« ForrigeFortsæt »
record answering to that prediction, that subsequently to our Saviour's departure the Holy Ghost did indeed actually present himself as there predicted (Acts ii.); and from other passages of the sacred history, that he was thenceforward continually present with our Saviour's disciples, the objects of such prediction, differently from what he had been before. Which may seem very natural, as even the human spirit of one man may be present with others imperceptibly, and perceptibly likewise sometimes when he chooses while the man himself is absent—by means of the advantages which he enjoys for this purpose in the gifts of abstraction, memory, reflexion, the faculty of speech, and (depending thereon) many modes of communication and transmission of sentiment to distant climates and future generations. Thus the spirit of St. Paul was present imperceptibly with some of his disciples when he wrote to them as follows, namely, “Though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying and beholding your order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ" (Col. ii. 5); that is, the apostle was spiritually present with his Colossians in these respects, v. g. in joy and satisfaction on the forementioned account.
But as for any necessity for the absence of one Chief Mediate of the Kingdom to the presence of another; as of the Father to the Son, or of the Son to the Holy Ghost, otherwise than now immediately proposed; it is an heedless preconception, ONE OF THOSE INCONSISTENCIES WHICH BELIEVERS SOMETIMES FALL INTO FOR WANT OF BEING EXAMINERS LIKEWISE ; not trying the spirit (John I. iv. l), nor the evidence either by searching the Scriptures (John v. 39), so often as they should : which if they did with respect to this supposed necessity for example, they would find that it had no foundation either in reason or authority. For considering
1, First the foundation of reason ; what may happen by. a man and his spirit, as aforesaid, may not happen by the Spirit of God, which is the Holy Ghost. The presence of one man's spirit with other men, their spirits, their con. cerns during his absence is but a partial act of the man ; while the act of a pure intellectual spirit any where will be universal with regard to such spirit, if not with regard to the objects or points of his presence, as above intimated. In point of reason therefore it is presumable, that the Holy Spirit was present with the apostles as well, if not rather, during their master's presence than at any other
period, though not perceived in the same relations, partly because such relations did not then exist, of which an instance has been given. And
2, For authority it was said by an apostle, “ In Him we live, and move and have our being" (Acts xvii. 28), that is, in the Deity so presented. How then living in Him could the apostles be without Him? And more particularly the mistake is presumable from the following passages, v. g.
-1, One, where we are informed that a power evi.. dently divine and such as betokens the presence of the Holy Ghost was given by our Lord during his earthly prea sence, not only to the select twelve, but also to seventy other disciples (Luke ix. 1; x. 1).
-2, That, where the disciples generally were promised the blessing of this presence on their simple petition without reference to time or any other condition (Luke xi. 13).-And
-3, Where a condition was implied, as that of leaving all for Christ, and the blessing had no particular reference to this supposed necessity; but a manifold recompense, being spiritual of course, is promised“ in this present time" (Luke xviii. 29, 30). But what seems most express is
-4, A direct assertion, of our Lord's communicating the Holy Ghost to his apostles, or rather to the assembled church, before his ascension: when he breathed upon them, and said unto them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost,” &c. (John xx. 22, &c.). While
--5, The Saviour never told his disciples, If I go not
away, THE HOLY Ghost will not come to you ; but, the COMFORTER: evidently meaning, that if himself went not away the Comforter would not be required. And he might as well have said The Commentator likewise, which he also promised (John xiv. 26). The Holy Ghost would not, could not be present then in either of these relations or capacities however necessary his presence might be at the same time in other respects; as for a Rectifier, to keep disciples from being all Judases, as well as from denying their Master and forsaking him in his greatest trial, for instance. So
-6, When the Holy Ghost descended visibly after the sensible departure of the Second Mediate, which is what the advocates of that unfounded doctrine seem to rely on, it was chiefly in the character of a Witness to the Word : which being embodied directly in one tongue only, was thence propagated by the Spirit as an universal interpreter sounding every word in every language at once, and rendering the same to every man of whatever nation there assembled, Parthians, and Medes and Elamites and many others, as it were at home; that is, in his own language and to his own heart.
