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Q. How does the Holy Ghost execute his office among men?
A. By his agency on the natural faculties of the soul. By means of this agency, the Spirit supplies us with recollections ever seasonable to support or to subdue our weak or rebellious nature; it hallows our thoughts by attracting them to hallowed objects; it strengthens, our virtuous resolutions by renewing on our mind those impressions which gave them birth; it elevates our courage, and humbles our pride, by suggesting to our recollection at once our illustrious destiny, and the weakness of our unassisted nature. By itself it teaches nothing; but without its aid all doctrine is but vain. is this which gives life and strength to every religious truth which we hear; this which imprints on our soul, and recalls to our attention those sacred principles to which our reason has already assented. Distinct from conscience, but the vital spark by which our natural conscience is sanctified, it both enables us to choose the paths of life, and to persist in those paths when chosen, and though like the free and viewless air,
innumerable instances, are proofs of the importance the ancient Church attached to the office of the Holy Spirit among men. Bingham's Orig. Ecc. book xiii. ch. 2.
it is only by its effects that we discern it, it is the principle of our moral, as the air of our natural health; the soul of our soul, and the Shechinah of our bodily temple "."
Q. How do you know whether we have the Holy Ghost?
A. The Holy Spirit is known by its fruits. In the Homily for Whitsunday it is well said, “If you see that your works be virtuous and good, consonant to the prescript rule of God's word, savouring and tasting not of the flesh, but of the Spirit, then assure yourselves that you are endued with the Holy Ghost. Otherwise in thinking well of yourselves, you do nothing else but deceive yourselves. The Holy Ghost doth always declare himself by his fruitful and gracious gifts."
Q. What advantage do we derive from a belief in this Article of our Creed?
A. We become possessed of the blessed assurance, that there is one in heaven, who, if we pray to him as we ought, will fill our hearts with the light of the knowledge of God, and be our guide and counsellor, our assistant in godliness, our comforter in distress.
Oh, let it then be our first care, to fit our
Heber's (Bishop of Calcutta) Bampton Lectures, p. 321.
selves for the indwelling of this blessed Spirit, by putting far from us all filthiness of the flesh; all profaneness; all impiety; all worldly mindedness. And grant, O blessed Lord God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, that as we advance in years, we may grow in grace, and in all good works, to the saving of our souls.
THE HOLY CATHOLIC CHURCH THE COMMUNION OF SAINTS.
The Holy Catholic Church.
Q. What do you understand by the words at the head of this Section?
A. When we repeat the words "Holy Catholic Church," we profess ourselves members of, and express our belief in that universal Church, which is "built upon the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles, Jesus Christ being the chief corner-stone"." We promise to maintain, to the best of our power, the unity of that Church: to preserve its doctrines and discipline pure as they are derived from the precepts and usage of the Apostles: and to avoid all "false doctrine, heresy, and schism."
Q. Proceed to explain each of the words separately...
First, What is the force and meaning of "Church?"
A. Looking to the derivation of the word, we find that it is from the Greek Kupiain; whence comes the Saxon" Cyrce," the Scottish" Kirk,” and the English "Church." From which it follows, that in its first and strictest acceptation, it is "the house of the Lord (Christ)," or a place set apart for the assembling together of Christians for purposes of divine worship.
Q. Is this the meaning of the word in the Article before us?
A. No. Here its signification is much more general and more extended, and answers to Ekkλnoia, a word which frequently occurs in the New Testament, and which also we translate "Church."
Q. How does Εκκλησια differ from Κυριακη ? A. Kupiain we have already explained to be the "house or place of Christian worship." Εκκλησια Ekkλnoia refers to the persons who compose the Christian community."
Q. In what respects is the one signification more extensive than the other.
A. The judicious Hooker tells us, Church is not an assembly but a society. For