Imagini ale paginilor
PDF
ePub

being again brought to repentance, and consequently our portion would inevitably be the worm that dieth not, and the fire that is not quenched. Grieve not the Spirit. Eph. iv. 30. Quench not the Spirit. I Thess. v. 19. They rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit. Isa. lxiii. 10. Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost. Acts vii. 51.

Take heed that you do not resist and grieve the Holy Spirit, by living carelessly, despising his gifts, and abusing his favours. Remembering what God has said: My Spirit shall not always strive with man. Gen. vi. 3.

And pray earnestly to him, to uphold you with his free Spirit; (Psalm li. 12,) to renew a right Spirit within you, (Psalm li. 10,) and not to take his Holy Spirit from you, (Psalm li. 11.) Ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith,

praying in the Holy Ghost, keep yourselves in the love of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, unto

eternal life. Jude 20, 21. Absolution.- Let us beseech him to grant us true repentance

and his Holy Spirit. Litany.-Endue us with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, to amend

our lives according to thy holy word. Collect, Sunday after Ascension.We beseech thee send to us

thy Holy Ghost to comfort us. 19th Sunday after Trinity.

Grant that thy Holy Spirit may, in all things, direct and rule our hearts. 1st Collect, Communion Service.-Cleanse the thoughts of our

hearts by the inspiration of thy Holy Spirit.

ON BLASPHEMY AGAINST THE HOLY GHOST.

This sin was not confined to the days of the Apostles, because sixty years after our Lord had declared that it should not be forgiven, St. John said, (1 John v. 16,) 6. There is a sin unto death : I do not say that he shall pray for it.”—This sin is characterized,

1. By a great malignity of spirit; men are sinners exeedingly.

2. By a hatred of Christ because he reproves sin. The Pharisees derided him, because he reproved the sin of cove

tousness. Luke xvi. 14.

3. By having made up the mind to go on in sin, and being wedded to it.

It includes,

1. A determination to resist all convictions, and to resist the truth, knowing it to be the truth.

2. Hating reproof, and those who use it. 3. A determination not to leave off the practice of sin.

The following seem to be instances of those who committed this sin. Koran, Dathan, and Abiram. Num. xvi. 26–32. The sons of Eli. 1 Sam. ii. 25. Alexander the coppersmith. 2 Tim. iv. 14. Those who sin wilfully after they have received the knowledge

of the truth. Heb. X. 26-31. Those, who after having escaped the pollutions of the world,

are again entangled therein, and overcome. 2 Pet. ii. 20—22.

Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost will not be forgiven. He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never for

giveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation. Mark iii. 29. Unto him that blaspbemeth against the Holy Ghost, it shall not

be forgiven. Luke xii. 10. It is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have

tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost—if they shall fall away, to renew them again

unto repentance. Heb. vi. 4. 6. The blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven

unto men-neither in this world, neither in the world to come. Matt. xii. 31, 32. The world to come means the Gospel dispensation; and no sacrifice was appointed for presumptuous sin under the law. Num. xv. 30. Pardon is only offered to penitents, and those who have committed this sin never do repent. All other sins are committed for present ease, comfort, or advantage ; but this sin is the result of determined hatred to God. St. Paul was a persecutor, but he did it ignorantly. Julian the apostate persecuted religion, knowing it to be religion.

This was not David's sin—he was drawn on, from one neglect of duty to another—his fall was gradual, and his passions kept gathering strength—he went on from sin to sin, apparently without compunction, and his conscience seemed to be lulled asleep, till the prophet Nathan was sent to reprove him.

The passages of Scripture referred to in this chapter, have caused great distress to many conscientious Christians. They were written for our admonition, and were intended to warn the presumptuous against trifling with the convictions of conscience, but certainly not to discourage the humble penitent. They who most fear having committed this sin, are generally at the greater distance from it; while they who are thus given up, feel no sorrow for sin, nor any anxiety to be restored to the favour of God.

Pray'as David did, (Ps. xix. 13,) Keep back thy servant from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion

over me.

NOTE.

