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ings; as our health may be lost, while our life continueth; Psal. li. 10. 1 Thess. v. 19.
Direct. 6. ' The greatest mercy in this world, is the gift of the Spirit, and the greatest misery is to be deprived of the Spirit; and both these are done to man by God, as a Governor, by way of reward and punishment oftimes : therefore the greatest reward to be observed in this world, is the increase of the Spirit upon us, and the greatest punishment in this world is the denying or withholding of the Spirit.'
It is therefore a great part of a Christian's wisdom and work, to observe the accesses and assistances of the Spirit, and its withdrawings ; and to take more notice to God in his thankfulness of the gift of the Spirit, than of all other benefits in this world : and to lament more the retiring or withholding of God's Spirit, than all the calamities in the world; and to fear this more as a punishment of his sin ; lest God should say as Psal. Ixxxi. 11, 12.“ But my people would not hearken to my voice, Israel would none of me: so I gave them up to their own hearts' lust, to walk in their own counsels.” And we must obey God through the motive of this promise and reward, “Turn you at my reproof; behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you;" Prov. i. 23. “But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive;" John vïi. 39. Luke xi. 13. God will give his Holy Spirit to them that ask it. And we have great cause when we have sinned, to pray with David, " Cast me not away from thy presence ; and take not thy Holy Spirit from me. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free Spirit;" Psal. li. 10-12. And as the sin to be feared is the grieving of the Holy Spirit, (Ephes. iv. 30.) so the judgment to be feared, is accordingly the withdrawing of it. “But they rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit; therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and he fought against them. Then he remembered the days of old, Moses, and his people, saying, Where is he that brought them upWhere is he that put his holy Spirit within them?” Isa. lxiii. 10, 11. The great thing to be dreaded, is, lest “ those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost-should fall
away, and be no more renewed by repentance,----” Heb. vi. 4. 6.
Direct. 7. * Therefore executive pardon or justification cannot possibly be any more perfect than sanctification is: because no sin is further forgiven, or the person justified executively, than the punishment is taken off; and the privation of the Spirit, being the great punishment, the giving of it, is the great executive remission in this life.'
But of this more in the chapter of justification following.
Direct. 8. “The three great operations in man, which each of the three persons in the Trinity eminently perform, are Natura, medicina, salus;' the first by the Creator, the second by the Redeemer, the third by the Sanctifier.'.
Commonly it is called Nature, Grace and Glory: but either the terms “Grace and Glory' must be plainer expounded, or that distribution is not sound : If by 'Grace' be meant all the extrinsic medicinal preparations made by Christ; and if by Glory' be meant only the holiness of the soul, the sense is good : but in common use those words are otherwise understood. Sanctification is usually ascribed to the Holy Ghost: but glorification in heaven, is the perfective effect of all the three persons in our state of perfect union with God; Rom. xv. 16. Titus iii. 5, 6. But yet in the work of sanctification itself, the Trinity undividedly concur : and so in the sanctifying and raising the church, the apostle distinctly calleth the act of the Father, by the name of operation; and the work of the Son by the name of administration, and the part of the Holy Ghost by the name of gifts; 1 Cor. xii. 4–6. And in respect to these sanctifying operations of God, ‘ad extra,' the same apostle distributeth them thus : “ The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all;" 2 Cor. xiii. 14. Where by God, seemeth to be meant all the persons in the Trinity in their perfection; but especially the Father, as the fountain of love, and as expressing love by the Son and the Spirit; and by the grace of Christ, is meant all that gracious provision he hath made for man's salvation, and the relative application of it, by his intercession, together with his mission of the Holy Spirit. And by the communion of the Spirit is meant that actual communication of life, light and love to the soul itself, which is eminently ascribed to the Spirit
Direct. 9. ' The Spirit itself is given to true believers, and not only grace from the Spirit.'
Not that the essence of God, or the person of the Holy Ghost, is capable of being contained in any place, or removing to or from a place, by local motion : But 1. The Holy Ghost is given to us relatively, as our covenanting Sanctifier in the baptismal covenant: we have a covenantright to him, that is, to his operation. 2. And the Spirit itself is present as the immediate Operator; not so immediate as to be without means, but so immediately as to be no distant agent, but by proximate attingency, not only ratione virtutis, but also 'ratione suppositi,' performeth his operations: if you say, so he is present every where ; I answer, but he is not a present operator every where alike. We are called the Temples of the Holy Ghost, both because he buildeth us up, for so holy a use, and because he also dwelleth in us; 1 Cor. vi. 19.
