תמונות בעמוד

it appears, that effectual calling is the internal powerful work of the Holy Ghost.*

Obj. 1. It is objected, by some, that this doctrine savours of enthusiasm ; since it supposes that there is no difference between the Spirit's internal influences, and inspiration; and to pretend to this, now the miraculous dispensation, which was in the apostle's days, is ceased, is vain and enthusiastic.

Answ. To this it may be replied, That the charge of enthusiasm is very unjustly deduced from this doctrine; for we must distinguish between the extraordinary, and the ordinary influence of the Holy Ghost; the former is allowed by all, to be now ceased; and therefore they who pretend to it, are liable to this charge; but it is a very great dishonour cast upon the Holy Ghost to deny his powerful influence or agency in the work of grace; and it renders the condition of the church, at present, in a very material circumstance, so much inferior to what it was of old, that it is incapable of attaining salvation; unless it could be proved that salvation might be attained without the divine energy.

But, that we may farther reply to this objection, let it be considered; that the Spirit's influence, as subservient to the work of grace, is evidently distinguished from imputation : the latter of these was a peculiar honour which was conferred upon some persons, who were either to transmit to the church a rule of faith, by the immediate dictates of the Holy Ghost; or else they were favoured with it to answer some extraordinary ends, which could not be attained without it, namely, their being furnished with wisdom, as well as courage and boldness, to maintain the cause, which they were not otherwise furnished to defend, against the opposition that it met with from their persecuting and malicious enemies, that so it might not suffer through their weakness; as when our Saviour bids his disciples not to take thought what they should say, when brought before rulers, &c. but promises, that the Spirit should speak in them, Matt. X. 18-20. And in some other particular instances we read, especially in the church at Corinth, that when ministers had not those advantages to qualify themselves to preach the gospel, which they afterwards were favoured with, some had this extraordinary gift, so that they spake by the Spirit; but this was only conferred occasionally, and for some special reasons: and therefore, those scriptures that speak of

When we speak of effectual calling's being the rvork of the Spirit, the agency of the Father and Son is not excluded, since the divine power, by which all effects are produced, belong to the divine essence, which is equally predicated of all the persons in the Godhead; but when any work is peculiarly attributed to the Spirit, this inplies his personal glory's being demonstrated thereby, agreeably to what is clse:chere called the seconomy of the dirine persons; mich noc fanpher prolained in Pol. I page 299, 293, &c.

the influences of the Spirit, which were more common, and iminediately subservient to the work of grace in the souls of those who were the subjects thereof, were, at that time, the same with them that we are pleading for, which were designed to continue in the church, in all the ages thereof: thus when persons are said, through the Spirit to mortify the deeds of the body, Rom. viii. 13. this does not respect any extraordinary dispensation, which they were then under, since it is the duty of all men, in all ages, without the extraordinary infuences of the Spirit, to mortify the deeds of the body; and therefore we may expect this powerful energy as well as they, or else our condition would be very deplorable.

And besides, we never find that extraordinary gifts were immediately subservient to the subduing corruption, or, at least, that every one that had them, did mortify sin, and so appear to be internally sanctified: whereas, this is a character of those who are so; and not to have these influences, determines a per. son to be in an unregenerate state, or to live after the Aesh, which is opposed to it, and so to be liable to death, ver. 12. No one can suppose, the apostle intends, in the foregoing verse, when he says, If ye live after the fiesh, ye shall die; that if ye are not under inspiration, ye shall die, as living after the flesh: but the method of reasoning is strong and conclusive, if we understand the divine influence as what is distinct from inspiration, and consequently a privilege necessary for the begin. ning and carrying on the work of grace, and so belongs to believers in all ages.

Again, when the Spirit is said to help our infirmities, ver. 26. in prayer: is not prayer as much a duty now as it was when they had extraordinary gifts ? therefore, ought we not to hope for the assistance of the Spirit, in all ages ? and consequently the Spirit's help, in this respect is not confined to that age, when there was a miraculous dispensation, or extraordinary inspiration.

And when it is elsewhere said, As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God, ver. 14. can we suppose, that none were the sons of God but such as had extraordinary gifts ? Does not this privilege belong to us, as well as unto them? If therefore we are the sons of God, as well as they, we have this evidence hereof, according to this scripture ; namely, our being led by the Spirit of God; though we pretend not to be led by him, as a Spirit of inspiration.

And to this we may add, that the apostle elsewhere speaks of some who were scaled with that Holy Spirit of promise ; which is the earnest of our inheritance : and these are described as trusting in Christ after they had heard the word of sal vation, and believing in him, Eph. j. 13, 14. But this belongs

to the church in all ages; therefore sealing is not a privilege confined to those who had the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost; but to believers as such.

Moreover, it is said, The Spirit beareth witness with our spirits, that we are the children of God, Rom. viii. 16. Therefore, some persons may know themselves to be the children of God, in a way of self-examination, by the witness of the Spirit, which is common to all believers ; without pretending to be inspired therein; which would be to know this matter without the concurring testimony of our own spirits. Many things, of the like nature, might be observed, concerning the other scriptures, that are generally brought to prove, that believers, in our day, are made partakers of the powerful influences of the Holy Ghost; though they pretend not to the Spirit of inspiration; which is a sufficient answer to this objection.

Object. 2. If it be farther objected, that if the Spirit does work internally in the souls of men, we are not to suppose, that he works a change in their wills, but only presents objects to them, which they by their own power, improve, and make use of, for their good; even as a finite Spirit may suggest good or bad thoughts, without disposing us to comply with them; or, as the devil is said to work in men, who is called, The Spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience, Eph. ii. 2.

