King James Bible Adam Clarke Bible Commentary Martin Luther's Writings Wesley's Sermons and Commentary Neurosemantics Audio / Video Bible Evolution Cruncher Creation Science Vincent New Testament Word Studies KJV Audio Bible Family videogames Christian author Godrules.NET Main Page Add to Favorites Godrules.NET Main Page

Bad Advertisement?

Are you a Christian?

Online Store:
  • Visit Our Store

  • BOOK 2.


    CHAPTER 1.

    PECULIAR OPERATIONS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT UNDER THE OLD TESTAMENT PREPARATORY FOR THE NEW. The work of the Spirit of God in the new creation; by some despised — Works under the Old Testament preparatory to the new creation — Distribution of the works of the Spirit — The gift of prophecy; the nature, use, and end of it — The beginning of prophecy — The Holy Spirit the only author of it — The name of a “prophet;” its signification, and his work — Prophecy by inspiration; whence so called — Prophets, how acted by the Holy Ghost — The adjuncts of prophecy, or distinct ways of its communication — Of articulate voices — Dreams — Visions — Accidental adjuncts of prophecy — Symbolical actions — Local mutations — Whether unsanctified persons might have the gift of prophecy — The case of Balaam answered — Of writing the Scriptures — Three things required thereunto — Of miracles — Works of the Spirit of God in the improvement of the natural faculties of the minds of men in things political — In things moral — In things corporeal — In things intellectual and artificial — In preaching of the word. HAVING passed through these general things, which are of a necessary previous consideration unto the especial works of the Holy Ghost, I now proceed unto that which is the principal subject of our present design; and this is, the dispensation and work of the Holy Spirit of God with respect unto the new creation, and the recovery of mankind or the church of God thereby. A matter this is of the highest importance unto them that sincerely believe, but most violently, and of late virulently, opposed by all the enemies of the grace of God and our Lord Jesus Christ. The weight and concernment of the doctrine hereof have in part been spoken unto before. I shall at present add no farther considerations to the same purpose, but leave all that fear the name of God to make a judgment of it by what is revealed concerning it in the Scriptures, and the uses whereunto it is in them directed. Many, we know, will not receive these things; but whilst we keep ourselves, in the handling of them, unto that word whereby one day both we and they must either stand or fall, we need not be moved at their ignorance or pride, nor at the fruits and effects of them, in reproaches, contempt, and scorn: for e]cei Qeo Now, the works of the Spirit, in reference unto the new creation, are of two sorts: — First, Such as were preparatory unto it, under the Old Testament; for I reckon that the state of the old creation, as unto our living unto God, ended with the entrance of sin and giving the first promise.

    Whatever ensued thereon, in a way of grace, was preparatory for and unto the new. Secondly, Such as were actually wrought about it under the new.

    Those acts and workings of his which are common to both states of the church, — as is his effectual dispensation of sanctifying grace towards the elect of God, — I shall handle in common under the second head. Under the first, I shall only reckon up those that were peculiar unto that state.

    To make way hereunto I shall premise two general positions: — 1. There is nothing excellent amongst men, whether it be absolutely extraordinary, and every way above the production of natural principles, or whether it consist in an eminent and peculiar improvement of those principles and abilities, but it is ascribed unto the Holy Spirit of God, as the immediate operator and efficient cause of it. This we shall afterward confirm by instances. Of old he was all; now, some would have him nothing. 2. Whatever the Holy Spirit wrought in an eminent manner under the Old Testament, it had generally and for the most part, if not absolutely and always, a respect unto our Lord Jesus Christ and the gospel; and so was preparatory unto the completing of the great work of the new creation in and by him.

    And these works of the Holy Spirit may be referred unto the two sorts mentioned, namely, — 1. Such as were extraordinary, and exceeding the whole compass of the abilities of nature, however improved and advanced; and, 2. Those which consist in the improving and exaltation of those abilities, to answer the occasions of life and use of the church.

    Those of the first sort may be reduced unto three heads: — 1. Prophecy. 2. Inditing of the Scripture. 3. Miracles.

    Those of the other sort we shall find: — 1. In things political, as skill for government and rule amongst men. 2. In things moral, as fortitude and courage. 3. In things natural, as increase of bodily strength. 4. In gifts intellectual, — (1.) For things sacred, as to preach the word of God; (2.) In things artificial, as in Bezaleel and Aholiab. The work of grace on the hearts of men being more fully revealed under the New Testament than before, and of the same kind and nature in every state of the church since the fall, I shall treat of it once for all in its most proper place.

    I. 1. The first eminent gift and work of the Holy Ghost under the Old Testament, and which had the most direct and immediate respect unto Jesus Christ, was that of prophecy: for the chief and principal end hereof in the church was to foresignify him, his sufferings, and the glory that should ensue, or to appoint such things to be observed in divine worship as might be types and representations of him; for the chiefest privilege of the church of old was but to hear tidings of the things which we enjoy, Isaiah 33:17. As Moses on the top of Pisgah saw the land of Canaan, and in spirit, the beauties of holiness to be erected therein, which was his highest attainment; so the best of those saints was to contemplate the King of saints in the land that was yet very far from them, or Christ in the flesh. And this prospect, which by faith they obtained, was their chiefest joy and glory, John 8:56; yet they all ended their days as Moses did, with respect unto the type of the gospel state, Deuteronomy 3:24,25.

    So did they, Luke 10:23,24; “God having provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect,” Hebrews 11:40.

    That this was the principal end of the gift of prophecy Peter declares, Epist. 1:9-12: “Receiving the end of your faith, the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have inquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you.”

    Some of the ancients apprehended that some things were spoken obscurely by the prophets, and not to be understood without great search, especially such as concerned the rejection of the Jews, lest they should have been provoked to abolish the Scripture itself; but the sum and substance of the prophetical work under the Old Testament, with the light, design, and ministry of the prophets themselves, are declared in those words. The work was, to give testimony unto the truth of God in the first promise, concerning the coming of the blessed Seed. This was God’s method: — First, he gave himself immediately that promise which was the foundation of the church, Genesis 3:15; then by revelation unto the prophets he confirmed that promise; after all which the Lord Christ was sent to make them all good unto the church, Romans 15:8.

    Herewithal they received fresh revelations concerning his person and his sufferings, with the glory that was to ensue thereon, and the grace which was to come thereby unto the church. Whilst they were thus employed and acted by the Holy Ghost, or the Spirit of Christ, they diligently endeavored to come to an acquaintance with the things themselves, in their nature and efficacy, which were revealed unto them; yet so as considering that not themselves, but some succeeding generations, should enjoy them in their actual exhibition. And whilst they were intent on these things, they searched also, as far as intimation was given thereof by the Spirit, after the time wherein all these things should be accomplished; both when it should be, and what manner of time it should be, or what would be the state and condition of the people of God in those days. This was the principal end of the gift of prophecy, and this the principal work and employment of the prophets: The first promise was given by God in the person of the Son, as I have proved elsewhere, Genesis 3:15; but the whole explication, confirmation, and declaration of it, was carried on by the gift of prophecy.

    The communication of this gift began betimes in the world, and continued, without any known interruption, in the possession of someone or more in the church at all times, during its preparatory or subservient estate. After the finishing of the canon of the Old Testament, it ceased in the Judaical church until it had a revival in John the Baptist; who was therefore greater than any prophet that went before, because he made the nearest approach unto and the clearest discovery of the Lord Jesus Christ, the end of all prophecies. Thus God “spake by the mouth of his holy prophets,” tw~n ajp aijw~nov , “which have been since the world began,” Luke 1:70. Adam himself had many things revealed unto him, without which he could not have worshipped God aright in that state and condition whereinto he was come; for although his natural light was sufficient to direct him unto all religious services required by the law of creation, yet was it not so unto all duties of that state whereinto he was brought by the giving of the promise after the entrance of sin. So was he guided unto the observance of such ordinances of worship as were needful for him and accepted with God, — as were sarifices. The prophecy of Enoch is not only remembered, but called over and recorded, Jude 14, 15. And it is a matter neither curious nor difficult to demonstrate, that all the patriarchs of old, before the flood, were guided by a prophetical spirit in the imposition of names on those children who were to succeed them in the sacred line. Concerning Abraham, God expressly saith himself that he was a prophet, Genesis 20:7, — that is, one who used to receive divine revelations.

    Now, this gift of prophecy was always the immediate effect of the operation of the Holy Spirit. So it is both affirmed in general and in all the particular instances of it. In the first way, we have the illustrious testimony of the apostle Peter: 2 Epist. 1:20, 21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the Scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” This is a principle among believers, this they grant and allow in the first place, as that which they resolve their faith into, — namely, that the “sure word of prophecy,” which they in all things take heed unto, verse 19, was not a fruit of any men’s private conceptions, nor was subject to the wills of men, so as to attain it or exercise it by their own ability; but it was given by “inspiration of God,” 2 Timothy 3:16: for the Holy Ghost, by acting, moving, guiding the minds of holy men, enabled them thereunto. This was the sole fountain and cause of all true divine prophecy that ever was given or granted to the use of the church. And, in particular, the coming of the Spirit of God upon the prophets, enabling them unto their work, is frequently mentioned. Micah declares in his own instance how it was with them all: Chapter 3:8, “But truly I am full of power by the Spirit of the LORD, and of judgment, and of might, to declare unto Jacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.” It was from the Spirit of God alone that he had all his ability for the discharge of that prophetical office whereunto he was called. And when God would endow seventy elders with a gift of prophecy, he tells Moses that he would “take of the Spirit that was upon him,” and give unto them for that purpose; that is, he would communicate of the same Spirit unto them as was in him. And where it is said at any time that God spake by the prophets, or that the word of God came to them, or God spake to them, it is always intended that this was the immediate work of the Holy Ghost. So says David of himself, “The Spirit of the LORD spake by me,” or in me, “and his word was in my tongue,” 2 Samuel 23:2. Hence our apostle, repeating his words, ascribes them directly to the Holy Ghost: Hebrews 3:7, “Wherefore, as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day if ye will hear his voice;” and chapter 4:7, “Saying in David.” So the words which are ascribed unto the “LORD of hosts,” Isaiah 6:9,10, are asserted to be the words of the Holy Ghost, Acts 28:25-27. He spake to them, or in them, by his holy inspirations; and he spake by them in his effectual infallible guidance of them, to utter, declare, and write what they received from him, without mistake or variation.

    And this prophecy, as to its exercise, is considered two ways: — First, precisely for the prediction or foretelling things to come; as the Greek word, and the Latin traduced from thence, do signify. So prophecy is a divine prediction of future things, proceeding from divine revelation. But the Hebrew ak;n; , — whence are aybin; , “a prophet,’’ and ha;Wbn] , “prophecy,” — is not confined unto any such signification, although predictions from supernatural revelation are constantly expressed by it.

    But in general, secondly, the word signifies no more but to speak out, interpret, and declare the mind or words of another. So God tells Moses that he would “make him a god unto Pharaoh,” — one that should deal with him in the name, stead, and power of God; and “Aaron his brother should be his prophet,” Exodus 7:1, — that is, one that should interpret his meaning and declare his words unto Pharaoh, Moses having complained of the defect of his own utterance. So prophets are the “interpreters,” the declarers of the word, will, mind, or oracles of God unto others. Such a one is described, Job 33:23. Hence, those who expounded the Scripture unto the church under the New Testament were called “prophets,” and their work “prophecy,” Romans 12:6, Corinthians 14:31, 32; and under the Old Testament those that celebrated the praises of God with singing in the temple, according to the institution of David, are said therein to “prophesy,” 1 Chronicles 25:2. And this name, aykin; , a “prophet,’’ was of ancient use; for so God termed Abraham, Genesis 20:7. Afterward, in common use, a prophet was called ha,ro and hz,jo , “a seer,” because of their divine visions (and this was occasioned from those words of God concerning Moses, Numbers 12:6-8; and this being the ordinary way of his revealing himself, — namely, by dreams and visions, — prophets in those days, even from the death of Moses, were commonly called seers, which continued in use until the days of Samuel, 1 Samuel 9:9); and µyhiloa’Avyai , “a man of God,” Samuel 2:27; which name Paul gives to the preachers of the gospel, Timothy 6:11, 2 Timothy 3:17. And it is not altogether unworthy of observation what Kimchi notes, that the verb ab;n; is most frequently used in the passive conjugation niphal, because it denotes a receiving of that from God by way of revelation which is spoken unto others in a way of prophecy. And as it lies before us as an extraordinary gift of the Holy Ghost, it is neither to be confined to the strict notion of prediction and foretelling, nor to be extended to every true declaration of the mind of God, but only to that which is obtained by immediate revelation.

    This peculiar gift, therefore, of the Holy Spirit we may a little distinctly inquire into; and two things concerning it may be considered: — First, Its general nature; Secondly, The particular ways whereby especial revelation was granted unto any. First, For its nature in general, it consisted in inspiration. So the apostle speaks of the prophecies recorded in the Scripture, 2 Timothy 3:16: qeopneusti>a , divine inspiration, was the original and cause of it. And the acting of the Holy Ghost in communicating his mind unto the prophets was called “inspiration” on a double account: — First, In answer unto his name and nature. The name whereby he is revealed unto us signifieth “breath;” and he is called the “breath of God,” whereby his essential relation to the Father and Son, with his eternal natural emanation from them, is expressed. And, therefore, when our Savior gave him unto his disciples, as a proper instructive emblem of what he gave, he breathed upon them, John 20:22. So also in the great work of the infusion of the reasonable soul into the body of man, it is said, God “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life,” Genesis 2:7. From hence, I say, it is, — namely, from the nature and name of the Holy Spirit, — that his immediate actings on the minds of men, in the supernatural communication of divine revelations unto them, is called “inspiration” or inbreathing. And the unclean spirit, counterfeiting his actings, did inspire his worshippers with a preternatural afflatus, by ways suited unto his own filthy vileness. Secondly, This holy work of the Spirit of God, as it is expressed suitably to his name and nature, so the meekness, gentleness, facility wherewith he works is intended hereby. He did, as it were, gently and softly breathe into them the knowledge and comprehension of holy things. It is an especial and immediate work, wherein he acts suitably unto his nature as a spirit, the spirit or breath of God, and suitably unto his peculiar, personal properties of meekness, gentleness, and peace. So his acting is inspiration, whereby he came within the faculties of the souls of men, acting them with a power that was not their own. It is true, when he had thus inspired any with the mind of God, they had no rest, nor could have, unless they declared it in its proper way and season: Jeremiah 20:9, “Then I said, I will not make mention of him, nor speak any more in his name: but his word was in mine heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing, and I could not stay.”

    But this disturbance was from a moral sense of their duty, and not from any violent agitations of his upon their natures. And whereas sometimes trouble and consternation of spirit did befall some of the prophets in and under the revelations they received from him, it was on a double account: — First, Of the dreadful representations of things that were made unto them in visions. Things of great dread and terror were represented unto their fancies and imaginations. Secondly, Of the greatness and dread of the things themselves revealed, which sometimes were terrible and destructive, Daniel 7:15,28, 8:27; Habakkuk 3:16; Isaiah 21:2-4. But his inspirations were gentle and placid.

    Secondly, The immediate effects of this inspiration were, that those inspired were moved or acted by the Holy Ghost: “Holy men of God spake,” uJpo< Pneu>matov Agi>ou fero>menoi, 2 Peter 1:21, — “moved” or acted “by the Holy Ghost.” And two things are intended hereby: — First, The preparation and elevation of their intellectual faculties, their minds and understandings, wherein his revelations were to be received. He prepared them for to receive the impressions he made upon them, and confirmed their memories to retain them. He did not, indeed, so enlighten and raise their minds as to give them a distinct understanding and full comprehension of all the things themselves that were declared unto them; there was more in their inspirations than they could search into the bottom of. Hence, although the prophets under the Old Testament were made use of to communicate the clearest revelations and predictions concerning Jesus Christ, yet in the knowledge and understanding of the meaning of them they were all inferior to John Baptist, as he was in this matter to the meanest believer, or “least in the kingdom of heaven.” Therefore, for their own illumination and edification did they diligently inquire, by the ordinary means of prayer and meditation, into the meaning of the Spirit of God in those prophecies which themselves received by extraordinary revelation, 1 Peter 1:10,11. Nor did Daniel, who had those express representations and glorious visions concerning the monarchies of the world, and the providential alterations which should be wrought in them, understand what and how things would be in their accomplishment. That account he doth give of himself in the close of his visions, chapter 12:8, 9. But he so raised and prepared their minds as that they might be capable to receive and retain those impressions of things which he communicated unto them. So a man tunes the strings of an instrument, that it may in a due manner receive the impressions of his finger, and give out the sound he intends. He did not speak in them or by them, and leave it unto the use of their natural faculties, their minds, or memories, to understand and remember the things spoken by him, and so declare them to others; but he himself acted their faculties, making use of them to express his words, not their own conceptions. And herein, besides other things, consists the difference between the inspiration of the Holy Spirit and those so called of the devil. The utmost that Satan can do, is to make strong impressions on the imaginations of men, or influence their faculties, by possessing, wresting, distorting the organs of the body and spirits of the blood. The Holy Spirit is in the faculties, and useth them as his organs. And this he did, secondly, with that light and evidence of himself, of his power, truth, and holiness, as left them liable to no suspicion whether their minds were under his conduct and influence or no. Men are subject to fall so far under the power of their own imaginations, through the prevalency of a corrupt distempered fancy, as to suppose them supernatural revelations; and Satan may, and did of old, and perhaps doth so still, impose on the minds of some, and communicate unto them such a conception of his insinuations, as that they shall for awhile think them to be from God himself. But in the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, and his actings of the minds of the holy men of old, he gave them infallible assurance that it was himself alone by whom they were acted, Jeremiah 23:28. If any shall ask by what tekmh>ria , or infallible tokens, they might know assuredly the inspirations of the Holy Spirit, and be satisfied, with such a persuasion as was not liable to mistake, that they were not imposed upon, I must say plainly that I cannot tell, for these are things whereof we have no experience; nor is anything of this nature, whatever some falsely and foolishly impute unto them who profess and avow an interest in the ordinary gracious workings of the Holy Ghost, pretended unto. What some frenetical persons, in their distempers or under their delusions, have boasted of, no sober or wise man esteems worthy of any sedate consideration. But this I say, it was the design of the Holy Ghost to give those whom he did thus extraordinarily inspire an assurance, sufficient to bear them out in the discharge of their duty, that they were acted by himself alone; for in the pursuit of their work, which they were by him called unto, they were to encounter various dangers, and some of them to lay down their lives for a testimony unto the truth of the message delivered by them. This they could not be engaged into without as full an evidence of his acting them as the nature of man in such cases is capable of. The case of Abraham fully confirms it. And it is impossible but that in those extraordinary workings there was, such an impression of himself, his holiness, and authority, left on their minds, as did secure them from all fear of delusion. Even upon the word, as delivered by them unto others, he put those characters of divine truth, holiness, and power, as rendered it ajxio>piston , “worthy to be believed,” and not to be rejected without the highest sin by them unto whom it came. Much more was there such an evidence in it unto them who enjoyed its original inspiration. Secondly, He acted and guided them as to the very organs of their bodies whereby they expressed the revelation which they had received by inspiration from him.

    They spake as they were acted by the Holy Ghost. He guided their tongues in the declaration of his revelations, as the mind of a man guideth his hand in writing to express its conceptions. Hence David, having received revelations from him, or being inspired by him, affirms, in his expression of them, that “his tongue was the pen of a ready writer,” Psalm 45:1; that is, it was so guided by the Spirit of God to express the conceptions received from him. And on this account God is said to speak by their mouths: “As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets,” Luke 1:70; — all of whom had but one mouth on the account of their absolute consent and agreement in the same predictions; for this is the meaning of “one voice” or “one mouth” in a multitude. “The Holy Ghost spake by the mouth of David,” Acts 1:16. For whatever they received by revelation, they were but the pipes through which the waters of it were conveyed, without the least mixture with any alloy from their frailties or infirmities. So, when David had received the pattern of the temple, and the manner of the whole worship of God therein by the Spirit, 1 Chronicles 28:12, he says, “All this the LORD made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern,” verse 19. The Spirit of God not only revealed it unto him, but so guided him in the writing of it down as that he might understand the mind of God out of what himself had written; or, he gave it him so plainly and evidently as if every particular had been expressed in writing by the finger of God. (1.) It remaineth that, as unto this first extraordinary work and gift of the Holy Ghost, we consider those especial ways and means which he made use of in the communication of his mind unto the prophets, with some other accidental adjuncts of prophecy. Some, following Maimonides in his “More Nebuchim,” have, from the several ways of the communication of divine revelations, distinguished the degrees of prophecy or of the gifts of it, preferring one above another. This I have elsewhere disproved, “Exposition of the Epistle to the Hebrews,” chapter 1. Neither, indeed, is there, either hence or from any other ground, the least occasion to feign those eleven degrees of prophecy which he thought he had found out; much less may the spirit or gift of prophecy be attained by the ways he prescribes, and with Tatianus seems to give countenance unto. The distinct outward manners and ways of revelation mentioned in the Scriptures may be reduced unto three heads: — 1. Voices; 2. Dreams; 3. Visions.

    And the accidental adjuncts of it are two: — 1. Symbolical actions; 2. Local mutations.

    The schoolmen, after Aquinas, 22. q. 174, a. 1, do commonly reduce the means of revelation unto three heads. For whereas there are three ways whereby we come to know anything, — 1. By our external senses; 2. By impressions on the fantasy or imagination; 3. By pure acts of the understanding: so God by three ways revealed his will unto the prophets, — 1 . By objects of their senses, as by audible voices; 2. By impressions on the imagination in dreams and visions; 3. By illustration or enlightening of their minds.

    But as this last way expresseth divine inspiration, I cannot acknowledge it as a distinct way of revelation by itself, for it was that which was absolutely necessary to give an infallible assurance of mind in the other ways also; and setting that aside, there is none of them but is obnoxious to delusion.

