Page images


[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The Spirit an earnest; and how. AGAIN, the Holy Spirit as thus communicated unto us, is said to be an earnest. Appaßwv, the word in the original is no where used in the New Testament but in this matter alone; 2 Cor. ii. 22. v. 5. Eph. i. 14. The Latin translator renders this word by pignus, a pledge. But he is corrected therein by Hierom on Eph. i. 'Pignus,' saith he Latinus interpres pro arrhabone posuit. Non id ipsum autem arrhabo quod pignus sonat. Arrhabo enim futuræ emptioni quasi quoddam testimonium, et obligamentum datur. Pignus vero, hoc est évéxopov pro mutua pecunia apponitur, ut quum illa reddita fuerit, reddenti debitum pignus a creditore reddatur.' And this reason is generally admitted by expositors. For a pledge is that which is committed to, and left in the hand of another, to secure him that money which is borrowed thereon shall be repaid, and then the pledge is to be received back again. Hence it is necessary that a pledge be more in value than the money received, because it is taken in secue rity for repayment. But an earnest is a part only of what is to be given or paid, or some lesser thing that is given to secure somewhat that is more or greater in the same or another kind. And this difference must be admitted if we are obliged to the precise signification and common use of pledges and earnests among men, which we must inquire into. The word is supposed to be derived from the Hebrew any; and the Latins make use of it also, Arrhabon, and Arrha. It is sometimes used in other authors; as Plutarch in Galba. Εφθάκει προειληφώς αρραβώσι μεγάλοις τον οβίνιον" he prepossessed Obinius with great sums of money as an earnest of what he would do afterward. Hesychius explains it by apódoua, a gift beforehand. As to what I apprehend to be the mind of the Holy Ghost in this expression, I shall declare it in the ensuing observations.

First, It is not any act or work of the Holy Spirit on us or in us, that is called his being an earnest. It is he himself who is this earnest. This is expressed in every place where there is mention made of it. 2 Cor. i. 22. doùc tòv appaßüva toŨ Tveópatog 'the earnest of the Spirit;' that earnest which is the Spirit, or the Spirit as an earnest; as Austin reads the words, ‘arrhabona Spiritum.' Chap. v. 5. Who hath also given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.' The giving of this earnest is constantly assigned to be the act of God the Father, who, according to the promise of Christ, would send the Comforter unto the church. And in the other place, Eph. i. 14. it is expressly said, that the Holy Spirit is the earnest of our inheritance. Every where the article is of the masculine gender, ός έστιν αρραβών" and πνεύμα, the Spirit, is of the neuter. Some would have it to refer unto Christ; ver. 12. But as it is not unusual in Scripture that the subjunctive article and relative should agree in gender with the following substantive, as os here doth with appaßwv; so the Scripture, speaking of the Holy Ghost, though tveŪua be of the neuter gender, yet having respect unto the thing, that is, the person of the Spirit, it subjoins the pronoun of the masculine gender unto it, as John xiv. 26. Wherefore, the Spirit himself is the earnest, as given unto us from the Father by the Son. And this act of God is expressed by giving or putting him into our hearts; 2 Cor. i. 22. How he doth this, hath been before declared, both in general, and with respect in particular to his inhabitation. The meaning, therefore, of the words is, that God gives unto us his Holy Spirit to dwell in us and to abide with us as an earnest of our future inheritance.

Secondly, It is indifferent whether we use the name of an earnest, or a pledge, in this matter. And although I choose to retain that of an earnest, from the most usual acceptation of the word, yet I do it not upon the reason alleged for it, which is taken from the especial nature and use of an earnest in the dealings of men. For it is the end only of an earnest whereon the Holy Ghost is so called, which is the same with that of a pledge; and we are not to force the similitude or allusion any farther. For precisely among men an earnest is the confirmation of a bargain and contract made on equal terms between buyers and sellers, or exchangers. But there is no such contract between God and

It is true there is a supposition of an antecedent covenant, but not as a bargain or contract between God and us.

The covenant of God as it respects the dispensation of the Spirit, is a mere free gratuitous promise; and the stipulation of obedience on our part is consequential thereunto. Again, he that giveth an earnest in a contract or bargain, doth not principally aim at his own obligation to pay such or such a sum of money, or somewhat equivalent thereunto, though he do that also ; but his principal design is to secure unto himself that which he hath bargained for, that it may be delivered up unto him at the time appointed. But there is nothing of this nature in the earnest of the Spirit, wherein God intends our assurance only and not his own. And sundry other things there are wherein the comparison will not hold, nor is to be urged, because they are not intended.