Direct. 10. 'By the sanctification commonly ascribed to the Holy Ghost, is meant that recovery of the soul to God, from whom it is fallen, which consisteth in our primitive holiness, or devotedness to God, but summarily in the love of God, as God.'
Direct. 11. ‘And faith in Christ is often placed as before it, not as if the Spirit were no cause of faith, nor as if faith were no part of our saving special grace; nor as if any
had saving faith before they had love to God; but because as Christ is the Mediator and way to the Father; so faith in him is but a mediate grace to bring us up to the love of God, which is the final perfective grace: and because, though they are inseparably complicate, yet some acts of faith go before our special love to God in order of nature, though some others follow after it, or go with it.'
It is a question that seemeth very difficult to many, whether love to God, or faith in Christ must go first (whether in time or order of nature.) For if we say that faith in Christ must go first, then it seemeth that we take not faith or Christ as a means to bring us to God as our end; for our end is Deus amatus,' God as beloved; and to make God our end, and to love him, are inseparable. We first love the good which appeareth to us, and then we choose and use the means to attain it; and in so doing we
make that our end, which we did love; so that it is the first loved for itself, and then made our end. Now if Christ be not used as a means to God, as our ultimate end, then he is not believed in, or used as Christ, and therefore it is no true faith and that which hath not the true end, is not the true act or grace in question, nor can that be any special grace at all, which hath not God for his ultimate end: on both which accounts, it can be no true faith : the intentio finis,' being before the choice or use of means, though the assecution be after.
And yet on the other side, if God be loved as our end, before we believe in Christ as the means, then we are sanctified before we believe. And then faith in Christ is not the means of our first special love to God. And the, consequents on both parts are intolerable; and how are they to be avoided ?
Consider here, 1. You must distinguish betwixt the assenting or knowing act of faith, and the consenting or choosing act of it in the will. 2. And between Christ as he is a means of God's choosing and using, and as he is a means of our choosing and using. And so I answer the case in these propositions.
1. The knowledge of a Deity is supposed before the knowledge of Christ as a Mediator: for no man can believe that he is a teacher sent from God, nor a Mediator between us and God, nor a sacrifice to appease God's wrath, who doth not believe first that there is a God.
2. In this belief or knowledge of God, is contained the knowledge of his essential power, wisdom and goodness, and that he is our Creator and Governor, and that we have broken his laws, and that we are obnoxious to his justice, and deserve punishment for our sins. All this is to be known before we believe in Christ as the Mediator.
3. Yet where Christianity is the religion of the country, it is Christ himself by his word and ministers, who teacheth us these things concerning God; but it is not Christ as a means chosen or used by us, to bring us to the love of God; (for no man can choose or use a means for an end not yet known or intended :) but it is Christ as a means chosen and used by God, to bring home sinners to himself : (even as his dying for us on the cross was.)
4. The soul that knoweth all this concerning God, cannot yet love him savingly, both because he wanteth the Spirit to effect it, and because a holy sin-hating God, engaged in justice to damn the sinner, is not such an object, as a guilty soul can love: but it must be a loving and reconciled God that is willing to forgive.
5. When Christ by his word and ministers hath taught a sinner both what God is in himself, and what he is to us, and what we have deserved, and what our case is; and then hath taught him, what he himself is as to his person and his office, and what he hath done to reconcile us to God, and how far God is reconciled hereupon, and what a common conditional pardoning covenant, he hath made and offereth to all, and what he will be and do to those that do come in, the belief of all this seriously (by the assenting act of the understanding) is the first part of saving faith, going in nature before both the love of God, and the consenting act of the will to the Redeemer. (And yet perhaps the same acts of faith in an ineffectual superficial measure, may go along before this in many.)
6. In this assent our belief in God, and in the Mediator, are conjunct in time and nature ; they being relatives here as the objects of our faith. It is not possible to believe in Christ as the Mediator, who hath propitiated God to us, before we believe that God is propitiated by the Mediator;
* vice versâ :' indeed there is a difference in order of dignity and desirableness ; God as propitiated being represented to us as the end, and the Propitiator, but as the means : but as to the order of our apprehension or believing, there can be no difference at all, no more than in the order of knowing the father, and the son, the husband and wife, the king and subjects: these relatives are ' simul naturà et tempore.'
7. This assenting act of faith, by which at once we believe Christ to be the Propitiator, and God to be propitiated by him, is not the belief that my sins are actually pardoned, and my soul actually reconciled and justified; but it includeth the belief of the history of Christ's satisfaction, and of the common conditional covenant of promise and offer from God, viz. that God is so far reconciled by the Mediator, as that he will forgive, and justify, and glorify all that repent and believe, that is, that return to God by faith in