    First, God sometimes made use of an art iculate voice, speaking out those things which he did intend to declare in words significant of them. So he revealed himself or his mind unto Moses, when he “spake unto him face to face, as a man speaketh unto his friend,” Exodus 33:11; Numbers 12:8. And as far as I can observe, the whole revelation made unto Moses was by outward, audible, articulate voices, whose sense was impressed on his mind by the Holy Spirit; for an external voice without an inward elevation and disposition of mind is not sufficient to give security and assurance of truth unto him that doth receive it. So God spake to Elijah, 1 Kings 19:12-18, as also to Samuel and Jeremiah, and it may be to all the rest of the prophets at their first calling and entrance into their ministry; for words formed miraculously by God, and conveyed sensibly unto the outward ears of men, carry a great majesty and authority with them. This was not the usual way of God’s revealing his mind, nor is it signified by that phrase of speech, “The word of the LORD came unto me;” whereby no more is intended but an immediate revelation, by what way or means soever it was granted. Mostly this was by that secret effectual impression on their minds which we have before described. And these voices were either immediately created by God himself, as when he spake unto Moses, — wherein the eminency of the revelation made unto him principally consisted, — or the ministry of angels was used in the formation and pronunciation of them. But, as we observed before, the divine certainty of their minds to whom they were spoken, with their abilities infallibly to declare them unto others, was from an immediate internal work of the Spirit of God upon them. Without this the prophets might have been imposed on by external audible voices, nor would they by themselves give their minds an infallible assurance.

    Secondly, Dreams were made use of under the Old Testament to the same purpose, and unto them also I refer all those visions which they had in their sleep, though not called dreams; and these, in this case, were the immediate operation of the Holy Ghost, as to the divine and infallible impressions they conveyed to the minds of men. Hence, in the promise of the plentiful pouring out of the Spirit, or communication of his gifts, mention is made of dreams: Acts 2:17, “I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams.”

    Not that God intended much to make use of this way of dreams and nocturnal visions under the New Testament; but the intention of the words is, to show that there should be a plentiful effusion of that Spirit which acted by these various ways and means then under the Old. Only, as to some particular directions God did sometimes continue his intimations by visions in the rest of the night. Such a vision had Paul, Acts 16:10. But of old this was more frequent. So God made a signal revelation unto Abraham, when the “deep sleep fell upon him, and horror of great darkness,” Genesis 15:12-16; and Daniel “heard the voice of the words” of him that spake unto him “when he was in a deep sleep,” Daniel 10:9. But this sleep of theirs I look not on as natural, but as that which God sent and cast them into, that therein he might represent the image of things unto their imaginations. So of old he caused a “deep sleep to fall upon Adam,” Genesis 2:21. The Jews distinguish between dreams and those visions in sleep, as they may be distinctly considered; but I cast them together under one head, of revelation in sleep. And this way of revelation was so common, that one who pretended to prophesy would cry out, yTim]l;j; yTim]læj; , “I have dreamed, I have dreamed,” Jeremiah 23:25. And by the devil’s imitation of God’s dealing with his church, this became a way of vaticination among the heathen also: Hom. 1:63, Kai< gav ejstin , — “A dream is from Jupiter.” And when the reprobate Jews were deserted as to all divine revelations, they pretended unto a singular skill in the interpretation of dreams; on the account of their deceit wherein they were sufficiently infamous. “Qualiacumque voles Judaei somia vendant.” — [Juv., 6. 546.] Thirdly, God revealed himself in and by visions or representations of things to the in ward or outward senses of the prophets. And this way was so frequent that it bare the name for a season of all prophetical revelations; for so we observed before, that a prophet of old time was called a “seer,” and that because in their receiving of their prophecies they saw visions also. So Isaiah terms his whole glorious prophecy, hz;j; rv,a\ ˆwOzj; , “The vision which he saw,” chapter <230101> 1:1; partly from the especial representations of things that were made unto him, chapter <230601> 6:1-4; and partly, it may be, from the evidence of the things revealed unto him, which were cleared as fully to his mind as if he had had an ocular inspection of them. So, from the matter of them, prophecies began in common to be called “The burden of the LORD;” for he burdened their consciences with his word, and their persons with its execution. But when false prophets began to make frequent use and to serve themselves of this expression, it was forbidden, Jeremiah 23:33,36; and yet we find that there is mention hereof about the same time, it may be, by Habakkuk, chapter 1:1; as also after the return from the captivity, Zechariah 9:1, Malachi 1:1. Either, therefore, this respected that only season wherein false prophets abounded, whom God would thus deprive of their pretense; or, indeed, the people, by contempt and scorn, did use that expression as that which was familiar unto the prophets in their denunciation of God’s judgments against them, which God here rebukes them for and threatens to revenge.

    But none of the prophets had all their revelations by visions; nor doth this concern the communication of the gift of prophecy, but its exercise. And their visions are particularly recorded. Such were those of Isaiah, chapter 6; Jeremiah, chapter 1:11-16; Ezekiel, chapter 1, and the like. Now, these visions were of two sorts: — 1. Outward representations of things unto the bodily eyes of the prophets; 2. Inward representations unto their minds. 1. There were sometimes appearances of persons or things made to their outward senses; and herein God made use of the ministry of angels. Thus three men appeared unto Abraham, Genesis 18:1,2; one whereof was the Son of God himself; the other two, ministering angels; as hath been proved elsewhere. So was the burning bush which Moses saw, Exodus 3:2; the appearances without similitude of any living thing on mount Sinai at the giving of the law, Exodus 19.; the man that Joshua saw at the siege of Jericho, chapter 5:13, 14. Such were the seething-pot and almondrod seen by Jeremiah, chapter 1:11, 13, as also his baskets of figs, [chapter 24:1-3;] and many more of the like kind might be instanced in. In these cases God made representations of things unto their outward senses. 2. They were made sometimes only to their minds. So it is said expressly that when Peter saw his vision of a sheet knit at the four comers, and let down from heaven to earth, he was in a “trance:” ‘ Epe>sen ejp aujtoActs 10:10. An “ecstasy seized on him,” whereby for a season he was deprived of the use of his bodily senses. And to this head I refer Daniel’s and the apocalyptical visions. Especially I do so [refer] all those wherein a representation was made of God himself and his glorious throne; such as that of Micaiah, 1 Kings 22:19-22; and Isaiah, chapter 6.; and Ezekiel, chapter 1. It is evident that in all these there was no use of the bodily senses of the prophets, but only their minds were affected with the ideas and representation of things; but this was so effectual as that they understood not but that they also made use of their visive faculty. Hence Peter, when he was actually delivered out of prison, thought a good while that he had only “seen a vision,” Acts 12:9; for he knew how powerfully the mind was wont to be affected by them. Now, these visions of both sorts were granted unto the prophets to confirm their minds in the apprehension of the things communicated unto them for the instruction of others; for hereby they were deeply affected with them, whereunto a clear idea and representation of things doth effectually tend. But yet two things were required to render these visions direct and complete parts of divine revelation: — 1. That the minds of the prophets were acted, guided, and raised in a due manner by the Holy Spirit for the receiving of them. This gave them their assurance that their visions were from God. 2. His enabling them faithfully to retain, and infallibly to declare, what was so represented unto them. For instance, Ezekiel receiveth a vision, by way of representation unto his mind of a glorious fabric of a temple, to instruct the church in the spiritual glory and beauty of gospel-worship which was to be introduced, chapter 41.-46. It seems utterly impossible for the mind of man to conceive and retain at once all the harmonious structure, dimensions, and laws of the fabric represented. This was the peculiar work of the Holy Ghost, — namely, to implant and preserve the idea presented unto him on his mind, and to enable him accurately and infallibly to declare it. So David affirms that the Spirit of God made him to understand the pattern of the temple built by Solomon, “in writing by his hand upon him.” (2.) There were some accidental adjuncts of prophecy, which at some times accompanied it: — First, In the revelation of the will of God to the prophets, they were sometimes enjoined symbolical actions. So Isaiah was commanded to “walk naked and bare-foot,” chapter <232001> 20:1-3; Jeremiah, to dispose of a “linen girdle,” chapter <241301> 13:1-5; Ezekiel, to “lie in the siege,” chapter <260401> 4:1-3, and to remove the “stuff of his house,” chapter 12:3, 4; Hosea, to take “a wife of whoredoms, and children of whoredoms,” chapter 1:2.

    I shall be brief in what is frequently spoken unto. Some of these things, as Isaiah’s going naked, and Hosea’s taking a wife of whoredoms, contain things in them against the light of nature and the express law of God, and of evil example unto others. None of these, therefore, can be granted to have been actually done; only these things were represented unto them in visions, to take the deeper impression upon them. And what they saw or did in vision they speak positively of their so seeing or doing: see Ezekiel 8. For the other instances, I know nothing but that the things reported might be really performed, and not in vision only. And it is plain that Ezekiel was commanded to do the things he did in the sight of the people, for their more evident conviction, chapter 12:4-6; and on the sight whereof they made inquiry what those things belonged unto them, chapter 24:19.

    Secondly, Their revelations were accompanied with local mutations, or rather being carried and transported from one place unto another. So was it with Ezekiel, chapter 8:3, 11:24. And it is expressly said that it was “in the visions of God.” Falling, by divine dispensation, into a trance or ecstasy, wherein their outward senses were suspended [in] their operation, their minds and understandings were, unto their own apprehension, carried in a holy rapture from one place unto another: which was effected only by a divine and efficacious representation of the things unto them which were done in the places from whence they were really absent.

    And these are some of those accidents of prophetical revelations which are recorded in the Scripture; and it is possible that some other instances of the like nature may be observed. And all these belong to the polutropi>a th~v qei>av ejpilu>sewv , or manifold variety of divine revelations, mentioned Hebrews 1:1.

    But here a doubt of no small difficulty nor of less importance presents itself unto us, — namely, whether the Holy Ghost did ever grant the holy inspirations, and the gift of prophecy thereby, unto men wicked and unsanctified; for the apostle Peter tells us that “holy men spake of old as they were moved by the Holy Ghost,” 2 Peter 1:21, which seems to intimate that all those who were inspired and moved by him, as to this gift of prophecy, were holy men of God.” And yet, on the other hand, we shall find that true prophecies have been given out by men seeming utterly void of all sanctifying grace. And, to increase the difficulty, it is certain that great predictions, and those with respect unto Christ himself, have been given and made by men guided and acted for the most part by the devil. So was it with Balaam, who was a sorcerer that gave himself to diabolical enchantments and divinations; and, as such an one, was destroyed by God’s appointment. Yea, at or about the same time wherein he uttered a most glorious prophecy concerning the Messiah, the Star of Jacob, being left unto his own spirit and inclination, he gave cursed advice and counsel for the drawing of the people of God into destructive and judgment-procuring sins, Numbers 31:16. And in the whole of his enterprise he thought to have satisfied his covetousness with a reward for cursing them by his enchantments. And yet this man not only professeth of himself that he “heard the words of God,” and “saw the vision of the Almighty,” Numbers 24:4, but did actually foretell and prophesy glorious things concerning Christ and his kingdom. Shall we, then, think that the Holy Spirit of God will immix his own holy inspirations with the wicked suggestions of the devil in a soothsayer? or shall we suppose that the devil was the author of those predictions, whereas God reproacheth false gods, and their prophets acted by them, that they could not declare the things that should happen, nor show the things that were to come afterward? Isaiah 41:22,23. So, also, it is said of Saul that “the Spirit of the LORD departed from him, and an evil spirit terrified him,” 1 Samuel 16:14; and yet, afterward, that the “Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied,” chapter 19:23. The old prophet at Bethel who lied unto the prophet that came from Judah, and that in the name of the Lord, seducing him unto sin and destruction, and probably defiled with the idolatry and false worship of Jeroboam, was yet esteemed a prophet, and did foretell what came to pass, 1 Kings 13:11-29.

    Sundry things may be offered for the solution of this difficulty; for, — 1. As to that place of the apostle Peter, (1.) It may not be taken universally that all who prophesied at any time were personally holy, but only that for the most part so they were. (2.) He seems to speak particularly of them only who were penmen of the Scripture, and of those prophecies which remain therein for the instruction of the church; concerning whom I no way doubt but that they were all sanctified and holy. (3.) It may be that he understandeth not real inherent holiness, but only a separation and dedication unto God by especial office; which is a thing of another nature. 2. The gift of prophecy is granted not to be in itself and its own nature a sanctifying grace, nor is the inspiration so whereby it is wrought; for whereas it consists in an affecting of the mind with a transient irradiation of light in hidden things, it neither did nor could of itself produce faith, love, or holiness in the heart. Another work of the Holy Ghost was necessary hereunto. 3. There is, therefore, no inconsistency in this matter, that God should grant an immediate inspiration unto some that were not really sanctified. And yet I would not grant this to have been actually done without a just limitation; for whereas some were established to be prophets unto the church in the whole course of their lives, after their first call from God, as Samuel, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, and the rest of the prophets mentioned in the Scripture, in like manner I no way doubt but they were all of them really sanctified by the Holy Spirit of God. But others there were who had only some occasional discoveries of hidden or future things made unto them, or fell into some ecstasies or raptures, with a supernatural agitation of their minds (as it is twice said of Saul), for a short season. And I see no reason why we may not grant, — yea, from Scripture testimonies we must grant, — that many such persons may be so acted by the Holy Spirit of God. So was it with wicked Caiaphas, who is said to “prophesy,” John 11:51; and a great prophecy indeed it was which his words expressed, greater than which there is none in the Scripture. But the wretch himself knew nothing of the importance of what was uttered by him. A sudden impression of the Spirit of God caused him, against his intention, to utter a sacred truth, and that because he was high priest; whose words were of great reputation with the people. And as Balaam was overruled to prophesy and speak good of Israel, when he really designed and desired to curse them; so this Caiaphas, designing the destruction of Jesus Christ, brought forth those words which expressed the salvation of the world by his death. 4. For the difficulty about Balaam himself, who was a sorcerer, and the devil’s prophet, I acknowledge it is of importance. But sundry things may be offered for the removal of it. Some do contend that Balaam was a prophet of God only; that indeed he gave himself unto judicial astrology, and the conjecture of future events from natural causes, but as to his prophecies, they were all divine; and the light of them, affecting only the speculative part of his mind, had no influence upon his will, heart, and affections, which were still corrupt. This Tostatus pleadeth for. But as it is expressly said that he “sought for enchantments,” Numbers 24:1, so the whole description of his course and end gives him up as a cursed sorcerer: and he is expressly called µsewOQihæ , “the soothsayer,” Joshua 13:22; which word though we have once rendered by “prudent,” — that is, one who prudently conjectureth at future events according unto present appearing causes, Isaiah 3:2, — yet it is mostly used for a diabolical diviner or soothsayer. And for what he said of himself, that he “heard the words of God,” and “saw the vision of the Almighty,” it might be only his own boasting to procure veneration to his diabolical incantations. But in reputation we find he was in those days in the world; and supposed he was to utter divine oracles unto men. This God in his providence made use of to give out a testimony to the nations concerning the coming of the Messiah, the report whereof was then almost lost amongst men. In this condition it may be granted that the good Spirit of God, without the least reflection on the majesty and purity of his own holiness, did overrule the power of the devil, cast out his suggestions from the man’s mind, and gave such an impression of sacred truths in the room of them as he could not but utter and declare: for that instant he did, as it were, take the instrument out of the hand of Satan, and, by his impression on it, caused it to give a sound according to his mind; which when he had done, he left it again unto his possession. And I know not but that he might do so sometimes with others among the Gentiles who were professedly given up to receive and give out the oracles of the devil. So he made the damsel possessed with a spirit of divination and soothsaying to acknowledge Paul and his companions to be “servants of the most high God,” to “show to men the way of salvation,’’ Acts 16:16,17. And this must be acknowledged by them who suppose that the sibyls gave out predictions concerning Jesus Christ, seeing the whole strain of their prophetical oracles were expressly diabolical. And no conspiracy of men or devils shall cause him to forego his sovereignty over them, and the using of them to his own glory. 5. The case of Saul is plain. The Spirit of the Lord who departed from him was the Spirit of wisdom, moderation, and courage, to fit him for rule and government, — that is, the gifts of the Holy Ghost unto that purpose, which he withdrew from him; and the evil spirit that was upon him proceeded no farther but to the stirring up vexatious and disquieting affections of mind. And notwithstanding this molestation and punishment inflicted on him, the Spirit of God might at a season fall upon him, so as to cast him into a rapture or ecstasy, wherein his mind was acted and exercised in an extraordinary manner, and himself transported into actions that were not at all according unto his own inclinations. So is this case well resolved by Augustine. And [as] for the old prophet at Bethel, 1 Kings 13:11-32, although he appears to have been an evil man, yet he was one whom God made use of to reveal his mind sometimes to that people; nor is it probable that he was under satanical delusions, like the prophets of Baal, for he is absolutely called a prophet, and the word of the Lord did really come unto him, verses 20-22. 2. The writing of the Scripture was another effect of the Holy Ghost, which had its beginning under the Old Testament. I reckon this as a distinct gift from prophecy in general, or rather, a distinct species or kind of prophecy: for many prophets there were divinely inspired who yet never wrote any of their prophecies, nor anything else for the use of the church; and many penmen of the Scripture were no prophets, in the strict sense of that name. And the apostle tells us that the grafh> , the scripture or writing itself, was by “inspiration of God,” 2 Timothy 3:16; as David affirms that he had the pattern of the temple from the Spirit of God in writing, because of his guidance of him in putting its description into writing, Chronicles 28:19. Now, this ministry was first committed unto Moses, who, besides the five books of the Law, probably also wrote the story of Job. Many prophets there were before him, but he was the first who committed the will of God to writing after God himself, who wrote the law in tables of stone; which was the beginning and pattern of the Scriptures. The writers of the historical books of the Old Testament before the captivity are unknown. The Jews call them µynwçar µyaybn , “the first” or “former prophets.” Who they were in particular is not known; but certain it is that they were of the number of those holy men of God who of old wrote and spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

    Hence are they called “prophets;” for although they wrote in an historical manner, as did Moses also, concerning things past and gone in their days, or it may be presently acted in their own times, yet they did not write them either from their own memory nor from tradition, nor from the rolls or records of time (although they might be furnished with and skilled in these things), but by the inspiration, guidance, and direction of the Holy Ghost. Hence are they called “prophets,” in such a latitude as the word may be used in to signify any that are divinely inspired, or receive immediate revelations from God. And thus was it with all the penmen of the holy Scripture. As their minds were under that full assurance of divine inspiration which we before described, so their words which they wrote were under the especial care of the same Spirit; and were of his suggestion or inditing.

    There were, therefore, three things concurring in this work: — First, The inspiration of the minds of these prophets with the knowledge and apprehension of the things communicated unto them. Secondly, The suggestion of words unto them to express what their minds conceived.

    Thirdly, The guidance of their hands in setting down the words suggested, or of their tongues in uttering them unto those by whom they were committed to writing, as Baruch wrote the prophecy of Jeremiah from his mouth, Jeremiah 36:4,18. If either of these were wanting, the Scripture could not be absolutely and every way divine and infallible; for if the penmen of it were left unto themselves in anything wherein that writing was concerned, who can secure us that nihil humani, no human imperfection, mixed itself therewithal? I know some think that the matter and substance of things only was communicated unto them, but as for the words whereby it was to be expressed, that was left unto themselves and their own abilities: and this they suppose is evident from that variety of style which, according to their various capacities, education, and abilities, is found amongst them. “This argues,” as they say, “that the wording of their revelations was left unto themselves, and was the product of their natural abilities.” This, in general, I have spoken unto elsewhere, and manifested what mistakes sundry have run into about the style of the holy penmen of the Scripture. Here I shall not take up what hath been argued and evinced in another place. I only say that the variety intended ariseth mostly from the variety of the subject-matters treated of; nor is it such as will give any countenance to the profaneness of this opinion, for the Holy Ghost in his work on the minds of men doth not put a force upon them, nor act them any otherwise than they are in their own natures, and with their present endowments and qualifications, meet to be acted and used.

    He leads and conducts them in such paths as wherein they are able to walk. The words, therefore, which he suggests unto them are such as they are accustomed unto, and he causeth them to make use of such expressions as were familiar unto themselves. So he that useth diverse seals maketh different impressions, though the guidance of them all be equal and the same; and he that toucheth skillfully several musical instruments, variously tuned, maketh several notes of music. We may also grant, and do, that they used their own abilities of mind and understanding in the choice of words and expressions: so the Preacher “sought to find out acceptable words,” Ecclesiastes 12:10. But the Holy Spirit, who is more intimate unto the minds and skill of men than they are themselves, did so guide, act, and operate in them, as that the words they fixed upon were as directly and certainly from him as if they had been spoken to them by an audible voice. Hence “that which was written was upright, even words of truth,” as in that place. This must be so, or they could not speak as they were moved by the Holy Ghost, nor could their writing be said to be of divine inspiration. Hence, ofttimes, in the original, great senses and significations depend on a single letter; as, for instance, in the change of the name of Abraham: and our Savior affirms that every apex and iota of the law is under the care of God, as that which was given by inspiration from himself, Matthew 5:18. But I have on other occasions treated of these things, and shall not, therefore, here enlarge upon them. f66 3. The third sort of the immediate extraordinary operations of the Holy Ghost, absolutely exceeding the actings and compliance of human faculties, are miracles of all sorts, which were frequent under the Old Testament.

    Such were many things wrought by Moses and Joshua, Elijah and Elisha, with some others; those by Moses exceeding, if the Jews fail not in their computation, all the rest that are recorded in the Scripture. Now, these were all the immediate effects of the divine power of the Holy Ghost. He is the sole author of all real miraculous operations; for by “miracles” we understand such effects as are really beyond and above the power of natural causes, however applied unto operation. Now, it is said expressly that our Lord Jesus Christ wrought miracles (for instance, the casting out of devils from persons possessed) by the Holy Ghost; and if their immediate production were by him in the human nature of Jesus Christ, personally united unto the Son of God, how much more must it be granted that it was he alone by whose power they were wrought in those who had no such relation unto the divine nature! And, therefore, where they are said to be wrought by the “hand” or “finger of God,” it is the person of the Holy Spirit which is precisely intended, as we have declared before.

