of the Holy Spirit
By Samuel Eyles Pierce
In Two Parts
" Part One"
On the distinct personality, titles, names, perfection's, and essential Godhead of the Holy Ghost, with scriptural proofs of his existence in Godhead, of his being co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son, the incomprehensible Jehovah: the object of faith, hope, love, and worship, and of equal glory with the Father and the Son.
The being, life, nature, perfection's, majesty, blessedness, and sovereignty of God are revealed, and set before us, in the volume of inspiration. From it, we, as far as taught by him who inspired it, and those who wrote it, learn that the Godhead is self-existent, all-sufficient, omniscient, omnipotent, and omnipresent, the fountain of essential perfection. We learn also that in the infinite essence there is a distinct mode of personal subsistence which being in it, and essential to it, there is the most divine, personal, and perfect equality. The personal modes of subsisting in the Godhead are by a necessity of nature, as the essence of Jehovah is necessary or self existent. The personalities in Jehovah are self-existent, as the nature of Godhead, in which they exist, is. They are revealed in the holy scriptures under the names of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; the three who bear record in Heaven: and these three are one ( I John 5: 7 ). So that what we profess from the infallible word concerning our belief of the Trinity in the unity of one incomprehensible Jehovah is the distinct mode of existence in the essence subsisting: which modus is incomprehensible. Yet, it being a revealed truth, the personal existence of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost gives proof that the divine nature is social. Which is a declaration of the highest perfection of Godhead, and leads to the most exalted ideas of essential blessedness. The essential three have a full knowledge of each other, and of the modus of their existence in the self-existent essence. They have a mutual love, converse, delight, indwelling, and solace with each other; with a full enjoyment of all the essential perfection's and blessedness of deity. This is the fountain and spring of their essential life and blessedness, to which nothing can be added, and from which nothing can be taken.
One and the same divine nature, life, perfection's, blessedness, glory, and immortality subsist in each, and in their utmost fullness, in the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. This the scripture gives evidence of in the name Jehovah (which expresses the incommunicable nature of God) that occurs in the Old Testament 6,855 times, and is applied to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost: which proves the unity of essence. The Father is Jehovah (Isa. 42:5). The Son is Jehovah (Isa. 43: 11 ). The Spirit is Jehovah (Isa. 11:2). The Godhead is the fountain of the divine persons. Their relation to each other is essential to it. Hence their unity in the essence is included in the name Jehovah, which is given to the Eternal Three: "Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of Hosts" (Isa. 6:3). The distinct personality of the Holy Ghost, with his existence, co-equality, co-eternity, and coessentiality with the Father and the Son in the incomprehensible Godhead, is a truth of eternal importance. It is an article of faith once delivered to the saints: to which all the scripture bears testimony. In it he is joined with the Father and the Son in all the works of nature, providence, and grace. The essential perfection's of deity are ascribed to him, and he is declared to be the object of worship equally with the Father and the Son in the form of baptism prescribed by Christ himself (Matt. 28:19). All which are full proofs of his distinct personality and co-equality with the Father and the Son. As I design to treat of the distinct personality, title, names, and perfection's of the essential Godhead of the Holy Ghost, I shall begin with his real personality. In the Bible, that book of books, the Holy Ghost is spoken of as a person towhom personal properties, acts, and perfection's are attributed: and divine perfection's are ascribed unto Him, as life, understanding, love, and will; which prove him to be a person. As such he is spoken of by Christ himself: "When he is come, he shall reprove the world of sin" (John 16:8).
He is said to search "all things, yea, the deep things of God" (I Cor. 2: 10); and to bestow his gifts "severally as he will" I Cor. 12: 11 ). These are personal acts, and plainly prove to him to be a divine person in the incomprehensible Godhead. Personal properties and actions are attributed unto him. He is said to speak; and his speeches are frequently recorded. The Spirit said unto Peter, "Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing; for I have sent them" (Acts 10:20). And "the Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them" (Acts 13:2). Such things and actions are attributed to him as can in no sense be attributed to the Father; and which could not be attributed to the Spirit if he were only the virtue or power of the Father, and not a real distinct person from him. Thus, for instance, the Holy Ghost is said to be sent from the Father in the name of Christ. And he is said to make intercession for the saints. None of which can be said of God the Father.
We have him speaking to the Father and the Son as personally distinct from them, yet co-essential with them, saying, "Whom shall I send and who will go for us? (Isa. 6:8). Our Lord Jesus Christ speaks of him as a person: "When the comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, be shall testify of me" (John 15:26). In which words we have an account of the essential and distinct personality of the Holy Ghost. He proceeds from the Father and the Son by an incomprehensible and eternal procession; so that the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost are relatively distinct, and yet really united in the divine essence, one eternal and incomprehensible God; and in these words of our Lord the procession of the Holy Ghost, according to the economy of the divine persons in their everlasting covenant-contract, is also implied, contained, and expressed.
