« PrécédentContinuer »
CONVERSION AND SANCTIFICATION BY THE HOLY SPIRIT-NO. II.
VI. Our sixth argument is derived from the name chosen by the Messiah, as the official designation of the Holy Spirit. He calls him the Paracietos, and that, too, with a special reference to his new mission. This term, occurring some five times in the apostolic writings, is, in the common version, translated both comforter and advocate; and, by Dr. Campbell, monitor. As an official name, I prefer ad vocate to either of the others. It is generic, and comprehends them both. An advocate may be a monitor, or a comforter; but a monitor, or a comforter, is not necessarily an advocate. Now, as the Spirit is to advocate Christ's cause, he must use means. Hence, when Jesus gives him the work of conviction, he furnishes him with suitable and competent arguments to effect the end of his mission. He was to convince the world of sin, righteousness and judgment. In accomplishing this, he was to argue from three topics, 1. The unbelief of the world; 2. Christ's reception in heaven; 3. The dethronement of his great adversary, the Prince of this world. Then the person, mission and character of the Messiah alone came into his pleadings. Jesus promised him the documents. And, indeed, the Four Evangelists are arranged upon the instruction given by the Messiah to his advocate. In converting men, the Spirit, the Holy Advocate, was to speak of Jesus. Hence, speaking of Jesus by the Spirit, is all that was necessary to the conversion of men. The official service and work thus assigned, the Holy Spirit is a standing evidence, that, in conversion and sanctification, he operates only through the Word. And, as it has already been shown, corversion is, in all cases, the same work, he operates in this department only by and through the Word, spoken or written; and neither physically nor metaphysically.
VII. Our seventh argument shall be deduced from the opening of the commission; from the gift of tongues, by which the Advocate SERIES III-VOL. VI.
commenced his operations. That the Messiah had a commission for convincing and converting the world, has been already shown.That he was to use arguments has been fully proved; that he was to speak and work also; that, by signs and miracles he accompanied the Word, and made it effectual. Now, that language is essential to the completion of the commission, is further proved from the great fact, that the first gift of the Holy Spirit, under the Messiah's commission, was the gift of tongues.
Language, not merely the various dialects of human speech, but language itself-not Hebrew, Greek and Roman-but that of which Hebrew, Greek and Roman are mere dialects, forms, or modes, is essential. He gave the first, and he gave the second. He made a glorious display of the use of language, of the need of tongues, in commencing his new work. He gave utterance; for utterance is his gift. So Paul to the Corinthians said, “You are enriched by him in all knowledge, and in all utterance." The day of Pentecost is the best comment on this whole subject of spiritual influence ever written. We have much use for it in this discussion. It is just as useful on the work of the Spirit, as on the genius and design of baptism.
It seldom occurs to us, that all Christiandom—the living world, is now indebted for the very book that records the name, and embalms the memory of the Messiah, and for all that is known of the Holy Spirit-for the very language of tħe new covenant-for the gospel of the kingdom-and for every spiritual idea and conception of God, of heaven, of immortality, of our origin, nature, relations, obligations and destiny, to the immediate agency of this Spirit of all Wisdom and Revelation-to the gift of tongues, or of language. Yet, true to the letter is, that “no one could say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Spirit.”
Some amongst us, through the ignorance that is in them on this grand theme, ascribe to the human mind the powers of the Holy Spirit. They describe the human mind as possessing some sort of innate power of originating spiritual ideas; to arrive at the knowledge of God by the mere contemplation of nature. They annihilate the doctrine of the fall; of human imbecility and depravity, and adorn human reason with a very splendid plagiarism, called natural religion. While at variance on almost every thing else, the mental philosopher and the Deist, the Romanist and the Protestant, the Calvinist and the Arminian admirably coalesce and harmonise in this self-congratulatory assumption. They say, that man can, by the feeble, glimmering rush-light of his own studies of nature, either descend from his a priori, or ascend from his a posteriori reasonings to God to the apprehension of his very being and perfections; human responsibility, the soul's immortality, and a future state of rewards and punishments, without the Bible, and without the teaching of the Holy Spirit.
We have neither so studied nature nor learned the Bible. We subscribe to Paul's dogma, “The world by wisdom knew not God," and agree with him, that "it is by faith,” and not by reason, “we know that the worlds were formed by the Word of God-so that things now seen existing did not formerly exist.” We, indeed, ascribe all our ideas of spirit and of a spiritual system; our conceptions of God as creator- of creation itself, of providence, and of redemption, to one and the same Spirit, and to that Logos who, in one form or other, has been the prophet or the advocate of the Messiah and his cause, for some six thousand years.
We go further. We assign to the Spirit of all Wisdom and Revelation the origination of the spiritual language; perhaps, deed, of all language. The most enlightened men, whether Pagans, Jews, or Christians, regard language as a divine revelation-even that large portion of it derived from sensible objects. The philosophers, from Plato down to Dr. Whitby, have claimed for the Supreme God this honor. They have refused it to either civilized or uncivilized man-to all conventional agreement. They have handled, with great effect, that plainest of propositions, that councils could not be convened; that if they had spontaneously arisen, no motions could have been made, no debates commenced nor conducted without the use of speech. Philosophers assume that men think in words, as well as communicate by them; or, at least, have some image of the thing, natural or artificial, or they cannot even think about it. The natural process, which can easily be made intelligible to all, is, that the thing is pre-existent, the idea of it next, and the word last. The line ascending is the word, the idea, the thing. The line descending is the thing, the idea, the word. Now, as the line descending is necessarily the first, we must, especially in things spiritual, admit that the spiritual things could be communicated to man only by one that comprehends them, who had seen them, and who selected from the elements of that language first given to man, when he conversed face to face with God in Eden, the proper materials for words to communicate things spiritual. In strict accordance with this assumption, Moses teaches us that God conferred with Adam, and continued his lessons until Adam was able to give every creature around him a suitable name. That language commenced