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of divine power communicated unto him, as evidently manifested that he was appointed of God unto this work. These two properties, therefore, must be found in this sealing of the Lord Christ with respect unto the end here mentioned; namely, that he might be the promuscondus, or principal dispenser of the spiritual food of the souls of men.
Fourthly, It being God's seal, it must also have two ends designed in it: 1. God's owning of him to be his. Him hath God the Father sealed unto this end, that all may know and take notice of his owning and approbation of him. He would have him not looked on as one among the rest of them that dispensed spiritual things, but as him whom he had singled out and peculiarly marked for himself. And therefore this he publicly and gloriously testified at the entrance, and again, a little before the finishing, of his ministry: for upon his baptism there 'came a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; Matt. ii. 17. which was nothing but a public declaration that this was he whom God had sealed, and so owned in a peculiar manner. And this testimony was afterward renewed again at his transfiguration in the mount; Matt. xvii. 5.
Behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him :' this is he whom I have sealed. And this testimony is pleaded by the apostle Peter, as that whereinto their faith in him, as the sealed one of God, was resolved; 2 Pet. i. 17, 18. 2. To manifest that God would take care of him, and preserve him in his work unto the end; Isa. xlii.
Fifthly, Wherefore, this sealing of the Son is the communication of the Holy Spirit in all fulness unto him, authorizing him unto, and acting his divine power in, all the acts and duties of his office, so as to evidence the presence of God with him, and approbation of him, as the only person that was to distribute the spiritual food of their souls unto men. For the Holy Spirit, by his powerful operations in him and by him, did evince and manifest, that he was called and appointed of God to this work, owned by him, and accepted with him; which was God's sealing of him. Hence the sin of them who despised this seal of God, was unpardonable. For God neither will nor can give greater testimony unto his approbation of any person, than by the great seal of his
Spirit. And this was given unto Christ in all the fulness of it. He was declared to be the Son of God according to the Spirit of holiness ;' Rom. i. 4. and justified in the Spirit, or by his power evidencing that God was with him; 1 Tim. iii. 16. Thus did God seal the head of the church with the Holy Spirit; and thence undoubtedly may we best learn how the members are sealed with the same Spirit, seeing we have all our measures out of his fulness, and our conformity unto him is the design of all gracious communications unto us.
Sixthly, Wherefore, God's sealing of believers with the Holy Spirit, is his gracious communication of the Holy Ghost unto them, so to act his divine power in them, as to enable them unto all the duties of their holy calling, evidencing them to be accepted with him both unto themselves and others, and asserting their preservation unto eternal salvation. The effects of this sealing are gracious operations of the Holy Spirit in and upon believers; but the sealing itself is the communication of the Spirit unto them. They are sealed with the Spirit. And farther to evidence the nature of it with the truth of our declaration of this privilege, we may observe,
1. That when any persons are so effectually called as to become true believers, they are brought into many new relations, as to God himself, as his children, unto Jesus Christ, as his members, unto all saints and angels, in the families of God above and below; and are called to many new works, duties, and uses, which before they knew nothing of. They are brought into a new world, erected by the new creation, and which way soever they look or turn themselves, they say, «Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.' So it is with every one that is made a new creature in Christ Jesus ; 2 Cor. v. 17. In this state and condition, wherein a man hath new principles put within him, new relations contracted about him, new duties presented unto him, and a new deportment in all things required of him, how shall he be able to behave himself aright, and answer the condition and holy station wherein he is placed? This no man can do of himself, for who is sufficient for these things? Wherefore,
2. In this state God owns them and communicates into them his Holy Spirit, to fit them for their relations, to enable
them unto their duties, to act their new principles, and every way to discharge the work they are called unto, even as their head the Lord Christ was unto his. God doth not now give unto them the spirit of fear, but of power, of love, and of a sound mind; 2 Tim. i. 7. And hereby doth God seal them. For,