His title, by which he is very eminently distinguished in the Old and New Testament, is that of the Spirit of holiness, or Holy Spirit: which he is essentially, as the Spirit of the living God. And he is also so denominated on account of his work and office in the souls of the elect.
His names throughout the Old Testament are the Spirit Of God, the Spirit of the Lord (2 Sam. 23:2), the Spirit of the Almighty (job 33:4), the breath of Jehovah's mouth (Psalm 33:6), the Spirit of the Lord God (Isa. 61: 1), the most high God (Psalm 78:56), the Lord God (Psalm 68:18), the Spirit of grace and supplications (Zech. 12: 10), Holy Spirit (Isa. 63: 10). And in the New Testament, he is styled the power of the highest (Luke 1:35), the Spirit of God (Matt. 3:16), the Spirit of the Father (John 15:26), the Spirit of his Son (Gal. 4:6), the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9), Lord and God (I Cor. 12: 5, 6), the Spirit of the living God (2 Cor. 3:3), and the Spirit of glory (I Peter 4:14). And various other names are given him descriptive of his work and office in the economy of grace. Divine attributes and the essential perfection's of Godhead are ascribed unto him personally: as eternity (Heb. 9:14), immensity, omnipresence, omniscience (Psalm 139:1-16), and omnipotence (Isa. 40:12). Immutability, and necessary and self-existence are included in the incommunicable nature of the Godhead, which is given him (Jer. 31:33). This is applied by the apostle to, the Holy Ghost (Heb. 10: 15, 16). All these perfection's, eternity, immensity, omnipresence, omnipotence, omniscience, immutability, necessary and self existence are essential to Godhead. And the whole fullness of the divine nature, in all these boundless and immense perfection's, dwells invariably in the person of the Holy Ghost. The works of creation, providence, and grace, are attributed to him also, as personally considered. His concern in creation is asserted by Moses in the book of Genesis (Chap. 1: 2). The Psalmist says, "By the word of the Lord were the Heavens made: and all the host of them by the breath, or spirit, of his mouth (Psalm 33:6). job says, "By his spirit he hath garnished the Heavens; his hand hath formed the crooked serpent" (job 26:13). Elihu says, "The Spirit of God hath made me, and the breath, or Spirit, of the Almighty hath given me life" (job 33:4). The concern of the eternal Spirit in the government of the world, which must include the whole process of Providence, is set forth by the prophet thus:
Who hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counselor hath taught him? With whom took he counsel, and who instructed him, and taught him in the path of judgment, and taught him knowledge, and shewed unto him the way of understanding? Behold the nations are as a drop of a bucket, and are counted as the small dust of the balance: behold he taketh up the isles as a very little thing. And Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beasts thereof sufficient for a burnt-offering. All nations before him are as nothing, and they are counted to him less than nothing, and vanity (Isa. 40:13-17).
I proceed to give some scriptural proofs of the personal existence of the Holy Ghost in the Godhead, and of his being co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son, the incomprehensible Jehovah.
The first scriptural proof, on which all others are naturally, necessarily, and absolutely founded, is in the first chapter of Genesis, which begins thus:
In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth, and the earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep: and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. And God said, Let there be light, and there was light.
The original word rendered by our translators God is universally allowed by the learned, both Jews and Christians, to be a plural one. It is in the Hebrew Elohim: and it is used in the plural form on purpose to point out the personalities in God. In the scripture quoted there are plain evidences of the Trinity. Here is God, the Spirit of God, and God said, equally united, and engaged in creating and forming all things and in producing them all out of nothing. The Psalmist comments on it saying, "By the word of the Lord were the Heavens made, and all the host of them by the breath of his mouth" (Psalm 33:6). To be before the world was, is a proof of Jehovah's eternity (Psalm 90:2), as also to be before the day was (Isa. 43:13). And here is the Holy Spirit, co-equal with the Father and the Son' existing before the world was, and equally present with them at the creation of all things. At the twenty-sixth verse of this chapter we have the Elohim, God, speaking in the plural number, and using the words us and our: which most cl2arly evinces a plurality of persons in the self-existing Godhead: "And God said, let us make man in our image, after our likeness." As this address must necessarily be to the other persons in the essence-existing, consequently the Holy Ghost, as one of the us, must be co-equal and co-eternal with the Father and the Son, in the incomprehensible Jehovah.
