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selves, while as yet they can find nothing of this begotten increated Spirit in them; while that Spirit is not yet come into me by which I live to God, and my soul is turned to him, and set on him, framed for him, and made active towards him, and on his behalf; all this while I am as if I were a body and no more, or a mere breathless carcass. For plain it is that to all the actions and comforts of the divine life, a man in his mere naturals, is as to these things, as a carcass is to the actions of a man : that is, a carcass can as well read and discourse, and travel, and trade, as a man in whom this Spirit is not, can love God, take pleasure in him, act in pure devotedness to him, design him as a portion, and have respect to him as such. So that now if men did but allow themselves the liberty of reflection, it could not be but sometime or other this would be their communing with themselves : “Either I have this new superadded Spirit, or I have not : if I have, sure such a thing as I have heard it is, would make some work in my soul, and shew itself; it could not be latent there; I should find some changes and transformation wrought in me. And if I have not, then where am I? In how dismal and forlorn a state ! it is for me to go and dwell among graves, for I am as a carcass, but a piece of spiritless flesh, or breathless lump.” Oh that right thoughts of our case upon this account, might once obtain, and take place. If this Spirit is not in us, then we are dead creatures ; if we have any thing of life in us, it is because the Spirit of the living God hath infused, and increated it. It is of no smal! concernment if this latter is our case, to observe and view the Spirit of God aright. And if the former is our case, to see to it, and deal truly with our own souls, while any natural breath remains, in order to the regaining that spiritual life, by which we may be capable of breathing spiritually. Methinks one should have a restless mind after it ; Oh I have no spirit within me; nothing that moves towards God; no sense of him, or breathings
after him. Oh that I were more acquainted with it. It is strange that there should be life, and no such motion ; and impossible there should be this begotten spirit, and we should find no change within.
WE have proposed in order to the explication of the text,
these three things, I To consider the product here spoken of, under the name of the Spirit. 2 The productive cause, or the divine parent, to which this birth owes itself; The spirit. 3. The kind of the production expressed here by being born, or begotten. We have already spoken to the first of those, and proceed now to the
II. The productive cause, which is here styled, in an emphatical sense, the Spirit. This name being spoken of the spirit, is commonly observed and known to be taken two ways, either essentially, or personally: essentially, so it signifies the nature of God; the pure perfect spirituality of that blessed Spirit : So it is said, John 4. 24. God is a Spirit. But most frequently it is taken in the other sense, personally; that is, to signify the person known by that name; the third in the Godhead who by eternal spiration proceeds from the Father and Son. That which I at present design is to speak of this blessed Spirit, the parent of this great production, as such ; and therefore shall not so much discourse to you concerning the Spirit absolutely considered ; as in this relation, or as the author of this work wrought in the spirits of men.
What we are to conceive of it, as it is a subsistence in the Godhead; or what its agency and operations may be, between the Father and Son; or what the kind and nature of that eternal Spirit is, and by what way it collectively proceeds from both, we are left very much in the dark, as being things of less concernment to us. But what is of more importance to us, we find more clearly, and expressly spoken of, that is, how we are to con
* Preached December 5th, 1677. at Cordwainer's Hall.
sider it in relation to the creation. And so we are taught most evidently to look upon it as the great author of all those infiuences and operations, which are properly attributable to God, or any where have place throughout the whole creation ; whether we speak of the old creation or the new; and both within the sphere of nature and grace.
Within the sphere of nature it must be acknowledged the author of universal nature, howsoever diversified, and in whatsoever creatures, and must be conceived to have influenced, and still to influence, all the creatures, both in the works of creation and providence. Both these are manifestly attributed to the Spirit of God in Scripture. It was said in the creation to be upon the waters, (Gen. 1.. 2.) to be every where infusing its vital influence, through the chaos which was then to be formed and digested, and put into order. By it the world is as it were new created every day; thou sendest forth thy Spirit, and they are created ; and renewest the face of the earth, Psal. civ. 30. And by his Spirit the Lord doth garnish the heaven, as well as renew the face of the earth, Job. 26. 13. So that we do not need to seek after another distinct spirit of nature, much less an irrational and unintelligent one, as some fancy; yea, pagan light hath gone so far in some, as to understand it to be a mind, and intelligent spirit which doth every where diffuse formative, and governing influence, through this great creation. And being by its nature immense, it is every where at hand to answer every such purpose which the exigence of the case in order to the creature's renewing, doth require. But our greater and more direct concern is to consider it as the author of all operations, within the sphere of grace, and the new creation, This is it which the text doth manifestly intend, that is, to be the operator in that great work by which men are to be new formed, for that new and other kingdom, which God is raising up to himself in this world, out of the ruins of that kingdom of nature, which he hath, and still holds over all. And we must understand it 10 be with great propension, and the highest pleasure, that this blessed Spirit hath undertaken, and doth perform this so important work; if we consider it under the name and style of the Spirit of grace, as it is called Heb. 10. 29. It takes itself to be despited when the truth is not received, or when it is rejected, and men revolt from it; which is the great instrument by which this work of the Holy Ghost is to be effected and wrought upon the spirits of men. As
know there can be done to none a greater despite than to cross them in a design, upon which they are intent and unto which they are carried by a strong propension and inclination of mind. Here lies the emphasis and high pitch of aggravation and the malignity of this
wickedness, that the Spirit of all goodness and benignity and love and sweetness is despited by them: They can find nothing else to turn the spite upon, but the Spirit of grace: Consider it under this character, and we must understand this work to be undertaken by it with the greatest propension, and performed with the highest pleasure. Looking down upon this forlorn world, and beholding all things waste, and ruin: nature in the best master piece of the creation, grown degenerous, depraved, a poisonous and horrid thing; why, pity and compassion has been stirred up to the world, and that immense Spirit hath gone forth full of love and goodness ; full of vital influence, being designed to the office of doing a blessed work, here and there, whererer it finds its work to lie; and that the new creation might be made to spring up out of the wastes and desolations of the old. As a Spirit of grace we must understand it very intent upon this work and highly pleased with it.
