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III. I will inquire into the Nature and Operations of the Holy Spirit, as bestowed upon Christians.
I. I am to consider the Nature of our fall in Adam.
Our first parents did enjoy the presence of the Holy Spirit! for they were created in the image and likeness of God, which was no other than his Spirit. By that he communicates himself to his creatures, and by that alone they can bear any likeness to him. It is, indeed, his life in them; and is so properly divine, that upon this ground, angels and regenerate men are called his children.
But when man would not be guided by the Holy Spirit, it left him. When he would be wise in his own way, and in his own strength, and did not depend in simplicity upon his heavenly Father, the seed of a superior life was recalled from him. For he was no longer fit to be formed into a heavenly condition, when he had so unworthy a longing for, or rather dependance upon an earthly fruit, which he knew God would not bless to him; no longer fit to receive supernatural succours, when he could not be content with his happy state towards God, without an overcurious examination into it.
Then he found himself forsaken of God, and left to the poverty, weakness, and misery, of his own proper nature. He was now a mere animal, like unto other creatures made of flesh and blood, but only possessed of a larger understanding: by means of which he should either be led into greater absurdities than they could be guilty of, or else be made sensible of his lost happiness, and put into the right course for regaining it. That is, if he continued a careless apostate, he should love and admire the goods of this world, the adequate happiness only of animals ; and, to recommend them and dissemble their defects, add all the ornament to them that his superior wit could invent. Or else, (which is indeed more above brutes, but no nearer the perfection of man as a partaker of God, than the other,) he should frame a new world to himself in theory; sometimes by warm imaginations, and sometimes by cool reasonings, endeavour to aggrandize his condition and defend his
practice, or at least divert himself from feeling his own meanness and disorder.
If, on the other hand, he should be willing to find out the miseries of his fall, his understanding might furnish him with reasons for constant mourning, for despising and denying himself: might point out the sad effects of turning away from God and losing his Spirit, in the shame and anguish of a nature at variance with itself; thirsting after immortality, and yet subject to death; approving righteousness, and yet taking pleasure in things inconsistent with it; feeling an immense want of something to perfect and satisfy all its faculties, and yet neither able to know what that mighty thing is, otherwise than from its present defects, nor how to attain it, otherwise than by going contrary to its present inclinations.
Well might Adam now find himself naked: nothing less than God was departed from him. Till then he had experienced nothing but the goodness and sweetness of God: a heavenly life spread itself through his whole frame, as if he were not made of dust; his mind was filled with angelic wisdom, a direction from above took him by the hand; he walked and thought uprightly, and seemed not to be a child or novice in Divine Things. But now he had other things to experience; something in his soul, that he did not find, nor need to fear, while he was carried on straight forward by the gentle gale of divine grace; something in his body, that he could not see nor complain of while that body was covered with glory. He feels there a self-displeasure, turbulence, and confusion, such as is common to other spirits who have lost God: he sees here causes of present shame and a future dissolution; and a strong engagement to that groveling life which is common to animals that never enjoyed the divine nature.
