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Chapter VIII. The indwelling of the Spirit.
Entrance into the digression concerning the indwelling of the Spirit — The manner of the abode of the Spirit with them on whom he is bestowed — Grounds of the demonstrations of the truth — The indwelling of the Spirit proved from the promises of it — Express affirmations of the same truth — Ps. li. 11; Rom. viii. 9, opened — Verses 11, 15; 1 Cor. ii. 12; Gal. iv. 6, opened — 2 Tim. i. 14 — The Spirit in his indwelling, distinguished from all his graces — Evasions removed — Rom. v. 5 explained — The Holy Ghost himself, not the grace of the Holy Ghost, there intended — Rom. viii. 11 opened — Gal. v. 22 — A personality ascribed to the Spirit in his indwelling: 1. In personal appellations, 1 John iv. 4; John xiv. 16, 17 — 2. Personal operations — Rom. viii. 11, 16, explained — 3. Personal circumstances — The Spirit dwells in the saints as in a temple, 1 Cor. iii. 16, vi. 19 — The indwelling of the Spirit farther demonstrated from the signal effects ascribed in the Scripture to his so doing; as, 1. Union with Christ — Union with Christ, wherein it consisteth — Union with Christ by the indwelling of the same Spirit in him and us — This proved from, (1.) Scriptural declarations of it — 2 Pet. i. 4, how we are made partakers of the divine nature — Union expressed by eating the flesh and drinking the blood of Christ — John vi. 56 opened — The prayer of our Saviour for the union of his disciples, John xvii. 21 — The union of the persons in the Trinity with themselves — (2.) Scriptural illustrations for the manifestation of union — The union of head and members, what it is, and wherein it doth consist — Of the union between husband and wife, and our union with Christ represented thereby — Of a tree and its branches — Life and quickening given by the indwelling Spirit, in quickening, life, and suitable operations — 2. Direction and guidance given by the indwelling Spirit — Guidance or direction twofold — The several ways whereby the Spirit gives guidance and direction unto them in whom he dwells — The first way, by giving a new understanding, or a new spiritual light upon the understanding — What light men may attain without the particular guidance of the Spirit — Saving embracements of particular truths from the Spirit, 1 John ii. 20, 27 — The way whereby the Spirit leads believers into truth — Consequences of the want of this guidance of the Spirit — 3. The third thing received from the indwelling Spirit, supportment — The way whereby the Spirit gives supportment: (1.) By bringing to mind the things spoken by Christ for their consolation, John xiv. 16, 17, 26 — (2.) By renewing his graces in them as to strength — The benefits issuing and flowing from thence — Restraint given by the indwelling Spirit, and how — The continuance of the Spirit with believers for the renewal of grace proved — John iv. 14, that promise of our Saviour at large opened — The water there promised is the Spirit — The state of them on whom he is bestowed — Spiritual thirst twofold — Isa. lxv. 13; 1 Pet. ii. 2 — The reasons why men cannot thirst again who have once drunk of the Spirit explained — Mr G.’s exceptions considered and removed — The same work farther carried on; as also the indwelling of the Spirit in believers farther demonstrated by the inferences made from thence — The first: Our Persons temples of the Holy Ghost, to be disposed of in all ways of holiness — The second: Wisdom to try spirits — The ways, means, and helps, whereby the saints discern between the voice of Christ and the voice of Satan.
Having showed that the Holy Spirit is purchased for us by the oblation of Christ, and bestowed on us through his intercession, to 330abide with us for ever, — a truth confirmed by the unquestionable testimonies of the Father, Son, and Spirit, — I shall, in the next place (I hope to the advantage and satisfaction of the Christian reader), a little turn aside to consider how and in what manner he abideth with them on whom he is bestowed, together with some eminent acts and effects of his grace, which he putteth forth and exerteth in them with whom he abideth, all tending to their preservation in the love and favour of God. A doctrine it is of no small use and importance in our walking with God, as we shall find in our pursuit of it. And therefore, though not appearing so directly argumentative and immediately subservient to the promotion of the dispute in hand, yet as tending to the establishment, guidance, and consolation, of them who do receive it, and to the cherishing, increasing, and strengthening of the faith thereof, I cannot but conceive it much conducing to the carrying on of the main intendment of this whole undertaking. I say, then, upon the purchase made of all good things for the elect by Christ, the holy and blessed Spirit of God is given to them, to dwell in them personally, for the accomplishment of all the ends and purposes of his economy towards them, — to make them meet for, and to bring them unto, the inheritance of the saints in light: personally, I say, in our persons (not by assumption of our nature, but giving us mystical union with Christ, not personal union with himself; that is, not one personality with him, which is impious and blasphemous to imagine), by a gracious inhabitation, distinct from his essential filling all things, and his energetical operation of all things as he will, as shall afterwards be declared. Now, this being a doctrine of pure revelation, our demonstrations of it must be merely scriptural; and such (as will instantly appear) we have provided in great plenty. In the carrying on, then, of this undertaking, I shall do these two things:— I. Produce some of those many texts of Scripture which are pregnant of this truth. II. Show what great things do issue from thence and are affirmed in reference thereunto, being inferences of a supposal thereof, all conducing to the preservation of believers in the love and favour of God unto the end.
For the first, I shall refer them to four heads: unto, — 1. Promises that he should so dwell in us; 2. Positive affirmations that he doth so; 3. Those texts that hold out his being distinguished from all his graces and gifts in his so doing; 4. Those that ascribe a personality to him in his indwelling in us. Of each sort one or two places may suffice.
I. 1. The indwelling of the Spirit is the great and solemn promise of the covenant of grace; the manner of it we shall afterward evince: Ezek. xxxvi. 27, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk: in my statutes.” In the verse foregoing he tells them, “He will give them a new heart, and a new spirit;” which, because it may be 331interpreted of a renewed frame of spirit (though it rather seems to be the renewing Spirit that is intended, as also chap. xi. 19), he expressly points out and differences the spirit he will give them from all works of grace whatsoever, in that appellation of him, “ ‘My Spirit,’ my Holy Spirit; him will I put within you: I will give him or place him in interiori vestro, ‘in your inmost part,’ in your heart; or in visceribus vestris, ‘in your bowels’ (as the soul is frequently signified by expressions of sensual things), ‘within you.’ ” In his giving us a new heart and new spirit, by putting in us his Spirit, certainly more is intended than a mere working of gracious qualities in our hearts by his Spirit; which he may do, and yet be no more in us than in the greatest blasphemer in the world. And this, in the carrying of it on to its accomplishment, God calls his covenant: Isa. lix. 21, “This is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My Spirit that is upon thee shall not depart from thee;” — “Upon thee, in thee, that dwelleth in thee, as was promised.” And this promise is evidently renewed by the Lord Christ to his disciples, clearly also interpreting what that Spirit is which is mentioned in the promise of the covenant: Luke xi. 13, “Your heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him” of him; that is, that pray to him for the Holy Spirit. Our Saviour instructs his disciples to ask the Holy Spirit of God upon the account of his being so promised; as Acts ii. 33. All our supplications are to be regulated by the promise, Rom. viii. 27. And surely he who (as shall afterward appear) did so plentifully and richly promise the bestowing of this Spirit on all those that believe on him, did not instruct them to ask for any inferior mercy and grace under that name. That Spirit which the Lord Christ instructs us to ask of the Father is the Spirit which he hath promised to bestow so on us as that he shall dwell in us. That the Spirit which Christ instructs us to ask for, and which himself promises to send unto us, is the Holy Ghost himself, the Holy Spirit of promise, by whom we are sealed to the day of redemption, I suppose will require no labour to prove; what is needful to this end shall be afterward insisted on.
2. Positive affirmations that he doth so dwell in and remain with the saints are the second ground of the truth we assert. I shall name one or two testimonies of that kind: Ps. li. 11, saith David, “Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.” It is the Spirit, and his presence as unto sanctification, not in respect of prophecy or any other gift whatever, that he is treating of with God. All the graces of the Spirit being almost dead and buried in him, he cries aloud that He whose they are, and who alone is able to revive and quicken them, may not be taken from him. With him, in him, he was, or he could not be taken from him. And though the gifts or graces of the Spirit only may be intended, where mention is made of giving or bestowing 332of him sometimes, yet when the saints beg of God that he would continue his Spirit with them, though they have grieved him and provoked him, that no more is intended but some gift or grace, is not so clear. I know men possessed with prejudice against this truth will think easily to evade these testimonies by the distinction of the person and graces of the Spirit. Wherefore, for the manner how he is with them with whom he is, the apostle informs us, Rom. viii. 9, “Ye are in the Spirit” (that is, spiritual men, opposed to being “in the flesh,” — that is, carnal, unregenerate, unreconciled, and enemies to God), “if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Not only the thing itself is asserted, but the weight of our regeneration and acceptation with God through Jesus Christ is laid upon it. If the Spirit dwell in us we are spiritual, and belong to Christ; otherwise, if not, we are none of his. This the apostle farther confirms, verse 11, “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you.” I know not how the person of the Holy Ghost can be more clearly deciphered than here he is, “The Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead.” Why that is mentioned shall afterward be considered. And this is the Spirit, as he bears testimony of himself, dwells in believers; which is all we say, and, without farther curious inquiry, desire to rest therein. Doubtless it were better for men to captivate their understandings to the obedience of faith than to invent distinctions and evasions to escape the power of so many plain texts of Scripture, and those literally and properly, not figuratively and metaphorically, expressing the truth contained in them; which, though it may be done sometimes, yet is not, in a constant uniform tenor of expression, anywhere the manner of the Holy Ghost. The apostle also affirms farther, verse 15, that believers “receive the Spirit of adoption, whereby they cry, Abba, Father;” which, being a work within them, cannot be wrought and effected by adoption itself, which is an extrinsical relation. Neither can adoption and the Spirit of adoption be conceived to be the same. He also farther affirms it, 1 Cor. ii. 12, “We have received the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God;” — “We have so received him as that he abides with us, to teach us, to acquaint our hearts with God’s dealing with us; bearing witness with our spirits to the condition wherein we are in reference to our favour from God and acceptation with him.” And the same he most distinctly asserts, Gal. iv. 6, “God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” The distinct economy of the Father, Son, and Spirit, in the work of adoption, is here clearly discovered. He is sent, “sent of God,” that is, the Father. That name is personally to be appropriated when it is distinguished, as here, from Son and Spirit. That is the Father’s work, that work of his love; he scuds him. He hath sent 333him as the “Spirit of his Son,” procured by him for us, promised by him to us, proceeding from him as to his personal subsistence, and sent by him as to his office of adoption and consolation. Then, whither the Father hath sent the Spirit of his Son, where he is to abide and make his residence, is expressed. It is into “our hearts,” saith the apostle; there he dwells and abides. And, lastly, what there he doth is also manifested. He sets them on work in whom he is, gives them privilege for it, ability to it, encouragement in it, causing them to cry, “Abba, Father.” Once and again to Timothy doth the same apostle assert the same truth: 2 Epist. i. 14, “That good thing committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” The Lord knowing how much of our life and consolation depends on this truth, redoubles his testimony of it, that we might receive it, — even we, who are dull and slow of heart to believe the things that are written.
