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of his intercession in heaven; for it is the appointment of God, that faith in Christ shall be our only means of drawing near to the Father.
5. The Holy Spirit preserves, and carries on his own divine work in the soul. What he begun in faith, he carries on in love: What he begun in repentance, he carries on by daily mortification of sin. Faith and love are the fruits of the Spirit; Gal. v. 22. And it is by the Spirit, that we must mortify the deeds of the body, if we would live; Rom. viii. 13. He sanctifies us more and more, and draws our hearts still nearer to God. It is by the sanctification of the Spirit, and by the belief of the truth, that we are brought to partake of salvation; 2 Thess. ii. 13. He restores us when we wander, and brings us back, when we have gone astray He fits us for converse with God, and awakens every grace, which he has wrought in us, into proper and seasonable
He assists the soul in all its devout addresses to God, as a Spirit of prayer and supplication. By him we draw near to the Father. He gives us to taste the pleasure of religion, and prepares us daily for the full enjoyment of God. He dwells in us, as a living spring of holiness, and keeps alive his own work in our hearts, through all the oppositions of indwelling sin, through all the various temptations we meet with, from Satan and from this present world, till we are brought safe to the heavenly kingdom. He gives all the final strokes of sanctification, which may be needful at our death, freeing us from every remaining sin, and completing his own work of holiness in us. Then our blessed Mediator Christ Jesus, at the right-hand of God, presents us without spot or blemish, before the presence of his own and his Father's glory, and gives us that sensible enjoyment of those everlasting pleasures, he hath prepared for us, in that holy and happy world. Now the duties that arise from this account of the operations of the Holy Spirit are as follow:
In our approaches to God, in order to obtain peace and favour with him, we must pray, and wait, and hope for the divineinfluences of this blessed Spirit, to convince us of sin, to make us sincerely willing to be reconciled to God, to give us a clear and affecting sight of Christ, in all the power and glory of his mediatioral office, and to enable us to apply ourselves to Christ, by a living faith, that we may by him, be brought into the favour. of God.
We must pray earnestly to the God of all grace, that he would work deep and unfeigned repentance in us, by his Holy Spirit, that his Spirit might change our natures into his own likeness, and restore his image, which is defaced by sin; that he would send his Spirit to mortify all the corrupt principles that are
within us, to lead us into all needful truth, and incline our hearts with power to the practice of every duty. We must ask, that he would assist us, by his Spirit, in all the holy and devout exercises of our souls, and enable us to worship God the Father aright, through Jesus Christ, in all his own appointments. We are to pray, that the Spirit of God may preserve the divine seed of grace alive in our souls, that he may recover us whenever we go astray from God, and carry on his own heavenly work in us to perfection.
We must seek, and wait for the divine influences, of this blessed Spirit continually, to give and to maintain holiness and comfort: And we must take the utmost religious care, lest at any time we grieve him, and cause him to depart, by resisting his sacred influences: And thus, with a daily dependance on the grace of the Holy Spirit, we must perpetually approach nearer to God, both in the temper of our souls, and in holy converse with him, till our state of trial be finished, and till the work of holiness is complete in heaven.
It is a very natural enquiry here, whether we may directly address ourselves in prayer to the Son or the Spirit of God, to bestow these divine influences upou us? To which, I answer, that the scripture, which is indited by the Spirit himself, generally instructs us to make God the Father the more direct object of our addresses in prayer, and to entreat the Father to bestow his Spirit on us, because it is he sustains the supreme dignity and majesty of godhead, as the Lord and sovereign of all, as the prime Agent in our salvation, and prime object of worship. It is the Father of lights, that is the giver of every good and perfect gift; James i. 17. It is the Father that gives his Holy Spirit to them that ask it; Luke xi. 13. It is the God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to whom St. Paul bowed his knees, that he would strengthen his saints, by his Spirit in the inner man; Eph. iii. 16. And he prays that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, would give them the spirit of wisdom and revelation; Eph. i. 17. It is evident, by the general current of scripture, both in its counsels and in its examples, that we are chiefly to seek the aids of the blessed Spirit, from God the Father, through the mediation of his Son Christ Jesus; and doubtless, this always has been, and this will be, the most usual practice of christians, who make the word of God the rule and guide of their worship*.
* As the Second Person is considered as vested with the office of mediation, and the Holy Ghost, as the Sanctifier and Comforter, so God the Father is, in a peculiar manner the object of our faith, love and worship. So Peter tells us ; 1 Pet. i. 1. "Through Christ we believe in God." So writes Dr. Owen, in his Sermons lately published, and so all our divines practise in their holy min. istrations.
Yet since Christ the Son of God has true godhead belonging to him, and is a proper object of worship; since he is exalted to bestow the promised Spirit on men, it cannot be improper to offer up our addresses to Christ Jesus our Lord, to send us his Spirit according to his promise. I will send the Comforter to you from the Father; John xv. 26. And it is manifest, that, in the day of temptation, St. Paul addressed our Lord Jesus Christ, for grace to resist it; 2 Cor. xii. 8, 9. And perhaps when he triumphed in this, that the power of Christ should rest upon him, ver. 9. he means the Spirit of Christ, in his powerful influences, to resist temptation.
