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perilous: I mean, that the Holy Ghost must be acknowledged to be a divine person by all those who are sanctified, and who hope to be saved. They must acknowledge the mystery of God, of the Father, and of Christ; for we are baptized in the name of all the three, and therefore, in our holy profession, we must acknowledge this greatest mystery of all mysteries.
A person, according to the account of learned men, is an individual being, an intelligent agent, who is singular, and subsists, lives, speaks, understands, acts, and works and such is the Holy Ghost. Nor is there a distinct personal character but what the holy scriptures apply to him; such as I, me, him, he, his, thou. As for instance, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. And when he is come he shall guide you into all truth:” Again,
I will send you a comforter, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him ; but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." Again, * Is the Spirit of the Lord straitened? Are these his doings ?” Again, “Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I go up into heaven, thou art there.” Sure I am that these personal characters cannot be applied to a name, or to a quality in God, or to an influence from him, or to an accident, or to a transient impression; much less to a nonentity. It is true that personal characters, and personal actions, are sometimes ascribed to things inanimate; as, “The trees went forth to choose themselves a king, and invited the vine and the olive to reign over them, who refused ; and the bramble bid them put themselves under his shadow." The Red Sea is also represented as seeing and fleeing. “ The floods lift up their hands on high, and the little hills skip like lambs." Yet we have no voice from any of these, only dumb signs at best; these all wanted persons to speak for them. Jotham speaks for the trees and the bramble; Habakkuk speaks the motions of the sea, and David the actions of the little hills. But the Holy Spirit wants none to speak for him; he can speak of himself, and for himself. He spoke in Adam, giving names to all creatures. He spoke to Philip-"Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.” He spoke to Peter“ The Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee;' arise, therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, nothing doubting. The Spirit said, “ Separate me Barnabas and Saul. Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them."
The Holy Spirit not only speaks; but all that have ever spoken to any good purpose have been taught to speak by him; he brings the things to their minds, puts words in their mouths, and teaches them how to pronounce them. “Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth," i
Cor. ii. 13. The Spirit put a word in Balaam's mouth, and bade him speak thus and thus: and “the apostles spake as the Spirit gave them utterance.”
He not only speaks to the saints, and in them, but he teaches us in some measure to discern between those whom he teaches to speak, and those who follow their own spirit, and speak a vision out of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord. And how evident this is in all who write or speak of divine things without the Spirits teaching! What flagrant errors, selfcontradictions, inconsistencies, confusion, and darkening of counsel, doth appear! Instead of making rough places plain, and crooked things straight, they make the plainest places rough, and the straightest things crooked, and instead of going through
; the gates, and removing the stumbling blocks, and casting up the highway, they grope like the blind for the wall, cause many to stumble at, the law, and destroy the way of our paths.
And if at any time any of them appear to be tolerably sound in the letter, yet the deep things of the text, the unctuous matter of it, or the choice experience of the holy penmen that hid in it, is never dived into, nor brought up; the glorious beauty of it is obscured, the surface of it is skimmed over; a few parallel texts are brought in, and dark constructions put upon the words, and the passage left more obscure than when the workman began. There is nothing in your ears but swelling words and empty sound; and nothing in your soul but leanness and beggary. Instead of watering the trees of righteousness, or refreshing the bowels of the saints, these clouds without rain rather exhale or dry up all the dew of heaven that is on the soul, however refreshed before. Such workmen obscure and becloud the Spirit's work, cast a dimness on the brightest evidences, contract the most enlarged heart, and imprison those whom the Lord has made free indeed. This I know hy