3. Whereas some may say, “It cannot be denied but that the Spirit dwells in believers, but yet this is not personally, but only by his grace;” I might reply that this indeed, and upon the matter, is not to distinguish but to deny what is positively affirmed. To say the Spirit dwells in us, but not the person of the Spirit, is not to distinguish de modo, but to deny the thing itself. To say, “The graces, indeed, of the Spirit are in us” (not “dwell in us,” for an accident is not properly said to dwell in its subject), “but the Spirit itself doth not dwell in us,” is expressly to cast down what the word sets up. If such distinctions ought to be of force, to evade so many positive and plain texts of Scripture as have been produced, it may well be questioned whether any truth be capable of proof from Scripture or no. Yet I say farther, to obviate such objections, and to prevent all quarrellings for the future, the Scripture itself, as to this business of the Spirit’s indwelling, plainly distinguisheth between the Spirit itself and his graces. He is, I say, distinguished from them, and that in respect to his indwelling: Rom. v. 5, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” The Holy Ghost is given to us to dwell in us, as hath been abundantly declared, and shall yet farther be demonstrated. Here he is mentioned together with the love of God, and his shedding thereof abroad in our hearts, — that is, with his graces; and is as clearly distinguished and differenced from them as cause and effect. Take the love of God in either sense that is controverted about this place, — for our love to God or a sense of his love to us, — and it is an eminent grace of the Holy Spirit. If, then, by “The Holy Ghost given unto us,” ye understand only the grace of the Holy Ghost, he being said to be given because that is given, then this must be the sense of the place, “The grace of the Holy Ghost is shed abroad in our hearts by the grace of the Holy Ghost that is given to us.” Farther; if by “The 334Holy Ghost” be meant only his grace, I inquire what grace it is [that is] here by the expression intended? Is it the same with that expressed, “The love of God?” This were to confound the efficient cause with its effect. Is it any other grace that doth produce the great work mentioned? Let us know what that grace is that hath this power and energy in its band of shedding abroad the love of God in our hearts. So Rom. viii. 11, “He shall quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” This quickening of our mortal bodies is generally confessed to be (and the scope of the place enforceth that sense) our spiritual quickening in our mortal bodies, mention being made of our bodies in analogy to the body of Christ; by his death we have life and quickening. Doubtless, then, it is a grace of the Spirit that is intended; yea, the habitual principle of all graces. And this is wrought in us by the Spirit that dwelleth in us. There is not any grace of the Spirit whereby he may dwell in men antecedent to his quickening of them. Spiritual graces have not their residence in dead souls. So that this must be the Spirit himself dwelling in us that is here intended, and that personally; or the sense of the words must be, “The grace of quickening our mortal bodies is wrought in us by the grace of quickening our mortal bodies that dwelleth in us;” which is plainly to confound the cause and effect. Besides, it is the same Spirit that raised up Jesus from the dead that is intended; which, doubtless, was not any inherent grace, but the Spirit of God himself, working by the exceeding greatness of his power. Thus much is hence cleared: Antecedent in order of nature to our quickening, there is a Spirit given to us to dwell in us. Every efficient cause hath at least the precedency of its effect. No graces of the Spirit are bestowed on us before our quickening; which is the preparation and fitting of the subject for the receiving of them, the planting of the root that contains them virtually, and brings them forth actually in their order. Gal. v. 22, 23, all graces whatsoever come under the name of the “fruit of the Spirit;” that is, which the Spirit, in us brings forth, as the root doth the fruit, which in its so doing is distinct therefrom. Many other instances might be given; but these may suffice.
4. There is a personality ascribed to the Holy Ghost in his dwelling in us, and that in such a way as cannot be ascribed to any created grace, which is but a quality in a subject; and this the Scripture doth three ways:— (1.) In personal appellations; (2.) In personal operations; and (3.) In personal circumstances.
(1.) There are ascribed to the indwelling Spirit, in his indwelling, personal appellations, 1 John iv. 4, “He that is in you is greater than he that is in the world,” — μείζων ἐστὶν ὁ ἐν ὑμῖν. “He that is in you” is a personal denomination, which cannot be used of any grace or gracious habit whatsoever. So John xiv. 16, 17, “He shall abide with you, 335he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you,” — Ὑμεῖς γινώσκετε αὐτὸ (τὸ Πνεῦμα τῆς ἀληθείας) καὶ ἐν ὑμῖν ἕσται. John xvi. 13, “But when the Spirit of truth is come,” — Ὅταν δὲ ἔλθῃ ἐκεῖνος, τὸ Πνεῦμα. His person is here as signally designed and expressed as in any place of Scripture, to what intent or purpose soever mentioned. Neither is it possible to apprehend that the Scripture would so often, so expressly, affirm the same thing in plain, proper words, if they were not to be taken in the sense which they hold out. The main emphasis of the expression lies upon the terms that are of a personal designation, and to evade the force of them by the forementioned distinction, which they seem signally to obviate and prevent, is to say what we please, so we may oppose what pleases us not.
(2.) Personal operations, such acts and actings as are proper to a person only, are ascribed to the Spirit in his indwelling. That place mentioned before, Rom. viii. 11, is clear hereunto, “But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you,” or “by his indwelling Spirit,” διὰ τοῦ ἐνοικοῦντος αὐτοῦ Πνεύματος ἐν ὑμῖν. “To quicken our moral bodies” is a personal acting, and such as cannot be wrought but by an almighty agent; and this is ascribed to the Spirit as inhabiting, which is in order of nature antecedent to his quickening of us, as was manifested. And the same is asserted, verse 16, “The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God.” That Spirit that dwells in us, hears witness in us, a distinct witness by himself distinguished from the testimony of our own spirits here mentioned, is either an act of our natural spirits, or gracious fruit of the Spirit of God in our hearts If the flint, what makes it in the things of God? Is any testimony of our natural spirits of any value to assure us that we are the children of God? If the latter, then is there here an immediate operation of the Spirit dwelling in our hearts, in witness-bearing, distinct from all the fruits of grace whatever. And on this account it is, that whereas, 1 John v. 7, 8, the Father, Son, and Spirit are said to bear witness in heaven, the Spirit is moreover peculiarly said to bear witness in the earth, together with the blood and water.
(3.) There are such circumstances ascribed to him in his indwelling as are proper only to that which is a person. I will instance only in one, — his dwelling in the saints as in a temple: 1 Cor. iii. 16, “Ye are the temple of God, the Spirit of God dwelleth in you;” that is, as in a temple. So plainly, chap. vi. 19, “Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God:” giving us both the distinction of the person of the Spirit from the other persons, “he is given us of God;” and his residence with us, being so given, “he is in us;” as also the manner of his in-being, “as in a temple.” Nothing can make a place a temple but the relation it hath 336unto a deity. Graces, that are but qualifications of and qualities in a subject, cannot be said to dwell in a temple. This the Spirit doth, and therefore as a voluntary agent in a habitation, not as a necessary or natural principle in a subject. And though every act of his be omnipotent intensively, being the act of an omnipotent agent, yet he worketh not in the acts extensively to the utmost of his omnipotency, lie exerteth and puts forth his power, and brings forth his grace, in the hearts of them with whom he dwells, as he pleaseth. To one he communicates more grace, to another less; yea, he gives more strength to one and the same person at one time and in one condition than at another, dividing to every one as he will, 1 Cor. xii. 11. And if this peculiar manner of his personal presence with his saints, distinct from his ubiquity or omnipresence, may not be believed, because not well by reason conceived, we shall lay a foundation for the questioning principles of faith which as yet we are not fallen out withal.
And this is our first manifestation of the truth concerning the indwelling of the Spirit in the saints, from the Scripture. The second will be from the signal issues and benefits which are asserted to arise from this indwelling of the Spirit in them; of which I shall give sundry instances.
II. 1. The first signal issue and effect which is ascribed to this indwelling of the Spirit is union; not a personal union with himself, which is impossible. He doth not assume our nature, and so prevent our personality, which would make us one person with him, but dwells in our persons, keeping his own and leaving us our personality infinitely distinct. But it is a spiritual union, — the great union mentioned so often in the gospel, that is the sole fountain of our blessedness, — our union with the Lord Christ, which we have thereby.
Many thoughts of heart there have been about this union, — what it is, wherein it doth consist, the causes, manner, and effects of it. The Scripture expresses it to be very eminent, near, durable, setting it out, for the most part, by similitudes and metaphorical illustrations, to lead poor weak creatures into some useful, needful acquaintance with that mystery, whose depths in this life they shall never fathom. That many in the days wherein we live have miscarried in their conceptions of it is evident. Some, to make out their imaginary union, have destroyed the person of Christ, and, fancying a way of uniting man to God by him, have left him to be neither God nor man. Others have destroyed the person of believers, affirming that in their union with Christ they lose their own personality, — that is, cease to be men, or at least these or those individual men.
I intend not now to handle it at large, but only (and that, I hope, without offence) to give in my thoughts concerning it, as far as it 337receiveth light from and relateth unto what hath been before delivered concerning the indwelling of the Spirit, and that without the least contending about other ways of expression.
