So is the Spirit in his indwelling distinguished from all his evangelical operations of grace, as the well is distinct from the streams that flow from it. And as it is natural and easy for a spring of living waters to bubble up, and put forth refreshing streams; so it belongs unto the consolation of believers, to know how easy it is unto the Holy Spirit, how ready he is on the account of his gracious inhabitation, to carry on and perfect the work of grace, holiness, and sanctification in them. And what instruction they may take for their own deportment towards him, may be afterward spoken unto. So in many other places is his presence with us (which we have proved to be by the way of gracious inhabitation) proposed as the cause and spring of all his gracious operations, and so distinct from them. So the Holy Ghost that is given us 'sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts;' Rom. v. 5. The Spirit of God that dwelleth in us, shall 'quicken our mortal bodies;' Rom. viii. 12. 'He beareth witness with our spirits that we are the sons of God;' Rom. viii. 16. Which places have been elsewhere explained and vindicated.


(2.) This is the hidden spring and cause of that inexpressible distance and difference that is between believers and the rest of the world. Our apostle tells us, that the life of believers is hid with Christ in God;' Col. iii. 3. A blessed life they have whilst they are here, dead to the world, and as dead in the world. A life that will issue in eternal glory: but no such thing appears, no lustre of it is cast abroad into the eyes of men: true, saith the apostle, for it is 'hid with Christ in God.' It is so both in its causes, nature, operations, and means, of preservation. But by this hidden life it is that they are differenced from the perishing world. And it will not be denied, as I suppose, that this difference is real and great for those who believe, do enjoy the especial love and favour of God; whereas those who do not, are under the curse, and the wrath of God abideth on them.' They are alive unto God, but these are dead in trespasses and sins. And if men will not believe that there is so inexpressible a difference between them in this world, they will be forced to confess it at the last day, when the decretory sentences of 'Come ye blessed,' and 'Go ye cursed,' shall be openly denounced. But, for the most part, there is no visible cause in the eyes of the world of this inexpressible and eternal differ


ence between these two sorts of persons. For, besides that for the most part the world doth judge amiss of all that believers are and do, and do rather, through an inbred enmity, working by wicked and foolish surmises, suppose them to be the worst, rather than absolutely the best of men; there is not for the most part such a visible, manifest difference in outward actions and duties, on which alone a judgment may be passed in man's day, as to be a just foundation of believing so unspeakable difference between their persons as is spoken of. There is a difference in their works, which indeed ought to be far greater than it is; and so a greater testimony given to the righteousness of God; 1 John iii. 12. There is yet a greater difference in internal, habitual grace, whereby the minds of believers are transformed initially into the image of God; Tit. i. 15. But these things will not bear the weight of this inconceivable distance. Principally, therefore, it depends hereon, namely, the inhabitation of the Spirit in them that believe. The great difference between the two houses that Solomon built was, that God dwelt in the one, and he himself in the other. Though any two houses as unto their outward fabric make the same appearance, yet if the king dwell in the one, and a robber in the other, the one may be a palace, and the other a den. It is this inhabitation of the Spirit whereon all the privileges of believers do immediately depend, and all the advantages which they have above the men of the world. And the difference which is made hereby, or ensueth hereon, is so inconceivably great, as a sufficient reason may thence be given of all the excellent things which are spoken of them who are partakers of it.

[ocr errors]


Particular actings of the Holy Spirit as a Comforter.
How he is an unction.

THE especial actings of the Holy Spirit towards believers as their Comforter, with the privileges and advantages which by them they are made partakers of, have been severally spoken unto by many; and I have also in other discourses had occasion to treat concerning some of them. I shall, therefore, be the more brief in the present discourses of them, and, waving things commonly known and received, shall endeavour to state right conceptions of them, and to add farther light unto what hath been already received.

