Of Gods giving his Spirit to a Man, and what that Promise implyes. Also of the Operations and Effects of the Spirit of God where it so comes.
EZEK. 36. 27.
WE have a further Description in this Verse of the Grace here promised; for although it be the same thing, yet the diffe∣rent expressions represent different notions about it. That which in the Verse before is called an heart of Flesh, is here called, My Spirit: And in the Verse before, A new Spirit. For the opening of the words, let us consider, the mercy vouchsafed; and secondly, the subject receptive of it. The mercy God calls, My Spirit. The Subject is, Within you. Of which in its due order.
At this time let us take notice of the mercy, My Spirit. It will be very imper∣tinent to give you a Theological, and Biblical use of the word Spirit, which is of a great latitude in its signification. In this place a three-fold sense may claim to be understood, which also may easily be composed and united, not opposed: For,
First, By Gods Spirit, may be meant the third Person in the Trinity: so that they are promised here to be made partakers of it. Its a very grave and solid dispute in Divinity, whether the godly, besides the graces and fruit of the Spirit, are also made partakers of the Spirit it self: some affirm it, others deny it. But no doubt severall places of Scripture doe evidently demonstrate that we do receive Page 528 not onely the graces of the Spirit, but the Spirit it self; and therefore the Spirit is said to dwell in us, and we are the temples of the Holy Ghost: But yet this is in such a supernaturall and mysticall way, that though the plain Texts compell us to believe it, yet the manner how is very difficult to expresse: but this is not my work to doe at this time.
A second sense may be by spirit, to understand the soul, or spirit of a man, as re∣newed and qualified by the graces of the Spirit; and therefore its called in the verse before, A new Spirit, which is the same with a new heart. So that Spirit is here put for the soul of a man, enlivened and quickned by the graces of Gods Spi∣rit: and this sense we conceive to be the most genuine and proper. Hence Ezek. 18. verse 31. where you have that commanded as a duty, which is here promised as a gift: Make ye a new heart, and a new spirit; which cannot be primarily un∣derstood of the Person of the Spirit, but the graces of the Spirit. The last ense that may here come in, is to take spirit, for heavenly activity, vigor, and holy impulses, and motions from God, which are as the winde to the sails, to carry it to its expe∣cted Haven. Now the first and this latter sense cannot wholly be excluded, yet the second is that, which I will pitch upon as most proper, bringing in the other by consequence.
Doct. That Conversion is the enlivening, or qualifying of a man with the graces of Gods Spirit.*
Thus Iohn 3. That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Hence the Godly are said to have the Spirit in them, and guided by it, led by it, and are said to walk af∣ter it. I need not multiply places for this. As Christs body was by an extraordi∣nary supernatural manner, the Holy Ghost over-shadowing the Virgin Mary; In such a miraculous way as to humane power and strength, is this new, holy, and spiri∣tual Creature bogotten. The Spirit of God moving upon the waters of the Ordi∣nances, produceth this spiritual man: As at first God made the Fowls of the aire out of water, which soar up to the heavens.
To improve this necessary point, let us consider, what is implyed in this promise, I will put my spirit into you: And,
First, It supposeth every man naturally a meer dead lump, without life or motion*of himself to any thing that is holy. For as God at first breathed into Adam the breath of life, and he became a living soul; So God doth still infuse into us his graces, that make us live the life of the Spirit. Hence some Expositors make this promise to be Parabolically represented in the next Chapter, by the resurrection of dry bones, whereas the winde is called upon to come and breath upon the Bones and sinews and all parts to be united together, that they may live: So doth God in the Conversion of men. But that Parable is to represent the recovery of Israel out of their Captivity, and miserable estate; which as to the eye of sense, had no more possibility ever to return again then those dry bones to live. Yet by way of similitude, it may also represent their restitution unto a spiritual life of Grace, unto which they had more impossibility than to return unto their own Land. Oh then this very phrase, I will put my Spirit into you, should fall like thunder and lightning upon all those Doctrines and Opinions that maintain Free-will, or the power of nature in Conversion. Can man co-operate to the infusion of Gods Spirit? The order of nature, and the order of Grace, differ as much as heaven and earth, and one cannot prepare for the other; so that this expression doth inform that we all are animall or sensual, destitute of the spirit. And as bruit beasts cannot perform the Offices or acts of Reason; so neither can men naturally doe the actions of grace; he cannot pray or hear spiritually, he cannot love God, or repent of a sin in a spiri∣tuall manner.
