thee!" (Ib. lxxiii. 20, 21.)
What makes this affliction, or its appearance, so serious for one thing, is the ignorance of its duration. For the Spirit of God, which is the Fountain of our life, may be withdrawn either entirely, as it was from Saul; when “He answered him not; neither by dreams, nor by Urim, nor by prophets” (Sam. I. xxviii. 6); or temporarily, as it might have been from David himselfon the occasions just alluded to. Or the same may only be latent or hid for a time, as it was from our Saviour; when he piteously exclaimed on the cross, “ My God, my God; why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. xxvii. 46.) But this Spirit cannot be corrupted like the earthly elements of which our frail tabernacle is composed, and being immutable in its nature, or essence, most likely is not so versatile in its presence, as those who are favoured with it may be inclined sometimes to fear.
5, Either as a part or consequence of the lately mentioned property of communion, may also now be mentioned one of the same tendency or foundation but more specific, in the Witnessing of the Holy Spirit with ours; as signified by different expressions in the writings of the apos. tles. That is a special or particular office of the third Mediate in our behalf; whereby to be as it were a new life, sense, or spirit to us in relation to divine things, or to "the things of God," as they are called. For if God be KNOWN in one Type or Person, the Word; he is FELT, and that either to the joy or sorrow of the perceiver as before signified, in another,-being the Holy Spirit. So, generally speaking, the Father is known or understood by the Word, and both are felt or perceived by the Spirit. But by what may the Spirit be perceived, if not also by itself? as it is written,“I, the Lord will answer by myself” (Ezek.xiv.7): especially by his Spirit; as it is written again elsewhere, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things ; yea the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God” (Cor. I. ii. 9-11).
But the Spirit witnesses first to one object then to another; as first, generally to "the deep things of God," then to those which are human likewise; as it is said, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. Forwe have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but we have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Rom. viii. 14, 15, 16, 17). And not only does the Spirit witness with our spirit to this relation of the Father, but also to that of the only begotten Son according to other authorities: as for example, " Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed ; and that no man can say, that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost" (Cor. I. xii. 3). Hence, while the Lord himself was visibly present among men, they knew him not; nor could either before his lifting up, and their being qualified to know him by the consequent access of the Holy Ghost, as he foretold them, “When ye have lifted up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he; and that I do nothing of myself; but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things” (John viii. 28); and again another time, when he tells the disciples,
“ Ye shall receive power after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you” (Acts i. 8): intimating by such expressions as these and others hereafter cited, that the knowledge of himself especially consisted in the evidence of the Holy Ghost.
6, Considering therefore, how the Holy Spirit helps us to the knowledge and favour of the second Mediate, and of the First, our heavenly Father, with him; and that no man can so much as own him, the second Mediate, without the third or Holy Spirit, we find another particular property or office resulting therefrom which is nearly allied, or rather supplemental, to the Mediator's; and may therefore be aptly designated by the new term of Intermediation, as well as Supplication and Intercession, with a corresponding title for its subject; that, as the second Mediate, is styled a Mediator between God and man, on account of his part, so the third may be styled an Intermediator between man and the second Mediate. Nor let this office with its corresponding title be thought a detraction from the dignity of the third Mediate as if it was in any degree subordinate to that of the second : for the first likewise is alleged to minister to the second in the same man
And if St. Paul says “No man can say, that Jesus is the Lord but by the Holy Ghost," it has been said by Jesus himself, No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him” (John vi. 44): so there may be an intermediation without subordination. There can be no intersubordination between correlatives in respect of that in which they are mutually related, whatever there may be on other accounts. Indeed so close is here the analogy, that sometimes the very same acts are attributed to both these Mediators: and if it be said in one place of the Son, how“ in the days of his flesh he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save him from death " (Heb. v. 7); we read how “likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities. For we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God” (Rom. viii. 26, 27).
It may be worth remarking how in every transaction between God and man where more than one Mediate is implied, the same order of mediation seems to be regularly observed, and the Holy Ghost always to be last in operation or nearest to their common object. Of which a more striking instance cannot be given than in this, namely that even between the Father and the Son in the incarnation of the eternal Word he is the immediate agent, as represented by St. Luke in the words of an angel announcing this mystery to the mother of the second Mediate, “ The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God" (Lukei. 35). And this method duly weighed, may lessen the wonder at what we read of God not only supplicating God with tears, and interceding with much earnestness as above intimated, but also pouring out his soul unto death, as elsewhere expressed: when we recollect, that those were human tears, though shed by the power or Spirit of God; and a human body that suffered, though given by God to the tormentors, as before predicted, “I was not rebellious (Phil. ii. 8), neither turned away back. I gave my back to the smiters, and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair : I hid not my face from shame and spitting” (Isai. 1. 5, 6). It was a human soul that God expired, as also that he resumes; having both power to lay down his life, and power to take it again (John X. 18), an endowment shewing the love of the Donor (Ib. 17), more decidedly than any fabulous gift that we read of could have shewn the love of another for its object, had the same been real.
In the same manner, or as we say, by the same token, is