I say, then, this is that which gives us union with Christ, and that wherein it consists, even that the one and self-same Spirit dwells in him and us. The first saving illapse from God upon the hearts of the elect is the Holy Spirit. Their quickening is everywhere ascribed to the Spirit that is given unto them; there is not a quickening, a life-giving power, in a quality, a created thing. In the state of nature, besides gracious dispensations and habits in the soul inclining it to that which is good, and making it a suitable subject for spiritual operations, we want also a vital principle, which should actuate the disposed subject unto answerable operations.198198 John v. 24; Eph. ii. 1, 2. This a quality cannot give. He that carries on the work of quickening doth also begin it, Rom. viii. 11. All graces whatever, as was said, are the “fruits of the Spirit,” Gal. v. 22, 23; and therefore, in order of nature, are wrought in men consequentially to his being bestowed on them. Now, in the first bestowing of the Spirit we have union with Christ; the carrying on whereof consists in the farther manifestation and operations of the indwelling Spirit, which is called communion. To make this evident, that our union with Christ consists in this, the same Spirit dwelling in him and us, and that this is our union, let us take a view of it, first, from Scriptural declarations of it, and then, secondly, from Scripture illustrations of it, both briefly, being not my direct business in hand:—
First, (1.) Peter tells us that it is a participation of the divine nature, 2 Pet. i. 4. We are “by the promises made partakers of the divine nature;” that is, it is promised to be given unto us, which when we receive, we are made partakers of by the promises. That this participation of the divine nature (let it be interpreted how it will) is the same upon the matter with our union with Christ, is not questioned. That φύσις θεία should be only a gracious habit, quality, or disposition of soul in us, I cannot easily receive. That is somewhere called καινὴ κτίσις, the “new creature,”199199 2 Cor. v. 17. but nowhere θεία φύσις, the “divine nature.” The pretended high and spiritual, but indeed gross and carnal, conceits of some from hence, destructive to the nature of God and man, I shall not turn aside to consider. What that is of the divine nature, or wherein it doth consist, that we are made partakers of by the promises, I showed before. That the person of the holy and blessed Spirit is promised to us, — whence he is called the “Holy Spirit of promise,” Eph. i. 13, — hath been, I say, by sundry evidences manifested. Upon the accomplishment of that promise, he coming to dwell in us, we are said in him, by the promises, to be made “partakers of the divine nature.” We are θείας κοινωνοὶ φύσεως, 338we have our communion with it. Our participation, then, of the divine nature being our union with Christ, consists in the dwelling of [the] same Spirit in him and in us, we receiving him by the promise for that end.
(2.) Christ tells us that this union arises from the eating of his flesh, and drinking of his blood: John vi. 56, “He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.” The mutual indwelling of Christ and his saints is their union. “This,” saith Christ, “is from their ‘eating my flesh, and drinking my blood.’ ” But how may this be done? Many were offended when this saying was spoken. Near and close trials of sincerity drive hypocrites into apostasy. From his, Christ takes away this scruple: Verse 63, “It is,” saith he, “the Spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing.” It is by the indwelling of the quickening Spirit, whereby we have a real participation of Christ, whereby he dwelleth in us and we in him. So, —
(3.) He prays for his disciples, John xvii. 21, “that they all may be one, as the Father is in him, and he in the Father, that they may be one in the Father and Son;” and verse 22, “Let them be one, even as we, are one.” And that ye may not think that it is only union with and among themselves that he presses for (though, indeed, that which gives them union with Christ gives them union one with another also, and that which constitutes them of the body unites them to the Head, and there is one body because there is one Spirit, Eph. iv. 4; which even Lombard himself had some notion of, in his assertion that charity, which is in us, is the person of the Holy Ghost, from that place of the apostle, “God is love”), I say he farther manifests that it is union with himself which he intends: John xvii. 23, “I in them,” saith he, “and thou in me.” This union, then, with him, our Saviour declares by, or at least illustrates by, resemblance unto his union with the Father. Whether this be understood of the union of the divine persons of Father and Son in the blessed Trinity (the union, I mean, that they have with themselves in their distinct personality, and not their unity of essence), or the union which was between Father and Son as incarnate, it comes all to one as to the declaration of that union we have with him. The Spirit is Vinculum Trinitatis, “The bond of the Trinity,” as is commonly, and not inaptly spoken. Proceeding from both the other persons, being the love and power of them both, he gives that union to the trinity of persons, whose substratum and ground is the inestimable unity of essence wherein they are one. Or if you take it for the union of the Father with the Son incarnate, it is evident and beyond inquiry or dispute, that as the personal union of the Divine Word and the human nature was by the assumption of that nature into one personal substance with itself; so the person of the Father hath no 339other union with the human nature of Christ, immediately and not by the union of his own nature thereunto in the person of his Son, but what consists in that indwelling of his Spirit in all fullness in the man Christ Jesus. Now, saith our Saviour, “This union I desire they may have with me, by the dwelling of the same Spirit in me and them, whereby I am in them, and they in me, as I am one with thee, O Father.”
Secondly, The Scripture sets forth this union by many illustrations, given unto it from the things of the nearest union that are subject to our apprehension, giving the very terms of the things so united unto Christ and his in their union. I shall name some few of them:—
(1.) That of head and members making up one body is often insisted on. Christ is the head of his saints, and they, being many, are members of that one body, and of one another; as the apostle at large, 1 Cor. xii. 12, “As the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ.” The body is one, and the saints are one body, yea, one Christ, — that is, mystical. They, then, are the body. What part is Christ? He is the head: 1 Cor. xi. 3, “The head of every man” (that is, every believer) “is Christ;” he is “the head of the church, and the saviour of the body,” Eph. v. 23; he is “the head of the body, the church,” Col. i. 18. This relation of head and members, I say, between Christ and his, holds out the union that is between them, which consists in their being so. As the head and the members make one body, so Christ and his members make one mystical Christ. Whence, then, is it that the head and members have this their union, whereby they become one body? wherein doth it consist? Is it that from the head the members do receive their influences of life, sense, and guidance, as the saints do from Christ? Eph. iv. 15, 16, they “grow up into him in all things, which is the Head: from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part,” groweth up to a holy increase. So also Col. ii. 19, “Holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.” But evidently this is their communion, whereunto union is supposed. Our union with Christ cannot consist in the communication of any thing to us as members, from him the head; but it must be in that which constitutes him and us in the relation of head and members. He is our head antecedently in order of nature to any communication of grace from him as a head, and yet not antecedently to our union with him. Herein, then, consists the union of head and members, that though they are many, and have many offices, places, and dependencies, 340there is but one living, quickening soul in head and members. If a man could be imagined so big and tall as that his feet should stand upon the earth, and his head reach the starry heavens, yet, having but one soul, he is still but one man. As, then, one living soul makes the natural head and members to be one, one body; so one quickening Spirit, dwelling in Christ and his members, gives them their union, and makes them one Christ, one body. This is clear from 1 Cor. xii. 12, 13. As “the first man Adam was made a living soul,” so “the last Adam is made a quickening spirit,” chap. xv. 45.
(2.) Of husband and wife. The union that is between them sets out the union betwixt Christ and his saints. There is not any one more frequent illustration of it in the Scripture, the Holy Ghost pursuing the allusion in all the most considerable concernments of it, and holding it out as the most solemn representation of the union that is between Christ and his church: Eph. v. 31, 32, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.” The transition is eminent from the conjugal relation that is between man and wife unto Christ and his church. What the apostle had spoken of the one, he would have understood of the other. Wherein consists, then, the union between man and wife, which is chosen by God himself to represent the union between Christ and his church? The Holy Ghost informs us, Gen. ii. 24, “They shall be no more twain, but one flesh.” This is their union, — they shall be no more twain, but (in all mutual care, respect, tenderness, and love) one flesh. The rise of this you have, verse 23, because of the bone and flesh of Adam was Eve his helper made. Hence are they said to be “one flesh.” Wherein, then, in answer to this, is the union between Christ and his church? The same apostle tells us, 1 Cor. vi. 16, 17, “He,” saith he, “that is joined to an harlot is one body, but he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.” As they are one flesh, so these are one spirit; and as they are one flesh, because the one was made out of the other, so these are one spirit, because the Spirit which is in Christ, by dwelling in them, makes them his members, which is their union.
(3.) Of a tree, — an olive, a vine, and its boughs, and branches. “I am the vine,” saith Christ, “ye are the branches,” John xv. 5; “abide in me, and I in you.” As tree and branches, they have an abiding union one with another. Wherein this consists the apostle sets out under the example of an olive and his boughs, Rom. xi. 16, 17. It is in this, that the branches and boughs being ingrafted into the tree, they partake of the very same juice and fatness with the root and tree, being nourished thereby. There is the same fructifying, fattening virtue in the one as the other; only with this 341difference, in the root and tree it is originally, in the boughs by communication. And this also is chosen to set out the union of Christ and his. Both he and they are partakers of the same fruit-bearing Spirit; he that dwells in them dwells in him also: only, it is in him, as to them, originally; in them by communication from him. Take a scion, a graft, a plant, fix it to the tree with all the art you can, and bind it on as close as possible, yet it is not united to the tree until the sap that is in the tree be communicated to it; which communication states the union. Let a man be bound to Christ by all the bonds of profession imaginable, yet unless the sap that is in him, the holy and blessed Spirit, be also communicated to him, there is no union between them. And this is the first thing that doth issue and depend upon the indwelling of the Spirit in believers, even union with Christ, which is a demonstration of it a posteriori.
2. The Spirit as indwelling gives us life and quickening. “God quickens our mortal bodies (or us in them) by his Spirit that dwelleth in us,” Rom. viii. 11, by which Spirit Christ also was raised from the dead; and therefore, the apostle mentioning in another place the beginning and carrying on of faith in us, he saith it is wrought “according to the exceeding greatness of the power of God, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead,” Eph. i. 19, 20. Now, in this quickening there are two things:— (1.) The actus primus, or the life itself bestowed; (2.) The operations of that life in them on whom it is bestowed.
(1.) For the first, I shall not positively determine what it is, nor wherein it doth consist. This is clear, that by nature “we are dead in trespasses and sins;” that in our quickening we have a new spiritual life communicated to us, and that from Christ, in whom it is treasured up for that purpose. But what this life is, it doth not fully appear whilst we are here below. All actual graces confessedly flow from it, and are distinct from it, as the operations of it. I say, in this sense they flow from it confessedly, as suitable actings are from habits, though to the actual exercise of any grace within, new help and assistance is necessary, in that continual dependence are we upon the fountain. Whether it consists in that which is called “habitual grace,” or the gracious suitableness and disposition of the soul unto spiritual operations, may be doubted. The apostle tells us Christ is our life: Col. iii. 4, “When Christ, who is our life, shall appear;” and Gal. ii. 20, “Christ liveth in me.” Christ liveth in believers by his Spirit, as hath been declared. “Christ dwelleth in you,” and, “His Spirit dwelleth in you,” are expressions of the same import and signification. But, —
(2.) God by his Spirit “worketh in us both to will and to do of his own good pleasure.” All vital actions are from him. It may be said of graces and gracious operations as well as gifts, “All these 342worketh in us that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every one as he will.” But this is not now to be insisted on.