    And the persons by whom they were wrought were never the real subjects of the power whereby they were wrought, as though it should be inherent and residing in them as a quality, Acts 3:12,16; only, they were infallibly directed by the Holy Ghost by word or action to pre-signify their operation. So was it with Joshua when he commanded the sun and moon to stand still, chapter 10:12. There was no power in Joshua, no, not [even] extraordinarily communicated to him, to have such a real influence upon the whole frame of nature as to effect so great an alteration therein: only, he had a divine warranty to speak that which God himself would effect; whence it is said that therein “the LORD hearkened unto the voice of a man,” verse 14. It is a vanity of the greatest magnitude in some of the Jews, as Maimonides, (“More Nebuch.,” page 2, cap. 35.,) Levi B.

    Gerson on the place, and others, who deny any fixation of the sun and moon, and judge that it is only the speed of Joshua in subduing his enemies before the close of that day which is intended. This they contend for, lest Joshua should be thought to have wrought a greater miracle than Moses! But as the prophet Habakkuk is express to the contrary, chapter 3:11, and their own Sirachides, cap. 45., 46., so it is no small prevarication in some Christians to give countenance unto such a putid fiction. See Grot. in loc. It is so in all other miraculous operations, even where the parts of the bodies of men were made instrumental of the miracle itself, as in the gift of tongues. They who had that gift did not so speak from any skill or ability residing in them, but they were merely organs of the Holy Ghost, which he moved at his pleasure. Now, the end of all these miraculous operations was, to give reputation to the persons, and to confirm the ministry of them by whom they were wrought; for as at first they were the occasion of wonder and astonishment, so upon their consideration they evidenced the respect and regard of God unto such persons and their work. So when God sent Moses to declare his will in an extraordinary manner unto the people of Israel, he commands him to work several miracles or signs before them, that they might believe that he was sent of God, Exodus 4:8,9. And such works were called signs, because they were tokens and pledges of the presence of the Spirit of God with them by whom they were wrought. Nor was this gift ever bestowed on any man alone, or for its own sake; but it was always subordinate unto the work of revealing or declaring the mind of God.

    And these are the general heads of the extraordinary operations of the Holy Spirit of God in works exceeding all human or natural abilities, in their whole kind.

    II. The next sort of the operations of the Holy Ghost under the Old Testament, whose explanation was designed, is of those whereby he improved, through immediate impressions of his own power, the natural faculties and abilities of the minds of men; and these, as was intimated, have respect to things political, moral, natural, and intellectual, with some of a mixed nature: — 1. He had in them respect unto things political. Such were his gifts whereby he enabled sundry persons unto rule and civil government amongst men. Government, or supreme rule, is of great concernment unto the glory of God in the world, and of the highest usefulness unto mankind.

    Without it the whole world would be filled with violence, and become a stage for all wickedness visibly and openly to act itself upon in disorder and confusion. And all men confess that unto a due management hereof unto its proper ends, sundry peculiar gifts and abilities of mind are required in them and needful for them who are called thereunto. These are they themselves to endeavor after, and sedulously to improve the measures which they have attained of them, — and where this is by any neglected, the world and themselves will quickly feed on the fruits of that negligence; — but yet, because the utmost of what men may of this kind obtain by their ordinary endeavors, and an ordinary blessing thereon, is not sufficient for some especial ends which God aimed at in and by their rule and government, the Holy Ghost did oftentimes give an especial improvement unto their abilities of mind by his own immediate and extraordinary operation; and in some cases he manifested the effects of his power herein by some external, visible signs of his coming on them in whom he so wrought. So, in the first institution of the sanhedrim, or court of seventy elders, to bear together with Moses the burden of the people in their rule and government, the Lord is said to “put his Spirit upon them;” and [it is said] that “the Spirit rested on them:” Numbers 11:16,17, “And the LORD said unto Moses, Gather unto me seventy men of the elders of Israel, whom thou knowest to be the elders of the people, and officers over them. And I will take of the Spirit which is upon thee, and will put it upon them; and they shall bear the burden of the people with thee.” Verse 25, “And the LORD took of the Spirit that was upon Moses, and gave it unto the seventy elders, and the Spirit rested upon them.” That which these elders were called unto was a share in the supreme role and government of the people, which was before entirely in the hand of Moses. This the occasion of their call declares, verses 11-15. And they were µyrif]vo , “inferior officers” before, such as they had in Egypt, who influenced the people by their counsel and arbitration, Exodus 3:16, 5:6, 24:1, 9. Now they had a supreme power in judgment committed to them, and were thence called µyjiloa’ , or “gods;” for these were they “unto whom the word of God came,” who were thence called gods, John 10:34-36, Psalm 82:6, and not the prophets, who had neither power nor rule. And on them the Spirit of God that was in Moses rested; that is, wrought the same abilities for government in them as he had received, — that is, wisdom, righteousness, diligence, courage, and the like, that they might judge the people wise]y, and look to the execution of the law impartially. Now, when the Spirit of God thus rested on them, it is said “They prophesied, and did not cease,” Numbers 11:25,26; that is, they sang or spake forth the praises of God in such a way and manner as made it evident unto all that they were extraordinarily acted by the Holy Ghost.

    So is that word used, 1 Samuel 10:10, and elsewhere. But this gift and work of prophecy was not the especial end for which they were endowed by the Spirit, for they were now called, as hath been declared, unto rule and government; but because their authority and rule was new among the people, God gave that visible sign and pledge of his calling them to their office, that they might have a due veneration of their persons, and acquiesce in their authority. And hence, from the ambiguity of that word Wps;y; alow] , which we render “And did not cease,” — “They prophesied, and did not cease,” verse 25, — which may signify to “add” as well as to “cease,” many of the Jews affirm that they so prophesied no more but that day only: “They prophesied then, and added not,” — that is, to do so anymore. So when God would erect a kingdom amongst them, which was a new kind of government unto them, and designed Saul to be the person that should reign, it is said that he “gave him another heart,” 1 Samuel 10:9, — that is, “the Spirit of God came upon him,” as it is elsewhere expressed, to endow him with that wisdom and magnanimity that might make him meet for kingly rule. And because he was new called from a low condition unto royal dignity, the communication of the Spirit of God unto him was accompanied with a visible sign and token, that the people might acquiesce in his government, who were ready to despise his person; for he had also an extraordinary afflatus of the Spirit, expressing itself in a “visible rapture,” verses 10, 11. And in like manner he dealt with others.

    For this cause, also, he instituted the ceremony of anointing at their inauguration; for it was a token of the communication of the gifts of the Holy Ghost unto them, though respect was had therein to Jesus Christ, who was to be anointed with all his fullness, of whom they were types unto that people. Now, these gifts for government are natural and moral abilities of the minds of men; such as are prudence, righteousness, courage, zeal, clemency, and the like. And when the Holy Ghost fell upon any persons to enable them for political rule and the administration of the civil power, he did not communicate gifts and abilities unto them quite of another kind, but only gave them an extraordinary improvement of their own ordinary abilities. And, indeed, so great is the burden wherewith a just and useful government is attended, so great and many are the temptations which power and a confluence of earthly things will invite and draw towards them, that without some especial assistance of the Holy Spirit of God, men cannot choose but either sink under the weight of it, or wretchedly miscarry in its exercise and management. This made Solomon, when God, in the beginning of his reign, gave him his option of all earthly desirable thing, to prefer wisdom and knowledge for rule before them all, 2 Chronicles 1:7-12; and this he received from him who is the “Spirit of wisdom and understanding,” Isaiah 11:2. And if the rulers of the earth would follow this example, and be earnest with God for such supplies of his Spirit as might enable them unto a holy, righteous discharge of their office, it would, in many places, be better with them and the world than it is or can be where is the state of things described Hosea 7:3-5. Now, God of old did carry this dispensation out of the pale of the church, for the effecting of some especial ends of his own; and I no way question but that he continueth still so to do. Thus he anointed Cyrus, and calls him his “anointed” accordingly, Isaiah 45:1; for Cyrus had a double work to do for God, in both parts whereof he stood in need of his especial assistance.

    He was to execute his judgments and vengeance on Babylon, as also to deliver his people, that they might re-edify the temple. For both these he stood in need of, and did receive, especial aid from the Spirit of God, though he was in himself but a “ravenous bird” of prey, chapter 46:11: for the gifts of this Holy One in this kind wrought no real holiness in them on whom they were bestowed; they were only given them for the good and benefit of others, with their own success in what they attempted unto that purpose. Yea, and many on whom they are bestowed never consider the author of them, but sacrifice to their own nets and drags, and look on themselves as the springs of their own wisdom and ability. But it is no wonder that all regard unto the gifts of the Holy Ghost in the government of the world is despised, when his whole work in and towards the church itself is openly derided. 2. We may add hereunto those especial endowments with some moral virtues, which he granted unto sundry persons for the accomplishment of some especial design. So he came upon Gideon and upon Jephthah, to anoint them unto the work of delivering the people from their adversaries in battle, Judges 6:34, 11:29. It is said before of them both that they were “men of valor,” chapter <07-612> 6:12, 11:1. This coming, therefore, of the Spirit of God upon them, and clothing of them, was his especial excitation of their courage, and his fortifying of their minds against those dangers they were to conflict withal. And this he did by such an efficacious impression of his power upon them as that both themselves received thereby a confirmation of their call, and others might discern the presence of God with them. Hence it is said that the “Spirit of the LORD clothed them,” they being warmed in themselves and known to others by his gifts to and actings of them. 3. There are sundry instances of his adding unto the gifts of the mind, whereby he qualified persons for their duties, even bodily strength, when that also was needful for the work whereunto he called them. Such was his gift unto Samson. His bodily strength was supernatural, a mere effect of the power of the Spirit of God; and, therefore, when he put it forth in his calling, it is said that “the Spirit of the LORD came mightily upon him,” Judges 14:6, 15:14, or wrought powerfully in him. And he gave him this strength in the way of an ordinance, appointing the growing of his hair to be the sign and pledge of it; the care whereof being violated by him, he lost for a season the gift itself. 4. He also communicated gifts intellectual, to be exercised in and about things natural and artificial. So he endowed Bezaleel and Aholiab with wisdom and skill in all manner of curious workmanship, about all sorts of things, for the building and beautifying of the tabernacle, Exodus 31:2,3.

    Whether Bezaleel was a man that had before given himself unto the acquisition of those arts and sciences is altogether uncertain; but certain it is that his present endowments were extraordinary. The Spirit of God heightened, and improved, and strengthened the natural faculties of his mind to a perception and understanding of all the curious works mentioned in that place, and unto a skill how to contrive and dispose of them into the order designed by God himself. And, therefore, although the skill and wisdom mentioned differed not in the kind of it from that which others attained by industry, yet he received it by an immediate afflatus or inspiration of the Holy Ghost, as to that degree, at least, which he was made partaker of.

    Lastly, The assistance given unto holy men for the publishing and preaching of the word of God to others, — as to Noah, who was “a preacher of righteousness,” 2 Peter 2:5, for the conviction of the world and conversion of the elect, wherein the Spirit of God strove with men, Genesis 6:3, and preached unto them that were disobedient, 1 Peter 3:19,20, — might here also be considered, but that the explanation of his whole work in that particular will occur unto us in a more proper place.

    And thus I have briefly passed through the dispensation of the Spirit of God under the Old Testament. Nor have I aimed therein to gather up his whole work and all his actings, for then everything that is praise-worthy in the church must have been inquired into; for all without him is death, and darkness, and sin. All life, light, and power are from him alone. And the instances of things expressly assigned unto him which we have insisted on are sufficient to manifest that the whole being and welfare of the church depended solely on his will and his operations. And this will yet be more evident when we have also considered those other effects and operations of his, which being common to both states of the church, under the Old Testament and the New, are purposely here omitted, because the nature of them is more fully cleared in the gospel, wherein also their exemplifications are more illustrious. From him, therefore, was the word of promise and the gift of prophecy, whereon the church was founded and whereby it was built; from him was the revelation and institution of all the ordinances of religious worship; from him was that communication of gifts and gracious abilities which any persons received for the edification, rule, protection, and deliverance of the church. All these things were wrought by “that one and the self-same Spirit, which divideth to every man severally as he will.” And if this were the state of things under the Old Testament, a judgment may thence be made how it is under the New. The principal advantage of the present state above that which is past, next unto the coming of Christ in the flesh, consists in the pouring out of the Holy Ghost upon the disciples of Christ in a larger manner than formerly; and yet I know not how it is come to pass that some men think that neither he nor his work is of any great use unto us. And whereas we find everything that is good, even under the Old Testament, assigned unto him as the sole immediate author of it, it is hard to persuade, with many, that he continues now to do almost any good at all; and what he is allowed to have any hand in, it is sure to be so stated as that the principal praise of it may redound unto ourselves. So diverse, yea, so adverse, are the thoughts of God and men in these things, where our thoughts are not captivated unto the obedience of faith!

    But we must shut up this discourse. It is a common saying among the Jewish masters that the gift of the Holy Ghost ceased under the second temple, or after the finishing of it. Their meaning must be, that it did so as to the gifts of ministerial prophecy, of miracles, and of writing the mind of God by inspiration for the use of the church. Otherwise there is no truth in their observation; for there were afterward especial revelations of the Holy Ghost granted unto many, as unto Simeon and Anna, Luke 2:25-38; and others constantly receive of his gifts and graces, to enable them unto obedience, and fit them for their employments; for without a continuance of these supplies the church itself must absolutely cease.

    CHAPTER 2.

    GENERAL DISPENSATION OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WITH RESPECT UNTO THE NEW CREATION. The work of the Spirit of God in the new creation proposed to consideration — The importance of the doctrine hereof — The plentiful effusion of the Spirit the great promise respecting the times of the New Testament — Ministry of the gospel founded on the promise of the Spirit — How this promise is made unto all believers — Injunction to all to pray for the Spirit of God — The solemn promise of Christ to send his Spirit when he left the world — The ends for which he promised him — The work of the new creation the principal means of the revelation of God and his glory — How this revelation is made in particular herein.

    WE are now arrived at that part of our work which was principally intended in the whole, and that because our faith and obedience are principally therein concerned; — this is, the dispensation and work of the Holy Ghost with respect to the gospel , or the new creation of all things in and by Jesus Christ. And this, if anything in the Scripture, is worthy of our most diligent inquiry and meditation; nor is there any more important principle and head of that religion which we do profess. The doctrine of the being and unity of the divine nature is common to us with the rest of mankind, and hath been so from the foundation of the world, however some, “like brute beasts,” have herein also “corrupted themselves.” The doctrine of the Trinity, or the subsistence of three persons in the one divine nature or being, was known to all who enjoyed divine revelation, even under the Old Testament, though to us it be manifested with more light and convincing evidence. The incarnation of the Son of God was promised and expected from the first entrance of sin, and received its actual accomplishment in the fullness of time, during the continuance of the Mosaical pedagogy. But this dispensation of the Holy Ghost whereof we now proceed to treat is so peculiar unto the New Testament, that the evangelist speaking of it says, “The Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified,” John 7:39; and they who were instructed in the doctrine of John the Baptist only, knew not “whether there were any Holy Ghost,” Acts 19:2. Both which sayings concerned his dispensation under the New Testament; for his eternal being and existence they were not ignorant of, nor did he then first begin to be, as we have fully manifested in our foregoing discourses.

    To stir us up, therefore, unto diligence in this inquiry, unto what was in general laid down before I shall add some considerations evidencing the greatness and necessity of this duty, and then proceed to the matter itself that we have proposed to handle and explain: — 1. The plentiful effusion of the Spirit is that which was principally prophesied of and foretold as the great privilege and pre-eminence of the gospel church-state; this was that good wine which was kept until the last.

    This all the prophets bear witness unto: see Isaiah 35:7, 44:3; Joel 2:28; Ezekiel 11:19, 36:27, with other places innumerable. The great promise of the Old Testament was that concerning the coming of Christ in the flesh. But he was so to come as to put an end unto that whole churchstate wherein his coming was expected. To prove this was the principal design of the apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrews. But this promise of the Spirit, whose accomplishment was reserved for the times of the gospel, was to be the foundation of another church-state, and the means of its continuance. If, therefore, we have any interest in the gospel itself, or desire to have; if we have either part or lot in this matter, or desire to be made partakers of the benefits which attend thereon, — which are no less than our acceptation with God here and our salvation hereafter, — it is our duty to search the Scriptures, and inquire diligently into these things. And let no man deceive us with vain words, as though the things spoken concerning the Spirit of God and his work towards them that do believe were fanatical and unintelligible by rational men; for because of this contempt of him, the wrath of God will come on the children of disobedience. And if the “world in wisdom,” and their reason, “know him not,” nor can “receive him,” yet they who believe do know him; for “he dwelleth with them, and shall be in them,” John 14:17. And the present practice of the world, in despising and slighting the Spirit of God and his work, gives light and evidence into those words of our Savior, that “the world cannot receive him;” and it cannot do so, because it “neither seeth him nor knoweth him,” or hath no experience of his work in them, or of his power and grace. Accordingly [so] doth it, [so] is it come to pass.

    Wherefore, not to avow the Spirit of God in his work, is to be ashamed of the gospel and of the promise of Christ, as if it were a thing not to be owned in the world. 2. The ministry of the gospel, whereby we are begotten again, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures unto God, is from his promised presence with it and work in it, called the mimistry of the Spirit, even of the Spirit that giveth life, 2 Corinthians 3:8; and it is so in opposition to the “ministration of the law,” wherein yet there were a multitude of ordinances of worship and glorious ceremonies. And he who knows no more of the ministry of the gospel but what consists in an attendance unto the letter of institutions and the manner of their performance knows nothing of it. Nor yet is there any extraordinary afflatus or inspiration now intended or attended unto, as we are slanderously reported, and as some affirm that we pretend; but there is that presence of the Spirit of God with the ministry of the gospel, in his authority, assistance, communication of gifts and abilities, guidance, and direction, as without which it will be useless and unprofitable in and unto all that take the work thereof upon them. This will be more fully declared afterward; for, — 3. The promise and gift of the Spirit under the gospel is not made nor granted unto any peculiar sort of persons only, but unto all believers, as their conditions and occasions do require. They are not, therefore, the especial interest of a few, but the common concern of all Christians. The Papists grant that this promise is continued; but they would confine it to their pope or their councils, things nowhere mentioned in the Scripture, nor the object of any one gospel promise whatever. It is all believers in their places and stations, churches in their order, and ministers in their office, unto whom the promise of him is made, and towards whom it is accomplished, as shall be shown. Others, also, grant the continuance of this gift, but understand no more by it but an ordinary blessing upon men’s rational endeavors, common and exposed unto all alike. This is no less than to overthrow his whole work, to take his sovereignty out of his hand, and to deprive the church of all especial interest in the promise of Christ concerning him. In this inquiry, therefore, we look after what at present belongs unto ourselves, if so be we are disciples of Christ, and do expect the fulfilling of his promises; for whatever men may pretend, unto this day, “if they have not the Spirit of Christ, they are none of his,” Romans 8:9: for our Lord Jesus Christ hath promised him as a comforter, to abide with his disciples forever, John 14:16, and by him it is that he is present with them and among them to the end of the world, Matthew 28:20, 18:20; — that we speak not as yet of his sanctifying work, whereby we are enabled to believe, and are made partakers of that holiness without which no man shall see God. Wherefore, without him all religion is but a body without a soul, a carcass without an animating spirit.

    It is true, in the continuation of his work he ceaseth from putting forth those extraordinary effects of his power which were needful for the laying the foundation of the church in the world; but the whole work of his grace, according to the promise of the covenant, is no less truly and really carried on at this day, in and towards all the elect of God, than it was on the day of Pentecost and onwards; and so is his communication of gifts necessary for the edification of the church, Ephesians 4:11-13. The owning, therefore, and avowing the work of the Holy Ghost in the hearts and on the minds of men, according to the tenor of the covenant of grace, is the principal part of that profession which at this day all believers are called unto. 4. We are taught in an especial manner to pray that God would give his Holy Spirit unto us, that through his aid and assistance we may live unto God in that holy obedience which he requires at our hands, Luke 11:9-13. Our Savior, enjoining an importunity in our supplications, verses 9, 10, and giving us encouragement that we shall succeed in our requests, verses 11, 12, makes the subject-matter of them to be the Holy Spirit: “Your heavenly Father shall give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him,” verse 13; which in the other evangelist is “good things,” Matthew 7:11, because he is the author of them all in us and to us, nor doth God bestow any good thing on us but by his Spirit. Hence, the promise of bestowing the Spirit is accompanied with a prescription of duty unto us, that we should ask him or pray for him; which is included in every promise where his sending, giving, or bestowing is mentioned. He, therefore, is the great subject-matter of all our prayers. And that signal promise of our blessed Savior, to send him as a comforter, to abide with us forever, is a directory for the prayers of the church in all generations. Nor is there any church in the world fallen under such a total degeneracy but that, in their public offices, there are testimonies of their ancient faith and practice, in praying for the coming of the Spirit unto them, according to this promise of Christ.

