The Work of the Holy Ghost in our Salvation (eBook)

by Thomas Goodwin

in ePub, .mobi & .pdf formats

THE great and mysterious truth of the trinity of persons in one God, which is the foundation of our Christian faith, and which, though not contrary to our reason, is so much above it, that we could never have had a thought of it, if God had not revealed it to us in his word, is not a mere speculative notion, but a truth, in which the faith and practice of a Christian is concerned; insomuch as it is necessary that every one who is saved should believe that there are three persons, one and the same infinite, eternal God, blessed for evermore. For how can we believe that God hath chosen any of mankind, to make them unchangeably and for ever happy; that the same God hath redeemed and doth sanctify these his elect, if we do not believe that this one and the same God is three persons, to whom these works, so necessary to our salvation, are in the holy Scriptures distinctly attributed? How can we trust in the God of all grace, and his infinite mercies, and adore and love him for that great and indeed unspeakable love, in sending his only-begotten Son to die for us? And how can we act faith on our blessed Redeemer, as having voluntarily come into the world to accomplish the work which his Father sent him to do, unless we have distinct thoughts of the person of the Father sending, as distinct from the person of the Son sent by him? And these persons are equally God; for any one inferior could no more have redeemed us than he could have elected or created us. But they are not so many several Gods; therefore they are one and the same God, equal in all perfections and glory. The author hath discoursed of the work of God the Father in the second volume of his Works; and of the work of God the Son in the third, with great clearness of light from the Scripture, and consequently with as great a strength of evidence to every spiritual mind. In the discourses of this fifth volume he as clearly and evidently describes in all its glory the work peculiar to the Spirit, in healing and restoring our depraved, wretched natures, by making them alive unto God, and sanctifying them in likeness to him. It is a work which demonstrates him to be true God, as well as the Father and Son are; for life is that which God only can give, and a creating power is as necessary to produce a spiritual as a natural life. Nay, of the two it is more difficult (though nothing is so to God) to raise a dead soul than a dead body. It is also as much a work of God to make us partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4), as it was to make Adam at first after his own image. That none may think these truths to be merely niceties or abstruse controversies, and an inquiry into them needless, the author hath made, through all the discourses, proper and pertinent uses, naturally flowing from the doctrines; which may evince, that as all the truths of the gospel have in their own nature a fitness and a proper tendency to strengthen our faith, and to improve our holiness, and to make us not only wiser but better, so God hath revealed them as needful to be known by us for these purposes. And as the gospel is peculiarly suited to raise and tune our hearts to thankful strains and cheerful praises of our Lord Jesus Christ (and in honouring him we honour the Father also), so this doctrine of the work of the Holy Spirit in our salvation, which is pure gospel too, is adapted to excite us to give that glory to him which is due; and in honouring him, we honour both the Father and the Son. I have given on the other side of this leaf a catalogue of the MSS. in this volume, that the reader may be satisfied that he hath all which I promised in the proposals; and also may see that I present him with several other discourses, which I did not offer in them.

I am,

Thine entirely in the service of the gospel,



Table of Contents


BOOK I: A general and brief scheme of the whole of the work committed to the Holy Spirit in bringing us to salvation, in an enumeration of all particulars, and of the glory due unto him for it. The work of the Holy Spirit in the unction of Jesus to be our Saviour

CHAPTER I: Some general observations premised out of John 14, 15, 16

CHAPTER II: Some further observations touching the coming of the Holy Ghost. His signal coming at Pentecost. The great change made in the world thereby

CHAPTER III: Of the works of the Holy Ghost upon Christ our Saviour

CHAPTER IV: His operations upon the church, and that, first, as collectively taken

CHAPTER V: His operations in every part and member of the church

CHAPTER VI: The uses of the precedent doctrine

CHAPTER VII: The Holy Ghost the author of regeneration, or the first applications of salvation to us

CHAPTER VIII: The Holy Ghost the gift of God the Father to us, in and by Jesus Christ. This inestimable gift bestowed freely by the pure mercy, grace, and love of God

CHAPTER IX: We not only partake of the effects of the Holy Spirit's operations in us, but also of his person dwelling in us

CHAPTER X: The uses of the foregoing doctrine: 

