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combination. While the agent lies aside inoperative and ineffectual, it is, at the same time, filled with energies and influences capable of producing effects in given relations. The gospel may be ineffectual of itself, but there is always abiding in it, an influence that will produce effect in union with the souls of men. If this charge of inefficiency be valid against means, it is equally true of the influences of the holy Spirit themselves. Divine influences are ineffectual of themselves. Even inspirations cannot be effected without a recipient mind in combination with it. There is no instance of the influence of the Holy Spirit affecting the mind of man, but as they were conveyed in the vehicle of means; and, even then, conveyed only to their proper object, an attentive and a willing mind.

This hypothesis of outward means is supposed to be based on the language of Paul in 1 Thess. i. 5. “For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” On this passage we remark:

1. It has been conjectured that the expression “IN WORD ONLY” implies that the gospel might have come to these converts in mere outward administration, and consequently without “the power and the Holy Ghost," and that if it had come so it would have been as ineffectual to them, as it had proved to many others that had heard it. This conjecture is not supported by the words of Paul. Many treated the preaching of Christ as “in word only," at the time that he himself declares expressly, that in his words there were spirit and life. It is by treating the word as a fable only, or a report only, that men resist the Holy Spirit, which could not be if the word is in any case without his influence. If it be a wrong to treat the gospel as a “word only,” it obviously deserves a different acceptation, which can be due to it, only as it is the seat and medium of the Spirit's influences. The language of Paul simply announces the fact that the Thessalonian converts had accepted, or, as in the next verse, "embraced” the gospel in its true meaning and for its designed purposes. Even on the supposition that these words refer to the miraculous demonstrations of the gospel, it is clear that these gifts were actually present with the gospel then exhibited, whether men received them as such or not.

2. Other means, as well as the gospel, may be received in word only, without implying that they are destitute of their

appointed and intended influences. A remedy for a painful disease may be received in the recipe, in word only, without putting the ingredients in due combination. It may be duly prepared and kept in possession without being administered. It may be even administered and taken, and yet man can exercise so much power over his dislikes and fancy as to destroy the tendency of the medicine, and render its exhibition to be, after all, “in word only.” In these cases the failure or the non-efficiency of the remedy is not owing to the absence of the healing influences, but to the treatment it has received. The vast and powerful truths of the Principia of NEWTON passed through the mind of the person who composed its letter-press. To him the work was “ in word only ;” not because these truths had lost their force and influence to enlarge the mind, but because he did not attend to the demonstrations. The PRINCIPIA and truths of the gospel, may in like manner be full of influences and blessings to convert and improve the soul, and yet come to “the hearer only,” “in word only.”

3. On this showing, the word of God never can be a dead letter. The scriptures never say so. Their language is that “the letter killeth," not that the letter is dead. Unless the letter contained influences, and those influences divine, it could not kill. It kills or gives life, from the influences it contains, according to the elements of the objects on which it acts. Even when frozen in the crevices of the hardest rocks, its energies will shatter them into fragments and destruction. The word of God is perfect. It has nothing redundant to clog its influence, nothing defective to diminish its efficiency. In its operations the Holy Spirit does nothing on the word, and nothing to the word, but everything by the word as it is. The opinion that the word is sometimes without the influence of the Spirit, and a dead letter, mars the Supreme goodness that gave it, destroys the obligation to consult it, apologizes for the contempt of infidels towards it, nullifies its promises and condemnations, and pronounces the shrine destitute of the living Deity. The gospel is the power of God, the means by which God exercises his power to save. The principles of the gospel are, as efficiently and constantly, the means by which God accomplishes salvation, as the principles of gravitation are the means by which his power maintains and preserves the universe. When the Christian wants a fresh supply of the Holy Spirit, we always send him to the word,

with perfect certainty that he will find the Spirit there: we do not send him to seek this among the dead letters, but to “ lively oracles” and living epistles, that live because the Spirit of the living God is always in them.*

* Since the first edition of this work, I have often heard, and sometimes seen, how differently this argument for the intrinsic efficacy of the Divine word is treated by different readers.

Some seem to think that it is utterly unintelligible how the Spirit can be in the word. Wherever an argument is really unintelligible, the author must take all the credit of it to himself. If I had meant that the Person of the Holy Spirit was in the word, I well deserved to be charged with absurdity. But by “Holy Spirit” is meant, what the New Testament writers often mean by the phrase, the power, influence and agency of the third Person in the Trinity. It is used in the sense in which he can be resisted and quenched.

