« PreviousContinue »
able Trinity, with regard to essence, knowledge, power, and effectual operation.
xxiv. To these attributes add OMNISCIENCE. “ The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things “ of God. For what man knoweth the things of a “ man, save the spirit of man, which is in him. Even “ so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spi“ of God.” Observe, 1st, That the Spirit of God knows “ all things” absolutely. 2dly, That he knows even “ the deep things of God,” the most hidden mysteries of his essence and perfections, and the secrets of the divine counsels. 3dly, That he knows them as exactly as if he had searched them with great care." 4thly, That he knows the most secret counsels of God as his own counsels, just as the mind of a man knows the things of a man. 5thly, That all these are evidences of a knowledge entirely Divine. It is the prerogative of God only to know the deep things of the human heart;* how much more to know the deep things of God ?y
In fine, the Apostle, in a passage which we have explained above,attributes to the Spirit, the most SOVEREIGN WILL, and OMNIPOTENT POWER.
xxv. From Divine attributes, let us proceed to Divine Works. Of these, the first that demands our notice, is CREATION. Creation doth truly claim God as its Author, since it is the work of God alone, and even his immediate work.a It is ascribed, however, to
the Holy Spirit, and that in reference both to the world in general, and to man in particular. With respect to the world in general, we find it written : “ The
Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters."b The metaphor is taken from birds, which brood upon their nests, and hatch their young by the genial heat they communicate. The Spirit of God thus brooded on the shapeless mass, and by his influence rendered it productive of so vast a multitude of beautiful creatures. “ He warmed and quickened the face of the waters,” says Basil,* “ in a manner resembling that of a bird brooding on its nest.” The Talmudists
The Talmudists express the same thing in the following terms :—“ Like a dove “ which sits upon her young, nor injures, whilst she “ touches them.”+ Solomon Jarchi, too, has similar expressions on this passage.
And the symbolical Theology of the Egyptians, which represents the world as proceeding from God, like an egg, perhaps took its rise from this metaphor. We read also in Job; “ • By “ his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens.”d
The creation of man, who has been termed the little world in contradistinction to the great world around him, is likewise ascribed to the Holy Spirit. « The
Spirit of God hath made me,” says Elihu, “ and the “ breath of the Almighty hath given me life.”e
XXVI. REGENERATION is also the work of God only. It is a new creation accomplished by the command of his will ;f and as to real efficiency, it is like
Συνεθαλπε και ζωογονει την των υδατων φυσιν, κατα την εικονα της it wasons éguides. Heraem. Homil. ii. + Chagiga, cap. ii. fol. 15. b Gen. i. 2.
• Comp. Deut. xxxii. 11.
wise an immediate operation of God; for the means employed have only a moral influence. But this also is the work of the Divine Spirit. “ Except a man be “ born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into “ the kingdom of God.”g Here “ water" either denotes the same thing with the Spirit of God,h or baptism, which the Apostle calls “ the washing, the laver, “ of regeneration;"i and which, however, as its operation is only moral, derives all its virtue from the Spirit of God. Or perhaps " water” refers to natural generation, as in the following passage : “Hear ye this, O “ house of Jacob, which --- are come forth out of the “ waters of Judah.”j Beside that natural generation by which a man is born of water, another is necessary, namely, that supernatural one, by which a spiritual man is born of the Spirit. The scope of all these interpretations is the same. They all tend to show that the Spirit of God is the author of our regeneration. We read also of “ the renewing of the Holy Ghost;"k and it is said, “ The Spirit giveth life.”ı
XXVII. SANCTIFICATION, in like manner, is the work of God only.m But this work also is ascribed to the Spirit: “ And I will put my Spirit within you, “ and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them.”n
« Ye are sanc“ tified,” says the Apostle, “ by the Spirit of our God :"0 and again, “ God hath from the beginning chosen you " to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit.”p
& John üi. 5, 6.
• 1 Cor. vi. 11.
h See Is. xliv. 3.
And that none may imagine that the Spirit, like the word, is merely an instrumental cause of sanctification, let it be observed, that the Spirit sanctifies us in one respect, and the word in another; for the moral efficacy of the word depends entirely on the supernatural and efficacious operation of the Spirit. Hence the Spirit with his operations, is joined with the word, and yet distinguished from the word.,
xxvii. In fine, to perform MIRACLES by his own power, is the work of God only: “ Blessed be the Lord “ God, the God of Israel, who only doeth wondrous
things.” But the Holy Spirit doeth such things by his own power; for the Apostle speaks of “ mighty
signs, and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of “ God.” Nay, whatever works of this sort Christ performed, he performed by the power of the Spirit, which is also his own power.
“ I cast out devils,” says he,“ by the Spirit of God.”+
xxix. We come next to treat of that Divine HoNOUR and worship which is due to the Holy Spirit. And, first, let us take notice of that religious adoration of the Spirit, which, whatever may be alleged by others to the contrary, we find both enjoined and exemplified in the sacred volume. Accordingly the following precept occurs in the Gospel of Matthew : “ Pray ye " therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send « forth labourers into his harvest." The Lord of the harvest, who thrusts forth labourers, is the Spirit of God, as we learn from Acts xiii. 2. where we find an instance of obedience to this precept. “ As they mi“ nistered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Ghost
q Is. lix. 21.
? Ps. lxxii. 18.
" Chap. ix. 38.
said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work “ whereunto I have called them." An answer is returned by the Spirit to the prayers of the prophets and teachers of the Church of Antioch; and why so, but because he was invocated by them? The Spirit also, as Lord, declares by his own authority, what he would have Barnabas and Saul to do; and asserts that it is himself who has called them to the ministry.
xxx. Nor are examples wanting. That of Paul is well known,' where he solicits grace from the Lord Jesus Christ, and love from God the Father, and in like manner, his own communications from the Holy Ghost. To the same effect is the prayer of John : “ John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace “ be unto you, and peace from him which is, and which “ was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits “ which are before his throne; and from Jesus Christ, “ who is the faithful witness,” &c. In order to illustrate this passage, we must show, first, what the seven Spirits denote; and secondly, in what manner John calls upon them. By the seven Spirits are not here intended any created spirits, either angelical or human, but the third person of the Godhead; which we infer from the consideration of the ancient symbol alluded to, as well as from the style of the sacred book of the Apocalypse. There is an allusion to the golden candlestick with its seven lamps in the tabernacle of Moses. This is plainly suggested by the following words ; “ There were seven lamps of fire burning be“ fore the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”x The tabernacle, be it observed, was a figure of the
Rev. i. 4, 5.
2 Cor. xiii. 14. * Rev. iv. 5.