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ears; then be sober, be vigilant, and “let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 8
82 Cor. vii. 1.
ON GRIEVING THE HOLY SPIRIT.
Ephes. iv. 30.
“ Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.”
THERE is a threefold operation which the Holy Spirit exercises in man. In the first place there is his general presence, of which all mankind partake alike, and which is necessary for our existence; for it is in him that all, the heathen as well as the Christian, “ live and move and have our being.” The second operation of the Spirit has respect to the moral influence which he exerts
See the preceding discourse. Dr. Hammond, Sermon XV. Calvin on Eph. iv. 18. Bishop Saunderson's Observations on Restraining and Renewing Grace, in a sermon on (I think) Gen. xx.
through the organ of the conscience, when he either incites to godliness, or restrains from iniquity, those who are yet without Christ and without God in the world. He ofttimes convinces of sin, and constrains to some good resolutions and deeds of amendment, even where the heart remains still unrenewed. The third gracious office which he performs for the children of men is that to which reference is made in the text, when he seals God's elect unto the day of redemption. This energy he exerts as the Spirit of Christ, when he takes up his abode in the hearts of those whom the Father has given to the Son. It is the privilege of those who are born into the world since the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ, to enjoy the presence of the Spirit in a manner and to a degree unknown to the saints and patriarchs of old. The Holy Spirit is now derived to us through the risen and glorified humanity of the Christ; and as the mineral waters become impregnated with the nature of the channels through which they severally flow, so does he, who is in the word of inspiration compared to living water, partake of the nature of that fountain whence he now proceeds; he now has power to touch the human soul with a sympathetic
2 Bishop Brownrig, vol. i. p. 427, &c. Woodward's Essays, &c., p. 69, &c.
influence, and to impregnate it with energies unfelt before.
While, then, he exercises upon all mankind the two former influences, it is the believer only whom the Spirit, as the Spirit of promise, the Spirit of Christ, seals unto the day of redemption. In the first chapter of this epistle, and the thirteenth verse, the apostle reminds the Ephesian converts of this fact: “In whom," saith he, speaking of Christ, “ after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory." In accordance with the declaration of the apostle was the promise which Jesus vouchsafed when he stood and cried, saying, “ If any man thirst, let him come to me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. And this,” adds the evangelist? who re: cords the gracious words, this “ spake he of the Spirit which they that believe on him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.”
My dear brethren, unless you are sealed with the Spirit, no saving effect is yet wrought in your soul. The ultimate end of all conviction of sin is 3 John vii. 37–39.
to bring you to Christ; the design of your baptism, the object of the preached word, is to graft you into Christ, that in him you may be stablished, anointed, and sealed.
We will consider, then, in the first place, what is contained in the declaration, “ Ye are sealed unto the day of redemption;" after which shall follow the exhortation of the apostle, “ Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are” so “ sealed.” And may that blessed Spirit predispose your hearts for the impress of his truth, even as wax is prepared for the seal; may he soften, as he alone is able, the heart of stone, that it be not hardened against his word! for, except he be pleased to bless us with his grace, our preaching is vain, ye hear in vain.
The first point, then, which presents itself to our consideration, is the truth which is implied in the term “ sealed.”
Now, the object of a seal is to impress an image or likeness upon the material to which it is applied. And in a few verses preceding the text, the apostle enjoins the Ephesians to “ put on the new man, which after God,” that is, in the image of God," is created in righteousness and true holiness.” And he exhorts the Colossians to “ put on the new man, which is renewed in
* 2 Cor. i. 21, 22.