3. The Spirit as indwelling gives guidance and direction to them in whom he is as to the way wherein they ought to walk: Rom. viii. 14, “As many as are led by the Spirit of God.” The Spirit leads them in whom it is. And verse 1, they are said to “walk after the Spirit.” Now, there is a twofold leading, guidance, or direction:— (1.) Moral and extrinsical, the leading of a rule; (2.) Eternal and efficient, the leading of a principle.
Of these, the one lays forth the way, the other directs and carries along in it. The first is the Word, giving us the direction of a way, of a rule; the latter is the Spirit, effectually guiding and leading us in all the paths thereof. Without this the other’s direction will be of no saving use; it may be “line upon line, precept upon precept,” yet men go backward and are ensnared. David, notwithstanding the rule of the Word, yea the Spirit of prophecy, for the inditing of more of the mind of God for the use of the church, when moved thereunto, yet in one psalm cries out four times, “Oh! give me understanding, that I may learn try commandments,” concluding that hence would be his life, that therein it lay: “Oh! give me,” saith he, “understanding, and I shall live,” Ps. cxix. 144. So Paul bidding Timothy consider the word of the Scripture, that he might know whence it is that this will be of use unto him, he adds, “The Lord give thee understanding in all things,” 2 Tim. ii. 7. How this understanding is given the same apostle informs us, Eph. i. 17, 18, “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, give unto you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: the eyes of your understanding being” thereby “enlightened;” 1 Cor. ii. 11, 12. It is the “Spirit of wisdom and revelation,” the Holy Spirit of God, from whom is all spiritual wisdom, and all revelation of the will of God, who being given unto us by the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, and our God in him, “enlightens our understanding, that we may know,” etc. And on this account is the Son of God said to “come and give us an understanding to know him that is true,” that is, himself by his Spirit, 1 John v. 20.
Now, there be two ways whereby the Spirit gives us guidance to walk according to the rule of the word:—
(1.) By giving us “the knowledge of the will of God, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding,” Col. i. 9, carrying us on “unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ,” chap. ii. 2. This is that spiritual, habitual, saving illumination, which he gives to the souls of them to whom he is given: “He who commanded light to shine out of darkness, by him shineth into their hearts, to give them the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ,” 3432 Cor. iv. 6. This is elsewhere termed “translating from darkness to light, opening blind eyes, giving light to them that are in darkness, freeing us from the condition of natural men, who discern not the things that are of God.”200200 Col. i. 13; 1 Pet. ii. 9; Eph. v. 8; Luke iv. 18; 1 Cor. ii. 14. This the apostle makes it his design to clear up and manifest, Corinthians 2. He tells you the things of the gospel are “the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glow,” verse 7; and then proves that an acquaintance herewith is not to be attained by any natural means or abilities whatsoever, verse 9, “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;” and thence, unto the end of the chapter, variously manifests how this is given to believers and wrought in them by the Spirit alone, from whom it is that they know the mind of Christ. “But,” saith he, “God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, even the deep things of God. For who knoweth the things of a man but the spirit of a man? and who knoweth the things of God but the Spirit of God? And we have received the spirit, not of this world, but the Spirit which is of God; that we may know the things which are freely given us of God.”
The word is as the way whereby we go; yea, as an external light, as “a lamp unto our feet, and a light unto our path,” Ps. cxix. 105; yea, as the sun in the firmament, sending forth its beams of light abundantly. But what will this profit if a man have no eyes in his head? There must not only be light in the object and in the medium, but in the subject, in our hearts and minds; and this is of the operation of the Spirit of light and truth given to us, as the apostle tells us, 2 Cor. iii. 18, “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glow, as by the Spirit of the Lord.”
This is the first way whereby the Holy Spirit dwelling in us gives guidance and direction. Fundamentally, habitually, he enlightens our minds, give us eyes, understandings, shines into us, translates us from darkness into marvellous light, whereby alone we are able to see our way, to know our paths, and to discern the things of God: without this men are “blind, and cannot see afar off,” 2 Pet. i. 9.
There are three things which men either have or may be made partakers of without this, — this communication of light by the indwelling Spirit:—
[1.] They have the subject of knowledge, a natural faculty of understanding. Their minds remain; though depraved, destroyed, perverted, yea, so far that “their eye and the light that is in them is darkness,” yet the faculty remains still, Matt. vi. 23.
[2.] They may have the object, or truth revealed in the word. This 344is common to all that are made partakers of the good word of God; that is, to whom it is preached and delivered, as it is to many whom “it doth not profit, not being mixed with faith,” Heb. iv. 2.
[3.] The ways and means of communicating the truth so revealed to their minds or understandings, which is the literal, grammatical, logical delivery of the things contained in the Scriptures, as held out to their minds and apprehensions in their meditation on them. And this means of conveyance of the sense of the Scripture is plain, obvious, and clear, in all necessary truths.
A concurrence of these three will afford and yield them that have it, upon their diligence and inquiry, a disciplinary knowledge of the literal sense of Scripture, as they have of other things. By this means the light shines φαίνει, sends out some beams of light into their dark minds; “but the darkness comprehends it not,” receives not the light in a spiritual manner, John i. 5. There is, notwithstanding all this, still wanting the work of the Spirit, before mentioned, creating and implanting in and upon their understandings and minds that light and power of discerning spiritual things which before we insisted on. This the Scripture sometimes calls the “opening of the understanding,” Luke xxiv. 45; sometimes the “giving an understanding” itself, 2 Tim. ii. 7, 1 John v. 20; sometimes “light in the Lord,” Eph. v. 8. Notwithstanding all the advantages formerly spoken of, without this men are still “natural men and darkness, not comprehending, not receiving the things of God,” — that is, not spiritually; for so the apostle adds, “Because they are spiritually discerned,” 1 Cor. ii. 14. Receiving spiritual things by mere natural mediums, they become “foolishness” unto them. This is the first thing that the Spirit dwelling in us doth towards guidance and direction: he gives a new light and understanding, whereby, in general, we are enabled to “discern, comprehend, and receive spiritual things.”
(2.) In particular, he guides and leads men to the embracing particular truths, and to the walking in and up unto them. Christ promised to give him to us for this end, — namely, to lead us into all truth: John xvi. 13, “He will guide you into all truth.” There is more required to the receiving, entertaining, embracing, a particular truth, and rejecting of what is contrary unto it, than a habitual illumination. This also is the work of the Spirit that dwells in us; he works this also in our minds and hearts. Therefore the apostle secures his “little children” that they shall be led into truth and preserved from seduction on this account: 1 John ii. 20, “Ye have an unction from the Holy One” (or, ye have received the Spirit from the Lord Jesus), “and ye shall know all things.” Why so? Because it is his work to guide and lead you into all the things whereof I am speaking. And more fully, verse 27, “The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any 345man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” It is received as promised; it doth abide, as the Spirit is said to do; and it teacheth, which is the proper work of the Spirit in an eminent manner.
Now, this guidance of believers by the Spirit, as to the particular truths and actings, consists in his putting forth of a twofold act of light and power:—
[1.] Of light; and that also is twofold:—
1st. Of beauty, as to the things to be received or done. He represents them to the soul as excellent, comely, desirable, and glorious, leading us on in the receiving of truth “from glory to glory,” 2 Cor. iii. 18. He puts upon every truth a new glory, making and rendering it desirable to the soul; without which it cannot be closed withal, as not discovering either suitableness or proportion unto the minds and hearts of men. And, —
2dly. By some actual elevation of the mind and understanding to go forth unto and receive into itself the truth as represented to it: by both of them sending forth light and truth, Ps. xliii. 3; blowing off the clouds, and raising up the day-star that rises in our hearts, 2 Pet. ii. 19.
[2.] Of power: Isa. xxxv. 5, 6, the breaking forth of streams makes not only the blind to see but the lame to leap. Strength comes as well as light, by the pouring out of the Spirit on us; strength for the receiving and practice of all his gracious discoveries to us.
He leads us, not only in general, implanting a saving light in the mind, whereby it is disposed and enabled to discern spiritual things in a spiritual manner, but also as to particular truths, rendering them glorious and desirable. Opening the mind and understanding by new beams of light, he leads the soul irresistibly unto the receiving of the truths revealed; which is the second thing we have by him.
I shall only observe, for a close of this, one or two consequences of the weight of this twofold operation of the indwelling of Christ:—
[1.] From the want of the first, or his creating a new light in the minds of men, it is that so many labour in the fire for an acquaintance with the things of God; it is, I say, a consequence of it, as darkness is of absence of the sun. Many we see, after sundry years spent in considerable labours and diligence, reading of many books, with a contribution of assistance from other useful arts and sciences, in the issue of all their endeavours do wax “vain in their imaginations, having their foolish hearts darkened; professing themselves wise, they become fools;” being so far from any sap and savour that they have not the leaves of ability in things divine, Rom. i. 21, 22. Others, indeed, make some progress in a disciplinary knowledge of the doctrines 346of the Scriptures, and can accurately reason and distinguish about them, according to the forms wherein they have been exercised, and that to a great height of conviction in their own spirits, and permanency in the profession they have taken up. But yet all this while they abide without any effectual power of the truth conforming and framing their spirits unto the likeness and mould thereof, Rom. vi. 17. They do but “see men walking like trees.” Some shines of the light break in upon them, which rather amaze than guide them; they “comprehend it not.” They see spiritual things in a natural light, and presently forget what manner of things they were, and in the species wherein they are retained they are “foolishness,’ 1 Cor. ii. 12–14.
[2.] From the want of the latter it is that we ourselves are so slow in receiving some parts of truth, and do find it so difficult to convince others of some other parts of it, which to us are written with the beams of the sun. Unless the truth itself be rendered a glory to the understanding, and the mind be actually enlightened as to the truth represented, it is not to be received in a spiritual manner. Those who know at all what the truth is, “as the truth is in Jesus,” will not take it up upon any other more common account. Sometimes in dealing with godly persons to convince them of a truth, we are ready to admire at their stupidity or perverseness, that they will not receive that which shines in with so broad a light upon our spirits. The truth is, until the Holy Spirit sends forth the light and power mentioned, it is impossible that their minds and hearts should rest and acquiesce in any truth whatever. But, —
4. From this indwelling of the Spirit we have supportment. Our hearts are very ready to sink and fail under our trials; indeed, a little thing will cause us so to do: flesh, and heart, and all that is within us, are soon ready to fail, Ps. lxxiii. 26. Whence is it that we do not sink into the deeps? that we have so many and so sweet and gracious recoveries, when we are ready to be swallowed up? The Spirit that dwells in us gives us supportment. Thus it was with David, Ps. li. 12. He was ready to be overwhelmed under a sense of the guilt of that great sin which God then sorely charged upon his conscience, and cries out like a man ready to sink under water, “O uphold me with thy free Spirit;” — “If that do not support me, I shall perish.” So Rom. viii. 26, the Spirit helpeth, bears up that infirmity which is ready to make us go double. How often should we be overborne with our burdens, did not the Spirit put under his power to bear them and to support us! Thus Paul assures himself that he shall be carried through all his trials by the help supplied to him by the Spirit, Phil. i. 19.
