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labours which no sophistry can shake, no talents hope to tion it is to eradicate those weeds of error which aspire to rival, have been contented, for the most part, to refer inci- wreathe their poisonous tendrils round the fairest pillars of dentally and slightly to the being and functions of the third the sanctuary, and to chase those obscene birds of darkness Person in the Trinity, as if He, by whom we are sanctified and rapine, which from time return to scream and nestle in to life eternal, were of less moment to Christians than He, the shadow of the altar of God. by whom we are created and redeemed; or, as if the exist- It has been urged, however, (and it is an objection which, ence of the Holy Ghost were not exposed to the same, or doubtless, would apply, if to any theological subject whateven ruder assailants than have denied the Godhead of the ever, to one which, like the present, confessedly involves the Son.
most mysterious topics of Christianity), it has been urged on Nor, of the few whose inquiries are professedly directed grave authority, that the painful examination of religious mysto the assertion of the being and elucidation of the office of teries is at once unnecessary and unwise; that, while open the Holy Ghost, is there any one who has embraced so copious infidelity and open irreligion assail, with more than menaees, a view of the subject as to deny to succeeding labourers the that faith and those morals in which we are all agreed who hope of advantage in discussing its subordinate branches. assume the name of Christians, it is safer and better to forget With much of natural acuteness, and a style which, though our internal feuds in the common danger of the great confedunpolished, is seldom wearisome, Clagitt had too little learn- eracy. It is urged that the churchman, neglecting the outing to be ever profound, and too much rashness to be always works of his peculiar system, should concentrate his efforts orthodox. Where he exposes the inconsistency of the Puritan to the maintenance of those points which are really essential arguments, his work is not without a certain share of useful to salvation; that he will find sufficient employment in conness; but for the purposes of general edification we may ciliating infidels to adopt these necessary features without search his pages in vain; nor would he have preserved so the additional disgust of mystery; that to vanquish the vices Jong the share of reputation which he holds, if it had not of Christians is a nobler and easier task than that of confuting been for the circumstance that he was Owen's principal an- their heresies; and that, if the heart be insensible to the motagonist. Ridley, whose talents and acquirements have not rality of the gospel, it is to little purpose to inform the head been rewarded with the fame to which, far more than Clagitt, with the refinements of polemical divinity. he is entitled, has erred, nevertheless, in the injudicious ap- It is to this effect that Ogden reasons in his Tenth Sermon plication of heathen traditions; and both Clagitt and Ridley on the Articles of the Christian Faith; and the doctrine have altogether neglected the consideration of the office of is so favourable to the indifference of some and the indolence God's Spirit as the peculiar Comforter of Christians. of others, that we need not wonder that a very numerous pro
With those who are not members of our English Church portion of the world should regard with contempt, or dislike, Dr. Owen's voluminous work on the Spirit is held in high or pity, whatever efforts are made to understand or assert the estimation; and, in default of others, has been often recom- more intricate passages of Scripture. mended to the perusal, not of dissenters only, but of the Those who are engrossed in other cares, and those to whom younger clergy themselves. But in Owen, though his learn- all care is hateful, are alike unwilling to embark in discusing and piety were, doubtless, great, and though few have sions which involve in their very preliminaries an obligation excelled him in the enviable talent of expressing and exciting to patience and to toil; and the caution of the grave and the devotional feelings, yet have his peculiar sentiments and po- ridicule of the gay will often join their strength to bring us litical situation communicated a tinge to the general character back from these thorny labyrinths into the safe and beaten of his volume, unfavourable alike to rational belief and to common places of that general morality, of which the inhe religious charity. His arrangement is lucid; his language rent beauty attests its divine original, and which commands not inelegant; and his manner of treating the subject is at the assent and admiration of every reasonable being. least sufficiently copious. But, as he has most of the merits,. Beauty and strength, however, are not synonymous; and so has he all the imperfections characteristic of his age and it may, perhaps, be doubted, whether (to enforce those rules party; a deep and various but ill-digested reading; a tedious- of action which we are called on in our practical discourses ness of argument, unhappily not incompatible with a fre- to recommend) it be not necessary to deduce their obligation quent precipitancy of conclusion; a querulous and censorious from those very mysterious truths whose discussion is thus tone in speaking of all who differ from him in opinion; while interdicted. The Almighty himself is a better judge than his attempt to reconcile the Calvanistic doctrine of irresistible any one of his creatures, what propositions respecting his grace with the conditional promises of the gospel, may be own essence and his intercourse with men, are advisable or placed, perhaps, among the most unfortunate specimens of necessary for men to know. If we have really any means of reasoning which have ever found readers or admirers.* ascertaining his intentions in these respects, it must be by
Of recent authors, where blame would be invidious, and the observation of what truths are revealed in Seripture; where it would seem presumptnous to bestow commendation, nor has our Maker ever shown himself so prodigal of the tree I may be excused from saying more than that the plan of the of knowledge, as to induce us to believe that any thing is prese Lectures will be found to differ materially from any thus revealed which it does not greatly concern us to exwith which I am yet acquainted. There is another, how- amine. ever, and a greater name than all whom I have noticed, whose The assumption, then, on which the whole of those arguDoctrine of Grace (those parts at least which belong not to ments proceed, which seek to deter us from all discussion of temporary fanaticism and factions best forgotten,) must ever the Christian mysteries, in itself is, apparently, such as no be accounted, so far as its subject extends, in the number of system can safely repose on. For, if it be shown that the those works which are the property of every age and country, knowledge of such truths is important to man, and their imand of which, though succeeding critics may detect the hu- portance may be fairly inferred from the circumstance that man blemishes, the vigour and originality will remain, per-God has thought fit to make them know to his creatures), il haps, unrivalled.