-7, And perhaps it may not be necessary to cite another authority after comparing the confession of St. Peter, (Matt. xvi. 17), with the doctrine of St. Paul (Cor. I. xii. 13): which are here referred to.
That the Spirit may be in 'us before its discernment by means of the Word, or the Word be with us before its enjoyment by means of the Spirit, cannot, nor need not be denied : it is a part of their duality or distinction; which may be carried also farther than that, even to the case of succession. And this is a case too that
be worth remarking, if it be real, as it is thought; namely, that before the incarnation of the Word we read of his personal acts continually, the Son having then a personal existence of course though not a person, as before explained; but no more do we read of these purely as acts of the Word thereafter: as on the other hand we read not of the personal acts of the Spirit during the incarnation of the Word, but continually thereafter. But still this striking case will make no exception, through the constant cooperation, or rather identification before remarked.
So far then we may observe the concurrence of God the Holy Ghost with God the Son of God : while in other cases the first mentioned will rather seem the principal and this the concurrent; as for example in furnishing essentials for this to characterize. Thus, if the Holy Ghost be known by its fruits,“ love,joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance," and the like; it will be for the Word to make them, and prove them to be such. For what is love simply or unqualified more than hatred ? or what is joy more than grief? It is for the Word of God to determine, whether it be worthy of his Spirit, or of God. “For through him we both (says St. Paul, alluding to strangers as well as proselytes) have access by one Spirit unto the Father” (Eph. ii. 18), that is by the emanation or proceeding of the Holy Ghost from God the Father with the Son, to pour divine life, health and comfort through the whole creation. Thus the Holy Ghost before his procession is not distinguished from the Father or the Word nor from the Word on his perception : but as soon as the Holy Ghost is perceived and acknowledged, then Christ is formed in us (Gal. iv. 19), and we hail the auspicious Presence of God in his eternal Word.
The Word or Son and the Holy Ghost or Spirit of God are only two Types of one God, and the only two Types in which He is perceived ; the type of the Word being the object of intellect, the type of the Spirit of feeling, the Fa. ther no object directly to either, but indirectly an object of both elements by the means of both types : so that it is “ like unto like;" mind unto Mind, and spirit unto Spirit; and the divine Nature also approached and participated by their means.
*** In taking leave of this relation, or sort of relations, Duality, in its distinctions,—whether of Father and Son, of Father and Holy Ghost, or of Son and Holy Ghost, we are
naturally struck with a particular or two of the said seve=' ral relations in common-that is NATURALLY as we say; though particulars of the kind to be now mentioned do not strike any one naturally, as elsewhere observed.--For example,
1, Only admitting the divinity of either the Word or the Spirit, will be an admission of the unity of the same with the Father, who is God only and originally ; or, as we may say, in the first place, and in the last: consequently either of those, being God, must be one with him, and equal with him of course in that respect; as there can be no inequality in perfection ; whatever there may be in mortality. At the same time,
2, There certainly are clear acknowledgments both of the subordination and inferiority of the Word and the Spirit to the Father in respect of their external relations, especially of the human degree whether it be first or second, as in the highest instance of Jesus Christ the immediate Son of God. Thus the Son for example, speaking of himself to the Jews, according to his most particular biographer St. John, says, “I am not come of myself; but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not” (John vii. 28). “When ye have lift up the Son of man, then shall ye know that I am he, and that I do nothing of myself: but as my Father hath taught me, I speak these things” (Ib. viii. 28). And at his last supper with the disciples he tells the rest of them as Judas goes out, " Now is the Son of man glorified; and God is glorified in him. If God be glorified in him, God shall also glorify him in himself, and shall straightway glorify him” (Ib. xiii. 31, 32); intimating the direct derivation of honour from the Father to himself, with its return, as usual, to him who gave it; which has been already remarked. Again, he says, “ The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he seeth the Father do : for what things soever he doeth, these also doeth the Son likewise” (Ib. v. 19). And so to Philip the apostle in conti