Images de page
PDF
ePub

As God then poured into Adam, the first man, a certain portion of his own Spirit, or gave him a certain portion of the divine Light, for the regulation of his spiritual conduct, and the power of heavenly intercourse with himself; so he did not entirely cease from bestowing his Spirit upon his posterity: or, in other words, he gave

them a portion of that Light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into the world. Of the individuals, therefore, who succeeded Adam, ail received a portion of this Light. Some, however, enjoyed larger portions of it than others, according as they attended to its influences, or according to the measure given them. 'Of those who possessed the greatest share of it, some were the antient patriarchs, such as Noah and Abraham; and others were the antient scriptural writers, such as Moses and the Prophets. The latter, again, experienced it in different measures or degrees; and in proportion as they had it, they delivered, more or less, those prophecies which are usually considered as inspired trụths, from a belief that many of them have been circumstantially completed. At length, in the fulness of time, that is,

when

[ocr errors]

when all things had been fulfilled which were previously to take place, this divine Spirit, which had appeared in creation, or this divine Word, or Light, took flesh, (for, as St. John the evangelist says, “ the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us,”) and inhabited the body, 66 which had been prepared for it;" or, in other words, it inhabited the body of the person Jesus ; but with this difference, that whereas only a portion of this divine Light or Spirit had been given to Adam, and afterwards to the prophets, it was given, without limit or measure, to the man Jesus*.

♡ For he, whom God hath sent,” says St. John, “speaketh the words of God; for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” And St. Paul says t, “ In him the fulness of the Godhead dwelled bodily.” In him therefore the promise given to Adam was accom. plished, “ that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head ;" for we see, in this case, a human body, weak and infirm, and subject to passions, possessed or occupied without limit or measure by the Spi.

* John iii. 34.

+ Coloss. ii. 9

rit of God. But if the man Jesus had the full Spirit of God within him, he could not be otherwise than perfectly holy. And, if so, sin never could have entered, and must therefore, as far as relates to him, have been entirely repelled. Thus he answered the prophetic character which had been given him, independently of his victory over sin by the sacrifice of himself, or by becoming afterwards a comforter to those in bondage who should be willing to receive him.

After Jesus Christ came the Evangelists and Apostles. Of the same Spirit which he had possessed immeasurably, these had their several portions; and though these were limited*, and differed in degree from one another, they were sufficient to enable them to do their duty to God and men, to enjoy the presence of the Almighty, and to promote the purposes designed by him in the propagation of his Gospel.

2 Cor. x. 13.

CHAP

CHAPTER II.

Except a man has a portion of the same Spirit

which. Jesus and the prophets and the apostles had, he can have no knowledge of God or spiritual things~ Doctrine of St. Paul on this subject This confirms the history of the human and divine Spirit in man--these Spirits distinct in their kindThis distinction further elucidated by a comparison letween the faculties of men and brutes - Sentiments of Augustine Luther Calvin-Smith-Cudworth.

The Quakers believe that there can be no spiritual knowledge of God, but through the medium of his holy Spirit; or, in other words, that if men have 'not a portion of the same Spirit which the holy men of old, and which the evangelists and apostles, and which Jesus himself had, they can have no true or vital religion.

In favour of this proposition they usually quote those remarkable words of the apostle Paul*, “For what man knoweth the things

* i Cor. ij. 11, &c.

of

of a man, save the Spirit of a man which is in him ? Even so the things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the Spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” And again: “But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

By these expressions the Quakers conceive that the history of man, as explained in the last chapter, is confirmed, or that the Almighty not only gave to man reason, which was to assist him in his temporal, but also superadded a portion of his own Spirit, which was to assist him in his spiritual concerns. They conceive it also to be still further confirmed by other expressions of the same apostle. In his first letter to the Corinthians he says *,

*,“ Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in

you,
which

ye

have of God?" And, in his letter to Timothy, he desires

* i Cor. vi. 19.

him

« PrécédentContinuer »