In the historical account given us in this chapter of the beginning of the creation of God, its progress, and order, the word rendered God, which, as said before, is in the Hebrew Elohim, and denotes a plurality in the divine nature, is repeated thirty-two different times. But when the works of creation are finished, then the words Jehovah Elohim are used. And the incommunicable name joined to the word God is scripture proof that each of the divine persons coexists in one and the same incomprehensible nature. In the sixth chapter of the: prophet Isaiah we have a most divine acknowledgment of the Eternal Three, and of their co-equality and co-existence in the self-existing essence. The seraphim cried, "Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of hosts." And the Holy Ghost was included; for we have him uttering his Almighty voice in an address to the Father and the Son, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?" (Isa. 6:8). The word us, as used by the persons in deity, is consecrated by them, as giving full proof of their co-existence, co-equality, co-essentiality, and unity in Godhead; which is fully proved in the third verse of 'this sixth chapter of Isaiah, the incommunicable name being there given to the Essential Three. "Holy, holy, holy is Jehovah of Hosts." And the Holy Ghost speaks, and uses the language of us in the eight verse ("Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?"), which is declared to be the voice and language of the Holy Ghost by the apostle Paul (Acts 28:25, 26, 27).
This word us is used also by Christ to denote his coexistence in the Godhead, and co-equality with the Father. Praying on the behalf of the elect he says, "That they all may be one, as tbou Father art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in us" (John 17:21). Our Lord speaking of himself says, "I came forth from the Father" (John 16:28). And speaking of the Spirit he saith, "He proceedeth from the Father" (John 15:26). There is a mutual in-being or in-existence of the divine persons. The Father, Son, and Holy Ghost have an in-existence or in-being in each other, in one and the same undivided essence. When we say the Father is God, the Son God, and the Holy Ghost God, we do not, as one most judiciously expressed it, mean that the Father abstracted from the Son and Holy Ghost, or the Son abstracted from the Father and the Holy Ghost, or the Holy Ghost abstracted from Father or Son, is God; but the Father having the Son and Holy Ghost in-existing in him is God, and the Son having the Father and the Holy Ghost in-existing in him is God, and so the Holy Ghost having the Father and Son in-existing in him is the one true God. Thus there is a unity of the divine nature in the plurality of persons. I go on to show and prove from Scripture that the Holy Ghost is the object of faith, hope, love, and worship, and of equal glory with the Father and the Son.
When our Lord speaks of the Spirit, be speaks of him as distinct from the Father and himself, saying, "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that be may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for be dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." The Holy Ghost is also joined in worship with the Father and the Son in the form of words prescribed by our Lord to be used in the administration of baptism. In which he is worshipped and acknowledged; and faith, hope, and love to him are to be in it expressed as truly, and distinctly, as to the Father and the Son.
I do for myself admire the acknowledgement made of the personality, equality, and essential deity of the Holy Ghost, together with the Father and the Son, in what is commonly called the Nicene Creed, in which it is said:
And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of. life who proceedeth from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified, who spake by the prophets.
The Holy Ghost is here the object of faith, hope, and love. Without faith it is impossible to please God. In baptism we profess our faith in the personality and deity of the Holy Spirit. He is the God of hope, through whose own power we abound in the exercise of it. Hence the apostle prays, "Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost" (Rom. 15:13). And he is the object of love, which is expressed in our worshipping him with the same worship and love which we give to the Father and the Son. This will further appear from the apostolic benediction pronounced by Paul: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Ghost be with you all. Amen" (2 Cor. 13:14).
In this benediction all the blessings of grace are invoked from the Three-one. And the Holy Spirit is as truly prayed unto as the Father and the Son. It is equal with the blessing recorded in the sixth chapter of Numbers, verse twenty-four, where the name Jehovah is three times solemnly repeated:
The Lord bless thee and keep thee. The Lord make his face to shine on thee, and be gracious unto thee. The Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace.
Here are all the persons in the Godhead solemnly acknowledged and addressed. Thus the scripture gives full proof that the Holy Ghost is the object of faith, hope, love, and worship, and of equal glory with the Father and the Son. This is most clearly, fully, and expressly evidenced in the form of baptism; in which the persons are -mentioned according to the relation they stand in to each other in the apostolic benediction, and also in that apostolic prayer offered up to the Holy Trinity in the Revelation (Chapter 1:4, 5, 6). The order is inverted to sbow they are equally one God, and to point out their economy in the covenant of grace, and their relations therein to the elect.
John to the seven churches which are in Asia. Grace be unto you and peace from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before his throne: and from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten from the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him who loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and bath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father: to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
Here the Holy Ghost is worshipped with the Father and the Son: as also in the fourth chapter, where the living creatures (the same with the seraphim in Isaiah's vision, and the living creatures, or cherubim in Ezekiel's) cry: "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." Here equal glory is given to the eternal Spirit with the Father and the Son. May what bath been declared concerning the distinct personality, titles, names, perfection's, and essential Godhead of the Holy Ghost, with the scripture
proofs which have been given of his existence in Godhead, of his being co-equal
and co-eternal with the Father and the Son, the incomprehensible Jehovah,
the object of faith, hope, love, and worship, and of equal glory with the
Father and the Son, lead to an exalting of the Holy Spirit in the heart and
life of such as are under his sacred unction and influence. Grant this, 0
Lord the Spirit, for thy own glory, and for thy truth's sake. To whom with
the Father and the Son, as co-equal in the same nature, essence, perfection's,
blessedness, and glory, I would ascribe everlasting honor, blessing, and
On the Holy Ghost's love to the elect - his work and office on their behalf, and for their benefit, in the economy of the everlasting covenant.
