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  • THE HOLY SPIRIT AND HIS WORK


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    THE ONE, OF THE SPIRIT AS A COMFORTER:

    THE OTHER, AS HE IS THE AUTHOR OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS.

    PREFATORY NOTE.

    THE two following discourses appeared posthumously in 1693.

    According to a statement of the author at the beginning of them, they complete his design in this exposition of the work of the Holy Spirit. The discourse on his office as a Comforter is valuable, from the exposition of several interesting texts; but the author gives us to understand that it is to be taken in connection with what he has written elsewhere on this office of the Spirit, and he refers especially to his works on Communion with God, and on the Perseverance of the Saints. See vols. II. and XI. The discourse on Spiritual Gifts, though comparatively short, is the second part of the main.body of the whole work on the Spirit; and, from various allusions to it in other works of the author, he seems to trove attached considerable importance to it. See vol. 15 p. 249.

    ANALYSIS OF THE FIRST TREATISE.

    In the work of the Spirit as a Comforter, there fall to be considered, — I. His especial office as such; II. His discharge of it; and, III. The effects of it towards believers.

    I. In his office , there are implied an especial trust, mission, name, and work, chap. I.

    II. The general properties of this office, as discharged by the Holy Spirit, are unfolded: — 1. Infinite condescension; 2. Unspeakable love; 3. Infinite power; and, 4. Unchangeable continuance with the church, II.

    III. In regard to his effects on believers, it is first proved that his effectual consolations are the privilege of believers exclusively, III. And some of his operations in them as such, and of the benefits which they in consequence enjoy, are specified. His operations in them generally are unfolded under the head of the “inhabitation of the Spirit;” which is first discriminated from erroneous views respecting it, and then proved from Scripture, IV.

    Among the special benefits indicated are, — 1. The unction of the Spirit, 5; 2. sealing of the Spirit, expounded in a brief comment on Ephesians 1:13, 4:30, VI.; and, 3. The Spirit as an earnest, considered in reference to 2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5, Ephesians 1:14. An application of the preceding truths concludes the treatise, VII.

    ANALYSIS OF THE SECOND TREATISE.

    The dispensation of the Spirit for the edification of the church is twofold; including, first, the bestowal of saving grace; and, secondly, the communication of spiritual gifts. The former has already been considered in books III.-VIII. of this work on the dispensation of the Spirit. The latter, spiritual gifts, as distinguished from saving graces, it is proposed to discuss in reference to the following points: — 1. Their name; 2. Their nature in general; 3. Their distribution; 4. Their particular nature; and, 5. Their use in the church of God.

    Some remarks are made on their name, chap. I. Their nature generally is considered with reference, — 1. To their points of agreement with saving graces, (1.) They are both the purchase of Christ; (2.) They agree in their immediate efficient cause — the Holy Spirit; (3.) In the end contemplated, — the good of the church; and, (4.) In the bounty of Christ, as their source. 2. The points of difference are, — (1.) Saving graces are the fruit , gifts are but the effects of the Spirit; (2.) Saving graces are the fruit of electing love; (3.) The result of the covenant; and, (4.) Have respect unto the priestly office of Christ; (5.) Gifts and graces differ as to their ultimate issue, the former being sometimes lest: the latter never; (6.) Saving graces are imparted directly for the benefit of those who receive them, and gifts for the benefit of others; and, (7.) They differ, finally and chiefly, in their subjects, operations, and effects, II. Gifts are distributed into, — 1. Gifts implying powers and duties conjoined; and, 2. Gifts qualifying for duties simply. 1. Of the former, a subdivision is made into gifts extraordinary and ordinary: — (1.) Extraordinary gifts constituted extraordinary officers — apostles, evangelists, and prophets, III. The gifts themselves, in virtue of which they exercised these extraordinary offices, are, first, powers exceeding the natural faculties of their minds; and, secondly, the special enlargement and adaptation of their natural faculties for their work: these are considered in an exposition of 1 Corinthians 12:7-11,4. The origin, duration, use, and end, of extraordinary gifts are considered, 5. (2.) The ordinary gifts are viewed in relation to the Christian ministry, the eminent value of which is seen from the grandeur of its introduction, from its original acquisition, from the immediate cause of its actual communication, from its own nature, from the variety of offices in it, and from the end designed by it, VI. The reality of the spiritual gifts requisite for the discharge of the ministerial office is proved, from the promise of Christ, Matthew 28:20; the presence of Christ by the Spirit; the covenant promise of the Spirit, Isaiah 59:21; the name given to the gospel, “The ministration of the Spirit;” the end for which the Spirit is promised, administered, and continued; the plain assertions of Scripture; the indispensable necessity for them; and from the actual enjoyment and experience of them, VII. These gifts are enumerated: first, as respects doctrine, — wisdom, skill in the division of the word, and utterance; secondly, as respects the worship of God; and, thirdly, as respects the rule of the church. 2. The ordinary gifts of the Spirit, qualifying for duties only, are alluded to; but the previous discussions are held to supersede the necessity of any full consideration of them. A brief inquiry ensues into the manner in which may come to participate in these gifts, ministerial or more private, VIII. —\parED.

    THE PREFACE.

    THAT there are sundry great and eminent promises, referring to New Testament times, concerning the pouring out of the Spirit, none who is acquainted with the Scriptures and believes them can doubt. By the performance of them a church hath been begotten and maintained in the world through all ages since the ascension of Christ, sometimes with greater light and spiritual lustre, and sometimes with less. It hath been one of the glories of the Protestant Reformation that it hath been accompanied with a very conspicuous and remarkable effusion of the Spirit; and, indeed, thereby there hath from heaven a seal been set and a witness borne unto that great work of God. In this invaluable blessing we in this nation have had a rich and plentiful share, insomuch that it seems Satan and his ministers have been tormented and exasperated thereby; and thence it is come to pass that there have some risen up among us who have manifested themselves to be not only despisers in heart, but virulent reproachers of the operations of the Spirit. God, who knows how to bring good out of evil, did, for holy and blessed ends of his own, suffer those horrid blasphemies to he particularly vented.

    On this occasion it was that this great, and learned, and holy person, the author of these discourses, took up thoughts of writing concerning the blessed Spirit and his whole economy, as I understood from himself sundry years ago, discoursing with him concerning some books, then newly published, full of contumely and contempt of the Holy Spirit and his operations; for as it was with Paul at Athens when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry, so was Dr Owen’s spirit stirred in him when he read the scoffs and blasphemies east upon the Holy Spirit and his grace, and gifts, and aids, in some late writers.

    Had not Pelagius vented his corrupt opinions concerning the grace of God, it is like the church had never had the learned and excellent writings of Augustine in defense thereof. It appears from Bradwardin that the revival of Pelagianism in his days stirred up his zealous and pious spirit to write that profound and elaborate book of his, “De Causa Dei.” Arminlus and the Jesuists, endeavoring to plant the same weed again, produced the scholastic writings of Twisse and Ames (not to mention foreign divines); for which we in this generation have abundant cause of enlarged thankfulness unto the Father of lights. The occasion which the Holy Ghost laid hold on to carry forth Paul to write his Epistle to the Oalatians (wherein the doctrine of justification by faith is so fully cleared), was the bringing in anong them of “another gospel” by corrupt teachers; after which many in those churches were soon drawn away. The obstinate adherence of many among the Jews to the Mosaical rites and observances, and the inclination of others to apostatize from the New Testament worship and ordinances, was in like manner the occasion of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The light which shines and is held out in these epistles, the church of Christ could ill have wanted.

    The like way and working of the wisdom of God is to be seen and adored in stirring up this learned and excellent person to communicate and leave unto the world that light, touching the Spirit and his operations, which he had received by that Spirit from the sacred oracles of truth, the Scriptures.

    To what advantage and increase of light it is performed is not for so incompetent a pen to say as writes this. Nevertheless, I doubt not but the discerning reader will observe such excellencies shining out in this and other of this great author’s writings, as do greatly commend them to the church of God, and will do so in after ages, however this corrupt and degenerate generation entertain them. They are not the crude, and hasty, and untimely abortions of a self-full, distempered spirit, — much less the boilings-over of inward corruption and rottenness put into a fermentation; but the mature, sedate, and seasonable issues of a rich magazine of learning, well digested with great exactness of judgment. There is in them a great light cast and reflected on, as well as derived from, the holy Scriptures, those inexhaustible mines of light in sacred things. They are not filled with vain, impertinent jangling, nor with a noise of multiplied futilous distinctions, nor with novel and uncouth terms foreign to the things of Gods as the manner of some writers is ad nauseam usque; but there is in them a happy and rare conjunction of firm solidity, enlightening clearness, and heart-searching spiritualness, evidencing themselves all along, and thereby approving and commending his writings to the judgment, conscience, spiritual taste, and experience, of all those who have any acquaintance with and relish of the gospel.

    On these and such like accounts the writings of this great and learned man, as also his ordinary sermons, if any of them shall be published (as possibly some of them may), will be, while the world stands, an upbraiding and condemning of this generation, whose vitiated and ill-affected eyes could not bear so great a light set up and shining on a candlestick, and which did therefore endeavor to put it under a bushel.

    These two discourses, with those formerly published, make up all that Dr Owen perfected or designed on this subject of the Spirit, as the reader may perceive in the account which himself hath given in his prefaces to some of the former pieces, published by himself in his lifetime. Not but that there are some ether lucubrations of his on subjects nearly allied unto these, which possibly may be published hereafter, — namely, one entitled, “The Evidences of the Faith of God’s Elect,” and perhaps some others. What farther he might have had in his thoughts to do is known to Him whom he served so industriously and so faithfully in his spirit in the gospel while he was here on earth, and with whom he now enjoys the reward of all his labors and all his sufferings; for certain it is concerning Dr Owen, that as God gave him very transcendent abilities, so he did therewithal give him a boundless enlargeduess of heart, and unsatiable desire to do service to Christ and his church, insomuch that he was thereby carried on through great bodily weakness, languishing, and pains, besides manifold other trials and discouragements, to bring forth out of his treasury, like a scribe well instructed unto the kingdom of heaven, many useful and excellent fruits of his studies, — much beyond the expectation and hopes of those who saw how often and how long he was near unto the grave.

    But while he was thus indefatigably and restlessly laying out for the service of Christ, in this and succeeding generations, those rich talents with which he was furnished, his Lord said unto him, “Well done, thou good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” No man ever yet, but Jesus Christ, was able to finish all that was in his heart to do for God. On the removal of such accomplished and useful persons, I have sometimes relieved myself with this thought, that Christ lives in heaven still, and the blessed Spirit, from whom the head and heart of this chosen vessel were so richly replenished, liveth still. NATH. MATHER. f19 October 27,1692.

    CHAPTER 1. The Holy Ghost the comforter of the church by way of office — How he is the church’s advocate — John 14:16; <620201>1 John 2:1,2; John 16:8-11 opened. THAT which remains to complete our discourses concerning the dispensation of the Holy Spirit, is the office and work that he hath undertaken for the consolation of the church; and, — Three things are to be considered with respect unto this head of the grace of the gospel: — I. That the Holy Spirit is the comforter of the church by way of especial office .

    II. What is in that office, or wherein the discharge of it doth consist.

    III. What are the effects of it towards believers.

    It must be granted that there is some impropriety in that expression, by the way of office . An office is not simply , nor, it may be, properly spoken of a divine person, who is absolutely so and nothing else. But the like impropriety is to be found in most of the expressions which we use concerning God, for who can speak of him aright or as he ought? Only, we have a safe rule whereby to express our conceptions, even what he speaks of himself. And he hath taught us to learn the work of the Holy Ghost towards us in this matter by ascribing unto him those things which belong unto an office among men.

    Four things are required unto the constitution of an office: — 1. An especial trust; 2. An especial mission or commission; 3. An especial name; 4. An especial work. All these are required unto an office properly so called; and where they are complied withal by a voluntary susception in the person designed thereunto, an office is completely constituted. And we must inquire how these things in a divine manner do concur in the work of the Holy Spirit as he is the comforter of the church.

    First, He is intrusted with this work, and of his own will hath taken it on himself; for when our Savior was leaving of the world, and had a full prospect of all the evils, troubles, dejections, and disconsolations which would befall his disciples, and knew full well that if they were left unto themselves they would faint and perish under them, he gives them assurance that the work of their consolation and supportment was left intrusted and committed unto the Holy Spirit, and that he would both take care about it and perfect it accordingly.

    The Lord Christ, when he left this world, was very far from laying aside his love unto and care of his disciples. He hath given us the highest assurance that he continueth for ever the same care, the same love and grace, towards us, which he had and exercised when he laid down his life for us. See Hebrews 4:14-16, 7:25, 26. But inasmuch as there was a double work yet to be performed in our behalf, one towards God and the other in ourselves, he hath taken a twofold way for the performance of it.

    That towards God he was to discharge immediately himself in his human nature; for other mediator between God and man there neither is nor can be any. This he doth by his intercession. Hence there was a necessity that, as to his human nature, the “heaven should receive him until the times of the restitution of all things,” as Acts 3:21. There was so both with respect unto himself and us. 1. Three things with respect unto himself made the exaltation of his human nature in heaven to be necessary; for, — (1.) It was to be a pledge and token of God’s acceptation of him, and approbation of what he had done in the world, John 16:7,8; for what could more declare or evidence the consent and delight of God in what he had done and suffered; than, after he had been so ignominiously treated in the world, to receive him visibly, gloriously, and triumphantly into heaven? “He was manifested in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels,” and, in the issue, “received up into glory,” 1 Timothy 3:16.

    Herein God set the great seal of heaven unto his work of mediation, and the preaching of the gospel which ensued thereon; and a testimony hereunto was that which filled his enemies with rage and madness, Acts 7:55-58. His resurrection confirmed his doctrine with undeniable efficacy; but his assumption into heaven testified unto his person with an astonishing glory. (2.) It was necessary with respect unto the human nature itself, that, after all its labors and sufferings, it might be “crowned with glory and honor.”

    He was to “suffer” and “enter into his glory,” Luke 24:26. Some dispute whether Christ in his human nature merited any thing for himself or no; but, not to immix ourselves in the niceties of that inquiry, it is unquestionable that the highest glory was due to him upon his accomplishment of the work committed unto him in this world, which he therefore lays claim to accordingly, John 17:4,5. It was so, — (3.) With respect unto the glorious administration of his kingdom: for as his kingdom is not of this world, so it is not only over this world, or the whole creation below; — the angels of glory, those principalities and powers above, are subject unto him, and belong unto his dominion, Ephesians 1:21; Philippians 2:9-11. Among them, attended with their ready service and obedience unto all his commands, doth he exercise the powers of his glorious kingdom. And they would but degrade him from his glory, without the least advantage unto themselves, who would have him forsake his high and glorious throne in heaven to come and reign among them on the earth, unless they suppose themselves more meet attendants on his regal dignity than the angels themselves, who are mighty in strength and glory. 2. The presence of the human nature of Christ in heaven was necessary with respect unto us. The remainder of his work with God on our behalf was to be carried on by intercession, Hebrews 7:25-27; and whereas this intercession consisteth in the virtual representation of his oblation, or of himself as a lamb slain in sacrifice, it could not be done without his continual appearing in the presence of God, chap. 9:24.

    The other part of the work of Christ respects the church, or believers, as its immediate object; so, in particular, doth his comforting and supporting of them. This is that work which, in a peculiar manner, is committed and intrusted unto the Holy Spirit, after the departure of the human nature of Christ into heaven.

    But two things are to be observed concerning it: — 1. That whereas this whole work consisteth in the communication of spiritual light, grace, and joy to the souls of believers, it was no less the immediate work of the Holy Ghost whilst the Lord Christ was upon the earth than it is now he is absent in heaven; only, during the time of his conversation here below, in the days of his flesh, his holy disciples looked on him as the only spring and foundation of all their consolation, their only support, guide, and protector, as they had just cause to do. They had yet no insight into the mystery of the dispensation of the Spirit; nor was he yet so given or poured out as to evidence himself and his operation unto their souls. Wherefore they looked on themselves as utterly undone when their Lord and Master began to acquaint them with his leaving of them. No sooner did he tell them of it but “sorrow filled their hearts,” John 16:6. Wherefore he immediately lets them know that this great work of relieving them from all their sorrows and fears, of dispelling their disconsolations, and supporting them under their trouble, was committed to the Holy Ghost, and would by him be performed in so eminent a manner as that his departure from them would be unto their advantage, verse 7. Wherefore the Holy Spirit did not then first begin really and effectually to be the comforter of believers upon the departure of Christ from his disciples, but he is then first promised so to be, upon a double account: — (1.) Of the full declaration and manifestation of it. So things are often said in the Scripture then to be, when they do appear and are made manifest.

    An eminent instance hereof we have in this case, John 7:38,39. The disciples had hitherto looked for all immediately from Christ in the flesh, the dispensation of the Spirit being hid from them. But now this also was to be manifested unto them. Hence the apostle affirms, that “though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet henceforth know we him no more,” 2 Corinthians 5:16; that is, so as to look for grace and consolation immediately from him in the flesh, as it is evident the apostles did before they were instructed in this unknown office of the Holy Ghost. (2.) Of the full exhibition and eminent communication of him unto this end. This in every kind was reserved for the exaltation of Christ, when he received the promise of the Spirit from the Father, and poured it out upon his disciples. 2. The Lord Christ doth not hereby cease to be the comforter of his church; for what he doth by his Spirit, he doth by himself. He is with us unto the end of the world by his Spirit being with us; and he dwelleth in us by the Spirit dwelling in us; and whatever else is done by the Spirit is done by him. And it is so upon a threefold account: for, — (1.) The Lord Christ as mediator is God and man in one person, and the divine nature is to be considered in all his mediatory operations; for he who worketh them is God, and he worketh them all as God-man, whence they are theandrical. And this is proposed unto us in the greatest acts of his humiliation; which the divine nature in itself is not formally capable of.

    So “God purchased the church with his own blood,” Acts 20:28. “Being in the form of God, he thought it not robbery to be equal with God; but he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross,” Philippians 2:6-8.

    Now, in this respect the Lord Christ and the Holy Spirit are one in nature, essence, will, and power. As he said of the Father, “I and my Father are one,” John 10:30; so it is with the Spirit, — he and the Spirit are one.

    Hence all the works of the Holy Spirit are his also. As his works were the works of the Father, and the works of the Father were his, all the operations of the holy Trinity, as to things external unto their divine subsistence, being undivided; so is the work of the Holy Spirit in the consolation of the church his work also. (2.) Because the Holy Spirit in this condescension unto office acts for Christ and in his name. So the Son acted for and in the name of the Father, where he everywhere ascribed what he did unto the Father in a peculiar manner: “The word,” saith he, “which ye hear is not mine, but the Father’s which sent me,” John 14:24.

