Sidor som bilder
PDF
ePub

modern ;-and as at the first creation, so in the course of providence, this work of cherishing the creatures is ascri- ' bed to the Holy Ghost : « Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled ; thou takest away their breath,- they die and return to the dust.' Psalm civ. 29, 38. All creatures decay and die ; the earth itself seems every year to decline its use and end ; but thou sendest forth thy Spirit,--they are created ; and thou renewest the face of the earth.' The Spirit of God, whose office it is to preserve the creation, produces a new supply of creatures in the room of those that fall off like leaves from the trees, and return every day to the dust. By his influential concurrence, all things spring afresh, and the face of nature is renewed and adorned. But we must consider the work of the Holy Ghost with respect to the creation of man.

Man may be considered either naturally, as to the constituent parts of his being ; or morally, with regard to his. principles of obedience. The first is expressed : ' And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath af life, and man be. came a living soul.' Gen. ji. 7. As to the matter of which he was forined, it was ditst; and this is mentioned to display the power and wisdom of the great Artificer, who, out of such contemptible materials, could form the admira. ble fabric of'the human body ; and to humble man by the remembrance of his mean original. Into this formed dust

God breathed the breath of life ; '- ma vital immortal spirit; soinething of himself; somewhat immediately of his own; not of any pre-created matter. Thus man became a middle creature between the angels above, and the sensitive animals below. His body was formed as the beasts from matters his soul was an immediate production of divine power, as the angels were. This was the work of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of God, and the Breath of God are the same; only one expression is proper, the other metaphorical. The creation of body and soul are both ascribed to him : « The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life,': Job. xxxiii. 4 ; and thus was man, the perfection of the inferior creation, formed by Him to whom the perfecting all divine works is peculiarly committed.

But we must consider man with respect to his moral condition also; and this is expressed in Gen. i. 26, 27,

And God said, Let us make man in our own image, after our likeness :--So God created man in his own image:' An universal rectitude of nature :-an ability to discern the will of God with respect to the duty required of him; and a free, uncontrolled disposition to that duty. Now these were effects of the immediate operations of the Holy Ghost; for in the restoration of these abilities to our souls by regeneration, it is plainly asserted that he is the author of them. Eph. iv. 24. Thereby he restores his own work; and thus Adam may be said to have had the Spirit of God in his innocency.

The works of God thus finished, are not deserted by the Holy Ghost. For as the preservation of the universe de pends on the powerful influence of divine providence, so there are particular operations of the Spirit in all things, natural and animal, rational and moral. As to the first, we have seen that the succession of creatures, and annual renovation of the face of the earth, is from him. As to rational and moral actions, such as the great affairs of the world are disposed of by, he has also a peculiar efficiency: Wisdom, courage, and fortitude, which have produced such great effects, are of his special operation. Thus

the Spirit of God came upon Othniel ;' with wisdom for government, and courage for war. Thus God sent his Spirit on Cyrus, his anointed,' to qualify him for the mighty work he was to effect. Is. xlv. 2. Thus also Zerubbabel was enabled to build the temple, .notwithstanding the strongest opposition, that it might be evident to all that the work was effected, not by might, nor by power, but by the Spirit of the Lord.' Wech. iy. 6.

CHAPTER V.

The Manner of the Dispensation of the Holy Spirit.
EFORE we treat of the Spirit's work in the new cre-

dispensation of him ; and of his own application of himself for that purpose. And on this subject, all that I have

to offer, consists in the explication of those texts wherein they are revealed. We must therefore consider, 1. What We are taught on the part of God the Father, with respect to the Spirit and his work ; and, 2. What relates immediately to himself.

1. God's disposal of the Spirit to his work is expressed in five different ways. He is said to give him ; to send him ; to minister him ; to pour him out; and to put him on us. (1.) He is said to be given of God: 'your heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him :' Luke xi. 13.– He hath given his Spirit to us,' 1 John iii. 24 :—and in many other places. Now this giving of the Spirit denotes authority, freedom, and bounty, on the part of God. It denotes authority; for he that gives any thing, must have authority to dispose of it. It denotes freedom. What is given might be with held. This is the gift of God ; not the purchase of our endeavours, nor the reward of our desert. Some men talk of purchasing grace and glory; but both are to be bought without money, and without price.' The Scripture knows of no earnings that men can make of themselves, but death; * eternal life is the gift of God.' Answerably to this idea, believers are said to receive him. • This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive' (John vii. 39 :)-and. We have received the Spirit which is of God.' i Cor. ii. 12. Giving and receiving are relative terms, the one supposing the other :-and as this also implies freedom on the part of the giver, so it implies privilege and advantage on our part. This expression also denotes bounty ; it is such a gist as proceeds from divine bounty: for God is said to give him to us richly. The greatness of the gift, the free mind of the giver, and want of desert in the receiver, all declare bounty to be the spring and fountain of it. And on the part of those who receive this gift, how great is the privilege and advantage ! Some, indeed, receive him, as to some particular end, without any final advantage to their souls. They receive his gifts only, without his grace; like those who prophesied and cast out devils,' and yet continued workers of iniquity,' and are rejected at the last. But there is no gift of the Holy Ghost that is not good in its own nature, tending to a good end, and adapted to the good of the receiver. For though the direct end of some gifts be not the spiritual