BOOK II: That there are two states or conditions through which God carries the elect: the state of nature, and the state of grace. That the new birth is the passage between them, which evidenceth the necessity of the new birth, or regeneration. The reasons why God hath so ordered it, that the generality of the elect, who live to riper years, should for some time remain in that state of nature before he renews them. The uses of the doctrine

CHAPTER I: The words of the text, Tit. 3:4–7, explained; the elect in a state of sin and wrath before they are brought into a state of grace

CHAPTER II: By the new birth, an elect soul is translated from a state of sin and wrath into a state of grace.—Whether we are regenerated or no. The state of the unregenerate alterable

CHAPTER III: All God's elect do not, before their regeneration, remain in that state of sin and wrath

CHAPTER IV: Reasons why God suffers his elect, grown unto riper years, to continue for some time in a state of sin

CHAPTER V: The same continued

CHAPTER VI: The uses of the foregoing doctrine

CHAPTER VII: The same continued

CHAPTER VIII: The same continued: 

BOOK III: The necessity of regeneration demonstrated by this argument, that all that God and Christ have done towards their reconciliation to us will profit us nothing, unless we be reconciled to God. And how conversion is set forth under the notion of reconciliation as on our part

CHAPTER I: Reconciliation to God necessary if ever we be saved; proved from God's design in his reconciliation to us, to glorify his holiness, &c.

CHAPTER II: Evinced from Christ's design in his work of reconciliation

CHAPTER III: Necessary for us to be convinced that we are enemies to God; that our estate is dangerous; that yet God is appeasable; that there is a Mediator by whom the soul may come to God; that we must also seek God and his favour in Christ; and seek him with confession of, and mourning for, sin

CHAPTER IV: Wherein our reconciliation to God consists

CHAPTER V: The application or uses of the foregoing doctrine: 

BOOK IV: Of the work which the Holy Spirit effecteth in us, as it is expressed under the notion of our being begotten unto God, and of a new birth, from which the necessity of regeneration is further demonstrated. Of the nature of the thing begotten in us, as it is set forth under the notion of Spirit, John 3:6

CHAPTER I: The necessity of the new birth demonstrated, and the nature of it described, from the notion of our being begotten unto God, 1 Peter 1:3–5

CHAPTER II: Exposition of John 3:5

CHAPTER III: The same continued

CHAPTER IV: What it is to have the heart elevated, and suited to all things spiritual, as spiritual

CHAPTER V: Suitableness of the mind to spiritual things, the great distinguishing character of one that is born of the Spirit, John 3:5, from others who are not so

CHAPTER VI: How we may discern, value, and love spiritual things, purely as spiritual, and yet view them as blessings to us; and regard and affect our own interest and benefit in them

CHAPTER VII: The blessings which we have by Christ purely spiritual; how a spiritual heart considers and affects them in their pure spirituality

CHAPTER VIII: How a spiritual heart is affected to inherent graces and holy duties.: 

BOOK V: Of the work of the Holy Ghost in us, as it is represented to us under the notion of a new creature. That besides the Holy Spirit's indwelling in us, and his motions and actings of our spirits, there are permanent or abiding principles wrought in our souls, which dispose them for holy actions, and give spiritual abilities for the performance of them. That this new creature is a change of the heart. That it is a conformity to the image of our Lord Jesus Christ

CHAPTER I: Exciting and moving grace not all that the Spirit doth for us to enable us to the performance of holy actions. Works of grace inherent. Opinions of the popish doctors, of the Arminians, and of some enthusiastics, considered

CHAPTER II: The Holy Ghost, when he makes us new creatures, works in us fixed and abiding principles of a spiritual life

CHAPTER III: The same continued

CHAPTER IV: Necessary, and congruous to the nature of things, that such inward permanent principles should be wrought in us by the Holy Ghost

CHAPTER V: The new creature wrought in us by the Spirit of God, a change of heart

CHAPTER VI: The new creature in us a conformity to the image of Christ: 

BOOK VI: That the work of grace wrought in us by the Spirit of God in regeneration, is a different and higher principle than natural conscience in its greatest elevation of light. The deficiency of natural conscience shewed, and the mistakes of men about it detected

CHAPTER I: All men under a covenant of works, or a covenant of grace. Two principles of actions, Rom 2:14, 15 and Jer. 31:31–33 explained. The principle by which the law of God reigns over men is conscience. Notions of the philosophers among the heathens