    It is his originally and eminently, because, as spoken by the Lord Christ, he was said by him to speak it. So are those acts of the Spirit whereby he comforteth believers the acts of Christ, because the Spirit speaketh and acteth for him and in his name. (3.) All those things, those acts of light, grace, and mercy, whereby the souls of the disciples of Christ are comforted by the Holy Ghost, are the things of Christ, — that is, especial fruits of his mediation. So speaketh our Savior himself of him and his work: “He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you,” John 16:14.

    All that consolation, peace, and joy, which he communicates unto believers, yea, all that he doth in his whole work towards the elect, is but the effectual communication of the fruits of the mediation of Christ unto them. And this is the first thing that constitutes the office of the Comforter; this work is committed and intrusted unto him in an especial manner, which, in the infinite condescension of his own will, he takes upon him.

    Secondly, It farther evinceth the nature of an of office in that he is said to be sent unto the work; and mission always includeth commission. He who is sent is intrusted and empowered as unto what he is sent about. See <19A430> Psalm 104:30; John 14:26, 15:26, 16:7. The nature of this sending of the Spirit, and how it is spoken of him in general, hath been considered before, in our declaration of his general adjuncts, or what is affirmed of him in the Scripture, and may not here again be insisted on. It is now mentioned only as an evidence to prove that, in this work of his towards us, he hath taken that on him which hath the nature of an office; for that which he is sent to perform is his office, and he will not fail in the discharge of it. And it is in itself a great principle of consolation unto all true believers, an effectual means of their supportment and refreshment, to consider, that not only is the Holy Ghost their comforter, but also that he is sent of the Father and the Son so to be. Nor can there be a more uncontrollable evidence of the care of Jesus Christ over his church, and towards his disciples in all their sorrows and sufferings, than this is, that he sends the Holy Ghost to be their comforter.

    Thirdly, He hath an especial name given him, expressing and declaring his office. When the Son of God was to be incarnate and born in the world, he had an especial name given unto him: “He shall be called Jesus.” Now, although there was in this name a signification of the work he was to do, — for he was called Jesus, “because he was to save his people from their sins,” Matthew 1:21, — yet was it also that proper name whereby he was to be distinguished from other persons. So the Holy Spirit hath no other name but that of the Holy Spirit, which, how it is characteristical of the third person in the holy Trinity, hath been before declared. But as both the names Jesus and Christ, though neither of them is the name of an office, as one hath dreamed of late, yet have respect unto the work which he had to do and the office which he was to undergo, without which he could not have rightly been so called; so hath the Holy Ghost a name given unto him, which is not distinctive with respect unto his personality, but denominative with respect unto his work, and this is oJ Para>klhtov . 1. This name is used only by the apostle John, and that in his Gospel only, from the mouth of Christ, chap. 14:16,26, 15:26, 16:7; and once he useth it himself, applying it unto Christ,1 John 2:1,2, where we render it “An advocate.” The Syriac interpreter retains the name af;yliq]r’p; , Paraclita; not, as some imagine, from the use of that word before among the Jews, which cannot be proved. Nor is it likely that our Savior made use of a Greek word barbarously corrupted; µjen’M]h’ was the word he employed to this purpose. But looking on it [as] a proper name of the Spirit with respect unto his office, he would not translate it.

    As this word is applied unto Christ, — which it is in that one place of John 2:1, — it respects his intercession, and gives us light into the nature of it. That it is his intercession which the apostle intends is evident from its relation unto his being “our propitiation;” for the oblation of Christ on the earth is the foundation of his intercession in heaven. And he doth therein undertake our patronage, as our advocate, to plead our cause, and in an especial manner to keep off evil from us: for although the intercession of Christ in general respects the procurement of all grace and mercy for us, every thing whereby we may be “saved to the uttermost,” Hebrews 7:25,26, yet his intercession for us as an advocate respects sin only, and the evil consequents of it; for so is he in this place said to be our advocate, and in this place alone is he said to be so only with respect unto sin: “If any man sin, we have an advocate.” Wherefore, his being so doth in particular respect that part of his intercession wherein he undertakes our defense and protection when accused of sin: for Satan is oJ kath>gorov , the accuser , Revelation 12:10; and when he accuseth believers for sin, Christ is their para>klhtov , their patron and advocate. For, according unto the duty of a patron or advocate in criminal causes, partly he showeth wherein the accusation is false, and aggravated above the truth, or proceeds upon mistakes; partly, that the crimes charged have not that malice in them that is pretended; and principally he pleadeth his propitiation for them, that so far as they are really guilty they may be graciously discharged. [As] for this name, as applied unto the Holy Spirit, some translate it a Comforter, some an Advocate, and some retain the Greek word Paraclete.

    It may be best interpreted from the nature of the work assigned unto him under that name. Some would confine the whole work intended under this name unto his teaching, which he is principally promised for; for “the matter and manner of his teaching, what he teacheth, and the way how he doth it, is,” they say, “the ground of all consolation unto the church.” And there may be something in this interpretation of the word, taking “teaching” in a large sense, for all internal, divine, spiritual operations. So are we said to be “taught of God” when faith is wrought in us, and we are enabled to come unto Christ thereby. And all our consolations are from such internal divine operations. But take “teaching” properly, and we shall see that it is but one distinct act of the work of the Holy Ghost, as here promised, among many. But, — 2. The work of a comforter is principally ascribed unto him; for, — (1.) That he is principally under this name intended as a comforter is evident from the whole context and the occasion of the pronmise. It was with respect unto the troubles and sorrows of his disciples, with their relief therein, that he is promised under this name by our Savior. “I will not,” saith he, “leave you orphans,” John 14:18; — “Though I go away from you, yet I will not leave you in a desolate and disconsolate condition.” How shall that be prevented in his absence, who was the life and spring of all their comforts? Saith he, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you a]llon para>klhton ,” verse 16; that is, “another to be your comforter.” So he renews again his promise of sending him under this name, because “sorrow had filled their heart” upon the apprehension of his departure, chap. 16:6,7. Wherefore, he is principally considered as a comforter : and, as we shall see farther afterward, this is his principal work, most suited unto his nature, as he is the Spirit of peace, love, and joy; for he who is the eternal, essential love of the Divine Being, as existing in the distinct persons of the Trinity, is most meet to communicate a sense of divine love, with delight and joy, unto the souls of believers. Hereby he sets up the “kingdom of God” in them, which is “righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost,” Romans 14:17. And in nothing doth he so evidence his presence in the hearts and spirits of any as by the disposal of them unto spiritual love and joy; for, “shedding abroad the love of, God in our hearts,” as chap. 5:5, he produceth a principle and frame of divine love in our souls, and fills us with “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” The attribution, therefore, of this name unto him, The Comforter, evidenceth that he performs this work in the way of an office. (2.) Neither is the signification of an Advocate to be omitted, seeing what he doth as such tendeth also to the consolation of the church. And we must first observe, that the Holy Spirit is not our advocate with God. This belongs alone unto Jesus Christ, and is a part of his office. He is said, indeed, to “make intercession for us with groanings that cannot be uttered,” Romans 8:26; but this he doth not immediately, or in his own person. He no otherwise “maketh intercession for us” but by enabling us to make intercession according unto the mind of God; for to make intercession formally is utterly inconsistent with the divine nature and his person, who hath no other nature but that which is divine. He is, therefore, incapable of being our advocate with God; the Lord Christ is so alone, and that on the account of his precedent propitiation made for us. But he is an advocate for the church, in, with, and against the world. Such an advocate is one that undertaketh the protection and defense of another as to any cause wherein he is engaged. The cause wherein the disciples of Christ are engaged in and against the world is the truth of the gospel, the power and kingdom of their Lord and Master. This they testify unto; this is opposed by the world; and this, under various forms, appearances, and pretenses, is that which they suffer reproaches and persecutions for in every generation. In this cause the Holy Spirit is their advocate, justifying Jesus Christ and the gospel against the world.

    And this he doth three ways: — [1.] By suggesting unto and furnishing the witnesses of Christ with pleas and arguments to the conviction of gainsayers. So it is promised that he should do, Matthew 10:18-20, “Ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.”

    They were to be “given up,” — that is, delivered up as malefactors, — unto kings and rulers, for their faith in Christ, and the testimony they gave unto him. In this condition the best of men are apt to be solicitous about their answers, and the plea they are to make in the defense of themselves and their cause. Our Savior, therefore, gives them encouragement, not only from the truth and goodness of their cause, but also from the ability they should have in pleading for it unto the conviction or confusion of their adversaries. And this he tells them should come to pass, not by any power or faculty in themselves, but by the aid and supply they should receive from this Advocate, who in them would speak by them. This was that “mouth and wisdom” which he promised unto them, “which all their adversaries should not be able to gainsay nor resist,” Luke 21:15; — a present supply of courage, boldness, and liberty of speech, above and beyond their natural temper and abilities, immediately upon their receiving of the Holy Ghost. And their very enemies saw the effects of it unto their astonishment. Upon the plea they made before the council at Jerusalem, it is said that “when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled,” Acts 4:13.

    They saw their outward condition, that they were poor, and of the meanest of the people, yet carried it with courage and boldness before this great sanhedrim, with whose authority and unusual appearance in grandeur all persons of that sort were wont to be abashed and to tremble at them.

    They found them ignorant and unlearned in that skill and learning which the world admired, yet [to] plead their cause unto their confusion. They could not, therefore, but discern and acknowledge that there was a divine power present with them, which acted them above themselves, their state, their natural or acquired abilities. This was the work of this Advocate in them, who had undertaken the defense of their cause. So when Paul pleaded the same cause before Agrippa and Felix, one of them confessed his conviction, and the other trembled in his judgment-seat.

    Neither hath he been wanting unto the defense of the same cause, in the same manner, in succeeding generations. All the story of the church is filled with instances of persons mean in their outward condition, timorous by nature, and unaccustomed unto dangers, unlearned and low in their natural abilities, who, in the face of rulers and potentates, in the sight of prisons, tortures, fires, provided for their destruction, have pleaded the cause of the gospel with courage and success, unto the astonishment and confusion of their adversaries. Neither shall any disciple of Christ in the same case want the like assistance in some due measure and proportion, who expects it from him in a way of believing, and depends upon it.

    Examples we have hereof every day in persons acted above their own natural temper and abilities, unto their own admiration; for being conscious unto themselves of their own fears, despondencies, and disabilities, it is a surprisal unto them to find how all their fears have disappeared and their minds have been enlarged, when they have been called unto trial for their testimony unto the gospel. We are, in such cases, to make use of any reason, skill, wisdom, or ability of speech which we have, or other honest and advantageous circumstances which present themselves unto us, as the apostle Paul did on all occasions; but our dependence is to be solely on the presence and supplies of our blessed Advocate, who will not suffer us to be utterly defective in what is necessary unto the defense and justification of our cause. [2.] He is the advocate for Christ, the church, and the gospel, in and by his communication of spiritual gifts, both extraordinary and ordinary, unto them that do believe; for these are things, at least in their effects, visible unto the world. Where men are not utterly blinded by prejudice, love of sin and of the world, they cannot but discern somewhat of a divine power in these supernatural gifts. Wherefore, they openly testify unto the divine approbation of the gospel, and the faith that is in Christ Jesus. So the apostle confirms the truths that he had preached by this argument, that therewith and thereby, or in the confirmation of it, the Spirit, as unto the communication of gifts, was received, Galatians 3:2. And herein is he the church’s advocate, justifying their cause openly and visibly by this dispensation of his power towards them and in their behalf. But because we have treated separately and at large of the nature and use of these spiritual gifts, I shall not here insist on the consideration of them. f20 [3.] By internal efficacy in the dispensation of the word. Herein also is he the advocate of the church against the world, as he is declared, John 16:8-11, “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.” That which is ascribed unto him with respect unto the world is expressed by the word ejl>gxei , — “he will reprove” or convince. j jEle>gcw in the Scripture is used variously, Sometimes it is to manifest, or bring forth unto light: Ephesians 5:13, Ta< de< pa>nta , ejlegco>mena uJpo< tou~ fwtodiscovered, “are made manifest by the light.” And it hath the same sense, John 3:20.

    Sometimes it is to rebuke and reprove: 1 Timothy 5:20, Tounontav ejnw>pion pa>ntwn e]legce? — “Them that sin rebuke before all.” So also Revelation 3:19; Titus 1:13. Sometimes it is so to convince as in that to stop the mouth of an adversary, that he shall have nothing to answer or reply: John 8:9, JYpo< th~v suneidh>sewv ejlegco>menoi? — “Being convicted by their own conscience;” so as, not having a word to reply, they deserted their cause. So Titus 1:9, Tougontav ejle>gcein , — “To convince gainsayers,” is explained, verse 11, by ejpistomi>zein , “to stop their mouth,” namely, by the convincing evidence of truth. ]Elegcov is an uncontrollable evidence, or an evident argument, Hebrews 11:1. Wherefore, ejle>gcein here is, “by undeniable argument and evidence, so to convince the world, or the adversaries of Christ and the gospel, as that they shall have nothing to reply.” This is the work and duty of an advocate, who will absolutely vindicate his client when his cause will bear it.

    And the effect hereof is twofold; for all persons, upon such an overpowering conviction, take one of these two ways: — 1st . They yield unto the truth and embrace it, as finding no ground to stand upon in its refusal; or, 2dly . They fly out into desperate rage and madness, as being obstinate in their hatred against the truth, and destitute of all reason to oppose it.

    An instance of the former way we have in those Jews unto whom Peter preached on the day of Pentecost. Reproving and convincing of them beyond all contradiction, “they were pricked in their heart, and said, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” and therewithal came over unto the faith, Acts 2:37,41. Of the latter we have many instances in the dealing of our Savior with that people; for when he had at any time convinced them, and stopped their mouths as to the cause in hand, they called him Beelzebub, cried out that he had a devil, took up stones to throw at him, and conspired his death with all demonstrations of desperate rage and madness, John 7:48,59, 10:20,31,39. So it was in the case of Stephen, and the testimony he gave unto Christ, Acts 7:54-58; and with Paul, Acts 22:22,23, — an instance of bestial rage not to be paralleled in any other case, but in this it has often fallen out in the world. And the same effects this work of the Holy Ghost, as the advocate of the church, ever had, and still hath upon the world. Many, being convicted by him in the dispensation of the word, are really humbled and converted unto the faith.

    So God “adds daily to the church such as shall be saved.” But the generality of the world are enraged by the same work against Christ, the gospel, and those by whom it is dispensed. Whilst the word is preached in a formal manner, the world is well enough contented that it should have a quiet passage among them; but whereever the Holy Ghost puts forth a convincing efficacy in the dispensation of it, the world is enraged by it: which is no less an evidence of the power of their conviction than the other is of a better success.

    The subject-matter concerning which the Holy Ghost manageth his plea by the word against the world, as the advocate of the church, is referred unto the three heads of “sin, righteousness, and judgment,” John 16:8, the especial nature of them being declared, verses 9-11. (1st.) What sin it is in particular that the Holy Spirit shall so plead with the world about, and convince them of, is declared verse 9, “Of sin, because they believe not on me.” There are many sins whereof men may be convinced by the light of nature, Romans 2:14,15, more that they are reproved for by the letter of the law; and it is the work of the Spirit also in general to make these convictions effectual: but these belong not unto the cause which he hath to plead for the church against the world, nor is that such as any can Be brought unto conviction about by the light of nature or sentence of the law, but it is the work of the Spirit alone by the gospel; and this, in the first place, is unbelief, particularly not believing in Jesus Christ as the Son of God, the promised Messiah and Savior of the world.

    This he testified concerning himself, this his works evinced him to be, and this both Moses and the prophets bare witness unto. Hereon he tells the Jews, that if they believed not that he was he, — that is, the Son of God, the Messiah and Savior of the world, — “they should die in their sins,” John 8:21,24. But in this unbelief, in this rejection of Christ, the Jews and the rest of the world justified themselves, and not only so, but despised and persecuted them who believed in him. This was the fundamental difference between believers and the world, the head of that cause wherein they were rejected by it as foolish and condemned as impious. And herein was the Holy Ghost their advocate; for he did by such undeniable evidences, arguments, and testimonies, convince the world of the truth and glory of Christ, and of the sin of unbelief, that they were everywhere either converted or enraged thereby. So some of them, upon this conviction, “gladly received the word, and were baptized,” Acts 2:41. Others, upon the preaching of the same truth by the apostles, “were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them,” chap. 5:33. In this work he still continueth. And it is an act of the same kind whereby he yet in particular convinceth any of the sin of unbelief, which cannot be done but by the effectual internal operation of his power. (2dly.) He thus convinceth the world of righteousness: John 16:10, “Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more.” Both the personal righteousness of Christ and the righteousness of his office are intended; for concerning both these the church hath a contest with the world, and they belong unto that cause wherein the Holy Spirit is their advocate. Christ was looked on by the world as an evil-doer; accused to be a glutton, a wine-bibber, a seditious person, a seducer, a blasphemer, a malefactor, in every kind; — whence his disciples were both despised and destroyed for believing in such an one; and it is not to be declared how they were scorned and reproached, and what they suffered on this account. In the meantime, they pleaded and gave testimony unto his righteousness, — that “he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth;” that “he fulfilled all righteousness,” and was the “Holy One” of God. And herein was the Holy Ghost their advocate, convincing the world principally by this argument, that after all he did and suffered in this world, as the highest evidence imaginable of God’s approbation of him and what he did, he was gone to the Father, or assumed up into glory. The poor blind man whose eyes were opened by him pleaded this as a forcible argument against the Jews, that he was no sinner, in that God heard him so as that he had opened his eyes; whose evidence and conviction they could not bear, but it; turned them into rage and madness, John 9:30-34. How much more glorious and effectual must this evidence needs be of his righteousness and holiness, and of God’s approbation of him, that after all he did in this world, he went unto his Father, and was taken up into glory! for such is the meaning of these words, “Ye shall see me no more;” that is, “There shall be an end put unto my state of humiliation, and of my converse with you in this world, because I am to enter into my glory.”

    That the Lord Christ then went unto his Father, that he was so gloriously exalted, undeniable testimony was given by the Holy Ghost, unto the conviction of the world. So this argument is pleaded by Peter, Acts 2:33. This is enough to stop the mouths of all the world in this cause, that he sent the Holy Ghost from the Father to communicate spiritual gifts of all sorts unto his disciples; and there could be no higher evidence of his acceptance, power, and glory with him; and the same testimony he still continueth, in the communication of ordinary gifts in the ministry of the gospel. Respect also may be had (which sense I would not exclude) unto the righteousness of his office. There ever was a great contest about the righteousness of the world. This the Gentiles looked after by the light of nature, and the Jews by the works of the law. In this state the Lord Christ is proposed as the “LORD our righteousness,” as he who was to “bring in,” and had brought in, “everlasting righteousness,” Daniel 9:24, being “the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,” Romans 10:4. This the Gentiles rejected as folly, — Christ crucified was “foolishness” unto them; and to the Jews it was a “stumbling-block,” as that which everted the whole law; and, generally, they all concluded that he could not save himself, and therefore it was not probable that others should be saved by him. But herein also is the Holy Spirit the advocate of the church; for, in the dispensation of the word, he so convinceth men of an impossibility for them to attain a righteousness of their own, as that they must either submit to the righteousness of God in Christ or die in their sins. (3dly.) He “convinceth the world of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.” Christ himself was judged and condemned by the world.