this importance be demonstrated, it must follow that, on this But, on the Personality and Deity of the Holy Ghost, the ground alone, it is our duty to state them fully and fairly to genius of Warburton is silent; and that occasional rashness, mankind, without perplexing ourselves farther as to their abwhich is the attendant curse on conscious power, has des-solute necessity, or attempting to decide how far or in what troyed, in his writings, that uniform and wary accuracy which manner the ignorant or incredulous may be saved or punished. alone can so far occupy the ground as to preclude the ne-To us these truths are revealed, for we acknowledge them; cessity of additional illustration or inquiry. "On ground like and, if they are parts of that revelation of which we are, prothis, indeed, (the most fertile, perhaps, in tares, and the most fessedly, God's messengers to the world, it remains to be liable to invasion of any in the Evangelical heritage,) our shown on what pretence we conceive ourselves at liberty to labours can never be superfluous; nor are they to be despised, intercept or suppress any part of our commission ; what right who bear, with whatever strength or fortune, their efforts and we can plead to establish a distinction which God has, cerofferings to the common stock of knowledge and virtue ; who, tainly, not appointed between esoteric and exoteric Christifollowing the path of more illustrious adventurers, beat down, anity. as they revive, the hydra heads of sopbistry; whose occupa- We are told, indeed, that it is incumbent on Christians of
all classes and denominations to sink their minor differences * By a portion of our patrons, the sentiments contained in this revelation in which all acknowledge themselves concerned,
in the common and glorious defence of those leading truths of but as the main design of the work is the vindication of truths in and which infidelity has attacked with a violence which calls which all evangelical Christians agree, we shall not, we trust, in on the united efforts of all to repel. consequence of its selection, incur the charge of forgetting our If there be any meaning in this assertion, it must be that, pledge to " carefully avoid sectarianism.”—Ed. Ch. Lib. until the opposers of Revealed Religion in general are answered, it is unwise and unchristian to enter into the discus-fanity, before we call on our convert to agree with us in the sion of any topic on which all Christians are not agreed. And consequences which, according to our opinion, those elemento for this restriction, (which, if it be allowed at the present involve. But though the being of a God, the truth of the moment, must, to all human appearance, continue in force till Mosaic history, the miracles of Christ, his death and resurthe final victory of Christ in the valley of Armageddon), forrection, are positions which are primarily necessary to the this restriction two reasons are alleged; the first, that the profession of Christianity, yet are they first in succession, defence of universal Christianity is more necessary than the not first in consequence; first as the foundation of the rest, detail of its subordinate features; the second, that the not first as of more practical importance than that superstructheathen and infidel are scandalized by our divisions, and that are for whose sake the foundation itself, in fact, is laid. we cannot make converts to a religion of which the leading And, though it may be inexpedient to introduce such tenets are, even with ourselves, the subject of doubt and dis- topics out of their place, it would be a lamentable want both putation.
of.candour and courage to deny them when imputed to us; But unless it can be proved, that the service of no single or, when called on to give an account of our faith, to soften Jabourer can be spared, even a moment, from defending the away its peculiaralities for the sake of cheating mankind boundary of the common vineyard, though it be to root out into a nominal Christianity. All which is implied in St. the tares which threaten to make that vineyard little worth Paul's expression of milk for babes in Christ, is no more than defending; unless a necessity can be shown that every ser- the necessity of advancing first the simplest propositions in mon which we preach, and every essay which we publish, a chain of argument; and the same St. Paul, who, of all should be devoted to the confutation of deism, this argument men, had a spirit most truly catholic, and whose converts can hardly be considered as worth a serious answer.
