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note which of the divine Persons is intended, so he is called Lord and God, to signify his sovereign authority in all his operations, and to produce in our hearts a due reverence towards him. Ver. 4-7.
With respect to their General Nature, the apostle distributes them into "gifts, administrations, and operations ;" and then declares the design of the Spirit in their communication to the church: "but the manifestation," or revelation, "of the Spirit, is given to every man to profit withal;" that is, the gifts whereby he manifests his care of the church; and his own presence, power, and effectual operations are granted to some, that they may be used for the edification of others. These gifts are further distinguished by nine different names :-Wisdom, Knowledge, Faith, Healing, Working of Miracles, Prophecy, Discerning of
pirits, Tongues, and Interpretation of Tongues. Ver. 8-10. But now, if there be such diversity of gifts, how can differences and divisions be prevented among those on whom they are bestowed? It is true, that such differences may happen; and did actually exist in the Corinthian church. One admired one gift, a second another, and so on; and among those who received them, one boasted of this or that particular gift, to the contempt of others; and those gifts which excited admiration were preferred to others of a more useful tendency. Thus the church was divided and distracted :—so foolish are the minds of men, so common is it for their lusts to "turn judgment into wormwood," and to abuse the most useful effects of divine bounty! To prevent these evils for the future, and to manifest the harmony of these gifts in their source and tendency, the apostle declares both their author and the rule of their dispensation:-"All these worketh that one and the self same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will."
I shall not now insist on these words. Frequent recourse must be had to them in our progress; for I purpose, through divine assistance, to treat from hence of the Name, Nature, Existence, and Whole Work of the Holy Spirit: a work too great for me to undertake,
and beyond my ability to manage to the glory of God or the good of men; for "who is sufficient for these things?"-But yet I dare not utterly faint, while I look to him "who giveth wisdom to them that lack it, and upbraideth them not." The present necessity, importance, and usefulness of the subject, have alone engaged me to undertake it. These, therefore, I shall briefly represent in some general considerations.
First. We may observe that the doctrine of the Spirit of God is the second great article of those Gospel truths, in which the glory of God and the good of souls are most eminently concerned; and without the knowledge of which the first will be altogether useless; for when God designed the glorious work of recovering fallen man, he appointed two great means thereof: -The one was, "the giving his Son for them ;" and the other was," the giving his Spirit to them." And hereby a way was opened for the manifestation of the glory of the whole blessed Trinity; which is the utmost end of all the works of God. Hereby, the love, grace, and wisdom of the Father, in the projection of the whole; the love, grace, and condescension of the Son, in the execution of the plan of salvation; with the love, grace, and power of the Spirit, in the application of all to the souls of men, were made gloriously conspicuous. Hence, from the first entrance of sin, there were two general heads of the promises of God concerning salvation. The one respected the sending his Son to take our nature, and to suffer for us therein; the other related to the giving his Spirit, to make the fruits of his incarnation, obedience, and sufferings effectual to us. The great promise of the Old Testament, was that of the "coming of the Son of God" in the flesh; but when that was accomplished, the principal remaining promise of the New Testament respects the coming of the Holy Spirit. Hence the doctrine of his person, work, and grace, is the peculiar subject of the New Testament; and a most eminent object of the Christian's faith; and this must be insisted upon, as we have to do with some who will scarcely allow him to be of any consideration in these matters.
1. It is of great moment, that when Jesus Christ was about to leave the world, he promised to send his Holy Spirit to his disciples, to supply his absence. Of what use the presence of Christ was to them, we may in some measure conceive; for their hearts were filled with sorrow on the mention of his departure. Designing to relieve them, he makes this promise; assuring them thereby of greater advantage than the continuance of his bodily presence among them. "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless, I will come unto you;" that is, by his Spirit. "These things I have spoken unto you, being present with you; but the Comforter, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things. It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come. When he is come, he will convince the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. He will guide you into all truth, and shew you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shew it unto you." John xiv. 15, 16. This was the great legacy which Jesus bequeathed to his sorrowful disciples; and because of its importance, he frequently repeats it, enlarging on the benefits they should thereby receive.
