« AnteriorContinuar »
the several respects in which we are dignified and improved by the presence of the Holy Spirit: or else a more ample list than the above of its excellent properties might thus be exhibited. Suffice it to say, that the Spirit or third Mediate is to the world generally, and to the church in particular at present all that the Word was before his incarnation and return : coming now continually as it were in his stead; who is thus presented always to the end of the world, and his second personal advent; winning, regenerating and reclaiming from the world those who were lost in its deceitful attractions, and dead to higher enjoyments. But the proper sphere of the Spirit is more at home, as the soul of the church generally, and of every part and particle-or congregation and individual united therein :--being all in all ;-A SPARK IN EACH; IN ALL AN HEAVENLY FLAME: the light and life of all who, being ordained to eternal life, believe (Acts xiii. 48). He is to us the immediate Presence of God,-another Emanuel, or God with us; though he be not another god. We are solemnly addicted to him in our baptism: we have taken him for our spiritual Sovereign or internal Subjective as well as external. Therefore, when one intellectual spirit, as the material, earthly, or human for example, has tried, chosen and addicted itself to another-a natural consequence, or Just however, if not natural, seems to be that of consulting, obeying and co-operating with it; or in short of living by it, as one of the three natures, material, spiritual and intellectual, lives by the other; that so all these might live by that one Principle. And certainly it must be a curious self addiction or devotion to any spirit that does not involve all these consequences; though there have always been a sort of men who pretend to addict themselves even to this Highest, Holy Spirit, without consulting its dictates; or if they consult, without any thought of obeying them : of whom the Spirit says, “This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.” (Matt. xv. 8). It is a common practice with the hypocrites, to consult that Spirit, and follow their own inclination- A SINGULAR WAY TO BERELIGIOUS !
The power or presence of the Holy Ghost with mankind generally is indeed a still, small voice, like that which came to Elijah in Horeb (Kings I. xix. 12): except as it comes to the heart immediately, without the sense of hearing. And that the impressions of the Spirit should be so light, is what they who attend most to them are most likely to regret: although, as“ all things work together for good to them that love God” (Rom. viii. 28), even this gentleness of the Spirit may not be without its advantage to such persons in teaching them likewise a more gentle and considerate carriage: that they be more alive and at leisure for such impressions; and not like others, boring on continually in their boisterous way,“ like to horse and mule which have no understanding: whose mouths must be held with bit and bridle, lest they fall upon thee.” (Ps. xxxii. 10). .
In the church especially or among those who minister spiritually therein, where the Holy Spirit is “as a Judge among gods,” his gentle guidance is worth remarking. It is worth remarking how orderly and distinctly the government is here conducted by this third Mediate since the departure of the Second, or from the moment of his ascension —by promise made to them especially (John xvi. 7); and how the Lord himself never appeared on earth afterward except in visions; as to Stephen (Acts vii. 55), and to St. Paul (Ib. xxvi. 19): whereas before that period and after his resurrection, “until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandment unto the apostles whom he had chosen, he shewed himself alive to these by many infallible proofs ; being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God” (Ib. i. 2, 3). For now, is either an individual to be addressed on this important topic or a whole congregation, it must be entirely on the suggestion and by the direction of the Holy Spirit (Ib. viii. 29; x. 19)—is an apostle, or two, to be intrusted with a particular mission, we no longer find the Lord sending them himself as formerly (Luke x. 1); but the selection is made by the Holy Ghost (Acts xiii. 2)—or, should it be determined to limit the scope or sphere of their operations in any respect, the Holy Ghost is the Medium for doing it (Ib. xv. 28; xvi. 6, 7). Thus, from the departure of our Lord is the Holy Ghost now coming and directing continually in all the church wherever it may be, but more especially in its service or ministry, as aforesaid: by whom therefore its gentle rein should be more carefully and especially heeded.
*** And now, having considered the divine Subject or Godhead mediately in the three several persons, types or correlatives of Father, Son and Holy Ghost apart, it may be important to consider this Subject again in the same three persons or correlatives united and compared; first by two, and next by three together; or, as it is here expressed, first in duality, and next in trinity; not overlooking altogether the relation of multiplicity, or the same divine Subject revealing itself indefinitely in a lower sphere.
RELATIONS OF THE KINGDOM.
MEDIATE IN DUALITY.
1, Father and Son.—2, Father and Holy Ghost. 3, Son and Holy Ghost.
—“And behold, there stood other two.”—Dan. xii. 5. By the relation of unity, or more strictly speaking of communion when applied to persons or intellectual presentations, we understand the affinity which one of these may have with another in some respects, notwithstanding the diversity indispensable to the relation of other, as before signified. Of which affinity there are many shades; from the merest difference to a bare resemblance, with a corresponding multiplication of subjects or objects—that is subjects of affinity, or objects to each other. Indeed the very idea of unity will imply a multiplicity of objects : for where there is not more than one of a sort, or of one existence, which is identity, or the highest degree of affinity, there cannot be the relation of unity; but where there are either sorts or individuals so related, the unity may be correlative therewith. So the Psalmist observes,“ how good and joyful a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity” (Ps. cxxxii. 1); but he could not have observed
so much of one brother only, there being no such relation. And in like manner it may be said, Behold how good and joyful a thing it is, brethren, to dwell with God in unity! but this could not be said either, if we were not brethren, as well as he our Father. Therefore, though absolutely he be God alone; yet relatively he is not alone, but One first in himself, next in two or in three; and finally in all who have the happiness to “be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust” (Pet. II. i. 4), and with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, (from one degree of affinity to another) as “ by the Spirit of the Lord"* (Cor. II. iï. 18): which may be called his common unity.
But from the necessary constitution of every subject that we can conceive of two elements, substance and mode, or substantially of three, matter, spirit and intellect above described; and from the impossibility of subjects so constituted apprehending any objects otherwise than by affinity or through the resemblance of their own mode or constitution to the objects—even the Highest, when it pleased him to form objects for his bounty, and to endue them with the knowledge of himself had to use this same medium; creating and informing mankind particularly by himself, first in Word and in Spirit, but subsequently, in every element as above explained. He is what he is, and no man, can possibly.comprehend: but still we must have a notion of him, if it be no more than this; namely, that he is incomprehensible. And whatever difficulty, one might feel
' * Among the different truths in divinity which have been recorded and handed about in the disguise of heathen mythology--may not this continual assimilation, adoption, or conversion of kindred minds, from the bulk of our race by their bountiful Creator through Christ be shadowed to us in, the tradition of Saturn devouring his children as fast as they were born ? This does not seem more unlikely however than the fact of the rebellion of the fallen angels being shadowed in that of Titan and his family. And on the same supposition we may also find a corrupt reason of the idolatrous offering of children to Moloch, &c, ; if not of human sacrifices generally,