There are two special ways whereby the Spirit communicates supportment unto the saints when they are ready to sink, and that upon two accounts, first, of consolation, and then of strength:—
347(1.) The first he doth by brining to mind the things that Jesus Christ hath left in store for their supportment. Our Saviour Christ informing his disciples how they should be upheld in their tribulations, tells them that the Comforter, which should dwell with them and be in them, John xiv. 16, 17, should bring to remembrance what he had told them, verse 26. Christ had said many things, things gracious and heavenly, to his disciples; he had given them many rich and precious promises to uphold their hearts in their greatest perplexities; — but knowing full well how ready they were to forget and to let slip the things that were spoken,201201 Heb. ii. 1. and how coldly his promises would come in to their assistance, when retained only in their natural faculties, and made use of by their own strength, to obviate these evils, he tells them that this work he committeth to the charge of another, who will do it to the purpose. “When ye are ready to drive away, the Comforter,” saith he, “who is in you, he shall bring to remembrance and apply to your souls the things that I have spoken, the promises that I have made; which will then be unto you as life from the dead.” And this he doth every day. How often, when the spirits of the saints are ready to faint within them, when straits and perplexities are round about them, that they know not what to do, nor whither to apply themselves for help or supportment, doth the Spirit that dwelleth in them bring to mind some seasonable, suitable promise of Christ, that bears them up quite above their difficulties and distractions, opening such a new spring of life and consolation to their souls as that they who but now stooped, yea were almost bowed to the ground, do stand upright, and feel no weight or burden at all! Oftentimes they go for water to the well, and are not able to draw; or, if it be poured out upon them, it comes like rain on a stick that is fully dry. They seek to promises for refreshment, and find no more savour in them than in the white of an egg; but when the same promises are brought to remembrance by the Spirit the Comforter, who is with them and in them, how full of life and power are they!
(2.) As this he doth to support believers in respect of consolation, so as to the communication of real strength, he stirs up those graces in them that are strengthening and supporting. The graces of the Spirit are indeed, all of them, supporting and upholding. If the saints fall and sink at any time, in any duty, under any trial, it is because their graces are decayed, and do draw back as to the exercise of them. “If thou faint in the day of adversity,” it is not because thy adversaries are great or strong, but because “thy strength is small,” Prov. xxiv. 10. All our fainting is from the weakness of our strength; faith, waiting, patience, are small. When David’s faith and patience began to sink and draw back, he cried, “ ‘All men are liars;’ 348I shall perish one day by the hand of mine enemies,” Ps. cxvi. 11, 1 Sam. xxvii. 1. When faith is but little, and grace but weak, we shall be forced, if the wind do but begin to blow, to cry out, “Save, Lord, or we sink and perish.” Let a temptation, a lust, a corruption, lay any grace asleep, and the strongest saint will quickly become like Samson with his hair cut and the Philistines about him: he may think to do great matters, but at the first trial he is made a scorn to his enemies. Peter thought it was the greatness of the wind and waves that terrified him; but our Saviour tells him it was the weakness of his faith that betrayed him, Matt. xiv. 30, 31. For relief in this condition, the Spirit that dwells in the saints stirs up, enlivens, and actuates, all his graces in them, that may support and strengthen them in their duties and under their tribulations. Rom. v., Paul runs up the influence of grace into the saints’ supportment unto this fountain: Verse 3, “We glory in tribulations.” This is as high a pitch as can be attained. To be patient under tribulation is no small victory; to glory in it a most eminent triumph, a conformity to Christ, who in his cross triumphed over all his opposers. “We are not only patient under tribulations, and have strength to bear them, but,” saith the apostle, “we glory and rejoice in them, as things very welcome to us.” How comes this about? Saith he, “Tribulation worketh patience” (that is, it sets it at work, for tribulation in itself will never work or beget patience in us); “and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope maketh not ashamed.” It is from hence that these graces, patience, experience, hope, being set on work, do bear up and support our souls, and raise them to such a height under their pressures that we have great cause of rejoicing in them all. Yea, but whence is this? do these graces readily come forth and exert themselves with an efficacy suitable to this triumphing frame? The ground and spring of all is discovered, verse 5; it is, “Because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” From this fountain do all these fresh streams flow. The Spirit that is given us, that “sheds abroad the love of God in our hearts,” and thereby sets all our graces on work, he oils the wheels of the soul’s obedience, when we neither know what to do nor how to perform what we know.
5. This indwelling Spirit gives restraint. Restraining grace doth mainly consist in moral persuasion, from the causes, circumstances, and ends of things. When a man is dissuaded from sin, upon considerations taken from any such head or place as is apt to prevail with him, that persuasion, so applied and intended of God for that end, is unto him restraining grace. By this means doth the Lord keep within bounds the most of the sons of men, notwithstanding all their violent and impetuous lusts. Hell, shame, bitterness, disappointment, on the one hand, credit, repute, quietness of conscience, 349and the like, on the other, bind them to their good behaviour. God through these things drops an awe upon their spirits, binding them up from running out unto that compass of excess and riot in sinning which otherwise their lusts would carry them unto. This is not his way of dealing with the saints; he “puts his law in their inward parts, and writes it in their hearts,” Jer. xxxi. 33, that they may not depart from him, making them a willing people through his own power, Ps. cx. 3. By his effectually restraining grace he carries them out kindly, cheerfully, willingly, to do his whole will, “working in them both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Yet, notwithstanding all this, oftentimes, through the strength of temptation, the subtlety of Satan, and his readiness to improve all advantages to the utmost, and the treachery and deceitfulness of indwelling sin and corruption, they are carried beyond the bounds and lines of that principle or law of life and love whereby they are led. What now doth the Lord do? They are ready to run quite out of the pasture of Christ; doth he then let them go, and give them up to themselves? Nay; but he sets a hedge about them, that they shall not find their way; he leads them as the “wild ass in her month,” that they may be found; he, puts a restraint upon their spirits, by setting home some sad considerations of the evil of their hearts and ways, whither they are going, what they are doing, and what shall be the issue of their walking so loosely, even in this life, — what shame, what scandal, what dishonour to themselves, their profession, the gospel, their brethren, it would prove; and so hampers them, quiets their spirits, and gently brings them again under obedience unto that principle of love that is in them, and to the Spirit of grace (whose yoke they were casting off) whereby they are led. Many times, then, even the saints of God are kept from sins, especially outward, actual sins, upon such outward motives, reasonings, and considerations as other men are. Peter was broken loose, and running down hill apace, denying and forswearing his Master; Christ puts a restraint upon his spirit by a look towards him. This minds him of his folly, unkindness, his former rash confidence and engagement to die with his Master, and sets him on such considerations as stirred up the principle of grace in him to take its place and rule again; and, in obedience thereunto, he not only desists from any farther denial, but faith, repentance, love, all exerting themselves, he “went out, and wept bitterly.” It is so frequently with the saints of God, though in lesser evils. By neglect and omission of duty, or inclination to evil, and closing with temptations, they break out of the pure and perfect rule and guidance of the Spirit, whereby they ought to be led. Instantly some considerations or other are pressed in upon their spirits, taken, perhaps, from outward things, which recover them to that obediential frame from whence, through violence 350of corruption and temptation, they had broken; like [as] a hawk sitting on a man’s hand, eating her meat in quietness, is suddenly, by the original wildness of her nature, carried out to an attempt of flying away with speed, but is checked by the string at her heels, upon which she returns to her meat again. We have an innate wildness in us, provoking and stirring us up to run from God. Were we not recovered by some clog fastened on us for our restraint, we should often run into the most desperate paths. And this restraint, I say, is from the indwelling Spirit. He stirs up one thing or other to smite the heart and conscience, when it is under the power of any temptation to sin and folly. So it was with David in the attempt he made upon Saul, when he cut off the lap of his garment. Temptation and opportunity had almost turned him loose from under the power of faith, waiting, and dependence on God, wherein lay the general frame of his spirit; he is recovered to it by a blow upon the heart, from some dismal consideration of the issue and scandal of that which he was about.
6. We have hereby also the renewal, daily renewal, of sanctifying grace. Inherent grace is a thing in its own nature apt to decay and die; it is compared to things ready to die: Rev. iii. 2, “Strengthen the things that remain,” saith Christ to the church of Sardis, “that are ready to die.” It is a thing that may wither and decline from its vigour, and the soul may thereby be betrayed into manifold weaknesses and backslidings. It is not merely from the nature of the trees in the garden of God that their fruit fails not nor their leaves wither, but from their “planting by the rivers of water,” Ps. i. 3. Hence are the sicknesses, weaknesses, and decays of the spirit, mentioned in the Scripture. Should he who had the richest stock of any living be left to spend of it without new supplies, he would quickly be a bankrupt. This also is prevented by the indwelling Spirit. He is the fatness of the olive, that is communicated to the branches continually, to keep them fruitful and flourishing. He is that golden oil which passes through the branches and empties itself in the fruitfulness of the church. He continually fills our lamps with new oil, and puts new vigour into our spirits: Ps. xcii. 10, “My horn shalt thou exalt like the horn of an unicorn: I shall be anointed with fresh oil,” or renewed supplies of the Spirit. And this, Ps. ciii. 5, is called a renewing of youth like the eagle’s, — a recovery of former strength and vigour, new power and ability for new duties and performances. And how comes that about? Saith the psalmist, “It is by God’s satisfying my mouth with good things.” He satisfied his mouth with good things, or answered his prayers. What these good things are which the saints pray for, and wherewith their mouths are satisfied, our Saviour tells us: “Your Father,” saith he, “knoweth how to give good things to them that ask them of him;” 351which expressing in another place, he saith, “Your Father will give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him of him.” He is given us, and he renews our strength as the eagle’s, making our souls, which were ready to languish, prompt, ready, cheerful, strong in the ways of God. To this purpose is that prayer of the spouse, Cant. iv. 16, “Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; and blow upon my garden, that the savour of my spices may flow out. Let my Beloved come into his garden, that he may eat of the fruit of his precious things.” She is sensible of the withering of her spices, the decays of her graces, and her disability thereupon to give any suitable entertainment unto Jesus Christ. Hence is her earnestness for new breathings and operations of the Spirit of grace, to renew, and revive, and set on work again, her graces in her, which without it could not be done. All graces are the fruits of the Spirit: Gal. v. 22, 23, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.” If the root do not communicate fresh juice and sap continually, the fruit will quickly wither. Were there not a continual communication of new life and freshness unto our graces from the indwelling Spirit, we should soon be poor withered branches. This our Saviour tells us, John xv. 4, 5, “Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for severed, from me ye can do nothing.” Our abiding in Christ and his in us, is, as was declared, by the indwelling of the same Spirit in him and us. Hence, saith Christ, have ye all your fruit-bearing virtue. And unless that be continued to us, we shall wither and consume to nothing. David, in his spiritually-declined condition, entangled under the power and guilt of sin, cries out for the continuance of the Spirit and the restoring him, as to those ends and purposes in reference whereunto he was departed from him, Ps. li. 11, 12. This the apostle prays earnestly that the Ephesians may receive: Chap. iii. 14, 16, 17, “I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love,” etc. The inner man is the same with the new creature, the new principle of grace in the heart. This is apt to be sick, to faint, and decay. The apostle prays that it might be strengthened. How is this to be done? how is it to be renewed, increased, enlivened? It is, saith he, by the mighty power of the Spirit; and he then gives you particular instances in the graces which flourish and spring up effectually upon that strengthening they receive by the might and power of the Spirit, as of faith, 352love, knowledge, and assurance, the increasing and establishing of all which are ascribed there unto him. He who bestows these graces on us and works them in us doth also carry them on unto perfection. Were it not for our inflowings from that spring, our cisterns would quickly be dry. Therefore our Saviour tells us that he, the Spirit, is unto believers as rivers of living water flowing out of their bowels, John vii. 38, 39; as a never-failing fountain, that continually puts forth living waters of grace in us.
