« AnteriorContinuar »
The Spirit an Earnest. "HE Holy Spirit is said to be an earnest. It is not any
act or work of the Spirit in us or upon us; but he himself is the earnest. This is expressed in every place where it is mentioned. 2 Cor. i. 22, dous tov cepprebave te TVEULATC, — the earnest of the Spirit:' that earnest which is the Spirit, or the Spirit as an earnest. And in Eph. i. 14, it is expressly said, that the Holy Spirit is the ' earnest of our inheritance.' God gives us his Holy Spirit to dwell in us, and to abide with us, as an earnest of our future inheritance.
The general end of an earnest or pledge, is alluded to in this name of the Spirit; which is to give security of something that is future. God, in his sovereign grace and bounty, gives his Holy Spirit to believers ; and withal lets them know, that it is with a design to give them much more in his appointed season, even their whole inherit
How the Spirit is an earnest of that inheritance, may be briefly declared.
Christ himself, in his own person, is the heir of all things ; so he was appointed of God, and therefore the whole inheritance is absolutely his. Man, by his sin, had forfeited his right to all the ends of his creation, both on earth and in Heaven. Death and Hell were all that the human race were entitled to: but yet all the glorious things that God had provided were not to be cast away,man heir was to be provided for them. When man had lost his right, God did not so take the forfeiture as to seize it all into the hands of justice, and destroy it ; but he invested the whole inheritance in his Son. This inheritance, as to our interest in it, lay under a forfeiture; and as 'to us, it must be redeemed, before we can be made partakers of it. Wherefore the Lord Christ, who had a right in his own person to the whole, was yet to redeem it from under the forfeiture, and purchase the possession of it for us; and thence it is called the Purchased Possession : and hereon he became the great Trustee for the whole church, and had their interest in this inheritance committed to him. No man, therefore, can have any right to it, but by virtue of an interest in Christ, and union with him.
The way in which we come to have an interest in Christ, and thereby a right to the inheritance, is by the participation of the Spirit of Christ ; for it is by the Spirit of Adoption, the Spirit of the Son, that we are made children. Now,' saith the apostle, “if we are children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.'
Hence it is manisest how this Holy Spirit becomes the earnest of our inheritance; for by him, that is, by the communication of him unto us, we are made joint heirs with Christ, which gives us our right and title, whereby our natures are, as it were, inserted into the conveyance of the great and full inheritance of our grace and glory: and he is to be an earnest until or unto the redemption of the purchased possession ; for after a man has obtained á firm title to an inheritance, it may be a long time before he can be admitted into the actual possession of it; and he may have many difficulties to conflict with in the mean time.. So it is in this case. The earnest of the Spirit given unto us, whereby we become co-heirs with Christ, whose Spirit we are partakers of, secures the title of the inheritance : but before we can come to the - full possession of it, we have not only many spiritual trials to conflict with, but our bodies also are liable to death and corruption. Wherefore, whatever earnest we may enjoy, yet we cannot enter into the actual possession of the whole inheritance until not only our souls are delivered from all sin and temptations, but our bodies also are rescued out of the dust of the grave; and this is signally called the Redemption of the Body.'
In like manner we are said to receive the first fruits of the Spirit' (Rom. viii. 23); that is, the Spirit himself, as the beginning and pledige of future glory. The apostle is discoursing about the liberty of the whole creation, from its present state of bondage ; with respect to which he saith, that believers themselves having not yet obtained a full deliverance, do groan after its perfect accomplishment: but yet, saith he, we have the beginning of it, the first fruits of it, in the communication of the Spirit unto us; for where the Spirit of God is, there is liberty :: and though we are not capable of the full and perfecť estate of the liberty provided for the children of God, while we are is this world, conflicting with the remainders of sin, yet where the Spirit of God is, there we have the first fruit of that fulness of our redemption : there is liberty in the real beginning of it, and assured consolation, because it shall be consummated in the appointed season.
