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thrro persons in the words we have read? | goeth,' John ii. 8.-You, who especially adCr, they obstruct our perceiving the Father, mit, that the more conscious we are of the to whom all things belong; the Son, who want of grace, the more we should exert our participates in all things which belong to the natural gifts; that, the more need we have Father: the Holy Spirit, who receives and of interior aids, the more we should profit by reveals those things to the church? I ask exterior assistance, by the books we have at again, whether by this propriety of thought, hand, by the favourable circumstances in and precision of argument, we can understand' which we may be providentially placed, by an action of Providence, from what is ascrib- the ministry which God has graciously esed to the Holy Spirit? And whether, without tablished among us! Fear not to follow those offering violence to the laws of language, faithful guides, and to adopt precautions so one may substitute for the term spirit, the wise ; under a pretext of reducing metapbors words action and Providence, and thus para- to precision, never enfeeble their force; and, phrase the whole passage; 'I have yet many under a plea of not admitting imaginary mysThings to say unto you, but ye cannot bear teries, never reject the real. This was our them now. How beit, when this action of second rule. Providence is come, even this action of Pro-1 And here is the third In addresses to so. vidence, it will guide you into all the truth; ciety in general, what belongs to each should for it shall not speak of itself; but whatso- be distinguished. St. Paul here addressed over it shall hear, that shall it speak; for it the whole church: but the whole of its nushall receive of mine, and shall show them merous members could not have been in the unto you.' We frankly confess, my brethren, same situation. Hence, one of the greatest nothing but the reluctance we have to sub- faults we commit in expounding the Scrip. mit our notions to the decision of Supreme tures, and especially in expounding tests Wisdom can excite an apprehension, that a which treat of the agency of the Spirit, is, distinct person is not designaled in the words the neglecting to distinguish what we had we have cited. And, when it is once admit- designed. This is one cause of the little ted, that the Holy Spirit sent to the church fruit produced by sermons. We address a is a divine person, can one, on comparing the church, whose religious attainments are very words of our text with those we have quo unequal. Some are scarcely initiated into ted, resist the conviction, that the same Spi- knowledge and virtue; others approach perrit is intended in both these passages ? fection; and some hold a middle rank be
In the class of those, who, under a pretext tween the two. We address to this congreof not admitting imaginary mysteries, reject gation certain general discourses, which cansuch as are real, we arran e those divines, not apply with equal force to all, it belongs who deny the agency of this adorable per to each of our hearers, to examine how far son on the heart, in what the apostle calls, each argument has reference to his own case. unction, seai, and earnest : those supralapsa- Apply now to the words of our text the rian teachers, who suppose, that all the ope- general maxim we have laid down; you will ration of the Holy Spirit on the regenerate, recollect the ideas we have attached to the consists in enabling him to preach; that he terms used by the apostle, to express the does not afford them the slightest interior aid, agency of the Holy Spirit on the heart. We to surmount those difficulties which naturally have said that these terms, unction, scal, carobstruct a compliance with the grand design nest, excite three ideas. And we can never of preaching. The Scriptures assert, in so understand those Scriptures, which speak of inany places, the inefficacy of preaching the operations of the Holy Spirit, unless without those aids, that no doubt can, in my those three effects of the divine agency are opinion, be admissible upon the subjeci, distinguished. Every Christian has not been But, if some divines høve degraded this confirmed by the Spirit of God in all those branch of Christian theology, by an incau- / various ways. All have not received the tious defence, to them the blame attaches, threefold unction, the threefold seal. the three. and not to those who have established it upon fold earnest. To some the Holy Spirit has solid proof. Those divines, who, by a mode, confirmed the first, availing himself of their of teaching much more calculated to confound, ministry for the achievement of miracles, or than defend, orthodox opinions, have spoken by causing them to feel that a religion, in of the unction of the Spirit, as though it an- favour of which so many prodigies have been nihilated the powers of nature, and as though achieved, could not be false. To others, the they made a jest ;- yes, a jest, of the exhor- second confirmation was added to the first; tations, promises, and threatenings addressed at the moment he carried conviction to the to us in the Scriptures:- Those divines, if mind, he sanctified the heart. With rerard there are such, shall give an account to God to others, he communicated more ; not only for the discord: hey have occasioned in the persuading them that a religion, which prochurch, and even for the heresies to which mises celestial felicity, is true ; not only entheir mode of expounding the Scriptures has abling them to conform to the conditions on given birth.
