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ever have been entertained at all. It is true that Christ does, in parabolical and figurative language, represent it as a comforter to supply to his apostles the want of his personal presence, or an advocate to enable them to defend and promote his cause, but he also represents it as a gift bestowed on them by the Father for his sake, with which idea, that of a person is, in this application of it, utterly incompatible. It is also true that several personal acts are ascribed to the spirit, such as speaking, testifying, witnessing, &c. but these were all the effect of internal sugges. tions to the mind of the person under this extraordinary influence, nor will it be pretended that there was any speaking or acting otherwise than through the medium of human organs. On the like principle we may account for the spirit's forbidding or not suffering certain intentions or proceedings. It is however sufficiently clear that the persons, under the spirits influence, were not converted by it into mere machines ; for we meet with the exhortations-Quench not the spirit”- grieve not the spirit.” We also read of those who sinned wilfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, and did despite to the spirit of grace. It seems too that at Corinth, where spiritual gifts were possessed in great variety, an improper use was often made of them. So that the words of Christ might be exactly verified, and those who had prophesied in his name, and in his name had cast out dæmons, and done many wonderful works, might be of the number, to whom he will say, 66 I never knew you-depart from me ye workers of iniquity." In short, the scriptures give no countenance to the notion of distinct personality in the holy spirit, unless forced to do so by the perverse humour of inter
preting literally what was evidently intended figuratively—it therefore stands exactly upon the same ground as transubstantiation itself; and with just as much reason might we consider the spirit of a man to be distinct from the man himself, when we read, o the spirit of my understanding causeth me to answer—the spirit within me constraineth me—the spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity—a man that hath no rule over his own spirit-an excellent spirit was found in Daniel," and many other phrases of similar import.
How then (it may be asked with surprise) did it come to pass that the spirit was not only considered as a person, but erected into a divinity, equal with the Father and the Son-with them conjointly and severally worshipped, and with them constituting one God? What, alas! shall we answer, but that the same Spirit spake expressly, that in the latter times some should depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits ? Such an expression as “God the holy Ghost," is not once to be found in the scripturesnothing like divine worship, paid or to be paid, to any such imaginary personage! Yet in these enlightened days, petitions for mercy are addressed, and glory appropriately ascribed to it; it is asserted in the solemn offices of devotion, in direct contradiction to fact, that it was so from the beginning, and it is also declared, in violation of all probability, that it shall so continue for ever! To the authority by which this is pronounced, we must, my friends, of necessity demur. We cannot, we dare not, confound the effect with the cause. To the ONE ETERNAL and INFI. NITE SUPREME--the fountain of all intelligence and activity-the GREAT FIRST CAUSE, from whom all
other causes and effects, whether within or without the ordinary course of nature, are derived--to Him we are warranted by enlightened reason, and commanded by revelation, to ascribe supreme glory and pay exclusive worship.
In my next discourse I shall endeavour to ascertain the correct and consistent views, which, in present times and circumstances, when all miraculous communications have evidently ceased, we ought to entertain of divine influence and assistance, together with the effect such views ought to have upon our conduct.
THE OPERATION OF GOD, AND THE CO-OPERATION OF MAN; OR THE NATURE OF DIVINE INFLUENCES EXPLAINED.
PHIL. ii. part of 12th & 13th verses. -Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
[Perhaps a slight transposition might render the meaning of the apostle more intelligible" for it is God who, of his good pleasure, worketh in you both to will and to do."]
IF it be acknowledged that our very existence, and consequently every power and faculty annexed to it, are all the gift of the Creator, it follows una. voidably, that he must bave a constant and unrestricted access to our minds_66 he understandeth our thought afar off." Nor can it, upon any consistent principles, be denied, that it is at all times in his power to influence the operations of our mental system as he pleases, and out of the ordinary course of nature. We believe also, upon the testimony of the holy scriptures, that such an interposition has actually taken place upon occasions which appeared to the divine wisdom to require it. But it is a received maxim, that extraordinary cases are not to be drawn into precedents ; and it would be very unsafe to argue that because God can do this or that, or because he has done it in