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Son. In the scriptural revelation of the mediatorial economy, there is a perceivable individuality of character ascribable to the Father, which is not to the Son; and to the Holy Spirit, which is not to either. When Christ appears in majesty and glory, authority and goodness, he is "the express image of the person” of the Father. When he appears in knowledge and wisdom, truth and holiness, grace and kindness, he is "the express image of the person” of the Comforter.
The formation of the character of this mediatorial personage is the greatest work of the Holy Spirit.
It is greater than forming the character of holy men. It is a work unique in the universe.
As there is no person like Christ, embodying in himself all the gradations of existence in the universe, so there is no character like his, embracing the graces of all intelligences. To form this character, therefore, is a work of more grandeur and glory, than the sanctification of a sinner. It will give greater glory to the Holy Spirit than any and all of his other works. All intelligences will know with admiration, that it was "through the Eternal Spirit that Christ offered himself without spot to God.”
III. The doctrine of the atonement is the great means which the Holy Spirit employs in his administrations in the world.
It is by his agency that the benefits of the atonement are applied to the salvation of sinners. This application by the Holy Spirit is as necessary to salvation, as the atonement of the Son, and the love of the Father. Without the sovereign good-will of the Father, salvation would not have been contemplated: without the atonement of the Son, salvation would not have been honorable to the divine government: and without the influences of the Spirit, it will never be actually effected. “It is convenient for you," the Lord says, "that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you.When he is come, he will convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and judgment.—He shall glorify me, for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you." John xvi, 7—14.
If Christ had not "gone away" to suffering and death, to Gethsemane and Calvary, the influences of the Comforter had not come unto us; nor would he have been supplied with solid and honorable grounds for comforting us. The atonement of “Christ crucified,” is the great doctrine employed by the Spirit to prove the glory of Christ, and to win the revolters of our world to allegiance and obedience. “He shall receive of mine, and sball shew it unto you." "He will go to Bethlehem and Calvary, and take of mine-he will take the history of my undertaking, and explain the principles of my atonement; and will convince the world, and lead you unto all truth." This doctrine is "the sword of the Spirit," which he delights to wield. This will open the heart, when the lightnings of Sinai, and the flaming sword of the cherubim, shall have failed. This is the doctrine which the Holy Spirit delights to honor, as has been proved in the experience of thousands of God's witnesses, in the history of churches and congregations, and in the narratives of missionary labors. If Christ be lifted up, and his atonement openly exhibited, sinners will be drawn and captivated; but on every church, and on every religious institution, that will not honor the atonement, the Holy Spirit fixes the stigma of "Ichabod,” the glory is departed.
IV. To secure and honor the designs of the atonement is the great end and aim of the administrations of the Spirit.
The great aim of the Holy Spirit in all its operations, is to bring sinners to use the atonement as a medium of access to God, and to plead it as a ground of pardon. “He shall glorify me,” that is, “my atonement shall be magnified and made honorable in the sight of the world, by his agency.” All the work of the Holy Spirit tends to bring men to think highly of Christ, and his atonement. He will never take of the things of Christ to give men low and degrading thoughts of them. If any have low thoughts of Christ, and his atonement, let them
not be ascribed to the Holy Spirit, whose work it is to glorify Christ; "for every spirit that confesseth not, that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh," that is, is become incarnate, “is not of God."
Under the gospel dispensation, the Holy Spirit argues the cause, and pleads the claims of Jesus Christ, to all the honors which he has received in heaven, and to all the obedience he demands on earth. Of these things he will convince the world. There has been a controversy between God and the world. The world was placed under moral government, and against this government the world has rebelled; nevertheless God continues to enforce the claims, and still men oppose and refuse them. This controversy is of long standing, and is still pending; and the Holy Spirit is the agent sent to the world by the Father and the Son to argue the case, and to decide the controversy. When this Advocate, this Arguer, will come, he will make the world see, what it never saw before; he will convince the world of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment.
In - whatever way the Spirit comes, whether by the word, or by miracles, or by gracious influences on the heart, his aim is to promote the ends of the atonement in the condemnation of sin, and the salvation of sinners. The word gives clear views of the evil of sin, and brands unbelief as the blackest rebellion against Christ. It reveals the glories of Christ, and claims the highest honors as due to him. It unmasks the malignity of Satan, and threatens eternal destruction to all his allies. MIRACLES have never favored sin, but have demonstrated and aggravated its daring hardihood. They were wrought in the name of Christ, and confirmed his testimony against the world. They have exhibited him who had the power of death, as conquered, and have shewed all things as subservient to the gospel. His gracious INFLUENCEs always destroy sin, honor the righteousness of the Savior, and vindicate the eternal condemnation of all who rebel against God,
Whatever be the topic on which the blessed Advocate argues, whatever be the manner of his operations, He never loses sight of the atonement of the Son of God. In whatever light we contemplate his character, whether as Arguer or Sanctifier, Guide or Comforter, Earnest or Seal, the atonement is connected with the whole of his offices and ministration. In all things he is “the Spirit of Christ.” He does not build but where the atonement has prepared the foundation; he does not cleanse, but in the laver of the atonement; he does not plead, but where the atoneinent furnishes an argument; nor does he guide, but where the atonement has opened a way:
The Influences of the Spirit rendered accessible to all
by the Atonement.
1. The influences of the spirit are exhibited in the scriptures, as exactly adapted to meet the case of sinners.
When we see, in the whole government of God, that "one thing is set over against another,” we judge rightly when we conclude, that one is designed for the other.
The scripture describes the state of man as requiring these influences of the Spirit. “The natural man discerneth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” “The carnal mind is enmity against God, and is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” “No man can corne unto me except the Father draw him.” These passages do not mean that the powers of man are insufficient for the designs of probation, and for the discharge of duties--but that the fact will turn out, that they never will be exercised in discharging duties without divine influences. They teach that man's opposition to God, and indisposition
to what is good, are so inveterate and perverse, that nothing will conquer them, but the influences of the Spirit. Man is darkness, and darkness can, by no process, produce light; he is dead, and the dead cannot quicken himself; he is enmity against God, and enmity can never work itself into love.
Divine influences are exhibited as meeting such a case of perverse ineffectualness. "I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh; and I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes,” Ezek. xxxvi, 27. If any person were to exhibit to you bread when you are hungry, medicine when you are ill, pardon when you are condemned, liberty when you are in bondage, you would reasonably conclude from their fitness to you, that you may have them, that they are accessible
II. The scriptures declare that God, for Christ's sake, is disposed and ready to distribute most bountifully every blessing that a sinner needs for his salvation.
One evangelist speaks of the readiness of God to give us "good things;" and another says, “If ye being evil
, know how to give good things to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him.” Man needs this Holy Spirit, and God expresses himself ready to supply his need. The rich and copious abundance of the influences provided, show with what pleasure he will grant them. You need a supply that is infinite and uninterrupted-and here it is. God said to Abraham, “Walk before me and be perfect.” Well might he have said, “Who is sufficient for these things?" God said, “I am God ALL-SUFFICIENT.'
..” Faith bowed, “That is enough.” So for you, it hath pleased the Father, that in Christ all fulness should dwell-in a cistern low enough for you to reach, and capacious enough to satisfy all your wants.