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is spoken of as the source or fountain--"The Father of lights,” &c.—the Son, as the only begotten of the Father, or, as proceeding from Him, and the Holy Spirit as proceeding from the Father, and sent by the Son. Answerable to this mysterious order of the divine subsistencies, is the order of divine operations, which the sacred scriptures recognize. The Father purposes or plans—the Son creates and executes:--and the Spirit conveys, applies, adorns and fully invests with the benefits designed to be conferred.? Thus to illustrate this by one vast and comprehensive example.
The plan of redemption is represented as having originated with God, in the person of the Father-the whole work necessary to the execution of that plan, as being wrought by God in the person of the Son—and the blessings designed to be secured by it, as conveyed and communicated by God in the person of the Holy Spirit:* so that there is as entire and harmonious an order of operations, as there is of subsistences, and the one perfectly correspondent with the other. Such being the order of the divine subsistences and operations, it follows that regeneration, a constituent and conspicuous blessing of divine grace, devolves particularly on the Holy Spirit, as being His peculiar and appropriate work. It falls within the immediate sphere of His agency, so that it is not without meaning, the sacred scriptures uniformly represent it as the effect of His power, as every attentive and intelligent reader cannot fail in the prosecution of this inquiry to perceive. With a view, therefore, to a more satisfactory apprehension of our whole subject, as well as to corroborate the account given above of the Spirit's agency, we shall endeavor to elucidate and confirm several exegetical propositions which we shall state in their order. 1 James, i. 17. 2 John, i. 18.
3 John, viji. 42. 4 John, xv. 26.
5 Eph. i. 3-10. 7 John, xvi. 14.
8 See the text above referred to.
6 Col. j. 16.
1. THE SPIRIT OF GOD IS THE GREAT AUTHOR OF LIFE IN ALL ITS VARIETIES. He is called “the Spirit of Life;"' but with what reason, will we better understood presently.
Even the most inattentive observer cannot fail to have noticed, that there is an endless process of production and re-production going on in the works of creation—and that much and by far the most interesting and important part, of it is connected with the developement of life in innumerable forms. The earth, the air and the seas are teeming with it. To what cause shall we attribute this effect? The infidel philosopher talks unintelligibly on the subject. To say that it results by virtue of a law of nature, is saying just nothing
We cannot resolve the whole influence of causality, in any satisfactory way, without the idea of some intelligent and efficient agent. It will not do to say, experience teaches that one event regularly follows another. Why does it do so? is a question which will force itself on our attention: and to meet that question, by saying that experience shews it does, is only another way of confessing ignorance and of evading the question entirely. To assign the circumstance of juxta-position as a solu'tion of the connection which subsists between cause and effect is felt to be totally inadequate.
We see that the needle touched with a magnet turns towards the north, and if we ask, why it does so, who will be satisfied with this answer, “because it is attracted by the magnetic pole." All bodies gravitate towards the centre of the earth. But why do they? Will you say because it is a law of nature? What then we ask, is this law of nature? Is it a power? Is it a will? Is it an intelligence? None will be affirmed. What then is it? Is it a property of matter? But how can matter originate motions without itself? We see that the dog follows his master as the needle does the magnet, an event in some instances as regularly succeeding the other in the one case, as in the other. But who will resolve the causality in either case into mere juxta-position? The truth is, that the will and agency of God, which are, from the very necessity of the case, altogether myste. rious to us, cannot be excluded from our idea of causality. No other link can supply the chasm, and bind together the cause and the effect.
This we feel to be perfectly satisfactory, and the mind rests in it, as abundantly adequate to the solution of the phenomena. With regard to those of life, no other explanation can at all suffice. To talk of the aptness of organic matter for life, will not do. For we see an endless variety of animate matter-life found in ever varying organizations. In what consists that adaptation? Whence comes this variety? Take whatever view you please of the subject, the difficulty returns into your hands, and the only satisfactory solution is, that the energy of God is continually exerted in the production of life, according to the various modes in which He is sovereignly pleased to dispense it to His creatures.
We need not restrict the remark to any special kind of life. All of its forms, from the loftiest seraph to the smallest reptile, or insect, are the product of Almighty power. This will probably be admitted with respect to God, abstractly considered, as the great fountain of all being; but how, it will be asked, will this confirm the proposition stated, that the Spirit of God is the author of life? The bible gives us some historical details on this subject, but for which we should have been in utter ignorance. From it we learn, that God, in the person of the Spirit, presides over the whole department of life, and exerts a special agency in it. He is represented to have commenced His operations immediately on the creation of the inanimate and inorganic mass of our globe. In the account which Moses gives of the creation, it is very distinctly stated to be the fact, that "in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." This may possibly be the title of the chapter, and the verses which follow, the details. Or, it may be the record made with regard to the first production of Almighty and creative power.
Which ever view we take of it, the earth-all the vast mineral mass of our globe, was created at once by His Almighty fiat. One word brought into existence the whole globe, with its rocky and earthy stratifications, and their watery envelope. The whole mineral mass was created perfect, but subjected to a law or mode of divine agency, according to which, by the process of crystallization, similar formations might take place, just as the trees were created in a state of perfection, and then planted by the word of God into the soil, but subjected to a law or mode of His agency, by virtue of which, according to a process of lignification, similar growths might arise. Moses advances not the idea with which we meet in heathen Cosmogony, where
Once was the face of nature; if a face;
of jarring seeds; and justly Chaos named. It is much to be regretted, that this poetic fancy has been adopted by sober philosophers, and christian divines. There is nothing that we can see, either in nature, or the scriptures, to sanction it. The laws of gravitation and crystallization, as put into operation in the substance of the earth which some have conceived was created in confused and aggregate mass, are not sufficient to account for the disposing of the different earthy and mineral stratifications, which over-lay each other. The Mosaic account teaches us that rocks, seas, and earthy particles sprung simultaneously into existence, at the word of God, and having been created perfect at once, were placed under the
1 Gen. i. 1.
operation of certain general laws, or modes of the Creator's agency, by which, in successive ages, assimilated masses might be formed. It was the earth, and not a chaos, that in the beginning was created.
The expressions of Moses, which may very probably have suggested the idea of a chaos to the minds of the philosophic heathen who consulted his writings, and which seem very evidently to have been paraphrased by Ovid according to his view of their meaning, do not give their support to it.
He says, that “the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep
It we suppose that the word "earth” is here used to denote the world, as it was when Moses wrote, then the expressions seem to convey the idea of non-entity by a very felicitous description. No other idea can be attached to them. Every material existence has some form and some substance, and to be without either is to have no material being. The other expression abyss, for that is the meaning of the word translated "deep,"conveys the same vague, and undefinable idea of non-entity. None of his terms favor the idea of a chaos.
But if we suppose that the word "earth” denotes the world at the time referred to in the description, there is no more countenance given to the idea of a chaos. The earth THEN was, for it, by the terms of the supposition, is the thing described. It was then without form and void, as a house without arrangement and furniture. The building was up, but it wanted inhabitants, and the means of their accommodation. Such was “the earth,” strictly so called, that is, the inorganic and inanimate globe, at its first creation. It sprung, at once, with its mineral nucleus, and earthy strata, and watery floods, into being at the command of God, or by the word of His power. The historical account which Moses gives of the successive six days work
1 Gen i. 2.