Secondly, This doth suppose an elevating or lifting up the heart of a man to those affections and actions, which otherwise are far above his power. For as the Spirit of * God, when it came upon men in other extraordinary wayes of assistance, they did those things they were never able to doe before. Thus Sampson, the Spirit came Page 529 upon him, and gave him such mighty strength; so Paul had another Spirit, in respect of Government: those gifts of Gods Spirit in the Church that made them work miracles, speak with tongues, lifted them above humane power; so this Spirit of God sanctifying, doth also raise a man to such holy, spiritual, and sublime dutie, that in former times he was not acquainted with: neither did he understand. Hence to be a man, to walk as a man, 1 Cor. 3. 2. in the Scripture Phrase is a di∣minution, and a carnal imperfection, because we are to have the Spirit of God who inables us to spirituall actions in a divine manner. Thus to believe in God, to love God, to be heavenly minded, to be patient, even every exercise of grace, are acts transcendent the power of a man, and God must put his Spirit into us to in∣able us thereunto. And this is that which makes the world so mistake about god∣linesse, that makes them grossely erre about serving of God, and repenting of sin; They doe these things as men, by custome, by the principles they were born in; so that till this Text be made good in you, I will put my spirit in you, our Congregati∣ons are but so many Golgothaes, places of dead mens skuls.
Thirdly, To have the Spirit of God put into us, denoteth, That we doe all our duties upon those motives which are by Divine Revelation in the Word man•fested to*us, For the Spirit of God works in his people two wayes.
1. Effectually, By inlivening, and enabling of them to holy duties.
2. Directively. By his Word guiding and leading of them. Now in the Word of God we are directed to such Motives in our actions, which humane light would never discern, as to doe duties. First, Meerly because God commands, out of obe∣dience to his Soveraignty, because it is the Law of such a Law-giver. Where is the man that doth not by custome, or because of the talk, and report of men, good things, rather then out of obedience to God? Therefore observe the order of the promise, I will put my spirit in you, and then I will cause you to walk in my Com∣mandments, and do them. Thou then that prayest, hearest, abstainest from grosse sins; why is it? Is it because thou hast respect to Gods Commandment: God saith it, and therefore I do it. This is to have the spirit in us. But secondly, not meerly because of Gods command, but from an inward principle of love, and delight in God also, therefore we perform our duties: If ye love me keep my Command∣ments, John 14. 15. Love to God, that presently makes us do or suffer any thing for him. Now love, that is reckoned in the front of the fruits of the Spirit, Ga•. 5. and the Spirit of God descended in tongues of fire. Of fire, to represent the Nature of the Spirit of God: Hence we are commanded not to quench the Spi∣rit, 1 Thes. 5. 19. which is like burning fire in our hearts. Oh this performance of duties from love, is that which crowns them, is like the perfume and Frankin∣cense at the Sacrifice. Thirdly, we are to perform holy duties, not onely out of love, but for holinesse sake, because God is holy, and the duty is holy. Hate evill, and cleave to that which is good, be gl•wed to it, and made one with it. Be ye holy, for I am holy, saith God, Lev. 11. 44, 45. Now as God loveth holinesse for holinesse sake, wills good for goods sake, (or rather good is good, because he wills it.) Thus ought we, to imitate him, there may be earthly motives, and humane advantages, which may incite the heart to what is good: but goodnesse for the beauty and glo∣ry of it should make thee in love with it: Say then as Abraham to the King of So∣dome, I will not take so much as a Shooe latchet from thee, lest thou shouldst say, Thou hast made Abraham rich: so do thou; I will not so much as entertain, or consult with shy earthly advantage, lest that should say, I have made thee pray, I have made thee professe the Name of Christ. Wicked men are carried out to evill for evills sake: but there is more fulnesse, goodnesse and excellency in God, then there can be appearance of these in sin: Therefore it is unsufferable, if when Draff shall move for the sweetnesse it hath to a distempered swinish appetite, that honey it self shall not affect a sound appetite. But I have somewhere else spoken of the nature of this spiritual life: I shall therefore in two things more onely instance the pro∣perty Page 530 of Gods Spirit dwelling in the godly, and then speak of the concomitant effects of Gods Spirit in us.
