« AnteriorContinuar »
being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him !" Hence shall we gain that new life of holiness which we need in order to the service of him we love; and by this -- and this alone can we destroy the life of sin, in our body, or in the world. Would we mortify the deeds of the body ? -- it is “through the Spirit” that we must do so. Would we crucify the flesh with the affections and lusts ? - it is by
walking in the Spirit” that we shall succeed. Would we overcome the world, and its allurements and its cares ? —it is by having “ this same Spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken.” And would we resist the Devil and all his solicitations ?—it was by this same Spirit, “ being full of the Holy Ghost,” that Jesus our Forerunner overcame him ; and by this must we, his followers, triumph too. In proportion as we imbibe the Spirit of Jesus, which is emphatically the spirit of a Son of God, shall we become assimilated to the character of Jesus, and be ourselves “the sons of God, blameless and harmless, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation."
Let me beseech you, then, to aim at nothing short of this grand consummation. You are invited to this beneficial ordinance that you may become therein filled with a new spirit, and raised to a new character. The influences of the Holy Ghost are not only to produce in you filial confidence and thereby all the vigour of love and hope, -but to make you men for God : to develope in you all the faculties of your mind and will, and bring you out into enlarged responsibilities, and more extensive duties, as Christian men. This solemnity will form an epoch in your lives. It will call you forth from the thoughtlessness and helplessness of youth, to the consideration and self-acting energy of manhood. Christ promised his Spirit as an inward fountain, self-springing, and self-replenishing. (John, vii. 38, 39.) And the unlocking of this fountain endued his followers with new powers (Acts, i. 8); filled them with new dignity (Acts, ii. 14); animated them to efforts (Acts, iv. 29–31); made them capable of new offices (1 Tim. iv. 14); and sustained them in the various emergencies of independent life (Matt. X. 19, 20). And therefore see that you possess and exercise, through God's assistance, no longer the spirit of supineness, hesitation, and timidity, with respect to Christian truth and holiness,—but the spirit of vigour and zeal, and manly steadiness and consistency ; (2 Tim. i. 6–8;) that
you may be“ strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus, enduring hardness as good soldiers of Jesus Christ;” (2 Tim. ii.
1, 3 ;) and ready and active to communicate and to commend to others - each one according to the sphere of duty which God assigns to him—the principles that you are now to be confirmed in, yourselves.
THE SPIRIT TO BE EXERCISED TOWARDS GOD
1 PETER, ii. 9. Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people ; that ye should show forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.
I HAVE taken up at this season the whole subject of Confirmation, and have drawn out your consideration of it to considerable length, not only because I conceive it to be a most important opportunity for pressing on the younger
flock the chief particulars of their Faith and Duty as baptized Christians, but moreover, because it does appear to me of equal moment that all of us, of whatever age, or standing in the congregation, should not unfrequently be brought back to our first principles, and reminded of our primary duties, as members of Christ. For Christianity is not made up of fragmentary truths, and casual duties. It is a system—an organized system--of education for the kingdom of heaven which is to come.
It begins with collecting men into a Society, even as Jesus called together his disciples “to be with him.” It goes on to teach them their relation to God and to each other in that Society, even as Jesus. “ manifested his Father's name" to those disciples, and “taught them the things that pertained to the kingdom of God.” And then, it expects and requires from them certain duties towards God and towards each other, growing out of those relations; and endeavours so to train and exercise them in those duties, that, when their Lord shall come to take account of his servants, they may be selected by him out of that Society into his eternal kingdom. And to this holy Society, Baptism is the introduction—of this Society, the Catechism furnishes the principles and rules—with this Society, Confirmation brings us into avowed connexion—for the edification of this Society, the Lord's Supper and other means of grace are provided
— and as living members of this Society are we to think, and feel, and act, from day to day. Christians are a holy brotherhood, the whole business of whose life is to become, in fact, what they are pledged to by their name.