    In that judgment Satan, the prince of this world, had the principal hand; for it was effected in the hour and under the power of darkness. And no doubt but he hoped that he had carried his cause when he had prevailed to have the Lord Christ publicly judged and condemned. And this judgment the world sought by all means to justify and make good. But the whole of it is called over again by the Holy Ghost, pleading in the cause and for the faith of the church; and he doth it so effectually as that the judgment is turned on Satan himself. Judgment, with unavoidable conviction, passed on all that superstition, idolatry, and wickedness, which he had fired the world withal. And whereas he had borne himself, under various marks, shades, and pretenses, to be “the god of this world,” the supreme ruler over all, and accordingly was worshipped all the world over, he is now by the gospel laid open and manifested to be an accursed apostate, a murderer, and the great enemy of mankind.

    Wherefore, taking the name Paracletus in this sense for an advocate, it is proper unto the Holy Ghost in some part of his work in and towards the church. And whensoever we are called to bear witness unto Christ and the gospel, we abandon our strength and betray our cause if we do not use all means appointed of God unto that end to engage him in our assistance.

    But it is as a comforter that he is chiefly promised unto us, and as such is he expressed unto the church by this name.

    Fourthly, That he hath a peculiar work committed unto him, suitable unto this mission or commission and name, is that which will appear in the declaration of the particulars wherein it doth consist. For the present we only assert, in general, that his work it is to support, cherish, relieve, and comfort the church, in all trials and distresses; and this is all that we intend when we say that it is his office so to do.

    CHAPTER 2.

    GENERAL ADJUNCTS OR PROPERTIES OF THE OFFICE OF A COMFORTER, AS EXERCISED BY THE HOLY SPIRIT.

    TO evidence yet farther the nature of this office and work, we may consider and inquire into the general adjuncts of it, as exercised by the Holy Spirit; and they are four: — First, Infinite condescension. This is among those mysteries of the divine dispensation which we may admire but cannot comprehend; and it is the property of faith alone to act and live upon incomprehensible objects.

    What reason cannot comprehend it will neglect, as that which it hath no concernment in nor can have benefit by. Faith is most satisfied and cherished with what is infinite and inconceivable, as resting absolutely in divine revelation. Such is this condescension of the Holy Ghost. He is by nature “over all, God blessed for ever;” and it is a condescension in the divine excellency to concern itself in a particular manner in any creature whatever. God “humbleth himself to behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth,” <19B305> Psalm 113:5,6; how much more doth he do so in submitting himself unto the discharge of an office in the behalf of poor worms here below!

    This, I confess, is most astonishing, and attended with the most incomprehensible rays of divine wisdom and goodness in the condescension of the Son; for he carried the term of it unto the lowest and most abject condition that a rational, intelligent nature is capable of. So is it represented by the apostle, Philippians 2:6-8: for he not only took our nature into personal union with himself, but became in it, in his outward condition, as a servant, yea, as a worm and no man, a reproach of men, and despised of the people; and became subject to death, the ignominious, shameful death of the cross. Hence this dispensation of God was filled up with infinite wisdom, goodness, and grace. How this exinanition of the Son of God was compensated with the glory that did ensue, we shall rejoice in the contemplation of unto all eternity. And then shall the character of all divine excellencies be more gloriously conspicuous on this condescension of the Son of God than ever they were on the works of the whole creation, when this goodly fabric of heaven and earth was brought, by divine power and wisdom, through darkness and confusion, out of nothing.

    The condescension of the Holy Spirit unto his work and office is not, indeed, of the same kind, aa to the “terminus ad quem,” or the object of it.

    He assumes not our nature, he exposeth not himself unto the injuries of an outward state and condition; but yet it is such as is more to be the object of our faith in adoration than of our reason in disquisition. Consider the thing in itself: how one person in the holy Trinity, subsisting in the unity of the same divine nature, should undertake to execute the love and grace of the other persons, and in their names, — what do we understand of it?

    This holy economy, in the distinct and subordinate actings of the divine persons in these external works, is known only unto, is understood only by, themselves. Our wisdom it is to acquiesce in express divine revelation.

    Nor have they scarcely more dangerously erred by whom these things are denied, than those have done who, by a proud and conceited subtilty of mind, pretend unto a conception of them, which they express in words and terms, as they say, “precise and accurate;” indeed, foolish and curious, whether of other men’s coining or their own finding out. Faith keeps the soul at a holy distance from these infinite depths of the divine wisdom, where it profits more by reverence and holy fear than any can do by their utmost attempt to draw nigh unto that inaccessible light wherein these glories of the divine nature do dwell.

    But we may more steadily consider this condescension with respect unto its object: the Holy Spirit thereby becomes a comforter unto us, poor, miserable worms of the earth. And what heart can conceive the glory of this grace? what tongue can express it? Especially will its eminency appear if we consider the ways and means whereby he doth so comfort us, and the opposition from us which he meets withal therein; whereof we must treat afterward.

    Secondly, Unspeakable love accompanieth the susception and discharge of this office, and that working by tenderness and compassion. The Holy Spirit is said to be the divine, eternal, mutual love of the Father and the Son. And although I know that much wariness is to be used in the declaration of these mysteries, nor are expressions concerning them to be ventured on not warranted by the letter of the Scripture, yet I judge that this notion doth excellently express, if not the distinct manner of subsistence, yet the mutual, internal operation of the persons of the blessed Trinity; for we have no term for, nor notion of, that ineffable complacence and eternal rest which is therein beyond this of love. Hence it is said that “God is love,” 1 John 4:8,16. It doth not seem to be an essential property of the nature of God only that the apostle doth intend, for it is proposed unto us as a motive unto mutual love among ourselves, and this consists not simply in the habit or affection of love, but in the actings of it in all its fruits and duties: for so is God love, as that the internal actings of the holy persons, which are in and by the Spirit, are all the ineffable actings of love, wherein the nature of the Holy Spirit is expressed unto us. The apostle prays for the presence of the Spirit with the Corinthians under the name of the “God of love and peace,” 2 Epist. 13:11. And the communication of the whole love of God unto us is committed unto the Spirit; for “the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us,” Romans 5:5.

    And hence the same apostle distinctly mentioneth the love of the Spirit, conjoining it with all the effects of the mediation of Christ: chap. 15:30, “I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake, and for the love of the Spirit;” — “I do so on the account of the respect you have unto Christ, and all that he hath done for you; which is a motive irresistible unto believers. I do it also for the love of the Spirit; all that love which he acts and communicates unto you.” Wherefore, in all the actings of the Holy Ghost towards us, and especially in this of his susception of an office in the behalf of the church, which is the foundation of them all, his love is principally to be considered, and that he chooseth this way of acting and working towards us to express his peculiar, personal character, as he is the eternal love of the Father and the Son And among all his actings towards us, which are all acts of love, this is most conspicuous in those wherein he is a comforter.

    Wherefore, because this is of great use unto us, as that which ought to have, and which will have, if duly apprehended, a great influence on our faith and obedience, and is, moreover, the spring of all the consolations we receive by and from him, we shall give a little evidence unto it, — namely, that the love of the Spirit is principally to be considered in this office and the discharge of it: for whatever good we receive from any one, whatever benefit or present relief we have thereby, we can receive no comfort or consolation in it unless we are persuaded that it proceeds from love; and what doth so, be it never so small, hath refreshment and satisfaction in it unto every ingenuous nature. It is love alone that is the salt of every kindness or benefit, and which takes out of it every thing that may be noxious or hurtful. Without an apprehension hereof and satisfaction herein, multiplied beneficial effects produce no internal satisfaction in them that do receive them, nor put any real engagement on their minds, Proverbs 23:6-8. It is, therefore, of concernment unto us to secure this ground of all our consolation, in the full assurance of faith that there was infinite love in the susception of this office by the Holy Ghost. And it is evident that so it was, — 1. From the nature of the work itself; for the consolation or comforting of any who stand in need thereof is an immediate effect of love, with its inseparable properties of pity and compassion. Especially it must be so where no advantage redounds unto the comforter, but the whole of what is done respects entirely the good and relief of them that are comforted; for what other affection of mind can be the principle hereof, from whence it may proceed? Persons may be relieved under oppression by justice, under want by bounty, but to comfort and refresh the minds of any is a peculiar act of sincere love and compassion: so, therefore, must this work of the Holy Ghost be esteemed to be. I do not intend only that his love is eminent and discernible in it, but that it proceeds solely from love. And without a faith hereof we cannot have the benefit of this divine dispensation, nor will any comforts that we receive be firm or stable; but when this is once graciously fixed in our minds, that there is not one drop of comfort or spiritual refreshment administered by the Holy Ghost, but that it proceeds from his infinite love, then are they disposed into that frame which is needful to comply with him in his operations. And, in particular, all the acts wherein the discharge of this office doth consist are all of them acts of the highest love, of that which is infinite, as we shall see in the consideration of them. 2. The manner of the performance of this work is so expressed as to evince and expressly demonstrate that it is a work of love. So is it declared where he is promised unto the church for this work: Isaiah 66:13, “As one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you; and ye shall be comforted in Jerusalem.”

    He whom his mother comforteth is supposed to be in some kind of distress; nor, indeed, is there any, of any kind, that may befall a child, whose mother is kind and tender, but she will be ready to administer unto him all the consolation that she is able. And how, or in what manner, will such a mother discharge this duty, it is better conceived than it can be expressed. We are not, in things natural, able to take in a conception of greater love, care, and tenderness, than is in a tender mother who comforts her children in distress. And hereby doth the prophet graphically represent unto our minds the manner whereby the Holy Ghost dischargeth this office towards us. Neither can a child contract greater guilt, or manifest a more depraved habit of mind, than to be regardless of the affection of a mother endeavoring its consolation. Such children may, indeed, sometimes, through the bitterness of their spirits, by their pains and distempers, be surprised into frowardness, and a present regardlessness of the mother’s kindness and compassion, which she knows full well how to bear withal; but if they continue to have no sense of it, if it make no impression upon them, they are of a profligate constitution.

    And so it may be sometimes with believers; they may, by surprisals into spiritual frowardness, by weakness, by unaccountable despondencies, be regardless of divine influences of consolation; — but all these things the great Comforter will bear with and overcome. See Isaiah 57:15-19, “Thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones. For I will not contend for ever, neither will I be always wroth: for the spirit should fail before me, and the souls which I have made. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and smote him: I hid me, and was wroth, and he went on frowardly in the way of his heart. I have seen his ways, and will heal him: I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners. I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near, saith theLORD; and I will heal him.”

    When persons are under sorrows and disconsolations upon the account of pain and sickness, or the like, in a design of comfort towards them, it will yet be needful sometimes to make use of means and remedies that may be painful and vexatious; and these may be apt to irritate and provoke poor, wayward patients. Yet is not a mother discouraged hereby, but proceeds on in her way until the cure be effected and consolation administered. So doth God by his Spirit deal with his church. His design is “to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones,” verse 15; and he gives this reason of it, — namely, that if he should not act in infinite love and condescension towards them, but deal with them after their deservings, they would utterly be consumed, “the spirit would fail before him, and the souls which he hath made,” verse 16. However, in the pursuit of this work, he must use some sharp remedies, that were needful for the curing of their distempers and for their spiritual recovery. Because of their iniquity, “the iniquity of their covetousness,” which was the principal disease they labored under, “he was wroth and smote them, and hid his face from them,” because his so doing was necessary to their cure, verse 17. And how do they behave themselves under this dealing of God with them? They grow peevish and froward under his hand, choosing rather to continue in their disease than to be thus healed by him: “They went on frowardly in the way of their hearts,” verse 17. How, therefore, doth this Holy Comforter now deal with them? Doth he give them up unto their frowardness? doth he leave and forsake them under their distemper?

    No; a tender mother will not so deal with her children. He manageth his work with such infinite love, tenderness, and compassion, as that he will overcome all their frowardness, and ceases not until he hath effectually administered consolation unto them: Verse 18, “I have seen,” saith he, all these “his ways,” all his frowardness and miscarriages, and yet, saith he, “I will heal him;” — 'I will not for all this be diverted from my work and the pursuit of my design; before I have done, I will lead him into a right frame, ‘and restore comforts unto him.’ And that there may be no failure herein, I will do it by a creating act of power:” Verse 19, “I create the fruit of the lips; Peace, peace.” This is the method of the Holy Ghost in administering consolation unto the church, by openly evidencing that love and compassion from whence it doth proceed. And without this method should no one soul be ever spiritually refreshed under its dejections; for we are apt to behave ourselves frowardly, more or less, under the work of the Holy Ghost towards us. Infinite love and compassion alone, working by patience and long-suffering, can carry it on unto perfection. But if we are not only froward under particular occasions, temptations, and surprisals, clouding our present view of the Holy Spirit in his work, but are also habitually careless and negligent about it, and do never labor to come into satisfaction in it, but always indulge unto the peevishness and frowardness of unbelief, it argues a most depraved, unthankful frame of heart, wherein the soul of God cannot be well pleased. 3. It is an evidence that his work proceedeth from and is wholly managed in love, in that we are cautioned not to grieve him, Ephesians 4:30. And a double evidence of the greatness of his love is herein tendered unto us in that caution: — (1.) In that those alone are subject to be grieved by us who act in love towards us. If we comply not with the will and rule of others, they may be provoked, vexed, instigated unto wrath against us; but those alone who love us are grieved at our miscarriages. A severe schoolmaster may be more provoked with the fault of his scholar than the father is, but the father is grieved with it when the other is not. Whereas, therefore, the Holy Spirit is not subject or liable unto the affection of grief as it is a passion in us, we are cautioned not to grieve him, namely, to teach us with what love and compassion, with what tenderness and holy delight, he performs his work in us and towards us. (2.) It is so in that he hath undertaken the work of comforting them who are so apt and prone to grieve him, as for the most part we are. The great work of the Lord Christ was to die for us; but that which puts an eminence on his love is, that he died for us whilst we were yet his enemies, sinners, and ungodly, Romans 5:6-10. And as the work of the Holy Ghost is to comfort us, so a luster is put upon it by this, that he comforts those who are very prone to grieve himself; for although, it may be, we will not, through a peculiar affection, hurt, molest, or grieve them again by whom we are grieved, yet who is it that will set himself to comfort those that grieve him, and that when so they do? But even herein the Holy Ghost commendeth his love unto us, that even whilst we grieve him, by his consolations he recovers us from those ways wherewith he is grieved.

    This, therefore, is to be fixed as an important principle in this part of the mystery of God, that the principal foundation of the susception of this office of a comforter by the Holy Spirit is his own peculiar and ineffable love: for both the efficacy of our consolation and the life of our obedience do depend hereon; for when we know that every acting of the Spirit of God towards us, every gracious impression from him on our understandings, wills, or affections, are all of them in pursuit of that infinite peculiar love whence it was that he took upon him the office of a comforter, they cannot but all of them influence our hearts with spiritual refreshment. And when faith is defective in this matter, so that it doth not exercise itself in the consideration of this love of the Holy Ghost, we shall never arrive unto solid, abiding, strong consolation. And as for those by whom all these things are despised and derided, it is no strait unto me whether I should renounce the gospel or reject them from an interest in Christianity, for the approbation of both is inconsistent. Moreover, it is evident how great a motive hence ariseth unto cheerful, watchful, universal obedience; for all the actings of sin or unbelief in us are, in the first place, reactions unto those of the Holy Ghost in us and upon us. By them is he resisted in his persuasions, quenched in his motions, and himself grieved.

    If there be any holy ingenuity in us, it will excite a vigilant diligence not to be overtaken with such wickednesses against unspeakable love. He will walk both safely and fruitfully whose soul is kept under a sense of the love of the Holy Spirit herein.

    Thirdly, Infinite power is also needful unto, and accordingly evident in, the discharge of this office. This we have fixed, that the Holy Ghost is, and ever was, the comforter of the church. Whatever, therefore, is spoken thereof belongs peculiarly unto him. And it is expressed as proceeding from and accompanied with infinite power; as also, the consideration of persons and things declares it necessary that so it should be. Thus we have the church’s complaint in a deep disconsolation: “My way is hid from theLORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God,” Isaiah 40:27.

    It is not so much her affliction and miseries, as an apprehension that God regardeth her not therein, which causeth her dejection. And when this is added unto any pressing trouble, whether internal or external, it doth fully constitute a state of spiritual disconsolation; for when faith can take a prospect of the love, care, and concernment of God in us and our condition, however grievous things may be at present unto us, yet can we not be comfortless. And what is it that, in the consolation which God intendeth his church, he would have them to consider in himself, as an assured ground of relief and refreshment? This he declares himself in the following verses: Verses 28-31, “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, theLORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary?” etc. The church seemeth not at all to doubt of his power, but of his love, care, and faithfulness towards her. But it is his infinite power that he chooseth first to satisfy her in, as that which all his actings towards her were founded in and resolved into; without a due consideration whereof all that otherwise could be expected would not yield her relief. And this being fixed on their minds, he next proposeth unto them his infinite understanding and wisdom: “There is no searching of his understanding.” Conceive aright of his infinite power, and then leave things unto his sovereign, unsearchable wisdom for the management of them, as to ways degrees, times and seasons. An apprehension of want of love and care in God towards them was that which immediately caused their disconsolation; but the ground of it was in their unbelief of his infinite power and wisdom. Wherefore, in the work of the Holy Ghost for the comforting of the church, his infinite power is peculiarly to be considered. So the apostle proposeth it unto the weakest believers for their supportment, and as that which should assure them of the victory in their conflict, that “greater is he that is in them than he that is in the world,” 1 John 4:4.

