« AnteriorContinua »
Person; but as it is peculiarly and constantly ascribed to Him, it declares his special manner and order of existence; so that wherever the Holy Spirit is mentioned, his relation to the Father and Son is included; for he is the Spirit of God. And herein there is an allusion to the breath of man. Hence our Saviour signified the communication of the Spirit to his disciples, by breathing on them. John xx. 22. These allusions indeed are weak and imperfect, wherein substantial things are compared with accidental; infinite with finite; and eternal with temporary; their disagreement is greater than their agreement; yet such allusions our weakness needs, and gains instruction by.
Again. He is called, by way of eminence, the HOLY Spirit; and he is so called from his sanctifying us, or making us holy. This is his peculiar work; whether it consist in a separation of things, profane and common, to holy uses and services; or whether it be the real infusion of holiness in men. This work proves him to be God; for it is God alone who sanctifies his people. But this is not the whole reason of this appellation. He is called the Spirit of God's Holiness' (Psalm xli. 11.) and absolutely the Spirit of Holiness' (Rom. i. 4); and this respects his Nature in the first place, and not merely his operations. As God then is described by this glorious property of his nature, as Holy, the Holy One,the Holy One of Israel;' so is the Spirit called Holy, to denote the eternal glorious Holiness of his Nature. And on this account he is opposed to the unclean or unholy spirit. Mark iii. 29, 30. 'He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, hath never forgiveness :--because they said, He hath an unclean spirit.' And herein his. Personality is asserted; for the unclean spirit is a persop; and if the Spirit of God were only a quality or accident, as some dream, there could be no comparative opposition made between him and the unclean spirit; that is, the Devil. They are also opposed with respect to their natures; his nature is holy, whereas that of the unclean spirit is evil and perverse. The Holy Spirit is so styled also with respect to all his operations; for he being the immediate operator of all divine works, and they being all holy, he is called the Holy Spirit.
Further. He is called the GoOD SPIRIT of God. Thy Spirit is good; lead me into the land of uprightness,'
(Ps. cxliii. 10. Neh. ix. 10.) or rather, Thy good Spirit shall lead me.' He is so called, because his Nature is essentially good; 'there is none good but One, that is God,' (Matt. xix. 17.;) and also, because his operations are all good; and to believers, full of goodness in their effects.
Again. He is commonly called the SPIRIT OF GOD; and the SPIRIT OF THE LORD; So where he is first mentioned (Gen. i. 2) The Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.' And I doubt not that the name ELOHIM, which includes a plurality in the same nature, is used in the description of the creation, to intimate the distinction of the Divine Persons. Now the Spirit is called the Spirit of God,' principally, as the Son is called the Son of God;' for as he is so called on account of his eternal generation, the Spirit is called the Spirit of God,' on account of his eternal procession, or emration.' He bears this name also, to distinguish him from all other spirits; and because he is promised, given, and sent of God, for the accomplishment of his will and pleasure towards us.
On the same account, originally, he is called the SriRIT OF THE SON; and the SPIRIT OF CHRIST: God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts.' Gal. iv. 6. Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit; if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.' Rom. viii. 9, 10. The Spirit of God,' then, and the Spirit of Christ,' are one and the same. In the same sense therefore, that he is the Spirit of God,' that is of the Father, he is said to be the Spirit of the Son;' for he proceedeth from the Son also. I confess he is also called
the Spirit of Christ,' because promised and sent by him, to make the work of his mediation effectual to his people; but this he could not be, unless he had antecedently been the Spirit of the Son, by his proceeding from him also. The apostle Peter, speaking of the prophets, says, they searched diligently as to the promises of salvation, afterwards to be fulfilled, Searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify' (1 Pet. i. 10, 11:) so then, the Spirit who was in the prophets of old before the incarnation of Christ, is called
the Spirit of Christ.' Now this could not be because he was anointed by that Spirit, or because he gave it afturwards to his disciples; for his human nature (which was
afterwards so anointed) did not then exist. The chief and formal reason why the Holy Spirit is called 'the Spirit of the Son,' and the Spirit of Christ,' is, because of his procession or emanation from his Person also. Without respect to which he could not be properly called the Spirit of Christ; but on that supposition, he may be, he is, so denominated. Thus is the Spirit called in the Scripture: these are the names whereby the Essence and Subsistence of the Third Person in the Holy Trinity are declared. What he is called on account of his offices and operations, will be manifested in our progress.
The Divine Nature and Personality of the Holy Spirit, proved and vindicated.