The first of this sort which we shall mention, because, as I think, the first in order of nature, is the unction, or anointing which believers have by him. So are they said to be anointed; 2 Cor. i. 21. and 1 John ii. 20. Ye have rò xpioμa, an 'unction,' an unguent,' from the Holy One;' ver. 27. The anointing which you have received abideth in you. And the same anointing teacheth you of all things.' What this Xploua is which we do receive, and wherein this anointing doth consist, we must, in the first place, inquire. For a distinct comprehension and knowledge of that which is so great a privilege, and of so much use unto us, is our duty and advantage. It is so the more, because by the most these things are neglected. That is an empty sound unto them, which hath in itself the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ. Some things there are which pretend unto this unction, or which some would have it to consist in, that we must remove out of our way to render the truth more evident. Some think that by this unction, the doctrine of the gospel, or the truth itself, is intended. This Episcopius pleads for, in his exposition of the place. That doctrine of the gospel which they had received, was that which would preserve them from the seducers, which in that place of the apostle, 1 John. ii. 20, believers are warned to beware of. But neither the context nor the text will admit of this interpretation. For, 1. The thing itself in question was, the doctrine of the gospel. This the seducers pretended to be on their

side, which the apostle denies. Now, although the doctrine itself was that whereby this difference was to be determined; yet is not the doctrine itself, but the advantage they had for the right understanding of it, that which is proposed for their relief and comfort .2. This unction is said to abide in them who have received it; whereas we are said to abide in the doctrine or the truth, and not that in us properly. 3. This unction is said to teach us all things; but the doctrine of the truth is that which we are taught, and there must be a difference between that which teacheth, and that which is taught thereby. 4. Whereas, in all other places of the Scripture, either the Holy Ghost himself, or some especial operation of his, is hereby intended, there is no reason nor pretence of any to be taken from the words or context, why another signification should be here imposed on that expression. 5. For the reason which he adds, that there is no mention, in any other place of Scripture, of any peculiar internal act or work towards any persons, in their teaching or reception of the truth, it is so extremely remote from the truth, and is so directly opposite unto express testimonies almost innumerable, that I wonder how any man could be so forgetful as to affirm it. Let the reader satisfy himself in what hath been discoursed on the head of spiritual illumination.

Secondly, The testimony given by the Holy Ghost unto the truth of the gospel imparted unto them, is the exposition of this unction in the paraphrase of another. This testimony was by his miraculous operations, at his first effusion on the apostles. But neither can this be the mind of the Holy Ghost herein for this unction which believers had, is the same with their being anointed of God; 2 Cor. i. 21. And that was a privilege whereof they were all personally made partakers. So, also, is that which is here mentioned; namely, that which was in them, which abode with them, and taught them. Neither is this a tolerable exposition of these words: you have an unction from the Holy One, abiding in you, teaching of you; that is, you have heard of the miraculous operations of the Holy Ghost, in the confirmation of the gospel, giving testimony unto the truth.

Thirdly, It is to no purpose to examine the pretences of some of the Romanists, that respect is had herein to the chrism or unguent that they use in baptism, confirmation,

and in their fictitious sacraments of order and extreme unction. For besides that all their unctions are inventions of their own, no institution of Christ, nor of any efficacy unto the ends for which this unction is granted unto believers, the more sober of their expositors take no notice of them on this occasion. Those who would know what respect they have thereunto, may find it in the commentaries of A. Lapide on this place.

These apprehensions being removed, as no way suiting the mind of the Holy Ghost, nor expressing the privilege intended, nor the advantage which we have thereby, we shall follow the conduct of the Scripture in the investigation of the true nature of it. And to this end we may observe,

1. That all persons and things that were dedicated or consecrated unto God under the Old Testament, were anointed with material oil: so were the kings of the people of God, so were priests and prophets: in like manner, the sanctuary, the altar, and all the holy utensils of divine worship, were anointed. And it is confessed, that among all the rest of mosaical institutions, those also concerning unction were typical and figurative of what was to come.

2. That all these types had their first, proper, and full signification and accomplishment in the person of Jesus Christ. And because every person and thing that was made holy to God was so anointed, he who was to be the most holy, the only spring and cause of holiness in and unto others, had his name and denomination from thence. Both Messiah in the Old Testament, and Christ in the New, are as much as the Anointed One. For he was not only in his person typi fied in the anointed kings, priests, and prophets, but also in his mediation by the tabernacle, sanctuary, altar, and temple. Hence his unction is expressed in those words, wap muni D'p, Dan. ix. 24. To anoint the holy of holies,' who was prefigured by all the holy anointed ones before. This became his name as he was the hope of the church under the Old Testament, the Messiah; and the immediate object of the faith of the saints under the New, the Christ. Here, therefore, in the first place, we must inquire into the nature of this unction; that of believers being an emanation from thence, and to be interpreted by analogy thereunto. For (as it is usually expressed by way of allusion) it is as the oil, which


« VorigeDoorgaan »