were of all Christian teachers the most numerous, was not We do not consider ourselves as called upon to settle the more active in extending the limits of the faith, than in precedence of duties of which, as we contend, neither the one repressing the domestic errors of those who had already emnor the other should be neglected. We do not pretend to braced it. derogate from the merited honours of those illustrious vindi- What is, indeed, (we may reasonably inquire,) what is the cators of our common faith, within whose scope and compass practice which these zealots for universal Christianity recomit did not fall to notice the shades of difference which unfor- mend to the several sects who call themselves by the name tunately prevail among the professed disciples of our Mes- of Jesus? The suppression, on one part and on the other, of siah.
truths which we severally believe to be divine; the admission But this we do maintain, and we maintain it, as we appre- of practices or opinions which our hearts regard as contrary hend, on every principle both of reason and revelation, that to the gospel which we profess to teach! And of such a he who honestly and earnestly, and in the spirit of Christian sacrifice what is to be the object or the end? To impose on meekness, contends for any single circumstance of revealed a few ignorant deists, (if any deists are indeed so ignorant religion, is as laudably though not so conspicuously diligent as to be thus imposed on,) by the appearance of a false unanin his master's service, as those superior spirits whose wis- imity among ourselves, and to recommend to their acceptdom and experience have battled with the rage of the pagan ance, as the common faith of Christians, a mutilated and disdragon, or unravelled the serpentine wiles of atheistic seduc- figured religion, deprived of every peculiar feature which can tion.
distinguish it from natural deism, every discovery of God's But further : the argument which is thus deduced, a majore will or nature which could furnish an adequate motive for the et instantiore periculo, requires the supposition of a case, preaching or sufferings of his Son! which, if it be not impossible in itself, has never been for a It may seem, then, if it be truly asserted, (which, however, moment possible since the first promulgation of Christianity ; has never yet been proved,) that unbelievers are chiefly dethat the individual to whom it is applied is the solitary de- terred from Christianity by the mysterious features of our fender of our common faith, and of his own peculiar confess-system-it may seem the best and wisest (as it is surely the ion. It supposes that the deist and atheist have never yet most candid) method of addressing them, instead of softening received a sufficient answer to their objections; that if we, down those obnoxious truths, which are not less true because unfit as we may conceive ourselves for such a struggle, do they are obnoxious, to state with calmness and sincerity the not buckle on our armonr for this particular quarrel, and to the grounds on which we ourselves have been induced to believe neglect of every other Scriptural inquiry, we shall find, like the them. warriors of Ai, that our successes in other quarters have The result of such a statement must be committed to that only served to draw as farther from the defence of our cita- God who will not suffer his altars to be approached with undel; that, while we chase the socinian on one side, the more hallowed fire; in whose eyes deceit is no more a justifiable formidable deist advances on the other; and that we shall method of conversion than violence; who rejects alike the be called, ere long, from the exultation of fancied victory, by forgery of pretended miracle and the dissimulation of pretendthe crash of falling towers, and the smoke of our expiring ed candour; and who has pronounced an equal curse against temple.
those who add to and those who take away from the words of Yet, surely, that vanity is little short of ludicrous, which his book, the system of his revelation ! supposes itself, like Elijah, alone in an apostate world, or Not even, therefore, for the sake of converting an unbewhich apprehends that, because Quintus or Titius is enga- liever, not for the sake of saving a soul, (if it were possible ged in a subordinate skirmish, no watchmen are left upon the that a soul should by this means be saved,) is it lawful to walls of Sion. There are, God be praised, many thousands dissemble our faith. Still less, however, can their cowardice besides ourselves in Israel who have never bowed the knee or indolence expect a pardon, who, for the sake of repose, or to Baal; and while we are occupied in the assertion of any in the hope of popularity, are content to purchase the forbearportion of divine truth, we may trust without difficulty to ance of their adversaries by the abandonment of doctrines the Lord of all, that defenders will not be wanting to the which they still believe to be true, and desert what they are general interests of his cause.
