« PreviousContinue »
miracles and gifts of the Holy Ghost," (Heb. ii. 4.) Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith," &c. (iii. 7.) "For 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." (vi. 4, 6.) "The Holy Ghost this signifying." (ix. 8.) "How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God." (14.) "Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us." (x. 15.) "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." (1 Pet. 1, 2.) "Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace which should come unto you; searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into." (ver. 10-12.) "Being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison. (iii. 18.) "If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you." (iv. 14.) Hereby
know ye the Spirit of God; every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is of God." (1 John iv. 2.) Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given unto us of his Spirit." (ver. 13.) "For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one." (v. 7.) But ye, beloved, building up yourselves on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Ghost." (Jude 20.) "I was in the Spirit on the Lord's day." (Rev. i. 10.) ear, let him hear what the the churches." (ii. 7.) "And I heard a voice from heaven, saying unto me, Write, blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." (xiv. 13.)
"He that hath an Spirit saith unto
WE have now terminated this long research, the result of which has ascertained, that in addition to the Father of all comfort, and God of consolation, who, with his Almighty Son, the blessed Prince of peace, are one in operation, there does exist another Comforter, the blessed eternal Spirit, which proceedeth from both, who ever acts in full co-operation with the paternal and the filial Deity, and must therefore be equal to both in the glory of his nature; and the greatness of his attributes is so represented by the whole mass and tenor of Scripture, and is so announced by the solemn rite of baptism. It having pleased supreme wisdom to impart this wonderful communication to us, and referring to the admirable essay on the Trinity already inserted, we would inquire, whether it is not perfectly reconcilable to our very feeble reason to believe, and indeed, whether it does not appear more rational to believe than disbelieve, that from the God of love there should eternally proceed a being or beings, (for as to the knowledge of the number, we are solely indebted to Revela
tion,) equal unto himself in benignity of nature and power of operation; who, with the Parent source of good, should ever live, and reign, and act, as one benevolent, throughout the intellectual system of the boundless universe- rather than to suppose the Deity a solitary being, or that He only conversed with intelligents greatly inferior to himself, which the very highest orders of angelic beings are uniformly represented to be. God, we are told in Scripture, is love; but love always attaches itself to its object. It is not compatible with love to be selfish and solitary; it delights in assimilation:"* and the felicity of an infinitely perfect being can only be rendered infinitely perfect, by assimilating with infinitely perfect beings; or could any thing but perfection act in perfect co-operation with perfection? Does not the Deity appear infinitely amiable, by this assimilation of ineffable love? and must not the felicity of the Godhead be rendered infinitely perfect by such association? or can we suppose, that this communication is an unimportant one to us? No, it above all others teemeth with consolation; it is the very communication, which above all others assures us of the exceeding greatness of God's love to us. "For in this was manifested the love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." (1 John iv. 9.) It is the communication which clearly demonstrates the indispensable necessity of evil for the production of excessive good; for had not this irrefragable
necessity existed, we cannot suppose the blessed Son of God, in bliss eternally embosomed with his benignant Father, would have with him ordained the liability of degradation to intelligents, when He, by such ordination himself incurred the liability, nay, to omniscience the certainty involved in the eternal purpose of paternal Deity, that in the dread event of exemplified evil, his beloved Son would be himself compelled to endure the extremest degree of possible evil,* when overcoming evil by good; for the achievements of an infinite being must ever correspond with his infinitude. And the highest degree of possible evil could alone be endured by him, who was in possession of the highest degree of possible good: therefore, nothing short of Deity could in its infinite extent, fulfil the infinite plan.† What shall we say then to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall He not with him also freely give us all things?
This is the communication which above all others leads us to search into the sacred volume, which contains the blessed words of everlasting life, and elevates our minds in contemplation on the wisest, best, and highest of all objects, the glorious Deity, whom to know is eternal life, and who, in wondrous condescension, commands himself for the grand object of our feeble imitation. Be ye therefore perfect, as your Father in
*This subject will be further considered hereafter.
On the extent of Christ's atonement we shall futurely inquire.