Answ. To this it may be replied, that an objective influence, properly speaking, is no influence at all; much less is it becoming the dignity of the Holy Ghost, to say, That he hath no more an hand in the work of conversion, than that which a mere creature might have. I will not deny that the Greek word,* which signifies energy, or internal working, is sometimes taken for such a kind of influence as is not properly the effect of power, as in the instance contained in the objection; Fet, let it be considered, that the same word is often used, in various other instances, in senses very different, when applied to God and the creature; where the word, in itself, is indeter: minate; but the application of it sufficiently determines the matter; so as to leave no doubt, as to the sense of it. Thus to make, form, or produce, when applied to God, and the thing made, formed, or produced, is represented as an instance of his almighty power, which exceeds the limits of finite power, this determines the sense to be very different from making, forming, or producing, when applied to men, acting in their own sphere : so the apostle speaks of building, in a very different sense, as applied to God and the creature, which no one is at a loss to understand, who reads the words; Every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God, Heb. "Ill. 4. Now, to apply this to our present purpose, we do not

Erfequr. Vol. III.


deny, that a finité spirit has an energy, in an objective way i but when the same word is applied to God's manner of acting; and is represented as has been before observed, as an instance of his almighty power, producing a change in the soul; and not only persuading, but enabling him to perform good works, from a principle of spiritual life, implanted, this may easily be understood as having a very different sense from the same word, when applied to the internal agency of a finite spirit;

and therefore this objection does not overthrow the argument · we are maintaining.

Object. 3. It is farther objected against what has been said concerning this powerful work of the Spirit, as being illustrated by the similitude of a person's being raised from the dead; that this contains in it nothing supernatural, or out of the power of man; since the apostle says, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give the light, Eph. v. 14. If arising from the dead be the effect of almighty power, when applied to the work of grace, it seems preposterous for this to be recommended as our duty : and if it be not a work of almighty power, then those scriptures that illustrate effectual calling by the resurrection of the dead, are nothing to the argument for which they have been brought.

Answ. Some suppose, that its being assigned as a matter of duty for sinners to rise from the dead, does not infer, that it is in their own power; but, that it only signifies, that none can expect eternal life but those who rise from the death of sin; and accordingly, as the promise, here mentioned, relating to our having light, is said to be Christ's gift, so the power to perform that duty, which is inseparably connected with it, to wit, rising from the dead, is to be sought for at his hand. But if this answer be not reckoned sufficient, I see no absurdity in supposing, that these two expressions, Awake, thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, import the same thing. Sleep is, as it were, the image of death ; and therefore, by a metaphorical way of speaking, it may be here called death; and if so, the apostle commands believers to awake out of their carnal security, or shake off their stupid frames, as they expect the light uf eternal life: however, it it be taken in this sense here; yet when we meet with the words quickened, or raised from the dead, elsewhere, they may be understood in a different sense, as denoting the implanting a principle of grace in regeneration, as will appear by the context: thus when God is said to quicken those who were dead in trespasses and sins; who walked according to the course of this world, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of the mind; and were, by nature, the children of wrath; and to do this with a design to shew the exceeding riches of His grace, and kindness towards them, and as the consequence

thereof, to work that faith which accompanies salvation, which is not of themselves, but his gift: I say, if these things are mentioned when we are said to be quickened, or raised from the dead, certainly it argues more than a stupid believer's awaking from that carnal security, which he is under, who is supposed to have a principle of spiritual life, whereby he may be enabled so to do.

Object. 4. It is also objected to what has been said, concerning effectual calling's being a work of divine power, that those scriptures, which speak of it as such, denote nothing else but the power of working miracles; whereby they to whom the gospel was preached, were induced to believe; as when the apostle savs, His preaching was in demonstration of the Spirit, and of power, 1 Cor. ii. 4. that is, the doctrines he preached, were confirmed, and the truth thereof demonstrated by the power of the Holy Ghost, enabling them to work miracles : and the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power, chap. iv. 20. that is, the gospel is not only preached, but confirmed by miracles: Our gospel came to you in power, and in the Holy Ghost, 1 Thes. i. 5. that is, as some understand it, the gospel which we preach, was confirmed by the power and miraculous works of the Holy Ghost; which has no reference to the internal efficacious influences of the Spirit put forth in effectual calling.

Answ. Though we often read that the gospel was confirmed by miracles : nevertheless, I cannot see that this is the principle, much less the only sense of these scriptures, and some others that might have been produced to the same purpose.

As to the first of them in which the apostle speaks of his preaching, being in the demonstration of the Spirit, and of power; it may be observed, that in the preceding chapter he had been speaking concerning Christ preached, and his glory set forth among them, as the power of God; that is to say, the power of God rendered the preaching thereof effectual to the conversion of them that believed; which he concludes to contain in it no less a conviction of the truth of the Christian religion, than if he had wrought signs or miracles, which the Jews demanded, and which he had no design to work among them: therefore, why should we suppose, that when he speaks of his preaching being in the demonstration of the Spirit, and of power, that he intends the confirming his doctrine by miracles, and not in the same sense as he had before signified Christ to be the power of God.

And as for the other scripture, in which it is said, The king dom of God is not in word, but in power ; that is to be understood by comparing it with what immediately goes before, in which he says, that I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will,

« הקודםהמשך »