apt to term the outworks of Christianity, for the sake, as H και ενοι ταδε παντα μελεί
they tell us, of defending its citadel more effectually. Such
men it may, perhaps, be useful to remind, that concession, as was the answer of Hector to the proposal of Andromache, a sign of weakness, is in worldly affairs regarded as an inthat he should concentrate his forces to the defence of what centive to fresh assault; and that to press hard on the heels was most valuable in Ilium; and their apprehensions, who of a retiring adversary is a maxim as well in polemics as in suppose that in the din of controversy the Scæan gate will war. But in fact we can pretend no right to compromise or be taken by surprise, have more of feminine weakness than suppress any single circumstance of that which is in Scripture of that soldierly watchfulness, which is content to maintain impressively denominated “the entire counsel of God," and with unshaken courage the post allotted to his particular it is our duty to contend earnestly for the whole of that truth care, and commits the rest to that great Captain of his salva- which was originally delivered to the saints. tion whose eye embraces every part and region of the battle. Let me not, however, be mistaken. There is an unanimity
The second assertion, that it is best to be silent on the to which every Christian is bound, (and of which that holy subordinate features of difference among Christians, lest the and honourable name is the pledge and only boundary,) the heathen or the infidel should hesitate to listen even to those unanimity of good offices and affection. Where our best enpositions in which we are all agreed, may be sufficiently deavours fail to prevent religious disunion, where difference answered by the admission, that, in controversy with the is unavoidable, it is in our power, at least, to differ charitably. heathen, we by no means recommend an undue or unseason- If we cannot pray together, we may, at least, do good in able protrusion of controverted points; and that it may be company; and our reverence for those common principles doubtless, wise to establish firmly the clements of Christi- whose truth we acknowledge, though, in our opinion, they do
not constitute the whole of that truth which is in Christ, will tinued to haunt the mansion of religious controversy from the lead us to rejoice in their diffusion, however and by whomso-days of Tertullian down to those of Calvin, from Marcion to ever accomplished. Where disunion is needless, we cannot Servetus, and from Jerome to Bellarmine. be too catholic; but to sacrifice on the altar of pretended Nor need we wonder that portals occupied by such a garliberality those distinctive circumstances from which our in- rison should be seldom and reluctantly trodden by those who dividual hope is drawn; to weaken the hands of those who have been permitted to wander amid the bowers of philosothink with us, and to confirm by our example the rest in their phy, to trace in the works of nature the evidence of almighty deadly error; this is a conduct more criminal than the worship goodness; or whose warfare has been carried on with the of Naaman in the house of Rimmon, inasmuch as our know- common enemies of the Christian name, not those who differ ledge is more perfect than that of the Syrian chief, and the only in their interpretation of the divine authorities to which mercy which we have received is greater.
both we and they look up with equal reverence. It has been objected, lastly, that the time which we bestow What is necessary, however, must sometimes be underon these abstruser subjects is far more than commensurate to gone; and the safety of our brethren, no less than the same their practical importance and utility; that morality suffers authority and example of the apostles, calls on us to observe while we concentrate all our force for the expulsion of error; the errors of our misguided friends with as keen attention and that the heads of our disciples are engrossed with barren as the open malice of our enemies; to repress the domestic mysteries, while their hearts are hardened or unimproved. seditions of the Christian church, as well as to labour in the
This argument, it is plain, proceeds on an assumption no extension and progress of her empire. less preposterous than that which I have already noticed. It Nor must it be forgotten, that to unreasonable violence, or is assumed, that there are no preachers of the gospel besides uncharitable imputations, religious discussion is not more nehim who now enlarges on its mysteries, or that it is his un- cessarily liable than any other question in which the happivarying practice to confine himself to doctrinal discussions, ness or interests of mankind are deeply involved. The syswithout ever insisting on those moral inferences to which tems of philosophy, the inventions of medicine, are in our own every doctrine of genuine Christianity, will, if properly dis- times debated with as much of acrimony as the abstrusest cussed, conduct him.
doctrines of religion. The senate and the bar have had their For, so far is the assertion incorrect, that a contemplation bigots and fanatics as fiery as ever disgraced the altar; and of the mysteries of Christianity is unfavourable to the Chris- examples have not been wanting in the more illustrious adtian character, that, if it be more philosophical and more effica- vocates of our own and foreign churches, which have demoncious to furnish motives than rules for conduct; if it be possible strated that zeal and wrath are not always inseparable, and to purify the passions by employing them on the worthiest that it is possible to defend the truths of Christianity or the objects, and by contemplation of the Divine perfections to sacred institutions of our ancestors, without forfeiting that raise the soul, in some sort, to the Deity; no surer way can charity which is to religion what the ark of the covenant was be found to improve and strengthen the spiritual part of our of old to the Temple of God. nature, than the gratification of that natural and laudable curi- And to this effect the following canons will, perhaps, be osity after things unseen, by which the soul of man, as if found to contribute. conscious of her future destiny, delights to expatiate, so far First, That a perspicuous distinction be made, both in the as advance is possible, in those boundless fields of inquiry statement of our subject and the degree of earnestness with which are connected with the ways and attributes of the Al- which we pursue its investigation, between truths which are mighty, the secrets of his government, and his intercourse really divine and eternal, and those institutions which are with our intellectual being.
