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If we had been to understand by the holy ghost, a being, person, or great agent, distinct from God, the actual infpirer of the christians and worker of the miracles; the evangelical writers would have expressed those things in a different manner. It is also most reasonable to think, that if the apostles had understood by the holy ghoft, a divine person, different from God; this would have plainly and particularly appeared in the folemn valedictory wishes and doxologies of their epistles. But we find, though there are wishes of peace from God the Father, and our lord Jesus Christ, there are none, diftin&ly, from the holy ghoft: nor are there any doxologies or afcriptions of praise and glory to the holy ghost, but many to God and Chrift, or to God through Christ.

The térm holy ghost is, in the epistles, used evidently in the same senfe as in the gospels, meaning, not a person, but a gift, or an effufion of various extraordinary gifts and powers.

Thus have I endeavoured to suggest the feripture idea of the holy ghost, and to show, that there is no reason' to ascribe real diftinct personality to it, but to look upon it, and the effects attributed to it, as the work, and gift, and favour of God, extraordinary divine influence, afforded to the apostles and first christians. Hence it appears, that the holy ghost confidered as a third person in the trinity (according to the scholastic theology) is no reality, but the creature of human imagination. And it appears to me of no small moment, that the christian scheme be freed from this, as well as other errors. The multiplying of invisible beings, to which we are to pay religious regard, without foundation in scripture, is surely no Night evil. It must have a bad effect, tending to perplex, or to diminish the regard, due to the supreme, eternal God.

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To conclude: I cannot but apprehend, that it is only, by means of the sentiments I have been inculcating, that we can truly and properly understand and throughly acquiesce in, that declaration of St. Paul, THERE IS ONE GOD, AND ONE MEDIATOR BETWEEN GOD AND MEN, THE MAN CHRIST JESUS.

SERMONS

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SERMONS

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SELF.DECEPTION.

SERMON

THE FIRST.

i Cor. üü. 18.

LET NO MAN DECEIVE HIMSELF.

We meet with numerous warnings of this nature in the sacred scriptures. The divine oracles frequently and earnestly exhort men to take care that they do not deceive themselves, nor suffer others to deceive them. These repeated, and strongly inculcated admonitions, we may depend upon it, are not inserted in the books of heavenly wisdom without sufficient reason : they

evidently evidently suppose the liableness of mankind to deceive themselves in matters of the highest consequence to their felicity, and the necessity of the utmost circumspection, and a continual caution to prevent it. And indeed experience shows it. Nothing is more common, than to deceive and be deceived, especially in religious matters : and religious deception is therefore the worst, because it affects not only the present, but the future condition of men. That there is such a thing as self-deception, or impofing upon a man's self, will be readily granted : it is a plain and evident matter of fact, and, probably, there are very few who are not in some instances or degrees guilty of it.. There are two things which it is of the utmost importance to every man to be well satisfied that he is right in: I mean that he understands, and that he practises true religion, and that he does not deceive himself in either of those respects, that he does not take up with a falfe fpecies of religion, nor flatter himself that his temper and conduct are agreeable to what real religion requires, when they are not. And yet, notwithstanding the perfonal and unspeakable importance of the thing, many are very apt to deceive themselves in both these respects. Though religion is the proper concern of every man, and a concern of a more interesting nature than any other can poffibly be ; yet there is not any one thing in the world which mankind in general are more ignorant about.

Multitudes,

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