a

good of the receiver, but the edification of others--yet there is that excellency in them, which may turn to great advantage. In general, to be made a partaker of the Holy Ghost, is an inestimable privilege and advantage.

(2.) God is said to SEND him. The Father will send the Holy Ghost in my name,' John xiv. 26 ;--and Christ says, “I will send unto you the Comforter from the Father,' John xv. 26. Now this also argues authority, freedom, and bounty. Only the word naturally implies a local motion; as a person who is sent removes from one place to another: but as local mutation is inconsistent with the omnipresence of the Spirit, we must adınit of metaphor in the expression; so God is said to " arise out of his place;' to bow the heavens and come down ;' to o come and see what is done in the earth. Now no local motion is intended, there is only an allusion' to it among : mortals ; for a creature cannot produce any effects where it is not. Thus the sending of the Spirit supposes that he does not produce the blessed effects of his power and grace, but in them to whom he is sent. He was not before in or with that person, for that special end for which he is sent by the Father. And this proves, by the way, that, in his gifts and graces, he is not common to all; or a light which is in all ment, and which all men may be in if they please: for this would leave no place for this special act of sending him ; which implies a choice of the object to whom he is sent.

(3.) God is said to MINISTER the Spirit, Gal. iii. 5. "He that ministereth the Spirit unto you;' he that gives you continual or abundant supplies of the Spirit. So in Phil. i. 19. " I know that this shall turn to my salvation, through your prayers and the supply ;' (Erixongs) the ( additional supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Those who have received the Spirit, need a daily further supply; and this is given by God's ministering his Spirit to believers. (4.) God is said to put his Spirit in, or upon men:

Il have put my Holy Spirit upon him.' Isa. xlii. 1. It is the effectual acting of God that is intended. He not only gives, and sends his Spirit to his people, but he actually bestows him upon them; so that they are really partakers of him. He efficaciously endows their hearts and minds with him, for the work and end which he is designed to.

(5.) God is frequently said to pour him out; Behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you. Prov. i. 23. This important expression, wherever it is used, has a direct respect to Gospel-times; for though God gave his Spirit in some measure before, yet he was not poured out till the dispensation of the Gospel. Three things are comprised in this expression : [1.] An eminent act of divine bounty. Pouring forth signifies an all-sufficing fulness, as the clouds pour down rain. Hence the renewing of the Holy Ghost is said to be poured on us richly.' Men were converted of old by a rich participation of the Spirit ; and so they must be still (whatever some pretend) or die in their sins. [2.] This pouring out has respect to the gifts and graces of the Spirit, and not to his person :- for where he is given, he is given absolutely, and not more or less; but his gifts and graces may be more plentifully given to one person than to another; and to the same person, at one time more than at another. [3.] The еxр. essior. relates to his purifying and comforting influences. He is often compared to water: “ I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean. So our Lord calls him 'rivers of water.' And as it respects his refreshing those on whom he is poured, he is compared to rain ; . I will pour water on him that is thirsty, and foods upon the dry ground:' that is I will pour my Spirit on thy seed; and my blessing on thy offspring. He comes on the barren, parched ground of men's hearts, causing them to spring, and produce fruits of holiness and righteousness: and thus Christ, by his Spirit, 'comes down like rain upon the mown grass; as showers that water the earth.me The good Lord give us always of these waters and refreshing showers!

2. We proceed to consider what is ascribed to the Spirit himself, in his own application of himself to his work; from which also it will plainly appear that he acts as a voluntary agent.

First. He proceedeth from the Father; and being the Spirit of the Son also, he proceedeth from him in like manner: 'The Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.' John xv. 26. There is, (1.) a procession of the Holy Ghost, which is natural or personal. This expresses his eternal relation to the persons of the Father and the Son. He is of them by an eter

« FöregåendeFortsätt »