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This declaration of our Saviour proves also the Divinity of the Holy Spirit ; for why should that blasphemy which is committed against him be forgiven “neither in this world, neither in the world to come,” Matt. xii. 32, while all other kinds of blasphemy may be forgiven, if supreme majesty and glory do not belong to the Holy Spirit ?
But while the Scriptures plainly teach, that the Father is a Divine Person, and that the Son is a Divine Person, and that the Holy Spirit is a Divine Person ; they as plainly teach, that these THREE are One God. That there is no contradiction or absurdity in this, is evident, because the Scriptures do not teach that they are Three in the same sense that they are One ; but that there is such a distinction between them, that personal agency may be ascribed to each; and such a union, that they are the ONE ONLY GOD. This distinction and union do indeed involve a mystery; but it is a mystery which is essential to all our hopes in reference to eternity. This will appear evident by considering
II. The peculiar Offices of the Holy Spirit. The offices which he sustains are connected with those of the Father and of the Son in the work of redemption. The peculiar offices of the Son are to make an atonement by taking upon himself our nature, and offering up himself a sacrifice for sin ; to make intercession for those who come unto God by him ; to hold the keys of death and hell, and maintain a mediatorial government over the church, and all things in heaven and earth pertaining to its interests. The Spirit is given to him without measure ; which implies that the attributes of the Holy Spirit are employed in accomplishing the redemption which the Lord Jesus as mediator has undertaken. The agency which the Holy Spirit performs in redemption, pertains to his peculiar offices.
That state of mind in which the impenitent are when they are sensible of their sinfulness, guilt, and danger, is effected by the agency of the Holy Spirit. Christ promised his disciples, “ If I depart, I will send him unto you. And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” John xvi. 7, 8.
The renovation of the heart is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. “ Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he can not enter into the kingdom of God.” John iii. 5. The apostle says, “ Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost." Titus iii. 5.
The Holy Spirit having produced conviction, and conversion, carries on the work of grace in the heart, till the redemption of the soul unto God is completed. The love of God is shed abroad in the hearts of believers by the Holy Ghost : Rom. v. 5. They abound in hope by his power : Rom. xv. 13. The graces by which they are distinguished, love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, are the fruits of the Spirit : Gal. v. 22, 23.
It was by revelation made by the Holy Spirit, that all the prophecies, the divine precepts, admonitions, promises, and all the truths recorded in the sacred Scriptures were given. Holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” 2 Peter i. 21. He dictated by special revelation all they wrote. “ All Scripture is given by inspiration of God.” 2 Tim. iii 16.
Miraculous gifts with which the apostles and others were endowed to prove the divine origin of the gospel, were conferred by the Holy Spirit. This the apostle very explicitly declares: “ To one is given by the Spirit the word of wisdom ; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit ; to another faith by the same Spirit ; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit ; to another the working of miracles; to another prophecy ; to another discerning of spirits ; to another divers kinds of tongues ; to another the interpretation of tongues : but all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.” 1 Cor. xii. 8–11.
Thus it appears, that in the divine work of redemption in which the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit participate according to their respective offices, it is the Office of the Holy Spirit to reveal divine truth to the world ; to: confer the gifts of miracles; and hy means of revelation to reclaim men from sin and death by convicting, converting, and sanctifying them. The revelation of truth is completed ; the prophecies and other evidences of the divine origin of the Holy Scriptures are now sufficient without miracles; and consequently miracles have ceased. But there is still need of divine influence to render the gospel effectual to the salvation of sinners; and, accordingly, this part of the divine agency pertaining to the offices of the Holy Spirit still continues, and will be carried forward, till the redemption of all God's chosen people is completed.
The reader is now called upon seriously to reflect on what has been exhibited from the word of God respecting the Personality and Offices of the Holy Spirit. You cannot but regard it as a subject preëminently sacred and important. You cannot but feel that the manifestation of Jehovah which is ascribed to the Holy Spirit claims your solemn attention. Accordingly a few remarks to aid your reflections on this subject, and to assist you in making a profitable use of it, are subjoined. May the Holy Spirit accompany them with his enlightening and sanctifying grace!