WHEN the love of the Holy Ghost to the elect is the subject; and when his union with them, with his relation and interest in them, is treated of, it should be particularly remembered that then we consider him, his power, and influence not essential, but ministerial, as be acts from the Father and the Son, according to the economy of the everlasting federal settlements between the sacred Three. And as he is the third in order of the Three, so his work and office on the behalf, and for the benefit of the elect, are founded on the order which subsists in the essence-existing. As the Father, as the first person in the Godhead, orders all things, and the Son agreeable to, and in obedience to the Father's will, works from him, and performs all things on the behalf of his people, and finishes salvation-work; so the Holy Ghost works from the Father and the Son, reveals, applies, and puts into actual possession of all. Let it be carefully remembered that though there are three persons in the Godhead, yet there are not three operations; for the Father does nothing by himself, nor the Son by himself, nor the Holy Ghost by himself; but the whole energy and operation of deity, relating to creatures, and the elect, begin with the Father, pass to the Son, and from the Father and the Son to the Holy Ghost: all which are by one thought, and it is in one infinite mind; and, therefore, though they are three persons, they are but one numerical power, will, and energy eternally flowing, and in the same instant communicated from one to the other in an infinite and incomprehensible manner. All the operations of the Trinity in creation, providence, and grace must be common to all the Three; for they can no more act than they can subsist separately: for the attributes of deity are in each person, yet the offices of the divine persons, as they stand related to the elect, are so revealed in scripture, that election is very particularly attributed to the Father, redemption to the Son, and sanctification to the Spirit. Thus, "Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ" (I Pet. 1:2). Where mention is made of all the divine persons, and of their distinct acts and operations in grace, the Holy Ghost, as personally subsisting in the incomprehensible nature, must have life, understanding, will, truth, knowledge, holiness, self-existence, blessedness, and love, which must be essential to his personality. And in relation to his mission from the Father and the Son, be ministerially is pleased to prove to the church, and in the hearts of his faithful people, that be loves them, as the Father and the Son do, with an everlasting love. The love of the Eternal Spirit is expressly mentioned by Paul in Romans 15:30. And when we consider his union with them, his relation to, and interest in them, we shall find it to be equal with the love of the Father and the Son. It may lead to a proper view of the subject if we consider the person of Christ, God-man, to be designed to express and set forth the utmost display of Godhead in its nature, persons, and perfection's, and of God's manifestative glory, to the uttermost of the elect creature's capacity; and that God dwelling personally in our nature is the object of Jehovah's eternal delight and complacency - the darling of the Eternal Trinity. The Father's love to him is unspeakable. So is the Spirit's. He revealed his mediatorial, personal, relative, and essential glories in the word. He framed the body assumed by the Son of God into personal union with him. He filled it with all the fulness of grace and! glory; and dwells in Christ in an unspeakable way and manner. He is called the Spirit of Christ. "He anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows." He consecrated him to his work and office.
Immanuel received the name and title, Messiah, Christ, or Anointed, from the Holy Ghost, who filled his human nature With the whole fullness, of grace, so that our Lord entered on the execution of his office of mediation under the anointing of the Eternal Spirit; and is said to perform all, as influenced by him. Peter speaking of our Lord says, God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost, and with power; who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil (Acts 10:38). It was through the Eternal Spirit that be offered himself without spot to God (Heb. 9:14). Now he, who thus loved the head of the whole election of grace, and was so concerned in him, and in all his mediatorial acts and offices, must most assuredly love the church, the mystic body of Christ.
And it fully appears that he does, as he is the one universal Spirit who inspires all the elect, or chosen of God, with spiritual life and light. He is the author of their new birth and every spiritual faculty thereof. He dwells in them, and is the root of all their graces, the fountain of all their joys, and the spring of all their heavenly consolations. He loves their persons, as the beloved of God, and as the very members of Christ, who had union, relation, and being in him by election before the foundation of the world. He loves them, as one with Christ. And his love to them personally and distinctly appears from his union with them, relation to, and interest in them. As Christ is the head of his body, the church, and as the Holy Ghost dwelleth in him, as the spirit of life, grace, and glory; so he must hereby have union also with the elect and mystic body, because he is to be that in a less measure to it, which he is more fully and superabundantly to the head.
