Abbildungen der Seite




tribute of God, his holiness, is, as we have already seen, the peculiar characteristic of his name, not only denoting his office, but his nature, as you may see, 1 Cor. vi. 19, Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost;' Matt. xii. 32, 'Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost,' &c. where the word 'holy' hath no relation to his office. He is said 'to be the Author and Giver of life;' Rom. viii. 11. St. John says, he is the truth;' 1 John v. 6. He foresees that which is to come;' 2 Pet. i. 21. Joel ii. 28. and no wonder, since omniscience is also ascribed to him; for he searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God;' 1 Cor. ii. 10. and that, as one who knows them of himself,' in the same manner 'as a man knoweth the things of a man;' ver. 11. This proves his divinity in the clearest manner; for, if he searches all things, he must know all things; because we cannot suppose he searches in vain; indeed the original word signifies to search with success, or to find out. And if he knows the deep and mysterious things of God, he is able to comprehend God, which none but God himself can do. Omnipresence, or immensity, is expressly attributed to him by the psalmist, Psal. cxxxix. 7, 8, Whither shall I go from thy Spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.' He is likewise omnipotent; for he is called 'the power of the Highest;' Luke i. 35. And, to put it out of all question that he is God, he is expressly called the eternal Spirit;' Heb. ix. 14. Here it is worth observing, against the opposers of his personality, as well as divinity, that in this very sentence, which calls him 'the eternal Spirit,' he is distinguished personally both from the Father and the Son; the words are, How much more shall the blood of Christ, who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself, without spot, to God (the Father), purge your conscience from dead works,' &c. As he is the truth,' and is 'to guide us into all truth,' would he have adorned himself with these divine attributes, had he not known them to be his? Or, if he is but a creature, and they are his only by some secret, undiscovered imputation, how can it be said, 'he guides us into all truth,' since he thus directly leads us to the adoration of a being that is not God, to 'worship the creature as the Creator,' in plain contradiction to what he a


[ocr errors]

thousand times inculcates throughout both Testaments? How can a man make the Scriptures the rule of his faith, when he thinks thus slightly of their Author?

In the third place, He is proved to be God, from the divine worship prescribed and paid to him in the holy Scriptures. The apostles were commanded, Matt. xxviii. 19, 'to go teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.' The sacrament of baptism, we are sensible, is a most solemn act of worship, done in the name, and by the authority, of God alone, wherein, at the same time that the new Christian is consecrated to him, the respective blessings of each person is invoked and conferred. Now, here the Holy Ghost appears in equal authority with both the Father and the Son, and is, by consequence, equally the object of that worship which is paid in this religious act; nay, so far as it is an act of invocation, he seems to be peculiarly addressed; because his descent on the person baptized immediately follows, as that which distinguishes the baptism of Christ from the baptism of John. In consequence of this initiation, we are to believe in him, and to pray to him for grace and peace, as well as to the first and second persons. Accordingly, St. Paul, 2 Cor. xiii. 14, prays distinctly to the three persons by name: 'The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.' It was for these and the like reasons, that the church, in every age, hath repeated hymns, and paid divine honours, to the Holy Ghost, as well as to the other persons of the blessed Trinity.

Fourthly, The Holy Ghost is most evidently proved to be God, by his works and offices, which carry with them so high a character in Scripture, and require such a plenitude of the divine attributes in the execution, as cannot be ascribed to any but the infinite Being, without a degree of absurdity inconsistent with common sense, and of wickedness unworthy of Christianity.


He is said to have his share in the creation of the world; Gen. i. 2, where we are told, the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters;' Job xxvi. 13, where it is said of God, 'that by his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens;' and, chap. xxxiii. 4, where Elihu says, 'The Spirit of God hath made me.'

If his divinity appears, by his efficacious power in the works of nature, it demonstrates itself no less gloriously by his miraculous power over nature, and all her laws. Christ's birth, contrary to the course of nature, of a pure virgin, was effected by this power. The Holy Ghost,' saith the angel to Mary, shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing, which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.' Christ himself acknowledges his miracles to be the works of the Holy Ghost, Matt. xii. 28, If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.' And even that glorious miracle, the resurrection of Christ, at least of all men, is ascribed to him, Rom. viii. 11, 'If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead, dwell in you; he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quicken your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.' And that he is not the instrument, qualified extraordinarily by the Father for these supernatural performances, as an angel, or a man, who may be enabled to do the like; but the primary agent acting by his own power, and of his own will, just as he thinks fit; you may be convinced, by considering what is said, 1 Cor. xii. 11, where you see he gave the first disciples their 'miraculous powers,' their 'gifts of wisdom,' of knowledge,' of 'healing,' of 'working miracles,' of 'prophesying,' of discerning spirits,' of 'speaking divers kinds of tongues; and divided them to every man severally as he pleased.'