which this felicity is prontised, but he also You, however, brethren, embrace no doc- gives them foretastes here below. trines but thuse explicitly revealed in the II. and III. I could better explain my senScriptures ;--you, who admit the agency of timents, did I dare engage, in discussing the the Holy Spirit on the heart, unsolicitous to second part of my subject, to illustrate the define its nature.- You, who say with Jesus nature, and prove the reality of the Spirit's Christ, the wind bloweth where it listeth. agency on the heart. But how can I attempt and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst he discussion of so vast a subject in one not tell whence it cometh, and whither it ! discourse, when so many considerations restrict me to brevity? We shall, therefore, i Thirdly, he confirms them by foretastes of speak of the nature and reality of the Spirit's celestial delight, communicated to some agency on the heart, so far only as is neces Christians even here below. Each of these sary to furnish matter for our third head, on points we shall resume in its order. which we are now entering; and which is First, the gift of miracles was a seal, designed to trace the dispositions that favour, which God affixed to the ministry of the first and such as retard, the operations of the Spi- heralds of the gospel. Miracles are called rit : a most important discussion, which will seals : such is the import of those distinguishdevelop the causes of the anniversary of Pen ed words of Christ; • Labour not for the tecost being unavailing in the church, and meat that perisheth ; but for that meat which point out the dispositions for its worthy cele endureth unto eternal life, which the Son of bration.
man shall give unto you, for himn hath the What we shall advance on this subject, is Father sealed, John vi 27. The seal which founded on a maxim, to which I solicit your distinguished Jesus Christ, was the gift of peculiar attention; namely, that every mo- miracles he had received of God, to demontion of the Spirit on the heart of good men, strate the divine authority of his mission: so requires correspondent co-operation; without he himself affirmed to the multitudes: The which his agency would be unavailing. The works which the Father hath given me to refusal to co-operate is called in Scripture, finish, the same works that I do, bear witness
quenching-grieving-resisting-and doing that the Father hath sent me,' John v. 36. despite to the Spirit. Now, according to the The inference, with regard to the Lord, is style of St. Paul, this quenching-grieving- of equal force with regard to the disciples. resisting-and doing despite to the Holy Spi. The miraculous endowments, granted to rit, is to render his operation unavailing. them, sanctioned their mission; as the mis.
Adequately to comprehend this maxim, and sion of the Master was sanctioned by the miat the same time to avoid a mistaken theolo- raculous powers with which it was accompagy, and a corrupt morality, concerning the nied. What seal more august could have agency of the Spirit, make the following re- been affixed to it? What demonstrations flection: that the Holy Spirit may perhaps more conclusive can we ask of a religion be considered in one of these three respects; which announces them to us, than all these either as the omnipotent God; or as a wise | miracles which God performed for its confirlawgiver: or as a wise lawgiver and the mation? Could the Deity have communicaomnipotent God, in the same character. ted his omnipotence to impostors? Could he Hence the man on whom he works, may per even have wished to lead mankind into miss kaps be considered, either, as a physical, or a take? Could he have allowed heaven and moral being; or as a being in whom both earth, the sea and land to be shaken for tho these qualities associate. To consider the sanction of lies ? Holy Spirit in the work of regeneration as | As there are dispositions which retard the the omnipotent God, and the map for whose agency of the Spirit, who comes to impress conversion he exerts his agency, as a being the heart with truth, so there are others purely physical: and to affirm that the Holy which favour and cherish his work. With Spirit acts solely by irresistible influence, regard to those which retard, I would not only man being simply passive, is, in our opinion, include infidelity of heart, whose principle is a morality extremely corrupt. To consider malice ; I would not only include here those the Holy Spirit simply as a lawgiver, and eccentric men, who resist the most palpable man merely as a moral being, capable of vice proofs, and evident demonstrations, and think and virtue; and to affirm, that the Holy Spi. ihey have answered every argument by sayrit only proposes his precepts, and that man ing, . It is not true. I doubt, I deny. -Men obeys them, unassisted by the divine energy that seem to have made a model of the Phariattendant on their promulgation, is to propa- sees, who, when i nable to deny the miracles gate a theology equally erroneous. But, to of Christ, and to elude their force, ascribed consider the Holy Spirit as the omnipotent them to the devil This is a fault so notoriGod, and legislator in the same character, ous, as to supersede the necessity of arguand man as a being both moral and physical, ment. But I would also convince you Chris. is to harmonize the laws moral and divine, tians that the neglect of studying the history and to avoid, on a subject so exceedingly con of the miracles we celebrate to-day, is an awtroverted, the two equally dangerous rocks, ful source of subversion to the agency we are against which so many divines have cast I discussing. Correspond, by serious attention themselves away.