THE OFFICE OP THE HOLY SPIRIT. BISHOP PEARSON, in his observations on this article ofthe Creed, sets forth, first, the nature, and then the office, of the Holy Spirit. The first of these points has been so fully exhibited in this section, in the language of Scripture itself, that nothing more upon it is requisite. The reinarks of the ex. cellent author above mentioned upon the second, contain much valuable instruction, and deserve an attentive perusal. The pious reader will be gratified by the insertion of them here, slightly abridged in the first three or four paragraphs, and with occasionally (as also in other extracts from this author) a slight change in the phraseology, not in any way affecting the sense. By the office of the Holy Spirit we do not understand

any ministerial office or function, such as that of created angels, who are all “ministering spirits,” (Heb. i. '14,) for the Holy Spirit is a Divine person, and therefore above all ministration. By this expression we are to understand whatso ever is attributed to him peculiarly in the salvation of man, the work wrought by him, for which he is sent by the Father and the Son. All the persons in the Godhead are represented to us as concurring in our salvation, and whatsoever the Holy Ghost worketh in order to the same salyation, we look upon as belonging to his office. Now, without holiness it is impossible to please God. We are all impure and unholy, and the pu. rity and holiness which are required in us, to appear in the presence of God, must be wrought in us by the Spirit of God, who is called holy, because he is the cause of holiness in us. The office of the Holy Ghost we acknowledge, therefore, to consist in the sanctifying of the serdants of God. This sanctification being opposed to our impurity and corruption, whatsoever is wanting in our nature of that holiness and perfection, must be supplied by the Spirit of God. Wherefore, as we are by nature totally void of saving truth, and under an impossibility of knowing God; as " no man knoweth the things of a man save the spirit of man which is in him; even so none knoweth the things of God, but the Spirit of God':' this “Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God,” (1 Cor. ii. 10, 11,) and revealeth them unto the sons of men.

The first part, then, of the office of the Holy Spirit, consists in espelling the darkness of our understanding, and enlightening us with the know. ledge of God. This work of the Spirit is double, being either external and general, or internal and particular.

The external and general work of the Spirit as to the whole Church of God, is the revelation of the will of God, by which so much in all ages has been propounded as was sufficient to instruct men unto eternal life. There bave been “holy prophets” ever since the world began, (Luke i. 70,) and in these last days, when God has spoken to us by his Son, that Son sent his Spirit, the Spirit of truth, into the apostles, teaching them all things, and bringing all things to their remembrance. John xvi. 13. By this means it came to pass that all Scripture was given by inspiration of God, that is, by the motion and operation of the Spirit of God.

Again, the same Spirit which reveals the object of faith generally to the universal Church of God, (which object is propounded externally by the Church to every particular believer, does also illuminate the understand

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

ing of such as believe, that they may receive the truth: for faith is the gift of God not only in the object, but also in the act: Christ is not only given unto us, in whom we believe, but it is also given us in the behalf of Christ to believe on him, (Phil. i. 29 ;) and this gift is a gift of the Holy Ghost, working within us an assent unto that which by the word is propounded to us : by this, "the Lord opened the heart of Lydia, that she atiended unto the things which were spoken of Paul," (Acts xvi. 14;) by this the word preached profiteth, being “mixed with faith in them that hear it.” Heb. ii. 4.

Thus “by grace we are saved through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God." Eph. ii. 8. As the increase and perfection, so the origin, or initiation of faith is from the Spirit of God, not only by an external proposal in the word, but by an internal illumination in the soul ; by which we are inclined to the obedience of faith, ja assenting to those iruths, which unto a natural and carnal man are foolishness. And thus we affirm not only the revelation of the will of God, : but also the illuinination of the soul of man, to be part of the office of the Spirit of God, against the old and new Pelagians

The second part of the office of the Holy Ghost is the sanctification of man, in the regeneration and renovation of hiin. For our natural corruption consisting in an aversion of our wills, and a depravation of our affec. Lions, an inclination of them to the will of God is wrought within us by the Spirit of God. For “according to his mercy he saveth us, by the washiog of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Tit. iii. 5. So that "except a man be born again of water and of the Holy Ghost, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God." We are all at first defiled by the cor. ruption of our nature, and the pollution of our sins, “but we are washed, but we are sanctified, but we are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God." I Cor. vi. 11. The second part then of the office of the Holy Ghost is the renewing of man in all the parts and faculties of his soul.

