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XLI. It serves also in no inconsiderable degree to heighten the value of this gift, that it cannot be lost. “ I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another “ Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever.” The presence of the Lord Jesus was exceedingly dear and precious to the Apostles. But how dear soever it! was, they were at last to be deprived of it. Nay, it! was expedient for them that their Lord should go 3 away, that he might give place to that Comforter and a Advocate, who should both do greater things than? Christ's bodily presence had done, and was never to depart. And why should he depart? Because he is · expelled by force ? He is the Spirit of God, against whom the spirit of the world and the spirit of hell cannot prevail. Or because he meets with ungrateful treatment from believers ? He is sometimes grieved indeed by their sins: but then he also grieves them in his turn, that having excited them to a salutary penitence, he may continue to seal them unto the day of redemption. With regard to the infusion of his consolations, and the communication of alacrity in the spiritual life, he withdraws, we admit, for a time; yet he remains for ever as the fountain of life, and the bond of union with Christ. He is “ the anointing “ which abideth,”z and “ a well of water springing up “ to everlasting life.”a61-All these considerations serve clearly to demonstrate the inexpressible greatness of the love of God in giving us his Holy Spirit.
XLII. But we ought also to consider the duties which we owe to this Spirit of God. 1st, Since the
John xiv. 16.
* John xvi. 7. y Ephes. iv. 30.
1 John ü. 27. a John iv, 14.
ol See Note LXI.
Spirit is the Most High God, let us treat the Scriptures given by his inspiration with profound reverence, no less than if we heard a present God, addressing us immediately from heaven. Every affront that is done to the Prophets and Apostles, strikes against the Spirit of God.b 2dly, Let us receive with becoming reverence his internal reproofs, counsels, and convictions ; neither daring to make the least resistance, nor presuming to linger when he stimulates. This were to grieve the Holy Spirit, by giving him ground of offence, and causing him to withhold his accustomed delights, and to cease for a time to operate as a Spirit of consolation and joy.c 3dly, Let us carefully watch over this sacred fire, that it be not extinguished either in ourselves or in others, but rather stirred up.e 4thly, Let us consecrate ourselves as temples to the Spirit, and preserve them holy and pure.
ON THE CHURCH,
THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS,
AND THE OPERATION OF OUR FAITH WITH REGARD TO BOTH
1. It is truly impossible to mention or to conceive a conjunction, more beautiful, more close and intimate, or more endeared by mutual love, than that which subsists between God and his people, between Christ and the Church. Here beauty and comeliness appear in full perfection. In Christ indeed it shines with a transcendant lustre; and hence it is said in the Psalms, “ Thou art fairer than the sons of men;"a where the doubling of the radical letters in the Hebrew word rendered “ fairer,” adds to the energy of the signification. But the beauty even of the Church is so great, that he whose province it is to judge, pronounces this eulogy upon her : “ Behold, thou art fair, my love; “ behold, thou art fair, thou hast doves' eyes.” Nay, “ Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee.”b Again, this union is so intimate, that hardly any similitude is sufficient to express its closeness. Marriage,
098 28 no's Ps. xlv. 2.
6 Song iv. 1, 7.
as it exists amongst men, has been defined by lawyers, “ a state in which two persons are indissolubly united « in life.”* According to the definition of Scripture, “ two shall be one flesh ;”c than which expression, certainly, none more proper or vigorous could have been employed. But here is something farther. “ He who “ is joined to the Lord,” is not only one body with him, “ a member of his flesh, and of his bones,”d but also “one spirit” with him. And who can doubt that, since Christ and the Church are so fair, and so closely united, the happy consequence must be a most delightful interchange of mutual love. Such an interchange of love doth in reality take place. « How fair, and “ how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights!” We must not, therefore, presume to disjoin in our meditations, subjects which are connected together by so many ties. But having treated of God and Christ, and the Spirit who proceeds from both, we must now speak of the CHURCH, which the Father has elected, and the Son redeemed, and which the SPIRIT unites to Christ, and seals unto the day of complete redemption.
11. Four Points fall to be explained here. First, THE NAME. Secondly, THE THING ITSELF. Thirdly, THE EPITHETS. Fourthly, The exercise of our Faith in relation to the Church thus described.
III. It is proper to take notice of three Greek terms which are very similar in meaning, namely, Suvaywyn, ’Erziyola, Ilavnyugis. Suvaywyn, Synagoga, corresponds to the Hebrew word n7y, and in the New Testament generally signifies the assemblies of the Jews, which were held here and there, in various places and cities,
• Individua vitæ societas. c Gen. ii. 24.
d Ephes. v. 30. • 1 Cor. vi. 17. . Song vii. 6.
for religious purposes. And as the designation Curia, which at first was given to men that conjunctly conducted the affairs of the state, was transferred to the place where they met; or as amongst the Greeks Bounn signifies not only the senate, but also the place in which the senate is held,--the word Synagogue has been applied in the same manner; as is evident from Luke vii. 5, and numberless other passages. It has been observed, however, by the learned, that there is scarcely a single passage in the sacred volume, where this term is employed to denote the Societies of Christians. Paul indeed exhorts the Hebrews “not to forsake" TNU ÉTIOUvaywrnu autwv,“ the assembling of themselves “ together.”g But as he is there addressing the Hebrews, he accommodates himself to their forms of speech. Nor yet does he use precisely the same word, and the expression he employs is not of the same meaning with Church; for the Apostles are accustomed to speak of the Church of God, or of Christ, not of the Church of these or those persons. ’ETIouvaywyn, therefore, denotes the gathering together itself, or the assembling of believers, as in 2 Thes. ii. 1, where Beza has well rendered it aggregatio, “ gathering together.” James alone uses the expression, 'n ouvcywyn, the synagogue of Christians. Whether he intends, however, the place of meeting, or the assembling or gathering together, or the assembly which meets, I shall not now scrupulously examine. But that Apostle also addresses himself chiefly to the Jews, to whom he thought it would be agreeable for him to adopt a term which among them was at once common and honourable.62
6 Heb. x. 25.
h James ü. 2. 6e See Note LXII.