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THE LANGUAGE OF THE SCRIPTURES, IN WHICH ALL HOLINESS IN SAINTS, IS ASCRIBED TO THE AGENCY OF THE HOLY SPIRIT, NECESSARILY EXCLUDES THE IDEA OF A DIRECT IN WARD DIVINE EFFICIENCY, IN THE PRODUCTION OF SINFUL EXERCISES.
THIS argument, which seems to be perfectly decisive of the question, will be presented to view in four particulars.
1. A number of texts, in which the causes of sin and holiness are placed in such contrast, as utterly forbids their being considered as coming alike from a direct divine influence.
2. The positive declaration of the Bible, that the Spirit of God does not dwell in, and produce evil exercises, in the hearts of the wicked.
3. If the Holy Spirit does not produce sinful exercises in the minds of the wicked, then it follows as an unavoidable consequence, that it is done by no other person in the Holy Trinity.
4. The theory under consideration appears to be a great corruption of the Gospel, as it confounds the peculiar work of the Holy Spirit, in the production of holy exercises, with the physical, or general agency of God.
The contrasts, to which we allude are such as these:
Now the works of the flesh are But the fruit of the spirit is love, manifest, which are these,adultery, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentlefornication, uncleanness, lascivi- ness, goodness, faith, meekness, ousness, idolatry, witchcraft, ha- temperance. tred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, sedition, heresies, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like. Gal. v, 18-23.
But we forbear; it would be next to endless to produce all the contrasts of this kind, which abound in the Bible.
Here permit me to ask a few plain questions. How can an upright honest man, that believes the plain obvious sense of the Scriptures to be the true, suffer himself to be so seduced by metaphysical subtilties, as to imagine, that the meaning intended to be conveyed in all these contrasts by the Holy Ghost is this: "All holiness and all the wickedness of men, comes alike from an immediate, inward divine influence."
If God works in one as directly and really as in the other, how is he greater, who is in saints, than he that is in the world? And if God as really and directly blinds the minds of those who are lost, as he gives power to believers to become the sons of God, why is one effect so particularly ascribed to God, and the other to the devil?
And if holiness and sin come alike from God, why might not Hosea ix, 13, be inverted and thus read. "Oh Israel, I have destroyed thee; but in thyself is thy help!" Indeed I have heard it asserted that, read it either way, and it is equally true. So long as we make the Bible our guide, we are bound to believe that philosophy to be an idle invention of man, which so strongly militates against the plain meaning of the inspired writers.
2. The next branch of the argument is, the positive declarations of the Bible, that the Spirit of God does not dwell in, and produce evil exercises in the hearts of the wicked.
And can any passage be more to this purpose than Gal. v,18-23 ."But if ye be led by the Spirit ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these, adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, &c.But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith," &c.
Perhaps a doubt never yet arose in the mind of any intelligent Christian, unless it has lately been
excited by the theory under examination, whether Paul, by this statement, meant to lay it down as an unquestionable fact, that no sinful, or perverse emotion, is the effect of the Spirit of God.-That he produces nothing in the mind of man, by his inward operations, except the holy and virtuous affections here ascribed to him.-Nay, instead of producing any moral effects of a sinful nature in the minds of wicked men, Paul and other apostles, do not admit that they have the Spirit of God in them at all. In Rom. viii, 9, it is said, "Now if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
The Spirit of Christ and the Holy Spirit are the same. And does not this language imply, that none but real saints have the Spirit of God working in them. Jude also, verse 19, expressly declares, that wicked men have not the spirit. "These be they, which separate themselves, sensual, not having the spirit." The words "not having the spirit," are equivalent to this assertion. "The Spirit of God does not produce in them any of their sinful and abominable exercises." Now,
3. This plain Scripture doctrine, that the Spirit is the author of no volitions or exercises, but such as are holy, ought in our view to be perfectly decisive as to the question.
The most zealous advocates for this new theory have not yet become bold enough to assert, in unqualified terms, that the Holy Ghost is equally the author of sin in God's enemies, as of holiness in his friends. But if the Holy Ghost does not by an inward operation, produce wickedness in them, then no other person in the divine Trinity does.-For whenever we speak of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as purely divine persons, it is impossible to deny any thing, as to counsels or operations in relation to one person, without denying it of the others.-Nor can we ascribe to one any operation or effect, without ascribing it at the same time to the other.
Thus if you affirm, that God the Father works in sinners to will and to do evil, you necessarily affirm the same thing of the Holy Ghost. Or if you deny, that the Holy Ghost produces this effect, you necessarily deny that the Father produces it. For although one person in the Trinity may be represented as acting a more official and prominent part, in some particular operations, than the others; yet they cannot be represented as acting separately and independently of each other. This would be to resolve the high mystery of three persons in the Godhead into three distinct Gods.
Christ lays it down as an infallible maxim, that the Son cannot act independently of the Father; nor does the Father perform any operation, which the Son does not also perform.
His words are these; "I say unto you, the Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do; for what things soever the Father doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise." And is not this equally true of the Holy Spirit?
May it not be affirmed of him, He doeth nothing but what he seeth the Father do; and whatsoever the Father doeth, he doeth likewise. This remark is confirmed by the fact, that holy exercises, to produce which is the peculiar work of the Spirit, are ascribed indifferently to the other divine persons.
Paul says, "Now the fruits of the Spirit are these, love, joy, peace, &c." But John uses the name of God as equally proper and says, "If we love one another God dwelleth in us." If then you make the Father the inward author of all wickedness, you make the Holy Ghost equally the author of it. There is, I imagine, but one way to evade this argument; and that is to make a distinction, between the Spirit acting in his appropriate office, and acting as God in a more general sense. This seems to be the idea of Mr. Williston, who, in a Sermon already quoted, remarking on Jade 19, These are they who separate themselves, sensual, not having the