    That Holy Spirit which is bestowed on them and dwelleth in them is greater, more able and powerful, than Satan, that attempts their ruin in and by the world, seeing he is of power omnipotent. Thoughts of our disconsolation arise from the impressions that Satan makes upon our minds and consciences, by sin, temptation, and persecution; for we find not in ourselves such an ability of resistance as from whence we may have an assurance of a conquest. “This,” saith the apostle, “you are to expect from the power of the Holy Spirit, which is infinitely above whatever Satan hath to make opposition unto you, or to bring any disconsolation on you. This will cast out all that fear which hath torment accompanying of it.” And however this may be disregarded by them who are filled with an apprehension of their own self-sufficiency, as unto all the ends of their living and obedience unto God, as likewise that they have a never-failing spring of rational considerations about them, able to administer all necessary relief and comfort at all times; yet those who are really sensible of their own condition and that of other believers, if they understand what it is to be comforted with the “consolations of God,” and how remote they are from those delusions which men embrace under the name of their “rational considerations,” will grant that the faith of infinite power is requisite unto any solid spiritual comfort: for, — 1. Who can declare the dejections, sorrows, fears, despondencies, and discouragements that believers are obnoxious unto, in the great variety of their natures, causes, effects, and occasions? What relief can be suited unto them but what is an emanation from infinite power? Yea, such is the spiritual frame and constitution of their souls, as that they will ofttimes reject all means of comfort that are not communicated by an almighty efficacy. Hence God “creates the fruit of the lips, Peace, peace,” Isaiah 57:19; produceth peace in the souls of men by a creating act of his power, and directs us, in the place before mentioned, to look for it only from the infinite excellency of his nature. None, therefore, was meet for this work of being the church’s comforter but the Spirit of God alone. He only, by his almighty power, can remove all their fears, and support them under all their dejections, in all that variety wherewith they are attempted and exercised. Nothing but omnipotence itself is suited to obviate those innumerable disconsolations that we are obnoxious unto. And those whose souls are pressed in earnest with them, and are driven from all the reliefs which not only carnal security and stoutheartedness in adversity do offer, but also from all those lawful diversions which the world can administer, will understand that true consolation is an act of the exceeding greatness of the power of God, and without which it will not be wrought. 2. The means and causes of their disconsolation direct unto the same spring of their comfort. Whatever the power of hell, of sin,. and the world, separately or in conjunction, can effect, it is all levelled against the peace and comfort of believers. Of how great force and efficacy they are in their attempts to disturb and ruin them, by what various ways and means they work unto that end, would require great enlargement of discourse to declare; and yet when we have used our utmost diligence in an inquiry after them, we shall come short of a full investigation of them, yea, it may be, of what many individual persons find in their own experience.

    Wherefore, with respect unto one cause and principle of disconsolation, God declares that it is he who comforteth his people: Isaiah 51:12-15, “I, even I, am he that comforteth you: who art thou, that thou shouldest be afraid of a man that shall die, and of the son of man which shall be made as grass; and forgettest theLORD thy maker, that hath stretched forth the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth; and hast feared continually every day because of the ‘fury of the oppressor, as if he were ready to destroy? and where is the fury of the oppressor? The captive exile hasteneth that he may be loosed, and that he should not die in the pit, nor that his bread should fail. But I am theLORD thy God, that divided the sea, whose waves roared: TheLORD of hosts is his name.”

    He sees it necessary to declare his infinite power, and to express in sundry instances the effects thereof.

    Wherefore, if we take a view of what is the state and condition of the church in itself and in the world; how weak is the faith of most believers; how great their fears; how many their discouragements; as also with how great temptations, calamities, oppositions, persecutions, they are exercised; how vigorously and sharply these things are set on upon their spirits, according unto all advantages, inward and outward, that their spiritual adversaries can lay hold upon, — it will be manifest how necessary it was that their consolation should be intrusted with Him with whom infinite power doth always dwell. And if our own inward or outward peace seem to abate of the necessity of this consideration, it may not be amiss, by the exercise of faith herein, to lay in provision for the future, seeing we know not what may befall us in the world. And should we live to see the church in storms, as who knows but we may, our principal supportment will be, that our Comforter is of almighty power, wonderful in counsel, and excellent in operation.

    Fourthly, This dispensation of the Spirit is unchangeable. Unto whomsoever he is given as a comforter, he abides with them for ever. This our Savior expressly declares in the first promise he made of sending him as a comforter, in a peculiar manner: John 14:16, “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.”

    The moment of this promise lieth in his unchangeable continuance with the church. There was, indeed, a present occasion rendering necessary this declaration of the unchangeableness of his abode; for in all this discourse our Savior was preparing the hearts of his disciples for his departure from them, which was now at hand. And whereas he lays the whole of the relief which in that case he would afford unto them upon his sending of the Holy Ghost, he takes care not only to prevent an objection which might arise in their minds about this dispensation of the Spirit, but also in so doing to secure the faith and consolation of the church in all ages; for as he himself, who had been their immediate, visible comforter during the whole time of his ministry among them, was now departing from them, and that so as that “the heaven was to receive him until the times of restitution of all things,” they might be apt to fear that this comforter who was now promised unto them might continue also only for a season, whereby they should be reduced unto a new loss and sorrow. To assure their minds herein, our Lord Jesus Christ lets them know that this other comforter should not only always continue with them, unto the end of their lives, work, and ministry, but abide with the church absolutely unto the consummation of all things. He is now given in an eternal and unchangeable covenant, Isaiah 59:21; and he can no more depart from the church than the everlasting sure covenant of God can be abolished.

    But it may be objected by such as really inquire into the promises of Christ, and after their accomplishment, for the establishment of their faith, whence it is, that if the Comforter abide always with the church, so great a number of believers do in all ages spend, it may be, the greatest part of their lives in troubles and disconsolation, having no experience of the presence of the Holy Ghost with them as a comforter. But this objection is not of force to weaken our faith as unto the accomplishment of this promise; for, — 1. There is in the promise itself a supposition of troubles and disconsolations thereon to befall the church in all ages; for with respect unto them it is that the Comforter is promised to be sent. And they do but dream who fancy such a state of the church in this world as wherein it should be accompanied with such an assurance of all inward and outward satisfaction as scarce to stand in need of this office or work of the Holy Ghost; yea, the promise of his abiding with us for ever as a comforter is an infallible prediction that believers in all ages shall meet with troubles, sorrows, and disconsolation. 2. The accomplishment of Christ’s promise doth not depend as to its truth upon our experience, at least not on what men sensibly feel in themselves under their distresses, much less on what they express with some mixture of unbelief. So we observed before, from that place of the prophet concerning the church, Isaiah 40:27, that “her way was hidden from the\parLORD, and her judgment passed over from her God;” as she complained also, “TheLORD hath forsaken me, and my Lord hath forgotten me,” chap. 49:14. But yet in both places God convinceth her of her mistake, and that indeed her complaint was but a fruit of unbelief; and so it is usual in great distresses, when persons are so swallowed up with sorrow or overwhelmed with anguish that they are not sensible of the work of the Holy Ghost in their consolation. 3. He is a comforter unto all believers at all times, and on all occasions wherein they really stand in need of spiritual consolation. But yet if we intend to have experience of his work herein, to have the advantage of it or benefit by it, there are sundry things required of ourselves in a way of duty. If we are negligent herein, it is no wonder if we are at a loss for those comforts which he is willing to administer. Unless we understand aright the nature of spiritual consolations, and value them both as sufficient and satisfactory, we are not like to enjoy them, at least not to be made sensible of them. Many under their troubles suppose there is no comfort but in their removal, and know not of any relief in their sorrows but in the taking away of their cause. At best they value any outward relief before internal supports and refreshments. Such persons can never receive the consolation of the Holy Spirit unto any refreshing experience. To look for all our comforts from him, to value those things wherein his consolations do consist above all earthly enjoyments, to wait upon him in the use of all means for the receiving of his influences of love and grace, to be fervent in prayer for his presence with us and the manifestation of his grace, are required in all those towards whom he dischargeth this office. And whilst we are found in these ways of holy obedience and dependence, we shall find him a comforter, and that forever.

    These things are observable in the office of the Holy Ghost, in general, as he is the comforter of the church, and [in] the manner of his discharge thereof. What is farther considerable unto the guidance of our faith, and the participation of consolation with respect hereunto, will be evident in the declaration of the particulars that belong thereunto.

    CHAPTER 3.

    UNTO WHOM THE HOLY SPIRIT IS PROMISED AND GIVEN AS A COMFORTER, OR THE OBJECT OF HIS ACTING IN THIS OFFICE.

    WE have considered the promise of Christ to send the Holy Spirit to be the comforter of the church, and unto that end to abide with them forever.

    The nature also of that office and work, in general, which hereon he undertakes and dischargeth, with the properties of them, have been declared. Our next inquiry is, unto whom this promise is made, and towards whom it is infallibly fulfilled. How and unto what ends, in what order, as unto his effects and operations, the Holy Spirit is promised unto any persons and received by them, hath been already declared in our former discourses, book 4 chap. 3. We shall, therefore, here only declare in particular whom he is promised unto and received by as a comforter; and this is to all, and only unto, believers, — those who are actually so.

    All his operations required unto the making of them so to be are antecedent hereunto; for the promise of him unto this end, wherever it is recorded, is made directly unto them, and unto them it is confined.

    Immediately it was given unto the apostles, but it was not given unto them as apostles, but as believers and disciples of Christ, with a particular respect unto the difficulties and causes of disconsolation which they were under or should meet withal upon the account of their being so. See the promises unto this purpose expressly, John 14:16,17,26, 15:26, 16:7,8. And it is declared withal that the world, which in that place is opposed unto them that do believe, cannot receive him, chap. 14:17.

    Other effectual operations he hath upon the world, for their conviction and the conversion of many of them; but as a Spirit of consolation he is neither promised unto them nor can they receive him, until other gracious acts of his have passed on their souls. Besides, we shall see that all his actings and effects as a comforter are confined unto them that believe, and do all suppose saving faith as antecedent unto them.

    And this is the great fundamental privilege of true believers, whereby, through the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, they are exalted above all other persons in this world. And this will the more evidently appear when we shall consider those especial operations, acts, and effects, whereby consolation is administered unto them. That the life of man is the subject of innumerable troubles is made evident and uncontrollable by catholic experience. That “man is born to trouble as the sparks fly upward,” has been the constant acknowledgment of all that have been wise in all ages.

    And those who have designed to drown the sense of them in security and sensuality of life have been ever looked on as greatly exorbitant from the principles of nature and dictates of reason, voluntarily degenerating into the condition of creatures brutish and irrational. Others, who will not forego the privilege of their being, have always made it a principal inquiry how or whence they might take and receive relief and comfort for their supportment against their unavoidable troubles, sorrows, and disconsolation; yea, it is natural and necessary unto all men so to do. All men cannot but seek after rest and peace, not only out of choice but instinct of nature, trouble and sorrow being diametrically contrary unto it in its being, and tending unto its dissolution. Wherefore, they all naturally seek for consolation: Hence the best and most useful part of the old philosophy consisted in the prescription of the ways and means of comforting and supporting the minds of men against things noxious and grievous to nature, with the sorrows which ensue thereon; and the topics they had found out unto this purpose were not to be despised where men are destitute of spiritual light and supernatural revelation. Neither did the wisdom or reason of man ever arise unto any thing more useful in this world than to discover any rational considerations that might allay the sorrows or relieve the minds of them that are disconsolate: for things that are really grievous unto the generality of mankind do outweigh all the real satisfaction which this life and world can afford; and to place either satisfaction or relief in the pursuit of sensual lusts is brutish. But yet what did all the spring and wellheads of rational and philosophical consolation rise unto? what refreshment did their streams afford? The utmost they attained unto was but to confirm and make obstinate the minds of men in a fancy, an opinion, or persuasion, contrary unto what they felt and had experience of; for what they contended for was but this, that the consideration of the common lot of mankind, the unavoidableness of grieving accidents, the shortness of human life, the true exercise of reason upon more noble objects, with others of the like nature, should satisfy men that the things which they endured were not evil or grievous.

    But what doth all this amount unto in comparison of this privilege of believers, of this provision made for them in all their disconsolations, by Him in whom they do believe? This is a relief that never entered into the heart of man to think of or conceive. Nor can it be understood by any but those by whom it is enjoyed; for the world, as our Savior testifies, neither knoweth this Spirit nor can receive him; — and, therefore, what is spoken of him and this work of his is looked on as a fancy or the shadow of a dream. And although the Sun of Righteousness be risen in this matter, and shines on all that dwell in the land of Goshen, yet those that abide still in Egypt make use only of their lanterns. But those who are really partakers of this privilege do know in some measure what they do enjoy, although they are not able to comprehend it in its excellency, nor value it in a due manner; for how can the heart of man, or our poor weak understandings, fully conceive this glorious mystery of sending the Holy Ghost to be our comforter? Only they receive it by faith, and have experience of it in its effects. There is, in my judgment, an unspeakable privilege of those who are believers, antecedent unto their believing, as they are elect, — namely, that Christ died in their stead alone. But this is like the wells which Isaac’s servants digged, that the Philistines strove about as those which belonged unto them, which, though fresh, useful springs in themselves, caused them to be called Esek and Sitnah, [that is, contention and hatred.] Mighty strivings there are to break down the enclosure of this privilege, and lay it common unto all the world, that is, indeed, waste and useless; for it is contended that the Lord Christ died equally for all and every one of mankind, for believers and unbelievers, for those that are saved and those that are damned. And to this purpose many pretenses are pleaded to show how the most of them for whom Christ died have no real benefit by his death, nor is any thing required in them to evidence that they have an interest therein. But this privilege we now treat of is like the well Rehoboth [that is, room]; Isaac kept it unto himself, and the Philistines strove not about it. None contend that the Spirit is a comforter unto any but believers; therefore is it by the world despised and reproached, because they have no interest in it, nor have the least pretense to strive about it.

    Did believers, therefore, duly consider how they are advanced hereby, through the love and care of Jesus Christ, into an inexpressible dignity above the residue of mankind, they would more rejoice in it than in all that this world can supply them withal. But we must proceed.

    It appears, from what hath been discoursed, that this is not the first saving work of the Holy Spirit on the souls of men. Regeneration and habitual sanctification do always precede it. He comforteth none but those whom he hath before sanctified. Nor are any other but such capable of his consolations; there is nothing in them that can discern his acting, or value what he doth of this kind. And this is the true reason why the whole work of the Holy Spirit as a comforter, wherein consists the accomplishment of the most glorious promise that ever Christ made to his church, and the greatest evidence of his continued care thereof, is so neglected, yea, despised, amongst the generality of professed Christians; — a great evidence of the apostatized state of Christianity. They can have no concern in any work of his but in its proper order. If men be not first sanctified by him, they can never be comforted by him; and they will themselves prefer in their troubles any natural reliefs before the best and highest of his consolations; for however they may be proposed unto them, however they may be instructed in the nature, ways, and means of them, yet they belong not unto them, and why should they value that which is not theirs? The world cannot receive him. He worketh on the world for conviction, John 16:8, and on the elect for conversion, John 3:8; but none can receive him as a comforter but believers Therefore is this whole work of the Holy Spirit little taken notice of by the most, and despised by many. Yet is it nevertheless glorious in itself, being fully declared in the Scripture, nor the less useful to the church, being testified unto by the experience of them that truly believe.

    That which remaineth for the full declaration of this office and work of the Holy Ghost, is the consideration of those acts of his which belong properly thereunto, and of those privileges whereof believers are made partakers thereby. And whereas many blessed mysteries of evangelical truth are contained herein, they would require much time and diligence in their explanation. But as to the most of them, according unto the measure of light and experience which I have attained, I have prevented myself the handling of them in this place; for I have spoken already unto most of them in two other discourses, the one concerning the perseverance of true believers, and the other of our communion with God, and of the Holy Spirit in particular. As, therefore, I shall be sparing in the repetition of what is already in them proposed unto public view, so it is not much that I shall add thereunto. Yet what is necessary unto our present design must not be wholly omitted, especially seeing I find that farther light and evidence may be added unto our former endeavors in this kind.

    CHAPTER 4.

    INHABITATION OF THE SPIRIT THE FIRST THING PROMISED.

    THE first thing which the Comforter is promised for unto believers is, that he should dwell in them; which is their great fundamental privilege, and whereon all others do depend. This, therefore, must in the first place be inquired into.

    The inhabitation of the Spirit in believers is among those things which we ought, as to the nature or being of it, firmly to believe, but as to the manner of it cannot fully conceive. Nor can this be the least impeachment of its truth unto any who assent unto the gospel, wherein we have sundry things proposed as objects of our faith which our reason cannot comprehend. We shall, therefore, assert no more in this matter but what the Scripture directly and expressly goeth before us in. And where we have the express letter of the Scripture for our warrant we are eternally safe, whilst we affix no sense thereunto that is absolutely repugnant unto reason or contrary unto more plain testimonies in other places. Wherefore, to make plain what we intend herein, the ensuing observations must be premised.

    First, This personal inhabitation of the Holy Spirit in believers is distinct and different from his essential omnipresence, whereby he is in all things.

    Omnipresence is essential; inhabitation is personal. Omnipresence is a necessary property of his nature, and so not of him as a distinct person in the Trinity, but as God essentially, one and the same in being and substance with the Father and the Son. To be everywhere, to fill all things, to be present with them or in-distant from them, always equally existing in the power of an infinite being, is an inseparable property of the divine nature as such; but this inhabitation is personal, or what belongs unto him distinctly as the Holy Ghost. Besides, it is voluntary, and that which might not have been; whence it is the subject of a free promise of God, and wholly depends on a free act of the will of the Holy Spirit himself.

    Secondly, It is not a presence by virtue of a metonymical denomination, or an expression of the cause for the effect, that is intended. The meaning of this promise, “The Spirit shall dwell in you,” is not “He shall work graciously in you,” for this he can without any especial presence, — being essentially everywhere, he can work where and how he pleaseth without any especial presence; — but it is the Spirit himself that is promised, and his presence in an especial manner, and an especial manner of that presence, “He shall be in you, and dwell in you,” as we shall see. The only inquiry in this matter is, whether the Holy Spirit himself be promised unto believers, or only his grace, which we shall immediately inquire into.

    Thirdly, The dwelling of the person of the Holy Spirit in the persons of believers, of what nature soever it be, doth not effect a personal union between them. That which we call a personal union is the union of diverse natures in the same person; and there can be but one person by virtue of this union. Such is the hypostatical union in the person of the Son of God.

    It was our nature he assumed, and not the person of any. And it was impossible he should so assume any more but in one individual instance; for if he could have assumed another individual being of our nature, then it must differ personally from that which he did assume, for there is nothing that differs one man from another but a distinct personal subsistence of each. And it implies the highest contradiction that the Son of God could be hypostatically united unto more than one; for if they are more than one, they must be more persons than one; and many persons cannot be hypostatically united, for that is to be one person, and no more. There may be a manifold union, mystical and moral, of divers, of many persons, but a personal union there cannot be of any thing but of distinct natures.

    And as the Son of God could not assume many persons, so supposing that human nature which he did unite to himself to have been a person, — that is, to have had a distinct subsistence of its own antecedent unto its union, Band there could have been no personal union between it and the Son of God; for the Son of God was a distinct person, and if the human nature had been so too, there would have been two persons still, and so no personal union. Nor can it be said that although the human nature of Christ was a person in itself, yet it ceased so to be upon its union with the divine, and so two persons were conjoined and compounded into one: for if ever human nature have in any instance a personal subsistence of its own, it cannot be separated from it without the destruction and annihilation of the individual; for to suppose otherwise is to make it to continue what it was and not what it was; for it is what it is, distinct from all other individuals, by virtue of its personality. Wherefore, upon this inhabitation of the Spirit, whereinsoever it doth consist, there is no personal union ensuing between him and believers, nor is it possible that any. such thing should be; for he and they are distinct persons, and must eternally abide so whilst their natures are distinct. It is only the assumption of our nature into union with the Son of God antecedent unto any individual personal subsistence of its own that can constitute such a union.

