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nicate, by his powerful agency, that redemption which he purchased on the cross.
Thus the Holy
Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son:' as St. John in vision saw "a pure river of the water "of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the "throne of God, and of the Lamb."1
The gift of the Holy Spirit, as stated in scripture, is twofold: his immediate inspiration made men prophets; his regenerating and sanctifying influences make men " saints," or holy persons.— These are perfectly distinct endowments.
most of those who have been, and are, made holy persons have had no prophetical or miraculous gifts bestowed on them: nor can any sober man suppose that every one, who would pray for the Holy Spirit, should be made a prophet, or enabled to work miracles. On the other hand, some prophets were not saints: they received the Spirit of prophecy, for the use of others, but not that of sanctification to the saving of their own souls.2 We therefore entirely disclaim all pretensions to the Holy Spirit in respect of his miraculous and prophetical gifts: we neither expect, nor teach others to expect, any such thing. In this sense the Holy Spirit is not now given, or promised: and if any persons inadvertently use language capable of being understood as a claim of this kind, we would enter a protest against it, as inaccurate, and of bad tendency, however well meant.
We do not expect that the Holy Spirit will be given, in answer to our prayers, to inform us immediately, as by a whisper, when either awake or
Rev. xxii. 1.
Matt. vii. 21, 22.
asleep, that we are the children of God; or to lead us to this conclusion by any impression or new revelation; or in any other way than by enabling us to exercise repentance, and faith, and love to God and our neighbour. Here again we allow that enthusiasm has often found admission, and has done great mischief.
God inspired holy men of old to write the scriptures," as they were moved by the Holy Ghost:" and, while we would teach you to depend on the same Spirit to guide you into the true meaning of the scriptures; we would by no means allow that he ever reveals any thing contrary to the written word, or more than is contained in it, or through any other medium. Now, should any impression be made on the mind of a covetous man, an adulterer, or any other impenitent sinner, that his sins are pardoned, and that he is a child of God and an heir of heaven; it would contradict the scriptures, which expressly declare that such characters are in the road to destruction. But the Holy Spirit cannot contradict himself; and therefore such impressions must come from "Satan, trans"formed into an angel of light."
If any impression lead men from the scriptures, to form some other ground of hope, or rule of conduct, than is there given: it adds to the word of God, and indeed contradicts it, and must therefore be a delusion.
If any one thinks he is led by the Holy Spirit immediately, and in the neglect of the means of grace; or that he has now no longer occasion, as being under a higher influence, "to search the "scriptures;" or that his views are not to be
judged by the oracles of God, soberly interpreted as the standard of truth; he is evidently deluded. "To the law and to the testimony: if they speak "not according to this word, it is because they "have no light in them." Even prophets and apostles searched the scriptures extant in their days, and uniformly appealed to them; and our Lord, in promising the Holy Spirit to his disciples, "to lead them into all truth," adds, " He shall bring to your remembrance whatever I have "spoken unto you."1
The Holy Spirit is not promised to render us infallible and they who, professing a great dependence on his influence, refuse to preach or pray, except as moved by the Spirit, (probably without being aware of it,) advance a claim to infallibility, whenever they thus speak either to God or to man. Whatever is uttered at those times is actually made the dictates and words of the Holy Spirit, and put upon an equality with the language of scripture! But surely it is more becoming for us to do our best, as opportunities offer, and to ascribe all that is true or good to the Holy Spirit, taking the blame of all that is erroneous or defective upon ourselves! All such claims, however, as imply exemption from mistake or sin, we utterly disallow, as arrogant and enthusiastic; and only desire to have our principles and actions candidly judged of by the holy scriptures.
We observe also, that we are incapable of distinguishing the influences of the Holy Spirit from the exercises of our own faculties, except as every
John xiv. 26.
thing holy is considered as coming from his agency, every thing unholy from our evil nature. In fact, there is no actual and entire distinction; except when he acts as a Spirit of prophecy. For all we are taught to expect is this, that he will dispose and enable us to exercise the understanding and faculties, which God hath given us, in a holy and wise manner. He who is left to himself, or under the influence of that "spirit which worketh in the "children of disobedience," acts freely and without compulsion; his faculties being distempered by sinful passions, as the eye or the ear by disease. And he who is brought under the influence of the Holy Spirit experiences no compulsion or violence; but the mind, being delivered from the effect of delusion and sinful passions, perceives things in a new light, and most willingly makes a new and holy choice. "I know," says the apostle, " that in me, "that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing."1 ́ If then, humbly examining ourselves by the sacred word, we become conscious of desires and affections, and perform actions, in which there is something truly good; we may conclude that this is effected by the Spirit which dwelleth in us." And we may also learn to depend on the promise of the text, in whatever we attempt in obedience to the call of the gospel.
Again, we must not suppose that the Holy Spirit is promised or given in order that we may do any thing which was not before our duty. We ought always to have loved God with our whole heart, and our neighbour as ourselves having sinned,
Rom. vii. 18.
we ought to repent: and, being favoured with the gospel, we ought to believe, to pray, to submit to God, to return to him, and to walk in all his ordinances and commandments. But we are not of ourselves disposed or able to do this: and the Holy Spirit is promised to "work in us to will and "to do" according to these our obligations. So that the dispositions and actions, which are really good in the sight of God, are not called in scripture moral virtues, but "the fruits of the Spirit."
If these things be kept in mind, most of the objections, often made to our doctrine in this particular, fall to the ground, and are evidently opposed to opinions which we totally disallow and protest against.
II. I proceed more directly to shew what is implied in the promise before us.
Man, created in the divine image, was alive to God and holiness: but, as his natural life was necessarily dependent on the providential support of his Creator, so his spiritual life was preserved by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. In the day that he ate of the forbidden fruit he died; the Holy Spirit quitted his polluted temple, and man became "dead in trespasses and sins."
By the fall, he did not lose his rational capacities, though they were no doubt greatly impaired, and rendered far less capable than before of governing his animal propensities: but he lost his spiritual life, his capacity of taking delight in God and heavenly things; and consequently he became an apostate and an idolater, seeking satisfaction in the enjoyment of worldly objects.