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the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending and remaining on him, the same is he which baptiseth with the Holy Ghost.” “ 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.” He “cast out devils” “by the Spirit of God.” From God also he received the wisdom and integrity of a righteous Judge. “Give—thy righteousness unto the King's Son. He shall judge thy people with righteousness and thy poor with judgment.” 4. Means and the Spirit were both necessary to make that human being holy and to keep him holy. To begin with means. “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. Butter and honey shall he eat, that he may know to refuse the evil and choose the good.” His habits of virtue were confirmed like those of another man. “Though he were a Son yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered: and being made perfect, [by these confirming trials of his love and obedience, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him.” He needed the Spirit too. “The Lord God—wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth my ear to hear as the learned. The Lord God hath opened my ear and I was not rebellious, neither turned away back. [To open the ear was a well known figure, denoting, to render obedient.] I gave my back to the smiters and my cheeks to them that plucked off the hair: I hid not my face from shame and spitting.” “Be not thou far from me, O Lord: O my strength, haste thee to help me.” “My God shall be my strength.” Of that
wondrous stranger of Nazareth it was said, “And the child grew and waxed strong in spirit, [in the margin, “by the Spirit,”] filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.” During the period of his youth, “Jesus increased in wisdom and stature and in favour with God and man.” And when he came to make that offering about which the Spirit of prophesy had said, “The Lord God hath opened my ear and I was not rebellious,” did he go alone? did the man achieve it all in his own independent strength 7 No, it was the Spirit that made his life so pure that his offering was without a spot. “Who, through the eternal Spirit, offered himself without spot to God.” As the affections of that holy man were thus indubitably influenced by the Spirit, the only question is, whether the influence was efficient or merely by motives. According to our brethren, the only thing which renders the Spirit necessary for men, is bad affections; and the chief obstruction to the empire of truth arising from bad affections, lies in their going after other objects and holding the attention from the truth: to which they add the power of habit; which, from the associations existing, not only among our ideas, but, according to Reid and Stewart, among all the operations of the mind, and from the increasing facility with which these associations are formed and all these operations are carried on, renders the exercise of holy or sin
* Num. 4.47. Ps. 22. 19. and 72. 1, 2, and 89. 20–29. Isai. 7.14, 15. and 11.1–4, and 49.5. and 50.4–6. and 61.1. Mat. 3. 16, 17. and 12. 28. Luke 2.40, 52. and 3.23. John 1: 33, and 3. 34. Acts. 10.38. Rom. 8. 29. Heb. 5, 4–9, and 9. 14. 1 John 2, 20, 27.
178 six LESS CREATURES DEPENDENT FOR HOLINEss.
ful affections more and more easy and certain. They hold that truth throws so attractive a light upon reason and selflove, that if the attention can be fastened to it, the mind will be likely to yield to its influence; at any rate, that the Spirit can do no more than to present truth in so clear and affecting a light as to arrest the roving attention and fasten it to spiritual objects. Now certainly Jesus had no such rambling attention which needed to be brought back to divine things. That only operation which our brethren ascribe to the Spirit, and which depravity alone renders necessary, could not have been wrought in this instance. If the sanctifying Spirit moved upon that mind, it must have been in a way and for a purpose wholly out of the scope of their plan. The single fact therefore that the sanctifying Spirit moved upon Jesus, wholly breaks up their theory, and forever settles the point that the office of the Spirit is not merely to fix the attention of a fallen creature upon truth, but to move even the holy by effectual power. -
If God can control the mind either by efficiency or by motives, he can prevent sin: for if he can control one mind he can control all minds. If then you deny that he could have prevented sin, you deny both his efficiency and the absolute dominion of motives. The writers in the Christian Spectator must therefore be ranked among the deniers of both ways of control, because they deny God's power to prevent sin. For although now and then they qualify the denial by saying that the inability is only possible or probable or highly probable; yet men of their character would not fill the world with arguments in support of a point, of such unequalled solemnity, about which they had a serious doubt. Besides, all their theories respecting regeneration and sanctification and election and predestination and moral agency, fall at once if God has such an absolute control over the mind as is implied in a power to prevent sin. They say the mind turns itself in view of motives, and often resists all the inducements which God can bring. They make election and predestination to consist in a mere determination to bring forward such creatures and means, with a foresight of the decisions of the self-deter
mining power. They deny that moral agency can consist with any mode of absolute control. All these theories flatly contradict God's power to prevent sin. If then I prove that God could have prevented sin, it sweeps away their whole system respecting predestination and election and regeneration and sanctification and moral agency. One thing must be distinctly noted in the outset. If God could not have prevented sin in all worlds and ages, he cannot prevent sin in any world or age, or in any creature at any time, except by preventing the particular occasion and temptation. If God could not have prevented sin in the universe, he cannot prevent believers from fatally falling; he cannot prevent Gabriel and Paul from sinking at once into devils, and heaven from turning into a hell. And were he to create new races to fill the vacant seats, they might turn to devils as fast as he created them, in spite of any thing that he could do short of destroying their moral agency. He is liable to be defeated in all his designs, and to be as miserable as he is benevolent. This is infinitely the gloomiest idea that was ever thrown upon the world. It is gloomier then hell itself. For this involves only the destruction of a part, but that involves the wretchedness of God and his whole creation. And how awfully gloomy as it respects the prospects of individual believers. You have no security that you shall stand an hour. And even if you get to heaven, you have no certainty of remaining there a day. All is doubt and sepulchral gloom. And where is the glory of God? where the transcendent glory of raising to spiritual life a world dead in trespasses and