    Fourthly, The union and relation that ensues on this inhabitation of the Spirit is not immediate between him and believers, but between them and Jesus Christ; for he is sent to dwell in them by Christ, in his name, as his Spirit, to supply his room in love and grace towards them, making use of his things in all his effects and operations unto his glory. Hence, I say, is the union of believers with Christ by the Spirit, and not with the Spirit himself; for this Holy Spirit dwelling in the human nature of Christ, manifesting and acting himself in all fullness therein, as hath been declared, being sent by him to dwell in like manner and act in a limited measure in all believers, there is a mystical union thence arising between them, whereof the Spirit is the bond and vital principle.

    On these considerations, I say, it is the person of the Holy Ghost that is promised unto believers, and not only the effects of his grace and power; and his person it is that always dwelleth in them. And as this, on the one hand, is an argument of his infinite condesoension in complying with this part of his office and work, to be sent by the Father and Son to dwell in believers; so it is an evident demonstration of his eternal deity, that the one and self-same person should at the same time inhabit so many thousands of distinct persons as are or were at any time of believers in the world, — which is fondness to imagine concerning any one that is not absolutely inifnite. And, therefore, that which some oppose as unmeet for him, and beneath his glory, namely, this his inhabitation in the saints of God, is a most illustrious and incontrollable demonstration of his eternal glory: for none but he who is absolutely immense in his nature and omnipresence can be so present with and indistant from all believers in the world; and none but he whose person, by virtue of his nature, is infinite, can personally equally inhabit in them all An infinite nature and person is required hereunto. And in the consideration of the incomprehensibility thereof are we to acquiesce as to the manner of his inhabitation, which we cannot conceive. 1. There are very many promises in the Old Testament that God would thus give the Holy Spirit in and by virtue of the new covenant, as Ezekiel 36:27, Isaiah 59:21, Proverbs 1:23. And in every place God calls this promised Spirit, and as promised, his Spirit, “My Spirit;” which precisely denotes the person of the Spirit himself. It is generally apprehended, I confess, that in these promises the Holy Spirit is intended only as unto his gracious effects and operations, but not as to any personal inhabitation. And I should not much contend upon these promises only, although in some of them his person, as promised, be expressly distinguished from all his gracious effects, but that the exposition which is given of them in their accomplishment under the New Testament will not allow us so to judge of them; for, — 2. We are directed to pray for the Holy Spirit, and assured that God will give him unto them that ask of him in a due manner, Luke 11:13. If these words must be expounded metonymically, and not properly, it must be because either, — (1.) They agree not in the letter with other testimonies of Scripture; or, (2.) contain some sense absurd and unreasonable; or, (3.) that which is contrary unto the experience of them that believe.

    The first cannot he said, for other testimonies innumerable concur with it; nor the second, as we shall show; and as for the third, it is that whose contrary we prove. What is it that believers intend in that request? I suppose I may say that there is no one petition wherein they are more intense and earnest, nor which they more frequently insist upon. As David prayed that “God would not take his Holy Spirit from him,” Psalm 51:11, so do they that God would bestow him on them; for this they do, and ought to do, even after they have received him. His continuance with him, his evidencing and manifestation of himself in and to them, are the design of their continual supplications for him. Is it merely external operations of the Spirit in grace that they desire herein? Do they not always pray for his ineffable presence and inhabitation? Will any thoughts of grace or mercy relieve or satisfy them if once they apprehend that the Holy Spirit is not in them or doth not dwell with them? Although they are not able to form any conception in their minds of the manner of his presence and residence in them, yet is it that which they pray for, and without the apprehension whereof by faith they can have neither peace nor consolation. The promise hereof being confined unto believers, those that are truly and really so, as we showed before, it is their experience whereby its accomplishment is to be judged, and not the presumption of such by whom both the Spirit himself and his whole work is despised. 3. And this inhabitation is that which principally our Lord Jesus Christ directeth his disciples to expect in the promise of him: “He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you,” John 14:17. He doth so who is the “Comforter;” or, as it is emphatically expressed, chap. 16:13, “The Spirit of truth.” He is promised unto and he inhabits them that do believe. So it is expressly affirmed towards all that are partakers of this promise: Romans 8:9, “Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.” Verse 11, “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you.” “The Holy Spirit dwelleth in us,” Timothy 1:14. “Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world,” 1 John 4:4. And many other express testimonies there are unto the same purpose. And whereas the subject of these promises and propositions is the Holy Ghost himself, the person of the Holy Ghost, and that so expressed as not to leave any pretense for any thing else, and not his person, to be intended; and whereas nothing is ascribed unto him that is unreasonable, inconvenient unto him in the discharge of his office, or inconsistent with any of his divine perfections, but rather what is every way suitable unto his work, and evidently demonstrative of his divine nature and subsistence, — it is both irrational and unsuitable unto the economy of divine grace to wrest these expressions unto a lower, meaner, figurative signification. And I am persuaded that it is contrary to the faith of the catholic church of true believers so to do: for however some of them may not have exercised their minds about the manner of the abode of the Holy Spirit with the church; and some of them, when they hear of his personal indwelling, wherein they have not been duly instructed, do fear, it may be, that indeed that cannot be which they cannot comprehend, and that some evil consequences may ensue upon the admittance of it, although they cannot say what they are; yet it is with them all even an article of faith that the “Holy Ghost dwelleth in the church,” — that is, in them that truly believe, — and herein have they an apprehension of such a personal presence of his as they cannot conceive. This, therefore, being so expressly, so frequently affirmed in the Scripture, and the comfort of the church, which depends thereon, being singular and eminent, it is unto me an important article of evangelical truth. 4. Although all the principal actings of the Holy Spirit in us and towards us as a comforter do depend on this head, or flow from this spring of his inhabitation, yet, in the confirmation of its truth, I shall here name one or two by which itself is evidenced and its benefits unto the church declared: — (1.) This is the spring of his gracious operations in us. So our Savior himself declares: “The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life,” John 4:14.

    The water here promised is the Holy Spirit, called the “gift of God,” verse 10. This is evident from that parallel place, chap. 7:38, 39, where this living water is plainly declared to be the Holy Ghost. And this water which is given unto any is to be in him, and there to abide; which is but a metaphorical expression for the inhabitation of the Spirit, for it is to be in him as a well, as a living fountain, which cannot be spoken of any gracious habit whatever. No quality in our minds can be a spring of living water.

    Besides, all gracious habits are effects of the operation of the Holy Spirit; and therefore they are not the well itself, but belong unto the springing of it up in living water. So is the Spirit in his indwelling distinguished from all his evangelical operations of grace, as the well is distinct from the streams that flow from it. And as it is natural and easy for a spring of living water to bubble up and put forth refreshing streams, so it belongs unto the consolation of believers to know how easy it is unto the Holy Spirit, how ready he is, on the account of his gracious inhabitation, to carry on and perfect the work of grace, holiness, and sanctification in them. And what instruction they may take for their own deportment towards him may be afterwards spoken unto. So in many other places is his presence with us (which we have proved to be by the way of gracious inhabitation) proposed as the cause and spring of all his gracious operations, and so distinct from them. So, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us,” Romans 5:5; “The Spirit of God that dwelleth in you shall quicken your mortal bodies,” chap. 8:11; “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God,” verse 16: which places have been elsewhere explained and vindicated. (2.) This is the hidden spring and cause of that inexpressible distance and difference that is between believers and the rest of the world. Our apostle tells us that the “life” of believers is “hid with Christ in God,” Colossians 3:3. A blessed life they have whilst they are here, dead to the world, and as dead in the world, — a life that will issue in eternal glory! But no such thing appears, no lustre of it is cast abroad into the eyes of men. “True,” saith the’ apostle, “for it is ‘hid with Christ in God.’“ It is so both in its causes, nature, operations, and means of preservation. But by this hidden life it is that they are differenced from the perishing world. And it will not be denied, as I suppose, that this difference is real and great; for those who believe do enjoy the especial love and favor of God, whereas those who do not are “under the curse,” and “the wrath of God abideth on them.” They are “alive unto God,” but these are “dead in trespasses and sins.” And if men will not believe that there is so inexpressible a difference between them in this world, they will be forced to confess it at the last day, when the decretory sentences of, “Come, ye blessed,” and “Go, ye cursed,” shall be openly denounced. But, for the most part, there is no visible cause in the eyes of the world of this inexpressible and eternal difference between these two sorts of persons; for besides that, for the most part, the world doth judge amiss of all that believers are and do, and doth rather, through an inbred enmity, working by wicked and foolish surmises, suppose them to be the worst than absolutely the best of men, there is not, for the most part, such a visible, manifest difference in outward actions and duties, — on which alone a judgment may be passed in man’s day, — as to be a just foundation of believing so unspeakable a difference between their persons as is spoken of. There is a difference in their works, which indeed ought to be far greater than it is, and so a greater testimony is given to the righteousness of God,1 John 3:12; there is yet a greater difference in internal, habitual grace, whereby the minds of believers are transformed initially into the image of God, Titus 1:15; — but these things will not bear the weight of this inconceivable distance. Principally, therefore, it depends hereon, — namely, the inhabitation of the Spirit in them that believe. The great difference between the two houses that Solomon built was, that God dwelt in the one, and he himself in the other. Though any two houses, as unto their outward fabric, make the same appearance, yet if the king dwell in the one and a robber in the other, the one may be a palace and the other a den. It is this inhabitation of the Spirit whereon all the privileges of believers do immediately depend, and all the advantages which they have above the men of the world. And the difference which is made hereby or ensueth hereon is so inconceivably great, as that a sufficient reason may thence be given of all the excellent things which are spoken of them who are partakers of it.

    CHAPTER 5.

    PARTICULAR ACTINGS OF THE HOLY SPIRIT AS A COMFORTER — HOW HE IS AN UNCTION.

    THE especial actings of the Holy Spirit towards believers as their comforter, with the privileges and advantages which by them they are made partakers of, have been severally spoken unto by many, and I have also in other discourses had occasion to treat concerning some of them. I shall, therefore, be the more brief in the present discourse of them, and, waiving things commonly known and received, shall endeavor to state right conceptions of them, and to add farther light unto what hath been already received.

    The FIRST of this sort which we shall mention, because, as I think, the first in order of nature, is the unction or anointing which believers have by him.

    So are they said to be “anointed,” 2 Corinthians 1:21; and, 1 John 2:20, “Ye have to< cri>sma ,” an unction, an unguent, “from the Holy One.”

    Verse 27, “The anointing which ye have received abideth in you;” and “the same anointing teacheth you of all things.” What this cri>sma is which we do receive, and wherein this anointing doth consist, we must, in the first place, inquire; for a distinct comprehension and knowledge of that which is so great a privilege, and of so much use unto us, is our duty and advantage.

    It is the more so, because by the most these things are neglected. That is an empty sound unto them which hath in itself the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. Some things there are which pretend unto this unction, or which some would have it to consist in, that we must remove out of our way, to render the truth more evident.

    First, Some think that by this “unction” the doctrine of the gospel, or the truth itself, is intended. This Episcopius pleads for in his exposition of the place. That doctrine of the gospel which they had received was that which would preserve them from the seducers which in that place of the apostle,1 John 2:20, believers are warned to beware of. But neither the context nor the text will admit of this interpretation; for, — 1. The thing itself in question was the doctrine of the gospel. This the seducers pretended to be on their side, which the apostle denies. Now, although the doctrine itself was that whereby this difference was to be determined, yet is not the doctrine itself, but the advantage they had for the right understanding of it, that which is proposed for their relief and comfort. 2. This unction is said to “abide in them’ who have received it; whereas we are said to abide in the doctrine or the truth, and not that in us properly. 3. This unction is said to “teach us all things,” but the doctrine of the truth is that which we are taught, and there must be a difference between that which teacheth and that which is taught thereby. 4. Whereas, in all other places of the Scripture, either the Holy Ghost himself or some especial operation of his is hereby intended, there is no reason nor pretense of any to be taken from the words or context why another signification should be here imposed on that expression. 5. For the reason which he adds, that “there is no mention in any other place of Scripture of any peculiar internal act or work towards any persons, in their teaching or reception of the truth,” it is so extremely remote from the truth, and is so directly opposite unto express testimonies almost innumerable, that I wonder how any man could be so forgetful as to affirm it. Let the reader satisfy himself in what hath been discoursed on the head of spiritual illumination.

    Secondly, The testimony given by the Holy Ghost unto the truth of the gospel imparted unto them, is the exposition of this “unction” in the paraphrase of another. This testimony was by his miraculous operations, at his first effusion on the apostles. But neither can this be the mind of the Holy Ghost herein; for this unction which believers had is the same with their being anointed of God, 2 Corinthians 1:21, and that was a privilege whereof they were all personally made partakers. So, also, is that which is here mentioned, — namely, that which was “in them,” which “abode with them,” and “taught them.” Neither is this a tolerable exposition of these words, “‘Ye have an unction from the Holy One, abiding in you, teaching of you;’ that is, Ye have heard of the miraculous operations of the Holy Ghost, in the confirmation of the gospel, giving testimony unto the truth.”

    Thirdly, It is to no purpose to examine the pretenses of some of the Romanists, that respect is had herein to the chrism or unguent that they use in baptism, confirmation, and in their fictitious sacraments of order and extreme unction; for besides that all their unctions are inventions of their own, no institution of Christ, nor of any efficacy unto the ends for which this unction is granted unto believers, the more sober of their expositors take no notice of them on this occasion. Those who would know what respect they have thereunto may find it in the commentaries of [Cornelius] a Lapide on this place.

    These apprehensions being removed, as no way suiting the mind of the Holy Ghost, nor expressing the privilege intended, nor the advantage which we have thereby, we shall follow the conduct of the Scripture in the investigation of the true nature of it. And to this end we may observe, — 1. That all persons and things that were dedicated or consecrated unto God under the Old Testament were anointed with material oil. So were the kings of the people of God, so were priests and prophets In like manner, the sanctuary, the altar, and all the holy utensils of divine worship, were anointed. And it is confessed that among all the rest of the Mosaical institutions, those also concerning unction were typical and figurative of what was to come. 2. That all these types had their first, proper, and full signification and accomplishment in the person of Jesus Christ. And because every person and thing that was made holy to God was so anointed, he who was to be the “Most Holy,” the only spring and cause of holiness in and unto others, had his name and denomination from thence. Both Messiah in the Old Testament, and Christ in the New, are as much as the Anointed One; for he was not only in his person typified in the anointed kings, priests, and prophets, but also, in his mediation, by the tabernacle, sanctuary, altar, and temple. Hence his unction is expressed in these words, µyvd;q; vd,qo j’cmo]li , Daniel 9:24, “To anoint the Holy of Holies,” who was prefigured by all the holy anointed ones before. This became his name as he was the hope of the church under the Old Testament, the Messiah; and as the immediate object of the faith of the saints under the New, the Christ. Here, therefore, in the first place, we must inquire into the nature of this unction, that of believers being an emanation from thence, and to be interpreted by analogy thereunto; for (as it is usually expressed by way of allusion) it is as the oil, which, being poured on the head of Aaron, went down to the skirts of his garments. 3. That the Lord Christ was anointed, and how, is declared, Isaiah 61:1, “The Spirit of the LordGOD is upon me; because theLORD hath anointed me.” His unction consisted principally in the communication of the Spirit unto him; for he proves that the Spirit of the Lord was upon him, because he was anointed. And this gives us a general rule, that the anointing with material oil under the Old Testament did prefigure and represent the effusion of the Spirit under the New, which now answers all the ends of those typical institutions. Hence the gospel, in opposition unto them all, in the letter, outwardly, visibly, and materially, is called the “ministration of the Spirit,” 2 Corinthians 3:6,8. So is the unction of Christ expressed, Isaiah 11:2, “The Spirit of theLORD 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 theLORD.” 4. Whereas the unction of Christ did consist in the full communication of the Spirit unto him, not by measure, in all his graces and gifts, needful unto his human nature or his work, though it be essentially one entire work, yet was it carried on by several degrees and distinctions of time; for, — (1.) He was anointed by the Spirit in his incarnation in the womb, Luke 1:35; the nature of which work we have at large before explained. (2.) He was so at his baptism and entrance into his public ministry, when he was anointed to preach the gospel, as Isaiah 61:1: “The Spirit of God descended like a dove, and lighted upon him,” Matthew 3:16. The first part of his unction more peculiarly respected a fullness of the grace, the latter of the gifts of the Spirit. (3.) He was peculiarly anointed, unto his death and sacrifice in that divine act of his whereby he “sanctified himself” thereunto, John 17:19, which hath also been before declared. (4.) He was so at his ascension, when he received of the Father the promise of the Spirit, pouring him forth on his disciples, Acts 2:33.

    And in this latter instance he was “anointed with the oil of gladness,” which includes his glorious exaltation also: for this was absolutely peculiar unto him, whence he is said to be so anointed “above his fellows;” for although in some other parts of this anointing, he hath them who partake of them, by and from him, in their measure, yet in this of receiving the Spirit with a power of communicating him unto others, herein he is singular, nor was ever any other person sharer with him therein in the least degree. See the Exposition on Hebrews 1:8,9. Now, although there be an inconceivable difference and distance between the unction of Christ and that of believers, yet is his the only rule of the interpretation of theirs, as to the kind thereof. And, — 5. Believers have their unction immediately from Christ. So is it in the text: “Ye have an unction from the Holy One.” So is he called, Acts 3:14; Revelation 3:7, “These things saith he that is holy.” He himself was anointed as the “Most Holy,” Daniel 9:24. And it is his Spirit which believers do receive, Ephesians 3:16; Philippians 1:19. It is said that “he who anointeth us is God,” 2 Corinthians 1:21; and I do take God there personally for the Father, as the same name is in the verse foregoing: “All the promises of God in him,” that is, in Christ, “are yea, and in him Amen.” Wherefore, the Father is the original, supreme cause of our anointing; but the Lord Christ, the Holy One, is the immediate efficient cause thereof. This himself expresseth when he affirms that he will send the Spirit from the Father. The supreme donation is from the Father; the immediate collation, from the Son. 6. It is therefore manifest that the anointing of believers consisteth in the communication of the Holy Spirit unto them from and by Jesus Christ. It is not the Spirit that doth anoint us, but he is the unction wherewith we are anointed by the Holy One. This the analogy unto the unction of Christ makes undeniable: for as he was anointed so are they, in the same kind of unction, though in a degree inferior unto him; for they have nothing but a measure and portion from his fullness, as he pleaseth, Ephesians 4:7.