The third part of this office is to lead, direct, and govern us in our actions and conversations that we may actually do and perform those things which are acceptable and well-pleasing in the sight of God. "If we live in the Spirit,' quickened by his renovation, "we must also walk in the Spirit,” (Gal. v. 25,) following his direction, led by his manuduction. And it " we walk in the Spirit, we shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh," (Gal. v. 16;) for we are not only directed but animated and acted in those operations by the Spirit of God, "who giveth both to will and to do; and as many as are thus led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Rom. viii. 14. Moreover, that this direction may prove more effectual, we are also guided in our prayers, and acted in our devotions by the same Spirit, according to the promise, “I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalera, the Spirit of grace and supplication.” Zech. xii. 10. Whereas then this is the confidence that we have in him, that if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us,” (1 Jolin v. 14;) and whereas "we know not what we should pray for as we ought, the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered, and he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God." Rom. viii. 26, 2. From which intercession especially I conceive he hath the name of the Paraclete* given him by Christ, who said, "I

will pray unto the Father, and he shall give you another Paraclete." John xiv. 16. For "if any man sin, we have a Paraclete with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,” (1 John ii. 1,) saith St. John : who also maketh intercession for us," (Roro. viii. 34,) saith St. Paul; and we have

Paraclete is the Greek word, which is translated advocate in the English translation of the passages here quoted.

another Paraclete, salth our Bavlour; which also "maketh intercession for us," saith St. Paul. A Paraclete then, in the notion of the Scriptures, is an intercessor.

Fourthly, The office of the samo Spirit is to join us unto Christ, and make us members of that one body of which our Saviour is the head. “For by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body. And as the body is one, and hath many menbers, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.” – “Hereby we know that God abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us." John ix. 24. As we become spiritual men by the Spirit which is in us, as that union with the body and unto the head is a spiritual conjunction, so it proceedeth from the Spirit; and "he that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit.” I Cor. vi. 17.

Fifthly, it is the office of the Holy Ghost to assure us of the adoption of sons, to create in us a sense of the paternal love of God towards us, to give us an earnest of our everlasting inheritance. "The love of God is sbed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us." Rom. v. 5. “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God." Rom. viii. 14.' And “because we are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Faiher." Gal. iv. 6. “For we have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but we have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself bear. ing witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” Rom. viij. 15, 16. As therefore we are born again by the Spirit, and receive from him our regeneration, so we are also assured by the same Spirit of our adop tion; because being sons, we are also “heirs, heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ,” (Rom. viii, 17 ;) by the same Spirit we have the pledge, or rather the earnest of our inheritance. For "he which establisheth us in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God, who hath also sealed us, and hath given the earnest of his Spirit in our hearts,” (2 Cor. i. 22;) só" that we are sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession." Eph. i. 14. The Spirit of God as given unto us in this life, though it have not the proper nature of a pledge; as in the gifts received here being no way equiva. lent to the promised reward, nor given in the stead of any thing already due; yet is to be looked upon as an earnest, being part of that reward which is promised, and, upon the condition of performance of the covenant which God hath made with us, certainly to be received.

Sixthly, For the effecting of all these and the like particulars, it is the office of the same Spirit to sanctify and set apart persons for the duty of the ministry, ordaining them to intercede between God and his people, to send up prayers to God for them, to bless them in the name or God, to teach the doctrine of the gospel, to administer the sacraments instituted by Christ, to perform all things necessary “for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." Eph. iv. 12. The same Spirit which illuminated the apostles, and endued them with power from above to perforın personally their apostolical functions, fitted them also for the ordination of others, and the cornmitting of a standing power to a successive ministry unto the end of the world, who are thereby obliged to “take heed unto themselves, and to all the nock over which the Holy Ghost hath made them overseers, to feed the Church of God." Acts xx. 28.

By these and the like means doth the Spirit of God sanctify the sons of men, and by virtue of this sanctification, proceeding immediately from his office, he is properly called the Holy Spirit.

And thus I have sufficiently described the object of our faith contained in this article, What is the Holy Ghost in whom we believe, both in relation to his nature, as he is the Spirit of God, and in reference to his office, as he is the Holy Spirit.

« ÎnapoiContinuați »