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denomination, or an expression of the cause for the effect, that is intended. The meaning of this promise, 'The Spirit shall dwell in you,' is not, he shall work graciously in you; for this he can without any especial presence. Being essentially every where, he can work where and how he pleaseth, without any especial presence. But it is the Spirit himself that is promised, and his presence in an especial manner, and an especial manner of that presence; he shall be in you, and dwell in you,' as we shall see. The only inquiry in this matter is, whether the Holy Spirit himself be promised unto believers, or only his grace, which we shall immediately inquire into.
Thirdly, The dwelling of the person of the Holy Spirit in the persons of believers, of what nature soever it be, doth not effect a personal union between them. That which we call a personal union, is the union of divers natures in the same person, and there can be but one person by virtue of this union. Such is the hypostatical union in the person of the Son of God. It was our nature he assumed, and not the person of any. And it was impossible he should so assume any more but in one individual instance: for if he could have assumed another individual being of our nature, then it must differ personally from that which he did assume. For there is nothing that differs one man from another, but a distinct personal subsistence of each. And it implies the highest contradiction, that the Son of God could be hypostatically united unto more than one: for if they are more than one, they must be more persons than one: and many persons cannot be hypostatically united, for that is to be one person and no more. There may be a manifold union, mystical and moral, of divers, of many persons, but a personal ́union there cannot be of any thing but of distinct natures. And as the Son of God could not assume many persons, so supposing that human nature which he did unite to himself to have been a person, that is, to have had a distinct subsistence of its own antecedent unto its union, and there could have been no personal union between it and the Son of God. For the Son of God was a distinct person; and if the human nature had been so too, there would have been two persons still, and so no personal union. Nor can it be said, that although the human nature of Christ was a person
in itself, yet it ceased so to be upon its union with the divine; and so two persons were conjoined and compounded into one. For if ever human nature have in any instance a personal subsistence of its own, it cannot be separated from it without the destruction and annihilation of the individual. For to suppose otherwise, is to make it to continue what it was, and not what it was; for it is what it is, distinct from all other individuals, by virtue of its personality. Wherefore, upon this inhabitation of the Spirit, wherein soever it doth consist, there is no personal union ensuing between him and believers, nor is it possible that any such thing should be. For he and they are distinct persons, and must eternally abide so whilst their natures are distinct. It is only the assumption of our nature into union with the Son of God, antecedent unto any individual, personal subsistence of its own, that can constitute such a union.
Fourthly, The union and relation that ensues on this inhabitation of the Spirit, is not immediate between him and believers, but between them and Jesus Christ. For he is sent to dwell in them by Christ, in his name, as his Spirit, to supply his room in love and grace towards them, making use of his things in all his effects and operations unto his glory. Hence, I say, is the union of believers with Christ by the Spirit, and not with the Spirit himself. For this Holy Spirit dwelling in the human nature of Christ, manifesting and acting himself in all fulness therein, as hath been declared, being sent by him to dwell in like manner, and act in a limited measure in all believers, there is a mystical union thence arising between them, whereof the Spirit is the bond and vital principle.
On these considerations, I say, it is the person of the Holy Ghost that is promised unto believers, and not only the effects of his grace and power, and his person it is that always dwelleth in them. And as this, on the one hand, is an argument of his infinite condescension in complying with this part of his office and work, to be sent by the Father and Son to dwell in believers, so it is an evident demonstration of his eternal deity, that the one and self-same person should at the same time inhabit so many thousands of distinct persons as are, or were at any time, of believers in the world; which is fondness to imagine concerning any one that is not
absolutely infinite. And, therefore, that which some oppose as unmeet for him, and beneath his glory, namely, this his inhabitation in the saints of God, is a most illustrious and incontrollable demonstration of his eternal glory. For none but he who is absolutely immense in his nature and omnipresence, can be so present with, and indistant from, all believers in the world; and none but he whose person by virtue of his nature is infinite, can personally, equally inhabit in them all. An infinite nature and person is required hereunto. And in the consideration of the incomprehensibility thereof are we to acquiesce as to the manner of his inhabitation, which we cannot conceive.