Pray now consider, that miracles performed, or, which is in effect the same thing, prophecies fulfilled, are the only credentials, whereby a revelation can be proved to come from God; and that the force of the proof depends solely on our firm persuasion, that none but God can see into futurity, or control the course of nature. This duly considered, when we see a miracle, we cannot help believing it was God who wrought it for our own conviction. In like manner, when we see an ancient prophecy verified by the event predicted, we must conclude that prophecy was primarily dictated by the divine foreknowledge. If then the miracles and prophecies recorded in Scripture, are there ascribed to the Holy Ghost, as their true, efficient, and primary source, it follows, that we have the same evidence for his divinity,

that we have for revelation itself. Now, it is nowhere in Scripture said, that he did these things by a power not his own, or that he was unable of himself to do them. On the contrary, there is enough said to convince us, that as he was the 'eternal,' the 'omniscient,' the omnipotent Spirit of God,' this power must have been naturally inherent in himself. We see the distribution was evidently at his own election, to withhold or give, to give what, and to whom, he pleased; which is too great a privilege to be trusted to the discretion of a creature, especially considering the immensity of the treasures he distributed, and the grandeur of the ends for which they were dispensed. But, had he been a creature, we shall presently see, it must have been utterly impossible for him to have gone through with this dispensation, although he had been accompanied by the highest conceivable plenitude both of the miraculous and prophetic powers; for who, but the omnipresent God, could have been on the spot with so many men, in so many distant places, at one and the same instant? But of this more hereafter.

[ocr errors]

What honour does Christ do the Holy Spirit, who was to testify of him after his leaving the world, when he attributes his very unction and mission to him! Isa. Ixi. 1. 'The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted,' &c.; and chap. xlviii. 16, The Lord God and his Spirit hath sent me.' Agreeable to these passages of the prophet, St. Peter tells us, Acts x. 38, God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power.' Of this unction John the Baptist speaks in high terms; for he ascribes to it the divine wisdom and truth wherewith our Saviour spoke; John iii. 34, 'He whom God hath sent, speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him;' alluding, probably, to Isa. xi. 2, 'The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge, and of the fear of the Lord.' Can a Being, who thus assists God the Son with divine wisdom, and supernatural power, be himself a creature? Or, would God the Son owe his incarnation, his unction, his mission, his miraculous and prophetic gifts, to a creature? But it may be asked, Had he not these gifts and powers in himself, as the Son of God? And

it may be as easily answered, He had those powers and gifts as God; but, as the Son of Man, he received the exercise and dispensation of them from the Holy Ghost, to whom, we see, that dispensation peculiarly appertained. However, be this as it will, our not being able to account for things so infinitely mysterious, is no reason why we should not submit our understandings, and resign our faith, to scriptural declarations, so very plain in themselves. Infinite difficulties may be struck out from the clearest and most demonstrable points of knowledge; which, since we know them to be demonstrable, we are to consider only as difficulties in regard to our narrow capacities, but by no means in regard to a superior mind, to whom, for aught we know, they may be self-evident.

As the Holy Ghost proceeds, in an eternal and ineffable manner, from the Father and the Son, so he is sent by them to govern the church, which belongs to Christ; because he hath purchased it with his precious blood, and in the merits of his purchase hath acquired a right to all the mercies of his Father, and all the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, necessary to the salvation of that church. We see, in the twelfth of the First Epistle to the Corinthians, how absolutely the Holy Spirit dispenses his miraculous gifts, and saving graces, to the church of Christ; and thereby are made sensible both of his divine authority and power; for none but God can confer such gifts; and none but God hath a right to confer them as he pleases. All these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will;' ver. 11. Here we have a general and comprehensive view of the ecclesiastical government administered by the Holy Spirit. We see the same in particulars. He vouchsafes his presence to whom he pleases, in such manner and measure as he pleases; sometimes on the administration of baptism; sometimes on the imposition of hands; and sometimes, previous to both, on a mere conversion; Acts x. 44. 47. which shews, that he was not confined to the ordinances even of Christ's own institution. He forbids' the apostles to preach the word' in one country, Acts xvi. 6, 7. and sends them to another, Acts, viii. 39, 40. He orders whom he thinks fit to be separated for the work of the ministry;' Acts xiii. 2. 'He creates the overseers,' or 'bishops, of the church;' Acts xx. 28. He abo

[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »