« ZurückWeiter »
passion. With a sense of his kindness, which is better than life, I rejoice in tribulation, glory in affliction, triumph as a conqueror; though I am killed all the day long, all my sorrows have a bottom that may be fathomed; my trials bounds that, may be compassed: but the breadth, and depth, and height of the love of the Father, who can express ? I might render glorious this way of the Spirit's comforting us with the love of the Father, by comparing it with all other causes and means of joy and consolation whatever; and so discover their emptiness, its fulness, their nothingness, its being all; as also by revealing the properties of it before rehearsed.
2. Again, He doth it by communicating to us, and acquainting us with the grace of Christ: all the fruits of his purchase, all the desirableness of his person, as we are interested in him. The grace of Christ, as I formerly discoursed of at large, is referred to two heads; the grace of his person, and of his office and work. By both these doth the Holy Ghost administer consolation to us; John xiv. 15. He glorifies Christ, by revealing his excellencies, and desirableness to believers, as the chiefest of ten thousand, altogether lovely.' And then he shews them of the things of Christ; his love, grace, all the fruits of his death, suffering, resurrection, and intercession, and with these supports their hearts and souls. And here, whatever is of refreshment in the pardon of sin, deliverance from the curse, and wrath to come, in justification, and adoption, with the innumerable privileges attending them in the hope of glory given unto us, comes in on this head of account.
Thirdly, The principle and fountain of all his actings for our consolation, comes next under consideration to the same end, and this leads us a little nearer to the communion intended to be directed in. Now this is his own great love and infinite coudescension. He willingly proceedeth, or comes forth from the Father to be our comforter. He knew what we were, and what we could do, and what would be our dealings with him. He knew we would grieve him, provoke him, quench his motions, defile his dwelling-place; and vét he would come to be our comforter. Want of a' due consideration of this great love of the Holy Ghost, weakens all the principles of our obedience. Did this dwell and abide
upon our hearts, what a dear valuation must we needs put upon all his operations and actings towards us? Nothing indeed is valuable, but what comes from love and good-will. This is the way the Scripture takes to raise up our hearts to a right and due estimation of our redemption by Jesus Christ. It tells us that he did it freely'; that of his own will he hath laid down his life, that he did it out of love. Herein is manifested the love of God, that he laid down his life for us ;' 'he loved us, and gave himself for us;' he loved us, and washed us with his own blood. Hereunto it adds our state and condition, considered as he undertook for us; sinners, enemies, dead, alienated, then he loved us, and died for us, and washed us with his blood. May we not hence also have a valuation of the dispensation of the Spirit for our consolation? He proceeds to that end from the Father; he distributes as he will, works as he pleaseth. And what are we towards whom he carrieth on this work? Froward, perverse, unthankful, grieving, vexing, provoking him. Yet in his love and tenderness, doth he continue to do us good. Let us by faith consider this love of the Holy Ghost. It is the head and source of all the communion we have with him in this life. This is, as I said, spoken only to prepare our hearts to the communion proposed : and what a little portion is it of what might be spoken ? How might all these considerations be aggravated ? What a numberless number might be added ? It suffices that from what is spoken it appears, that the work in hand is amongst the greatest duties and most excellent privileges of the gospel.
The general ways of the saints' acting in communion with the Holy Ghost. As in the account given of the actings of the Holy Ghost in us, we manifested first the general adjuncts of his actings, or the manner thereof; so now in the description of the returns of our souls to him, I shall, in the first place, propose the general actings of faith, in reference to this work of the
a 1 John iv. 6. Gal. ii. 20. Rev. i. 7.
Holy Ghost, and then descend unto particulars. Now there are three general ways of the soul's deportment in this communion, expressed all negatively in the Scripture, but all including positive duties. Now these are,
First, Not to grieve him.
3. His working in ordinances of the word, and the sacraments; all for the same end and purpose.
To these three, are the three cautions before suited.
(2.) Not to quench him, in respect of the actings and motions of his grace.
(3.) Not to resist him, in respect of the ordinances of Christ and his gifts, for their administration. Now, because the whole general duty of believers, in their communion with the Holy Ghost, is comprised in these three things, I shall handle them severally.
(1.) The first caution concerns his person immediately, as dwelling in us. It is given, Eph. iv. 30. Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God. There is a complaint, Isa, lxiii. 10. of them who vexed, or grieved the Spirit of God. And from thence doth this caution seem to be taken. That it is the person of the Holy Ghost which is here intended, is evident,
[1.] From the phrase, or manner of expression, with a double article tò aveõua tò ayov, 'that Holy Spirit:' and also,
[2.] From the work assigned to him in the following words, ofsealing to the day of redemption ;' which, as hath been manifested, is the workiof the Holy Ghost. Now whereas this may be understood of the Spirit in others, or in ourselves, it is evident, that the apostle intends it in the latter sense, by his addition of that signal and eminent privilege which we ourselves enjoy by him, he seals us to the day of redemption.
Let us see then the tendency of this expression, as com
prising the first general rule of our communion with the Holy Ghost; Grieve not the Spirit.'
The term of grieving,' or affecting with sorrow, may be considered either actively, in respect of the persons grieving ; or passively, in respect of the persons grieved. In the latter sense the expression is metaphorical; the Spirit cannot be grieved, or affected with sorrow, which infers alteration, disappointment, weakness, all incompatible with his infinite perfections ; yet men may actively do that which is fit and able to grieve any one that stands affected towards them, as doth the Holy Ghost. If he be not grieved, it is no thanks to us, but to his own unchangeable nature. So that there are two things denoted in this expression.
Ist. That the Holy Ghost is affected towards us, as one that is loving, careful, tender, concerned in our good and well-doing, and therefore upon our miscarriages is said to be grieved. As a good friend of a kind and loving nature is apt to be so on the miscarriage of him whom he doth affect. And this is that we are principally to regard in this caution as the ground and foundation of it; the love, kindness, and tenderness of the Holy Ghost unto us. “Grieve him not.'
2dly. That we may do those things that are proper to grieve him, though he be not passively grieved; our sin being no less therein, than if he were grieved as we are. Now, how this is done, how the Spirit is grieved, the apostle declareth in the contexture of that discourse; ver. 21-24. He presseth to a progress in sanctification, and all the fruits of regeneration; ver. 25-29. He dehorts from sundry particular evils that were contrary thereto, and then gives the general enforcement of the one and the other; and 'grieve not the Holy Spirit of God;' that is, by coming short of that universal sanctification, which our planting into Christ doth require. The positive duty included in this caution, of not grieving the Holy Spirit, is this; that we pursue universal holiness with regard unto, ar 1 upon the account of, the love, kindness, and tenderness, of the Holy Ghost. This is the foundation of our communion we have in general. When the soul considers the love, kindness, and tenderness of the Holy Ghost unto him; when he considers all the fruits and acts of his love and good-will towards him, and on that account, and under that consideration, because he is so con
cerned in our ways and walkings, to abstain from evils and to walk in all duties of holiness, this is to have communion with him. This consideration that the Holy Ghost, who is our Comforter, is delighted with our obedience, grieved at our evils and follies, being made a continual motive to, and reason of, our close walking with God in all holiness, is, I say, the first general way of our communion with him.
Here let us fix a little. We lose both the power and pleasure of our obedience, for want of this consideration. We see on what account the Holy Ghost undertakes to be our comforter, by what ways and means he performs that office towards us; what an unworthy thing it is to grieve him, who comes to us on purpose to give us consolation. Let the soul in the whole course of its obedience exercise itself by faith to thoughts hereof, and lay due weight upon it. The Holy Ghost in his infinite love and kindness towards me, hath condescended to be my comforter; he doth it willingly, freely, powerfully; what have I received from him? in the multitude of my perplexities how hath he refreshed my soul? Can I live one day without his consolations ? And shall I be regardless of him in that wherein he is concerned ? Shall I grieve him by negligence, sin, and folly? Shall not his love constrain me to walk before him to all well pleasing? So have we in general fellowship with him.'
(2.) The second is that of the 1 Thess. v. 19. 'Quench not the Spirit.' There are various thoughts about the sense of these words. The Spirit in others, that is, their spiritual gifts, say some.
But then it falls in with what follows; ver. 20. despise not prophesying.' The light that God hath set up in our hearts, say others. But where is that called absolutely tò aveõua, “the Spirit?' It is the Holy Ghost himself that is here intended. Not immediately, in respect of his person, in which regard he is said to be grieved, which is a personal affection; but in respect of his motions, actings, and operations. The Holy Ghost was typified by the fire that was always kept alive on the altar. He is also called a 'Spirit of burning. The reasons of that allusion are manifold, not now to be insisted on. Now the opposition that is made to fire in its actings, is by quenching. Hence the opposition made to the actings of the Holy Ghost are called quenching of the Spirit,' as some kind of