only of human authority, or, at most, of temporary expedieney. Such inquiries, conducted with becoming modesty, may be Secondly, That no opinion be imputed to our adversary expected at once to elevate and to humble the soul; to elevate which he himself disclaims, not even if such opinion should her powers by exercising them on the noblest objects; to appear to be fairly deducible from premises which he achumble her self-estimation by the sense of those narrow limits knowledges. which must confine her hardiest flight, by the comparison For, though the argument ab ubsurdo be a very powerful eternally presented to hier notice, between finite and infinite and legitimate instrument in the war of words; and though wisdom.
it is not only useful but charitable to point out to our brethSpiritual pride, indeed, and metaphysical pedantry can ren and to the world the natural consequences of an erroneous only arise from, and are certain symptoms of, speculations doctrine : yet, if such consequences be disclaimed by our annot carried sufficiently far, inquiry too soon contented. They tagonist, we have a right indeed to argue from his inconsistwho skim the surface may think that all is known to them; ency against his ability to guide the faith of other men; but but he who strives to sound the depths of ocean may receive, we have no right to accuse him of insincerity, or to maintain it is true, a rich repayment of his time and labour; but must that, because our inference is logical, he must necessarily desist at last with a feeling very different from pride. Our see it in the same light with ourselves. We may caution finite successes shrink into nothing when brought in contact his followers against the blindness of their guide, but it is with immensity, and we cannot rejoice that we have pene- more reasonable, as well as more Christian, to believe that trated so far without recognizing the weakness which has his blindness is real, than affected. prevented our proceeding farther.
Thirdly, It is fitting that we never advance an argument to Yet is not the sense of weakness which we experience convince or confute our antagonist, of the force of which we in such an inquiry in itself either painful or degrading. The are not ourselves well satisfied. Even as worldly advocates excellencies of a beloved object may be contemplated not only such a practice is unwise, since the unsoundness of a single with wonder, but delight; the lustre of a benefactor is re-pillar may subvert the noblest temple; and since one detected flected on those who are the objects of his beneficence, and sophism will do more injury to our cause than many good arwe ourselves become in some short identified with that great-guments can repair. But the practice is distinguished from ness and glory which is exerted in our protection and happi- absolute falsehood by shades so nearly imperceptible, that ness. The more we are sensible of the intercourse between we may be very sure the cause of divine truth ean neither God and his creatures, the stronger may our faith be expect- require nor tolerate so weak and disgraceful an auxiliary. ed to become, our gratitude the more lively. We shall feel This rule will naturally extend to the exclusion of all those ourselves elevated the more above earthly wants or wishes; vulgar arts of controversy, those arguments expressly and and that which philosophy vainly boasted to perform, will be solely intended to captivate the multitude, those inapplicable the daily and hourly effect of religious meditation. citations of Scripture, and those appeals to human prejadice
But, though the advantages of a continued contemplation or passion which, unhappily, occupy too large a space in alof the Deity be thus conspicuous, it must not be dissem- nuost every controversy which has arisen since the time of the bled that those polemical discussions, by which we guard apostles. and vindicate the distincter features of that faith on which the But the offence is yet more flagrant when we descend to the Christian delights to dwell, are rough with the thorns of hu- retailing of uncertain and offensive rumours; when we refer man passion, and beset with the rocks and precipices of to documents of which the falsehood has been already proved, earthly pride. The chicane of argument; the boast of vic- or which we cannot but ourselves confess to be unsupported tory: the pertinacious rejoinder of unacknowledged discomfi- by adequate evidence. ture; the personal dislike which transfers to our adversary Of such misconduct a lamentable instance is afforded by a that detestation which should be confined to his doctrine; man no less renowned and admirable than the great Angusambition lurking under the cloak of zeal, and vanity not la- tine himself, who is not ashamed, in his dispute with Faustus, bouring for the cause of truth, but declaiming in the hope of to take advantage of the popular slanders against the followtriumph; these are some few of the fiends which have con- ers of Manes, though his own experience (for he had himself been of the sect) was sufficient to detect their falsehood. And the superstitions of Greece and Syria, he proclaimed himin later times, that we may omit those darker charges to self boldly the successor and substitute of the Messiah ; and which particular sects have been rashly exposed, (charges applied to his own person, according to some authorities, which the most positive testimony alone can justify, and (but, if we follow others, to that of his confederate and miswhich it was, a priori, in the highest degree improbable that tress, Helena,) the character of the Incarnate Paraclete. any Christian sect could deserve ;) in later times the Roman- The Heresiarch Manes was, in like manner, accused, and ists have, in spite of repeated and satisfactory answers, con-Montanus, doubtless, accused with justice, of assuming the tinued to urge against our church the romance of Parker's same lofty title; nor did the followers of Mohammed omit to consecration, while we ourselves are not altogether guiltless apply to their master so convenient an assertion of that Jesus of falsely imputing to their public formularies the systematic wliom he acknowledged to have been the greatest among the omission of that commandment which we make the second in prophets and saints of the Most High. the Decalogue.
