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rious sects of christians, but hitherto it has never been attended with success. And, indeed, it is altogether impracticable among large bodies of christians, or in any great and extensive churches. And it appears in our text, that it was not an institution of divine authority, for Ananias and Sapphira were not called upon by the apostles to put their money into this common fund. They might have been true christians, without this act of extraordinasy and uncommanded generosity. Their land was their own pos. session before they sold it, and the money was their own afterwards. Hence Peter said to Ananias, “ Whilst it remained, was “it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine
own power ?" But the crime of these wretched persons was hypocrisy, covetousness, pride and falshood. In their acknowJedgment of christianity, they professedly gave up themselves and all they had to God, the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, but in reality they had done neither the one nor the other.' What could induce them to make a profession of religion, is extremely hard to conceive; but since they did it, they ought to have done it in sincerity. Hypocrites and false professors are often apt to make the greatest show-thus it was with this miserable couple. They would make an appearance of exceeding all their fellow christians in religion, charity and generosity. Pride and avarice, though both predominant corruptions in their hearts, yet the latter was too powerful for the former. They pretended to give all their mighty possessions for the glory of God, and for the good of the church, but they combined together to belie their professioni, to cheat God, and deceive the church and the apostles ; and this brought down the immediate judgment of heaven upon them, a sudden death, and everlasting destruction. It was highly expedient that God should make this public and terrible example in this early and beginning state of the christian church; to exhibit himself, the glory of his power and justice, to be a terror to all others, to restrain them from the awful vices of pride, covetousness, and base hypocrisy. This he did in the formation of the
Jewish church in the wilderness, when Nalab and Abihu, in the intoxicating pride and folly of their hearts, offered strange fire before the Lord. They were immediately struck dead, and perished in the sight of Israel, and in the presence of the Lord. So here the Gospel church was just forming, and if such gross deceit and falshood were to be admitted and tolerated in it, instead of being a divine institution for the honor of God and the happiness of mankind, it must be a reproach to christians, scoffed at by the Jews, and have the utmost contempt poured upon it by the Gentiles. Yea, if such gross wickedness, and such abominable offenders against the very light of nature, were to be suffered, it would and ought to be the abhorrence of all flesh. These people came with grand pomp, and declared they gave all they had to God, and said, all they possessed they laid at the apostle's feet; what would Jews and Gentiles said, if this outragious act of deceit and faishood had passed unnoticed? Therefore God, in order to preserve the honor of his name, and give dignity to the gospel, made public and awful examples of these transgressors. Hence he inspires the apostle to speak as he did. “And Peter said, Ananias, « why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie unto the Holy Ghost? “ Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God." And afterwards, when his wife was detected of being in combination with her husband, in the same deliberately pre-concerted plot to deceive God, and impose upon men, Peter saith, unto her, “ How * is it that ye have agreed together to tempt the Spirit of the
But omitting further observations upon this tragical history, the reason I selected this text at this time, was to lay before you the evidences of the divinity of the Holy Ghost, the third person in the Trinity, and to prove that he is one God, equal with the Father and Son, in all the perfections, attributes and glories of the Godhead. As this subject has never been denied by any that have allowed the divinity of Jesus Christ, and his co-equality with the Father, cur labour here will be easy and short. For even our adversaries
themselves acknowledge, that if the co-equality and co-essentiali, ty of the Son be certain, then the divinity of the Holy Ghost is equally certain.
Now, if it shall appear that the same names, titles, attributes, perfections, divine works and worship, are ascribed and given to the Holy Ghost, which are attributed to the Father and the Son, and he is declared to be one thing, essence and being with them, will not these things demonstrate that he is very God, the same in substance, eternity, power and glory?