    Our unction, therefore, is the communication of the Holy Spirit, and nothing else. He is that unction which is given unto us, and abideth with us, But this communication of the Spirit is general, and respects all his operations. It doth not yet appear wherein the especial nature of it doth consist, and whence this communication of him is thus expressed by “an unction;” and this can be no otherwise learned but from the effects ascribed unto him as he is an unction, and the relation with the resemblance that is therein unto the unction of Christ.

    It is, therefore, some particular grace and privilege which is intended in this unction, 2 Corinthians 1:21. It is mentioned only neutrally, without the ascription of any effects unto it, so that therein we cannot learn its especial nature. But there are two effects elsewhere ascribed unto it. The first is teaching, with a saving, permanent knowledge of the truth thereby produced in our minds. This is fully expressed 1 John 2:20,27, “Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things;” that is, “All those things of the fundamental, essential truths of the gospel, all ye need to know that ye may obey God truly and be saved infallibly, this ye have by this unction; for this anointing which ye have received abideth in you, and teacheth you all things.” And we may observe, that it is spoken of in an especial manner with respect unto our permanency and establishment in the truth against prevalent seducers and seductions; so it is joined with establishing in that other place, 2 Corinthians 1:21.

    Wherefore, in the first place, this anointing with the Holy Ghost is the communication of him unto us with respect unto that gracious work of his in the spiritual, saving illumination of our minds, teaching us to know the truth, and to adhere firmly unto it in love and obedience. This is that which is peculiarly ascribed unto it; and we have no way to know the nature of it but by its effects.

    The anointing, then, of believers with the Spirit consists in the collation of him upon them to this end, that he may graciously instruct them in the truths of the gospel by the saving illumination of their minds, causing their souls firmly to cleave unto them with joy and delight, and transforming them in the whole inward man into the image and likeness of it. Hence it is called the “anointing of our eyes with eye-salve that we may see,” Revelation 3:18.

    So doth it answer that unction of the Lord Christ with the Spirit, which made him “of quick understanding in the fear of theLORD,” Isaiah 11:3.

    Let these things, therefore, be fixed in the first place, — namely, that the to< cri>sma , the unction which believers receive from the Holy One, is the Spirit himself; and that his first, peculiar, especial effect as an unction, is his teaching of us the truths and mysteries of the gospel by saving illumination, in the manner before described.

    Hereunto also is referred what is said of believers being made “kings and priests,” Revelation 1:6; for there is an allusion therein unto the anointing of those sorts of persons under the Old Testament. Whatever was typical therein was fully accomplished in the unction of Christ unto his office, wherein he was the sovereign king, priest, and prophet of the church. Wherefore, by a participation in his unction, they are said to be made “kings and priests,” or “a royal priesthood,” as it is, 1 Peter 2:9; and this participation of his unction consists in the communication of the same Spirit unto them wherewith he was anointed. Whereas, therefore, these titles denote the dignity of believers in their especial relation unto God, by this unction they are peculiarly dedicated and consecrated unto him.

    It is manifest, therefore, first, that this unction we receive from the Holy One is the Holy Spirit, which he hath promised unto all that believe in him; and then that we have these two things by virtue thereof: — 1. Spiritual instruction, by saving illumination in the mind of God and the mysteries of the gospel; 2. An especial dedication unto God, in the way of a spiritual privilege.

    What remains is, to inquire, — 1. What benefit or advantage we have by this unction; 2. How this belongs unto our consolation, seeing the Holy Spirit is thus bestowed on us as he is promised to be the comforter of the church. 1. As unto the first head, it is hereon that our stability in believing doth depend; for it is pleaded unto this purpose in a peculiar manner by the apostle,1 John 2:20,27. It was the “unction from the Holy One” which then kept believers from being carried from the faith by the craft of seducers. Hereby he makes men, according unto their measure, “of quick understanding in the fear of theLORD.” Nor will any thing else give assurance in this case. Temptations may come as a storm or tempest, which will quickly drive men from their greatest fleshly confidences.

    Hence oftentimes those who are forwardest to say, though all men should forsake the truth, yet would not they so do, are the forwardest upon trials so to do. Neither will men’s skill, cunning, or disputing abilities, secure them from being, at one time or other, inveigled with fair pretenses, or entangled with the cunning sleights of them who lie in wait to deceive. Nor will the best defenses of flesh and blood stand firmly and unshaken against powerful allurements on the one hand, and fierce persecutions on the other; the present artillery of the patrons and promoters of apostasy.

    None of these things doth the apostle prescribe or recommend unto believers as an effectual means of their preservation, when a trial of their stability in the truth shall befall them. But this unction he assures them will not fail; neither shall they fail, because of it.

    And to this end we may consider, — (1.) The nature of the teaching which we have by this anointing: “The anointing teacheth you.” It is not merely an external doctrinal instruction, but an internal effectual operation of the Holy Ghost. Herein doth God give unto us “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, the eyes of our understanding being enlightened, that we may know what is the hope of his calling,” Ephesians 1:17,18. He maketh use, indeed, of the outward means of instruction by the word, and teacheth nothing but what is revealed therein; but he gives us “an understanding that we may know him that is true,” and openeth our eyes that we may clearly and spiritually see the wondrous things that are in his law. And there are no teachings like unto his; none so abiding, none so effectual. When spiritual things, through this anointing, are discovered in a spiritual manner, then do they take up an immovable possession in the minds of men. As God will destroy every oppressing yoke because of the anointing of Christ Isaiah 10:27, so will he break every snare of seduction by the anointing of Christians. So it is promised that under the gospel, “wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of the times,” Isaiah 33:6. Nothing will give stability in all seasons but the wisdom and knowledge which are the effects of this teaching, when God gives us “the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.” (2.) What it is that it teacheth, and that is all things: “The same anointing teacheth you of all things.” So was the promise that he should “teach us all things,” and “bring all things to our remembrance” that Christ hath said unto us, John 14:26, and “guide us into all truth,” chap. 16:13. It is not all things absolutely that are intended; for they are restrained unto those of one certain kind, even the things which Christ had spoken, — that is, such as belonged unto the kingdom of God. Neither are they all of them absolutely intended, especially as to the degrees of the knowledge of them; for in this life we know but in part, and see all things darkly as in a glass.

    But it is all things, and all truth, with respect unto the end of this promiseand teaching. In the promise, the whole life of faith, with joy and consolation thereon, is the end designed. All things necessary thereunto this unction teacheth us. And in the other place of the apostle, it respects the great fundamental truths of the gospel, which the seducers opposed, from whose seduction this unction doth secure believers. Wherefore, it teacheth all that are made partakers of it all that truth, all those things, all that Christ hath spoken, that are necessary unto these ends, that they may live unto God in the consolation of faith, and be delivered from all attempts to draw them into error.

    The degrees of this knowledge, which are exceeding various, both with respect unto the clearness and evidence of conception and the extent of the things known, depend on the various measures whereby the Spirit acteth, according unto his own will, and the different use of the external means of knowledge which we do enjoy; but what is necessary unto the ends mentioned, none shall come short of who enjoy this anointing. And where its teachings are complied withal in a way of duty, where we obstruct them not by prejudices and sloth, where we give up ourselves unto their directive efficacy in a diligent, impartial attendance unto the word, whereby alone we are to be taught, we shall not fail of that knowledge in the whole counsel of God, and all the parts of it, which he will accept and bless. And this gives stability unto believers when trials and temptations about the truth do befall them; and the want hereof, in the uncured darkness of their minds, and ignorance of the doctrine of the gospel, is that which betrays multitudes into a defection from it in seasons of temptation and persecution. (3.) It so teacheth as to give withal an approbation of and love unto the things that are taught. These are the next principle and cause of practice, or the doing of the things that we know; which is the only cement of all the means of our security, rendering them firm and stable. The mind may discern spiritual truths, but if the will and affections be not wrought over to love them and delight in them, we shall never conform ourselves unto them in the diligent exercise and practice of what they do require. And what we may do on the solitary efficacy of light and conviction, without the adherence of love and delight, will neither be acceptable unto God, nor shall we be permanent or stable therein. All other means in the world, without the love and practice of the truth, will be insufficient unto our preservation in the saving profession of it. And this is the characteristical note of the teaching by this unction. It gives and communicates with it the love of that truth wherein we are instructed, and delight in obedience unto what it doth require. Where these are not, however raised our minds may be, or enlarged our understandings in the apprehension of objective truths, whatever sublime notions or subtile conceptions about them we may have, though we could master and manage all the speculations and niceties of the schools, in their most pretended accuracy of expression, yet as to the power and benefit of religion, we should be but as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals. But when this Holy Spirit doth, in and by his teaching, breathe into our hearts a holy, divine love unto and complacency in the things we are taught; when he enables us to taste how gracious the Lord is in them, rendering them sweeter unto us than the honey or the honeycomb; when he makes them our delight and joy, exciting and quickening the practical principles of our minds unto a compliance with them in holy obedience, — then have we that unction from the Holy One which will both sanctify and secure our souls unto the end.

    And hereby may we know whether we have ourselves received of this anointing. Some would fain put it off unto what was peculiar unto the times of the apostles, and would suppose another kind of believers in those days than any that are now in the world, or need to be; though what our Savior prayed for for them, even for the apostles themselves, as to the Spirit of grace and consolation, he prayed also for all them who should believe on him through their word unto the end of the world. But take away the promise of the Spirit, and the privileges thereon depending, from Christians, and in truth they cease so to be. Some neglect it as if it were an empty expression, and either wholly insignificant, or at best intending somewhat wherein they need not much concern themselves; and whatever it be, they doubt not but to secure the pretended ends of it, in their preservation from seduction, by their own skill and resolution. On such pretenses are all the mysteries of the gospel by many despised, and a religion is formed wherein the Spirit of Christ hath no concernment. But these things are otherwise stated in the minds of the true disciples of Christ. They know and own of how great importance it is to have a share in this unction; how much their conformity unto Christ, their participation of him, and the evidence of their union with him, how much their stability in profession, their joy in believing, their love and delight in obedience, with their dignity in the sight of God and all his holy angels, do depend thereon. Neither do we look upon it as a thing obscure or unintelligible, that which no man can know whether he hath or no; for if it were so, a thing so thin, aerial, and imperceptible, as that no spiritual sense or experience could be had of it, the apostle would not have referred all sorts and degrees of believers, fathers, young men, and little children, unto it for their relief and encouragement in the times of danger. Wherefore, it evidenceth itself in the way and manner of its acting, operation, and teaching, as before declared. And as by those instances they satisfy themselves as unto what experience they have of it, so it is their duty to pray continually for its increase and farther manifestation of its power in them: yea, it is their duty to labor that their prayers for it may be both fervent and effectual; for the more express and eminent the teachings of this anointing in them are, the more fresh and plentiful is their unction, the more will their holiness and consolation abound.

    And whereas this is that by which, as it immediately proceeds from the Holy Spirit, they have their peculiar dedication unto God, being made kings and priests unto him, they are highly concerned to secure their interest therein; for it may be they are so far from being exalted, promoted, and dignified in the world by their profession, as that they are made thereby the scorn of men and the outcasts of the people. Those, indeed, whose kingdom and priesthood, their dignity and honor in Christianity, their approximation unto God and Christ in a peculiar manner, consist in secular titles, honor, power, and grandeur, as it is in the Papacy, may content themselves with their chrism, or the greasy unction of their outward, ceremonious consecration, without much inquiry after or concern in this spiritual anointing; but those who get little or nothing in this world, that is, of the world, by their profession, but labor, pain, travail of soul and body, with scorns, reproaches, and persecutions, had need look after that which gives them a dignity and honor in the sight of God, and which brings in satisfaction and peace unto their own souls; and this is done by that anointing alone, whereby they are made kings and priests unto God, having honor before him, and a free, sacred access unto him. 2. I shall only add, that whereas we ascribe this anointing in a peculiar manner unto the Holy Ghost as the comforter of the church, we may easily discern wherein the consolation which we receive by it doth consist; for who can express that satisfaction, refreshment, and joy, which the mind is possessed with in those spiritual, effectual teachings, which give it a clear apprehension of saying truth in its own nature and beauty, and enlarge the heart with love unto it and delight in it? It is true, that the greatest part of believers are ofttimes either at such a loss as unto a clear apprehension of their own spiritual state, or so unskilled in making a right judgment of the causes and means of divine consolations, or so confused in their own experiences, or so negligent in their inquiries into these things, or so disordered by temptations, as that they receive not a refreshing sense of those comforts and joys which are really inseparable from this anointing: but still it is in itself that spring from whence their secret refreshments and supportments do arise; and there is none of them but, upon guidance and instruction, are able to conceive how their chiefest joys and comforts, even those whereby they are supported in and against all their troubles, are resolved into that spiritual understanding which they have into the mysteries of the will, love, and grace of God in Christ, with that ineffable complacency and satisfaction which they find in them, whereby their wills are engaged into an unconquerable constancy in their choice. And there is no small consolation in a due apprehension of that spiritual dignity which ensues hereon; for when they meet with the greatest troubles and the most contemptuous scorns in this world, a due apprehension of their acceptance with God, as being made kings and priests unto him, yields them a refreshment which the world knows nothing of, and which themselves are not able to express.

    CHAPTER 6.

    THE SPIRIT A SEAL, AND HOW.

    SECONDLY, Another effect of the Holy Spirit as the comforter of the church is, that by him believers are sealed: 2 Corinthians 1:21,22, “He who anointed us is God, who hath also sealed us.” And how this is done the same apostle declares, Ephesians 1:13, “In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.”

    And chap. 4:30, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”

    In the first place, it is expressly said that we are sealed with the Spirit; whereby the Spirit himself is expressed as this seal, and not any of his especial operations, as he is also directly said himself to be the “earnest of our inheritance.’’ In the latter, the words are, jEn w=| ejsfragi>sqhte , “In whom,” in and by the receiving of whom, “ye are sealed.” Wherefore, no especial act of the Spirit, but only an especial effect of his communication unto us, seems to be intended hereby.

    The common exposition of this sealing is taken from the nature and use of sealing among men, the sum whereof is this: Sealing may be considered as a natural or moral action, — that is, either with respect unto the act of it as an act, or with respect unto its use and end. In the first way, it is the communication of the character or image that is on the seal unto the thing that is sealed, or that the impression of the seal is set unto. In answer hereunto, the sealing of the Spirit should consist in the communication of his own spiritual nature and likeness unto the souls of believers; so this sealing should materially be the same with our sanctification. The end and use of sealing among men is twofold: — 1. To give security unto the performance of deeds, grants, promises, testaments, and wills, or the like engaging significations of our minds. And in answer hereunto, we may be said to be sealed, when the promises of God are confirmed and established unto our souls, and we are secured of them by the Holy Ghost. But the truth is, this were to seal the promises of God, and not believers. But it is persons, and not promises, that are said to be sealed. 2. It is for the safe-keeping or preservation of that which a seal is set upon. So things precious and highly valuable are sealed up, that they may be kept safe and inviolable. So, on the other hand, when Job expressed his apprehension that God would keep an everlasting remembrance of his sin, that it should not be lost or out of the way, he saith, “his transgression was sealed up in a bag,” chap. 14:17. And so it is that power which the Holy Ghost puts forth in the preservation of believers which is intended; and in this respect they are said to be “sealed unto the day of redemption.’’ These things have been spoken unto and enlarged on by many, so that there is no need again to insist upon them. And what is commonly delivered unto this purpose is good and useful in the substance of it, and I have on several occasions long since myself made use of them. But upon renewed thoughts and consideration, I cannot fully acquiesce in them; for, — 1. I am not satisfied that there is such an allusion herein unto the use of sealing among men as is pretended; and if there be, it will fall out, as we see it hath done, that, there being so many considerations of seals and sealing, it will be hard to determine on any one in particular which is principally intended. And if you take in more, as the manner of the most is to take in all they can think of, it will be unavoidable that acts and effects of various kinds will be assigned unto the Holy Ghost under the term of sealing, and so we shall never come to know what is that one determinate act and privilege which is intended therein. 2. All things which are usually assigned as those wherein this sealing doth consist are acts or effects of the Holy Ghost upon us whereby he seals us, whereas it is not said that the Holy Spirit seals us, but that we are sealed with him; he is God’s seal unto us.

    All our spiritual privileges, as they are immediately communicated unto us by Christ, so they consist wholly in a participation of that head, spring, and fullness of them which is in him; and as they proceed from our union with him, so their principal end is conformity unto him. And in him, in whom all things are conspicuous, we may learn the nature of those things which, in lesser measure and much darkness in ourselves, we are made partakers of. So do we learn our unction in his. So must we inquire into the nature of our being sealed by the Spirit in his sealing also; for as it is said that “he who hath sealed us is God,” 2 Corinthians 1:21,22, so of him it is said emphatically, “For him hath God the Father sealed,” John 6:27.

    And if we can learn aright how God the Father sealed Christ, we shall learn how we are sealed in a participation of the same privilege.

    I confess there are variety of apprehensions concerning the act of God whereby Christ was sealed, or what it is that is intended thereby.

    Maldonate, on the place, reckons up ten several expositions of the words among the fathers, and yet embraceth no one of them. It is not suited unto my design to examine or refute the expositions of others, whereof a large and plain field doth here open itself unto us; I shall only give an account of what I conceive to be the mind of the Holy Ghost in that expression. And we may observe, — First, That this is not spoken of Christ with respect unto his divine nature. He is, indeed, said to be the character of the person of the Father in his divine person as the Son, because there are in him, communicated unto him from the Father, all the essential properties of the divine nature, as the thing sealed receiveth the character or image of the seal. But this communication is by eternal generation, and not by sealing. But it is an external, transient act of God the Father on the human nature, with respect unto the discharge of his office; for it is given as the reason why he should be complied withal and believed on in that work: “Labor for that bread which the Son of man shall give unto you; for him hath God the Father sealed.” It is the ground whereon he persuades them to faith and obedience unto himself.

    Secondly, It is not spoken of him with an especial respect unto his kingly office, as some conceive; for this sealing of Christ they would have to be his designation of God unto his kingdom, in opposition unto what is affirmed, verse 15, that the people designed to come and make him a king by force: for that is only an occasional expression of the sense of the people, the principal subject treated on is of a nobler nature. But whereas the people did flock after him, on the account of a temporal benefit received by him, in that they were fed, filled, and satisfied with the loaves which he had miraculously increased, verse 26, he takes occasion from thence to propose unto them the spiritual mercies that he had to tender unto them; and this he doth, in answer unto the bread that they had eaten, under the name of “meat,” and “bread enduring to everlasting life,” which he would give unto them. Under this name and notion of meat he did comprise all the spiritual nourishment, in his doctrine, person, mediation, and grace, that he had prepared for them. But on what grounds should they look for these things from him? how might it appear that he was authorized and enabled thereunto? In answer unto that inquiry he gives this account of himself, “For him hath God the Father sealed,” — namely, unto this end.