· The general character, therefore, of man's present state is death: a death from God, whereby we no longer enjoy any intercourse with him, or happiness in him: we no: longer shine with his glory, or act with his powers. It is true, while we have a being, “ in him we must live, and
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move, and have our being :" but this we do now, not in a filial way, but only in a servile one, as all, even the meanest creatures, exist in him. It is one thing to receive from God an ability to walk and speak, eat and digest; to be supported by his hand as a part of this earthly creation, and upon the same terms with it, for farther trial or vengeance; and another, to receive from him a life which is his own likeness; to have within us something which is not of this creation, and which is nourished by his own immediate word and power. ?? · Yet this is not the whole that is implied in man's sin. For he is not only inclined himself to all the sottishness of appetite, and all the pride of reason, but he is fallen under the tutorage of the evil one, who mightily furthers him in both. The state he was at first placed in, was a state of the most simple subjection to God, and this entitled him to drink of his Spirit: but when he, not content to be actually in Paradise, under as full a light of God's countenance as he was capable of, must know good and evil, and be satisfied upon rational grounds whether it was best for him to be as he was, or not; when disdaining to be directed as a child, he must weigh every thing himself, and seek better evidence than the voice of his Maker and the seal of the Spirit in his heart; then he not only obeyed but became like to that eldest son of pride, and was unhappily entitled to frequent visits, or rather a continued influence from him. As life was annexed to his keeping the command, and accordingly that Spirit, which alone could form it unto true life, dwelt in his body : so being sentenced to death for his transgression, he was now delivered unto 6 him who has the power of death, that is, the devil ;" whose hostile and unkindly impressions promote death and sin at once. :. This being the state of man, if God should send him a Redeemer, what must that Redeemer do for him? Will it be sufficient for him to be the promulger of a new Law, to give us a set of excellent precepts? No: if we could keep them, that alone would not make us happy. A good conscience brings a man the happiness of being consistent with himself, but not that of being raised above himself into God; which every person will find, after all, is the thing he wants. Shall he be the fountain of an imputed righte. ousness, and procure the tenderest favour to all his fol. lowers? This also is not enough. Though à man should be allowed to be righteous, and be exempt from all punishment, yet if he is as really enslaved to the corruptions of nature, as endued with these privileges of redemption, he can hardly make himself easy; and whatever favour he can receive from God, here or hereafter, without a communication of himself, it is neither the cure of a spirit fallen, nor the happiness of one reconciled. Must not then our Redeemer be, (according to the character which St. John his forerunner gave of him,) one that “ baptizeth with the Holy Ghost;" the Fountain and Restorer of that to mankind, whereby they are restored to their first estate, and the enjoyment of God? And this is a presumptive argument that “ The Lord is that Spirit.”
II. But it will appear more plainly that he is so, from the second thing proposed : which was the consideration of the Person of Jesus Christ.
He was one to whom “ God gave not the Spirit by mea. sure; but in him dwelt, all the fulness of the Godhead bodily, and of his fulness we have all received, and grace for grace.” Indeed all the communications of the Godhead which any creatures could receive, were always from him as the Word of God: but all that mankind, now in an earthly state, were to receive, must be from him by means of that Body, at first mortal like unto theirs, and then glorious in the Likeness of God, which he took upon him for their sake.
In the beginning, the heavenly Word, being a Spirit that issued from the Father, and the Word of his power, made man an image of immortality, according to the likeness of the Father : but he who had been made in the image of God, afterwards became mortal, when the more powerful Spirit was separated from him. To remedy this, the Word
became Man, that man, by receiving the adoption, might become a Son of God once more: that the light of the Father might rest upon the flesh of our Lord, and come bright from thence unto us : and so man being encompassed with the light of the Godhead, might be carried into immortality. When he was incarnate and became man, he recapitulated in himself all generations of mankind, making himself the centre of our salvation, that what we lost in Adam, even the image and likeness of God, we might receive in Christ Jesus. By the Holy Ghost coming upon Mary, and the power of the Highest overshadowing her, the incarnation of Christ was wrought, and a new birth, whereby man should be born of God, was shewn; that as by our first birth we did inherit death, so by this birth we might inherit life.
This is no other than what St. Paul teaches us : 66 The first man, Adam, was made a living soul, but the Second Adam was made a quickening Spirit.” All that the first man possessed of himself, all that he has transmitted to us, is a living Soul ; a nature endued with an animal life, and receptive of a spiritual. But the Second Adam is, and was made to us, a quickening Spirit ; by a strength from him as our Creator, we were at first raised above ourselves; by a strength from him as our Redeemer, we shall again live unto God.
In him is laid up for us that supplement to our nature, which we shall find the need of sooner or later; and that it cannot be countervailed by any assistance from the creatures, or any improvement of our own faculties. For we were made to be happy only in God: and all our labours and hopes, while we do not thirst after our deified state, to partake as truly of God as we do of flesh and blood, to be glorified in his nature, as we have been dishonoured in our own; are the labours and hopes of those who utterly mistake themselves.
The Divine Wisdom knew what was our proper consolation, though we did not. What does more obviously present itself in the Saviour of the world, than an union of