First, We shall prove that the same names and titles are ascribed to him, which are attributed to the Father and the Son. The Holy Ghost is called God, and the Spirit of the Lord in our text and context, as has been already shown. He is stiled the “eter“ nal Spirit,” by St. Paul. « Whither shall I Aee from thy pre“sence, whither shall I go from thy Spirit,” saith David. “ The Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. “The things of God knoweth no inan but the Spirit of God.” We have a quotation in the Acts of the Apostles, wherein he is stiled Jehovah, by the prophet Isaiah. The prophet says, “ Je“ hovah said, go and tell this people, hear ye indeed, but under« stand not." The apostle in the Acts, says, “ Well spake the
Holy Ghost by Isaias, unto your fathers saying, go unto this people and say, hearing ye shall hear, and not understand,” &c. It is affirmed, “ The Lord or Jehovah, did lead Israel in the wil. “derness :" this is interpreted, “ The Spirit of the Lord did lead “ thy peeple to make thy name glorious." Thus speaks the Psalmist, “ The Lord, or Jehovah, is a great God, and a great “king above all Gods: To day, if ye will hear his voice, harden “not your hearts." This Jehovah is called the Holy Ghost in the Hebrews : “ Wherefore the Holy Ghost sayeth, to day, if “ you will hear his voice," &c. Stephen when reproving the infidelity of the Jews, and speaking with an edge of keenness, says, “ Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost; as your fathers did, so do “ye." Now this person, whom he calls the Holy Ghost, is stiled
Jehovah, Lord and God, in the old testament, whom their Is. raelitish fathers murmured against and resisted. Let these few authorities suffice to show, that the same names and titles are given to the Holy Ghost, which are ascribed to the one God, the eternal Jehovah.
Secondly, The same attributes and perfections are ascribed to him, which are attributed to the Father and the Son, therefore, he is of the same indivisible Godhead with them. He is the eternal, omniscient, omnipotent, wise and holy God.' He is in the scriptures declared to be the “Everlasting God, the eternal Spirit, « filling heaven and earth with his presence." He knows all things past, present, and to come ; predicted all things, “For “ holy men spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. He is * omnipotent; therefore, the saints are to abound in hope, through << the power of the Holy Ghost. The Gentiles are made obedient ♡ by word and deed, through mighty signs and wonders, by the < power of the Spirit of God." Because he is infinite in wisdom, he is pronounced « The Spirit of wisdom ; the Spirit of wisdom 6 and revelation.” Holiness is a distinguishing perfection attributed to him. He is holy absolutely in himself, stiled the Holy Ghost, and the author of holiness in all the saints. “ They are
sanctified by the Holy Ghost. They are born of the Spirit. " Their bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost. Ye are the tem* ples of the Holy Ghost, and the Spirit of God dwelleth in you." He is the fountain of goodness, and the giver of all grace. “ The “Spirit is good; he reproves the world of sin, and of righteousko
ness, and of judgment." He forms the soul for glory and felicity, and replenishes it with every grace. But there would be no end to retailing the attributes and perfections of the Holy Ghost, all which prove him to be very God. I proceed,
Thirdly, To say, that the same divine works are ascribed to him, which are to the Father, and to the Son-therefore, he is one with them, and the same Jehovah. The work of creation is attributed to bim, as well as to the other persons of the Trinity.
e By his Spirit he hath garnished the heavens.' The Spirit of the
Lord hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given
me life. By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and t all the hosts, or angels of heaven, by the breath, or Spirit of “his mouth.” The regeneration and sanctification of man,
which is termed creation, and a new creation, is his work. The renewed man is born of God, born of the Spirit. By him “created unto good works. The Gentiles are sanctified by the “ Holy Ghost. We are chosen to salvation through sanctifica« tion of the Spirit.” The resurrection of the dead, is also a divine work, ascribed not only to the Father and the Son, but like. wise to the Holy Ghost. The resurrection of Christ Jesus is attributed to him. “ He that raised up Christ from the dead, shall " also quicken your mertal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in “ you. Christ was put to death in the flesh, but quickened by " the Spirit.” Thus you see those stupendous works which God alone can perform, are ascribed to the Holy Ghost.
Fourthly, The same divine worship, homage, adoration, and praise are paid to him, as to the other persons of the Trinity, We are to be baptised in the name of the Holy Ghost, as much as of the Father and of the Son. We are dedicated to the Holy Ghost in this solemn ordinance, which being an holy sacrament, is an exalted and distinguishing act of worship and adoration. The Holy Spirit is to be prayed unto for a blessing, as well as the other persons.
“ The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the « love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with
you all.” Since we expect and receive such blessings from the holy Spirit, as the regeneration and sanctification of our natures, the illumination of our minds, and the consolation of our souls
i seeing he is to us the author of faith, love and every grace, surely we ought to pray unto him, and pay him continually homage, adoration, and praise ; and raise our whole hearts to him, in gratitude or thanksgiving for all his blessings and benefits. The doxologies of the ancient church, with which they frequently