Page images
PDF
EPUB

«ness and salvation; to which may be added, the inter« cession between God and man, which jointly respect « both. - “ First, it is his especial work to disclose God's mind “ to us; whence he is styled the Spirit of truth, the Spirit of prophecy, the Spirit of revelation; for that all “ supernatural light and wisdom have ever proceeded “ from him. He instructed all the prophets that have been since the world began, to know, he enabled them " to speak, the mind of God concerning things present “ and future. Holy men (that have taught men their “ duty, and led them in the way to bliss) were but his“ instruments speaking as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. '

“ By his inspiration the holy scriptures (the most full “ and certain witness of God's mind, the law and testi“ mony by which our life is to be directed and regulated) a were conceived. He guided the apostles in all truth, « and by them instructed the world in the knowledge of “ God's gracious intentions towards mankind, and in all " the holy mysteries of the gospel: That which in other agcs was not made known unto, the sons of men, as it is

now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the « Spirit. Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath " prepared for them that love him; but God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit, saith St. Paul. All the know" LEDGE we can pretend to in these things doth proceed « merely from his revelation, doth wholly rely upon his “ authority.

“ To him it especially belongs to execute the will of « God, in matters transcending the ordinary power and a course of nature. Whence he is called the power of the Most High, (that is, the substantial power and vir“ tue of God,) the finger of God (as by comparing the “ expression of St. Luke and St. Matthew may appear);

" and whatever eminent God hath designed, he is said
“ to have performed by him; by him he framed the
“ world, and (as Job speaketh) garnished the heavens.
“ Ry him he governeth the world, so that all extraordi-
“ nary works of Providence, (when God, beside the com-
« mon law and usual course of nature, doth interpose to
“ do any thing,) all miraculous performances are attri-
“ buted to his energy. By him our Saviour, by him
" the apostles, by him the prophets, are expressly said
« to perform their wonderful works; but especially by
“ him God manages that great work, so earnestly de-

signed by him, of our salvation ;, working in us all “ good dispositions, capacifying us for salvation, direct“ing and assisting us in all our actions tending thereto.

« We naturally are void of those good dispositions in “ understanding, will, and affections which are needful 6 to render us acceptable unto God, fit to serve and “ please him, capable of any favour from him, of any

true happiness in ourselves. Our minds naturally « are blind, ignorant, stupid, giddy, and prone to error, “ especially in things supernatural and spiritual, and ab“ stracted from ordinary sense. Our wills are froward " and stubborn, light and unstable, inclining to evil, and “averse from what is truly good; our affections are very “ irregular, disorderly, and unsettled; to remove which " bad dispositions, inconsistent with God's friendship “and favour, driving us into sin and misery,) and to " beget those contrary to them, the KNOWLEDGE and “ belief of divine truth, a love of goodness and delight « therein; a well composed, orderly, and steady frame “ or spirit, God in menty doth grant to us the virtue of .' * his Holy Spirit; who first opening our hearts, so as to 5 let in and apprehend the light of divine truth, then, " by representation of proper arguments, persuading “our reason to embrace it, begetteth divine knowledge, “wisdom, and faith in our minds, which is the work of

« illumination and instruction, the first part of his office “ respecting our salvation. .“ Then by continual impressions he bendeth our in6 clinations, and mollifieth our hearts, and tempereth « our affections to a willing compliance with God's will,

and a hearty complacence in that which is good and “ pleasing to God; so breeding all pious and virtuous « inclinations in us, reverence towards God, charity to “ men, sobriety and purity as to ourselves, with the rest .“ of those amiable and heavenly virtues of soul, which « is the work of sanctification, another great part of his

6 office.