Real believers, or the church of Christ, are styled "Temples of the Holy Ghost." The apostle in his second Epistle to the Corinthians says, "Ye are the temple of the living God." Consequently the Holy Ghost must be the living God, since it is because of his dwelling in us that we are "the temples of the living God." Now, his dwelling in us shows that he has an union with us. He is said to dwell in our bodies.
How much more then in our souls! As the soul dwells in the body, and is the life of it, and as the union between body and soul is inexplicable; so the Holy Ghost dwells in the souls and bodies of the saints, and his union with them and his indwelling in them are truly mysterious and divine: not to be comprehended: but to be believed, because the scripture declares it. His indwelling argues his love. It is a vast expression of it. This shows his relation to us. He is the Spirit of Christ, our head. And his dwelling and abiding in us show that he stands related to us by the everlasting covenant of grace, in which he was most graciously pleased to discover his interest in the elect by the work and office which he undertook on their behalf. An abstract of which you have in these words, "I am with you, saith the Lord of Hosts; according to the word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, so my spirit remaineth among you" (Haggai 2:4, 5). Here are the Lord, the Word, and the Spirit. And it is evident from this text, properly interpreted, that Jehovah covenanted with the Word; and in consequence of it, my spirit, saith the Lord, remaineth among you. In consonance with this John says, "There are three that bear record in Heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one" (I John 5:7). The record, which the Eternal Three bear is that before all worlds the elect were the objects of the Father's everlasting love and complacency, that out of the love wherewith he loved them be chose them in Christ before the foundation of the world, blessed them in him with all spiritual blessings, and accepted them in him to the praise of the glory of his grace (Eph. 1: 3, 4). In the foreviews of their fall in Adam, and all the consequences thereof, the Eternal Three willed, counseled, and covenanted their redemption through the suretyship-engagements of the God-man, and by his incarnation, obedience, and sacrifice; which were most clearly to be revealed in scripture, type, and prophecy to the church, by the Holy Ghost, through the ministry of the prophets. All which are most faithfully recorded in the scriptures of truth, that is, the Father's everlasting love to the persons of his elect, and the son's complete and eternal redemption wrought t and finished on their behalf. The Holy Spirit's witness to the eternal transactions between the Father and the Son with his testimony that Christ's work is a finished salvation, and that the Father's record of it is a full and sufficient warrant for our believing in the personal work, and word of Christ, and resting our souls thereon for our everlasting salvation is, I think, an all-sufficient proof of his being one of the holy covenanters, of his being deeply interested in the covenanted ones, of his sustaining an office in the everlasting covenant, and that his work is to sanctify all the elect people of God. This may further appear from the following scripture, where all the divine persons in Godhead are clearly expressed in their distinct personalities, offices, and acts of grace towards the elect. The words are these:
But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness, which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly, through Jesus Christ our Saviour: that being justified by his grace we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life (Titus 3:4, 5, 6, 7).
God the Father is the author of our eternal salvation. God the Son is the finisher of it. And God the Holy Ghost is the revealer of this great salvation. He quickens the soul with new and spiritual life, enlightens the mind with the light of everlasting life, and washes and cleanses the soul from guilt, as be leads the regenerate to the blood of Christ for health, purity, pardon, and peace. The love and kindness of God our Savior (by whom, in this place, Jehovah the Father is intended) come on us through Jesus Christ our Savior. The mercy of our heavenly Father streams through him down on us. He wrought out salvation; and through him all the blessings of it are communicated to us in regeneration. The Spirit himself is given us by Christ. Every supply of grace is out of his fullness. Every thing wrought in us, that is well pleasing in the sight of God, is through Christ; and even the gift of God, eternal life itself, is in him.