This may a little farther be considered and insisted on, being directly to our main purpose in hand. It is true, indeed, it doth more properly belong unto that which I have assigned for the second part of this treatise, concerning the ground or principle of the saints’ abiding with God for ever; but falling in conveniently in this order, I shall farther press it from John iv. 14: “Whosoever,” saith our Saviour, “shall drink of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst: but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life.”
The occasion of these words is known; they are part of our Saviour’s colloquy with the poor Samaritan harlot. Having told her that he could give her another manner of water, and infinitely better than that which she drew out of Jacob’s well, (for which the poor creature did almost contemn him, and asked him whence he had that water whereof he spake, how he came by it, or what he made of himself, — did he think himself a better man than Jacob, who drank of that well which she was drawing water out of?) to convince her of the truth and reality of his promise, he compares the water that he would and could give with that which she drew out of the well, especially as to one eminent effect, wherein the water of his promise did infinitely surmount that which she so magnified: for, verse 13, he tells her, [as] for that water in the well, though it allayed thirst for a season, yet within a little while she would thirst again, and must come thither to draw; “But,” saith he, “whosoever shall drink of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst.” And this he proverb from the condition of the water he giveth: “It is a well of water; not a draught, not a pitcherful, as that thou carriest away, but it is a fountain, a well.” “Yea, perhaps in itself it is so, a fountain or well, but he that drinks of it, he hath but one draught of that water.” “Nay,” saith Christ, “it shall become a well in him; not a well whereunto he may go, but a well that he shall carry about in him. He that hath a continual spring of living water in him shall doubtless have no occasion of fainting for thirst any more.” This our Saviour amplifies and clears up unto her, from the nature and energy of this well of water, “It springeth up into everlasting life;” in these last words instructing the poor sinful creature in the use of the parable that he had used with her. Having taken an occasion to speak to 353her of heavenly things from the nature of the employment that she was engaged in at present, two or three things may be observed from the words, to give light into their tendency to the confirmation of the truth we have under consideration:—
(1.) The water here promised by our Saviour is the holy and blessed Spirit; this needs no labour to demonstrate. The Spirit himself so interprets it, John vii. 38, 39, “He that believeth on me,” saith our Saviour, “as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive.” That which in one place he calleth “a well of water springing up into everlasting life in us,” is in the other, in equivalent terms, called “rivers of living water flowing out of our bellies;” and the Holy Ghost tells us that he himself, the blessed Spirit, is signified by that expression. Neither is there any thing bestowed on us that can be compared to a spring of water rising up, increasing, and flowing out abundantly, upon its own account, but the Spirit only. It is only the Spirit that is a fountain of refreshment, from whence all grace doth abundantly flow. It is, I say, the Spirit whereof we have been speaking, who is procured for us and bestowed upon us by Jesus Christ, which, as an everlasting fountain, continually supplies us with refreshing streams of grace, and fills us anew therewith, when the channels thereof in our souls are ready to become dry. And, —
(2.) The state and condition of them on whom this living water is bestowed, in reference thereunto, is described. Saith our Saviour, “He that hath this Spirit of grace, this well of living water, shall never thirst.” It is most emphatically expressed by two negatives, and an exegetical additional term for weight and certainty: Οὐ μὴ διψήσῃ, “He shall never thirst to eternity;” or, as it is expressed, John vi. 35, “He shall never thirst at any time.” There is a twofold thirst:—
[1.] There is a thirst totalis indigentiæ, of a whole and entire want of that men thirst after; and this is the thirst that returns upon men in their natural lives. After they have allayed it once with natural water, they thirst again; and their want of water returns as entire and full as if they had never drank in their lives. Such a spiritual thirst doth God ascribe to wicked men, Isa. lxv. 13, “My servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry; my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty.” Their hunger and thirst is the total want of grace; not that they do desire it, but that they have it not. And this thirst of total want of grace is that that never shall nor can befall them who have received the Spirit of grace as a well of water in them. They can never so thirst as to be returned again into the condition wherein they were before they drank of that Spirit.
[2.] There is also a thirst of desire and complacency of the good 354things thirsted after. In this sense they are pronounced blessed who “hunger and thirst after righteousness,” Matt. v. 6. And Peter instructs us to grow in this thirst more and more: 1 Pet. ii. 2, “As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby.” The enjoyment of the Spirit doth not take away this thirst, but begin it and increase it; and by this thirst, as one means, are we preserved from that total want and indigency, which shall never again befall us.
(3.) Our Saviour gives the reason why and whence it is that they who drink of this water, are made partakers of his Spirit, shall thirst no more, or never be brought to the condition of total want of grace, which they were in before they received him: “Because the water which I shall give them,” saith he, “the Spirit which I shall bestow upon them, dwelleth in them,” as we have showed, “shall be a well of water,” a fountain of grace, “springing up in them to everlasting life,” continuing and perpetuating the grace communicated, unto the full fruition of God in glory. There are, among others, three eminent things in this reason to confirm us in the faith of the former assertion:—
[1.] The condition or nature of the Spirit in believers. He is a “well, a fountain, a spring,” that never can nor will be dry to eternity.
[2.] The constant supplies of grace that this Spirit affords them in whom he is; he is water always “springing up.” So that to say he will refresh saints and believers with his grace, provided that they turn not profligately, wicked, is openly to contradict our Saviour Christ, with as direct opposition to the design in the words, as can be imagined. This springing up of grace, which from him is had and received, which is his work in us, is that whereunto this profligate wickedness is opposed; and whilst that is, this cannot be. There is an everlasting inconsistency between profligate wickedness and a never-failing spring of grace.
[3.] His permanency in this work, and efficacy by it. This living water springs up to “everlasting life.” He ceases not until our spiritual life be consummated in eternity.
This, then, is the sum of this promise of our Saviour: He gives his Holy Spirit to his; who lives in them, and gives them such continual supplies of grace, that they shall never come to a total want of it, as they do of elementary water who have once drunk thereof. And from this spring doth this argument flow: They on whom the Spirit is bestowed to abide with them for ever, and to whom he constantly yields such supplies of grace as that they shall never be reduced to a total want for ever, they shall certainly and infallibly persevere; but that this is the condition of all that come to Christ by believing, or that Christ hath promised that so it shall be with them, is clear from his own testimony now insisted on: ergo.
355Unto this argument from the promise of our Saviour, Mr Goodwin endeavours an answer, chap. xi. sect. 10–12, pp. 232, 233, and in the preface of it tells us, “That this scripture doth but face (if so much) the business in hand.” To “face” it, I suppose, is to appear at first view in its defence; and this, indeed, cannot well or colourably be denied, the words of it punctually expressing the very truth we intend to prove thereby; and this, notwithstanding the allaying qualification, “If so much,” must needs somewhat prejudice the ensuing evasions. But we are yet farther confident that upon the more diligent and strict examination, it will be found to speak to the very heart and soul of the business in hand. And the consideration of his reasons to the contrary doth seem only to give us farther light herein and assurance hereof. He says, then, —
“Here is no promise made that they who once believe, how unworthily soever they shall behave themselves, shall still be preserved by God, or the Spirit of God, in believing, or that they shall be necessitated always to believe.”
Ans. This is the old play still. It is not at all our intendment to produce any promise of safeguarding men in the love of God, how vile soever they may prove, but of preserving them from all such unworthiness as should render them utterly incapable thereof. And this is plainly here asserted, in the assurance given of the perpetual residence of the Spirit in them, with such continual supplies of grace from him as shall certainly preserve them from any such state or condition as is imagined. Of being necessitated to believe, I have spoken formerly. The expression is neither used by us, nor proper to the thing itself about which it is used, nor known in the Scripture as to this purpose; and therefore we justly reject it as to its signifying any thing of the way and manner whereby we are preserved by the power of God through faith unto salvation. If it denotes only the certainty and infallibility of the event, as the phrase or locution is improper, so to deny that there is a promise of our being preserved by the Spirit of God in believing is not to answer our argument, but to beg the thing in question, yea, to deny the positive assertion of the Lord Christ. But if there be not such a promise in the words, what then is in them? what do they contain? Saith he, —
“They are only a declaration and assertion made by Christ of the excellency and desirableness of that life which he comes to give unto the world, above the life of nature, which is common unto all. This, by comparing the words with those in the former verse, is evident. ‘Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again; but whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him,’ etc. That is, ‘The best means that can be had and enjoyed to render this present life free from inconveniencies will not effect it; but whosoever shall drink, enjoy, receive, and believe, the doctrine which I shall administer 356unto him, shall hereby be made partaker of such a life, which shall within a short time, if men be careful in the interim to preserve it, by reason of the nature, and perfect condition, and constitution of it, be exempt from all sorrow, trouble, and inconvenience whatsoever, as being eternal.’ ”
Ans. [1.] That these words are only an assertion of the excellency and desirableness of that eternal life which Christ would give above the natural, that the woman sued to sustain, and that this appears from the context, is said, indeed, but no more. It is true, our Saviour doth divert the thoughts of the woman from the natural life, and care for provision about it, with an insinuation of a better life to be attained. But is this all he doth? or is this the intendment of the words under consideration? Doth not the main of the opposition or difference which at present he speaks unto lie in the supplies that are given for the two kinds of life whereof he speaks? The water, he tells her, which she drew from that well by which he sat, for the supply of her natural life, was such that, after her drinking of it, she should quickly return to the same condition of thirst as formerly before she drank of it; but that which he gave was such as that whoever drank of it should thirst no more, but be certainly preserved in and unto the full fruition of that life whereof it is the means and supply. The opposition is not between the lives continued, but the mean of consolation and its efficacy.
