Mar 5, 2011

"...the Holy Ghost useth motives..." - William Button

“It is,” says Dr. Goodwin, “from the Holy Ghost, the spirit of Christ given to us, and so working above the power of nature, and in that respect he is called the spirit of wisdom and revelation; as also elsewhere the spirit of faith, 2 Cor. 4:13” (Vol. 2 of his works, p. 58). But though the Doctor considers faith as above the power of nature, he does not consider it as destroying reason, neither do I. He says, (and I wish this to be particularly observed) “I will only give you a caution, that I may not be misunderstood; for as this is a great truth, so I would clear it from mistakes: the light of faith doth not destroy reason, but makes use of it, subordinates reason to itself, restoreth, rectifies it, and then useth it; even as reason makes use of sense, though the acts of reason, the thoughts of a man in a rational soul are clean differing to what he hath in the sensitive soul, yet reason makes use of sense; and thus the Holy Ghost makes use of all the rational discourses and descriptions of Christ in the word; makes use of the letter of the word, but by them conveys those spiritual thoughts of Christ, which all that letter cannot hold forth to a man: and as I said afore, if the angels from heaven should come and preach Jesus Christ to us, should, with all their pencils, go and paint out what knowledge they have of Jesus Christ, they could not beget one such sight of Christ in the heart, as the Holy Ghost doth when he comes to work faith; and yet the apostle tells us it comes by hearing, and in hearing; the more rationally the preacher discourseth out of the word, and lays open the meaning thereof in a rational way, so much the better, because it is suited to the minds of men; yet where the Holy Ghost works faith, he conveys a light beyond all that reason, though he makes use of that reason too: this word of God hath an harmony of reason in it, and if a man would open a place of scripture, he should do it rationally, he should go and consider the words before, and the words after; but yet still if the Holy Ghost comes not with a further light than all this rational opening of the word affords, a man will never believe, for faith is a fight beyond it; the Holy Ghost useth motives to move you to holy duties, but then he comes with a power joined with those motives beyond the moral force of them; he useth signs out of your own hearts to comfort you, but he comes with a light over and above those signs; for if you should stick there, you would never have comfort; so he useth reason; he destroyeth it not, but subordinateth it” (Goodw. Works, vol. 4. part 2. p. 7). I am, respectfully, Yours." -William Button

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