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may say of this divine Comforter, Monitor, Instructor and general Benefactor, that he has experienced more attention and gratitude than was ever paid to any earthly being for excelling in ANY of these beneficial relations. For no earthly being ever did or could excel in all. It would be well however at least, if men could be more alive to the presence of such a Power in their very souls like a burning witness, and stand more in awe of a Witness that there is no avoiding.
2, It seems indeed, as if some particular consideration or tribute was due to the Deity in every particular type or presence in which he is apprehended; and that as faith is especially due to him in the type of the Word just considered; so,
-1, Feeling, whether frightful or consolatory, is due to him in the type of the Spirit which we are considering. For example,
=l, Among the different feelings and sentiments which clearly seem due to the above mentioned titles and notions or considerations of the Subject, and unavoidable likewise when such titles and considerations are duly entertained, the lately mentioned feeling of Awe deserves to be noted. So says the Psalmist, “Let all the earth fear the Lord: STAND IN AWE OF Him, all ye that dwell in the world” (Ps. xxxiii. 8).
=2, The penitent and the afflicted may feel him here as their Merciful God, in Consolation-as their comforter, and the “Lifter up of their head” (Ps. iii. 3).
= 3, We gratefully apprehend him in this type as our holy, infallible Monitor, setting us right when we had gone wrong, or kindly preventing some dangerous error, or advertising us of some imminent peril: as David said, “I WILL THANK THE LORD for giving me warning” (Ps. xvi. 8).
-2, At the same time we must needs owe to such a Monitor something more than feeling and thanks : albeit only thanks are more sometimes than a human monitor
can justly challenge, considering his idle officiousness perhaps, and perhaps his insincerity. For here is no deduction to be made on either of these accounts, nor any other in the object, neither is any cause to be thought of, why an entire acquiescence and ready Obedience should not attend with our gratitude. And, more than that;
-3, When the Holy Spirit checks us, whether lightly for kindness omitted or more sharply for unkindness perpetrated, there will be some room for Humility towards God. It will not be due to him, nor to ourselves either, to think the better of ourselves for the feeling that he gives us, if we do not obey it. This were lauding ourselves in his wrong, after having sufficiently grieved him on the occasion of which he reminds us: this were not consistent with the awe of his divine Majesty, nor with the meed of gratitude before mentioned which he deserves on the first symptom of his friendly interference.
Could the Priest and the Levite mentioned by our Saviour in his parable of the Good SAMARITAN (Luke x.) have been severally favoured with one of these kind admonitions for their unrighteous and cruel behaviour, as they paced it each of them safely homeward from the scene of violence, they might have felt more than humbled, and rather ashamed on leaving a poor wounded traveller there bleeding to death. The probability however is that they were favoured with no such thing; but rather suffered to go on their way rejoicing, or even glorying if they would, on account of their providential escape, and their superiority at the same time to certain qualms of conscience which might have troubled some in such a
had not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost” (Acts xix. 2). For they who will not hear the voice of nature when she pleads so earnestly are not likely to hear him, they who can withstand her loud importunities are not likely to be converted by the mild and hardly perceptible influence of that blessed Spirit.
2. In speaking of Which we are apt to use the personal pronoun, as He or Him for example, when any personal effects are mentioned: yet if among other Constituents or imputed constituents, of the Subject we weigh this for one, we shall find, that personality does not belong to him, but rather the reverse, namely
1, Impersonality. And this is mentioned first among the properties of the Subject as being the most substantive or absolute of the few to be mentioned for a sample of its being, or rather of our notion of the same.
The Holy Ghost is not God in person, but GOD SPIRITUALLY PRESENTED :-God very perceptibly in power and effect, but imperceptibly in forin or description: as o the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof; but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth” (John iii. 8). And whatever idea of personality may be afforded by the pertinent epithets of the Subject above mentioned, or any of them, it should be remembered, that his first and most usual designation, the very term, Ghost or Spirit, is relative to a substantial form or person, which it either animates or has animated: and so it must be considered with regard to the form of God; who is all spirit, as well as mind or intellect; ONE SUPREME ALMIGHTY INTELLECTUAL SPIRIT, and the only One of his kind. “ God is a Spirit" (Ib. iv. 24), says our Saviour-meaning God the Father: "Now the Lord is that Spirit” (Cor. II. iii. 17), says St. Paul-meaning our Saviour, the Incarnate Word.