    And therefore our apostle, in all his most solemn prayers for the churches in his days, makes this the chief petition of them, that God would give unto them, and increase in them, the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit, with the Spirit himself, for sundry especial effects and operations whereof they stood in need, Ephesians 1:17, 3:16; Colossians 2:2. And this is a full conviction of what importance the consideration of the Spirit of God and his work is unto us. We must deal in this matter with that confidence which the truth instructs us unto, and therefore say, that he who prayeth not constantly and diligently for the Spirit of God, that he may be made partaker of him for the ends for which he is promised, is a stranger from Christ and his gospel. This we are to attend unto, as that whereon our eternal happiness doth depend. God knows our state and condition, and we may better learn our wants from his prescription of what we ought to pray for than from our sense and experience; for we are in the dark unto our own spiritual concerns, through the power of our corruptions and temptations, and “know not what we should pray for as we ought,” Romans 8:26. But our heavenly Father knows perfectly what we stand in need of; and, therefore, whatever be our present apprehensions concerning ourselves, which are to be examined by the word, our prayers are to be regulated by what God hath enjoined us to ask and what he hath promised to bestow. 5. What was before mentioned may here be called over again and farther improved, yea, it is necessary that so it should be. This is, the solemn promise of Jesus Christ when he was [about] to leave this world by death, [ John 14:15-17.] And whereas he therein made and confirmed his testament, Hebrews 9:15-17, he bequeathed his Spirit as his great legacy unto his disciples; and this he gave unto them as the great pledge of their future inheritance, 2 Corinthians 1:22, which they were to live upon in this world. All other good things he hath, indeed, bequeathed unto believers, as he speaks of peace with God in particular: “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you,” John 14:27. But he gives particular graces and mercies for particular ends and purposes. The Holy Spirit he bequeaths to supply his own absence, John 16:13; that is, for all the ends of spiritual and eternal life. Let us, therefore, consider this gift of the Spirit either formally, under this notion that he was the principal legacy left unto the church by our dying Savior, or materially, as to the ends and purposes for which he is so bequeathed, and it will be evident what valuation we ought to have of him and his work. How would some rejoice if they could possess any relic of anything that belonged unto our Savior in the days of his flesh, though of no use or benefit unto them! Yea, how great a part of men called Christians do boast in some pretended parcels of the tree whereon he suffered! Love abused by superstition lies at the bottom of this vanity; for they would embrace anything left them by their dying Savior. But he left them no such things, nor did ever bless and sanctify them unto any holy or sacred ends; and therefore hath the abuse of them been punished with blindness and idolatry. But this [gift of the Spirit] is openly testified unto in the gospel. Then when his heart was overflowing with love unto his disciples and care for them, when he took a holy prospect of what would be their condition, their work, duty, and temptations in the world, and thereon made provision of all that they could stand in need of, he promiseth to leave and give unto them his Holy Spirit to abide with them forever, directing us to look unto him for all our comforts and supplies. According, therefore, unto our valuation and esteem of him, to our satisfaction and acquiescency in him, is our regard to the love, care, and wisdom of our blessed Savior to be measured. And, indeed, it is only in his word and Spirit wherein we can either honor or despise him in this world; in his own person he is exalted at the right hand of God, far above all principalities and powers, so that nothing of ours can immediately reach him or affect him. But it is in our regard to these that he makes a trial of our faith, love, and obedience. And it is a matter of lamentation to consider the contempt and scorn that, on various pretenses, is cast upon this Holy Spirit, and the work whereunto he is sent by God the Father and by Jesus Christ; for there is included therein a contempt of them also. Nor will a pretense of honoring God in their own way secure such persons as shall contract the guilt of this abomination; for it is an idol, — and not the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, — who doth not work effectually in the elect by the Holy Ghost, according to the Scriptures. And if we consider this promise of the Spirit to be given unto us, as to the ends of it, then, — 6. He is promised and given as the sole cause and author of all the good that in this world we are or can be made partakers of; for, (1.) there is no good communicated unto us from God, but it is bestowed on us or wrought in us by the Holy Ghost. No gift, no grace, no mercy, no privilege, no consolation, do we receive, possess, or use, but it is wrought in us, collated on us, or manifested unto us, by him alone. Nor, (2.) is there any good in us towards God, any faith, love, duty, obedience, but what is effectually wrought in us by him, by him alone; for “in us, that is, in our flesh” (and by nature we are but flesh), “there dwelleth no good thing.” All these things are from him and by him, as shall, God assisting, be made to appear by instances of all sorts in our ensuing discourse. And these considerations I thought meet to premise unto our entrance into that work which now lieth before us. (1.) The great work whereby God designed to glorify himself ultimately in this world was that of the new creation, or of the recovery and restoration of all things by Jesus Christ, Hebrews 1:1-3; Ephesians 1:10. And as this is in general confessed by all Christians, so I have elsewhere insisted on the demonstration of it. (2.) That which God ordereth and designeth as the principal means for the manifestation of his glory must contain the most perfect and absolute revelation and declaration of himself, his nature, his being, his existence, and excellencies; for from their discovery and manifestation, with the duties which as known they require from rational creatures, doth the glory of God arise, and no otherwise. (3.) This, therefore, was to be done in this great work; and it was done accordingly. Hence is the Lord Christ, in his work of mediation, said to be “The image of the invisible God,” Colossians 1:15; “The brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,” Hebrews 1:3; in whose face the knowledge of the glory of God shineth forth unto us, Corinthians 4:6; — because in and by him, in his work of the new creation, all the glorious properties of the nature of God are manifested and displayed incomparably above what they were in the creation of all things in the beginning. I say, therefore, in the contrivance, projection, production, carrying on, disposal, and accomplishment of this great work, God hath made the most eminent and glorious discovery of himself unto angels and men, Ephesians 3:8-10, 1 Peter 1:10-12; that we may know, love, trust, honor, and obey him in all things as God, and according to his will. (4.) In particular, in this new creation he hath revealed himself in an especial manner as three in one. There was no one more glorious mystery brought to light in and by Jesus Christ than that of the holy Trinity, or the subsistence of the three persons in the unity of the same divine nature.

    And this was done not so much in express propositions or verbal testimonies unto that purpose, — which yet is done also, as by the declaration of the mutual, divine, internal acts of the persons towards one another, and the distinct, immediate, divine, external actings of each person in the work which they did and do perform, — for God revealeth not himself unto us merely doctrinally and dogmatically, but by the declaration of what he doth for us, in us, and towards us, in the accomplishment of “the counsel of his own will;” see Ephesians 1:4-12.

    And this revelation is made unto us, not that our minds might be possessed with the notions of it, but that we may know aright how to place our trust in him, how to obey him and live unto him, how to obtain and exercise communion with him, until we come to the enjoyment of him.

    We may make application of these things unto, and exemplify them yet farther in, the work under consideration. Three things in general are in it proposed unto our faith: — 1. The supreme purpose, design, contrivance, and disposal of it. 2. The purchasing and procuring cause and means of the effects of that design, with its accomplishment in itself and with respect unto God. 3. The application of the supreme design and actual accomplishment of it, to make it effectual unto us.

    The first of these is absolutely in the Scripture assigned unto the Father, and that uniformly and everywhere. His will, his counsel, his love, his grace, his authority, his purpose, his design, are constantly proposed as the foundation of the whole work, as those which were to be pursued, effected, accomplished: see Isaiah 42:1-4; Psalm 40:6-8; John 3:16; Isaiah 53:10-12; Ephesians 1:4-12, and other places innumerable. And on this account, because the Son undertook to effect whatever the Father had so designed and purposed, there were many acts of the will of the Father towards the Son, — [as] in sending, giving, appointing of him; in preparing him a body; in comforting and supporting him; in rewarding and giving a people unto him, — which belong unto the Father, on the account of the authority, love, and wisdom, that were in them, their actual operation belonging particularly unto another person. And in these things is the person of the Father in the divine being proposed unto us to be known and adored. Secondly, The Son condescendeth, consenteth, and engageth to do and accomplish in his own person the whole work which, in the authority, counsel, and wisdom of the Father, was appointed for him, Philippians 2:5-8. And in these divine operations is the person of the Son revealed unto us to be “honored even as we honor the Father.” Thirdly, The Holy Ghost doth immediately work and effect whatever was to be done in reference unto the person of the Son or the sons of men, for the perfecting and accomplishment of the Father’s counsel and the Son’s work, in an especial application of both unto their especial effects and ends. Hereby is he made known unto us, and hereby our faith concerning him and in him is directed.

    And thus, in this great work of the new creation by Jesus Christ, doth God cause all his glory to pass before us, that we may both know him and worship him in a due manner. And what is the peculiar work of the Holy Ghost herein we shall now declare.

    CHAPTER 3.

    WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT WITH RESPECT UNTO THE HEAD OF THE NEW CREATION - THE HUMAN NATURE OF CHRIST. The especial works of the Holy Spirit in the new creation — His work on the human nature of Christ — How this work could be, considering the union of the human nature unto and in the person of the Son of God — Assumption of the human nature into union, the only act of the person of the Son towards it — Personal union the only necessary consequent of this assumption — All other actings of the person of the Son in and on the human nature voluntary — The Holy Spirit the immediate efficient cause of all divine operations — -He is the Spirit of the Son or of the Father — How all the works of the Trinity are undivided — The body of Christ formed in the womb by the Holy Ghost, but of the substance of the blessed Virgin; why this was necessary — Christ not hence the Son of the Holy Ghost according to the human nature — Difference between the assumption of the human nature by the Son and the creation of it by the Holy Ghost — The conception of Christ, how ascribed to the Holy Ghost, and how to the blessed Virgin — Reasons of the espousal of the blessed Virgin to Joseph before the conception of Christ — The actual purity and holiness of the soul and body of Christ from his miraculous conception. THE dispensation and work of the Holy Ghost in this new creation respect, first, The Head of the church, the Lord Jesus Christ, in his human nature, as it was to be, and was, united unto the person of the Son of God.

    Secondly, It concerns the members of that mystical body in all that belongs unto them as such. And under these two heads we shall consider them.

    First, therefore, we are to inquire what are the operations of the Holy Ghost in reference unto Jesus Christ, the Head of the church. And these were of two sorts: — 1. Such as whereof the person of Christ in his human nature was the immediate object. 2. Such as he performs towards others on his behalf; that is, with direct respect unto his person and office.

    I. But yet, before we enter upon the first sort of his works which we shall begin withal, an objection of seeming weight and difficulty must be removed out of our way; which I shall the rather do because our answer unto it will make the whole matter treated of the more plain and familiar unto us. It may, therefore, be, and it is objected, “That whereas the human nature of Christ is assigned as the immediate object of these operations of the Holy Ghost, and that nature was immediately, inseparably, and undividedly united unto the person of the Son of God, there doth not seem to be any need, nor indeed room, for any such operations of the Spirit; for could not the Son of God himself, in his own person, perform all things requisite both for the forming, supporting, sanctifying, and preserving of his own nature, without the especial assistance of the Holy Ghost? nor is it easy to be understood how an immediate work of the Holy Ghost should be interposed, in the same person, between the one nature and the other.” And this seeming difficulty is vehemently pressed by the Socinians, who think to entangle our whole doctrine of the blessed Trinity and incarnation of the Son of God thereby. But express testimonies of Scripture, with the clear and evident analogy of faith, will carry us easily and safely through this seeming difficulty. To which end we may observe, that, — 1. The only singular immediate act of the person of the Son on the human nature was the assumption of it into subsistence with himself. Herein the Father and the Spirit had no interest nor concurrence, eij mh< kat eujdoki>an kai< bou>lhsin, “but by approbation and consent,” as Damascen speaks: for the Father did not assume the human nature, he was not incarnate; neither did the Holy Spirit do so; but this was the peculiar act and work of the Son. See John 1:14; Romans 1:3; Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:6,7; Hebrews 2:14,16; which places, with many others to the same purpose, I have elsewhere expounded, and vindicated from the exceptions of the Socinians. 2. That the only necessary consequent of this assumption of the human nature, or the incarnation of the Son of God, is the personal union of Christ, or the inseparable subsistence of the assumed nature in the person of the Son. This was necessary and indissoluble, so that it was not impeached nor shaken in the least by the temporary dissolution of that nature by the separation of the soul and body: for the union of the soul and body in Christ did not constitute him a person, that the dissolution of them should destroy his personality; but he was a person by the uniting of both unto the Son of God. 3. That all other actings of God in the person of the Son towards the human nature were voluntary, and did not necessarily ensue on the union mentioned; for there was no transfusion of the properties of one nature into the other, nor real physical communication of divine essential excellencies unto the humanity. Those who seem to contend for any such thing resolve all at last into a true assignation by way of predication, as necessary on the union mentioned, but contend not for a real transfusion of the properties of one nature into the other. But these communications were voluntary. Hence were those temporary dispensations, when, under his great trial, the human nature complained of its desertion and dereliction by the divine, Matthew 27:46; for this forsaking was not as to personal union, or necessary subsistence and supportment, but as to voluntary communications of light and consolation. Hence himself declares that the human nature was not the residential subject of omnisciency; for so he speaks, Mark 13:32, “But of that day and that hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.”

    For the exposition given by some of the ancients, that the Lord Christ speaks not this absolutely, but only “that he knew it not to declare it unto them,” is unworthy of him; for no more did the Father so know it, seeing he hath not declared it. But this was the opinion only of some of them; the more advised were otherwise minded. He speaks of himself with respect unto his human nature only, and thereunto all communications were voluntary. So after his ascension, God gave him that revelation that he made to the apostle, Revelation 1:1. The human nature, therefore, however inconceivably advanced, is not the subject of infinite, essentially divine properties; and the actings of the Son of God towards it, consequential unto its assumption, and that indissoluble subsistence in its union which ensued thereon, are voluntary. 4. The Holy Ghost, as we have proved before, is the immediate, peculiar, efficient cause of all external divine operations: for God worketh by his Spirit, or in him immediately applies the power and efficacy of the divine excellencies unto their operation; whence the same work is equally the work of each person. 5. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Son, no less than the Spirit of the Father. He proceedeth from the Son, as from the Father. He is the “Spirit of the Son,” Galatians 4:6. And hence is he the immediate operator of all divine acts of the Son himself, even on his own human nature. Whatever the Son of God wrought in, by, or upon the human nature, he did it by the Holy Ghost, who is his Spirit, as he is the Spirit of the Father. 6. To clear the whole matter, it must be yet farther observed that the immediate actings of the Holy Ghost are not spoken of him absolutely, nor ascribed unto him exclusively, as unto the other persons and their concurrence in them. It is a saying generally admitted, that Opera Trinitatis ad extra sunt indivisa. There is no such division in the external operations of God that any one of them should be the act of one person, without the concurrence of the others; and the reason of it is, because the nature of God, which is the principle of all divine operations, is one and the same, undivided in them all. Whereas, therefore, they are the effects of divine power, and that power is essentially the same in each person, the works themselves belong equally unto them: as, if it were possible that three men might see by the same eye, the act of seeing would be but one, and it would be equally the act of all three. But the things we insist on are ascribed eminently unto the Holy Ghost, on the account of the order of his subsistence in the holy Trinity, as he is the Spirit of the Father and the Son; whence, in every divine act, the authority of the Father, the love and wisdom of the Son, with the immediate efficacy and power of the Holy Ghost, are to be considered. Yea, and there is such a distinction in their operations, that one divine act may produce a peculiar respect and relation unto one person, and not unto another; as the assumption of the human nature did to the Son, for he only was incarnate.

    And such are the especial actings of the Holy Ghost towards the head of the church, our Lord Jesus Christ, in this work of the new creation, as we shall demonstrate in sundry instances: — First, The framing, forming, and miraculous conception of the body of Christ in the womb of the blessed Virgin was the peculiar and especial work of the Holy Ghost. This work; I acknowledge, in respect of designation, and the authoritative disposal of things, is ascribed unto the Father; for so the Lord Christ speaketh unto him: “A body hast thou prepared me,” Hebrews 10:5. But this preparation does not signify the actual forming and making ready of that body, but the eternal designation of it: it was prepared in the counsel and love of the Father. As to voluntary assumption, it is ascribed to the Son himself: chapter 2:14, “Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same;” he took upon him a body and soul, entire human nature, as the children, or all believers, have the same, synecdochically expressed by “flesh and blood.” Verse 16, “He took on him the seed of Abraham.” But the immediate divine efficiency in this matter was the peculiar work of the Holy Ghost: Matthew 1:18, “When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”

    Verse 20, “That which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Luke 1:35, “The angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” 1. The person working is the Holy Ghost. He is the wonderful operator in this glorious work. And therein the power of the Most High was exerted; for “The power of the Highest” is neither explicatory of the former expression, “The Holy Ghost,” as though he were only the power of the Most High, nor is it the adjoining of a distinct agent or cause unto him, as though the Holy Ghost and the power of the Most High were different agents in this matter. Only the manner of his effecting this wonderful matter, concerning which the blessed Virgin had made that inquiry, verse 34, “How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?” is expressed. “The Holy Ghost,” saith the angel, “acting the power of the Most High,” or in the infinite power of God, “shall accomplish it.” 2. For his access unto his work, it is expressed by his “coming upon her.”

    The importance of this expression, and what is signified thereby, hath been declared before. And it is often used to declare his actings with reference unto the production of miraculous works: Acts 1:8, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you;” — “He will so come upon you as to put forth the power of the Most High in you and by you, in gifts and operations miraculous;” for he is said to come, with respect unto his beginning of any marvelous operation, where before he did not work to the like purpose. 3. The act of the Holy Ghost in this matter was a creating act; not, indeed, like the first creating act, which produced the matter and substance of all things out of nothing, causing that to be which was not before, neither in matter, nor form, nor passive disposition; but like those subsequent acts of creation, whereby, out of matter before made and prepared, things were made that which before they were not, and which of themselves they had no active disposition unto nor concurrence in. So man was created or formed of the dust of the earth, and woman of a rib taken from man. There was a previous matter unto their creation, but such as gave no assistance nor had any active disposition to the production of that particular kind of creature whereinto they were formed by the creating power of God. Such was this act of the Holy Ghost in forming the body of our Lord Jesus Christ; for although it was effected by an act of infinite creating power, yet it was formed or made of the substance of the blessed Virgin. That it should be so was absolutely necessary, — (1.) For the accomplishment of the promises made unto Abraham and David, that the Messiah should be of their seed, and proceed from their loins. (2.) So was it also on the account of the first original promise, that the “seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head:” for the Word was to be “made flesh,” John 1:14; to be “made of a woman,” Galatians 4:4; or “made of the seed of David according to the flesh,” Romans 1:3; and to take upon him “the seed of Abraham,” Hebrews 2:16. (3.) To confirm the truth hereof is his genealogy according to the flesh given us by two of the evangelists; which were neither to the purpose nor true if he were not made of the substance or flesh of the blessed Virgin. (4.) Besides, all our cognation and alliance unto him, whence he was meet to be our Savior, suffering in the same nature wherein we have sinned, do depend hereon, Hebrews 2:14; for if he had not been made like us in all things, sin only excepted, if he had not been partaker of our nature, there had been no foundation for the imputing that unto us which he did, suffered, and wrought, Romans 8:3,4. And hence these things are accounted unto us, and cannot be so unto angels, whose nature he did not take upon him, Hebrews 2:16. This, therefore, was the work of the Holy Ghost in reference unto the human nature of Christ in the womb of his mother: By his omnipotent power he formed it of the substance of the body of the holy Virgin, — that is, as unto his body. And hence sundry things do ensue: — 1. That the Lord Christ could not on this account, no, not with respect unto his human nature only, be said to be the Son of the Holy Ghost, although he supplied the place and virtue of a natural father in generation; for the relation of filiation dependeth only on and ariseth from a perfect generation, and not on every effect of an efficient cause. When one fire is kindled by another, we do not say that it is the son of that other, unless it be very improperly; much less when a man builds a house do we say that it is his son. There was, therefore, no other relation between the person of the Holy Ghost and the human nature of Christ but that of a creator and a creature. And the Lord Christ is, and is called, “The Son of God’ with respect only unto the Father and his eternal, ineffable generation, communicating being and subsistence unto him, as the fountain and original of the Trinity. Filiation, therefore, is a personal adjunct, and belongs unto Christ as he was a divine person, and not with respect unto his human nature. But that nature being assumed, whole Christ was the Son of God. 2. That this act of the Holy Ghost, in forming of the body of Christ, differs from the act of the Son in assuming the human nature into personal union with himself: for this act of the Son was not a creating act, producing a being out of nothing, or making anything by the same power to be what in its own nature it was not; but it was an ineffable act of love and wisdom, taking the nature so formed by the Holy Ghost, so prepared for him, to be his own in the instant of its formation, and thereby preventing the singular and individual subsistence of that nature in and by itself. So, then, as the creating act of the Holy Ghost, in forming the body of our Lord Jesus Christ in the womb, doth not denominate him to be his father, no, not according to the human nature, but he is the Son of God upon the account of his eternal generation only; so it doth not denote an assumption of that nature into union with himself, nor was he incarnate. He made the human nature of Christ, body and soul, with, in, and unto a subsistence in the second person of the Trinity, not [in] his own. 3. It hence also follows that the conception of Christ in the womb, being the effect of a creating act, was not accomplished successively and in process of time, but was perfected in an instant; for although the creating acts of infinite power, where the works effected have distinct parts, may have a process or duration of time allotted unto them, as the world was created in six days, yet every part of it that was the object of an especial creating act was instantaneously produced. So was the forming of the body of Christ, with the infusion of a rational soul to quicken it, though it increased afterwards in the womb unto the birth. And as it is probable that this conception was immediate upon the angelical salutation, so it was necessary that nothing of the human nature of Christ should exist of itself antecedently unto its union with the Son of God: for in the very instant of its formation, and therein, was the “Word made flesh,” John 1:14; and the Son of God was “made of a woman,” Galatians 4:4; so that the whole essence of his nature was created in the same instant. Thus far the Scriptures go before, and herein it is necessary to assert the forming of the body and soul of Christ by the Holy Spirit. The curious inquiries of some of the schoolmen and others are to be left unto themselves, or rather, to be condemned in them; for what was farther in this miraculous operation of the Holy Ghost, it seems purposely to be hid from us in that expression, Du>namis Uyi>stou ejpiskia>sei soi , — “The power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.” Under the secret, glorious covert hereof we may learn to adore that holy work here, which we hope to rejoice in and bless God for unto eternity. And I suppose, also, that there is in the word an allusion unto the expression of the original acting of the Holy Spirit towards the newly-produced mass of the old creation, whereof we spake before. Then it is said of him that he was tp,j,ræm] , as it were “hovering” and “moving” over it for the formation and production of all things living; for both the words include in them an allusion unto a covering like that of a fowl over its eggs, communicating, by its cognate warmth and heat, a principle of life unto their seminal virtue.