Against all such claims, however, our Saviour has himself Nor is the impropriety of these doubtful charges diminished, provided, by inserting a clause in explanation of his promise if they are advanced on the authority of others, while we cau- which effectually precludes all possibility of perverting his tiously abstain from expressing any opinion of our own as to expressions to a mortal prophet or a second incarnation of the their truth or falsehood. If we believe them, why hesitate, Deity. That clause, I mean, where he defines the novel term with becoming firmness, to avow our conviction to the world ? of Paraclete by one which was familiar already to his disciIf we do not believe them, why are they advanced at all ? ples and their countrymen: the Holy Ghost, or Spirit of God. Why, if it be not in the hope that our hearers may be con- " The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father vinced by those arguments which have failed to convince our- will send in my name." selves; that they may be induced to lean their confidence on A title this, which we evidently cannot, with any degree that broken reed of which our keener eyes cannot but detect of propriety, apply to a human or corporeal teacher; but it is the insecurity ?
also as evident, on the face of the assertion, and according to Lastly, If we desire to avoid that bitterness of spirit which its literal tenor, that not only a spiritual effect or influence, the obstinacy of a defeated, or the triumph of a more artful but an intelligent and personal agent is intended, by whom opponent is likely to kindle in our breasts, it is necessary to those graces were to be dispensed which should entitle him impress the mind with a thorough conviction of the very tri- to the name of Comforter. fling importance of any single controversy in determining the
It is, therefore, in the first place concluded, that the Holy faith of Christendom; the very small effect which our la- Ghost is an existence or an intelligent person. bours, even if most successful, might reasonably hope to pro
But, secondly, there are many passages of Scripture in duce on the opinions of the world ; and the firm reliance which the person thus designated is adorned with the most which our faith should teach us in the ultimate triumph of striking and tremendous attributes of Deity. He is spoken true religion, though ourselves may not be among the appoint-of as omnipresent, as all-knowing; to lie to him is to lie to ed instruments by whose toils that triumph is to be purchased. God; to blaspheme him is a crime the most awful in its guilt
If with these impressions and resolutions we enter on the and consequences of which human nature is capable; and the defence of truth, nothing else remains but a constant and stu- inspiration of the prophets, which is in some passages of dious comparison of our several positions with the final au-Scripture imputed to the Holy Ghost, is, in others, ascribed thority of Scripture, and an earnest and continual prayer to to the Almighty. Hence, therefore, it is argued that the God that he would preserve in our hearts and our recollections Comforter is also God. those sacred principles, and that heavenly temper, without
Thirdly, we read in the same clause of our Saviour's prowhich it may be possible to cast out devils in the name of mise which identifies the Comforter with the Holy Ghost, the Lord, and yet to find ourselves hereafter among those of that this Divine and Almighty Person was to be sent by the whom that gracious Lord will be ashamed in the presence of Father in the name of his Son. And, as the Person sent is, his Father of the holy angels.
according to the necessary tenor of the expression, distinct With these preliminary observations I now proceed to in- from the sender, we deduce from hence the third particular of vestigate the promise which, in the words prefixed to this our belief respecting his nature, that he is a Person distinct discourse, our Saviour communicated to his disciples; in from God the Father. which discussion, it should seem, the following questions are
But, fourthly, as the unity of the Divine Essence is a truth naturally and necessarily involved.
so strongly and repeatedly disclosed in Scripture that we It may, first, be demanded, who was that Comforter whom cannot deny it without at once renouncing the entire volume Jesus thus engages to send ?
of God's Revelation, we conclude that the Holy Ghost, no Secondly, Whether the promise of his aid were confined less than the Word or Son of God, is, in some mysterious to the apostles only, or whether all believers in Christ in that manner, at once distinct from, and united with, the Father; and every succeeding age of the church have reason to believe and that in these Hypostases or Persons, the one Almighty themselves included ?