    Thirdly, Wherefore the sealing of God unto this end and purpose must have two properties and two ends also annexed unto it: — 1. There is in it a communication of authority and ability; for the inquiry is, how he could give them that meat which endureth unto everlasting life, as afterwards they ask expressly, “How can this man give us his flesh to eat?” verse 52. To this it is answered, that God the Father had sealed him; that is, he it was who was enabled of God the Father to give and dispense the spiritual food of the souls of men. This, therefore, is evidently included in this sealing. 2. It must have evidence in it also, — that is, somewhat whereby it may be evinced that he was thus authorized and enabled by God the Father; for whatever authority or ability any one may have unto any end, none is obliged to make application unto him for it, or depend upon him therein, unless it be evidenced that he hath that authority and ability. This the Jews immediately inquired after. “What sign,” say they, “showest thou then, that we may see, and believe thee? what dost thou work?” verse 30; — “How shall it be demonstrated unto us that thou art authorized and enabled to give us the spiritual food of our souls?”

    This also belonged unto his sealing; for therein there was such an express representation of divine power communicated unto him as evidently manifested that he was appointed of God unto this work. These two properties, therefore, must be found in this sealing of the Lord Christ with respect unto the end here mentioned, — namely, that he might be the promus condus, or principal dispenser of the spiritual food of the souls of men.

    Fourthly, It being God’s seal, it must also have two ends designed in it: — 1. God’s owning of him to be his. “Him hath God the Father sealed,” unto this end, that all may know and take notice of his owning and approbation of him. He would have him not looked on as one among the rest of them that dispensed spiritual things, but as him whom he had singled out and peculiarly marked for himself. And therefore this he publicly and gloriously testified at the entrance, and again a little before the finishing, of his ministry: for upon his baptism there came “a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” Matthew 3:17; which was nothing but a public declaration that this was he whom God had sealed, and so owned in a peculiar manner. And this testimony was afterward renewed again, at his transfiguration on the mount: chap. 17:5, “Behold a voice out of the cloud, which said, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye him;” — “This is he whom I have sealed.” And this testimony is pleaded by the apostle Peter as that whereinto their faith in him, as the sealed one of God, was resolved, 2 Peter 1:17,18. 2. To manifest that God would take care of him, and preserve him in his work unto the end, Isaiah 42:1-4.

    Fifthly, Wherefore, this sealing of the Son is the communication of the Holy Spirit in all fullness unto him, authorizing him unto, and acting his divine power in, all the acts and duties of his office, so as to evidence the presence of God with him, and his approbation of him, as the only person that was to distribute the spiritual food of their souls unto men: for the Holy Spirit, by his powerful operations in him and by him, did evince and manifest that he was called and appointed of God to this work, owned by him and accepted with him; which was God’s sealing of him. Hence the sin of them who despised this seal of God was unpardonable; for God neither will nor can give greater testimony unto his approbation of any person than by the great seal of his Spirit, and this was given unto Christ in all the fullness of it. He was “declared to be the Son of God, according to the Spirit of holiness,” Romans 1:4; and “justified in the Spirit,” or by his power evidencing that God was with him, 1 Timothy 3:16. Thus did God seal the Head of the church with the Holy Spirit; and thence, undoubtedly, may we best learn how the members are sealed with the same Spirit, seeing we have all our measures out of his fullness, and our conformity unto him is the design of all gracious communications unto us.

    Sixthly, Wherefore, God’s sealing of believers with the Holy Spirit is his gracious communication of the Holy Ghost unto them, so to act his divine power in them as to enable them unto all the duties of their holy calling; evidencing them to be accepted with him both unto themselves and others, and asserting their preservation unto eternal salvation. The effects of this sealing are gracious operations of the Holy Spirit in and upon believers; but the sealing itself is the communication of the Spirit unto them. They are sealed with the Spirit. And farther to evidence the nature of it, with the truth of our declaration of this privilege, we may observe, — 1. That when any persons are so effectually called as to become true believers, they are brought into many new relations, — as, to God himself, as his children; unto Jesus Christ, as his members; unto all saints and angels in the families of God above and below, as brethren; and are called to many new works, duties, and uses, which before they knew nothing of.

    They are brought into a new world, erected by the new creation; and which way soever they look or turn themselves, they say, “Old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” So it is with every one that is made a new creature in Christ Jesus, 2 Corinthians 5:17. In this state and condition, wherein a man hath new principles put within him, new relations contracted about him, new duties presented unto him, and a new deportment in all things required of him, how shall he be able to behave himself aright, and answer the condition and holy station wherein he is placed? This no man can do of himself, for “who is sufficient for these things?” Wherefore, — 2. In this state God owns them, and communicates unto them his Holy Spirit, to fit them for their relations, to enable them unto their duties, to act their new principles, and every way to discharge the work they are called unto, even as their head, the Lord Christ, was unto hia God doth not now give unto them “the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind,” 2 Timothy 1:7. And hereby cloth God seal them; for, — (1.) Hereby he gives his testimony unto them that they are his, owned by him, accepted with him, his sons or children, — which is his seal; for if they were not so, he would never have given his Holy Spirit unto them.

    And herein consists the greatest testimony that God doth give, and the only seal that he doth set, unto any in this world. That this is God’s testimony and seal, the apostle Peter proveth, Acts 15:8,9; for on the debate of that question, whether God approved and accepted of the humble believers, although they observed not the rites of Moses, he confirmeth that he did with this argument: “God,” saith he, “which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness” How did he do it? how did he set his seal to them as his? Saith he, “By giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us.” Hereby God gives testimony unto them. And lest any should suppose that it was only the gifts and miraculous operations of the Holy Ghost which he had respect unto, so as that this sealing of God should consist therein alone, he adds, that his gracious operations also were no less an effect of this witness which God gave unto them: “And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.”

    This, therefore, is that whereby God giveth his testimony unto believers, namely, when he seals them with his Spirit, or by the communication of the Holy Spirit unto them. And this he doth in two respects; for, — (2.) This is that whereby he giveth believers assurance of their relation unto him, of their interest in him, and of his love and favor to them. It hath been generally conceived that this sealing with the Spirit is that which gives assurance unto believers, — and so indeed it doth, although the way whereby it doth it hath not been rightly apprehended; and, therefore, none have been able to declare the especial nature of that act of the Spirit whereby he seals us, whence such assurance should ensue. But it is indeed not any act of the Spirit in us that is the ground of our assurance, but the communication of the Spirit unto us. This the apostle plainly testifieth. 1 John 3:24, “Hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us.” That God abideth in us and we in him is the subject-matter of our assurance. “This we know,” saith the apostle; which expresseth the highest assurance we are capable of in this world. And how do we know it? Even “by the Spirit which he hath given us.” But, it may be, the sense of these words may be, that the Spirit which God gives us doth, by some especial work of his, effect this assurance in us; and so it is not his being given unto us, but some especial work of his in us, that is the ground of our assurance, and consequently our sealing. I do not deny such an especial work of the Spirit as shall be afterward declared, but I judge that it is the communication of the Spirit himself unto us that is here intended; for so the apostle declares his sense to be, chap. 4:13, “Hereby know we that we dwell in God, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” This is the great evidence, the great ground of assurance, which we have that God hath taken us into a near and dear relation unto himself, “because he hath given us of his Spirit,” that great and heavenly gift which he will impart unto no others. And, indeed, on this one hinge depends the whole case of that assurance which believers are capable of: If the Spirit of God dwell in us, we are his; but “if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his,” Romans 8:9. Hereon alone depends the determination of our especial relation unto God. By this, therefore, doth God seal believers, and therein gives them assurance of his love; and this is to be the sole rule of your self-examination whether you are sealed of God or no. (3.) Hereby God evidenceth them unto the world; which is another end of sealing. He marks them so hereby for his own as that the world cannot but in general take notice of them; for where God sets this seal in the communication of his Spirit, it will so operate and produce such effects as shall fall under the observation of the world. As it did in the Lord Christ, so also will it do in believers according unto their measure. And there are two ways whereby God’s sealing doth evidence them unto the world. The one is by the effectual operation of the Spirit, communicated unto them both in gifts and graces. Though the world is blinded with prejudices, and under the power of a prevalent enmity against spiritual things, yet it cannot but discover what a change is made in the most of those whom God thus sealeth, and how, by the gifts and graces of the Spirit, which they hate, they are differenced from other men. And this is that which keeps up the difference and enmity that is in the world between the seeds; for God’s sealing of believers with his Spirit evidenceth his especial acceptance of them, which fills the hearts of them who are acted with the spirit of Cain with hatred and revenge. Hence many think that the respect which God had unto the sacrifice of Abel was testified by some visible sign, which Cain also might take notice of; and that there was an ejmpurismo>v , the kindling of his sacrifice by fire from heaven; which was the type and resemblance of the Holy Ghost, as hath been showed. All other causes of difference are capable of a composition, but this about the seal of God can never be composed. And that which followeth from hence is, that those who are thus sealed with the Spirit of God cannot but separate themselves from the most of the world; whereby it is more evidenced unto whom they do belong. (4.) Hereby God seals believers unto the day of redemption or everlasting salvation; for the Spirit thus given unto them is, as we have showed already, to “abide with them for ever,” as a “well of water in them, springing up into everlasting life,” John 4:14, 7:38.

    This, therefore, is that seal which God grants unto believers, even his Holy Spirit, for the ends mentioned; which, according unto their measure, and for this work and end, answers that great seal of heaven which God gave unto the Son, by the communication of the Spirit unto him in all its divine fullness, authorizing and enabling him unto his whole work, and evidencing him to be called of God thereunto.

    CHAPTER 7.

    THE SPIRIT AN EARNEST, AND HOW.

    THIRDLY, Again, the Holy Spirit, as thus communicated unto us, is said to be an “earnest.” jArjrJazw>n , the word in the original, is nowhere used in the New Testament but in this matter alone, 2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5; Ephesians 1:14. The Latin translator renders this word by pignus , a pledge; but he is corrected therein by Hierom on Ephesians 1. “Pignus,” saith he, “Latinus interpres pro arrhabone posuit. Non id ipsum autem arrhabo quod pignus sonat. Arrhabo enim futurae emptioni quasi quoddam testimonium, et obligamentum datur. Pignus vero, hoc est ejne>curon pro mutua pecunia apponitur, ut quum ilia reddita fuerit, reddenti debitum pignus a creditore reddatur.” And this reason is generally admitted by expositors; for a pledge is that which is committed to and left in the hand of another, to secure him that the money which is borrowed thereon shall be repaid, and then the pledge is to be received back again. Hence it is necessary that a pledge be more in value than the money received, because it is taken in security for repayment. But an earnest is a part only of what is to be given or paid, or some lesser thing that is given to secure somewhat that is more or greater in the same or another kind. And this difference must be admitted if we are obliged to the precise signification and common use of pledges and earnests among men, which we must inquire into. The word is supposed to be derived from the Hebrew ˆwObr;[e ; and the Latins make use of it also, arrhabon and arrha. It is sometimes used in other authors, as Plutarch in Galba: j jEfqa>kei proeilhfwloiv tonion . He prepossessed Obinius with great sums of money, as an earnest of what he would do afterward. Hesychius explains it by pro>doma , a gift beforehand. As to what I apprehend to be the mind of the Holy Ghost in this expression, I shall declare it in the ensuing observations: — First, It is not any act or work of the Holy Spirit on us or in us that is called his being an “earnest.” It is he himself who is this earnest. This is expressed in every place where there is mention made of it: Corinthians 1:22, Doumatov? “The earnest of the Spirit,” — that earnest which is the Spirit, or the Spirit as an earnest, as Austin reads the words, “Arrhabona Spiritum.” Chap. 5:5, “Who hath also given unto us the earnest of the Spirit.” The giving of this earnest is constantly assigned to be the act of God the Father, who, according to the promise of Christ, would send the Comforter unto the church. And in the other place, Ephesians 1:14, it is expressly said that the Holy Spirit is the “earnest of our inheritance.” Everywhere the article is of the masculine gender, o[v ejstin ajrjrJazw>n and nylons, the Spirit, is of the neuter. Some would have it to refer unto Christ, verse 12. But as it is not unusual in Scripture that the subjunctive article and relative should agree in gender with the following substantive, as o[v here doth with ajrjrJazw>n , so the Scripture, speaking of the Holy Ghost, though Pneu~ma be of the neuter gender, yet having respect unto the thing, — that is, the person of the Spirit, — it subjoins the pronoun of the masculine gender unto it, as John 14:26. Wherefore, the Spirit himself is the earnest, as given unto us from the Father by the Son. And this act of God is expressed by giving or putting him into our hearts, 2 Corinthians 1:22.

    How he doth this hath been before declared, both in general and with respect in particular to his inhabitation. The meaning, therefore, of the words is, that God gives unto us his Holy Spirit to dwell in us, and to abide with us, as an earnest of our future inheritance.

    Secondly, It is indifferent whether we use the name of an earnest or a pledge in this matter, and although I choose to retain that of an earnest, from the most usual acceptation of the word, yet I do it not upon the reason alleged for it, which is taken from the especial nature and use of an earnest in the dealings of men; for it is the end only of an earnest whereon the Holy Ghost is so called, which is the same with that of a pledge, and we are not to force the similitude or allusion any farther. For precisely among men, an earnest is the confirmation of a bargain and contract made on equal terms between buyers and sellers or exchangers. But there is no such contract between God and us. It is true, there is a supposition of an antecedent covenant, but not as a bargain or contract between God and us.

    The covenant of God, as it respects the dispensation of the Spirit, is a mere free, gratuitous promise; and the stipulation of obedience on our part is consequential thereunto. Again; he that giveth an earnest in a contract or bargain doth not principally aim at his own obligation to pay such or such a sum of money, or somewhat equivalent thereunto, though he do that also; but his principal design is to secure unto himself that which he hath bargained for, that it may be delivered up unto him at the time appointed.

    But there is nothing of this nature in the earnest of the Spirit, wherein God intends our assurance only, and not his own. And sundry other things there are wherein the comparison will not hold nor is to be urged, because they are not intended.

    The general end of an earnest or a pledge is all that is alluded unto; and this is, to give security of somewhat that is future or to come. And this may be done in a way of free bounty as well as upon the strictest contract; as if a man have a poor friend or relation, he may, of his own accord, give unto him a sum of money, and bid him take it as a pledge or earnest of what he will yet do for him. So doth God, in a way of sovereign grace and bounty, give his Holy Spirit unto believers, and withal lets them know that it is with a design to give them yet much more in his appointed season; and here is he said to be an earnest. Other things that are observed, from the nature and use of an earnest in civil contracts and bargains between men, belong not hereunto, though many things are occasionally spoken and discoursed from them of good use unto edification.

    Thirdly, In two of the places wherein mention is made of this matter, the Spirit is said to be an “earnest,” but wherein, or unto what end, is not expressed, 2 Corinthians 1:22, 5:5. The third place, affirms him to be an “earnest of our inheritance,” Ephesians 1:14. What that is, and how he is so, may be briefly declared. And, — 1. We have already manifested that all our participation of the Holy Spirit, in any kind, is upon the account of Jesus Christ, and we do receive him immediately as the Spirit of Christ; for “to as many as receive Christ, the Father gives power to become the sons of God,” John 1:12. “And because we are sons, he sends forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,” Galatians 4:6.

    And as we receive the Spirit from him, and as his Spirit, so he is given unto us to make us conformable unto him, and to give us a participation of his gifts, graces, and privileges. 2. Christ himself, in his own person, is the “heir of all things.” So he was appointed of God, Hebrews 1:2; and therefore the whole inheritance is absolutely his. What this inheritance is, what is the glory and power that is contained therein, I have at large declared in the exposition of that place. 3. Man by his sin had universally forfeited his whole right unto all the ends of his creation, both on the earth below and in heaven above. Death and hell were become all that the whole race of man. kind had either right or title unto. But yet all the glorious things that God had provided were not to be cast away; an heir was to be provided for them. Abraham when he was old and rich had no child, and complained that his steward, a servant, was to be his heir, Genesis 15:2-4; but God lets him know that he would provide another heir for him of his own seed. When man had lost his right unto the whole inheritance of heaven and earth, God did not so take the forfeiture as to seize it all into the hands of justice and destroy it; but he invested the whole inheritance in his Son, making him the heir of all.

    This he was meet for, as being God’s eternal Son by nature; and hereof the donation was free, gratuitous, and absolute. And this grant was confirmed unto him by his unction with the fulness of the Spirit. But, — 4. This inheritance, as to our interest therein, lay under a forfeiture; and as unto us it must be redeemed and purchased, or we can never be made partakers of it. Wherefore, the Lord Christ, who had a right in his own person unto the whole inheritance by the free grant and donation of the Father, yet was to redeem it from under the forfeiture, and purchase the possession of it for us; hence is it called “The purchased possession.”

    How this purchase was made, what made it necessary, by what means it was effected, are declared in the doctrine of our redemption by Christ, the price which he paid, and the purchase that he made thereby. And hereon the whole inheritance is vested in the Lord Christ, not only as unto his own person and his right unto the whole, but he became the great trustee for the whole church, and had their interest in this inheritance committed unto him also. No man, therefore, can have a right unto this inheritance, or to any part of it, not unto the least share of God’s creation here below, as a part of the rescued or purchased inheritance, but by virtue of an interest in Christ and union with him. Wherefore, — Fourthly, The way whereby we come to have an interest in Christ, and thereby a right unto the inheritance, is by the participation of the Spirit of Christ, as the apostle fully declares, Romans 8:14-17; for it is by the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of the Son, that we are made children. Now, saith the apostle, “If we are children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ.” Children are heirs unto their father; and those who are children of God are heirs of that inheritance which God hath provided for his children, “heirs of God.” And all the good things of grace and glory which believers are made partakers of in this world or that which is to come are called their “inheritance,” because they are the effects of free, gratuitous adoption. They are not things that themselves have purchased, bargained for, earned, or merited, but an inheritance depending on and following solely upon their free, gratuitous adoption. But how can they become “heirs of God,” seeing God hath absolutely appointed the Son alone to be “heir of all things,” Hebrews 1:2; he was the heir, unto whom the whole inheritance belonged? Why, saith the apostle, by the participation of the Spirit of Christ we are made joint heirs with Christ.

    The whole inheritance, as unto his own personal right, was entirely his by the free donation of the Father, all power in heaven and earth being given unto him; but if he will take others into a joint right with him, he must purchase it for them, which he did accordingly.

