« ZurückWeiter »
his evil, his consolations will abound. Suppose him to have a sense of the love of God all the while shed abroad in his heart, a clear witness within that he is a child of God, accepted with him, that he is sealed and marked of God for his own, that he is an heir of all the promises of God, and the like, it is impossible that man should not triumph in all his tribulations. . From this rise of all our consolation, are those descriptions which we have of it in the Scripture, from its properties and adjuncts. As
(1.) It is abiding. Thence it is called 'everlasting consolation ;' 2 Thess. ii. 16. “God our Father, which hath loved us, and given us everlasting consolation, that is, comfort that vanisheth not; and that because it riseth from everlasting things. There may be some perishing comfort given for a little season, by perishing things; but abiding consolation, which we have by the Holy Ghost, is from things everlasting. Everlasting love, eternal redemption, an everlasting inheritance.
(2.) Strong. Heb. vi. 18. "That the heirs of the promise should receive strong consolation. As strong opposition lies sometimes against us, and trouble, whose bands are strong, so is our consolation strong; it abounds, and is unconquerable; io xupà rapákinois: it is such, as will make its way through all opposition, it confirms, corroborates, and strengthens the heart under any evil, it fortifies the soul, and makes it able cheerfully to undergo any thing that it is called unto, and that because it is from him who is strong.
(3.) It is precious. Hence the apostle makes it the great motive unto obedience, which he exhorts the Philippians unto, chap. ii. 1. 'If there be any consolation in Christ.' If you set any esteem and valuation upon this precious mercy of consolation in Christ, by those comforts, let it be so with you. · And this is the first general consequent in the hearts of believers, of those great effects of the Holy Ghost beforementioned. Now this is so large and comprehensive, comprising so many of our concernments in our walking with God, that the Holy Ghost receives his denomination, as to the whole work he bath to perform for us from hence; he is the Comforter; as Jesus Christ, from the work of redemption and salvation, is the Redeemer and Saviour of his church. "Now as we have no consolation but from the Holy Ghost, so all his effects towards us, have certainly this consequent, more or less, in us. Yea, I dare say, whatever we have in the kinds of the things before-mentioned that brings not consolation with it, in the root at least, if not in the ripe fruit, is not of the Holy Ghost. The way whereby comfort issues out from those works of his, belongs to particular cases. The fellowship we have with him, consists in no small portion of it, in the consolation we receive from him. This gives us a valuation of his love, teacheth whither to make applications in our distress ; whom to pray for, to pray to, whom to wait upon, in perplexities. .
2. Peace ariseth hence also; Rom. xv. 13. •The God of hope fill you with all peace in believing, that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost.' The power of the Holy Ghost, is not only extended to hope, but to our peace also in believing. So is it in the connexion of those promises, John xiv. 26, 27. “I will give you the Comforter:' and what then? what follows that grant? • Peace,' saith he, 'I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.' Nor doth Christ otherwise leave his peace, or give his peace unto them, but by bestowing the Comforter on them. The peace of Christ consists in the soul's sense of its acceptation with God in friendship. So is Christ said to be our peace,' Eph. ii. 14. by slaying the enmity between God and us, and in taking away the handwriting, that was against us; Rom. v. 1. • Being justified by faith, we have peace with God.' A comfortable persuasion of our acceptation with God in Christ, is the bottom of this peace, it enwraps deliverance from eternal wrath, hatred, curse, condemnation; all sweetly affecting the soul and conscience.
And this is a branch from the same root with that foregoing; a consequent of the effects of the Holy Ghost before-mentioned. Suppose a man chosen in the eternal love of the Father, redeemed by the blood of the Son; and justified freely by the grace of God, so that he hath a right to all the promises of the gospel ; yet this person can by no reasonings nor arguings of his own heart, by no considerations of the promises themselves, nor of the love of God, or grace of Christ in them, be brought to any establishment
peace, until it be produced in him, as a fruit and consequent of the work of the Holy Ghost in him, and towards him. Peace is the fruit of the Spirit; Gal. v. 22.
The savour of the Spirit is life and peace; Rom. viii. 6. All we have is from him, and by him.