The Holy Ghost, according to the economy of the covenant, is sent by the Father and the Son. Of his effusion on Christ as Mediator you read in the following scripture: "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me" (Isa. 6 1: 1). And the Redeemer saith, "The Lord God, and his Spirit, hath sent me" (Isa. 48:16). His mission to his church, his work, and office, when sent and given, are thus expressed by our Lord. "I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you and shall be in you" (John 14: 16, 17). Again, in verse twenty-six, our Lord saitb, "But the comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." Speaking of the Holy Spirit in his work and office our Lord saitb, "He will guide you into all truth, for he shall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak, and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me, for be shall receive of mine, and shall sbew it unto you. All things that the Father bath are mine: therefore said I that he shall take of mine, and shall sbew it unto you." Thus it appears from the scriptures that the Holy Ghost loveth the elect - hath an union with them - stands related to them - and is interested in their souls and bodies; which is evidenced by his indwelling in them, and by their being in consequence thereof his temples. It is moreover proved by his work and office founded on the federal transactions in the everlasting covenant; in which he engaged to become the breath of spiritual life unto the elect, their enligbtener, sanctifier, guide, and comforter: his office in their souls being to bring them to an acquaintance with Christ as revealed in the word, to lead them to know him, and believe on him to life everlasting, to shed abroad the Father's love in their hearts, and to carry on divine fellowship between them and Christ, and the Father in him, through his own most gracious influence and presence with their souls: the benefits of which are unspeakable. From hence it appears that the everlasting covenant of the Trinity is all of grace - and that it fully reveals and makes manifest that our Jehovah is "the God of all grace." The love of Father, Son, and Spirit is a free, full, and everlasting love. The elect are the subjects of the Father's invariable love and delight. They are everlastingly saved in Christ, who loved them, and washed them from their sins in his own blood. They are, or will be, all and each of them called and renewed by the Holy Ghost, sanctified throughout in body, soul, and spirit, and sealed by him into the day of eternal redemption. May what hath been delivered on this more important subject, concerning the love of the Holy Ghost to the elect, his work and office on their behalf, and for their benefit, in the economy of the everlasting covenant, be accompanied with his own divine blessing! May it lead us to give him equal honor, glory, blessing, and praise with the Father and the Son for our complete salvation, and the enjoyment of everlasting life! He being the revealer of Christ to us, and the manifester of the Father's love, which he sheds in our hearts, may we express our love to him in every act of spiritual worship. Amen.
An account of his internal and external works - his extraordinary acts, gifts, and operations in, on, and for the benefit of, his church.
THERE has been an outward and visible manifestation of all the divine persons in God at the baptism of Christ, where the Son of God was seen in our nature parting the mystic wave. The Father by an audible voice from Heaven pronounced, "Thou art my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased" (Mark 1: 11). And the Spirit was seen "descending like a dove," pointing out Immanuel to be the Christ of God (John 1: 32, 33, 34). This sacred agent works on men both internally and externally. His works are wonderful. His acts, gifts, and operations in the souls of the elect, on them, and for the benefit of his church, are extraordinary; such as, when rightly viewed, proclaim him to be Lord God Omnipotent. I will divide the subject of the present section into two parts. I will first give an account of the internal work of the Holy Ghost. And second, I will give an account of the external works, and extraordinary acts, gifts, and operations of the Holy Ghost in, and on, his church, for the benefit thereof.
I begin first to give an account of his internal work on the souls of the elect.
His first work is a supernatural creation, which he produces in them by his own almighty energy, in which their will has no act. By this supernatural birth and life which he produces in them, and communicates to their souls, they become fit subjects for him to act further on: which he does by convincing them of sin, by letting them feel the guilt of it, opening their minds to see the exceeding sinfulness of their nature, life, and actions, and thus making way for them to receive salvation from the Lord, as the free gift of mere grace. And thus he disposes them on their receiving and believing on Christ to give him the entire glory of their complete salvation. He by his Almighty energy removes the convinced sinner off himself, and fixes him on Christ. He lives in Him as the fountain of spiritual life. He puts forth his influences in the soul agreeable to our Lord's account, who says, speaking of the believer, "The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water, springing up into everlasting life" (John 4:14). The Holy Ghost becomes in his gracious office to the believer the Spirit of grace and of supplications. He opens the mouth in prayer, enlarges the heart at the throne of grace, teaches the believer how to pray, and what to expect from the Lord. To be brief, the Holy Ghost begins his work in the souls of the elect in regeneration, and carries it on effectually converting them to love the Lord their God by showing to them and proving in them that the Father is reconciled unto them by the death of his Son, that be has freely forgiven them all trespasses, and loved them in Christ from everlasting. He shows them their interest in Christ by taking of his things and showing them unto them, and thereby giving them clearly to know Christ, his righteousness, blood, fullness, and grace, and their union with, interest in, and title to him and all the blessings and benefits of his great salvation. He pronounced the sentence of justification in their consciences. Hence Paul says, "But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, and ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the spirit of our God" (I Cor. 6: 11 ). He is the Spirit of adoption, and be bears witness to (not with) their spirits that they are the children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ (Rom. 8: 16, 17). Thus he carries on, and produces the fruits of sanctification, which causes them to grow in grace, and go on in a final perseverance in the fruits of holiness, the end of which is everlasting life. These are the outlines of the internal work of the Holy Ghost in the souls of the elect of God, and members of Christ, who are filled with all joy and peace in believing, and abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost (Rom. 15:13). Having thus given a general scheme or view of the Holy Spirit's internal work in the souls of the redeemed of the Lord, I proceed secondly to give an account of his external works, and extraordinary acts, gifts, and operations, in, on, and for the benefit of the church of Christ, who is expressly styled "The living God" (Heb. 3:12).