CHAPTER II: Natural light of conscience in unregenerate men hath a great influence on their actions

CHAPTER III: Men are apt to regard the natural light of conscience, and the influence of it, to be the effects of true grace

CHAPTER IV: Wherein natural conscience falls short of true grace

CHAPTER V: What goodness, and of what kind, is to be acknowledged to be in this light from God vouchsafed to natural conscience

CHAPTER VI: What is necessary to make conscience a good and holy conscience

CHAPTER VII: Natural conscience deficient in that which is necessary to make it really holy

CHAPTER VIII: Grounds of the mistake in judging the acting of natural conscience to be the workings of a principle of true grace

CHAPTER IX: Natural conscience may approve of the law, and command the duties enjoined

CHAPTER X: Though natural conscience may prevail with men to do the duties required, yet not for conscience sake, in the sense which the Scripture gives

CHAPTER XI: Another deficiency in natural conscience

CHAPTER XII: The deficiency of natural conscience in another of its effects

CHAPTER XIII: The highest degree to which a temporary believer can possibly attain falls short of that saving work wrought in a sincere believer: 

BOOK VII: Of the difference of the works on temporary believers, and those truly called, and that they differ in their nature and kind

CHAPTER I: Distinction between temporary professors and those truly called

CHAPTER II: Usefulness of this doctrine concerning temporary believers, to many holy ends and purposes

CHAPTER III: A genuine saving work of grace specifically distinct from that which is in a temporary believer

CHAPTER IV: The same continued: 

BOOK VIII: That there are three parts of our regeneration. 1. Humiliation for sin, and the necessity thereof in order to faith. 2. Faith in Christ for justification. 3. Turning from sin unto God, or holiness of heart and life, proved from the work which our Lord Jesus Christ ascribes to the Holy Ghost, John 16:7–11, from the instances of conversion in the time when Job lived, and of the conversion of the apostle Paul. Of the subservience of humiliation unto faith. Objections answered. Of our turning from sin unto God, or of holiness in heart and life

CHAPTER I: Conviction of sin, humiliation for it, faith in Jesus Christ, sanctification, or amendment of heart and life, the parts of our conversion to God, John 16:7–11

CHAPTER II: To convince us of sin, and to humble us in the sense of it, is the work of the Holy Ghost in converting us to God

CHAPTER III: Instances of conversion in the time of Job. Instance of the apostle Paul's conversion

CHAPTER IV: Use and subservience of conviction of sin, and humiliation for it, to induce the soul to believe on Jesus Christ for salvation

CHAPTER V: Answers to several objections made against the usefulness of conviction and humiliation

CHAPTER VI: Of the last part of our conversion, which is our turning from our evil thoughts and ways unto God: 

BOOK IX: Of the eminency of mercy and grace discovered in this work of regeneration, comparatively with other works wrought in us. Of the greatness of the power which God manifests in regenerating us. Of the influence which Christ's resurrection hath on our regeneration

CHAPTER I: The eminent mercy of God towards us in our regeneration

CHAPTER II: The same continued

CHAPTER III: The same continued...

CHAPTER IV: An exceeding greatness of God's power apparent in our regeneration

CHAPTER V: The same continued....

CHAPTER VI: The virtual cause of regeneration is the resurrection of Jesus Christ: 

BOOK X: Of the two essential properties of inherent holiness and sanctification. That a regenerate man makes God his chiefest good. That he also sets up God and his glory as his chiefest end. A trial of difference between a regenerate and unregenerate man herein. That there is also an eminent disposition in the new creature, inclining a regenerate man, earnestly to desire and endeavour to convert others to God

CHAPTER I: Every man hath something which he makes his chiefest good. Two chief treasuries in which the good things of men are laid, viz., heaven and earth

CHAPTER II: In what things we take most pleasure and delight

CHAPTER III: By what things the comfort of our lives is principally maintained and upheld

CHAPTER IV: What are the things which we value as our dearest treasures

CHAPTER V: The account upon what it is that we most value ourselves, and other men

CHAPTER VI: How the new creature makes God and his glory its utmost end

CHAPTER VII: One eminent disposition immediately flowing from the new creature, is a desire to convert, and beget others to God: 

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