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As to the gift of the Holy Spirit, says a good writer, it is not expected to be bestowed in answer to our prayers, to inform us immediately, as by a whisper, when either awake or asleep, that we are the children of God; or in any other way, than by enabling us to exercise repentance and faith, and love to God and our neighbour. 2. We are not to suppose that he reveals any thing contrary to the written word, or more than is contained in it, or through any other medium. 3. We are not so led, or operated upon, by the Spirit, as to neglect the means of grace. 4. The Holy Spirit is not promised nor given to render us infallible. 5. Nor is the Holy Spirit given in order that we may do any thing which was not our duty.
Buck's Theology. I do not deny such an especial work of the Spirit, as shall be afterwards declared; but I judge that it is the communication of the Spirit himself upon us, that is here intended; for so the apostle declares bis sense to be, chap. iv, 13. “ Hereby know we that we dwell in God, and he in us, because he hath given us 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; and that great and beavenly gift he will impart unto no others. And, indeed, on this one binge 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; Rom. viii. 9. Here alone depends the determination of our special 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.
Owen on the Spirit, This testimony with our spirits is the sanctification of them, the subjecting of our wills and affections to his influences, acting upon us by the mediation of our own thoughts, yet discoverable to be from Him, by their opposition to our natural corruption. It is by the sanctifying grace of this Spirit dwelling in us, that we are euabled to “ mortify the deeds of the body:" they that do so are led
We come now, in the third place, to consider the work of the Holy Spirit, or trace his influence in the new creation : "For we are his workmanship, created anew in Christ Jesus unto good works." Eph. ii. 10.
When I review the long train of evidence, the examination of which we have gone over, both from scripture and men of sterling merit, the whole that we have been able to trace forms no more than the outline of the subject.
I stand amazed in the contemplation, and know not, whether to admire more, the infinite greatness of the Being as he is in Himself, or the infinite humility wbich be has manifested, in his attention towards us. What a marvellous condescension was it in the Son of God, when, for the purpose of human redemption, he took upon bimself our pature and submitted to that series of bumiliation and suffering wbich is related of him in the Gospel, and which excited, as indeed it well might, the desire even of the angels to look into it! But how does the plan of mercy continue to affect us by its sublimity, when we go on to behold the Eternal Spirit directing his attene tion to the same mysterious purpose! It was not sufficient, that the Son of God should redeem mankind by bis blood, but also the efficacy of that high oblation must be imparted to every believer's breast, by the operation of the Eternal Spirit. In the ministry which be exercised on the minds of men, from the very beginning of the world, by prophecies, visions, and miracles, all preparatory to our Lord's advent, wbich we trace through the Old Testament; and in the immediate offices of his divine agency, revealed of him under the New, in regenerating our fallen nature, and taking the human heart for his temple; what an astonishing subject does the whole open to the contemplation of the mind of man; and what an awfulness and importance does it give to the scheme of salvation !
Whether the evidence adduced may have proved sufficiently satisfactory, so as to obtain the unreserved conviction of the persons, whom I had in view in this address; or whether either of those different characters may bave condescended to attend at all to wbat hatb been advanced, or bave accompanied me thus far in the work, I know not. Earnest as I am, that the whole should not be lost upon
them, I can do no more, than in an impartial and unimposing manner, offer the proof of these great doctrines, as they arise from Scripture, to their consideration, and pray, that they may be rendered effectual to the purpose intended, under the divine blessing. To propose fair reason and argument, and to intreat a candid attention, are all that, upon such occasions, belong to the duties of man. To fasten conviction on the heart, is the province of God. And we have authority to conclude, that where a due regard to this first and predisposing cause of all, is kept up in the mind upon all subjects of doubtful nature, the bumblest endeavours of human means become sufficient to bring about the purposes of the divine will, “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear himand he will show them his covenant.” Ps. xxv, 14. But where this is wanting, the most powerful evidences lose their efficacy of persuasion. The vineyard, of wbich we read, though planted with the choicest vine, and situated on the most fruitful hill, and altogether in the higbest state of cultivation ; yet brought forth no fruit; because, after long expecta ation in vain of its produce, under all the advantages which it possessed, the clouds were at length commanded to “rain no rain upon it." Isa, v. 1-6.
But whatever the event shall be, to the inattentive, or to the unbeliever, I would fain persuade myself, that the humble Christian hath received, under divine assistance, the most ample satisfaction as to the truth of the doctrines, from the evidence which hath been produced. And having his understanding convinced, he is anxious to be led on to the inward conviction of the same, and to the practical effects resulting therefrom. Once convinced that the efficient ministry of the Blessed Spirit is exercised in the hearts of all true believers, to the great purposes of salvation; it is impossible to be indifferent or unconcerned in the examination of the personal interest which every man has in it. For howsoever satisfied he may be of the agency of the Holy Ghost, generally considered ; and that it is by his operations that the Redeemer's merits are applied to the sinner's necessities; yet, if he have no evidence of such effects in his own heart; how great and important soever the doctrine may be in itself, it ceaseth to be so to bim. All knowledge
the mark ur Lindi in the De the.lt heart i
upon this interesting topic, which terminates not in the personal application of it to a man's own bosom, is merely speculative: the being preached to or reasoned with, by a chain of arguments which end ju the bearing of the ear, and pass away from the mind almost as soon as heard, are like impressious made on the sand. And fruitless indeed is all the attention which is given, either to the animating subject of the great Redeemer's love, or to the pleasing consideration of the ministry of the blessed Spirit in the hearts of believers, unless a man can add to both the comfortable assurance, that he is interested in the mercies he contemplates, and will ultimately participate in the blessings resulting from them. But when the serious Christian is led to know and feel his own personal inte rest therein; is convinced that Christ not only died for sin, but for his sin; and that the operations of the Holy Ghost are carried on, not in the world only, but in his soul also; the subject then becomes infinitely interesting, and the mind is gratified with the bighest of all possible enjoyments, in the possession of that testimony, which the apostle speaks of with so much rapture, when “the Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the cbildren of God." Rom. viii, 16.
As this is, or ougbt to be, the great desideratum of every man's heart; to the attainment of which the several means of rected, and all the institutions of religion minister; I hope I shall be dojug no unacceptable service, if my endeavours are exerted in assisting the serious Christian, towards the accomplishment of it. The subject itself is interesting, and as it leads to the examination of the heart, for the traces of the Blessed Spirit's ministry, it will form a very proper sequel to this Essay, and under the divine blessing, enable any man to satisfy himself, on that important question, which the Apostle seems to have considered as the truest criterion of a right faith : “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed ?''
All that we can possibly discover, of those secret and mysterious proceedings, is from judging of causes by effects. And therefore, all that I shall venture to speak on this subject will be, to sketch some of the more striking traces of his ministry, as they are manifested in the conversion of the sinner. They may, and certainly
grace are dia
do, différ in various persons, but the prominent points are the same
First-The nature of the Holy Spirit, and the promise of his
Nevertheless, I tell you the truth. It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart, I will send him unto you. John xvi. 7.
But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him
What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy
But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell
you, he that raised up Cbrist from the dead shall also quicker your mortal bodies by his Spirit which dwelleth in you.
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors; not to the flesh, to live after
For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye through the
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons
For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye bave received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father,
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.
And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ: if so be that we suffer with bim, that we may be also glorified together. Rom. viii. 11-17.
Now, if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. Rom, viü. 9.
But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them; because they are spiritually discerned. 1. Cor. ii. 14.