Fourthly, To have the Spirit of God put into us, as in duties to be done it lif∣teth * us up above humane strength, or motives, So in matters of sufferings, herein the Spirit of God doth wonderfully demonstrate it self in the Converted. For hereby they are more then men: God is plainly in them, that they can deny their dearest comforts, endure the most exquisite torment, and that with joyfulnesse and alacri∣tie. Look upon Paul and the Disciples of Christ in the New Testament, What re∣proaches, persecutions, spoiling of their goods, taking away their lives, were fre∣quently executed upon them? and yet with what gladnesse of heart, with what pa∣tience, faith, courage did they endure all, rejoycing that they were accounted worthy to suffer any thing for the Name of Christ, Acts 5. 41. The History of the Martyrs doth abundantly declare the Spirit of God put into Believers; and there∣fore this should support the godly, they are afraid that in times of temptation and of great troubles they should never be faithful to God, they find their hearts so weak and feeble that they shall never be able to persevere. Why dost thou not con∣sider, that the same Spirit of God which lifteth thee above nature for active obe∣dience, will also for passive? To love God, to believe in God, to do any reli∣gious duty spiritually, flesh and bloud can no more doe it then Iron of it self can swim: but the spirit of God takes thee, and fixeth thy heart upon heavenly things. So flesh and bloud cannot be persecuted, imprisoned, cannot dye for the glory of Christ, but the spirit of God can and doth inable hereunto. Sampson could not doe those extraordinary actions of strength as a man, but as having the Spirit of God mighty upon him so he did: neither canst thou do or suffer in a gracious manner as a man, without any more power than thy own; but as spirituall, as having Gods Spirit in thee so thou canst. VVhat mans power can do in the hour of temptation, Peters presumptuous expression will teach us, Though all men forsake thee, yet I will not; and yet he forsook Christ more desperately then any else. Oh therefore do nothing that may grieve, or chase away the Spirit of God; for who knoweth what Conflicts, what trials God may reserve thee unto? and then without the mighty work of this Spirit of God, thou wilt prove an Apostate, and so a very Iudas or Cain at last: for first a man is forsaken by the Spirit of God, as sanctify∣ing, and then as comforting: Not that the Holy Ghost is totally and finally ever driven away from him that once had him graciously; but there are many looked upon as godly and forward in profession, who are judged so by others, and they themselves make account also they are godly; yet in the day of triall make a wo∣full Shipwrack of their Faith, and a good Conscience. Lastly, because the Spirit of God is thus put into them, they are therefore said to be the Temples of the holy Ghost, 1 Cor. 3. and if their bodies be, much more their souls are. O what a strong Obligation is this to all godlinesse, You are the Temples of the Spirit of God, No unclean thing might enter into the Temple! How did God complain, when they made his Temple a Den of thieves. How angry then must he needs be, if thou make this Temple a stye of Swine, or an hell of Devils? This evidently proclaims that most men never had this grace in the Text vouchsafed unto them: For what is there no unclean, no bruitish and polluted thing that enters in thy soul? Is thy heart as the Temple, an house of prayer, an heart of prayer, thy soul a soul of prayer? Dost thou not defile this Temple every day by prophane and filthy lusts? VVhat hopes canst thou ever have that this is made good to thee? Do not hear these things, as if they did not at all belong to theee. Doth not thy own heart tell thee, that if the Spirit of God did dwell and work in thee, thou couldst not doe as thou dost, nor commit such sinnes as thou daily committest? It was the Devill that was in the Swine, and hurried them violently into the Sea; but the Spi∣rit of God appeared in a Dove: With what holinesse then, and all godlinesse should you walk, who have this benefit vouchsafed to you? what manner of Page 531 persons should ye be who are the Temple of the Lord, whose souls are made an heaven? Is it for you to be vain, earthly and immoderately affected unto a∣ny Creature? Have you not that within which may be in stead of all com∣forts to you? Thy frail body is a Cabinet wherein excellent Jewels are.
Now that we may the better know whether the Spirit of God be in us, * causing us to walk in his Commandments, consider whether the other effects attributed to the Spirit in the Scripture be also in thee: for as the Sun vouch∣safeth heat as well as light, and is not with either of these alone: so the Spirit of God comes not alone, but hath divers and noble operations with it. Hence some expound that place from the seven spirits in the Revelations, Revel. 1. 4. of the holy Spirit in its manifold operations. As,
First, Its called the good Spirit, Psalm 143. Let thy good Spirit lead ••e, in * opposition to the evill spirit. So that as the evill spirit or the Devil in wicked men is continually inclining and moving of them to all evill thoughts, affe∣ctions and desires: They think evill, they conceive evill, they act evill: as the Spider doth onely vent poison, so the good Spirit of God in good men doth incline and move them to good thoughts, good affections, good actions: Hence they are said to have a good Treasure in their hearts. And of what conse∣quence it is to have this Spirit of God, appeareth, in that its named for all good things: For whereas one Evangelist saith; If ye being evill, know how to give good things, how much more will your heavenly Father bestow good gifts? Mat. 7. 11. Another saith, How much more will he bestow the Spirit? Luke 11. 13. So that the Spirit is in stead of all good things. If then it cannot lie hid, it will be quickly discerned, whether this good spirit, or that evill wicked spirit abides and dwels in thee. The fruit will discover the tree: Its strange that people should no more consider what the Fountain is from whence all flows, whether it be bit∣ter or sweet.