    It remaineth only that we consider how the same work of the conception of Christ is assigned unto the Holy Ghost and to the blessed Virgin; for of her it is said expressly in prophecy, hr;h; hm;l][æh; , Isaiah 7:14, “A virgin shall conceive,” — the same word that is used to express the conception of any other woman, Genesis 4:1. Hence she is termed by the ancients Qeoto>kov and Dei genetrix; which last, at least, I wish had been forborne. Compare it with the Scripture, and there will appear an unwarrantable kainofwni>a in it. So Luke 1:31. The words of the angel to her are, Sullh>yh ejn gastri< kai< te>xh uiJo>n , — “Thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son;” where her conception of him is distinguished from her bringing of him forth. And yet in the ancient creed commonly called the Apostles’, and generally received by all Christians as a summary of religion, it is said he was “conceived by the Holy Ghost,” and only “born of the Virgin Mary.” Ans. The same work is assigned to both as causes of a different kind, — unto the Holy Spirit as the active, efficient cause, who by his almighty power produced the effect. And the disputes managed by some of the ancients about “de Spiritu Sancto” and “ex Spiritu Sancto” were altogether needless; for it is his creating efficiency that is intended. And his conceiving is ascribed unto the holy Virgin as the passive, material cause; for his body was formed of her substance, as was before declared. And this conception of Christ was after her solemn espousals unto Joseph, and that for sundry reasons; for, — 1. Under the covering of her marriage to him she was to receive a protection of her spotless innocency. And besides, 2. God provided one that should take care of her and her child in his infancy. And, 3. Hereby, also, was our blessed Savior freed from the imputation of an illegitimate birth, until by his own miraculous operations he should give testimony unto his miraculous conception; concerning which before his mother could not have been believed. 4. That he might have one on whose account his genealogy might be recorded, to manifest the accomplishment of the promise unto Abraham and David; for the line of a genealogy was not legally continued by the mother only. Hence Matthew gives us his genealogy by Joseph, to whom his mother was legally espoused. And although Luke gives us the true, natural line of his descent, by the progenitors of the blessed Virgin, yet he nameth her not; only mentioning her espousals, he begins with Heli, who was her father, chapter 3:23.

    And this is the first thing ascribed peculiarly to the Holy Spirit with respect unto the head of the church, Christ Jesus.

    From this miraculous creation of the body of Christ, by the immediate power of the Holy Ghost, did it become a meet habitation for his holy soul, every way ready and complying with all actings of grace and virtue.

    We have not only the depravation of our natures in general, but the obliquity of our particular constitutions, to conflict withal. Hence it is that one is disposed to passion, wrath, and anger; another, to vanity and lightness; a third, to sensuality and fleshly pleasures; and so others to sloth and idleness. And although this disposition, so far as it is the result of our especial constitutions and complexion, is not sin in itself, yet it dwells at the next door unto it, and, as it is excited by the moral pravity of our natures, a continual occasion of it. But the body of Christ being formed pure and exact by the Holy Ghost, there was no disposition or tendency in his constitution to the least deviation from perfect holiness in any kind. The exquisite harmony of his natural temperature made love, meekness, gentleness, patience, benignity, and goodness, natural and cognate unto him, as having an incapacity of such motions as should be subservient unto or compliant with anything different from them. Hence, secondly, also, although he took on him those infirmities which belong unto our human nature as such, and are inseparable from it until it be glorified, yet he took none of our particular infirmities which cleave unto our persons, occasioned either by the vice of our constitutions or irregularity in the use of our bodies. Those natural passions of our minds which are capable of being the means of affliction and trouble, as grief, sorrow, and the like, he took upon him; as also those infirmities of nature which are troublesome to the body, as hunger, thirst, weariness, and pain, — yea, the purity of his holy constitution made him more highly sensible of these things than any of the children of men; — but as to our bodily diseases and distempers, which personally adhere unto us, upon the disorder and vice of our constitutions, he was absolutely free from [them].

    CHAPTER 4.

    WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN AND ON THE HUMAN NATURE OF CHRIST. The actual sanctification of the human nature of Christ by the Holy Ghost — On what ground spotless and free from sin — Positively endowed with all grace — Original holiness and sanctification in Christ, how carried on by the Spirit — Exercise of grace in Christ by the rational faculties of his soul — Their improvement — Wisdom and knowledge, how increased objectively in the human nature of Christ — The anointing of Christ by the Holy Spirit with power and gifts — Collated eminently on him at his baptism — John 3:34 explained and vindicated — Miraculous works wrought in Christ by the Holy Ghost — Christ guided, conducted, and supported by the Spirit in his whole workMark 1:12 opened — How the Lord Christ offered himself unto God through the eternal Spirit — His sanctification thereunto — Graces acting eminently therein — Love, zeal, submission, faith, and truth, all exercised therein — The work of the Spirit of God towards Christ whilst he was in the state of the dead; in his resurrection and glorification — The office of the Spirit to bear witness unto Christ, and its discharge — The true way and means of coming unto the knowledge of Christ, with the necessity thereof — Danger of mistakes herein — What it is to love Christ as we ought.

    Secondly, THE human nature of Christ being thus formed in the womb by a creating act of the Holy Spirit, was in the instant of its conception sanctified, and filled with grace according to the measure of its receptivity.

    Being not begotten by natural generation, it derived no taint of original sin or corruption from Adam, that being the only way and means of its propagation; and being not in the loins of Adam morally before the fall, the promise of his incarnation being not given until afterward, the sin of Adam could on no account be imputed unto him. All sin was charged on him as our mediator and surety of the covenant; but on his own account he was obnoxious to no charge of sin, original or actual. His nature, therefore, as miraculously created in the manner described, was absolutely innocent, spotless, and free from sin, as was Adam in the day wherein he was created. But this was not all; it was by the Holy Spirit positively endowed with all grace. And hereof it was afterward only capable of farther degrees as to actual exercise, but not of any new kind of grace. And this work of sanctification, or the original infusion of all grace into the human nature of Christ, was the immediate work of the Holy Spirit; which was necessary unto him: for let the natural faculties of the soul, the mind, will, and affections, be created pure, innocent, undefiled, — as they cannot be otherwise immediately created of God, — yet there is not enough to enable any rational creature to live to God; much less was it all that was in Jesus Christ. There is, moreover, required hereunto supernatural endowments of grace, superadded unto the natural faculties of our souls. If we live unto God, there must be a principle of spiritual life in us, as well [as] of life natural. This was the image of God in Adam, and was wrought in Christ by the Holy Spirit: Isaiah 11:1-3, “There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: and the Spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD; and shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD.”

    It is granted that the following work of the Spirit in and upon the Lord Christ, in the execution of his office as the king and head of the church, is included in these words; but his first sanctifying work in the womb is principally intended: for these expressions, “A rod out of the stem of Jesse,” and “A Branch out of his roots,” with respect whereunto the Spirit is said to be communicated unto him, do plainly regard his incarnation; and the soul of Christ, from the first moment of its infusion, was a subject capable of a fullness of grace, as unto its habitual residence and in-being, though the actual exercise of it was suspended for a while, until the organs of the body were fitted for it. This, therefore, it received by this first unction of the Spirit. Hence, from his conception, he was “holy,” as well as “harmless” and “undefiled,” Hebrews 7:26; a “holy thing,” Luke 1:35; radically filled with a perfection of grace and wisdom, inasmuch as the Father “gave him not the Spirit by measure,” John 3:34. See to this purpose our commentary on Hebrews 1:1; see also John 1:14-17.

    Thirdly, The Spirit carried on that work whose foundation he had thus laid. And two things are to be here diligently observed: — 1. That the Lord Christ, as man, did and was to exercise all grace by the rational faculties and powers of his soul, his understanding, will, and affections; for he acted grace as a man, “made of a woman, made under the law.” His divine nature was not unto him in the place of a soul, nor did immediately operate the things which he performed, as some of old vainly imagined; but being a perfect man, his rational soul was in him the immediate principle of all his moral operations, even as ours are in us.

    Now, in the improvement and exercise of these faculties and powers of his soul, he had and made a progress after the manner of other men; for he was made like unto us “in all things,” yet without sin. In their increase, enlargement, and exercise, there was required a progression in grace also; and this he had continually by the Holy Ghost: Luke 2:40, “The child grew, and waxed strong in spirit.” The first clause refers to his body, which grew and increased after the manner of other men; as verse 52, he “increased in stature.” The other respects the confirmation of the faculties of his mind, — he “waxed strong in spirit.” So, verse 52, he is said to “increase in wisdom and stature.” He was plhrou>menov sofi>av , continually “filling and filled” with new degrees “of wisdom,” as to its exercise, according as the rational faculties of his mind were capable thereof; an increase in these things accompanied his years, verse 52. And what is here recorded by the evangelist contains a description of the accomplishment of the prophecy before mentioned, Isaiah 11:1-3. And this growth in grace and wisdom was the peculiar work of the Holy Spirit; for as the faculties of his mind were enlarged by degrees and strengthened, so the Holy Spirit filled them up with grace for actual obedience. 2. The human nature of Christ was capable of having new objects proposed to its mind and understanding, whereof before it had a simple nescience. And this is an inseparable adjunct of human nature as such, as it is to be weary or hungry, and no vice or blamable defect. Some have made a great outcry about the ascribing of ignorance by some protestant divines unto the human soul of Christ: Bellarm. de Anim. Christi. Take” ignorance” for that which is a moral defect in any kind, or an unacquaintedness with that which anyone ought to know, or is necessary unto him as to the perfection of his condition or his duty, and it is false that ever any of them ascribed it unto him. Take it merely for a nescience of some things, and there is no more in it but a denial of infinite omniscience, — nothing inconsistent with the highest holiness and purity of human nature. So the Lord Christ says of himself that he knew not the day and hour of the end of all things, [ Mark 13:32]; and our apostle of him, that he “learned obedience by the things that he suffered,” Hebrews 5:8. In the representation, then, of things anew to the human nature of Christ, the wisdom and knowledge of it was objectively increased, and in new trials and temptations he experimentally learned the new exercise of grace. And this was the constant work of the Holy Spirit in the human nature of Christ. He dwelt in him in fullness; for he received him not by measure. And continually, upon all occasions, he gave out of his unsearchable treasures grace for exercise in all duties and instances of it.

    From hence was he habitually holy, and from hence did he exercise holiness entirely and universally in all things.

    Fourthly, The Holy Spirit, in a peculiar manner, anointed him with all those extraordinary powers and gifts which were necessary for the exercise and discharging of his office on the earth: Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound.”

    It is the prophetical office of Christ, and his discharge thereof in his ministry on the earth, which is intended. And he applies these words unto himself with respect unto his preaching of the gospel, Luke 4:18,19; for this was that office which he principally attended unto here in the world, as that whereby he instructed men in the nature and use of his other offices. For his kingly power, in his human nature on the earth, he exercised it but sparingly. Thereunto, indeed, belonged his sending forth of apostles and evangelists to preach with authority. And towards the end of his ministry he instituted ordinances of gospel worship, and appointed the order of his church in the foundation and building of it up; which were acts of kingly power. Nor did he perform any act of his sacerdotal office but only at his death, when he “gave himself for us an offering and a sacrifice .to God for a sweet-smelling savor,” Ephesians 5:2; wherein God “smelled a savor of rest,” and was appeased towards us. But the whole course of his life and ministry was the discharge of his prophetical office unto the Jews, Romans 15:8; which he was to do according to the great promise, Deuteronomy 18:18,19: and on the acceptance or refusal of him herein depended the life and death of the church of Israel, verse 19; Acts 3:23; Hebrews 2:3; John 8:24. Hereunto was he fitted by this unction of the Spirit. And here, also, is a distinction between the “Spirit that was upon him,” and his being “anointed to preach,” which contains the communication of the gifts of that Spirit unto him; as it is said, Isaiah 11:2,3, “The Spirit rested upon him as a Spirit of wisdom,” to make him “of quick understanding in the fear of the LORD.” Now, this was in a singular manner and in a measure inexpressible, whence he is said to be “anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows,” or those who were partakers of the same Spirit with him, Psalm 45:7; Hebrews 1:8,9; although I acknowledge that there was in that expression a peculiar respect unto his glorious exaltation, which afterward ensued, as hath been declared on that place. And this collation of extraordinary gifts for the discharge of his prophetical office was at his baptism, Matthew 3:17.

    They were not bestowed on the Head of the church, nor are any gifts of the same nature in general bestowed on any of his members, but for use, exercise, and improvement. And that they were then collated appears; for, — 1. Then did he receive the visible pledge which confirmed him in, and testified unto others his calling of God to, the exercise of his office; for then “the Spirit of God descended like a dove, and lighted upon him: and lo a voice came from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” Matthew 3:16,17. Hereby was he “sealed of God the Father,” John 6:27, in that visible pledge of his vocation, setting the great seal of heaven to his commission. And this also was to be a testimony unto others, that they might own him in his office, now he had undertaken to discharge it, chapter 1:33. 2. He now entered on his public ministry, and wholly gave himself up unto his work; for before, he did only occasionally manifest the presence of God with him, somewhat to prepare the minds of men to attend unto his ministry, as when he filled them with astonishment at his discourses with the doctors in the temple, Luke 2:46,47. And although it is probable that he might be acted by the Spirit in and unto many such extraordinary actions during his course of a private life, yet the fullness of gifts for his work he received not until the time of his baptism, and, therefore, before that he gave not himself up wholly unto his public ministry. 3. Immediately hereon it is said that he was “full of the Holy Ghost,” Luke 4:1. Before, he was said to “wax strong in spirit,” plhrou>menov sofi>av , chapter 2:40, “continually filling;” but now he is plh>rhv Pneu>matov Agi>ou , “full of the Holy Ghost.” He was actually possessed of and furnished with all that fullness of spiritual gifts which were any way needful for him or useful unto him, or which human nature is capable of receiving. With respect hereunto doth the evangelist [baptist?] use that expression, Ou gatrou di>dwsin oJ QeoJohn 3:34, — “For God giveth not the Spirit by measure.” That it is the Lord Jesus Christ who is here intended, unto whom the Spirit is thus given, is evident from the context, although it be not express[ed] in the text. He is spoken of, and is the subject of the whole discourse: Verse 31, “He that cometh from above is above all: he that cometh from heaven is above all.”

    None doubts but that this is a description of the person of Christ. And in the beginning of this verse, “He whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God;” which is the usual periphrasis of the Lord Christ, used at least twenty times in this Gospel. Of him this account is given, that he “testifieth what he hath seen and heard,” verse 32; and that he “speaketh the words of God,” verse 34. Different events are also marked upon his testimony, for many refused it, verse 32, but some received it, who therein “set to their seal that God is true,” verse 33; for he that “believeth not the record that he gave of his Son hath made him a liar,” 1 John 5:10. As a reason of all this, it is added that “God gave not the Spirit by measure unto him;” so that he was fully enabled to “speak the words of God,” and those by whom his testimony was rejected were justly liable to “wrath,” verse 36. Vain, therefore, is the attempt of Crellius, de Spir. Sanc., followed by Schlichtingius in his comment on this place, who would exclude the Lord Christ from being intended in these words; for they would have them signify no more but only in general that God is not bound up to measures in the dispensation of the Spirit, but gives to one according unto one measure, and to another according to another. But as this gloss overthrows the coherence of the words, disturbing the context, so it contradicts the text itself: for God’s not giving the Spirit ejk me>trou , “by measure,” is his giving of him ajme>trwv , “immeasurably,’’ without known bounds or limits, and so the Spirit was given unto the Lord Christ only; for “unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ,” Ephesians 4:7, — that is, in what measure he pleaseth to communicate and distribute it.

    But the effects of this giving of the Spirit unto the Lord Christ not by measure belonged unto that fullness from whence we “receive grace for grace,” John 1:16; for hereby the Father accomplished his will, when “it pleased him that in him should all fullness dwell,” that “in all things he might have the pre-eminence,” Colossians 1:18,19. Nor can any difficulty of weight be cast on this interpretation from the use of the word in the present tense, which is by Crellius insisted on, — di>dwsi , “he giveth:” “For Christ,” they say, “had before received the Spirit, for this is spoken of him after his baptism. If, therefore, he had been intended, it should rather have been, ‘he hath given,’ or ‘he hath not given unto him by measure.’” But, — (1.) This was immediately on his baptism, and therefore the collation of the fullness of the Spirit might be spoken of as a thing present, being but newly past; which is an ordinary kind of speech on all occasions. Besides, (2.) The collation of the Spirit is a continued act, in that he was given him to abide with him, to rest upon him, wherein there was a continuance of the love of God towards and his care over him in his work. Hence the Lord Christ saith of himself, or the prophet in his person, that the Spirit sent him: “Now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, hath sent me,” Isaiah 48:16.

    The same work in sending of Christ is ascribed unto the “Lord GOD,” that is, the Father, and to the “Spirit,” but in a different manner. He was sent by the Father authoritatively; and the furniture he received by the Spirit, of gifts for his work and office, is called his sending of him; as the same work is assigned unto different persons in the Trinity on different accounts.

    Fifthly, It was in an especial manner by the power of the Holy Spirit he wrought those great and miraculous works whereby his ministry was attested unto and confirmed. Hence it is said that God wrought miracles by him: Acts 2:22, “Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him;” for they are all immediate effects of divine power. So when he cast out devils with a word of command, he affirms that he did it by the “finger of God,” Luke 11:20, — that is, by the infinite divine power of God. But the power of God acted in an especial manner by the Holy Spirit, as is expressly declared in the other evangelist, Matthew 12:28; and, therefore, on the ascription of his mighty works unto Beelzebub, the prince of devils, he lets the Jews know that therein they blasphemed the Holy Spirit, whose works indeed they were, verses 31, 32. Hence these mighty works are called duna>meiv , “powers,” because of the power of the Spirit of God put forth for their working and effecting: see Mark 6:5, 9:39; Luke 4:36, 5:17, 6:19, 8:46, 9:1. And in the exercise of this power consisted the testimony given unto him by the Spirit that he was the Son of God; for this was necessary unto the conviction of the Jews, to whom he was sent, John 10:37,38.

    Sixthly, By him was he guided, directed, comforted, supported, in the whole course of his ministry, temptations, obedience, and sufferings. Some few instances on this head may suffice. Presently after his baptism, when he was full of the Holy Ghost, he was “led by the Spirit into the wilderness,” Luke 4:1. 1. The Holy Spirit guided him to begin his contest and conquest with the devil. Hereby he made an entrance into his ministry; and it teacheth us all what we must look for if we solemnly engage ourselves to follow him in the work of preaching the gospel. The word used in Mark to this purpose hath occasioned some doubt what spirit is intended in these words, To< pneu~ma aujtollei eijv thevangelists, here, and Matthew 4:1, Luke 4:1. But how the Holy Spirit should be said ejkba>llein , to “drive him,” is not so easy to be apprehended.

    But the word in Luke is h]geto , which denotes a guiding and rational conduct; and this cannot be ascribed unto any other spirit, with respect unto our Lord Jesus, but only the Spirit of God. Matthew expresseth the same effect by ajnh>cqh , chapter <400401> 4:1, — he was “carried,” or “carried up,” or “taken away,” from the midst of the people. And this was ujpo< tou~ Pneu>matov , “of that Spirit,” — namely, which descended on him and rested on him immediately before, chapter 3:16. And the continuation of the discourse in Luke will not admit that any other spirit be intended: “And Jesus being full of the Holy Spirit returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness,” — namely, by that Spirit which he was full of. By ejkba>llei , therefore, in Mark, no more is intended but the sending of him forth by a high and strong impression of the Holy Spirit on his mind. Hence the same word is used with respect unto the sending of others, by the powerful impression of the Spirit of God on their hearts, unto the work of preaching the gospel: Matthew 9:38, “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest,” o\pwv ejkba>llh ejrga>llh| ejrga>tav eijv togifts of his Spirit, and by the power of his grace constraining them to their duty. So also Luke 10:2. So did he enter upon his preparation unto his work under his conduct; and it were well if others would endeavor after a conformity unto him within the rules of their calling. 2. By his assistance was he carried triumphantly through the course of his temptations unto a perfect conquest of his adversary as to the present conflict, wherein he sought to divert him from his work; which afterward he endeavored by all ways and means to oppose and hinder. 3. The temptation being finished, he returned again out of the wilderness, to preach the gospel “in the power of the Spirit,” Luke 4:14. He returned ejn th~| duna>mei tou~ Pneu>matov , “in the power of the Spirit” into Galilee, — that is, powerfully enabled by the Holy Spirit unto the discharge of his work; and hence, in his first sermon at Nazareth, he took these words of the prophet for his text, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor,” verse 18. The issue was, that they “all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth,” verse 22. And as he thus began his ministry in the power of the Spirit, so, having received him not by measure, he continually on all occasions put forth his wisdom, power, grace, and knowledge, to the astonishment of all, and the stopping of the mouths of his adversaries, shutting them up in their rage and unbelief. 4. By him was he directed, strengthened, and comforted, in his whole course, — in all his temptations, troubles, and sufferings, from first to last; for we know that there was a confluence of all these upon him in his whole way and work, a great part of that whereunto he humbled himself for our sakes consisting in these things. In and under them he stood in need of mighty supportment and strong consolation. This God promised unto him, and this he expected, Isaiah 42:4,6, 49:5-8, 50:7, 8. Now, all the voluntary communications of the divine nature unto the human were, as we have showed, by the Holy Spirit.

    Seventhly, He offered himself up unto God through the eternal Spirit, Hebrews 9:14. I know many learned men do judge that by the “eternal Spirit” in that place, not the third person is intended, but the divine nature of the Son himself; and there is no doubt but that also may properly be called the eternal Spirit. There is also a reason in the words themselves strongly inclining unto that sense and acceptation of them: for the apostle doth show whence it was that the sacrifice of the Lord Christ had an efficacy beyond and above the sacrifices of the law, and whence it would certainly produce that great effect of “purging our consciences from dead works;” and this was, from the dignity of his person, on the account of his divine nature. It arose, I say, from the dignity of his person, his deity giving sustentation unto his human nature in the sacrifice of himself; for by reason of the indissoluble union of both his natures, his person became the principle of all his mediatory acts, and from thence had they their dignity and efficacy. Nor will I oppose this exposition of the words. But, on the other side, many learned persons, both of the ancient and modern divines, do judge that it is the person of the Holy Spirit that is intended.