    Fifthly, Hence it is manifest how the Holy Spirit becomes the “earnest of our inheritance;” for by him, that is, by the communication of him unto us, we are made “joint heirs with Christ,” which gives us our right and title, whereby our names are, as it were, inserted into the assured conveyance of the great and full inheritance of grace and glory. In the giving of his Spirit unto us, God making of us co-heirs with Christ, we have the greatest and most assured earnest and pledge of our future inheritance. And he is to be thus an earnest “until” or unto “the redemption of the purchased possession;” for after that a man hath a good and firm title unto an inheritance settled in him, it may be a long time before he can be admitted into an actual possession of it, and many difficulties he may have in the meantime to conflict withal. And it is so in this case. The “earnest of the Spirit” given unto us, whereby we become co-heirs with Christ, whose Spirit we are made partakers of, secures the title of the inheritance in and unto our whole persons; but before we can come unto the full possession of it, not only have we many spiritual trials and temptations to conflict withal in our souls, but our bodies also are liable unto death and corruption. Wherefore, whatever “first-fruits” we may enjoy, yet can we not enter into the actual possession of the whole inheritance, until not only our souls are delivered from all sins and temptations, but our bodies also are rescued out of the dust of the grave. This is the full “redemption of the purchased possession;” whence it is signally called the “redemption of the body,” Romans 8:23.

    Thus as the Lord Christ himself was made “heir of all things” by that communication of the Spirit unto him whereby he was anointed unto his office, so the participation of the same Spirit from him and by him makes us co-heirs with him; and so he is an earnest given us of God of the future inheritance. It belongs not unto my present purpose to declare the nature of that inheritance whereof the Holy Spirit is the earnest; in brief, it is the highest participation with Christ in that glory and honor that our natures are capable of.

    And in like manner we are said to receive ajparchmatov , Romans 8:23; that is, the Spirit himself as the first-fruits of our spiritual and eternal redemption. God had appointed that the first-fruits, which are called tyviare and µyriWKBi , should be a hm;WrT] , an offering unto himself.

    Hereunto ajparch> answereth, and is taken generally for that which is first in any kind, Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 15:20; James 1:18; Revelation 14:4. And the “first-fruits of the Spirit” must be either what he first worketh in us, or all his fruits in us with respect unto the full harvest that is to come, or the Spirit himself as the beginning and pledge of future glory. And the latter of these is intended in this place; for the apostle discourseth about the liberty of the whole creation from that state of bondage whereunto all things were subjected by sin. With respect hereunto, he saith that believers themselves having not as yet obtained a full deliverance, as he had expressed it, Romans 7:24, do groan after its perfect accomplishment. But yet, saith he, we have the beginning of it, the first-fruits of it, in the communication of the Spirit unto us; for “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,” 2 Corinthians 3:17: for although we are not capable of the full and perfect estate of the liberty provided for the children of God whilst we are in this world, conflicting with the remainders of sin, pressed and exercised with temptations, our bodies also being subject unto death and corruption, yet where the Spirit of the Lord is, where we have that first-fruit of the fullness of our redemption, there is liberty in the real beginning of it, and assured consolation, because it shall be consummated in the appointed season.

    These are some of the spiritual benefits and privileges which believers enjoy by a participation of the Holy Ghost as the promised comforter of the church. These things he is unto them; and as unto all other things belonging unto their consolation, he works them in them; which we must in the next place inquire into. Only, something we may take notice of from what we have already insisted on; as, — 1. That all evangelical privileges whereof believers are made partakers in this world do center in the person of the Holy Spirit. He is the great promise that Christ hath made unto his disciples, the great legacy which he hath bequeathed unto them. The grant made unto him by the Father, when he had done all his will, and fulfilled all righteousness, and exalted the glory of his holiness, wisdom, and grace, was this of the Holy Spirit, to be communicated by him unto the church. This he received of the Father as the complement of his reward; wherein he “saw of the travail of his soul, and was satisfied.” This Spirit he now gives unto believers, and no tongue can express the benefits which they receive thereby. Therein are they anointed and sealed; therein do they receive the earnest and first-fruits of immortality and glory; in a word, therein are they taken into a participation with Christ himself in all his honor and glory. Hereby is their condition rendered honorable, safe, comfortable, and the whole inheritance is unchangeably secured unto them. In this one privilege, therefore, of receiving the Spirit, are all others inwrapped; for, — 2. No one way, or thing, or similitude, can express or represent the greatness of this privilege. It is anointing, it is sealing, it is an earnest and first-fruit, — every thing whereby the love of God and the blessed security of our condition may be expressed or intimated unto us; for what greater pledge can we have of the love and favor of God, what greater dignities can we be made partakers of, what greater assurance of a future blessed condition, than that God hath given us of his Holy Spirit? And, 3. Hence also is it manifest how abundantly willing he is that ‘the heirs of promise should receive strong consolation in all their distresses, when they flee for refuge unto the hope that is set before them.

    THE APPLICATION OF THE FOREGOING DISCOURSE.

    WITH respect unto the dispensation of the Spirit towards believers, and his holy operations in them and upon them, there are sundry particular duties, whereof he is the immediate object, prescribed unto them; and they are those whereby on our part we comply with him in his work of grace, whereby it is carried on and rendered useful unto us. Now, whereas this Holy Spirit is a divine person, and he acts in all things towards us as a free agent, according unto his own will, the things enjoined us with respect unto him are those whereby we may carry ourselves aright towards such an one, namely, as he is a holy, divine, intelligent person, working freely in and towards us for our good. And they are of two sorts, the first whereof are expressed in prohibitions of those things which are unsuited unto him and his dealings with us, the latter in commands for our attendance unto such duties as are peculiarly suited unto a compliance with him in his operations; in both which our obedience is to be exercised with a peculiar regard unto him. I shall begin with the first sort, and go over them in the instances given us in the Scripture: — First, We have a negative precept to this purpose: Ephesians 4:30, Mh< lupei~te to< Pneu~ma to< a[gion , — “Grieve not the holy Spirit;” — “Consider who he is, what he hath done for you, how great your concern is in his continuance with you, and withal that he is a free, infinitely wise, and holy agent in all that he doth, who came freely unto you, and can withdraw from you; and grieve him not.” It is the person of the Holy Spirit that is intended in the words, as appears, — 1. From the manner of the expression, to< Pneu~ma to< a[gion , — that holy Spirit.” 2. By the work assigned unto him; for by him we are “sealed unto the day of redemption.” Him we are not to “grieve.” The expression seems to be borrowed from Isaiah 63:10, where mention is made of the sin and evil here prohibited: wOvd]q; j’WrAta, WbX][iw] Wrm; hM;hew] , — “But they rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit.” bx’[; is to “trouble” and to “grieve;” and it is used when it is done unto a great degree. The LXX. render it here by paroxu>nw? which is so to grieve as also to irritate and provoke to anger and indignation, because it hath respect unto the rebellions of the people in the wilderness, which our apostle expresseth by parapikrai>nw and parapikrasmo>v , words of the same signification.

    To “vex,” therefore, is the heightening of grieving by a provocation unto anger and indignation: which sense is suited to the place and matter treated of, though the word signify no more but to “grieve;” and so it is rendered by lupe>w , Genesis 45:5; 2 Samuel 19:2.

    Now, grief is here ascribed unto the Holy Spirit as it is elsewhere unto God absolutely: Genesis 6:6, “It repented theLORD that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart.” Such affections and perturbations of mind are not ascribed unto God or the Spirit but metaphorically. That intended in such ascriptions is, to give us an apprehension of things as we are able to receive it; and the measure we take of them is their nature and effects in ourselves. What may justly grieve a good man, and what he will do when he is unjustly or undeservedly grieved, represent unto us what we are to understand of our own condition with respect unto the Holy Ghost when he is said to be grieved by us. And grief in the sense here intended is a trouble of mind arising from an apprehension of unkindness not deserved, of disappointments not expected, on the account of a near concernment in those by whom we are grieved. We may, therefore, see hence what it is we are warned of when we are enjoined not to grieve the Holy Spirit; as, — 1. There must be unkindness in what we do. Sin hath various respects towards God, of guilt, and filth, and the like. These several considerations of it have several effects. But that which is denoted when it is said to “grieve him” is unkindness, or that defect of an answerable love unto the fruits and testimonies of his love which we have received that it is accompanied withal. He is the Spirit of love; he is love. All his actings towards us and in us are fruits of love, and they all of them leave an impression of love upon our souls. All the joy and consolation we are made partakers of in this world arise from a sense of the love of God, communicated in an endearing way of love unto our souls. This requires a return of love and delight in all duties of obedience on our part. When instead hereof, by our negligence and carelessness, or otherwise, we fall into those things or ways which he most abhors, he greatly respects the unkindness and ingratitude which is therein, and is therefore said to be grieved by us. 2. Disappointment in expectation. It is known that no disappointment properly can befall the Spirit of God; it is utterly inconsistent with his prescience and omniscience. But we are disappointed when things fall not out according as we justly expected they would, in answer unto the means used by us for their accomplishment. And when the means that God useth towards us do not, by reason of our sin, produce the effect they are suited unto, God proposeth himself as under a disappointment. So he speaks of his vineyard: “I looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes,” Isaiah 5:4.

    Now, disappointment causeth grief: as when a father hath used all means for the education of a child in any honest way or course, and expended much of his estate therein, if he, through dissoluteness or idleness, fail his expectation and disappoint him, it fills him with grief. They are great things which are done for us by the Spirit of God; these all of them have their tendency unto an increase in holiness, light, and love. Where they are not answered, where there is not a suitable effect, there is that disappointment that causeth grief. Especially is this so with respect unto some signal mercies. A return in holy obedience is justly expected on their account; and where this is not, it is a thing causing grief. This are we here minded of, “Grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” So great a kindness should have produced other effects than those there mentioned by the apostle. 3. The concernment of the Holy Spirit in us concurs to his being said to be grieved by us; for we are grieved by them in whom we are particularly concerned. The miscarriages of others we can pass over without any such trouble. And there are two things that give us an especial concernment in others: — (1.) Relation, as that of a father, a husband, a brother. This makes us to be concerned in, and consequently to be grieved for, the miscarriages of them that are related unto us. So is it with the Holy Spirit. He hath undertaken the office of a comforter towards us, and stands in that relation to us.

    Hence he is so concerned in us as that he is said to be grieved with our sins, when he is not so at the sins of them unto whom he stands not in especial relation. (2.) Love gives concernment, and makes way for grief upon occasion of it.

    Those whom we love we are grieved for and by. Others may provoke indignation, but they cause not grief, I mean on their own account; for otherwise we ought to grieve for the sins of all. And what is the especial love of the Holy Ghost towards us hath been declared.

    From what hath been spoken, it is evident what we are warned of, what is enjoined unto us, when we are cautioned not to grieve the Holy Spirit, and how we may do so; for we do it, — (1.) When we are not influenced by his love and kindness to answer his mind and will in all holy obedience, accompanied with joy, love, and delight. This he deserves at our hands, this he expects from us. And when it is neglected, we are said to grieve him, because of his concernment in us; for he looks not only for our obedience, but also that it be filled up with joy, love, and delight. When we attend unto duties with an unwilling mind, when we apply ourselves unto any acts of obedience in a bondage or servile frame, we grieve him, who hath deserved other things of us. (2.) When we lose and forget the sense and impression of signal mercies received by him. So the apostle, to give efficacy unto his prohibition, adds the signal benefit which we receive by him, in that he seals us to the day of redemption; which what it is, and wherein it doth consist, hath been declared. And hence it is evident that he speaks of the Holy Spirit as dwelling in believers; for as such he seals them. Whereas, therefore, in and by sin we forget the great grace, kindness, and condescension of the Holy Spirit in his dwelling in us, and by various ways communicating of the love and grace of God unto us, we may be well said to grieve him. And certainly this consideration, together with that of the vile ingratitude and horrible folly there are in neglecting and defiling his dwelling-place, with the danger of his withdrawing from us on the continuance of our provocation, ought to be as effectual a motive unto universal holiness and constant watchfulness therein as any that can be proposed unto us. (3.) Some sins there are which in an especial manner above others do grieve the Holy Spirit. These our apostle expressly discourseth of, Corinthians 6:15-20. And, by the connection of the words in this place, he seems to make “corrupt communication,” which always hath a tendency unto corruption of conversation, to be a sin of this nature, Ephesians 4:29,30.

    Secondly, That which we have rendered to “vex him,” Isaiah 63:10, is but the heightening and aggravation of his being grieved by our continuance, and, it may be, obstinacy, in those ways whereby he is grieved; for this is the progress in these things: — If those whom we are concerned in, as children or other relations, do fall into miscarriages and sins, we are first grieved by it. This grief in ourselves is attended with pity and compassion towards them, with an earnest endeavor for their recovery. But if, notwithstanding all our endeavors, and the application of means for their reducement, they continue to go on frowardly in their ways, then are we vexed at them, which includes an addition of anger and indignation unto our former sorrow or grief. Yet in this posture of things we cease not to attempt their cure for a season; which if it succeed not, but they continue in their obstinacy, then we resolve to treat with them no more, but to leave them to themselves. And not only so, but upon our satisfaction of their resolution for a continuance in ways of sin and debauchery, we deal with them as their enemies, and labor to bring them unto punishment. And for our better understanding of the nature of our sin and provocation, this whole scheme of things is ascribed unto the Holy Ghost with respect unto them. How he is said to be “grieved,” and on what occasion, hath been declared. Upon a continuance in those ways wherewith he is grieved, he is said to be “vexed,” that we may understand there is also anger and displeasure towards us. Yet he forsakes us not, yet he takes not from us the means of grace and recovery. But if we discover an obstinacy in our ways, and an untractable perverseness, then he will cast us off, and deal with us no more for our recovery; and woe unto us when he shall depart from us! So when the old world would not be brought to repentance by the dispensation of the Spirit of Christ in the preaching of Noah, 1 Peter 3:19,20, God said thereon that his Spirit should give over, and “not always strive with man,” Genesis 6:3. Now, the cessation of the operations of the Spirit towards men obstinate in ways of sin, after he hath been long grieved and vexed, compriseth three things: — 1. A subduction from them of the means of grace, either totally, by the removal of their light and candlestick, all ways of the revelation of the mind and will of God unto them, Revelation 2:5; or as unto the efficacy of the word towards them, where the outward dispensation of it is continued, so that “hearing they shall hear, but not understand,” Isaiah 6:9, John 12:40: for by the word it is that he strives with the souls and minds of men. 2. A forbearance of all chastisement, out of a gracious design to heal and recover them, Isaiah 1:5. 3. A giving of them up unto themselves, or leaving them unto their own ways; which although it seems only a consequent of the two former, and to be included in them, yet is there indeed in it a positive act of the anger and displeasure of God, which directly influenceth the event of things, for they shall be so given up unto their own hearts’ lusts as to be bound in them as in “chains of darkness” unto following vengeance, Romans 1:26,28. But this is not all. He becomes at length a professed enemy unto such obstinate sinners: Isaiah 63:10, “They rebelled, and vexed his holy Spirit; therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them.” This is the length of his proceeding against obstinate sinners in this world. And herein also four things are included: — 1. He comes upon them as an enemy, to spoil them. This is the first thing that an enemy doth when he comes to fight against any; he spoils them of what they have. Have such persons had any light or conviction, any gift or spiritual abilities, the Holy Spirit being now become their professed enemy, he spoils them of it all: “From him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he seemeth to have.” Seeing he neither had nor used his gifts or talent unto any saving end, being now at an open enmity with him who lent it him, it shall be taken away. 2. He will come upon them with spiritual judgments, smiting them with blindness of mind and obstinacy of will, filling them with folly, giddiness, and madness iu their ways of sin; which sometimes shall produce most doleful effects in themselves and others. 3. He will cast them out of his territories. If they have been members of churches, he will order that they shall be cut off, and cast out of them. 4. He frequently gives them in this world a foretaste of that everlasting vengeance which is prepared for them. Such are those horrors of conscience, and other terrible effects of an utter desperation, which he justly, righteously, and holily sends upon the minds and souls of some of them. And these things will he do, as to demonstrate the greatness and holiness of his nature, so also that all may know what it is to despise his goodness, kindness, and love.

    And the consideration of these things belongs unto us. It is our wisdom and duty to consider as well the ways and degrees of the Spirit’s departure from provoking sinners, as those of his approach unto us with love and grace.

    These latter have been much considered by many, as to all his great works towards us, and that unto the great advantage and edification of those concerned in them; for thence have they learned both their own state and condition, as also what particular duties they were on all occasions to apply themselves unto; as in part we have manifested before, in our discourses about regeneration and sanctification.

    And it is of no less concernment unto us to consider aright the ways and degrees of his departure, which are expressed to give us that godly fear and reverence wherewith we ought to consider and observe him. David on his sin feared nothing more than that God would take his holy Spirit from him, Psalm 51:11. And the fear hereof should influence us unto the utmost care and diligence against sin; for although he should not utterly forsake us, — which, as to those who are true believers, is contrary to the tenor, promise, and grace of the new covenant, — yet he may so withdraw his presence from us as that we may spend the remainder of our days in trouble, and our years in darkness and sorrow. “Let him,” therefore, “that thinketh he standeth,” on this account also “take heed lest he fall.” And as for them with whom he is, as it were, but in the entrance of his work, producing such effects in their minds as, being followed and attended unto, might have a saving event, he may, upon their provocations, utterly forsake them, in the way and by the degrees before mentioned. It is therefore the duty of all to serve him with fear and trembling on this account. And, — Secondly, It is so to take heed of the very entrances of the course described. Have there been such evils in any of us as wherein it is evident that the Spirit is grieved? as we love our souls, we are to take care that we do not vex him by a continuance in them. And if we do not diligently and speedily recover ourselves from the first, the second will ensue. Hath he been grieved by our negligence in or of duties, by our indulgence unto any lust, by compliance with or conformity to the world? let not our continuance in so doing make it his vexation. Remember that whilst he is but grieved, he continues to supply us with all due means for our healing and recovery: he will do so also when he is yet vexed; but he will do it with such a mixture of anger and displeasure as shall make us know that what we have done is an evil thing and a bitter. But have any proceeded farther, and continued long thus to vex him, and have refused his instructions, when accompanied, it may be, with sore afflictions or inward distresses, that have been evident tokens of his displeasure? let such souls rouse up themselves to lay hold on him, for he is ready to depart, it may be forever. And, — Thirdly, We may do well to consider much the miserable condition of those who are thus utterly forsaken by him. When we see a man who hath lived in a plentiful and flourishing condition, brought to extreme penury and want, seeking his bread in rags from door to door, the spectacle is sad, although we know he brought this misery on himself by profuseness or debauchery of life; but how sad is it to think of a man whom, it may be, we knew to have had a great light and conviction, to have made an amiable profession, to have been adorned with sundry useful spiritual gifts, and had in estimation on this account, now to be despoiled of all his ornaments, to have lost light, and life, and gifts, and profession, and to lie as a poor withered branch on the dunghill of the world! And the sadness hereof will be increased when we shall consider, not only that the Spirit of God is departed from him, but also is become his enemy, and fights against him, whereby he is devoted unto irrecoverable ruin.

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