3. Joy also is of this number. The Spirit, as was shewed, is called the oil of gladness,' Heb. i. 10. his anointing brings gladness with it, Isa. lxi. 3. 'the oil of joy for mourning.' • The kingdom of God is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost;' Rom. xiv. 17. 1 Thess. i. 6. Received the gospel,' with joy in the Holy Ghost.' With joy,' as Peter tells believers, ' unspeakable, and full of glory; 1 Pet. i. 8. To give joy to the hearts of believers, is eminently the work of the Comforter, and this he doth by the particulars before instanced in; that “rejoicing in hope of the glory of God,' mentioned Rom. v. 2. which carries the soul through any tribulation even with glorifying, hath its rise in the Spirit's 'shedding abroad the love of God in our hearts ;' ver. 5. Now there are two ways, whereby the Spirit worketh this joy in the hearts of believers.
(1.) He doth it immediately by himself; without the consideration of any other acts, or works of his, or the interposition of any reasonings, or deductions, and conclusions. As in sanctification, he is a well of water springing up in the * soul, immediately exerting his efficacy and refreshment; so in consolation, he immediately works the soul and minds of men to a joyful rejoicing and spiritual frame, filling them with exultation and gladness; not that this arises from our reflex consideration of the love of God; but rather gives occasion thereunto: when he so sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts, and so filling them with gladness by a immediate act and operation (as he caused John baptist to leap for joy in the womb, upon the approach of the mother of Jesus). Then doth the soul even from hence, raise itself to a consideration of the love of God, whence joy and rejoicing doth also flow. Of this joy there is no account to be given, but that the Spirit worketh it, when, and how he will; he secretly infuseth and distils it into the soul, prevailing against all fears and sorrows, filling it with gladness, exultations, and sometimes with unspeakable raptures of mind.
(2.) Mediately, by his other works towards us. He gives a sense of the love of God, with our adoption and acceptation with him; and on the consideration thereof, enables us to receive it. Let what hath been spoken of his operations towards us be considered, what assurance he gives us of the love of God, what life, power, and security, what pledge of our eternal welfare, and it will be easily perceived, that he lays a sufficient foundation of this joy and gladness. Not that we are able upon any rational consideration, deduction, or conclusion, that we can make from the things mentioned, to affect our hearts with the joy and gladness intended; it is left no less the proper work of the Spirit to do it from hence and by the intervenience of these considerations, than to do it immediately without them. This process of producing joy in the heart we have, Psal. xxiii.5,6. • Thou anointest my head with oil.' Hence is the conclusion, as in the way of exultation, surely goodness and mercy shall follow me.' Of this effect of the Comforter, see Isa. xxxv. throughout.
4. Hope also is an effect of those workings of the Holy Ghost in us, and towards us; Rom. xv. 13. These, I say, are the general consequents of the effects of the Holy Ghost upon the hearts of believers ; which, if we might consider them in their offspring with all the branches that shoot out from them, in exultation, assurance, boldness, confidence, expectation, glorying, and the like, it would appear how far our whole communion with God is influenced by them. But I only name the heads of things, and hasten to what remains; it is the general and particular way of our communion with the Holy Ghost, that should nextly ensue, but that some other considerations necessarily do here interpose themselves.
Some observations and inferences from discourses foregoing concerning the
Spirit. The contempt of the whole, administration of the Spirit by some. The vain pretence of the Spirit by others. The false spirit discovered.
This process being made, I should now shew immediately how we hold the communion proposed with the Holy Ghost, in the things laid down, and manifested to contain his peculiar work towards us. But there are some miscarriages in the world in reference unto this dispensation of the Holy Ghost, both on the one hand and the other, in contempt of his true work, and pretence of that which is not, that I cannot but remark in my passage ; which to do shall be the business of this chapter.
1. Take a view then of the state and condition of them who, professing to believe the gospel of Jesus Christ, do yet contemn and despise his Spirit as to all its operations, gifts, graces, and dispensations, to his churches and saints. Whilst Christ was in the world with his disciples, he made them no greater promise, neither in respect of their own good, nor of carrying on the work which he had committed to them, than this of giving them the Holy Ghost. Him he instructeth them to pray for of the Father, as that which is needful for them, as bread for children ; Luke xi. 13. Him he promiseth them, as a well of water springing up in them, for their refreshment, strengthening, and consolation, unto everlasting life ; John vii. 37–39. as also to carry on, and accomplish the whole work of the ministry to them committed ; John xvi. 8—10. with all those eminent works and privileges before-mentioned. And upon his ascension, this is laid as the bottom of that glorious communication of gifts and graces in his plentiful effusion mentioned, Eph. iv. 8. 11, 12. namely, that he had received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, Acts ii. 33. and that in such an eminent manner, as thereby to make the greatest and most glorious difference between the administration of the new covenant and old. Especially doth the whole work of the ministry relate to the Holy Ghost, though that be not my present