(1.) Hereby he gives his testimony unto them that they are his, owned by him, accepted with him, his sons or children ; which is his seal. For if they were not so, he would never have given his Holy Spirit unto them. And herein - consists the greatest testimony that God doth give, and the only seal that he doth set, unto any in this world. That this is God's testimony and seal, the apostle Peter proveth; Acts xv. 8, 9. For on the debate of that question, whether God approved and accepted of the humble believers, although they observed not the rites of Moses, he confirmeth that he did, with this argument; 'God,' saith he,' which knoweth their hearts, bare them witness.' How did he do it? how did he set his seal to them as his ? Saith he,' by giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us.' Hereby God gives testimony unto them. And lest any should suppose that it was only the gifts and miraculous operations of the Holy Ghost which he had respect unto, so as that this sealing of God should consist therein alone, he adds, that his gracious operations also were no less an effect of this witness which God gave unto them; and put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.' This therefore is that whereby God giveth his testimony unto believers, namely, when he seals them with his Spirit, or by the communication of the Holy Spirit unto them. And this he doth in two re
(2.) This is that whereby he giveth believers assurance of their relation unto him, of their interest in him, of his love and favour to them. It hath been generally conceived that this sealing with the Spirit, is that which gives assurance unto believers; and so indeed it doth, although the way whereby it doth it, hath not been rightly apprehended. And therefore, none have been able to declare the especial nature of that act of the Spirit whereby he seals us, whence such assurance should ensue. But it is indeed not any act of the Spirit in us that is the ground of our assurance, but the com
munication of the Spirit unto us. This the apostle plainly testifieth ; 1 John iii. 24. Hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. That God abideth in us and we in him, is the subject-matter of our assurance: “this we know,' saith the apostle; which expresseth the highest assurance we are capable of in this world. And how do we know it? Even by the Spirit which he hath given unto
But it may be, the sense of these words may be, that the Spirit which God gives us doth by some especial work of his, effect this assurance in us; and so it is not his being given unto us, but some especial work of his in us, that is the ground of our assurance, and consequently our sealing. I do not deny such an especial work of the Spirit, as shall be afterward declared; but I judge that it is the communication of the Spirit himself unto us that is here intended. For so the apostle declares his sense to be; chap.iv. 13. ' Hereby know we that we dwell in God, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit. This is the great evidence, the great ground of assurance which we have, that God hath taken us into a near and dear relation unto himself, because he hath given us of his Spirit; that great and heavenly gift which he will impart unto no others. And indeed on this one hinge depends the whole case of that assurance which believers are capable of. If the Spirit of God dwell in us, we are his; .but if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his; Rom. viii. 9. Hereon alone depends the determination of our especial relation unto God. By this, therefore, doth God seal believers ; and therein gives them assurance of his love. And this is to be the sole rule of your self-examination whether you
are sealed of God or no. (3.) Hereby God evidenceth them unto the world, which is another end of sealing. He marks them so hereby for his own, as that the world cannot but in general take notice of them. For where God sets this seal in the communication of his Spirit, it will so operate, and produce such effects, as shall fall under the observation of the world. As it did in the Lord Christ, so also will it do in believers, according unto their measure. And there are two ways whereby God's sealing doth evidence them unto the world. The one is by the effectual operation of the Spirit, communicated unto them both in gifts and graces. Though the world is blinded with
prejudices, and under the power of a prevalent enmity against spiritual things, yet it cannot but discover what a change is made in the most of those whom God thus sealeth, and how by the gifts and graces of the Spirit which they hate, they are differenced from other men. And this is that which keeps up the difference and enmity that is in the world between the seeds. For God's sealing of believers with his Spirit evidenceth his especial acceptance of them, which fills the hearts of them who are acted with the spirit of Cain, with hatred and revenge. Hence many think, that the respect which God had unto the sacrifice of Abel was testified by some visible sign, which Cain also might take notice of. And that there was an eutruplouòs, the kindling of his sacrifice by fire from heaven, which was the type and resemblance of the Holy Ghost, as hath been shewed. All other causes of difference are capable of a composition, but this about the seal of God can never be composed. And that which followeth from hence is, that those who are thus sealed with the Spirit of God, cannot but separate themselves from the most of the world, whereby it is more evidenced unto whom they do belong.
(4.) Hereby God seals believers unto the day of redemption, or everlasting salvation. For the Spirit thus given unto them is, as we have shewed already, to abide with them for ever, as a 'well of water in them, springing up into everlasting life;' John vii.
This, therefore, is that seal which God grants unto believers, even his Holy Spirit for the ends mentioned; which, according unto their measure, and for this work and end, answers that great seal of heaven which God gave unto the Son, by the communication of the Spirit unto him in all its divine fulness, authorizing and enabling him unto his whole work, and evidencing him to be called of God thereunto.