Spirit inseparably and eternally resides. Thirdly, Wherein that aid should consist which was thus What further grounds we have to confirm us in these opingraciously promised by our Lord ?
ions, or how far our religious antagonists have succeeded in Of these inquiries, the first, or that which respects the per-establishing a different interpretation, must be the subject of son of the Paraclete, would, at certain periods of ecclesiasti- the following discourses; in which each of those deductions cal history, have been attended with difficulties which have from Scripture which compose, on this article of our faith, long since ceased to operate, in proportion as the errors from the ordinary confession of Christians, shall, in their turns, be which they arose have disappeared from the face of Christi- discussed and asserted. anity, or have so far purified themselves from their original grossness as to assume a less offensive forın, and a malignancy less perilous.
of those false Christs whose coming our Saviour foretold, there were some, it is said, who availed themselves of the character of the expected Paraclete to destroy or supersede that
LECTURE II. Freligion which the apostles had diffused through the world ; who advanced against Christianity under the name of its ap- Nevertheless, I tell you the truth ; it is expedient for you that I go pointed defenders, and assumed to themselves the impious away, for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; power of explaining and amending that system of mercy and of but if I depart, I will send him unto you.—John xvi. 7. power which, as the final dispensation of his will, had been confirmed by God through innumerable signs and miracles. It was asserted in my former sermon on these words of
Even in the life-time of the apostles, and in those regions Christ, that in the name and character of a Comforter, which, during our Saviour's abode on earth, had been dis- Teacher, or Advocate, (in whichever sense we choose to stinguished by his personal presence, the magician Simon understand the original word Ilagáxantos,) not only an effect (whether he were the same Samaritan whose name is men-but an agent is implied, by whom the comfort, instruction,
Lioned in the Acts of the Apostles, is nothing to my present or protection, was to be conferred on those who were its purpose) aspired to perform that part during the golden age of objects. It was not consolation which Christ undertook to Christianity, which in the days of its corruption the arch-im- send to his disciples, but a person who should console them; poster, Mohammed, 100 successfully attempted; and while it was not security, but a guardian; and one who should dethe preached, as a more perfect gospel than that of Jesus, fend their cause and his own amid the storms and calumnies wild and fanciful compound of evangelical truth, with of the world.
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This was the sense, no doubt, in which those impostors found, of him, not of 17,-of a person, not a thing or inaniunderstood the promise, who themselves, as we have already mate substance. “I will send,” are his words in the proseen, assumed the name and character of him whom Jesus mise which has given occasion to these discourses, “I will foretold; and this, as our antagonists are compelled to ac- send him unto you”-aérefW ATTON após úpās. Kai in far knowledge, is the obvious, at least, and literal meaning of ixsîvos, (does our Lord proceed with an accuracy of expressthe expression.
ion of which the slightest knowledge of Greek is safficient If the letter, then, of God's word, were to decide our pre- to make us sensible,) 'Ex Jür freivos éréz Eu Tôn xáopov.” “When sent question, that question would be thus far decided already. He cometh, he will reprove the world." But, more than all, It might still, indeed, admit of doubt, (for it is a doubt which in a sentence almost immediately following, (as if to exclude belongs to a different period of the inquiry,) to what rank in all such material or degrading notions as might be prompted the scale of spiritual existence the Paraclete is to be referred. by the material nature of that wind or breath by a comparison The Sabellian who identifies his Person with that of the with which the operations of the Holy Ghost are illustrated), Almighty Father, the Arian and Mohammedan who regard we find again the masculine pronoun employed, though him as a created Intelligence, might still advance their sepa- coupled with a neuter substantive. The words, which are rate claims on our attention, and each support his own hy- rendered in our translation, “when he the Spirit of Truth pothesis as to the nature of the person intended. But that shall come,” are, in the original, "ÖTAV de la In exincs to the Holy Spirit was, in the language of schools, an ens, not Ilvajec zvs 'Ain Sids.” EKEINOI TO IINEYMA! How can this an accident; an agent, not an action; an actual being, not a be explained, unless we admit that, under the name of Wind, quality or mode of existence; would remain in the number of an intelligent person, not a material substance, was shathose truths of which the application indeed may vary, but dowed by the Son of God? of which the reality is placed by common consent beyond the After this it may seem, perhaps, superfluous to urge on reach of argument or cavil.
your attention, that it would be absurd and unnatural to asAccordingly, those Christian sects who deny the Spirit's sert of a bodily and insensible agent, that “as he was to personality, are compelled to understand the Scripture in a hear, so he should speak;” that such an agent could with no manner which I have too good an opinion of their critical propriety be supposed to appoint overseers in the churches of powers to apprehend that they would employ in the interpre-Asia or Achaia; that Ananias could not with reason be actation of any other work whatever, and to resolve those excused of attempting to deceive an afflatus or stimulus; nor pressions, however simple in themselves, which speak of could our sins be said to grieve a being incapable alike of him as a real existence, into the airy vehicles of eastern pleasure or pain. ornament and allegory. And this resource is rendered ne- I believe, indeed, (and my opinion is not shaken by any cessary, not by the present text alone, but by many other thing which has been advanced to show the uncertain meanpassages in Scripture, in which actions and properties are ing of the word nin in the Old Testament, and of INETMA ascribed to the Spirit of God, altogether inapplicable to a in the New), I believe that the instances are very few indeed virtue or quality.