The first great and extraordinary works, acts, gifts, and operations of the Holy Ghost, which I style external, began on the day of Pentecost, and were more or less continued throughout the apostolic day; whereby he proved himself the founder of the New Testament church, who built it upon the everlasting foundation which the Father bad laid in Zion, and framed, and knit all the building into an holy temple in the Lord.
As there was a period fixed on for the, manifestation of the Son of God in our nature; so there was also a fixed time for the descent of the Holy Ghost. Our Lord was incarnate in the fullness of time. He had finished his work which the Father gave him to do, was received up into Heaven, and crowned with glory everlasting. Ten days from his ascension, on the festival and day of Pentecost, the Holy Ghost was given according to Christ's most true and faithful promise (Acts 1: 5 ). He came down from the Father and the Son, being according to the economy of the covenant sent by them, to testify of Christ that he was the Son of God, the true God, and that eternal life was in him. He came down to glorify Christ in the hearts of his apostles and believing people. He came down to bring all things to their remembrance which Christ had spoken, done, suffered, promised, and revealed unto them. He came down with a sudden great sound, as of a rushing, mighty wind, expressive of the power and efficacy of his grace, which is mighty and irresistible, secret and invisible, carrying all before it, casting down the strongholds of sin and Satan. And it filled all the house or room, where all the apostles and others, who were waiting on Christ for the fulfillment of his promise, were sitting; which might be symbolical of the spread of the everlasting Gospel. On this there were presented to their view visible appearances, which appearances were like parted flames of fire. And these parted flames looked like tongues, and sat upon each of them; one upon one of them, and another on another of them: or many on each of them. That is, the Holy Ghost in the appearance of fire. Hereupon, they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, with his gifts and graces. They were now baptized with the Spirit, and began to speak divers languages. One spoke one language, and another another; and sometimes the same person spoke one language and sometimes another. In this visible descent, and symbol of his presence, the personality of the Holy Ghost was realized, and as in his former descent in a bodily shape like a dove, and resting and remaining on Christ, his distinct personality from the Father and the Son was declared; so likewise it was on the day of Pentecost, when he descended and rested on the apostles and assembled church of Christ. And this was one of the great and extraordinary acts, whereby the New Testament promise was accomplished. The great promise of the Old Testament was that the Son of God should be given a covenant for the people (Isa. 42:6). The one grand promise to be fulfilled under the New Testament, yea, at the commencement of that dispensation, was that the Spirit should be poured out (Joel 2:28). He descended to prove that Christ was crowned in Heaven by the Father, and to demonstrate that Jesus of Nazareth, whom the Jews with wicked bands had crucified and slain, was constituted by him both Lord and Christ, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, that he was invested with office, power, and authority over all things, exalted above every name, that to him every knee should bow, that all power was given him in Heaven and on earth, and that he was appointed the bead of the church, his mystic body, the fullness of him which filleth all in all. Thus the Holy Spirit, on this descent of his, glorified Jesus. The fruits and effects it produced were wonderful. The apostles spoke the word of God with boldness. They publicly declared the wonderful works of God: the great truths, mysteries, doctrines, and secrets of the everlasting gospel. The Lord the Spirit bad continued, as the Spirit of Christ, the ministry of the prophets in the Old Testament church, by whom he testified of the sufferings of Christ , and the glory that should follow on his exaltation and coronation in Heaven. And he now descended to qualify the apostles for bearing their testimony for Christ, both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth (Acts 1: 8). And accordingly they preached the gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from Heaven (I Pet 1: 12). The immediate effects of it were the conversion of three thousand on the day of Pentecost, and five thousand shortly after.
The Holy Ghost was pleased to crown his descent with external demonstrations of his power, presence, and majesty. He conferred on the apostles and others miraculous gifts. He enabled them to work divers miracles on the bodies and minds Of men; to heal the sick by a word, and sometimes by a touch (Acts 3:6, 7; 5:15, 16; 19:11, 12); to raise the dead (Acts 9:40; 20:9, 10); to; cast out devils (Acts 19:12; 16:18); and to strike with blindness and death such as sinned grievously, or opposed the truth (Acts 5: 4,5, 9, 10; 13: 11 ). These were external extraordinary works, performed by the power of the Holy Ghost, and wrought by the apostles to confirm gospel-truth, and to strike terror into the minds of the opposers and persecutors of it. And these great and miraculous gifts were continued throughout the apostolic day, and then ceased. The gifts of the Holy Ghost, which were external, and were then bestowed on the ministers and members of Christ's church, at least on some of them, were as enumerated by Paul: first, the word of wisdom; second, the word of knowledge; third, the gifts of healing; fourth, the working of miracles; fifth, the gift of prophecy; sixth, a discerning of spirits; seven, diverse hinds of tongues, and eighth, the gift of interpretation of them. All these gifts were bestowed. on the church at Corinth. The members and ministers of it abounded in them. They were spiritual gifts conferred by the Holy Ghost, as Lord and God, in a sovereign way and manner according to, his own will. Yet they did not make those on whom they were bestowed spiritual, as fully appears from what Paul declares concerning many of the members of the visible church of Christ at Corinth. They were bestowed for the use and benefit of Christ's church, and to answer some peculiar ends in the apostolic age. Thus God bore witness both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, to the gospel of his dear Son.