[2.] It is not the condition of the life natural, which is subject to dissolution and not capable of perfection, that is the reason why they thirst again and again that have water natural for the refreshment thereof; but it is the nature of the means itself which is supplied, that is not fitted or suited to permanency and abiding usefulness (as the water which Christ promises is), that he insists on. There is not any thing [which] leads us to suppose that it is the imperfection of life, and not the condition of the means of natural life, that is primarily intended in the instituted comparison, though the frailty and nothingness of that life also be afterward intimated in the substitution of eternal life unto the thoughts of the poor woman in the room thereof.
[3.] I say that it is not the doctrine of Christ, but his Spirit principally, that he is here said to give as water; and that this is not promised to make men partakers of eternal life if in the interim they be careful to preserve it, but to preserve them to it, and to give them that care which as a grace is needful thereunto. The plain intendment of the promise is, that by the water they drink they shall be kept and preserved in the life whereof they are made partakers, unto the fullness and perfection of it; which preservation, by the parenthesis, “If any be careful in the interim to preserve it,” is directly taken away from the Spirit that Christ promiseth, and 357assigned to men’s own care, even in contradistinction to all the benefits which they receive by him being so bestowed on them. The difference, then, here between Jesus Christ and Mr Goodwin is this:— Christ saith, “The water that he shall give will be a well springing up to everlasting life;” Mr Goodwin, “That it is the care of men to preserve themselves that produces that effect.”
[4.] The present exemption which we have by the water of Christ’s giving is not from sorrow and trouble, but from thirst; that is, from what is opposed unto and is destructive of that life which he also gives, as natural thirst is unto natural life. But of this thirst and our exemption from it I have spoken before. It is not, then, the nature and condition of the life promised that he points unto, no farther than as it is coincident with the means of it here spoken of. Indeed, this means of life is our life, as to the inchoation of it here below, and its daily growing up unto perfection. But he adds, sect. 11, —
“That he doth not oppose that life, which accrues unto men by drinking theft water which he gives them, unto the natural life, which they live by other means in respect of the present condition or constitution of it, or as it is enjoyed by men in this present world, is evident from hence, because he asserts it free from thirst (‘Shall never thirst’). Now, we know that the saints themselves, notwithstanding that life of grace which is in them, by drinking that water that Christ hath given them, are yet subject to both kinds of thirst, as well that which is corporeal or natural as that which is spiritual; yea, the spiritual thirst unto which they are now subject, though it argues a deficiency of what they would farther have or desire to be, and in that respect is troublesome, yet is it argumentative of the goodness of their condition, Matt. v. 6.”
Ans. [1.] The sum of this answer is, That the life here spoken of and promised is not that spiritual life whereof we are here made partakers, but eternal life, which is for to come, which, when any attain, they shall never fail in or fall from; but whether they may or shall attain it or no, here is nothing spoken. But here is no notice taken of the main opposition insisted on by our Saviour, between the supplies of the Spirit for life eternal, which fail not, nor suffer them to thirst to whom they are given, and the supplies of natural life by elementary water, notwithstanding which they who are made partakers thereof do in a short season come to a total want of it again. Instead of answers to our argument from this place, we meet with nothing but perpetual diversions from the whole scope and intendment of it, and at last are told that the promise signifies only that men should not want grace when they come to heaven!
[2.] To prove that there is no promise of any abiding spiritual life here, these words, “They shall never thirst,” are produced. That we 358shall have our life continued to the full enjoyment of it unto eternity, because such are the supplies of the Spirit bestowed on us that we shall never thirst, is the argument of our Saviour. That there is no such life promised or here to be attained, because in it we shall not thirst, is Mr Goodwin’s.
[3.] It is not the intendment of our Saviour to prove that we shall not thirst because we shall have such a life, but the quite contrary, that we shall have such a life, and shall assuredly be preserved, because the supplies of the Spirit which he gives will certainly take away the thirst, which is so opposite to it as to be destructive of it.
[4.] It is true, the saints, notwithstanding this promise, are still liable to thirst, that thirst intimated Matt. v. 6, “after righteousness;” but not at all to that thirst which they have a promise here to be freed from, a thirst of a universal want of that water wherewith they are refreshed. And that their freedom from this thirst is their portion in this life, we have the testimony of Christ himself: “He that believeth on me shall never thirst,” John vi. 35. And the reason of their not thirsting is the receiving and drinking in that water which Christ gives them; which, as himself says, is his Spirit, which they receive who believe on him, John vii. 38, 39. Neither is that thirst of theirs which doth remain troublesome, as is insinuated, it being a grace of the Spirit, and so quieting and composing; though they are troubled for the want of that in its fullness which they thirst after, yet their thirst is no way troublesome. That, then, which is farther added by Mr Goodwin is exceeding sophistical.
Saith he, “By the way, this spiritual thirst, which is incident unto the life which is derived from Christ, and the waters given by him unto men, as it is enjoyed and possessed by them in this present world, is (according to the purport of our Saviour’s own arguing) an argument that for the present, and whilst it is obnoxious to such a thirst, it is dissolvable and may fail; for in the latter part of the said passage, he plainly implies that the eternalness of that life which springs from the drinking of this water is the reason or cause why it is exempt from thirst. Let the whole passage be read and minded, and this will clearly appear. If, then, the eternality of a life be the cause or reason why it is free from the inconveniency of thirst, evident it is that such a life which is not free from thirst is not, during this weakness or imperfection of it, eternal, or privileged against dissolution.”
Ans. “That we cannot thirst under the enjoyment of the life promised proves this life not here to be enjoyed, is proved, because the eternalness of this life is the cause of its exemption from thirst;” but that the plain contrary is the intendment of the Holy Ghost, I presume is evident to all men. The reason of our preservation to eternal life, and being carried on thereunto, is apparently assigned to 359those supplies of the Spirit whereby our thirst is taken away. The taking away of our thirst is the certain means of our eternal life, not a consequent of the eternity of it. All the proof of what is here asserted is, “Let the whole passage be read and minded;” in which appeal I dare acquiesce before the judgment-seat of any believer in the world, whose concernment this is. It is here, then, supposed that the eternity of the life promised is the cause of their not thirsting in whom it is, which is beside the text; and that they may thirst again (in the sense spoken of) who drink of that water of the Spirit which Christ gives, which is contrary unto it. And of these two supposals is this part of this discourse composed.
The ensuing discourse, rendering a reason upon the account whereof life may be called eternal, though it be interrupted and cut off, we shall have farther time, God assisting, to consider, and to declare its utter inconsistency with the intendment of the Holy Ghost in the expressions now before us.
He adds then, in the last place, sect. 12, “That the intendment of Christ is not that the water he gives shall always end in the issue of eternal life, but that it lies in a tendency thereunto.”
Ans. Which, upon the matter, is all one as if he had said, “Christ saith, indeed, that the water which he gives shall spring up into everlasting life, and wholly remove that thirst which is comprehensive of all interveniencies that might hinder it” (as God said to Adam, “In the day that thou eatest of that fruit, thou shalt surely die”), “but he knew full well that it might otherwise come to pass;” — which, whether it doth not amount to a calling of his truth and credit in his words and promises into question, deserves, as I suppose, Mr Goodwin’s serious consideration. To conclude, then, our Saviour hath assured us that the living water which he gives us shall take away such thirst, all such total want of grace and Spirit (be it to be brought about, not by this or that means, but by what means soever), as should cause us to come short of eternal life with himself; which we shall look upon as a promise of the saints’ perseverance in faith, notwithstanding all the exceptions which as yet to the contrary have been produced.
Having thus long insisted on this influence of the mediation of Christ into the continuance of the love and favour of God unto believers, by procuring the Spirit for them, sending him to them, to “dwell in them and abide with them for ever” (the most effectual principle of their continuance with God), give me leave farther to confirm the truth of what hath been spoken by remarking some inferences which the Scripture holds out unto us, upon a supposition of those assertions which we have laid down concerning the indwelling of the Spirit., and the assistance which we receive from him on that account, all tending to the end and purpose we have in hand; as, —
360First, Because “the Spirit dwelleth in us,” we are therefore to consider and dispose of our persons as “temples of the Holy Ghost,” — that is, of this indwelling Spirit; the Scripture manifesting hereby that the doctrine of the indwelling of the Spirit is not only a truth, but a very useful truth, being made the fountain of and the enforcement unto so great a duty. He dwells in us, and we are to look well to his habitation. Our Saviour tells us, that when the evil spirit finds his dwelling “swept and garnished,” Matt. xii. 44, he instantly takes possession, and brings company with him. He will not be absent from it when it is fitted for his turn. In reference to the saints and their holy Indweller, this the apostle urgeth, 1 Cor. vi. 19, 20, “Your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you:” whence he concludes, “Ye are not your own,” and therefore ought to “glorify God in your body.” From hence is the strength of his argument for the avoiding of all uncleanness: Verses 16–19, “Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? He that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication. Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” On this account, also, doth he press to universal holiness: 1 Cor. iii. 16, 17, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” In verses 12–15, the apostle discovers the fruitlessness of building “hay and stubble,” light and unsound doctrines or practices, upon the foundation of faith in Jesus Christ once laid, and tells us that all such things shall burn and suffer loss, and put the contrivers and workers of them to no small difficulty in escaping, like men when the garments they are clothed withal are on fire about them. On the account of this sad event of foolish and careless walking, he presses, verse 16, as was said, earnestly to universal holiness, laying down as the great motive thereunto that which we have insisted on, namely, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in us: “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God?” — “The temple wherein God of old did dwell was built with hewn stone and cedar-wood, and overlaid with pure gold; and will ye now, who are the spiritual temple of God, build up your souls with hay and stubble? which he furthers by that dreadful commination taken from the zeal of God for the purity of his temple. So that on each hand he doth press to the universal close keeping of our hearts in all holiness and purity, because of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. And, indeed, wherever we are said to be temples of God, or a habitation for him, as it still relates to this cause of the expression which we now insist upon, so there is ever some intimation of holiness to be pursued on that account: Eph. ii. 21, 22, “In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in 361whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Being made “an habitation of God” by the Spirit’s indwelling in us, we grow up, or thrive in grace, into a holy temple to the Lord, to be a more complete and well-furnished habitation for him.