    And because this is a matter of great importance, — namely, how the Lord Christ offered up himself unto God as a sacrifice by the eternal Spirit, — I shall farther explain it, though but briefly. Those who look only on the outward part of the death of Christ can see nothing but suffering in it. The Jews took him, and they with the soldiers both scourged and slew him, hanging him on the tree. But the principal consideration of it is his own offering himself a sacrifice unto God, as the great high priest of the church, to make atonement and reconciliation for sinners, which was hid from the world by those outward acts of violence which were upon him; and this he did by the eternal Spirit, wherein we may take notice of the ensuing instances: — 1. He sanctified, consecrated, or dedicated himself unto God for to be an offering or sacrifice: John 17:19, “For their sakes,” — that is, the elect, — “I sanctify myself.” The Lord Christ was before this perfectly sanctified as to all inherent holiness, so that he could not speak of sanctifying himself afresh in that sense. Neither was it the consecration of himself unto his office of a priest; for this was the act of him who called him: “He glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son,” Hebrews 5:5. He made him a priest by his death, “after the power of an endless life,” chapter 7:16, 20, 21.

    Wherefore, he consecrated himself to be a sacrifice, as the beast to be sacrificed of old was first devoted unto that purpose. Therefore it is said that he thus sanctified or consecrated himself that we might be sanctified.

    Now, “we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all,” Hebrews 10:10. This was his first sacerdotal act. He dedicated himself to be an offering to God; and this he did through the effectual operation of the eternal Spirit in him. 2. He went voluntarily and of his own accord to the garden; which answered the adduction or bringing of the beast to be sacrificed unto the door of the tabernacle, according to the law: for there he did not only give up himself into the hands of those who were to shed his blood, but also actually entered upon the offering up of himself unto God in his agony, when he “offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears,” Hebrews 5:7; which declares not the matter, but the manner of his offering. 3. In all that ensued, all that followed hereon, unto his giving up the ghost, he offered himself to God in and by those actings of the grace of the Holy Spirit in him, which accompanied him to the last. And these are diligently to be considered, because on them depend the efficacy of the death of Christ as to atonement and merit, as they were enhanced and rendered excellent by the worth and dignity of his person; for it is not the death of Christ, merely as it was penal and undergone by the way of suffering, that is the means of our deliverance, but the obedience of Christ therein, which consisted in his offering of himself through the eternal Spirit unto God, that gave efficacy and success unto it. We may, therefore, inquire what were those principal graces of the Spirit which he acted in this offering of himself unto God; and they were, — (1.) Love to mankind, and compassion towards sinners. This the holy soul of the Lord Jesus was then in the highest and most inconceivable exercise of. This, therefore, is frequently expressed where mention is made of this offering of Christ: Galatians 2:20, “Who loved me, and gave himself for me.” Revelation 1:5, “Who loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” And compassion is the first grace required in a high priest or sacrificer, Hebrews 5:2. God being now upon a design of love (for it was in the pursuit of eternal love that Christ was sent into the world, John 3:16; Titus 3:4-6), this love, that was now in its most inconceivable advancement in the heart of Christ, was most grateful and acceptable unto him. And this intenseness of love did also support the mind of Christ under all his sufferings; as Jacob, through the greatness of his love unto Rachel, made light of the seven years’ service that he endured for her, Genesis 29:20. And so did the Lord Christ “endure the cross and despise the shame for the joy” of saving his elect “which was set before him,” Hebrews 12:2. And this was one grace of the eternal Spirit whereby he offered himself unto God. (2.) That which principally acted him in the whole was his unspeakable zeal for, and ardency of affection unto, the glory of God. These were the coals which with a vehement flame, as it were, consumed the sacrifice.

    And there were two things that he aimed at with respect unto the glory of God: — [1.] The manifestation of his righteousness, holiness, and severity against sin. His design was, to repair the glory of God, wherein it had seemed to suffer by sin. Psalm 40:6-8, Hebrews 10:5-7, He came to do that, with full desire of soul, (expressed in these words, “Lo, I come,”) which legal sacrifices could not do, — namely, to make satisfaction to the justice of God for sin, to be “a propitiation, to declare his righteousness,” Romans 3:25. And this he doth, as to the manner of it, with inexpressible ardency of zeal and affections: Psalm 40:8, “I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is in the midst of my bowels.” He doubles the expression of the intenseness of his mind hereon. And, therefore, when he was to prepare himself in his last passover for his suffering, he expresseth the highest engagement of heart and affections unto it: Luke 22:15, “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer;” as with respect unto the same work he had before expressed it, “I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened,” or pained, “till it be accomplished!” chapter 12:50. His zeal to advance the glory of God, in the manifestation of his righteousness and holiness, by the offering up of himself as a sin-offering to make atonement, gave him no rest and ease until he was engaged in it, whence it wrought unto the utmost. [2.] The exercise of his grace and love. This he knew was the way to open the treasures of grace and love, that they might be poured out on sinners, to the everlasting glory of God; for this was the design of God in the whole, Romans 3:24-26. This zeal and affection unto the glory of God’s righteousness, faithfulness, and grace, which was wrought in the heart of Christ by the eternal Spirit, was that wherein principally he offered up himself unto God. (3.) His holy submission and obedience unto the wilt of God, which were now in the height of their exercise, and grace advanced unto the utmost in them, was another especial part of this his offering up of himself. That this was wrought in him by the holy or eternal Spirit was before declared.

    And it is frequently expressed as that which had an especial influence into the efficacy and merit of his sacrifice: Philippians 2:8, “He humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

    And when he “offered up prayers and supplications, though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered,” Hebrews 5:7,8; that is, he experienced obedience in suffering. It is true that the Lord Christ, in the whole course of his life, yielded obedience unto God, as he was “made of a woman, made under the law,” Galatians 4:4; but now he came to the great trial of it, with respect unto the especial command of the Father “to lay down his life,” and to “make his soul an offering for sin,” Isaiah 53:10. This was the highest act of obedience unto God that ever was, or ever shall be to all eternity; and therefore doth God so express his satisfaction therein and acceptance of it, Isaiah 53:11,12; Philippians 2:9,10. This was wrought in him, this he was wrought unto, by the Holy Spirit; and therefore by him he offered himself unto God. (4.) There belongs also hereunto that faith and trust in God which, with fervent prayers, cries, and supplications, he now acted on God and his promises, both with respect unto himself and to the covenant which he was sealing with his blood. This our apostle represents as an especial work of his, testified unto in the Old Testament: Hebrews 2:13, “I will put my trust in him.” And, [1.] This respected himself, namely, that he should be supported, assisted, and carried through the work he had undertaken unto a blessed issue.

    Herein, I confess, he was horribly assaulted, until he cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Psalm 22:1; but yet, after and through all his dreadful trial, his faith and trust in God were victorious.

    This he expressed in the depth and extremity of his trials, verses 9-11; and made such an open profession of it that his enemies, when they supposed him lost and defeated, reproached him with it, verse 8; Matthew 27:43.

    To this purpose he declares himself at large, Isaiah 50:7-9. So his faith and trust in God, as to his own supportment and deliverance, with the accomplishment of all the promises that were made unto him upon his engagement into the work of mediation, were victorious. [2.] This respected the covenant, and all the benefits that the church of the elect was to be made partaker of thereby. The blood that he now shed was the “blood of the covenant,” and it was shed for his church, namely, that the blessings of the covenant, might be communicated unto them, Galatians 3:13,14. With respect hereunto did he also exercise faith in God, as appears fully in his prayer which he made when he entered on his oblation, John 17.

    Now, concerning these instances we may observe three things to our present purpose: — (1.) These and the like gracious actings of the soul of Christ were the ways and means whereby, in his death and blood-shedding, — which was violent and by force inflicted on him as to the outward instruments, and was penal as to the sentence of the law, — he voluntarily and freely offered up himself a sacrifice unto God for to make atonement; and these were the things which, from the dignity of his person, became efficacious and victorious. Without these his death and blood-shedding had been no oblation. (2.) These were the things which rendered his offering of himself a “sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling savor,” Ephesians 5:2. God was so absolutely delighted and pleased with these high and glorious acts of grace and obedience in Jesus Christ that he smelled, as it were, a “savour of rest” towards mankind, or those for whom he offered himself, so that he would be angry with them no more, curse them no more, as it is said of the type of it in the sacrifice of Noah, Genesis 8:20,21. God was more pleased with the obedience of Christ than he was displeased with the sin and disobedience of Adam, Romans 5:17-21. It was not, then, [by] the outward suffering of a violent and bloody death, which was inflicted on him by the most horrible wickedness that ever human nature brake forth into, that God was atoned, Acts 2:23; nor yet was it merely his enduring the penalty of the law that was the means of our deliverance; but the voluntary giving up of himself to be a sacrifice in these holy acts of obedience was that upon which, in an especial manner, God was reconciled unto us. (3.) All these things being wrought in the human nature by the Holy Ghost, who, in the time of his offering, acted all his graces unto the utmost, he is said thereon to “offer himself unto God through the eternal Spirit,” by whom, as our high priest, he was consecrated, spirited, and acted thereunto.

    Eighthly, There was a peculiar work of the Holy Spirit towards the Lord Christ whilst he was in the state of the dead; for here our preceding rule must be remembered, — namely, that notwithstanding the union of the human nature of Christ with the divine person of the Son, yet the communications of God unto it, beyond subsistence, were voluntary. Thus in his death the union of his natures in his person was not in the least impeached; but yet for his soul or spirit, he commends that in an especial manner into the hands of God his Father, — Psalm 31:5, Luke 23:46, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,” — for the Father had engaged himself in an eternal covenant to take care of him, to preserve and protect him even in death, and to show him again the “way and path of life,” Psalm 16:11. Notwithstanding, then, the union of his person, his soul in its separate state was in an especial manner under the care, protection, and power of the Father, preserved in his love until the hour came wherein he showed him again the path of life. His holy body in the grave continued under the especial care of the Spirit of God; and hereby was accomplished that great promise, that “his soul should not be left in hell, nor the Holy One see corruption,” Psalm 16:10; Acts 2:31. It is the body of Christ which is here called “The Holy One,” as it was made a “holy thing” by the conception of it in the womb by the power of the Holy Ghost. And it is here spoken of in contradistinction unto his soul, and opposed by Peter unto the body of David, which when it died saw corruption, Acts 2:29. This pure and holy substance was preserved in its integrity by the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit, without any of those accidents of change which attend the dead bodies of others. I deny not but there was use made of the ministry of angels about the dead body of Christ whilst it was in the grave, even those which were seen sitting afterward in the place where he lay, John 20:12; by these was it preserved from all outward force and violation; — but this also was under the peculiar care of the Spirit of God, who how he worketh by angels hath been before declared.

    Ninthly, There was a peculiar work of the Holy Spirit in his resurrection, this being the completing act in laying the foundation of the church, whereby Christ entered into his rest, — the great testimony given unto the finishing of the work of redemption, with the satisfaction of God therein, and his acceptation of the person of the Redeemer. It is, on various accounts, assigned distinctly to each person in the Trinity; and this not only as all the external works of God are undivided, each person being equally concerned in their operation, but also upon the account of their especial respect unto and interest in the work of redemption, in the manner before declared. Unto the Father it is ascribed, on the account of his authority, and the declaration therein of Christ’s perfect accomplishment of the work committed unto him: Acts 2:24, “Him hath God raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”

    It is the Father who is spoken of, and he is said, as in other places, to raise Christ from the dead; but this he doth with respect unto “his loosing the pains of death,” — lu>sav tatou . These are the tw,m;Ayleb]j, , which, with a little alteration of one vowel, signify the “sorrows of death,” or the “cords of death;” for tiw,m;Qyleb]j, are the “sorrows of death,” and tw,m;Ayleb]j, are the “cords of death.” See Psalm 18:4, <19B603> 116:3. And the “sorrows of death” here intended were the “cords” of it, — that is, the power it had to bind the Lord Christ for a season under it; for the “pains of death,” that is, the wjdi~nev , “tormenting pains,” ended in his death itself. But the consequents of them are here reckoned unto them, or the continuance under the power of death, according unto the sentence of the law. These God loosed, when, the law being fully satisfied, the sentence of it was taken off, and the Lord Christ was acquitted from its whole charge. This was the act of God the Father, as the supreme rector and judge of all. Hence he is said to “raise him from the dead,” as the judge by his order delivereth an acquitted prisoner or one who hath answered the law. The same work he also takes unto himself: John 10:17,18, “I lay down my life, that I might take it again. No man taketh it from me, but I lay it down of myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again.”

    For although men by violence took away his life, when “with wicked hands they crucified and slew him,” Acts 2:23, 3:15, yet because they had neither authority nor ability so to do without his own consent, he saith no man did, or could, take away his life, — that is, against his will, by power over him, as the lives of other men are taken away; for this neither angels nor men could do. So, also, although the Father is said to raise him from the dead by taking off the sentence of the law, which he had answered, yet he himself also took his life again by an act of the love, care, and power of his divine nature, his living again being an act of his person, although the human nature only died. But the peculiar efficiency in the reuniting of his most holy soul and body was an effect of the power of the Holy Spirit: 1 Peter 3:18, “He was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit;” zwopoihqeimati , — “he was restored to life by the Spirit.” And this was that Spirit whereby he preached unto them that were disobedient in the days of Noah, verses 19, 20; or that Spirit of Christ which was in the prophets from the foundation of the world, chapter 1:11; by which he preached in Noah unto that disobedient generation, 2 Peter 2:5, whereby the Spirit of God strove for a season with those inhabitants of the old world, Genesis 6:3; — that is, the Holy Spirit of God. To the same purpose we are instructed by our apostle: Romans 8:11, “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you;” — “God shall quicken our mortal bodies also by the same Spirit whereby he raised Christ from the dead;” for so the relation of the one work to the other requires the words to be understood. And he asserts again the same expressly, Ephesians 1:17-20. He prays that God would give his Holy Spirit unto them as a Spirit of wisdom and revelation, verse 17. The effects thereof in them and upon them are described, verse 18. And this he desires that they may so be made partakers of as that, by the work of the Spirit of God in themselves, renewing and quickening them, they might have an experience of that exceeding greatness of his power which he put forth in the Lord Christ when he raised him from the dead. And the evidence or testimony given unto his being the Son of God, by his resurrection from the dead, is said to be “according to the Spirit of holiness,” or the Holy Spirit, Romans 1:4. He was positively declared to be the Son of God by his resurrection from the dead, ejn duna>mei kata< Pneu~ma aJgiwsu>nhv , — that is, by the “powerful working of the Holy Spirit.” This, also, is the intendment of that expression, 1 Timothy 3:16, “Justified in the Spirit.” God was “manifest in the flesh,” by his incarnation and passion therein; and “justified in the Spirit,” by a declaration of his acquitment from the sentence of death and all the evils which he underwent, with the reproaches wherewith he was contemptuously used, by his quickening and resurrection from the dead, through the mighty and effectual working of the Spirit of God.

    Tenthly, It was the Holy Spirit that glorified the human nature [of Christ], and made it every way meet for its eternal residence at the right hand of God, and a pattern of the glorification of the bodies of them that believe on him. He who first made his nature holy, now made it glorious. And as we are made conformable unto him in our souls here, his image being renewed in us by the Spirit, so he is in his body, now glorified by the effectual operation of the same Spirit, the exemplar and pattern of that glory which in our mortal bodies we shall receive by the same Spirit; for “when he shall appear, we shall be like him,” 1 John 3:2, seeing he will “change our vile bodies, that they may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself,” Philippians 3:21.

    And these are some of the principal instances of the operation of the Holy Spirit on the human nature of the Head of the church. The whole of them all, I confess, is a work that we can look but little into; only what is plainly revealed we desire to receive and embrace, considering that if we are his, we are predestinated to be made conformable in all things unto him, and that by the powerful and effectual operation of that Spirit which thus wrought all things in him, to the glory of God. And as it is a matter of unspeakable consolation unto us to consider what hath been done in and upon our nature by the application of the love and grace of God through his Spirit unto it; so it is of great advantage, in that it directs our faith and supplications in our endeavors after conformity with him, which is our next end, under the enjoyment of God in glory. What, therefore, in these matters we apprehend, we embrace; and for the depth of them, they are the objects of our admiration and praise.

    II. There is yet another work of the Holy Spirit, not immediately in and upon the person of the Lord Christ, but towards him, and on his behalf, with respect unto his work and office; and it compriseth the head and fountain of the whole office of the Holy Spirit towards the church. This was his witness-bearing unto the Lord Christ, — namely, that he was the Son of God, the true Messiah, and that the work which he performed in the world was committed unto him by God the Father to accomplish. And this same work he continueth to attend unto unto this day, and will do so to the consummation of all things. It is known how the Lord Christ was reproached whilst he was in this world, and how ignominiously he was sent out of it by death. Hereon a great contest ensued amongst mankind, wherein heaven and hell were deeply engaged. The greatest part of the world, the princes, rulers, and wise men of it, affirmed that he was an impostor, a seducer, a malefactor, justly punished for his evil deeds. He, on the other side, chose twelve apostles to bear testimony unto the holiness of his life, the truth and purity of his doctrine, the accomplishment of the prophecies of the Old Testament in his birth, life, work, and death; and, in especial, unto his resurrection from the dead, whereby he was justified and acquitted from all the reproaches of hell and the world, and their calumnies refelled. But what could the testimony of twelve poor men, though never so honest, prevail against the confronting suffrage of the world? Wherefore, this work of bearing witness unto the Lord Christ was committed unto Him who is above and over all, who knoweth how, and is able, to make his testimony prevalent: John 15:26, “When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me.” Accordingly, the apostles plead his concurring testimony: Acts 5:32, “We are his witnesses of these things; and so also is the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.” And how he thus gave his testimony our apostle declares, Hebrews 2:4, “God also bearing witness with them” (that is, the apostles), “both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to his own will.” The first principal end why God gave the Holy Spirit to work all those miraculous effects in them that believed in Jesus, was, to bear witness unto his person that he was indeed the Son of God, owned and exalted by him; for no man not utterly forsaken of all reason and understanding, not utterly blinded, would once imagine that the Holy Spirit of God would work such marvelous operations in and by them who believed on him, if he designed not to justify his person, work, and doctrine thereby. And this in a short time, together with that effectual power which he put forth in and by the preaching of the word, carried not only his vindication against all the machinations of Satan and his instruments throughout the world, but also subdued the generality of mankind unto faith in him and obedience unto him, 2 Corinthians 10:4,5. And upon this testimony it is that there is real faith in him yet maintained in the world. This is that which he promised unto his disciples whilst he was yet with them in the world, when their hearts were solicitous how they should bear up against their adversaries upon his absence. “I will,” saith he, “send the Comforter unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged,” John 16:7-11.

    The reason why the world believed not on Christ was, because they believed not that he was sent of God, chapter 9:29. By his testimony the Spirit was to reprove the world of their infidelity, and to convince them of it by evidencing the truth of his mission; for hereon the whole issue of the controversy between him and the world did depend. Whether he were righteous or a deceiver was to be determined by his being sent or not sent of God; and, consequently, God’s acceptance or disapprobation of him. That he was so sent, so approved, the Holy Spirit convinced the world by his testimony, manifesting that he “went to the Father,” and was exalted by him; for it was upon his ascension and exaltation that he received and poured out the promise of the Spirit to this purpose, Acts 2:33. Moreover, whilst he was in the world there was an unrighteous judgment, by the instigation of Satan, passed upon him. On this testimony of the Spirit, that judgment was to be reversed, and a contrary sentence passed on the author of it, the prince of this world; for by the gospel so testified unto was he discovered, convicted, judged, condemned, and cast out of that power and rule in the world which, by the darkness of the minds of men within and idolatry without, he had obtained and exercised.

    And that the Holy Spirit continueth to do the same work, though not absolutely by the same means, unto this very day, shall be afterward declared.

    And by these considerations may we be led into that knowledge of and acquaintance with our Lord Jesus Christ, which is so necessary, so useful, and so much recommended unto us in the Scripture. And the utter neglect of learning the knowledge of Christ, and of the truth as it is in him, is not more pernicious unto the souls of men than is the learning of it by undue means, whereby false and mischievous ideas or representations of him are infused into the minds of men. The Papists would learn and teach him by images, the work of men’s hands, and teachers of lies: for besides that they are forbidden by God himself to be used unto any such purposes, and therefore cursed with barrenness and uselessness, as to any end of faith or holiness, they are in themselves suited only to ingenerate low and carnal thoughts in depraved superstitious minds; for as the worshippers of such images know not what is the proper cause nor the proper object of that reverence and those affections they find in themselves, when they approach unto them and adore before them, so the apprehensions which they can have hereby tend but to the “knowing after the flesh,” which the apostle looked on as no part of his duty, 2 Corinthians 5:16. But the glory of the human nature, as united unto the person of the Son of God, and engaged in the discharge of his office of mediator, consists alone in these eminent, peculiar, ineffable communications of the Spirit of God unto him, and his powerful operations in him; this is represented unto us in the glass of the gospel, which we beholding by faith, are changed into the same image by the same Spirit, 2 Corinthians 3:18.

    Our Lord Christ himself did foretell us that there would be great inquiries after him, and that great deceits would be immixed therewithal. “If,” saith he, “they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert, go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers, believe it not,” Matthew 24:26.