E shall now proceed to the matter principally designed, namely, the Dispensation of the Spirit of God to the Church. And I shall endeavour to fix what I have to offer on its proper principles; and from them to educe the whole doctrine concerning it: and this in such a manner as to shew how much our faith, obedience, and worship, are concerned in every part of it. For this purpose, let the following principles be observed :
1. The nature and being of God is the foundation of all true religion and religious worship in the world. The great end for which we were made, is to worship and glorify God; and that which renders this worship our indispensable duty is, the nature and being of God himself. There are indeed some acts of religious worship which chiefly respect what God is to us, or has done for us; but the principal reason of all divine worship, and that which makes it such is, what God is in himself. Because he is; -because he is an infinitely glorious, good, wise, holy, powerful, righteous, all-sufficient Being; the first cause, last end, and sovereign Lord of all; therefore, he is to be worshipped: therefore are we to adore and love him to praise, to trust, and to fear him. This is to glorify him as God; for as all things are of him, and through him, and to him,to him must be glory for ever.
2. The revelation that God has made of himself, is the rule of all religious worship and obedience. His Being absolutely considered, is the formal reason of our worship; but this worship is to be directed by the revelation he makes of that Being to us: and the principal end of divine revelation is, to direct us in paying the homage we owe to the Divine Nature.
3. God has revealed himself to us, as Three in One;as Three distinct Persons subsisting in the same undivided essence and therefore, as such, he is to be worshipped. This principle might be here confirmed, but that I have done it elsewhere; for the whole ensuing discourse supposes and depends upon it. And indeed I fear that the failing of some men's profession, begins with their relinquishment of this foundation. This has been the fatal miscarriage of the people called Quakers; and I wish it. were so with them only. For there are many others who reject the doctrine of the Trinity as false, or despise it as unintelligible, or neglect it as useless. I know this ulcer lies hid in the minds of many, and expect it will break out and cover the whole body of which they are members with its defilements. But these things are left to the care of Jesus Christ. For the present I shall only say, that on this supposition, that God has revealed himself as Three in One, he is to be so considered in all our worship. And therefore in our initiation into the profession and practice of the worship of God, we are in our baptism engaged to it In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. This is the foundation of our 'doing all the things that Christ commands us:' to this service of God, as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are solemnly dedicated.
4. These Divine Persons are so distinct in their peculiar Subsistence, that distinct operations are ascribed to each of them. Some of these actings are internal and mutual. So the Father knoweth the Son, and loveth him;' and the Son seeth,'' knoweth,' and 'loveth the Father.' John iii. 15. v. 20. vi. 46. So the Father is said to give,' ( send,' and 'command' the Son, as he condescended to become Man and Mediator; and the Father and Son are
The Quakers hold to the divine character of Jesus Christ.-A. Edit.
said to send the Spirit, as he condescends to become the Sanctifier of the church. There are also distinct actings of each of the divine persons towards the creatures. This is so evident from the whole Scripture, that particular instances are needless: besides, this will sufficiently appear when we consider the distinct actings of the Spirit.
5. Hence it follows unavoidably, That the Spirit is in himself a distinct, living, powerful, intelligent, divine person; for none other can be the author of those divine operations which are ascribed to him. It is therefore necessary that we enquire who, and what that one and the self-same Spirit' is, on whose will all these things depend for if men prevail in their opposition to his person, it will be useless to concern ourselves about his work; for if the foundation of any fabric be removed, the superstructure will fall of course.
The doctrinal opposition made against the Spirit of God, may be reduced to two heads. Some grant his Personality, but deny his Deity. They say he is a created finite Spirit, the chief of all created spirits, and head of all the angels; and that he is called the Holy Ghost on account of the work in which he is employed. This was the opinion of the Macedonian heretics; since followed by the Mahometans, and by some of late among ourselves but such is the folly of this notion, that it is now generally abandoned; for such things are affirmed of the Holy Spirit in the Scripture, that to admit his Personality and deny his Deity, is the utmost madness. The Socinians, therefore, the great modern enemies of the Trinity, utterly reject this pretence: but the notion they advance in its room is no less pernicious: for, granting the things assigned to him to be the effects of divine power, they deny his Personality; and assert, that what is called the Spirit of God, is nothing but a quality in the divine nature, or the power that God exerts for particular purposes. I do not design here professedly to contend with them about the whole of this matter, for every thing important in the dispute will occur in our progress; I shall at present confirm the Divine Personality of the Spirit with a single argument; which I will boldly affirm, is such as the gates of Hell shall never prevail against. One thing, however, must be premised, namely, that the word Spirit is sometimes used to denote the Spirit of God himself, and sometimes his gifts and graces bestowed upon men. This being