which can be found of this supposed uncertainty. It is For as the only two classes of existence, of which we have possible, and barely possible, that the celebrated passage in any conception, are those of matter and mind, so whatever is the first chapter of Genesis may admit of application to a capable of action or passion must belong to one or other of material agent. But, with this exception, no instance has these grand divisions of being. Qualities, in fact, and influ- been shown, either in the Law or the Prophets, where the ences, and powers, as they are, properly, only modes in which context makes it probable that by ons on or vipo nnya one being makes an impression on another, or itself receives one; so they have, in themselves, no real existence at all
, of the later covenant can we find, as Athanasius has well
physical motion of the air is signified. Nor, in the writings nor can they be asserted either to do or suffer any thing, except by that common but improper form of expression which observed, any single passage in which TO IINETMA TOT speaks of an accident as if it were itself an essence, and de-esor is not sufficiently distinguished from any material afla
tus whatever. scribes the manner in which an effect is produced by terms which can only, in fact, apply either to the agent or the
Accordingly, of two hypotheses, either one or the other must neces
essarily be adopted; and if we do not acknowledge recipient.
God's Spirit to be a sensible and intelligent person, we must Thus, when I say that darkness is coming on, I must not
resolve him into a metaphor. be understood as intending that the accident of darkness is
But, in all expressions not professedly parabolical, it is, e capable of motion in itself, but I mean to ascribe motion to some real existence, whose absence or presence deprives my cal meaning is that meaning which the words are intended to
priori, likely that the literal and obvious, not the metaphoripower being given, I do not mean that power in itself can be convey. Were it otherwise, the use of language would be, touched or divided; but I mean that some alteration has taken in no small degree, overthrown, and the dictates of departed
wisdom and the revelations of a merciful God would sink ioto place in my body or my mind, whereby I am enabled to perform a jargon of unmeaning sounds, cr, at least
, be degraded from name the scholars of Socinus think fit to bestow on the Com- a rule of morals and of faith into a field for the perverse and forter promised by our Lord, yet if purity, motion, power, re-unprofitable ingenuity of the lovers of enigma and allegory. sistance, if doing or suffering be predicted (and predicted they in such a case, to be reminded, that they have, of all men,
Nor is it possible that our learned adversaries can require, doubtless are) of the Spirit of God in Scripture, they must, I repeat, ascribe these accidents to some real existence material
least right to depart from the literal and obvious sense of or spiritual, or else they must maintain that our Saviour and Scripture, who themselves profess to strip religion of its his apostles have clothed an abstract idea under the form of mysteries, and to restore or reduce the gospel of Chris: to its an allegorical personage.
primitive and intelligible simplicity. That the Holy Ghost is no material substance it may seem, forgotten error of an internal sense in Scripture, if the plain
But, if this projected reformation be only a return to the perhaps, a waste of time to prove, inasmuch as I am not aware that it has been seriously maintained by any one. The ness anticipated be the plainness of a riddle, and if we are wildest anthropomorphist, the most determined organic phi
called on to acquiesce in an interpretation of the Sacred Vollosopher, will allow, I apprehend, that the expressions used ume as forced, though not so edifying, as the devout refinein Scripture can apply, if literally taken, to no other than a
ments of Jerome, the splendid dreams of Origen, or the wild being sentient and intelligent, which sense and intelligence,
but not uninteresting phrenzy of Emanuel Swedenborg; but define them in what manner we please, afford a sufficient dis- small are the gains which the multitude have reaped from the tinction from insensible or merely animal existence for the translation and dispersion of the Bible; nor will the tyranny purpose of our present argument.
long exercised by ihe knowledge of the few over the faith of
the many be less extensive or less absolute, whether the To prevent, however, any future refinement of the patrons words of life be in an unknown tongue, or in a style which of mechanism and irritation, I may be allowed to remind my is, to the vulgar, in every language, unintelligible. hearers that will, moreover, and affection, and choice, and
If it be granted, however, which even a Socinian will not authority are ascribed, in Scripture, to the Spirit of God, no deny, that the volume from which our hopes of salvation are less than the power of producing an impression on the bodies drawn is something more than a mere chain of allegories ; or minds of men. The apostles appointed, by their own that there are some facts, at least, in Scripture, simply paravowal, such laws as " seemed good unto the Holy Ghost;" | rated, and, at least, some few assertions to be taken literally; while our Saviour, in the sentence which I have chosen for it may be reasonably required that, before we concede to our my text, and in the general tenour of his other expressions antagonists the fact that any particular passage is to be unwhen speaking of the promised paraclete, speaks, it will be derstood in a figurative meaning, they shall prove to us first,