    It is not a wilderness, low, persecuted, inglorious, and invisible condition, as to outward profession, that our Savior here intendeth: for himself foretold that his church should be driven into the wilderness, and nourished there, and that for a long season, Revelation 12:6; and where his church is, there is Christ, for his promise is, to be with them and among them unto the end of the world, Matthew 28:20. Nor by “secret chambers” doth he intend those private places of meeting for security which all his disciples, for some hundreds of years, were compelled unto and did make use of, after his apostles, who met sometimes in an upper room, sometimes in the night, for fear of the Jews; and such, it is notorious, were all the meetings of the primitive Christians. But our Savior here foretells the false ways that some would pretend he is taught by and found in; for, first, some would say he was ejn th~| ejrh>mw| , “in the desert” or wilderness, and if men would go forth thither, there they would see him and find him. And there is nothing intended hereby but the ancient superstitious monks, who, under a pretense of religion, retired themselves into deserts and solitary places; for there they pretended great intercourse with Christ, great visions and appearances of him, being variously deluded and imposed on by Satan and their own imaginations. It is ridiculous on the one hand, and deplorable on the other, to consider the woeful follies, delusions, and superstitions this sort of men fell into; yet was in those days nothing more common than to say that Christ was in the desert, conversing with the monks and anchorites. “Go not forth unto them,” saith our Lord Christ; “for in so doing ye will be deceived.” And again saith he, “If they say unto you, He is ejn toi~v tamei>oiv , in the secret chambers, believe it not.” There is, or I am much deceived, a deep and mysterious instruction in these words. Tamei~a signifies those secret places in a house where bread and wine and cates of all sorts are laid up and stored. This is the proper signification and use of the word. What pretense, then, could there be for any to say that Christ was in such a place? Why, there ensued so great a pretense hereof, and so horrible a superstition thereon, that it was of divine wisdom to foresee it, and of divine goodness to forewarn us of it; for it is nothing but the popish figment of transubstantiation that is intended. Christ must be in the secret places where their wafer and wine were deposited, — that is, ejn toi~v tamei>oiv . Concerning this, saith our Savior, “Believe them not.” All crafts, and frauds, and bloody violences, will be used to compel you to believe a Christ in the pix and repository; but, if you would not be seduced, “believe them not.” Such are the false ways whereby some have pretended to teach Christ and to learn him, which have led them from him into hurtful snares and perdition. The consideration that we have insisted on will guide us, if attended to, unto a spiritual and saving knowledge of him. And we are to learn thus to know him, — First, That we may love him with a pure unmixed love. It is true, it is the person of Christ as God and man that is the proper and ultimate object of our love towards him; but a clear distinct consideration of his natures and their excellencies is effectual to stir up and draw forth our love towards him. So the spouse in the Canticles, rendering a reason of her intense affections towards him, says that “he is white and ruddy, the chiefest of ten thousand;” that is, perfect in the beauty of the graces of the Holy Spirit, which rendered him exceeding amiable. So also Psalm 45:2.

    Would you, therefore, propose Christ unto your affections, so as that your love unto him may be sincere and without corruption, as it is required to be, Ephesians 6:24, that you may not lavish away the actings of your souls upon a false object, and think you love Christ, when you love only the imaginations of your own breasts? — consider his human nature, as it was rendered beautiful and lovely by the work of the Spirit of God upon it, before described. Do you love him because he was and is so full of grace, so full of holiness, because in him there was an allfullness of the graces of the Spirit of God? Consider aright what hath been delivered concerning him, and if you can and do, on the account thereof, delight in him and love him, your love is genuine and spiritual; but if your love be merely out of an apprehension of his being now glorious in heaven, and there able to do you good or evil, it differs not much from that of the Papists, whose love is much regulated in its actings by the good or bad painting of the images whereby they represent him. You are often pressed to direct your love unto the person of Christ, and it is that which is your principal duty in this world; but this you cannot do without a distinct notion and knowledge of him. There are, therefore, three things in general that you are to consider to this purpose: — 1. The blessed union of his two natures in the same person. Herein he is singular, God having taken that especial state on him, which in no other thing or way had any consideration. This, therefore, is to have a specialty in our divine love to the person of Christ. 2. The uncreated glories of the divine nature, whence our love hath the same object with that which we owe unto God absolutely. 3. That perfection and fullness of grace which dwelt in his human nature, as communicated unto him by the Holy Spirit, whereof we have treated. If we love the person of Christ, it must be on these considerations; which whilst some have neglected, they have doted on their own imaginations, and whilst they have thought themselves even sick of love for Christ, they have only languished in their own fancies.

    Secondly, We are to know Christ so as to labor after conformity unto him.

    And this conformity consists only in a participation of those graces whose fullness dwells in him. We can, therefore, no other way regularly press after it, but by an acquaintance with and due consideration of the work of the Spirit of God upon his human nature; which is therefore worthy of our most diligent inquiry into.

    And so have we given a brief delineation of the dispensation and work of the Holy Spirit in and towards the person of our .Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the church. His preparation of a mystical body for him, in his powerful gracious work on the elect of God, doth nextly ensue.

    CHAPTER 5.

    THE GENERAL WORK OF THE HOLY SPIRIT IN THE NEW CREATION WITH RESPECT UNTO THE MEMBERS OF THAT BODY WHEREOF CHRIST IS THE HEAD. Christ the head of the new creation — Things premised in general unto the remaining work of the Spirit — Things presupposed unto the work of the Spirit towards the church — The love and grace of Father and Son — The whole work of the building of the church committed to the Holy Spirit — Acts 2:33 opened — The foundation of the church in the promise of the Spirit, and its building by him alone — -Christ present with his church only by his Spirit — Matthew 28:19,20; Acts 1:9,10, 3:21; Matthew 18:19,20; 2 Corinthians 6:16; 1 Corinthians 3:16, compared — The Holy Spirit works the work of Christ — John 16:13-15 opened — The Holy Spirit the peculiar author of all grace — The Holy Spirit worketh all this according to his own will — 1. His will and pleasure is in all his works — 2. He works variously as to the kinds and degrees of his operations — How he may be resisted, how not — How the same work is ascribed unto the Spirit distinctly, and to others with him — The general heads of his operations towards the church.

    WE have considered the work of the Spirit of God in his laying the foundation of the church of the New Testament, by his dispensations towards the head of it, our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the foundation-stone of this building, with seven eyes engraven on him, or filled with an absolute perfection of all the gifts and graces of the Spirit, Zechariah 3:9, which when he is exalted also as “the headstone of the corner,” there are shoutings in heaven and earth, crying, “Grace, grace unto him!” chapter 4:7. As upon the laying of the foundation and placing of the corner-stone of the earth in the old creation, “the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy,” Job 38:6,7; so upon the laying of this foundation, and placing of this corner-stone in the new creation, all things sing together and cry, “Grace, grace unto it!” The same hand which laid this foundation doth also finish the building. The same Spirit which was given unto him, “not by measure,” John 3:34, giveth grace unto every one of us, “according to the measure of the gift of Christ,” Ephesians 4:7. And this falleth now under our consideration, — namely, the perfecting the work of the new creation by the effectual operation and distributions of the Spirit of God. And this belongs unto the establishment of our faith, that he who prepared, sanctified, and glorified the human nature, the natural body of Jesus Christ, the head of the church, hath undertaken to prepare, sanctify, and glorify his mystical body, or all the elect given unto him of the Father. Concerning which, before we come to consider particular instances, some things in general must be premised, which are these that follow: — First, Unto the work of the Holy Spirit towards the church some things are supposed, from whence it proceeds, which it is built upon and resolved into. It is not an original but a perfecting work. Some things it supposeth, and bringeth all things to perfection; and these are, — 1. The love, grace, counsel, and eternal purpose of the Father; 2. The whole work of the mediation of Jesus Christ, (which things I have handled elsewhere;) — for it is the peculiar work of the Holy Spirit to make those things of the Father and Son effectual unto the souls of the elect, to the praise of the glory of the grace of God. God doth all things for himself, and his supreme end is the manifestation of his own glory. And in the old or first creation, he seems principally, or firstly, to intend the demonstration and exaltation of the glorious essential properties of his nature, his goodness, power, wisdom, and the like, as Psalm 19:1-4, Romans 1:19-21, Acts 14:15-17, 17:24-28; leaving only on the works of his hands some obscure impressions of the distinction of persons, subsisting in the unity of that Being whose properties he had displayed and glorified.

    But in the work of the new creation, God firstly and principally intends the especial revelation of each person of the whole Trinity distinctly, in their peculiar distinct operations; all which tend ultimately to the manifestation of the glory of his nature also. And herein consists the principal advantage of the New Testament above the Old; for although the work of the new creation was begun and carried on secretly and virtually under the Old Testament, yet they had not a full discovery of the economy of the holy Trinity therein, which was not evidently manifest until the whole work was illustriously brought to light by the gospel.

    Hence, although there appear a vigorous acting of faith and ardency of affection in the approaches of the saints unto God under the Old Testament, yet as unto a clear access to the Father through the Son by the Spirit, as Ephesians 2:18, wherein the life and comfort of our communion with God do consist, we hear nothing of it. Herein, therefore, God plainly declares that the foundation of the whole was laid in the counsel, will, and grace of the Father, chapter 1:3-6; then that the making way for the accomplishing of that counsel of his, so that it might be brought forth to the praise of his glory, is by the mediation of the Son, God having designed in this work to bring things so about, that “all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father,” John 5:23. There yet remains the actual application of all to the souls of men, that they may be partakers of the grace designed in the counsel of the Father, and prepared in the mediation of the Son; and herein is the Holy Spirit to be manifested and glorified, that he also, together with the Father and the Son, may be known, adored, worshipped, according unto his own will. This is the work that he hath undertaken. And hereon, upon the solemn initiation of any person into the covenant of God, in answer unto this design and work, he is baptized into “the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” Matthew 28:19. And these things have been discoursed of before, though necessarily here called over again.

    Secondly, From the nature and order of this work of God it is, that after the Son was actually exhibited in the flesh, according to the promise, and had fulfilled what he had taken upon him to do in his own person, the great promise of carrying on and finishing the whole work of the grace of God in our salvation concerns the sending of the Holy Spirit to do and perform what he also had undertaken. Thus, when our Lord Jesus Christ was ascended into heaven, and began conspicuously and gloriously to carry on the building of his church upon himself, the rock and foundation of it, it is said, that, “being by the right hand of God exalted, he received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit,” Acts 2:33; which must be a little opened: — 1. Before he departed from his disciples, as hath been mentioned on several occasions, he comforted and cheered their drooping spirits with the promise of sending him unto them, which he often repeated and inculcated on their minds, John 14:15-17. And, 2. When he was actually leaving them, after his resurrection, he gives them order to sit still, and not to engage in the public work of building the church, whereunto he had designed them, until that promise were actually accomplished towards them: Acts 1:4, “Being assembled together with them, he commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father;” and verse 8, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the utmost part of the earth.”

    He would have them look neither for assistance in their work, nor success unto it, but from the promised Spirit alone; and lets them know, also, that by his aid they should be enabled to carry their testimony of him to the uttermost parts of the earth. And herein lay, and herein doth lie, the foundation of the ministry of the church, as also its continuance and efficacy. The kingdom of Christ is spiritual, and, in the animating principles of it, invisible. If we fix our minds only on outward order, we lose the rise and power of the whole. It is not an outward visible ordination by men, — though that be necessary, by rule and precept, — but Christ’s communication of that Spirit, the everlasting promise whereof he received of the Father, that gives being, life, usefulness, and success, to the ministry. Wherefore, also, 3. Upon his ascension, in the accomplishment of the great promises given unto the church under the Old Testament, Isaiah 44:3, Joel 2:28,29, as also of his own, newly given unto his disciples, he poured forth his Spirit on them. This the apostle Peter declares in this place: “Being exalted by the right hand of God, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he shed forth what they then saw and heard,” in the miraculous operations and effects of it. And he is said then to receive the promise of the Father, because he then received the thing promised. The promise was not then first given unto him, nor did he then receive it for himself; for as the promise was given long before, so in his own person he had received the fullness of the Spirit from his incarnation, as hath been declared: but now he had power given him actually to fulfill and accomplish the promise in the collation of the thing promised, and is thence said to receive the promise. So Hebrews 11:13,39, it is said of all believers under the Old Testament, that they “died in faith, not having received the promise;” that is, the thing promised was not actually exhibited in their days, though they had the promise of it, as it is expressly said of Abraham, chapter 7:6. The promise, therefore, itself was given unto the Lord Christ, and actually received by him in the covenant of the mediator, when he undertook the great work of the restoration of all things, to the glory of God; for herein had he the engagement of the Father that the Holy Spirit should be poured out on the sons of men, to make effectual unto their souls the whole work of his mediation: wherefore, he is said now to “receive this promise,” because on his account, and by him as exalted, it was now solemnly accomplished in and towards the church. In the same manner the same thing is described, Psalm 68:18, “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive; thou hast received gifts for men;” which is rendered, Ephesians 4:8, “Thou hast given gifts unto men:” for he received the promise at this time only to give out the Spirit and his gifts unto men. And if any are so fond as to expect strength and assistance in the work of the ministry without him, or such success in their labors as shall find acceptance with God, they do but deceive their own souls and others.

    Here lay the foundation of the Christian church: The Lord Christ had called his apostles to the great work of building his church, and the propagation of his gospel in the world. Of themselves, they were plainly and openly defective in all qualifications and abilities that might contribute anything thereunto. But whatever is wanting in themselves, whether light, wisdom, authority, knowledge, utterance, or courage, he promiseth to supply them withal. And this he would not do, nor did, any otherwise but by sending the Holy Spirit unto them; on whose presence and assistance alone depended the whole success of their ministry in the world. It was “through the Holy Ghost that he gave commandments unto them,” Acts 1:2. Those commandments concern the whole work in preaching the gospel and founding of the church; and these he gives unto them through the actings of divine wisdom in the human nature by the Holy Ghost. And on their part, without his assistance he forbids them to attempt anything, verses 4, 8. In this promise, then, the Lord Christ founded the church itself, and by it he built it up. And this is the hinge whereon the whole weight of it doth turn and depend unto this day. Take it away, suppose it to cease as unto a continual accomplishment, and there will be an absolute end of the church of Christ in this world; — no dispensation of the Spirit, no church. He that would utterly separate the Spirit from the word had as good burn his Bible. The bare letter of the New Testament will no more ingenerate faith and obedience in the souls of men, no more constitute a church-state among them who enjoy it, than the letter of the Old Testament doth so at this day among the Jews, 2 Corinthians 3:6,8.

    But blessed be God, who hath knit these things together towards his elect, in the bond of an everlasting covenant! Isaiah 59:21. Let men, therefore, cast themselves into what order they please, institute what forms of government and religious worship they think good; let them do it either by an attendance according unto the best of their understandings unto the letter of the Scripture, or else in an exercise of their own wills, wisdom, and invention, — if the work of the Spirit of God be disowned or disclaimed by them, if there be not in them and upon them such a work of his as he is promised [for] by our Lord Jesus Christ, there is no churchstate amongst them, nor as such is it to be owned or esteemed. And on the ministry and the church do all ordinary communications of grace from God depend.

    Thirdly, It is the Holy Spirit who supplies the bodily absence of Christ, and by him doth he accomplish all his promises to the church. Hence, some of the ancients call him “Vicarium Christi,” “The vicar of Christ,” or him who represents his person, and dischargeth his promised work: Operam navat Christo vicariam. When our Lord Jesus was leaving the world, he gave his disciples command to “preach the gospel,” Mark 16:15, and to “disciple all nations” into the faith and profession thereof, Matthew 28:19. For their encouragement herein, he promiseth his own presence with them in their whole work, wherever any of them should be called unto it, and that whilst he would have the gospel preached on the earth. So saith he, “I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world,” or the consummation of all things, verse 20. Immediately after he had thus spoken unto them, “while they beheld, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight,” and they “looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up,” Acts 1:9,10. Where now is the accomplishment of his promise that he would be with them unto the end of all things, which was the sole encouragement he gave them unto their great undertaking? It may be that after this his triumphant ascension into heaven, to take possession of his kingdom and glory, he came again unto them, and made his abode with them. “No,” saith Peter; “the heaven must receive him until the times of restitution of all things,” Acts 3:21.

    How, then, is this promise of his made good, which had such a peculiar respect unto the ministry and ministers of the gospel, that without it none can ever honestly or conscientiously engage in the dispensation of it, or expect the least success upon their so doing? Besides, he had promised unto the church itself, that “wherever two or three were gathered together in his name, that he would be in the midst of them,” Matthew 18:19,20.

    Hereon do all their comforts and all their acceptance with God depend. I say, all these promises are perfectly fulfilled by his sending of the Holy Spirit. In and by him he is present with his disciples in their ministry and their assemblies. And whenever Christ leaves the world, the church must do so too; for it is his presence alone which puts men into that condition, or invests them with that privilege: for so he saith, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people,” 2 Corinthians 6:16; Leviticus 26:12. Their being the “people of God,” so as therewithal to be “the temple of the living God,” — that is, to be brought into a sacred church-state for his worship, — depends on his “dwelling in them and walking in them.” And this he doth by his Spirit alone; for, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” 1 Corinthians 3:16.

    He, therefore, so far represents the person, and supplies the bodily absence of Christ, that on his presence the being of the church, the success of the ministry, and the edification of the whole, do absolutely depend.

    And this, if anything in the whole gospel, deserves our serious consideration; for, — 1. The Lord Jesus hath told us that his presence with us by his Spirit is better and more expedient for us than the continuance of his bodily presence. Now, who is there that hath any affection for Christ but thinks that the carnal presence of the human nature of Christ would be of unspeakable advantage unto him? And so, no doubt, it would, had any such thing been designed or appointed in the wisdom and love of God. But so it is not; and, on the other side, we are commanded to look for more advantage and benefit by his spiritual presence with us, or his presence with us by the Holy Ghost. It is, therefore, certainly incumbent on us to inquire diligently what valuation we have hereof, and what benefit we have hereby; for if we find not that we really receive grace, assistance, and consolation, from this presence of Christ with us, we have no benefit at all by him nor from him, for he is now no otherwise for these ends with any but by his Spirit. And this they will one day find whose profession is made up of such a sottish contradiction as to avow an honor for Jesus Christ, and yet blaspheme his Spirit in all his holy operations. 2. The Lord Christ having expressly promised to be present with us to the end of all things, there are great inquiries how that promise is accomplished. Some say he is present with us by his ministers and ordinances; but how, then, is he present with those ministers themselves, unto whom the promise of his presence is made in an especial manner?

    The Papists would have him carnally and bodily present in the sacrament; but he himself hath told us that “the flesh,” in such a sense, “profiteth nothing,” John 6:63, and that it is the “Spirit alone that quickeneth.”

    The Lutherans fancy an omnipresence, or ubiquity of his human nature, by virtue of its personal union; but this is destructive of that nature itself, which being made to be everywhere, as such a nature, is truly nowhere; and the most learned among them are ashamed of this imagination. The words of Schmidt on Ephesians 4:10, Ina plhrw>sh ta< pa>nta , are worthy of consideration: — “Per ta< pa>nta , aliqui intelligunt totum mundum, seu totum universum hoc, exponuntque ut omnipraesentia sua omnibus in mundo locis adesset, loca omnia implendo: et hi verbum plhrw>sh de physicâ et crassâ impletione accipiunt; quam tamen talis plh>rwsiv seu impletio locorum in mundo omnium quae vel expansionem corpoream in quantitate continuâ, vel multiplicationem, imo infinitam multitudinem unius ejusdemque corperis in discreta praesupponit, et ex humana speculatione orta est, falsoque nostris ecclesiis affingitur” (wherein yet he confesseth that it is taught); “ne cogitanda quidem sit pio homini; sed potius omnipraesentia Christi hominis — uti promissa est, modo nobis ineffabili credi, et multo certius aliunde sciri pessit ex ipsius promissione,” Matthew 28:20.

    This way, as we say with the Scripture, is by his Spirit, the perfect manner of whose presence and operation is ineffable.

    Fourthly, As he represents the person and supplies the room and place of Jesus Chest, so he worketh and effecteth whatever the Lord Christ hath taken upon himself to work and effect towards his disciples. Wherefore, as the work of the Son was not his own work, but rather the “work of the Father who sent him,” and in whose name he performed it, so the work of the Holy Spirit is not his own work, but rather the work of the Son, by whom he is sent, and in whose name he doth accomplish it: John 16:13-15, “Howbeit when the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you. All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.”

    He comes to reveal and communicate truth and grace to the disciples of Christ; and in his so doing he “speaks not of himself,” that is, of himself only. He comes not with any absolute new dispensation of truth or grace, distinct or different from that which is in and by the Lord Christ, and which they had heard from him. The Holy Spirit being promised unto the disciples, and all their work and duty being suspended on the accomplishment of that promise, whereas he is God, they might suppose that he would come with some absolute new dispensation of truth, so that what they had learned and received from Christ should pass away and be of no use unto them. To prevent any such apprehension, he lets them know that the work he had to do was only to carry on and build on the foundation which was laid in his person or doctrine, or the truth which he had revealed from the bosom of the Father. And, — 1. This I take to be the meaning of that expression, “He shall not speak of himself;” — “He shall reveal no other truth, communicate no other grace, but what is in, from, and by myself.” This was the Holy Spirit to do; and this he did. And hereby may we try every spirit whether it be of God.

    That spirit which revealeth anything, or pretendeth to reveal anything, any doctrine, any grace, any truth, that is contrary unto, that is not consonant to, yea, that is not the doctrine, grace, or truth of Christ, as now revealed in the word, that brings anything new, his own, or of himself, that spirit is not of God. So it is added, — 2. “Whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak.” This which he hears is the whole counsel of the Father and the Son concerning the salvation of the church. And how is he said to “hear” it? which word, in its proper signification, hath no place in the mutual internal actings of the divine persons of the holy Trinity. Being the Spirit of the Father and the Son, proceeding from both, he is equally participant of their counsels. So the outward act of hearing is mentioned as the sign of his infinite knowledge of the eternal counsels of the Father and Son; he is no stranger unto them.

