OF THE ACTING OF THE HOLY GHOST IN US
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Of the acting of the Holy Ghost in us, being bestowed on us — He worketh effectually, distributeth, giveth.
Having thus declared from whence and how the Holy Ghost is given unto us as a Spirit of consolation, I come, in the next place, — 5thly. To declare what are his acting in us and towards us, being so bestowed on us and received by us. Now, here are two general heads to be considered: — (1st.) The manner and kind of his acting in us, which are variously expressed; and, (2ndly.) The particular products of his acting in our souls, wherein we have communion with him. The first is variously expressed; I shall pass through them briefly: — (1st.) He is said (“energein”) “to work effectually,” Corinthians 12:11, “All these worketh” (or effecteth) “that one and the self-same Spirit.” It is spoken there, indeed, in respect of his distribution of gifts; but the way is the same for the communication of graces and privileges.
He does it by working: which, as it evinces his personality, especially as considered with the words following, “Dividing to every man according to his will” (for to work according to will is the inseparable property of a person, and is spoken expressly of God, Ephesians 1:11); so in relation to verse 6, foregoing, it makes no less evident his Deity. What he is here said to do as the Spirit bestowed on us and given unto us, there is he said as God himself to do: “There are diversities of operations, but it is the same God which worketh all in all;” which here, in other words, is, “All these worketh that one and the self same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.”
What we have, then, from him, we have by the way of his energetical working. It is not by proposing this or that argument to us, persuading us by these or those moral motives or inducements alone, leaving us to make use of them as we can; but he works effectually himself, what he communicates of grace or consolation to us. [2ndly.] In the same verse, as to the manner of his operation, he is said “diairein”, — he divideth or distributeth to every one as he will. This of distribution adds to that of operation, choice, judgement, and freedom. He that distributes variously, does it with choice, and judgement, and freedom of will. Such are the proceedings of the Spirit in his dispensations: to one, he giveth one thing eminently; to another, another; — to one, in one degree; to another, in another. Thus are the saints, in his sovereignty, kept in a constant dependence on him. He distributes as he will; — who should not be content with his portion? what claim can any lay to that which he distributeth as he will? which is farther manifested, — [3rdly.] By his being said to give when and what he bestows. They “spake with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance,” Acts 2:4. He gave them to them; that is, freely: whatever he bestows upon us, is of his gift. And hence it is to be observed, that in the economy of our salvation, the acting of no one person does prejudice the freedom and liberty of any other: so the love of the Father in sending the Son is free, and his sending does no ways prejudice the liberty and love of the Son, but that he lays down his life freely also; so the satisfaction and purchase made by the Son does no way prejudice the freedom of the Father’s grace in pardoning and accepting us thereupon; so the Father’s and Son’s sending of the Spirit does not derogate from his freedom in his workings, but he gives freely what he gives. And the reason of this is, because the will of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is essentially the same; so that in the acting of one there is the counsel of all and each freely therein.
Thus, in general, is the manner and kind of his working in us and towards us, being bestowed upon us, described. Power, choice, freedom, are evidently denoted in the expressions insisted on. It is not any peculiar work of his towards us that is hereby declared, but the manner how he does produce the effects that shall be insisted on. (2ndly.) That which remains, in the last place, for the explanation of the things proposed to be explained as the foundation of the communion which we have with the Holy Ghost, is, — The effects that, being thus sent and thus working, he does produce; which I shall do, not casting them into any artificial method, but taking them up as I find them lying scattered up and down in the Scripture, only descending from those which are more general to those which are more particular, neither aiming nor desiring to gather all the several, but insisting on those which do most obviously occur.
Only as formerly, so now you must observe, that I speak of the Spirit principally (if not only) as a comforter, and not as a sanctifier; and therefore the great work of the Spirit towards us all our days, in the constant and continual supplies of new light, power, vigor, as to our receiving of grace from him, belonging to that head of sanctification, must be omitted.
Nor shall I insist on those things which the Comforter does in believers effect towards others, in his testifying to them and convincing of the world, which are promised, John 15:26, 16:8, wherein he is properly their advocate; but only on those which as a comforter he works in and towards them on whom he is bestowed.