« AnteriorContinuar »
used to give strong confolation, where he has not formed eminent graces. Consident assurance without this, is indeed a very suspicious thing.
5. By this means we shall be vessels of honour, fanctisyed and mete for our Master's use," 2 Tim. ii. 21. And we can never be fo otherwise. We shall be, like the vessels of the temple, sit to be employed by him for facred uses; surnished to every good work, under his light, quickening, and culture; and prepared to bear any suffering well, is the Spirit of God rest upon us, animating us with fortitude and comfort answerable to our day. This has carried the seeble sex and tender youth triumphant through death in all his terrors, and the most exquisite contrivances to shock flesh and blood. And should it not be the point of honour, to which every servant of Christ should aspire, that he may acquit himself to the sullest approbation and glory of his blessed Lord?
6. *« So an entrance will be ministered to us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom os our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ," 2 Pet. i. ti. We shall be in a good measure ripe for heaven, by the time that we come thither; able to look forward to it as a blessed hope, and to comfort ourselves with the profpect in all the ^meannesses to nature and grace which now attend us. Our actual passage from one world to the other is like to be serene and joysul; for what evil have we to sear, is God is with us in that valley by his Spirit? That will almost make it a valley of vision, as the gate ©f heaven. And when we come there, distinguishing rewards will be conserred. Thofe eminently silled with the Spirit now, will be capable of receiving a greater sulness of glory, as the Scripture most frequently assures us that it is prepared for them. Upon the whole then,
1. We are led by this subject, as indeed we may be almost by every theme of divine meditation, to admire the wisdom and the grace of the evangelical dispenfation. It excites both sinners and faints to "work out their own falvation with sear and trembling but yet with hope, " because it is God that worketh in them both to will and to do of his own good pleasure," Phil. ii. 12, 13. It provides effectually for the honour of free and powersul grace, and yet at the fame time for the encouragement of reafonable creatures to shew themselves men, and to exert all the powers "which their Maker has given them.
2. The impersection of faints ought to be no disparagement to christianity, but it is a great disgrace and shame to themselves. The Gofpel contains the most persect precepts, and exhibits to us a complete example, and surnishes us with every motive sit to strike any affection which God has given us. But no motive is stronger or more distinguishing from every other institution, than the discovery of the blessed Spirit, able and willing to aid our weakness, and supply our wants for every part of obedience, and never unready to surnish an upright mind for the highest possible* advances in univerfal goodness. He would
sill us, but we will not be silled by hkri. Wet too osten neglect him, and grieve him, andquench him, and resist him; and was it not. for his singular grace, should be given over by him for ten thoufand misbehaviours, fo a* never to have "the good pleasure of divine goodness sulsilled in.us," or u the work of faith with power." Our faces should be overspread with a penitent consusion at the thought while our mouths are silled with praise for his condescension and grace, that.he wilsyet continue a teacher to such unapt scholars, a guide to such heedless followers, a principle of persection, and ^n earnest of. the inheritance, to-fouls fo unlike him and fo unmete for the promised reward.
3. The proper temper prescribed by christianity toward the Holy Spirit, is evident from. these discourses. To own him with thanksulness as the author of all spiritual good foundin man in his fallen. state. To believe his ability and readiness to help us according to our wants. To receive his testimony in his word, and hearken- to every good, motion in our minds conformable to it,. as proceeding from him. To pray for and depend upon his grace in the whole course of lise, in. the performance of every duty, in our conflict with . every sin, and in our endeavours to cultivate every grace and virtue.. To be deeply humbled, wherever we have treated him unworthily. And under his gracious insluences, to cleanse ourselves from all silthiness of fleflv
,;and Spirit, and to persect holiness in the sear
"of God." .
S E R.y • - .
The Spirit os Bondage, and the Spirit os Adoption.
Rom. viii. 15.
Tor ye have not received the spirit of bondage^ again to fear; but ye have received the spirit of adoptions whereby we cry, Abba3 Father.
CHRISTIANS are described in the former part of this chapter by several phrases which bespeak their relation to the Blessed. Spirit. They a walk aster the Spirit," ver. i, 4. They «* are aster him," and ** mind the things of the Spirit," ver. 5, They "are in the Spirit," ver. g. and "he dwells in them," ver. 9/**. M Through him they mortisy the deeds of the body," ver. 13. and they ** are led by him," ver 14. Which various phrases intimate on the one hand a special presence and stated agency of the Spirit in the minds • of believers: and on the other hand, that the prevailing temper of their spirits and tenour of their lives are moulded and fashioned inta a holy conformity to him; they are as er him in disposition, and walk after him in course; they mind and relish most the things which he dictates and is pleased with; they make use os his aids for carrying on the purposes of tl c D d a dmue d vin: lise; and are willingly ltd by him as their guide, whither he woald carry them.
Blessed fouls! who partake of such a guest and guide, and are dispofed by his grace fo to treat and use him. For they " are in Christ Jesus," and so " there is -no-condemnation to them," ver. 1. They " shall live," live eternally, ver. 13. '* For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God," ver. 14. Their participation of him bringsthem into a silial relation to God; and their being led in fo kindly a manner by him, is a. rroof of that relation, and consequently of their being heirs to the heavenly inheritanceIn consirmation of which the words of the text are added: "For ye have not received the spirit of bandage, again to sear; but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby We cry, Abba, Father." Which is a proof of their being admitted for the fons of God, from, the free and liberal manner of the Spirit's insluence upon them, and the correspondent temper produced in them. If they had received the spirit of bondage, that would not evidence their being fons, but only servants; but now it was plain, that they were adopted by God for his fons, because they had receiv. ed the spirit of adoption, and not of bondage. But what are we to underitand by "the spirit of bondage unto sear," and "the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father ?'* For the general nature of them; by the "spirit of bondage" is plainly meant. iuch a temper and spirit toward God, as ilaves usually have to their masters; which Leads theni i clneliy