    And this is a general rule, — That those words which, with respect unto us, express the means of anything, as applied unto God, intend no more but the signs of it. Hearing is the means whereby we come to know the mind of another who is distinct from us; and when God is said to hearken or hear, it is a sign of his knowledge, not the means of it. So is the Holy Spirit said to “hear” those things, because he knows them; as he is also on the same account said to “search the deep things of God.” Add hereunto that the counsel of these things is originally peculiar to the Father, and unto him it is everywhere peculiarly ascribed; therefore is the participation of the Spirit therein as a distinct person called his hearing. Hereunto, 3. His great work is subjoined: “He,” saith Christ, “shall glorify me.” This is the design that he is sent upon, this is the work that he comes to do; even as it was the design and work of Jesus Christ to glorify the Father, by whom he was sent. And this are they always to bear in mind who stand in need of or pray for his assistance in their work or office in the church of God: He is given unto them, that through him they may give and bring glory to Jesus Christ. And, 4. How the Holy Spirit doth glorify the Lord Christ is also declared: “He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you.” The communication of spiritual things from Christ by the Spirit is here called “his receiving” of them; as the communication of the Spirit from the Father by the Lord Christ to his disciples is called “his receiving of the promise.” The Spirit cannot receive anything subjectively which he had not, as an addition unto him; it is therefore the economy of these things that is here intended. He is not said to receive them, as though before he had them not; for what can he who is God so receive? Only, when he begins to give them unto us, because they are peculiarly the things of Christ, he is said to receive them; for we can give nothing of another’s but what we receive of him. Good things are given unto us from Christ by the Spirit; for so it is added, “And shall show them unto you;” — “He shall make them known unto you; so declare them, and manifestly evidence them to you and in you, that ye shall understand and have experience of them in yourselves; show them by revelation, instructing you in them, by communication imparting them to you.” And what are those things that he shall so declare? They are ta< ejma> , “my things,” saith our Savior. The things of Christ may be referred unto two heads, — his truth and his grace, John 1:17. The first he shows by revelation, the latter by effectual communication. His truth he showed unto them by revelation, as we have declared him to be the immediate author of all divine revelations. This he did unto the apostles by his inspirations, enabling them infallibly to receive, understand, and declare the whole counsel of God in Christ; for so, according unto the promise, he led them into all truth . And his grace he showed unto them in his pouring out both of his sanctifying graces and extraordinary gifts upon them in an abundant measure. And so he still continues to show the truth and grace of Christ unto all believers, though not in the same manner as unto the former, nor unto the same degree as unto the latter: for he shows unto us the “truth of Christ,” or the truth that “came by Jesus Christ,” by the word as written and preached, instructing us in it, and enlightening our minds spiritually and savingly to understand the mind of God therein; and of his grace he imparts unto us in our sanctification, consolation, and communication of spiritual gifts, according unto the measure of the gift of Christ unto every one of us, as the present use of the church doth require; — which things must be afterward declared. 5. And the reason of the assertion is added in the last place: “All things that the Father hath are mine; therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you.” Two things may be observed in these words: — (1.) The extent of the things of Christ, which are to be showed unto believers by the Spirit; and they are, “All the things that the Father hath.” “They are mine,” saith our Savior. And these “all things” may be taken either absolutely and personally, or with a restriction unto office. [1.] All things that the Father hath absolutely were the Son’s also; for, receiving his personality from the Father, by the communication of the whole entire divine nature, all the things of the Father must needs be his.

    Thus, “as the Father hath life in himself, so hath he given unto the Son to have life in himself,” John 5:26. And the like may be said of all other essential properties of the Godhead. [2.] But these seem not to be the “all things” here intended. They are not the “all things” of the divine nature, which he had by eternal generation, but the “all things” of spiritual grace and power, which he had by voluntary donation, Matthew 11:27; John 3:35, “The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.” That is, all the effects of the love, grace, and will of the Father, whatever he had purposed in himself from eternity, and whatever his infinite power and goodness would produce in the pursuit thereof, were all given and committed unto Jesus Christ. So all things that the Father hath were his. (2.) That these things may be rightly understood and apprehended, we must consider a twofold operation of God as three in one. The first hereof is absolute in all divine works whatever; the other respects the economy of the operations of God in our salvation. In those of the first sort, both the working and the work do in common and undividedly belong unto and proceed from each person. And the reason hereof is, because they are all effects of the essential properties of the same divine nature, which is in them all, or rather, which is the one nature of them all. But yet as they have one nature, so there is an order of subsistence in that nature, and the distinct persons work in the order of their subsistence: John 5:19,20, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do: for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise.”

    The Father doth not first work in order of time, and then the Son, seeing of it, work another work like unto it; but the Son doth the same work that the Father doth. This is absolutely necessary, because of their union in nature.

    But yet in the order of their subsistence, the person of the Father is the original of all divine works, in the principle and beginning of them, and that in order of nature antecedently unto the operation of the Son. Hence he is said to “see” what the Father doth; which, according unto our former rule in the exposition of such expressions, when ascribed unto the divine nature, is the sign and evidence, and not the means, of his knowledge. He sees what the Father doth, as he is his eternal Wisdom. The like must be said of the Holy Spirit, with respect both unto the Father and Son. And this order of operation in the Holy Trinity is not voluntary, but natural and necessary from the one essence and distinct subsistences thereof. Secondly, There are those operations which, with respect unto our salvation, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit do graciously condescend unto, which are those treated of in this place. Now, though the designing of this work was absolutely voluntary, yet, upon a supposition thereof, the order of its accomplishment was made necessary from the order of the subsistence of the distinct persons in the Deity; and that is here declared.

    Thus, [1.] The things to be declared unto us and bestowed on us are originally the Father’s things. He is the peculiar fountain of them all. His love, his grace, his wisdom, his goodness, his counsel, his will, are their supreme cause and spring. Hence are they said to be the “things that the Father hath.” [2.] They are made the things of the Son , — that is, they are given and granted in and unto his disposal, — on the account of his mediation; for thereby they were to be prepared for us and given out unto us, to the glory of God. Answerable hereunto, as the Lord Christ is mediator, all the things of grace are originally the Father’s, and then given unto him. [3.] They are actually communicated unto us by the Holy Spirit: “Therefore said I, he shall take of mine and shall show it unto you.” He doth not communicate them unto us immediately from the Father. We do not so receive any grace from God, — that is, the Father; nor do we so make any return of praise or obedience unto God. We have nothing to do with the person of the Father immediately. It is the Son alone by whom we have an access unto him, and by the Son alone that he gives out of his grace and bounty unto us. He that hath not the Son hath not the Father.

    With him, as the great treasurer of heavenly things, are all grace and mercy intrusted. The Holy Spirit, therefore, shows them unto us, works them in us, bestows them on us, as they are the fruits of the mediation of Christ, and not merely as effects of the divine love and bounty of the Father; and this is required from the order of subsistence before mentioned. Thus the Holy Spirit supplies the bodily absence of Jesus Christ, and effects what he hath to do and accomplish towards his [people] in the world; so that whatever is done by him, it is the same as if it were wrought immediately by the Lord Christ himself in his own person, whereby all his holy promises are fully accomplished towards them that believe.

    And this instructs us in the way and manner of that communion which we have with God by the gospel; for herein the life, power, and freedom of our evangelical state do consist, and an acquaintance herewith gives us our translation “out of darkness into the marvelous light of God.” The person of the Father, in his wisdom, will, and love, is the original of all grace and glory. But nothing hereof is communicated immediately unto us from him.

    It is from the Son, whom he loves, and hath given all things into his hand.

    He hath made way for the communication of these things unto us, unto the glory of God; and he doth it immediately by the Spirit, as hath been declared. Hereby are all our returns unto God to be regulated. The Father, who is the original of all grace and glory, is ultimately intended by us in our faith, thankfulness, and obedience; yet not so but that the Son and Spirit are considered as one God with him. But we cannot address ourselves with any of them immediately unto him. “There is no going to the Father,” saith Christ, “but by me,” John 14:6. “By him we believe in God,” 1 Peter 1:21. But yet neither can we do so unless we are enabled thereunto by the Spirit, the author in us of faith, prayer, praise, obedience, and whatever our souls tend unto God by. As the descending of God towards us in love and grace issues or ends in the work of the Spirit in us and on us, so all our ascending towards him begins therein; and as the first instance of the proceeding of grace and love towards us from the Father is in and by the Son, so the first step that we take towards God, even the Father, is in and by the Son. And these things ought to be explicitly attended unto by us, if we intend our faith, and love, and duties of obedience should be evangelical. Take an instance of the prayers of wicked men under their convictions, or their fears, troubles, and dangers, and the prayers of believers. The former is merely vox naturae clamantis ad Dominum naturae, — an outcry that distressed nature makes to the God of it, — and as such alone it considers him. But the other is vox Spiritus adoptionis clamantis per Christum, Abba, Pater; it is the voice of the Spirit of adoption addressing itself in the hearts of believers unto God as a Father. And a due attendance unto this order of things gives life and spirit unto all that we have to do with God. Woe to professors of the gospel who shall be seduced to believe that all they have to do with God consists in their attendance unto moral virtue! It is fit for them so to do who, being weary of Christianity, have a mind to turn Pagans. But “our fellowship is,” in the way described, “with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” It is, therefore, of the highest importance unto us to inquire into and secure unto ourselves the promised workings of the Holy Spirit; for by them alone are the love of the Father and the fruits of the mediation of the Son communicated unto us, without which we have no interest in them, and by them alone are we enabled to make any acceptable returns of obedience unto God. It is sottish ignorance and infidelity to suppose that, under the gospel, there is no communication between God and us but what is, on his part, in laws, commands, and promises; and on ours, by obedience performed in our strength, and upon our convictions unto them.

    To exclude hence the real internal operations of the Holy Ghost, is to destroy the gospel. And, as we shall see farther afterward, this is the true ground and reason why there is a sin against the Holy Spirit that is irremissible: for he coming unto us to make application of the love of the Father and grace of the Son unto our souls, in the contempt of him there is a contempt of the whole actings of God towards us in a way of grace; for which there can be no remedy.

    Fifthly, Whereas the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of grace, and the immediate efficient cause of all grace and gracious effects in men, wherever there is mention made of them or any fruits of them, it is to be looked on as a part of his work, though he be not expressly named, or it be not particularly attributed unto him. I know not well, or do not well understand, what some men begin to talk about moral virtue. Something they seem to aim at (if they would once leave the old Pelagian ambiguous expressions, and learn to speak clearly and intelligibly) that is in their own power, and so, consequently, [in the power] of all other men; at least, it is so with an ordinary blessing upon their own endeavors: which things we must afterward inquire into. But for grace, I think all men will grant that, as to our participation of it, it is of the Holy Spirit, and of him alone. Now, grace is taken two ways in the Scripture: — 1. For the gracious free love and favor of God towards us; and, 2. For gracious, free, effectual operations in us and upon us.

    In both senses the Holy Spirit is the author of it as unto us: in the first, as to its manifestation and application; in the latter, as to the operation itself.

    For although he be not the principal cause nor procurer of grace in the first sense, which is the free act of the Father, yet the knowledge, sense, comfort, and all the fruits of it, are by him alone communicated unto us, as we shall see afterward; and the latter is his proper and peculiar work. This, therefore, must be taken for granted, that wherever any gracious actings of God in or towards men are mentioned, it is the Holy Spirit who is peculiarly and principally intended.

    Sixthly, It must be duly considered, with reference unto the whole work of the Holy Spirit, that in whatever he doth, he acts, works, and distributes according to his own will. This our apostle expressly affirmeth. And sundry things of great moment do depend hereon in our walking before God; as, — 1. That the will and pleasure of the Holy Spirit is in all the goodness, grace, love, and power, that he either communicates unto us or worketh in us. He is not as a mere instrument or servant, disposing of the things wherein he hath no concern, or over which he hath no power; but in all things he worketh towards us according to his own will. We are, therefore, in what we receive from him and by him, no less to acknowledge his love, kindness, and sovereign grace, than we do those of the Father and the Son. 2. That he doth not work, as a natural agent, ad ultimum virium, to the utmost of his power, as though in all he did he came and did what he could. He moderates all his operations by his will and wisdom. And, therefore, whereas some are said to “resist the Holy Ghost,” Acts 7:51, and so to frustrate his work towards them, it is not because they can do so absolutely, but only they can do so as to some way, kind, or degree of his operations. Men may resist some sort or kind of means that he useth, as to some certain end and purpose, but they cannot resist him as to his purpose and the end he aims at; for he is God, and “who hath resisted his will?” Romans 9:19. Wherefore, in any work of his, two things are to be considered: — (1.) What the means he maketh use of tend unto in their own nature; and, (2.) What he intends by it. The first may be resisted and frustrated, but the latter cannot be so. Sometimes in and by that word which in its own nature tends to the conversion of sinners, he intendeth by it only their hardening, Isaiah 6:9,10; John 12:40,41; Acts 28:26,27; Romans 11:8; and he can, when he pleaseth, exert that power and efficacy in working as shall take away all resistance. Sometimes he will only take order for the preaching and dispensation of the word unto men; for this also is his work, Acts 13:2. Herein men may resist his work, and reject his counsel concerning themselves; but when he will put forth his power, in and by the word, to the creating of a new heart in men and the opening of the eyes of them that are blind, he doth therein so take away the principle of resistance, that he is not, that he cannot be, resisted. 3. Hence, also, it follows that his works may be of various kinds, and that those which are of the same kind may yet be carried on unequally as to degrees. It is so in the operations of all voluntary agents, who work by choice and judgment. They are not confined to one sort of works, nor to the production of the same kind of effects; and where they design so to do, they moderate them as to degrees, according to their power and pleasure.

    Thus we shall find some of the works of the Holy Spirit to be such as may be perfect in their kind, and men may be made partakers of the whole end and intention of them, and yet no saving grace be wrought in them; such are his works of illumination, conviction, and sundry others. Men, I say, may have a work of the Holy Spirit on their hearts and minds, and yet not be sanctified and converted unto God; for the nature and kind of his works are regulated by his own will and purpose. If he intend no more but their conviction and illumination, no more shall be effected; for he works not by a necessity of nature, so that all his operations should be of the same kind, and have their especial form from his nature, and not from his will. So, also, where he doth work the same effect in the souls of men, I mean the same in the kind of it, as in their regeneration he doth, yet he doth it by sundry means, and carrieth it on to a great inequality, as to the strengthening of its principle, and increase of its fruits unto holiness; and hence is that great difference as to light, holiness, and fruitfulness, which we find among believers, although all alike partakers of the same grace for the kind thereof. The Holy Spirit worketh in all these things according to his own will, whereof there neither is nor can be any other rule but his own infinite wisdom. And this is that which the apostle minds the Corinthians of, to take away all emulation and envy about spiritual gifts, that everyone should orderly make use of what he had received to the profit and edification of others. “They are,” saith he, “given and distributed by the same Spirit, according to his own will, to one after one manner, unto another after another; so that it is an unreasonable thing for any to contend about them.”

    But it may be said, “That if not only the working of grace in us, but also the effects and fruits of it, in all its variety of degrees, is to be ascribed unto the Holy Spirit and his operations in us according to his own will, then do we signify nothing ourselves; nor is there any need that we should either use our endeavors and diligence, or at all take any care about the furtherance or growth of holiness in us, or attend unto any duties of obedience. To what end and purpose, then, serve all the commands, threatenings, promises, and exhortations of the Scripture, which are openly designed to excite and draw forth our own endeavors?” And this is indeed the principal difficulty wherewith some men seek to entangle and perplex the grace of God. But I answer, — 1. Let men imagine what absurd consequences they please thereon, yet that the Spirit of God is the author and worker of all grace in us, and of all the degrees of it, of all that is spiritually good in us, is a truth which we must not forego, unless we intend to part with our Bibles also: for in them we are taught “that in us, that is, in our flesh, dwelleth no good thing,” Romans 7:18; that “we are not sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God,” 2 Corinthians 3:5, “who is able to make all grace abound toward us, that we may always have all sufficiency in all things, abounding to every good work,” chapter 9:8; that “without Christ we can do nothing,” John 15:5, “for it is God which worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure,” Philippians 2:13.

    To grant, therefore, that there is any spiritual good in us, or any degree of it, that is not wrought in us by the Spirit of God, both overthrows the grace of the gospel and denies God to be the only, first, supreme, and chiefest good, as also the immediate cause of what is so; which is to deny his very being. It is therefore certain, whatever any pretend, that nothing can hence ensue but what is true and good, and useful to the souls of men; for from truth, especially such great and important truths, nothing else will follow. 2. It is brutish ignorance in any to argue in the things of God, from the effectual operations of the Spirit, unto a sloth and negligence of our own duty. He that doth not know that God hath promised to “work in us” in a way of grace what he requires from us in a way of duty, hath either never read the Bible or doth not believe it, either never prayed or never took notice of what he prayed for. He is a heathen, he hath nothing of the Christian in him, who doth not pray that God would work in him what he requires of him. This we know, that what God commands and prescribes unto us, what he encourageth us unto, we ought with all diligence and earnestness, as we value our souls and their eternal welfare, to attend unto and comply withal. And we do know that whatever God hath promised he will do himself in us, towards us, and upon us, it is our duty to believe that he will so do. And to fancy an inconsistency between these things is to charge God foolishly. 3. If there be an opposition between these things, it is either because the nature of man is not meet to be commanded, or because it needs not to be assisted. But that both these are false and vain suppositions shall be afterward declared. The Holy Spirit so worketh in us as that he worketh by us, and what he doth in us is done by us. Our duty it is to apply ourselves unto his commands, according to the conviction of our minds; and his work it is to enable us to perform them. 4. He that will indulge, or can do so, unto sloth and negligence in himself, on the account of the promised working of the Spirit of grace, may look upon it as an evidence that he hath no interest or concern therein; for he ordinarily giveth not out his aids and assistances anywhere but where he prepares the soul with diligence in duty. And whereas he acts us no otherwise but in and by the faculties of our own minds, it is ridiculous, and implies a contradiction, for a man to say he will do nothing, because the Spirit of God doth all; for where he doth nothing, the Spirit of God doth nothing, unless it be merely in the infusion of the first habit or principle of grace, whereof we shall treat afterward. 5. For degrees of grace and holiness which are inquired after, they are peculiar unto believers. Now, these are furnished with an ability and power to attend unto and perform those duties whereon the increase of grace and holiness doth depend; for although there is no grace nor degree of grace or holiness in believers but what is wrought in them by the Spirit of God, yet, ordinarily and regularly, the increase and growth of grace, and their thriving in holiness and righteousness, depend upon the use and improvement of grace received, in a diligent attendance unto all those duties of obedience which are required of us, 2 Peter 1:5-7. And methinks it is the most unreasonable and sottish thing in the world, for a man to be slothful and negligent in attending unto those duties which God requireth of him, which all his spiritual growth depends upon, which the eternal welfare of his soul is concerned in, on pretense of the efficacious aids of the Spirit, without which he can do nothing, and which he neither hath nor can have whilst he doth nothing.

    Here lies the ground and foundation of our exercising faith in particular towards him, and of our acting of it in supplications and thanksgivings.

    His participation of the divine nature is the formal reason of our yielding unto him divine and religious worship in general; but his acting towards us according to the sovereignty of his own will is the especial reason of our particular addresses unto him in the exercise of grace, for we are baptized into his name also.

    Seventhly, We may observe that, in the actings and works of the Holy Spirit, some things are distinctly and separately ascribed unto him, although some things be of the same kind wrought by the person in and by whom he acts; or, he is said at the same time to do the same thing distinctly by himself, and in and by others. So John 15:26,27: “I will,” saith our Savior, “send the Spirit of truth, and he shall testify of me, and ye also shall bear witness.”

    The witness of the Spirit unto Christ is proposed as distinct and separate from the witness given by the apostles: “He shall testify of me, and ye also shall bear witness.” And yet they also were enabled to give their witness by him alone. So it is expressly declared, Acts 1:8, “Ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you; and ye shall be witnesses unto me.”

    Their witnessing unto Christ was the effect of the power of the Holy Spirit upon them, and the effect of his work in them; and he himself gave no other testimony but in and by them. What, then, is the distinct testimony that is ascribed unto him? It must be somewhat that, in or by whomsoever it was wrought, did of its own nature discover its relation unto him as his work. So it was in this matter; for it was no other but those signs and wonders, or miraculous effects, which he wrought in the confirmation of the testimony given by the apostles, all which clearly evidenced their own original. So our apostle, Hebrews 2:3,4. The word was “confirmed, sunepimarturou~ntov tou~ Qeou~ shmei>oiv te kai< te>rasi ,” — “God co-witnessing by signs and wonders.” He enabled the apostles to bear witness unto Christ by their preaching, sufferings, holiness, and constant testimony which they gave unto his resurrection.

    But in this he appeared not, he evidenced not himself unto the world, though he did so in and by them in whom he wrought. But, moreover, he wrought such visible, miraculous works by them as evidenced themselves to be effects of his power, and were his distinct witness to Christ. So our apostle tells us, Romans 8:16, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.”

    The witness which our own spirits do give unto our adoption is the work and effect of the Holy Spirit in us. If it were not, it would be false, and not confirmed by the testimony of the Spirit himself, who is the Spirit of truth; and none “knoweth the things of God but the Spirit of God,” Corinthians 2:11. If he declare not our sonship in us and to us, we cannot know it. How, then, doth he bear witness with our spirits? what is his distinct testimony in this matter? It must be some such act of his as evidenceth itself to be from him immediately unto them that are concerned in it, — that is, those unto whom it is given. What this is in particular, and wherein it doth consist, we shall afterward inquire. So Revelation 22:17, “The Spirit and the bride say, Come.” The bride is the church, and she prayeth for the coming of Christ. This she doth by his aid and assistance who is the Spirit of grace and supplications. And yet distinctly and separately the Spirit saith, “Come;” that is, he puts forth such earnest and fervent desires as have upon them an impression of his immediate efficiency. So verse 20 carrieth the sense of the place, — namely, that it is Christ himself unto whom she says “Come;” or they pray for the hastening of his coming. Or they say “Come” unto others, in their invitation of them unto Christ, as the end of verse 17 seems to apply it: then is it the prayers and preaching of the church for the conversion of souls that is intended; and with both the Spirit works eminently to make them effectual. Or it may be, in this place, “the Spirit” is taken for the Spirit in the guides and leaders of the church. They, praying by his especial guidance and assistance, say, “Come;” or preachers say unto others, “Come;” and “the bride,” or the body of the church, acted by the same Spirit, joins with them in this great request and supplication. And thereunto all believers are invited in the following words: “And let him that heareth say, Come.”

    All these things were necessary to be premised in general, as giving some insight into the nature of the operations of the Holy Spirit in us and towards us; and hereby we have made our way plain to the consideration of his especial works, in the calling, building, and carrying on the church unto perfection. Now, all his works of this kind may be reduced unto three heads: — 1. Of sanctifying grace; 2. Of especial gifts; 3. Of peculiar evangelical privileges.

    Only, we must observe that these things are not so distinguished as to be negatively contradistinct to each other; for the same thing, under several considerations, may be all these, — a grace, a gift, and a privilege. All that I intend is to reduce the operations of the Holy Spirit unto these heads, casting each of them under that which it is most eminent in, and as which it is most directly proposed unto us; and I shall begin with his work of grace.


    God Rules.NET
    Search 80+ volumes of books at one time. Nave's Topical Bible Search Engine. Easton's Bible Dictionary Search Engine. Systematic Theology Search Engine.