1. If the Holy Spirit performs the agency which has been ascribed to him, we may expect to see evidences of his operations. We have not, however, reason to expect that these evidences will be seen in every place, and amongst all men. It is ordinarily by the instrumentality of appointed means, especially the truths of the gospel, that the Holy Spirit effects the conviction and conversion of sinners. It is not to be expected, therefore, that the peculiar agency of the Holy Spirit will be manifested in those places where the truths of the gospel are not made known. Nor is it to be expected that all persons will be subjects of the saving influence of the Holy Spirit in those places where the truths of the gospel are made known. God has not told us that it is his purpose to render the truth effectual to the salvation of all to whom it shall be communicated. We read that some will be subjects of “all deceivableness of unrighteousness, bem cause they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved ;” “and for this cause,” it is added, “God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie; that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.' 2 Thess, ii. 10, 11, It is also written, that “ unto them
which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient; whereunto also they were appointed.” 1 Pet. ii. 7, 8. But it is a revealed purpose of God, that many shall be saved by means of the truth ; and this affords us reason to expect, that where God in his providence sends his truth, there are some whom he has “ ordained to eternal life;" and that there, evidences of the agency of the Holy Spirit in the conviction and conversion of sinners will be seen. Has not. this been the fact in every age and in innumerable places, since the first promulgation of the gospel ! The official agency of the Holy Spirit is manifested in the event of the conversion of three thousand in one place, and on one day, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles. It is manifested in the fact, that the gospel was propagated with great rapidity, that churches were planted among many nations, and that the number of believers multiplied daily, in the time of the apostles, notwithstanding that the truths which they preached were hateful to the natural hearts of men, and themselves were constantly liable to persecution for the truth's sake. The same agency is manifested in the preservation of the church during succeeding ages,-in the reformation in the day of Luther and Calvin, and in all the revivals of pure religion, and in all the instances of the conversion of sinners unto God down the present time. When Christians who have left their first love, are excited to new obedience, fervent prayer, and holy zeal ; when sinners who have been hardened and careless, are awakened, and convicted of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment; when convicted sinners become humble, submissive, and obedient,-all who witness these effects have reason to acknowledge them the visible tokens of the Holy Spirit's special presence. The careless sinner may see evidence of the Holy Spirit's agency, if he will look at the difference between those who are anxiously inquiring what they shall do to be saved, and himself. The convicted sinner has still more evidence of it, because he experiences its effects in himself, and sees it in the difference between himself and the sinner who by the grace of the
Spirit is reconciled to God, and is rejoicing in hope. But most of all, those who have been brought out of darkness into God's marvellous light, and with whose spirit the Holy Ghost bears witness that they are the children of God, have reason to testify with gratitude and praise, that they know the reality of the work of the Spirit.
2. Correct views of the offices of the Holy Spirit are adapted to make Christians feel that they are entirely dependent on him for the prosperity of Zion. They ought not to expect that their own hearts will be sanctified, and that their minds will be enlightened with the knowledge of the truth; or that the church will be preserved from errors and apostacies, except by the special influence of the Spirit of grace. They ought to be sensible, that for the conviction and conversion of sinners, they are dependent on his influence. They ought to regard every thing else which appears to have a tendency to promote the prosperity of Zion, as being merely instrumental. The Holy Scriptures, the preaching of the gospel, the administration of the ordinances, and all the means of divine appointment, have no efficacy in themselves to produce the sanctification of Christians, or the conversion of sinners. 66 So then, neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth ; but God that giveth the increase." All the divinely appointed means, had they been employed in the most able, persevering, and faithful manner, from the fall of man to the end of the world, unaccompanied by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, would not have availed to the conversion of one sinner unto God. The hearts of sinners being averse to the light, and enmity against God, they will not become reconciled by any moral suasion ; but will refuse to submit, till they are made willing by the power of the Holy Ghost. Let this truth have its appropriate, practical influence on every Christian's mind. It will lead to prayer. It will prepare the heart to receive the blessings of the Holy Spirit, and to give him glory to whom it is due.
3. The agency of the Holy Spirit claims the highest gratitude of the people of God. What are all other blessings without this? Though health, riches, peace, and liberty are possessed in the highest degree; though the