These are some of the spiritual benefits and privileges which believers enjoy from the Holy Ghost as a Comforter: and we may observe (1.) That all evangelical privileges which believers enjoy in this world, centre in the person of the Holy Spirit. He is the great promise that Christ made to his disciples, the great legacy which he has bequeathed to them. The grant made to him by the Father, when he had done all his will, was this of the Holy Spirit, to be communicated by him to the church. This he received of the Father, as the complement of his reward, wherein he saw of the travail of his soul, and was satisfied.' This Spirit he now gives to believers; and no tongue can express the benefits which they receive thereby. Therein are they anointed and sealed,--therein do they receive the earnest and first fruits of immortality and glory. In a word, therein are they taken into a participation with Christ himself, in all his honour and glory. Hereby is their condition rendered honourable, safe, comfortable, and the whole inheritance is unchangeably secured unto them. In this one privilege therefore of receiving the Spirit, are all others included. (2.) No one way, or thing, or similitude, can express or represent the greatness of this privilege. It is anointing, it is sealing, it is an earnest and first fruit ;-every thing whereby the love of God and the blessed security of our condition may be expressed or intimated to us ;-for what greater pledge can we have of the favour of God, what greater dignity can we enjoy,--what greater assurance can we have of future glory, than that God hath given us his Holy Spirit? And (3.) Hence also it is manifest, how abundantly willing he is that the heirs of promise should receive strong consolation in‘all their distresses, when they fly for refuge to the hope that is set before them.
what he has done for you, how much you are concerned in his continuance with you; and remember, that he is a free, infinitely wise, and holy agent in all that he doth,who came freely unto you, and can withdraw from you ;-therefore, grieve him not.
Grief is here ascribed to the Holy Spirit, pot properly, but metaphorically, in order to give us such an apprehension of things as we are able to receive. What may justly grieve a good man, and what he will do 'when undeservedly grieved, represent to us what we are to understand of our own condition, with respect to the Holy Ghost, when he is said to be grieved by us: and grief, in the sense here intended, is a trouble of mind arising from an apprehension of unkindness not deserved, -of disappointments not expected, on account of a near concern in those by whom we are grieved. Hence we may see what it is we are warned of, when we are cautioned not to grieve the Holy Spirit. As,
1. There must be unkindness in what we do. Sin has various aspects towards God-of guilt, filth, and the like ; but grieving him denotes unkindness, or a defect of love, answerable to the testimonies we have received of his love to us. He is the Spirit of Love,-he is Love. All his actings towards us and in us are fruits of his love; and all our joys and consolations arise from a sense of the love of God, communicated in an endearing way of love unto our souls. This requires a return of love and delight in all duties of obedience on our part. When, instead hereof, by our negligence and carelessness, or otherwise, we fall into those things which he abhors, he observes the unkindness and ingratitude which is therein, and is therefore said to be grieved by us.
2. Disappointment in expectation. Properly speaking, disappointment is utterly inconsistent with the prescience and omniscience of the Spirit of God. But we are disappointed when things fall out contrary to expectations, and to the means we employed for their accomplishment; and when the means that God useth towards us do not, by reason of our sins, produce the effect they
are suited unto, God speaks of himself as disappointed. Now disappointment causeth grief. As when a father hath used all means for the education of a child, and expended much of his estate therein, if he, through dissoluteness or idleness, deceive his expectation, it fills him with grief. The Spirit of God hath done great things for us; and they all have a tendency to an increase in holiness, light, and love. Where they have not a suitable effect, there is that disappointment which causes grief.
3. The concern of the Holy Spirit in us, concurs to his being grieved; for we are grieved by those in whom we are particularly concerned, -those whom we love, or to whom we are related. The miscarriages of others are passed over without any such trouble. Now the Holy Spirit has undertaken the office of a Comforter, and stands in that relation to us ; and his love towards us has been already declared. Hence he is so concerned in us, that he is said to be grieved with our sins when he is not so at the sins of others, to whom he stands in no special relation.
Now we may be said to grieve the Spirit (1.) When we are not influenced by his love and kindness to answer his mind and will in all holy obedience, accompanied with joy, love, and delight. This he deserves at our hands, this he expects from us; but where it is neglected, when we attend to duties witlı an unwilling mind, or servile frame, we are said to grieve him.
(2.) When we lose the sense and impression of signal mercies received by him, when we forget the grace, kindness, and condescension of the Holy Spirit in his dwelling in us, and communicating the love and grace of God unto us, we may well be said to grieve him.
(3.) Some sins there are which, in a special manner, above, others, do grieve the Holy Spirit. These our apostles discourseth of in 1 Cor. iii. 15–20; and by the connection of the words, he seems to make corrupt communication, which always hath a tendency to corruption of conversation, to be a sin of this nature. Verse 39, 30.
When any persons continue in those ways whereby he is grieved, he is said to be vexed. Thus it is said of some of old: They rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit; therea