2, Connected with that of impersonality, but differing from the same inasmuch as it wears a more relative aspect, is another property or attribute of the Subject amounting to Omnipresence from its infinity, but which may simply be called the property of Presence : and concerning which as well as the forementioned there are questions to be considered in place. But, to insist only at present on the property itself,—the Presence of the Holy Ghost with its endless objects; it appears, that this third Mediate of the Kingdom is, and ever has been in substance or effect * one with the Word above considered to the world generally, as well as to the church particularly, and more particularly to the servants of the church. And from this identification or unity the Subject is become a very perceptible presence for the Word during the interval that occurs between his ascension and return in person, the same being never absent in spirit; as the Word himself was a more especial presence for the Father during the short period of his visible abode upon earth, and as these two are equally his presence in the parallel spheres of spirit and intellect, whether severally or united, at all times, and to every purpose. In other words; the Spirit is now the reflexion of the Son to us, by and from whom, as by and from the Father, it is promised and sent-in the mirror of his Gospel or written word.
The most eminent example of the presence of the Holy Ghostin one actor on one occasion that ever occurred to any man perhaps, much more, to an assembled multitude, was its descent among the congregation at Jerusalem on the first day of Pentecost that happened after our Lord's ascension: when it was declared by tokens which no one hardly could dispute; being first " a sound from Heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind which filled the house where they were sitting;" and then, an appearance of “cloven tongues, like as of fire” severally resting upon each of them, v.g. of the speakers: when they were evidently “filled with the Holy Ghost and began to speak with other tongues ;" or to that effect, what they spake being so rendered to the hearers—“as the Spirit gave them utterance” (Acts ii. 1, &c.). And there could be no danger of enthusiasm in such a case ; where the languages were no jargon, nor imposition but real; and the sensible tokens of a divine presence so evident : on the contrary; if one were to be ever particularly blessed with such a Presence and allowed to choose one's own signs of its access, what sensible or half sensi* See what follows on this relation in the ensuing Chapter.
ble sign could be so sure and agreeable, as the gift of tongues; or if it were only of a single tongue, that one might be able to read all at once the Word of God with ease and correctness in its original purity : which before, one could not translate perhaps without a great expense of time, and what is worse, as great a chance of mistaking ? But, as it was before signified,
3, Most frequently when the presence of the Spirit is marked with those agreeable effects which either have been or might be mentioned, the object or person who is favoured therewith will not be conscious even of the fact, to say nothing of the manner of such presence; being for the time like one who is loaded continually with obligations by an unknown benefactor. But when he begins to observe through the mist of a human perception (for a human perception is no better than a mist) the presence just described, which he does by the Word that was made flesh, then he will also begin to enjoy another property of the Spirit, which is known by the name of Communion, and adverted to by St. Paul in that comprehensive benediction, “The grace of the Lord Jesus, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost be with you" (Cor. II. xii. 14). Then may we address our heavenly guide in the language of Job, “Thou shalt call, and I will answer thee: Thou wilt have a desire to the work of thine hands ” (Job xiv. 15). But this enlightened intercourse with the Best of beings by the medium of the Spirit is presumed to be a very uncommon privilege. One should be loath to repress the ebullitions of an ardent believer, or to throw unmerited suspicion on the raptures of a congregation of any sort: but one might be allowed to caution one's dearest friend against falling too easily into a presumption, that may be only laid in his way for a snare; as St. John thought fit to caution his followers and friends, “ Beloved ; believe not every spirit : but try the spirits, whether they be of God” (John I. iv. 1). Especially as supposing a man to be favoured with the presence and