1. There are very many promises in the Old Testament, that God would thus give the Holy Spirit in and by virtue of the New covenant; as Ezek. xxxvi. 27. Isa. lix. 21. Prov. i. 23. And in every place God calls this promised Spirit, and as promised, his Spirit,'my Spirit;' which precisely denotes the person of the Spirit himself. It is generally apprehended, I confess, that in these promises the Holy Spirit is intended only as unto his gracious effects and operations, but not as to any personal inhabitation. And I should not much contend upon these promises only, although in some of them his person as promised be expressly distinguished from all his gracious effects: but the exposition which is given of them in their accomplishment under the New Testament, will not allow us so to judge of them. For,
2. We are directed to pray for the Holy Spirit, and assured that God will give him unto them that ask of him in a due manner; Luke xi. 13. If these words must be expounded metonymically and not properly, it must be because either, (1.) They agree not in the letter with other testimonies of Scripture. Or, (2.) Contain some sense absurd and unreasonable. Or, (3.) That which is contrary unto the experience of them that believe. The first cannot be said, for other testimonies innumerable concur with it. Nor the second, as we shall shew. And for the third, it is that whose contrary we prove. What is it that believers intend in that request? I suppose, I may say, that there is no one petition wherein they are more intense and earnest, nor which they more frequently insist upon. As David prayed, that God would not take his Holy Spirit from him;' Psal. li. So do
they, that God would bestow him on them. For this they do, and ought to do, even after they have received him. His continuance with them, his evidencing and manifestation of himself in and to them, are the design of their continual supplications for him. Is it merely external operations of the Spirit in grace that they desire herein? Do they not always pray for his ineffable presence and inhabitation? Will any thoughts of grace or mercy relieve or satisfy them, if once they apprehend that the Holy Spirit is not in them, or doth not dwell with them? Although they are not able to form any conceptions in their minds of the manner of his presence and residence in them, yet is it that which they pray for, and without the apprehension whereof by faith, they can have neither peace nor consolation. The promise hereof being confined unto believers, those that are truly and really so, as we shewed before, it is their experience whereby its accomplishment is to be judged; and not the presumption of such, by whom both the Spirit himself, and his whole work, is despised.
3. And this inhabitation is that which principally our Lord Jesus Christ directeth his disciples to expect in the promise of him. 'He dwelleth with you, and shall be in you;' John xiv. 17. He doth so who is the 'Comforter, the Spirit of truth;' or, as it is emphatically expressed, chap. xvi. 13. He is the Spirit of truth.' He is promised unto, and he inhabits them that do believe. So it is expressly affirmed towards all that are partakers of this promise. Rom.viii. 9. Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you.' Ver. 11. The Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwelleth in you.' The Holy Spirit dwelleth in us;' 1 Tim. iii. 14. He that is in us, is greater than he that is in the world;' 1 John iv. 4. And many other express testimonies there are unto the same purpose. And whereas the subject of these promises and propositions is the Holy Ghost himself, the person of the Holy Ghost, and that so expressed as not to leave any pretence for any thing else, and not his person to be intended: and whereas, nothing is ascribed unto him that is unreasonable, inconvenient unto him in the discharge of his office, or inconsistent with any of his divine perfections, but rather what is every way suitable unto his work, and evidently demonstrative of his di
vine nature and subsistence: it is both irrational and unsuitable unto the economy of divine grace to wrest these expressions unto a lower, meaner, figurative signification: and I am persuaded, that it is contrary to the faith of the catholic church of true believers so to do. For, however some of them may not have exercised their minds about the manner of the abode of the Holy Spirit with the church, and some of them, when they hear of his personal indwelling, wherein they have not been duly instructed, do fear it may be that indeed that cannot be, which they cannot comprehend, and that some evil consequences may ensue upon the admittance of it, although they cannot say what they are: yet it is with them all even an article of faith, that the ' Holy Ghost dwelleth in the church,' that is, them that truly believe; and herein have they an apprehension of such a personal presence of his as they cannot conceive. This, therefore, being so expressly, so frequently affirmed in the Scripture, and the comfort of the church which depends thereon being singular and eminent, it is unto me an important article of evangelical truth.
4. Although all the principal actings of the Holy Spirit in us, and towards us as a Comforter, do depend on this head, or flow from this spring of his inhabitation, yet in the confirmation of its truth, I shall here name one or two, by which itself is evidenced, and its benefits unto the church declared.
(1.) This is the spring of his gracious operations in us. So our Saviour himself declares it.
"The water that I shall
give unto him, shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life;' John iv. 14. The water here promised is the Holy Spirit, called the gift of God;' ver. 10. This is evident from that parallel place, John vii. 38, 39, where this living water is plainly declared to be the Holy Ghost. And this water which is given unto any, is to be in him, and there to abide, which is but a metaphorical expression of the inhabitation of the Spirit. For it is to be in him as a well, as a living fountain, which cannot be spoke of any gracious habit whatever. No quality in our minds can be a spring of living water. Besides, all gracious habits are effects of the operation of the Holy Spirit, and therefore they are not the well itself, but belong unto the springing of it up in living waters.