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Those who reject all that is incomprehensible (to themselves) in Revelation, are still forced to believe much, concerning the Deity himself, which in point of fact they neither do, nor can understand. To mention only one point, which indeed concerns all the divine attributes, it is quite certain, notwithstanding the definitions which the most eminent philosophers have given, that the human mind can form no idea of infinity; it has no conception of anything so vast as to admit of no addition, any more than it has a conception of anything so small as to admit of no diminution.
Here then we may leave the question. We acknowledge that the Scriptures contain the assertion of certain truths, the essence and mode of which surpass our present limited comprehension. But when once we are assured that those Scriptures are indeed, what they profess to be, a revelation from God; this, to a reasonable being, constitutes no objection. Amongst other promises contained in that book of Revelation, he finds the assurance of a time to come, when he will know even as he also is known.'
Satisfied that God is able to reconcile his seeming contradictions, he confines himself within
7 1 Cor. xiii. 12.
the sphere, which is marked out for an imperfect being in a state of intellectual as well as moral discipline; he mortifies the pride of reason, as well as the violence of passion; he takes the doctrines of Scripture as he finds them, and endeavours to derive from them that comfort and support, which, when embraced with an honest singleness of heart, they never fail to impart. He is wise, not in his own conceit, but to the understanding and practice of godliness ; and he is content to be ignorant of the rest, till he shall come to that place, where the spirits of the just made perfect shall behold the Lord face to face.
I am sensible that what has now been delivered is of a more abstruse and less interesting kind than what you are accustomed to hear from this place. It is not on that account the less important. It is intended for those, who are likely to encounter the difficulties which the pride of human reason throws in the way of faith. This is not the case with the poor and humbleminded Christian, who finds the language of Scripture too plain, and its doctrines too consolatory, to think of doubting, when he has learned to believe, and adore, and be thankful.
In proportion as we can bring ourselves, by lowly thoughts and recollection of sin, and prayer for grace, to that humble and teachable frame of mind, we shall experience the Gospelthe Gospel in all its integrity and sublimity—to be the power of God unto salvation—the
and the truth, as it is in Jesus, through whom we have access by one Spirit unto the Father; through the efficacy of whose redeeming blood, entitling us to the sanctifying influences of the Spirit, we hope to believe and live as becomes his disciples and servants, and to be found meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.8
8 Col. i. 12.
THE HELP OF THE SPIRIT.
ROM. VIII. 26.
Likewise also the Spirit helpeth our infirmities; for
we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered.
If the Scripture contain no other declarations concerning the nature and agency of the Holy Spirit, and the part assigned to him in the work of man's redemption, the Christian would possess a rich treasure of knowledge and consolation in this chapter of St. Paul. The personality of the Spirit, his union with the Father and the Son, and at the same time his distinct office in the economy of the Christian covenant ; his sanctifying efficacy, his strengthening energy, his comforting influence, are there spoken of by the Apostle, in terms which are sufficient to confirm the doubtful, and to animate the fearful servant of Christ, if not to convince the unbeliever, or convert the ungodly; especially if we bear in mind, that it is not St. Paul, but the Spirit himself, who speaketh by St. Paul, bearing witness to his own attributes and powers. He is described, in this chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, as the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of Christ; as the Spirit of life, and the Spirit of light ; as the Spirit of adoption, and of holiness ; as the Spirit of intercession, and of help. And under all these characters he is spoken of as a person, (a term which in the defect of human language, when applied to the divine nature, we use as best fitted to express a distinct individual agency and manifestation of the Godhead ;) and if there were no other text in Scripture, upon which to build the doctrine of his personality, it would stand immovably upon these; Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities—The Spirit itself maketh intercession for us—He that searcheth the hearts, knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints, according to the will of God. Much more forcible is this evidence, when it is taken as a commentary upon those promises of Jesus