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into our world ; but this love is more fully displayed, when he comes down into thy heart by his Holy Spirit. He then came near to us, but he comes nearer now, for now he unites himself with us; he now comes and dwells, not in our nature merely, but in our souls. Will not this content our utmost desires ? Surely he must indeed be covetous, whom the possession of God himself will not suffice; and the more so, because he wảo possesses Christ, possesses all things. If thou hast the Spirit of Christ, thou hast Christ himself, not figuratively, but really, essentially, and substantially. It is the very Spirit of Christ,“ the Spirit itself,” the Holy Ghost himself in his own person, that is united to thee, and dwells in thee: and not only does he come himself, but he brings with him all his train. Hath he not endowed thee with gifts ? Hath he not divided a portion to thee, according to thy place and calling ? Observe it, and be thankful. If thou hast a gift of prayer, or a gift of prophecy, or of wisdom, or knowledge, it flows from the Holy Spirit. “All these worketh that one and the same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will." But besides gifts, hath he not endowed thee with his grace ? Hath he not planted in thy soul, a principle of religion ? Hast thou not felt the quickening influence of the Spirit of God, bringing forth faith, and love, and zeal? Hath he not many times in the depth of temptation, when thou wast ready to yield to thine enemy, come in between thee and thine adversaries, and helped thee in this time of need? O! the sweet incomings of the Spirit of God! As he is a Holy Spirit, so he makes holy hearts; and if there be any holiness in thy heart, what is it but an emanation of the Spirit of God? Hast thou not sometimes felt that “joy unspeakable, and full of glory," which is an earnest of thy inheritance above; a drop from the eternal rivers of pleasure ? All these are but the workings of the promised Comforter. “I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, who shall abide with you for ever.”
Another effect of the Spirit, is the impression of his seal on the heart. I will not say this is absolutely necessary, but hast thou not sometimes been assured of thy salvation, by an irradiation of the Spirit on the grace within thee?' Sometimes the Spirit shines in the full power of his heavenly beams, and then we possess the assurance. Hence the Apostle prays for the Ephesians, that they might possess the Spirit of revelation. If the Spirit shine upon our hearts, it seals us as the sons and daughters of God. O consider this sealing work; and leave not off praying, till the Spirit pour forth his light upon thy mind, and give thee a revelation, knowledge, and assurance of thy effectual calling.
THE DEITY OF CHRIST.
It is of the utmost importance, not only that we should strictly obey the precepts laid down by the Saviour, but that we should also have correct ideas of his nature and office. If the Saviour be merely a man, raised up to establish a system, then to pay him divine honours must be improper, and even idolatrous.While on the other hand, if the Redeemer is God, to refuse him the worship which properly belongs to him, and to oppose the doctrine of his divinity, must be equally dangerous.
The miraculous conception of Christ, has always afforded a futile subject for the sarcasm of infidels, and the doubts and conjectures of Unitarians. It has been said that such an event is contrary to reason, and only founded upon the interpolations which persons of more zeal than prudence, have introduced into the scriptures. Both these assertions we may be allowed to deny, and for the best of all possible reasons : because on the one hand there is no proof of their truth, and on the other, there are many proofs which militate against them. When the event before us is calmly examined, we shall find, that so far from being in opposition to reason, it is in complete agreement with it. The assumption of flesh by a spirit is the only difficulty, and this is a work of which every man is a living witness. The spirit of man (for we we speak to those who believe there is a spirit in man) is clothed with flesh; nay we may go further, and say that it clothes itself with flesh, previous to its communicating with a world of matter. It is at least certain that there is a union of spirit and matter in the natural man, and that the material form is the outward clothing of this spirit, the medium by which it acts in the visible world. The union of a spiritual being with a material substance is therefore an event of common occurrence, and so is not at all in opposition to reason.
But it may be asked “can the infinite God thus unite himself? Can He, who is an infinite Spirit, clothe himself with a body? To this we answer, that the infinite God can do every thing which does not imply a contradiction, or which is not in direct opposition to his nature. That the infinite Spirit should change himself into matter is a contradiction, and therefore impossible : but that he should connect himself with matter so as to make it a medium of communication between himself and his creatures, is not a contradiction, and is not therefore impossible. This objection is often urged by those who deny the divinity of the Saviour, and reason herself might smile at the idea, which these objectors have evidently attached to the term “infinite."
How,” say they, “could a being who is every where present, be confined within a body a few feet in height? How could He who fills infinity be enclosed in a sepulchre ?” Such expressions most evidently suppose, that the infinity of God is boundless extension; and nothing can be more plain than that when the objectors use the word infinite, they have the idea of extended space that the Deity, like a large material substance, is spread over the universe, and that therefore a large and extended Being like this, could never be included within the .compass of a body. If this be their opinion it is the grossest materialism; and if it be not their opinion, the objection has neither force nor meaning. Allow but for a moment that the infinity of God, by which he is present with all and in all, has no connection with space :—that it has nothing to do with extension ;—that he, (as a spirit) is not extended in space,and that it does not consist in his being everywhere extended, but in his being every where present. That there is as much of the personal presence of divinity in a grain of sand, as in the whole circle of worlds, and that there is no more of God in a universe, than there is in a atom; and the whole force of the objection is destroyed. For then he who is present, and operates in the smallest portion of matter, might be present and manifest himself in a human body. And if we do not allow these principles, we must either materialize the deity, or destroy his omnipresence. If, on the one hand, we assert that God is not equally present in every part of creation, then we must maintain that only part of the deity is present,—and if we divide the person of deity into parts, we must suppose him to
be material, for matter only is divisible: and then farewell to the spirituality of God! Or if, on the other hand, we say he is not present at all in an atom, then he cannot be present with a world, nor with the universe of worlds; for as the universe itself is composed of atoms, he who is not present with every part cannot be present with the whole. It is plain therefore, that if we maintain the infinite presence of God, with a proper idea of the spirituality of his person, we cannot deny, with consistency, his power to manifest himself, in any form that he may choose for that purpose. The incarnation of deity, that is, his manifestation in a buman form, is not therefore contrary to reason.
But has God so manifested himself? Our present version of the scriptures say he has : the opponents of the doctrine assert that these scriptures have been interpolated. The question therefore at once arises, when, how, or by whom, were these interpolations made ? One thing is certain, that the most ancient manuscripts to which we have any access, all contain the accounts of the incarnation as given by St. Matthew and St. Luke. If this doctrine be false, it must have been opposed at its first appearance by the great body of Christians. Where is the account of such opposition to be found ? “ The account of the miraculous conception,” say the opponents of this tenet, was probably the fiction of some early Gentile convert:” but how came this individual (of whose existence by the bye, we have no proof) to falsify every manuscript, and every version? In the early ages copies of the Gospels were multiplied by means of writing, and the copyists were men of different nations and at immense distances from each other. Supposing then, that this Gentile convert had succeeded in corrupting all the manuscripts in Asia, (and this is no easy task) how came the copies in Africa, at Rome, in Spain, and in Gaul, to be all corrupted, and that so completely, that not an uncorrupted copy was to be found : and all this too without any opposition from the general body of Christians ? But “the Gospel of Cerinthus and Carpocrates,” it is said “did not contain this account, and their Gospel was probably the original Gospel of Matthew.” The probability of this however, is very small; since the Gospel of the Ebionites, was one of the writings of a sect, allowed in the purest age of the church to be heretical : and that writing itself contained fables far more ridiculous than