This, then, is that which I say: The truth of what hath formerly been spoken concerning the manner of the Spirit’s abode with us, being procured for us by Jesus Christ, is farther cleared by this inference that the Scripture makes thereof. The saints are exhorted with all diligence to keep themselves a fit habitation for him, that they may not be unclean and defiled lodgings for the Spirit of purity and holiness. This is, and this is to be, their daily labour and endeavour, that vain thoughts, unruly passions, corrupt lusts, may not take up any room in their bosom; that they put not such unwelcome and unsavoury inmates upon the Spirit of grace; that sin may not dwell where God dwells. On this ground they may plead with their own souls, and say, “Hath the Lord chosen my poor heart for his habitation? Hath he said, ‘I delight in it, and there will I dwell for ever?’ Hath he forsaken that goodly and stately material temple whereunto he gave his especial presence of old, to take up his abode in a far more eminent way in a poor sinful soul? Doth that Holy Spirit which dwells in Jesus Christ, who was ‘holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,’ who ‘did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth,’ dwell also in me, that am in and of myself wholly corrupted and defiled? And shall I be so foolish, so unthankful, as willingly to defile the habitation which he hath chosen? Shall I suffer vain thoughts, foolish lusts, distempered affections, worldly aims, to put in themselves upon him there? He is a Spirit of grace; can he bear a graceless corruption to be cherished in his dwelling? He is a Spirit of holiness; and shall I harbour in his lodging a frame of worldliness? He is a Spirit of joy and consolation; and shall I fill my bosom with foolish fears and devouring cares? Would not this be a grief unto him? would it not provoke the eyes of his glory? Can he bear it, that when he is with me, before his face, in his presence, I should spend my time in giving entertainment to his enemies? He is the High and the Holy One who dwells in eternity, and he hath chosen to inhabit with me also; surely I should be more brutish than any man should I be careless of his habitation. And should not this fill my soul with a holy scorn and indignation against sin? Shall I debase my soul unto any vile lust, which hath this exceeding honour, to be a habitation for the Spirit of God? Hence, upon a view of any defilement of lust or passion, nothing troubles the saints more, nor fills them with more self-abhorrence and confusion of face, than this, that they have rendered their hearts an unsuitable habitation for the Spirit of God. This makes David, upon his sin, cry so earnestly 362that the Spirit might not depart from him, being conscious to himself that he had exceedingly defiled his dwelling-place, Ps. li. 11. And were this consideration always fresh upon the spirits of the saints, were it more constant in their thoughts, it would keep them more upon their guard that nothing might break in to disquiet their gracious Indweller.
Secondly, Because by the Spirit we have guidance and direction, there is wisdom given unto us, and we are called to a holy discerning between the directions of the Spirit of grace and the delusions of the spirit of the world and the seduction of our own hearts. Christ gives this character of his sheep, that they “hear him, know his voice, and follow him,” but “a stranger they will not follow,” John x. 3–5. Christ speaks by his Spirit; in his guidance and direction is the voice of the Lord Jesus: “He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches,” Rev. ii. 29. What Christ saith as to the fountain of revelation, he being the great prophet of the church, that the Spirit saith as to the efficacy of the revelation unto the hearts of the saints; and as “the unction teacheth them,” so do they “abide in Christ,” 1 John ii. 27. The seducements of the spirit of the world, either immediately by himself or mediately by others, are the voice of strangers. Between these and the voice of the Spirit of Christ that dwells in them, the saints have a spirit of discerning. This the apostle affirms, 1 Cor. ii. 15, “He that is spiritual judgeth all things.” He discerneth between things, and judgeth aright of them. He “judgeth all things;” that is, all things of that nature whereof he speaks; that is, “the things which are freely given to us of God,” verse 12, for the discerning and knowledge whereof the Spirit is given them: for “the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God,” verse 11. They know also the suggestions of the spirit of the world, and judge them: 2 Cor. ii. 11, “We are not ignorant of his devices.” There is a twofold knowledge of the depths and devices of Satan:— one with approbation, to the embracing and practice of them; the other with condemnation, to their hatred and rejection. The first ye have mentioned Rev. ii. 24 “As many as have not known the depths of Satan, as they speak,” — their “doctrinal depths,” so they call them; of them our Saviour there speaks. New doctrines were broached by Satan, — unintelligible notions. Some pretended to attain an acquaintance with them; and boasted, it seems, in them as very great and high attainments. They called them “depths,” such as poor ordinary believers, that contented themselves with their low forms, could not reach unto. Saith Christ, “They are depths, as they speak;” — indeed, in themselves nothing at all, things of no solidity, weight, nor wisdom; but, as managed by Satan, they are depths indeed, such as whereby he destroys their souls. And as some approve his doctrinal depths, so some close with 363his practical depths and embrace them, men that study his ways and paths, becoming desperately wicked, maliciously scoffing at religion, and despising the profession of it. But there is a knowledge also of the depths and devices of Satan leading to judging, condemning, rejecting, and watching against them. The suggestions of Satan, in their infinite variety, their rise, progress, efficacy, and advantages, their various aims and tendencies unto sin against grace, I do not now consider. But this I say, those who are “led by the Spirit of God,” who have directions and guidance from him, they discern between the voice of the Spirit which dwells in them and the voice of the spirit which dwells in the world.
Now, because this is not always to be done from the manner of their speaking, the serpent counterfeiting the voice of the dove, and coming on, not only with earnestness and continuance of impulse, but with many fair and specious pretences, making good his impressions, labouring to win the understanding over to that wherewith he enticeth the affections and passions of men, they use the help of such considerations as these ensuing, to give them direction in attending to the voice of that Guide which leads them into the paths of truth, and to stop their ears to the songs of Satan, which would transform them into monsters of disobedience. Thus they know, —
1. That all the motions of the Holy Spirit, whereby they are and ought to be led, are regular; that he moves them to nothing but what is according to the mind of Christ, delivered in the word which he hath appointed for their rule to walk by, to no duty but what is acceptable to him, and what he hath revealed so to be. So that as believers are to try the spirits of others by that standard, whether they are of God or no, because of the subtlety of Satan, transforming himself into an angel of light, yea, into a spirit of duty, whatever immediate motions and impressions fall upon their spirits, they try them by the rule, 1 John iv. 1. It is no dishonour to the Holy Spirit, yea, it is a great honour, to have his motions within us tried by the word that he hath given for a rule without us; yea, when any preached by immediate inspiration, he commends those who examined what they delivered by that which he had given out before, Acts xvii. 11. He doth not now move in us to give a new rule, but a new light and power, as was said before. The motions of the spirit of the world are for the most part unto things wherein, though the persons with whom he deals may be in the dark, or blind, and darkened by him, yet themselves are against the rule, or beside it, in the whole or in part, in respect of some such circumstances as vitiate the whole performance.
2. They know that the commands and motions of the Spirit which dwells in them are not grievous, 1 John v. 3. The commands of Christ, for the matter of them, are not grievous; “his yoke is easy, his 364burden is light,” Matt. xi. 30. And the manner whereby we are carried out to the performance of them is not grievous: “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,” 2 Cor. iii. 17. It carries out the soul to duty in a free, sweet, calm, ingenuous manner. The motions of the spirit of the world, even unto good things and duties (for so, for farther ends of his, it often falls out that they are), are troublesome, vexatious, perplexing, grievous, and tumultuating. Satan falls like lightning upon the soul, and comes upon the powers of it as a tempest. Hence acting in any thing upon his closing with and provoking our convictions, is called a being under the “spirit of bondage,” Rom. viii. 15; which is opposed to the “Spirit of God, the Spirit of adoption, of liberty, boldness, power, and a sound mind.”
3. They know that all motions of the Spirit whereby they are led are orderly. As is God’s covenant with us, “ordered in all things,” so the Spirit of God carries us out unto every duty in its own order and season; whereas we see some poor souls to be in such bondage as to be hurried up and down, in the matter of duties, at the pleasure of Satan. They must run from one to another, and commonly neglect that which they should do. When they are at prayer, then they should be at the work of their calling; and when they are at their calling, they are tempted for not laying all aside and running to prayer. Believers know that this is not from the Spirit of God, which makes “every thing beautiful in its season.”
4. They know that all the workings of the Spirit of God, as they are good, so also they tend unto a good end. Doth that stir them up to close walking with God? — it is that God may be glorified, his graces exercised in them, their souls strengthened in obedience, and their progress in sanctification furthered. Doth it assure them of the love of God? — it is that they may be more humble, thankful, and watchful. Whereas all the compliances and combinations of Satan, and men’s corrupt hearts, even when they compel to good duties, are for false, evil, and corrupt ends. Duty is pressed to pacify conscience, peace is given to make men secure, gifts are stirred up to tempt to pride; and, indeed, it may easily be observed that the devil never doth any work but he will quickly come for his wages.
By the help, I say, of these and such like considerations, the saints of God, in whom this Spirit doth dwell, are enabled to discern and know the voice of their leader and guide from the nearest resemblance of it that the spirit which is in the world doth or at any time can make show of. And this indwelling of the Spirit yields a considerable contribution of strength towards the confirmation of the main theses undertaken to be proved. Our adversaries dispute about the removal of acquired habits; but how infused habits may be cast out or expelled they have not [in] any tolerable measure been able to declare. If, moreover, it shall be evinced, as it hath been by 365plentiful testimonies of Scripture, that the Holy Ghost himself dwells in believers, what way can be fixed on for his expulsion? That he cannot be removed but by his own will, the will of him that sends him, I suppose will easily be granted. Whilst he abides with them, they are accepted with God, and in covenant with him. That God, whilst his children are in such a state and condition, doth take away his Spirit from them, and give them up to the power of the devil, is incumbent on our adversaries to prove.
But to return at length from this digression. Thus far have we proceeded in manifesting, upholding, and vindicating, that influence which the oblation of Christ hath into the preservation of the saints in the love and favour of God unto the end. His intercession, being eminently effectual also to the same end and purpose, comes in the next place to be considered.
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