Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

m

cause thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth.” May these inspired words sink into all our hearts! . And now let me, in conclusion, earnestly and affectionately exhort you, my brethren, to examine yourselves faithfully on this important point. You are all professed believers in Jesus Christ. Put the question of the text to your own hearts : “ Have you received the Holy Ghost since ye believed ?” Do not imagine that this is a speculative or dubious question, it admits of a decisive answer. “ The tree is known by its fruits ;” and if you have received the Holy Ghost into your hearts, you must necessarily exhibit its fruits in your lives. What fruits, then, are visible in you? Ungoverned tempers ? Unruly passions? Devotedness to pleasure? A love of this world, and an alienation of heart from God ?-Alas! these are the fruits of the flesh! the natural and spontaneous growth of human nature! “That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and they that are after the flesh, mind the things of the flesh.” The Holy Spirit cannot be in them who do such things ! These are indeed alarming considerations; some persons may say of them as the Jews of an expression of our Lord : “ This is an hard saying, Who can hear it?” But the question is, are such statements true? are they scriptural? If so, we reject or slight them at our peril! Let us then honestly, and as in the sight of God, inquire into these things. The church speaks of godly persons * as “ feeling in themselves the working of the spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh and their earthly members, and drawing up their minds to high and heavenly things.” Do we feel the spirit of Christ thus working in us?” Are our minds “ drawn up to high and heavenly things;” or are they grovelling in the things of this world?

* Art. xvii.

Are heavenly dispositions awakened in our bosoms? Do we love heaven? Is it the subject of our thoughts and of our conversation? Do we diligently seek it, and earnestly pray for an admission to those happy regions? Have we been taught to know ourselves? Has God given us the grace of true repentance ? Have we a simple faith in Christ? and are we daily renewed in the spirit of our minds? And to refer to the earliest stage of grace, haye we any earnest desire for these things? Does their absence grieve our hearts?

These, these are the fruits of the Spirit; and well may we be troubled in our consciences, if we are destitute of them! And happy is it for us, my brethren, that while the revealed word of God speaks thus faithfully to our worldly or carnal hearts, while it tolls the knell of our eternal happiness if we die unconverted and unrenewed, it speaks in the most gracious terms of compassion and love to all those who are conscious of their guilt and danger, and desire to be delivered from the thraldom of sin and Satan! The term despair is excluded from revelation! All may have life if they will, and have it more abundantly. The copious gifts of God's spirit shall be communicated to all who seek them! And if, my brethren, in future, we offer from our hearts those prayers for grace in our services, which we have hitherto only uttered with our lips, then the promise of God shall be fulfilled in us,* “ And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes, and keep my ordinances and do them; and they shall be my. people, and I will be their God!”

[ocr errors]

* Ezek. xi. 19, 20.

SERMON V.

GOOD WORKS.

Titus iii. 8. - This is a faithful saying, and these things I will

that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works: these things are good and profitable unto men.”

To produce a deep and permanent effect upon the judgment and conscience, the heart and affections of every one, and through them to influence the conduct and regulate the life, is the uniform object of all ministerial exertions. Whether we speak of doctrines or duties, of theory or practice, this is our purpose. In this all are agreed : it is respecting the mode of producing these favourable results, that differences of opinion exist. Some imagine that it is quite sufficient to remind men of their duties, to lay down rules of conduct, to exhibit the

« AnteriorContinuar »