and profound recollection, to the efforts of The adoption of this last system (which is the Holy Spirit in demonstrating the truth here the wisest cboice), implies an acknow- of your religion. On festivals of this kind, a ledgment, that there are dispositions in man Christian should recollect and digest, if I which retard, and dispositions which cherish, may so speak, the distinguished proofs which the successful agency of God on the heart. God gave of the truth of Christianity on tho What are these > They regard the three ways, day whose anniversary we now celebrate. He in which we said the Holy Spirit confirms to should say to himself; the soul the promises of immortality and I wish to know, whether advantage be life.' These he confirms, first, by the per- taken of my simplicity, or whether I amn adsuasion he affords, concerning the truth of dressed as a rational being ; when I am told, the gospel; causing it to spring up in the that the first heralds of the gospel performed heart on review of the miracles performed by the miracles, attributed to their agency.' the first Christians. Secondly, he confirms 'I wish to know, whether the miracles of them by the inward work of sanctification. the apostles have been narrated, (Acts ii.)
and inquire whether those holy men have ( rubim and seraphim; for ages, millions of named the place, the time, the witnesses, and ages, an eternity with the blessed God, are circumstances of the miracles: whether it the notions I entertain, realities, or chimeras?" be true that those miracles were performed No my brethren, neither in a council of war, in the most public places, amid the greatest nor legislative assembly, nor philosophical soconcourses of people, in presence of Persians, ciety, never were questions more inportant of Medes, of Parthians, of Elamites, of dwell discussed. A rational man should have noers in Mesopotamia, in Judea, in Cappadocia, thing more at heart than their elucidation. in Lybia ; among Cretes, Arabs, and Jews. Nothing whatever should afford him greater
I wish to know, in what way these mira satisfaction, than when engaged in researchcles were foretold; whether it be true, that es of this nature, in which he discovers some these were the characieristics of evangelical additional evidence of inimortality; and preachers, which the prophets had traced so when he finds stated with superior arguments, many ages before the evangelical period; the demonstrations we have of the Holy and whether we may not give another inter- | Spirit's descent upon the apostles, the anni. pretation to these distinguished predictions: versary of which we now celebrate.
Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake 2. If there are dispositions which retard, the heavens, and tbe earth, and the sea, and and cherish, the first agency of the Holy the dry land. And I will shake all nations, Spirit on the heart, there are also disposiand the desire of all nations shall come,' Hag. tions which retard and cherish the second. ii. 5, 6. I will pour out my spirit upon all | The Holy Spirit, we have said in the second Aesh ; and your sons and your daughters shall place, confirms to us the promises of the gos. prophecy. Your old men shall dream dreams, pel, by communicating the grace of sanctifi. your young men shall see visions. And I will cation. What success can be expected from show wonders in the heavens and in the his gracious efforts to purify the heart, while earth, blood, fire, and pillars of smoke,' Joel you oppose the works? Why have those jj. 28-30.
gracious efforts hitherto produced, with reI wish to know, how these miracles were gard to most of you, so little effect? Because received ; whether it be true, that the mul- you still oppose. Desirous to make you contitudes, the myriads of proselytes, who had scious of the worth of holiness, the Holy it in their power to investigate the authen-Spirit addresses you for that purpose in the ticity of the facts, sacrificed their ease, their most pointed sermons. In proportion as the reputation, their fortune, their life, and every preacher addresses the ear, the Holy Spirit comfort which martyrs and confessors have inwardly addresses the heart, alarming it by been accustomed to sacrifice: I wish to know, that declaration, · The unclean shall not inwhether the primitive Christians made these herit the kingdom of God,' 1 Cor. vi. 10. sacrifices on embracing a religion chietly But you have opposed his gracious work; founded on a belief of miracles.