And as a Spirit of power, we must suppose it to go on in this work with efficacy, and to crown it with most certain and glorious success. It will not be bamed out of its work, or suffer itself to be put besides its office, unto which it hath been designed and appointed, for so happy a purpose. And wherever it is that we find the state of souls bettered, and any thing done to form and prepare meet sùbjects for God's kingdom ; we are most manifestly taught to ascribe all such work to this blessed Spirit. It is his appropriate office to refine the spirits of men to that pitch, as that they may be capable of their own name again ; that is to be called spirit, when the whole man before, is called flesh, till this divine work pass upon it.
This will be evident by considering the several parts of this work; and you can instance in none whereunto the Spirit of God is not entitled. Is holy light and knowledge a part? This Spirit is, upon that account, called the Spirit of knowledge, Isa. 11. 2. The Spirit of wisdom and revelation; Eph. 1. 17 This is iinplied in the following words ; The eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that you may know the hope of your calling. is again, faith a part of this work? as certainly it is; for they who believe are said to be, born not of flesh nor of blood, or of the will of man but of God. John 1. 13. Why in reference hereto, it is styled, the Spirit of faith. 2 Cor. 1. 13. We having the same spirit of faith; that is, the same with David who is quoted there; we believe and therefore speak. It is plainly signified to us, that this saine Spirit is always employed as a Spirit of faith, and works uniformly from age to age; so that just as it wrought in David at so many hundred years distance, so it wrought in Paul. Is again, love a part of this work in the souls of men? It is styled in Scripture the Spirit of love. 2 Tim. 1. 7. He hath given us the Spirit of love. That pure and holy love by which the soul unites with God, becomes devoted to him, enjoys solace, and satisfies itself in him. And again, is hope a part of it? Why it is attributed to this same Spirit: christians do abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost, Rom. 15. 13. Again, is joy a part, and principle in this new creation? That is called
joy in the holy Ghost, Rom. 14. 17. Is meekness a part? This same Spirit upou that account is called, the Spirit of meekness, Gal. 6. 1. If that is understood to signify the habit of meekness in the soul of a christian ; yet that connotes a reference to this Spirit as the author of that gracious frame and disposition, and the name itself might congruously enough be understood of the blessed Spirit itself, as such a work is under the power and dominion of that Spirit, who is herein the Spirit of meekness in those in whom it is wrought. Is the fear of the Lord a part ? It is called the Spirit of the fear of the Lord, which rests upon him who is the rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch growing out of his roots. Isa. 11. 1. And it is the same Spirit, and under the same characters, which is given to all who are united to him; and anointed with the same Spirit. If you would have sundry such particulars as have been mentioned together, you have an enumeration somewhat distinct, Gal. 5. 22. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.
take what is more summary and comprehensive, and contains all such particulars together? Holiness is of such a comprehensive nature : and it is called the Spirit of holiness, Rom. 1. 4. And the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth: that universal rectitude which ever comes to have place in the spirits of any. You have the equivalent of it in another expression; it is called the Spirit of a sound mind. 2 Tim. 1.7. Which signifies an entire good habit of soul in all kinds and respects; or that renovation of soul by which a man becomes a new man. So we are renewed in the Spirit of the mind, putting off the old man, and putting on the new. Eph. 4. 23, 24.
But if you go to the transcendental attributes, as I may call them, of this new creature, you have them still referred to this Spirit. Life is such a one; for that is capable of being spoken of every gracious principle; it is lively faith, and lively hope, &c. Why, this is the Spirit of life, which gives life. 2 Cor. 3. 6. Power is such another; for that is also capable of being spoken of every grace, it may be more or less powerful. There is the power of faith, the strength of love and hope, &c. And it is called the Spirit of power, in reference hereunto, 2 Tim. 1.7.