The operations of the Holy Spirit in, and on the church of Christ, and for the benefit of it, were great and extraordinary. He continued his life-giving presence, power, and influence, with his word, for a long season. He brought in multitudes of elect souls by the preaching of the word to the obedience of faith. He enabled the church of Christ and the true ministers of it to endure persecutions, and even to grow thereby. He was with the people and ministers of Christ, and gave them strength equal to their days. He added to the church daily such as should be saved. He consecrated the New Testament church, sanctified the offering up of the Gentiles, that is, their devoting their souls and bodies, property and all, to Christ and his service. It was "acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost" (Rom. 15:16). He wrought on some externally, in whom he did not work by the mighty energy of his power. We read therefore of some, who were once enlightened, and had tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, who had tasted the good word of God and the powers of the world to come, that fell away, and became final apostates, as Judas did, who had been an apostle (Heb. 6:4, 5, 6). These persons were but temporary believers. They were not born again. And like as the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul; so he departed from these professors, having never been to Saul, nor to them, an indweller in their souls. Yet it was to answer some end to the real church of Christ, that these persons bad been once external members of it. Hereby real saints would be led to know and feel that grace in their souls is far beyond all gifts, that regeneration and conversion to God may be, and are, where these gifts are not; and that those things which accompany the true knowledge of Christ and his salvation - faith in Him and love to Him - are those gifts and callings of God which are without repentance, and which, where they are once given and bestowed, remain forever.
I close this section with observing that all the gifts and operations of the Holy Ghost are eventually for the benefit of the church of Christ. He loveth the elect spouse and bride of Christ, and is the life, the soul, the breath, the one universal spirit which lives and breathes throughout it. He inspired the prophets of the Old Testament, and the apostles and evangelists of the New to write scripture, and they wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost (2 Pet. 1:21). The scriptures are infallible. The Holy Ghost works effectually by the reading of them in the hearts of the elect. He wrought by the preaching of them in the ministry of the apostle, and turned sinners from darkness unto light, and the power of Satan unto God. He works still by the reading, preaching, and spiritual expounding of them by the ministers of his own sending and ordaining. He it is who continues the standing ministry of the gospel, who qualifies men to preach, and who clothes the word with power. Conversion is his continued miracle in the church. He will abide with the church, ordinances, and ministers of Christ to the end of the world, to supply the want of Christ's bodily presence. "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world. Amen" (Matt. 28:20), says Christ to his apostles and people. This he cannot be, but by his Spirit, which is a proof of the Spirit's immensity and omniscience. He must know the whole heart of Christ, the love of God the Father, and all the cases of all the militant church of Christ. He must be present with each and every one of them at all times, in all places, and cases. He must be present at all instituted worship with the universal, with the collected, and particular churches; yea, with each individual of Christ's purchased flock, even to the end of the world, or the promise of Christ must fail; which it cannot, his name being true and faithful (Rev. 3:14), his person invariable, and his word immutable (Heb. 13:6, 8). Heaven and earth shall pass away; but his word shall not (Matt. 24:35). This great promise of Christ to his church, concerning his being with them always, even unto the end of the world, sealed with his own Amen, may be looked on as his great, last, and universal promise, fulfilled by the presence, grace, influence, unction, and blessing of the Holy Ghost, the substitute of Christ, his representative, and founded on the everlasting covenant settlements of the sacred Three, proclaimed by Jehovah the Father thus:
As for me, this is my covenant with them (that is, with the church of the Redeemer), saith the Lord, ray Spirit that is upon thee, and my words, which I have put into thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seed's seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever (Isa. 59:21). I close this section, and first part of my Scripture-testimony of the personality, distinct existence, co-equality, co-eternity, and essential union of the Holy Ghost with the Father and the Son in the incomprehensible Godhead, with the account of his work and office in the economy of the everlasting covenant, of his union, with his relation and interest in the elect, his internal work, influence, and operations on their souls, and his external and extraordinary works on the behalf of the church of Christ, with prayer to his divine majesty, beseeching him to accept the same out of the riches of his own grace, and bless the reading of it as far as seemeth good in his sight. I ask this, Holy Spirit, for the glory of thy most holy name, to whom with the Father and the Son I ascribe all the glory, praise, and honor, which belong unto thee as one in the same boundless nature and essence with the Father and the Son, to whom be equal and unceasing praise throughout all thy church to eternal ages. Amen.