In my turn, I am somewhat surprised how it is thought unintelligible that a person's power, influence, and agency for operating on other minds, may be present in words. The scriptures say that “where the word of a King is, there is power.” Where is that power present? The King is present in his word. Without this presence, have the laws and edicts of England any power or force in our distant colonies ? A King has "power" to save the {ife of a condemned criminal. But when that "power" comes to affect the interests and the feelings of the culprit, where is it present? It is present in the words of the Reprieve. The Reprieve is the power of the Sov ereign to deliver the condemned malefactor: and that power is and ever will be inalienably present in the Reprieve as long as the document lasts. In the same way the word of God, the Gospel, is the power of God to the salvation of sinners. When this power of God actually saves, where is it present? It is in the Gospel. If there is any interval in which the Gospel is without that power, then, during that period, it is a powerless, because it is a cancelled, document. But no minister ever felt when preaching the Gospel that, peradventure, he was preaching it at the season when the power to save had been abstracted from it: or that he was like one who tried to enforce the King's claims by an edict, in which the power of the King not present. I see, therefore, no absurdity in regarding the truth of the Gospel of Christ as being “the word of his power.”

Another class of readers have tried this doctrine by the test of ridicule. They have said that, if the Holy Spirit be in the word, then every has a Bible, may be said to have the Spirit in his hands, on his table, or on his shelves. If this class will apply the same test to some scriptural statements, they will feel that they have been trifling with very dangerous tests. For example, our Lord says of the scriptures that “in them is Eternal Life." Will they now say that he who has a Bible may be said to have eternal life in his hands or on his table ? Paul says that the Gospel is the Power of God to salvation. Will they say triflingly, therefore, that every one who has a New Testament has the power of God on his shelves, or in his bookcase? If these expressions of ridicule be taken in their sober and serious sense, then they describe most verily the real and true facts of the case; for otherwise I do not see how a man, who would trample or burn his Bible, would be doing despite to the Spirit of grace. If the same expressions be used in a trifling and facetious sense, then they are far more calculated to gratify the scoffer than to upset an argument.

According to the Parable of our Lord, the great enemy of human salvation seems to understand the doctrine of the Divine efficiency of the word, much better than some late disputants have done. In all cases it is his policy, not to rob the word of its power, but to prevent its power from devel

It is also objected that the doctrines — that the influence of the Holy Spirit is present in the word, and that he exercises his agency only by the word, and not immediately on the soul, involve the dogma, that, in the phenomena of conversion, he does nothing beyond the process of moral suasion. By 6 moral suasion” here, I understand an argument or motive so constructed and so presented, as to be adapted to change the mind to which it is addressed. The success of moral suasion depends on what is presented and how it is presented, and not on who presents it. Moral suasion consists not in the influence of a person, but in the influence of truth. In the conversion of sinners the Holy Spirit does more than this. One man's spirit can affect the spirit of another by means, and by means only. At the same time, it is well known that one spirit can come into nearer contact, and into closer grapplement with another spirit, than can be effected by merely presenting a truth, or pressing an argument. When the spirit of a hero kindles in “his dark eye's fire,” and by means of attitude or word makes the spirit of a coward tremble and slink, there is something operating beyond mere moral suasion. When MARIUS said, to the soldier sent into his dungeon to assassinate him, “ Wretch, have you the temerity to kill Marius ?” and, by means of these words, drove him to flight, there was an influence that was personal beyond the range of moral suasion. In Paul's letter to Philemon entreating mercy for Onesimus, there was the apostle's own personal influence employed, beyond the mere suasion of the intellectual moral argument. And when the Holy Comforter addresses a guilty and accusing conscience by means of the word, it is not the intellectual and moral force of argumentative truth that changes the mind, but the personal influences of the Holy Spirit by the gospel.

oping itself. “Those by the way-side are they that hear: then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved." (Luke viii. 12.) Satan seems to know that in the seed, IN the word, there is a power, and a vitalizing efficiency that is sure, if it gain lodgment in the heart, to germinate and produce fruit.




The personal presence of Jesus Christ in the church was of very short duration. His dwelling in the flesh was only a sojourn. He came to suffer and die, and after that to enter into his glory. The work which he accomplished on earth was not to terminate with his bodily sojourn, but to extend to “ every creature,” and to continue in efficiency“ alway even to the end of the world.” To sustain and superintend the operations of his atonement, it was impossible that he could be bodily present with the great multitudes of his disciples, whithersoever they were scattered abroad. By his death and ascension, therefore, he made way for another agent, to whom was appropriated and deputed the official superintendence of the adjusted machinery of redemption. This glorious agent is the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.

When our Saviour called him “ another Comforter," it was to intimate that the Holy Spirit was to be the substitute of Christ, to carry forward his work and designs in the world; and to act towards the church the part which our Lord himself would have acted, had his personal presence been continued. The Holy Spirit, according to this description of him, was to sustain the same relations, discharge the same offices, and to perform the same work in the same manner, as if Jesus Christ himself were bodily present. While our Blessed Lord was yet present with his disciples, he had been their teacher and counsellor, their guide and monitor, their helper and their advocate; and had been to them, all that could be summed up in the appellation and the office of a “ Comforter.” The office of the Holy Spirit, therefore, is to furnish perpetually to all Christians that instruction and solace, that defence and assistance, which were supplied to the disciples by Christ's personal ministry. The aid of the Holy Spirit was to be of the same character as that of our Lord, and to differ from it only in amount and perpetuity; for his agency was to be, not a substitute only, but an advantageous compensation to them, for our Lord's personal absence.

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