« PoprzedniaDalej »
ed not to grieve him, Eph. iv. 30; and they of old are said to have rebelled, and vexed the Holy Spirit, Isa. Ixiii. 10. These things are so plain and positive, that the faith of believers will not be concerned in the sophistical evasions of our adversaries.
This truth is still more evident in the discourse of our Saviour (Matt. xii. 24,) concerning the sin against the Holy Ghost; in which the Spirit is expressly distinguished from the Son; they are both spoken of with respect to the same things in the same manner. Now, if the Spirit were only the power of God present with Christ, Christ and that power could not be distinctly spoken against. The Pharisees blasphemed, saying "That he cast out devils, by the prince of the devils." A person they intended, and described him by his name, nature, and office. To which our Lord replies, "That he cast out devils by the Spirit of God:" a divine person opposed to a diabolical one ;-and then cautions them against blaspheming that Holy Spirit, by ascribing his operations to the Devil;-and blasphemy against him directly manifests who he is. It is admitted that blasphemy may be against the Person of the Father, Lev. xxiv. 11. The Son, as to his distinct Person, is, in this passage, said to be blasphemed; and it is added, that the Holy Ghost also may be distinctly blasphemed, or be the immediate object of that sin which is inexpiable. To suppose, therefore, that this Holy Ghost is not a divine Person, is for men to dream while they seem to be awake.
I trust that, by these testimonies, we have fully proved that the Spirit is an holy, intelligent subsistent, or Person;-a divine, self-subsisting, self-sufficient Person, together with the Father and the Son, equally participant of the divine nature. This will appear still more plainly from the following testimonies:
1. He is expressly called God; and having the name of God directly given to him, with respect to spiritual things, or things peculiar to God, he must have the nature of God also. Ananias is said "to lie to the Holy Ghost;" this is repeated and interpreted: "Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." The same
Person is expressed in both places; and, therefore, the Holy Ghost is God. So also he is called LORD, in a sense appropriate to God alone: "Now the Lord is that Spirit," 2 Cor. iii. 17, 18; and we are changed from glory to glory "by the Lord, the Spirit," where also divine operations are ascribed to him. The same is drawn by just consequence from the comparing of Scriptures together; wherein what is spoken of God absolutely in one place, is applied directly to the Holy Ghost in another; for instance, "I will set my tabernacle amongst you; and I will walk among you, and will be your God, and ye shall be my people." Lev. xxvi. 11, 12. The accomplishment of this promise is declared by the apostle: "Ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk among them," &c. 2 Cor. vi. 16. How, and by whom is this done? "Know you not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?-for the temple of God are ye." 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17. If it was God then who of old was promised to dwell in his people, and to make them his temple thereby, then is the Holy Spirit God; for he it is who, according to that promise, thus dwelleth in them.
Observe, in the last place, that divine properties are assigned to him; as Eternity, he is the "Eternal Spirit:"* Immensity,-"whither shall I flee from thy Spirit?" Omnipotence," the Spirit of the Lord is not straitened:" Prescience," this Scripture must be fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost, by the mouth of David, spake before concerning Judas:"|| Omniscience," the Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God." The divine works assigned to him are usually pleaded to the same purpose; but as we shall have occasion distinctly to consider them, we shall not insist upon them here. What has been proposed may be sufficient to shew wнo he is; of whose works and grace we design to treat.
*Heb ix. 14.
+ Psalm cxxxix. 7. || Acts i. 16.
Mic. ii. 8; compare Is. xl. 28,
§ 1 Cor. ii. 10, 11.
Peculiar Works of the Holy Spirit in the First or Old Creation.
INTENDING to treat of those operations which are peculiar to the Holy Ghost, it may be useful, first, to speak of the operations of the Godhead in general. All divine operations, whether in nature or in grace, are usually ascribed to God absolutely; because the several persons are undivided in their operations, acting by the same will, the same wisdom, the same power. Each Person, therefore, is the author of every work of God, because each Person is God; and the divine nature is the same undivided principle of all divine operations. The divine Persons are one in essence; but in their manner of subsistence there is distinction and order among them. Hence every divine work is distinctly assigned to each Person, and eminently to one; as the work of creation is distinctly ascribed to the Father (Acts iv. 24.)-to the Son (John i. 3.) and to the Spirit (Job xxxiii. 4.); but by way of eminence to the Father, and absolutely to God, who is Father, Son, and Spirit.
Divine works are eminently ascribed to one Person particularly, when a special impression of the distinguishing property of that divine Person is made on the work itself; as of the power and authority of the Father on the old creation, and of the grace and wisdom of the Son in the new; or, where there is a peculiar condescension of one Person to a work, wherein the other Persons concur only by approbation and conSuch was the susception of the human nature by the Son, and such was the condescension of the Holy Ghost to his office, which entitles him eminently to his own immediate works.
Whereas the order of operation among the distinct persons, depends on the order of their subsistence. The completing and perfecting acts are ascribed to the Holy Ghost; hence they are also the most mysterious. The beginning of divine operations is assigned
to the Father; "for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things." The subsisting, establishing, and upholding of all things is ascribed to the Son; "for he is before all things, and by him all things consist;" and the finishing of all these works is ascribed to the Holy Ghost, as we shall find in our progress.
These things being premised, we proceed to consider the peculiar operations of the Holy Spirit in nature and in grace; or, in the old and new creation.
The general parts of the creation are "the heavens, the earth, and all their host;" the forming and perfecting of which is assigned peculiarly to the Spirit of God. As to the heavens, "by his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens, his hand hath formed the crooked serpent;"-by him they were "curiously wrought" and disposed; adorned with the moon and stars, and rendered beautiful and glorious, to shew forth the praise of his power and wisdom.
It was thus also with the earth. God at first created out of nothing this inferior globe: the material mass of earth and water blended. This mass being thus framed and mixed, "the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters." The word moved (MERACHEPHETH) signifies a gentle motion, like that of a dove over its nest, to communicate vital heat to its eggs, or to cherish its young. Without him, all was rude unformed chaos;-but by the moving of the Spirit of God upon it, he communicated a prolific virtue. The principles of all those kinds and forms of things, which in an inconceivable variety compose its host and ornament, were communicated to it; and this is a better account of the original of all things than is given us by any of the philosophers, ancient or modern ;-and as at the first creation, so in the course of providence, this work of cherishing the creatures is ascribed 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 of life, and man became a living soul." Gen. ii. 7.—As to the matter of which he was formed, it was dust; and this is mentioned to display the power and wisdom of the great Artificer, who, out of such contemptible materials, could form the admirable 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;"-a vital immortal spirit; something 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 matter; 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 perfection of 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