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language of Scr'j ure! but surely it is more becoming for us to do our best, as opportunities offer, and to aseribe all that is true or good to the Holy Spirit, taking the blame of all that is erroneous or defective upon ourselves! All such claims, however, as imply excmption from mistake or sin, we utterly disallow, as arrogant and enthusiastick; and only desire to have our principles and actions candidly judged of by the Holy Scriptures.
We observe also, that we are incapable of distin. guishing the influences of the Holy Spirit, from the exercises of our own faculties, except as every thing holy is considered as coming from his agency, every thing unholy from our evil nature. In fact, there is no actual and entire distinction; except when he acts as a Spirit of prophecy. For, all we are taught to expect is this, that he will dispose and enable us to exercise the understanding and faculties, which God hath given us, in a holy and wise manner. He who is left to himself, or under the influence of that “spirit, which " worketh in the children of disobedience," acts freely and without compulsion; his faculties being distempered by sinful passions, as the eye or the ear by distase. And he who is brought under the influence of the Holy Spirit, experiences no compulsion or violence; but the mind, being delivered from the effect of delusion and sinful passions, perceives things in a new light, and most willingly makes a new and holy choice. “I know,” says the apostle, “ that in me, that " is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing."* If then,
Rom. vii. 18.
humbly examining ourselves by the sacred word, wo become conscious of desires and affections, and perform actions, in which there is something truly good; we may conclude that this is effected " by the Spirit “ which dwelleth in us.” And we may also learn to depend on the promise of the text, in whatever we attempt in obedience to the call of the gospel.
Again, we must not suppose that the Holy Spirit is promised or given, in order that we may do any thing which was not before our duty. We ought always to have loved God with our whole heart, and our neighbour as ourselves; having sinned, we ought to repent; and being favoured with the gospel, we ought to believe, to pray, to submit to God, to return to him, and to walk in all his ordinances and commandments. But we are not of ourselves disposed or able to do this: and the Holy Spirit is promised to “ work in us “ to will and to do” according to these our obligations. So that the dispositions and actions, which are really good in the sight of God, are not called in Scripture moral virtues, but “the fruits of the Spi" rit.”
If these things be kept in mind, most of the objections, often made to our doctrine in this particular, fall to the ground, and are evidently opposed to opinions which we totally disallow and protest against.
II. Proceed more directly to shew what is implied in the promise before us.
Man, created in the divine image, was alive to God and holiness: but, as his natural life was necessarily
dependent on the providential support of his Creator; so his spiritual life was preserved by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. In the day that he ate of the forbidden fruit, he died; the Holy Spirit quitted his polluted temple, and man became dead in trespasses and sins.
By the fall, he did not lose his rational capacities: though they were no doubt greatly impared, and rendered far less capable than before of governing his animal propensities: but he lost his spiritual life, his capacity of taking delight in God and heavenly things; and consequently he became an apostate and an idolater, seeking satisfaction in the enjoyment of worldly objects.
This is universally the condition of man, as unre, generate: so that the greatest philosopher is as entire. a stranger to the delight, which an angel enjoys in loving and adoring God, as the mere animal is to that pleasure, which the philosopher experiences, whilst successfully investigating the objects of nature.
It is then, the first part of the gracious office performed by the Holy Spirit, to “quicken the dead in
sin,” to raise fallen man ‘from the death of sin to a * life of righteousness;' and to restore him to the capacity of loving and delighting in God and his worship and service. And on this account the Holy Spirit, in the Nicene creed, is called, · The Author and Giver of life.' “ Ye must be born again.” “Ex
cept a man be born again, of water and of the Spi"rit, he cannot see,” “ he cannot enter into, the
kingdom of God." For the baptism of water is no
more, than . an outward and visible sign of an inward
and spiritual grace;' and that inward and spiritual
the children of wrath, we are hereby' (by the new birth unto righteousness)' made the children of grace.' And, to ascribe this change of our condition to the outward sign, preserves indeed the form of godliness, but denies the power of it. If then we, though natives of a christian country, are born in sin and the chil.
dren of wrath;' as we are expressly taught by our Church-Catechism; we must as much need the quick cning influences of the Holy Spirit, as they did to whom Christ and his apostles first preached the Gospel.
The same divine Agent is spoken of in Scripture as the Spirit of truth and wisdom, as the Author and Giver of all spiritual knowledge, and as illuminating the mind with the light of divine truth. “I will pray “ the Father, and he shall give you another Comforta
er, that he may abide with you for ever, even the Spirit of truth.” “He shall teach you all things, and
bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I “ said unto you." "He will guide you into all truth."* Thus St. Paul prays in his epistle to the Ephesians, that “the God and Father of our LORD JESUS • Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto you " the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the know
John xiv. 16–26.
"ledge of him; the
your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of “ his calling,” &c. He certainly did not mean to pray, that the Spirit of prophecy should be given to them all; but that they might all be enabled by the di. vine illumination of the Spirit, to understand arighe the revelation given them in the Old Testament, and by the preaching of the apostles.
In like manner, our church teaches us to pray not only that the LORD would please to illuminate all bis
shops, priests, and deacons, with the true knowledge s and understanding of his holy word;' but that'he ? would grant us, by the same Spirit' which was poured out on the apostles, ' to have a right judgment in * all things.' And it is remarkable that in the short collects, for the king and royal family and clergy, similar petitions are inserted; · Replenish him with the
grace of thy Holy Spirit.' 'Endue them with thy Holy Spirit;' Send down on them the healthful Spirit of thy grace.'
And indeed, if notwithstanding external advantages, “we be by nature the children of wrath even as * others.” If “our understanding be darkened, being “ alienated from the life of God, through the igno
rance that is in us, because of the blindness of our “ hearts:" it is certain that we need this inward illumination of the Holy Spirit, even as much as they did to whom the gospel was first preached; not to reveal new doctrines, but to free our minds from the effects of our various prejudices and corrupt passions, that