It is in vain pretended, that only the apostles or primitive Christians were concerned in this promise; for though it was made to them in a peculiar manner, yet it belongs to believers universally, and to the end of time. As far as it respects his gracious operations, what Christ prayed for his apostles, he "prayed for them also which should believe on him through their word." John xvii. 20. And his promise is, That "wherever two or three are gathered together in his name, there he would be in the midst of them" (Matt. xxviii. 20); which he is no otherwise than by his Spirit; and this one consideration is sufficient to evince the importance of the doctrine; for is it possible that any
Christian should be so careless as not to enquire what Christ has left us to supply his absence, and at length to bring us to himself? He who despises these things, has neither part nor lot in Christ himself; for "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Rom. viii. 9.
2. The great work of the Holy Ghost in the dispensation of the gospel, is another evidence to the same purpose. Hence the gospel itself is called "The Ministration of the Spirit," in opposition to that of the law, which is called "The Ministration of Condemnation, and of Death." 2 Cor. iii. 6-8. The "ministry of the Spirit" is either that ministry which the Spirit makes effectual, or that ministry whereby the Spirit in his gifts and graces is communicated to men; and this alone gives efficacy to the gospel. Take away the Spirit from the gospel, and you render it "a dead letter;" of no more use to Christians than the Old Testament is of to the Jews. It is therefore a mischievous imagination, proceeding from ignorance and unbelief, that there is no more in the gospel than what is contained under any other doctrine or declaration of truth; that it is nothing but a book for men to exercise their reason upon. This is to separate the Spirit from it, which is in truth to destroy it; and to reject the Covenant of God, which is, that "his word and Spirit shall go together." Isa. lix. 21. We shall therefore prove, that the whole efficacy of the ministry of the gospel depends on the promised ministry of the Spirit, with which it is accompanied. If therefore we have any concern in the gospel, we have a signal duty before us in the present subject.
3. There is not one spiritual good from first to last communicated to us, but it is revealed to us, and bestowed on us, by the Holy Ghost. He who never experienced the special work of the Spirit upon him, never received any special mercy from God. How is it possible? For whatever God works in us, is by his Spirit; he therefore who has no work of the Spirit on his heart, never received either mercy or grace from God. To renounce therefore the work of the Spirit,
is to renounce all interest in the mercy and grace of
4. There is not any thing done by us that is holy and acceptable to God, but it is an effect of the Spirit's operation. "Without him we can do nothing" (John xv. 5); for without Christ we cannot; and by him alone is the grace of Christ communicated. By him we are regenerated; by him we are sanctified; by him we are cleansed; by him we are assisted in every good work. Surely then, we ought to enquire into the cause and spring of all that is good in us.
5. God assures us that the only remediless sin is the sin against the Holy Ghost. This alone may convince us how necessary it is to be well instructed in what concerns him. Thus saith our Lord, "All sins shall be forgiven to the sons of men, and blasphemies wherewithsoever they shall blaspheme; but he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness." Mark iii. 28, 29, and Matt. xii. 32. This is that "sin unto death," whose remission is not to be prayed for (1 John v. 16); for he, having undertaken to make effectual to us the great remedy in the blood of Christ for the pardon of our sins; if he, in the prosecution of that work, be despitefully used and blasphemed, there can be no relief or pardon for that sin. For, whence should it arise? For as God has not another Son to offer another sacrifice for sin,-so that he by whom his sacrifice is despised, can have none remaining for him; neither has he another Spirit to make that sacrifice effectual to us, if the Holy Ghost be rejected. This therefore is a tender place. We cannot be too diligent in our inquiries after what God has revealed concerning his Spirit; seeing there may be a more fatal miscarriage in an opposition to him than human nature is capable of in any other instance.
Secondly. The deceits which have abounded in all ages of the Church, under pretence of the name and work of the Holy Spirit, make the study of this doctrine exceedingly necessary. Had not these things been excellent in themselves, they would not have been so often counterfeited. According to the value of