Secondly, Its a Spirit of Prayer, and Supplication, joyned with a tender * mourning heart, Zachary 12. and Rom. 8. Groans unutterable are said to come from the spirit; yea in that place is excellently described the help, guide and support, which is afforded to the Godly in Prayer, by the Spirit: VVe know not what to pray, or how to pray: so that if thou hast this mercie in the Text, thou findest it mightily working in the duty of Prayer, enlightning thy minde, heating thy affections, softning thy heart, supporting thee against unbe∣lief, fears and distrust. Indeed the spirit of God giveth a Gift of prayer, which many unregenerate and hypocrites have; yea they may be admirable in it: but there is the Grace of prayer, when the soul is powred out in a gracious manner, and this is only in the godly. A naturall man cannot pray acceptably, and they trust in a broken Reed who put confidence in their good prayers, which yet they have by Rote or Custome, not through Gods Spirit. Do not then scornfully passe over this touchstone.
Thirdly, Its called The Spirit of Wisedome, and Revelation, Isaiah 11. 2. * which was first communicated to Christ the Head, without measure, and then like Aarons Oyl descends to the Members of Christ. This Spirit of Revelation, is to see and behold the Glory of those things Revealed in the Gospel, and the discerning of things in a spirituall manner, which the na∣turall man cannot doe; and the spirit of Wisdome is to make a man under∣stand the matters of Religion in a Godly and practicall manner, so to believe and know, as to referre all to Godlinesse. Now how destitute many are of the Spirit in this sense, the ignorance and dulnesse about holy things doth evidently Demonstrate; they know and understand nothing in the principles of Religion, so as to have their lives Transformed by the power of it.
Furthly, and lastly, Its called the Spirit of Adoption, Romans 8. 15. * which puts a Filiall boldnesse into us, and makes us call God, Abba Father:Page 532 Those slavish fears and suspicious doubts in thee, they come not from Gods Spirit. These drive thee farther off from God, they fill thee with hard and discontented thoughts against God: No, its the Spirit of Adoption; and as of Adoption, so its a Comforter, and an Advocate, John 14. 16. As Christ is an intercessor in heaven for us; so the spirit is in our hearts pleading Gods love, his readinesse to forgive, his willingnesse to receive: as the godly are to pray for the Spirit of Sanctification, so also for the Spirit of Adoption; you are to pray for the Comforts of the Spirit, as well as the Graces; for these are wings to the soul.
Use of Instruction: How necessary this Grace is to all our Congregati∣ons. Oh that God would breath this spirituall breath into your souls. Oh that * you knew experimentally what it is to have the Holy Ghost descend upon you. We speak not of an extraordinary Miraculous way, much lesse of fan∣tasticall Delusions and pretended Revelations by the Spirit of Darknesse; but the gracious operations of the Spirit in a Sanctifying way. Oh where will you Blasphemers and wretched Mockers appear, who scoff at the Spi∣rit, and make a jeer about it? This is not onely to grieve the Spirit of God, which is a grievous sinne, but to doe despite to it. Now if the Spirit of God be vouchsafed to you, it will come with this two-fold benefit.
First, Its a Spirit of Truth, its called so, and its promised to lead the Godly into all Truth. Therefore let men never so much talk, or boast of the Spirit; if they be Errors and Heresies which they broach, the good and holy Spirit is not in them; or if they be Opinions that carry to loosenesse and liber∣ty; For its an holy Spirit.
The second benefit is to doe duties no more in the oldnesse of the Letter, but the newnesse of the Spirit; this the Apostle calls for. Now to do a Du∣ty in the oldnesse of the Letter, is customarily and formally to perform a∣ny thing without Christ, and his Spirit inabling of us: This is a dead Religion, a dead Faith, and yet few, even very few, goe any further.