The general end of an earnest or a pledge, is all that is alluded unto: and this is to give security of somewhat that is future or to come. And this may be done in a way of free bounty, as well as upon the strictest contract. As if a man have a poor friend or relation, he may of his own accord give unto him a sum of money, and bid him take it as a pledge or earnest of what he will yet do for him. So doth God in a way of sovereign grace and bounty give his Holy Spirit unto believers ; and withal lets them know, that it is with a design to give them yet much more in his appointed season. And here is he said to be an earnest. Other things that are observed from the nature and use of an earnest in civil contracts and bargains between men, belong not hereunto; though many things are occasionally spoken and discoursed from them of good use unto edification.

Thirdly, In two of the places wherein mention is made of this matter, the Spirit is said to be an earnest, but wherein, or unto what end, is not expressed ; 2 Cor. i. 22. v. 5. The third place affirms him to be an earnest of our inheritance ;' Eph. i. 14. What that is, and how he is so, may be briefly declared. And,

1. We have already manifested that all our participation of the Holy Spirit in any kind, is upon the account of Jesus Christ, and we do receive him immediately as the Spirit of Christ. “For to as many as receive Christ, the Father gives power to become the sons of God ;' John i. 12.

• And because we are sons, he sends forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts ; Gal. iv. 6. And as we receive the Spirit from

[merged small][ocr errors]

him, and as his Spirit, so he is given unto us to make us conformable unto him, and to give us a participation of his gifts, graces, and privileges.

2. Christ himself, in his own person, is the heir of all things. So he was appointed of God ; Heb. i. 2. and therefore, the whole inheritance is absolutely his. What this inheritance is, what is the glory and power that is contained therein, I have at large declared in the exposition of that place.

3. Man by his sin had universally forfeited his whole right unto all the ends of his creation, both on the earth below and in heaven above. Death and hell were become all that the whole race of mankind had either right or title unto. But yet all the glorious things that God had provided were not to be cast away, an heir was to be provided for them. Abraham when he was old and rich had no child, complained that his steward, 'a servant was to be his heir;' Gen. xv.3,4. but God lets him know that he would provide another heir for him of his own seed. When man had lost his right unto the whole inheritance of heaven and earth, God did not so take the forfeiture, as to seize it all into the hands of justice and destroy it: but he invested the whole inheritance in his Son, making him the heir of all. This he was meet for, as being God's eternal Son by nature, and hereof the donation was free, gratuitous, and absolute. And this grant was confirmed unto him by his unction with the fulness of the Spirit. But,

4. This inheritance as to our interest therein lay under a forfeiture ; and as unto us it must be redeemed and purchased, or we can never be made partakers of it. Wherefore the Lord Christ, who had a right in his own person unto the whole inheritance by the free grant and donation of the Father, yet was to redeem it from under the forfeiture, and purchase the possession of it for us: thence is it called the purchased possession. How this purchase was made, what

cessary, by what means it was effected, are dee doctrine of our redemption by Christ, the price paid, and the purchase that he made thereby.

the whole inheritance is vested in the Lord only as unto his own person, and his right unto t he became the great trustee for the whole


church, and had their interest in this inheritance committed unto him also. No man, therefore, can have a right unto this inheritance, or to any part of it, not unto the least share of God's creation here below, as a part of the rescued or purchased inheritance, but by virtue of an interest in Christ, and union with him. Wherefore,

Fourthly, The way whereby we come to have an interest in Christ, and thereby a right unto the inheritance, is by the participation of the Spirit of Christ, as the apostle fully declares, Rom. viii. 14–17. For it is by the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of the Son, that we are made children. Now saith the apostle, If we are children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.' Children are heirs unto their Father. And those who are children of God are heirs of that inheritance which God hath provided for his children. Heirs of God.' And all the good things of grace and glory which believers are made partakers of in this world, or that which is to come, are called their inheritance, because they are the effects of free, gratuitous adoption. They are not things that themselves have purchased, bargained for, earned, or merited, but an inheritance depending on and following solely upon their free, gratuitous adoption. But how can they become heirs of God, seeing God hath absolutely appointed the Son alone to be heir of all things; Heb. i. 2. He was the heir unto whom the whole inheritance belonged. Why, saith the apostle, by the participation of the Spirit of Christ, we are made joint heirs with Christ. The whole inheritance as unto his own personal right was entirely his by the free donation of the Father, all power in heaven and earth being given unto him. But if he will take others into a joint right with him, he must purchase it for them, which · he did accordingly.

Fifthly, Hence it is manifest, how the Holy Spirit becomes the earnest of our inheritance. For by him, that is, by the communication of him unto us, we are made joint heirs with Christ, which gives us our right and title, where by our names are, as it were, inserted into the assured conveyance of the great and full inheritance of grace and glory. În the giving of his Spirit unto us, God making of us coheirs with Christ, we have the greatest and most assured earnest and pledge of our future inheritance. And he is to

« PreviousContinue »