“ Both these operations together (enlightening our 6. minds, sanctifying our wills and affections) do consti“ tute and accomplish that work, which is styled the “ regeneration, renovation, vivification, new creation, “ resurrection of a man; the faculties of our souls being « so improved, that we become, as is were, other men “ thereby.; able and apt to do that for which before we “ were altogether indisposed and unfit. : “ He also directeth and governeth our actions, con“ tinually leading and moving us in the ways of obedi« ence to God's holy will and law. As we live by him, “ (having a new spiritual life implanted in us, so we 6 walk by him, are continually led and acted by his con- . “ duct and help. He reclaimeth us from error and sin; “ he supporteth and strengtheneth us in temptation; he " adviseth and admonisheth, exciteth and encourageth 6 us to all works of piety and virtue. ..

“ Particularly he guideth and quickeneth us in devo“tion, shewing us what we should ask, raising in us holy « desires and comfortable hopes, disposing us to 'ap“ proach unto God with firm dispositions of mind, love, . “ and reverence, and humble confidence.

<It is also a notable part of the Holy Spirit's office to “ comfort and sustain us in all our religious practice, so

"particularly in our doubts, difficulties, distresses, and

afflictions; to beget joy, peace, and satisfaction.in us, " in all our performances, and in all our sufferings, “whence the title of Comforter belongeth to him.

“ It is also another part thereof to assure us of God's “ gracious love and favour, and that we are his children; “confirming in us the hopes of our everlasting inheri“ tance. We feeling ourselves to live spiritually by him, “ to love God and goodness, to thirst after righteousness, “ and to delight in pleasing God, are thereby raised to « hope God loves and favours us; and that he having, 6 by so authentic a seal, ratified his word and promise, “ having already bestowed so sure a pledge, so precious

an earnest, so plentiful first-fruits, will not fail to “ make good the remainder designed and promised us, “ of everlasting joy and bliss.”

Let no man be afraid or ashamed of maintaining opinions on the divine energy, which are thus supported by the first of scholars and philosophers, Isaac BARROW. . .

SECTION IX.

Bishop Bull's Opinion on the Evidence of the Spirit of God on the Mind of Man, and its Union with it; the loss of that Spirit by Adam's Fall, and the Recovery of it by Christ.

“ THE second way,” says Bishop Bull, “ by " which the Spirit of God witnesseth with our spirit, " that we are the sons of God, is by enlightening our "understandings, and strengthening the eyes of our “minds, as occasion requires, to discern those gracious “ fruits and effects which God hath wrought in us.

« The Spirit of God, which in the first beginning of “ things moved upon the face of the great deep, and in“ vigorated the chaos, or dark and confused heap of “ things, and caused light to shine out of that darkness, “ can, with the greatest ease, when he pleases, cause “ the light of divine consolation to arise and shine upon « the dark and disconsolate soul. And this he often “ doth. I may here appeal to the EXPERIENCE of “ many good Christians, who sometimes find a sudden “ joy coming into their minds, ENLIGHTENING their “ UNDERSTANDINGS, dispelling all clouds from thence, “ warming and enlivening their affections, and enabling « them to discern the graces of God shining in their “ brightness, and to FEEL them vigorously acting in 6 their souls, so that they have been, after a sort, “ TRANSFIGURED with their Saviour, and wished, with “ St. Peter, that they might always dwell on that mount 66 Tabor.**** .“ Man may be considered in a double relation; first “ in relation to the natural, animal, and carthly life ;- and « so he is a perfect man, that hath only a reasonable soul 6 and body adapted to it; for the powers and faculties “ of these are sufficient to the exercise of the functions " and operations belonging to such a life. But secondly, 66 man may be considered in order to a supernatural end, “ and as designed to a spiritual and celestial life; and of “ this life the SPIRIT OF God is the principle. I'or “ man's natural powers and faculties, even as they were “ before the fall, ENTIRE, were not sufficient or able “ of themselves to reach such a supernatural end, but **needed the power of the DIVINE SPIRIT to strengthen, “ elevate, and raise them. He that denies this, opposes “ himself against the stream and current of the holy 6 scriptures, and the consent of the Catholic church. “ Therefore to the perfect constitution of man, consi“ dered in this relation, a reasonable soul and a body

« PreviousContinue »