Now though it be generally agreed, that there are no plain and express precepts, or examples of prayers or praises, so directly addressed to the Holy Spirit, in all the New Testament, yet since the Holy Spirit is true God, since he is represented in scripture, in a personal manner, or as a divine person, and since, in the sacred economy, he is appointed to enlighten, to sanctify, and to comfort us, I think we may by just inference, derive sufficient ground from scripture, upon some occasions, to offer petitions to the Holy Spirit for his sacred influences, and to give him praise when we have received them: " Enlighten our darkness, O blessed Spirit, guide us into all truth: Sanctify our sinful natures, and fill us with joy and hope in believing. Blessed be the Holy Spirit of God for his divine work, that he has begun in our souls: May it be carried on and perfected unto the great day."
Thus I have finished the second general head of discourse, and shewn that these are the glorious and divine methods, whereby such guilty and sinful creatures as we have access to God the Father: This is the mediation of his Son Jesus Christ, who procures peace and reconciliation for us; and these are the inward and powerful operations of his Holy Spirit, whereby our hearts are reconciled to God, and trained up to a fitness for his heavenly presence. In that presence there is a divine fulness of joy, and at his right-hand are pleasures for evermore; Ps. xvi. 13.
The third general head contained in my text, is the union of all nations in this last and best of religions, which God ever taught the children of men: Both Jews and Gentiles have access to the Father in this way, that is through this one Mediator, and by one Spirit.
From the first apostacy of Adam, till the days of Abraham, all the forms and instituted ordinances of religion, which were given to men, were designed as a general instruction for all the nations of the earth, to shew them in what manner such guilty and sinful creatures might have access to God, and find accep
tance with him. And these forms and ordinances, which were of such infinite importance, should have been preserved alive by constant tradition amongst all mankind. Whatsoever divine instructions God gave to Adam and Noah, were the appointed methods of worship and access to God for all their posterity, that is, for all the world, till God should reveal some new methods to them: for each of those two patriarchs were the fathers of all mankind; one before, and the other after the flood.
But when God called Abraham, he favoured him and his household, with peculiar privileges, and appointed to them new and peculiar forms of worship, and access to himself. And here began the distinction of the world into two parts: Some were obliged to the religion of Abraham, the rest left to the religion of Noah. But as most of the posterity of Noah soon forgot the true God, and degenerated into various forms of idolatry, so the religion of Abraham was also, for the most part, lost among the families of Ishmael and the sons of Keturah, and was chiefly retained and practised in the household of Isaac, and in the tribes of Jacob, surnamed Israel.
In the days of Moses large additions were made to the religion of Abraham, and then the family or nation of Israel was, in a special manner, separated to be a peculiar people to God. Their methods of access to God, by priests and sacrifices, by blood and incense, by sprinklings and washing, were very numerous, and continued to be practised in the Jewish nation for many ages, even till the Messiah came, while the Gentiles had utterly lost the religion of Noah their father.
But here observe, that all the chief rites and ceremonies of worship which were ever given to Adam or Noah, to Abraham or Moses, pointed to the great Messiah, and to the religion of Christ. These ceremonies had no power to save, but by virtue of their relation to Christ, the seed of the woman, the great Reconciler who was to come. It was therefore through the mediation of Christ, and by the influence of the blessed Spirit, that Adam, Noah, Abraham and Israel; that sinful mankind in all nations and in all ages, had ever any true access to God, or were received into his favour; though the person and offices of Christ were in those days concealed under ceremonies, figures and shadows, and the influences of the blessed Spirit were not quite so clearly revealed. To them was the gospel preached as well as unto us; Gal. iii. 8. Heb. iv. 2. the same gospel and the same salvation, but covered with many veils.
It is no wonder then that when Christ himself, the Son of God and of man, the great Reconciler, was come into the world, and had revealed to men in a clearer light, the doctrine of his own
mediation, and taught and promised the necessary influences of the Spirit of God; it is no wonder that all other instituted rites and forms of worship should cease, which were only figures and signs of the glorious religion of the New Testament. It is no wonder that all nations should be now required to draw near to God the Father, by the mediation of his own Son, and through the aids of his own Spirit: All natious, I say, wheresoever the sound of this religion has reached, wheresoever this gospel has been published to mankind. This is the universal rule of approach to God for every sinful man, in order to obtain the divine favour. All other forms are as it were, dissolved and melted down into this one glorious appointment: This is the divine uniformity of religion and worship which God has now ordained among all his saints. Through one Lord Jesus, both Israel, and the rest of the nations, must have access by one Spirit unto the Father. By one Spirit we are all baptised into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; 1 Cor. xii. 13. And one Spirit, where it prevails gloriously, will lead us into one religion. As there is but one God and Father of all, so there must be but one Lord and Mediator, and one Holy Spirit : For there must be one faith, one hope, one baptism into the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost: to whom be glory and praise for ever..
Let us conclude with three Remarks, answerable to the three things contained in my text, which have been the distinct heads of my discourse.
Remark I.—With what rich grace and glory has God condescended to reveal himself to us in the New Testament! It is here God the Father appears eminently to begin, and carry on the divine affairs of his kingdom, of nature, providence and grace, by his only begotten Son, and his Eternal Spirit. It is here we learn the great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh. It is here God hath made known to us, more of his own incomprehensible nature, and his ways of operation among his creatures, than ever the light of nature could find out, or than all the former dispensations of grace did clearly reveal. The great God, the Father of all, manifests himself as the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and in him as our God, and our Father; hereby he descends into a nearer relation to poor apostate mankind, in order to restore them to his favour and to his image, to holiness and eternal peace. He approaches, near to us in his son Jesus, who is the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person; Heb. i. 3. He approaches near us indeed, by sending his Son, who is one with himself, to dwell in flesh; he comes down to us and visits us, by the influences of his blessed Spirit, and causes our souls to ascend toward