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tice, in whatever degree it is manifested (if performed on the qualifying principle of grateful love to God, and a thorough sense of our own unworthiness, independent of his mercy and aid)—is not this a positive proof that we already possess a proportional degree of this saving principle?
This, I believe (my dear friends), is the faith that must carry us through the arduous work. These are some of the obvious means to obtain that gift; and if we apply with sincerity and purity of heart to the Father of all good gifts, to obtain it, for the sake of our soul's health, and in defence of his glory, we may all hope finally to meet in that blessed kingdom, where are rewards suited to different talents, and the improvement of them, and where no humble endeavour will prove in vain, through the merits and mediation of JESUS CHRIST, our Lord and SAVIOUR. To whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be ascribed, as is most due, all praise, might, majesty, and dominion, for ever and ever. Amen.
LECTURES ON THE CHURCH CATECHISM. 361
EIGHTH ARTICLE OF THE BELIEF:
ACTS, XIX. 2.
received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.
As the first part of the Creed contained all that was needful for us to know concerning GOD THE FATHER; So the last Lecture (which related to the second article) concluded all that was necessary for us to believe concerning God the Son, the Author and Finisher of our faith. Through the first Person in the adorable and undivided Trinity, as Creator, we have our being -by the second, we are redeemed from sin and death, and shall be finally judged and this eighth article of our Creed proposes to our faith what is necessary to be known and professed by us as Christians, concerning that di
vine Person in the mysterious union of the Godhead, distinguished in Scripture by the title of THE HOLY GHOST. Though the last in order, it is not the least in consequence, to the effecting our peace on earth, and happiness in heaven; it being through the influence of this blessed Spirit alone, that we can be rendered capable of a place among the society of the just made perfect.
Now, the way to treat this very important subject, so that it may inform your understanding, and convince you of the absolute necessity of as steadfast a faith in this, as in any of the former articles of the Belief, will be to consider distinctly, first, the divine nature of the Holy Ghost; secondly, his personality, or the reality of his person; and, thirdly, his peculiar office in the promoting of our salvation.
We will begin, as I have done on some of the preceding subjects, with an inquiry into the -meaning of the word. The name ghost, in the ancient Saxon language, signifies spirit; and by the title of the Spirit of God, the nature of the Holy Ghost is principally expressed.
What is required of us to believe respecting the Holy Ghost, is not only that there is such a divine Person, but that he is the third Person in the ever blessed Trinity; and, as such, of the same divine nature with the Father and the Son. In regard to the existence of the Spirit of God, it is needless to endeavour to
prove it, as the Scriptures do so fully testify thereof, which we shall have abundant occasion of observing in the course of this Lecture. There are some passages, however, which it may be useful to clear up, as they seem to contain doubts concerning this article, but which we shall easily perceive have no foundation sufficient to weaken our faith. The first is the expression in the text (Acts, xix. 2), of the disciples at Ephesus, who had not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. Now, if they were Gentiles, there is no wonder at this, because they never had that notion in their religion; and if they were Jews, as they seem to have been, because they were baptized with the baptism of John, the expression could not signify that they never heard of the Spirit of God, but only, that they had not (as yet) heard of the giving of it, of its being poured out upon men, or shed abroad in men's hearts.
Secondly, In like manner we read in St. John (vii. 39), that the Holy Ghost was not yet given, which by no means denies the existence of the Spirit, but only the plentiful effusion of it. Now, it is impossible the Apostle could deny the existence of that Spirit before Christ was glorified, whose work was so fully declared even at Christ's conception; and to prove the great ignorance of the disciples who made the above declaration, he asks them, Unto what then