« PreviousContinue »
FAITH AND PRACTICE.
Of the Holy Ghost.
The Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, is God, the Lord and Giver of Life, the Third Person of the everblessed Trinity; of the same nature and essence, but distinct in personality from the Father and the Son : being “ of the Father and of the Son; neither made, nor created, nor begotten, but proceeding."
62. To the Holy Spirit, as one Person of the Glorious Godhead, the same divine designations are generally given in the Holy Scriptures as to the Father and to the Son ;-the same essential perfections are as. cribed ;-the same efficacy in the works of nature and of grace, is attributed ;-and the same divine honours are ordered to be paid.
§ 3. As, however, certain distinct and peculiar offices are assigned to the other two Persons of the Godhead, so to the Spirit are certain operations VOL. II.
appropriately imputed. The Father is said to have created the world, (though not without the concurrence of the Son and Spirit,) to be the author and fountain of all good gifts; the Son, to have redeemed mankind, to have been more especially the Mediator and Reconciler between God and man, and to have been made a propitiatory sacrifice for us, when he took our nature upon him, and suffered on the Cross: thus is it declared to be the province of the Holy Ghost to sanctify us and all the elect people of God, to create in those who are called by the Word of God to a knowledge and belief of the Gospel, a new light,-a new righteousness,-a new source of consolation,-a new capacity for eternal life. And this co-operation in the merciful work of the Salvation of Mankind, the Holy Spirit gives not as a created Energy or Power, not as the efficacy of the Father figuratively personified, but as a distinct Person, and as God himself, equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son.
$ 4. The particular designations of the Holy Ghost are varied in Scripture accordingly as they refer to his nature,-the order of his subsistence in the Trinity, - or the peculiar operations and gifts which are predicated of him. With relation to his nature, he is styled Holy, as being not only perfectly holy himself, but the origin of holiness in man ; Ghost, or Spirit, as incorporeal, invisible, proceeding from a spiritual Divinity or Source : with regard to the second point, he is called the Spirit of God, -of the Lord,--of Christ; and in figurative allusion, putting the effect for the cause, we read of the Spirit of Adoption-of Glory,—of Promise, -of Prophecy and Revelation-of Knowledge,-of Wisdom,- of Understanding, -of Light, -of Holiness,--of Grace and Prayer; of the Spirit of Truth, the Comforter.
$5. The operations of the Spirit are of two descriptions; either extraordinary, for the accomplishment of great and important purposes which it pleased God to effect by unusual means; or ordinary, according to the common course of the divine proceeding in the scheme of Grace. The former were con. fined to the period embracing the preparatory economy and the establishment of the Gospel of Christ.
Ø 6. By the extraordinary influence of the Spirit were chosen men of old qualified for particular services : they were gifted with the power of doing supernatural acts, and were inspired with the word of prophecy. Upon the Person of Jesus Christ was the Spirit, by whom he was conceived in the flesh, poured out without measure, in fulfilment of express prediction : and after his ascension our blessed Lord sent to his Apostles the promised Comforter, who endued them with the extraordinary gift of tongues, of working miracles, of raising the dead; and even with authority over the powers of darkness.
The Apostles were also permitted to convey to those on whom they laid their hands similar authority and power : and the extraordinary operations of the Spirit ceased not till they had borne indisputable witness to the divine origin of the Christian Religion, and to the divine inspiration of those writers whose Gospels and Apostolical Epistles constitute the Sacred Volume of the New Testament.
$7. Of the ordinary operations of the Holy Ghost, of those which are essentially necessary to all Christians, whether converted from heathenism, called in mature age, or admitted in infancy to the privileges of the Christian Church, the first to be considered is Illumination, or the enabling of them to understand, to assent to, and to accept by faith the words of eternal life. The Spirit accompanies with his salutary influence the Word of the Gospel, whether preached or read; he inclines the hearts of those to whom it is addressed to receive its doctrines with joy, its precepts with submission; he is shed abroad into the hearts of believers, and works effectually by the word of the Gospel for their benefit: but he inclines only, without forcing the dispositions of the heart; he gives light to those who will
eyes ceive it, but not to the wilfully blind; he produces saving faith in those who desire to be saved, not in those who persevere in impenitence and disbelief, notwithstanding the light and assistance, together with the other gifts and graces which are promised to all who seek him.
$ 8. Regeneration, or the New Birth, by which those who rightly receive the Sacrament of Baptism, are admitted into the New Covenant and the Church of Christ, -are made the Children of Grace, having been by nature the children of wrath; this Regeneration, or change of state with respect to God, is especially the work of the Holy Spirit: and it is the sole work of the Spirit in which man has no participation, although it be wrought only upon the condition of Faith and Repentance in those who are capable of them. By the instrumentality of the same Spirit the regenerated are justified and accepted as the song of God through adoption in Jesus Christ. To those