you have abandoned the heart to irregular I wish to know, in what way these mira- affection ; you have pursued objects calculacles were opposed; whether it be true, that ted to inflame concupiscence, or enkindle it there is this distinguished difference between with additional vigour. the way in which these facts were attacked The Holy Spirit, desirous to humble the in the first centuries, and in the present. heart, exhibits the most mortifying portraits Whether it be true, that instead of saying, of your weakness, your ignorance, your disas our infidels assert, that these facts were sipation, your indigence, your mortality and fabulous, the Celsuses, the Porphyrys, the corruption.-a train of humiliating considerZosimuses, who lived in the ages in which ations in which your own character may be these facts were recent, took other methods recognised. But you have opposed his work; to evade their force; attributing them to the you have swelled your mind with every idea powers of magic, or confrunding them with calculated to give plausibility to the sophisins other pretended miracles.'
of vanity; you have flatiered yourselves This is the study to which we should pro- with your birth, your titles, your dignities, coed; wo be to us if we regard it as a tedious your affected literature, and imaginary vire task, and excuse ourselves on inconsiderable tues. Improve this thought, my brethren, pretexts! Is there any thing on earth which confess your follies; yield to the operations should interest us more than those important of grace, which would reclaim you from the truths, announced by the apostles; and espe- sins of the age, and make you partakers of cially those magnificent promises they have the divine purity, in order to a participation delivered in the name of God ? Mortal as of the divine felicity. Practise those virtues we all are, merely appearing on the stage of which the apostles so strongly enforced in life, most of us having already run the their sermons, which they so highly exempligreater part of our course, called every mo- fied in their lives, and so poweriully pressed ment to enter into the invisible world, des- | in their writings. tined there to destruction, or eternal exist. / Above all my brethren, let us follow the ence, is there a question more interesting emotions of that virtue which is the true test, than this? Is it for destruction, or eternal | by which the Lord knows his own people, I existence, I am designated by my Maker? mean charity : such are the words of Christ, Are the notions I entertain of immortality ; | which we cannot too attentively regard; of pleasures for evermore at God's right hand; This is my commandment that ye love one fulness of joy around his throne; of intimate another,' John xv. 12. When I speak of intercourse with the adorable Being; of so- charity, I would not only prompt you to ciety with angels, with archangels, with che-share your superfluities with the indigent,
and to do good offices for your neighbours. i here below to highly-favoured souls. On this But a man, who, when celebrating the anni- subject, I seem suspended between the fear versary of a day in which God's love was so of giving countenance to enthusiasm, and of abundantly shed upon the church, in which suppressing one of the most consolatory the Christians became united by ties so truths of the Christian religion. It is howtender, feels reluctance to afford these slight ever, a fact, that there are highly favoured marks of the love we describe ;-a man who, souls, to whom the Holy Spirit confirms the wrapt up in his own sufficiency, and in the promises of celestial happiness, by a commuideas he forms of his own grandeur, sees no- nication of its foretastes here on earth. tbing worthy of himself in the religion God By foretastes of celestial happiness, I mean has prescribed, would, however, converse the impression made on the mind of a Chriswith bis Maker, and receive his benefits, but tian, of the sincerest piety, by this consolatory who shuts his door against his neighbours, thought ; . My soul is immortal : death, which abandons them in their poverty, trouble, and seems to terminate, only changes the mode obscurity ;-such a man, far from being a of my existence: my body also shall particiChristian, has not even a notion of Chris pate of eternal life; the fust shall be reani. tianity. At the moment he congratulates mated, and its scattered particles collected himself with being distinguished from the into a glorious form rest of mankind by the seal of God. he By foretastes of celestial happiness, I mean, has only the seal of the devil,-inflexibility, the unshaken contidence a Christian feels, and pride.
even when assailed with doubts, --when On these days I would, my brethren, re- oppressed with deep aftliction, and surrounded quire concerning charity, marks more noble, with the veil of death, which conceals the and tests more infallible, than almıs and good objects of his hope: this assurance enables offices: I would animate you with the laudable him to say, I know in whom I have ambition of carrying charity as far as it was believed, and I am persuaded he is able to
carried by Jesus Christ. To express myselt keep that which I have committed unto him * in the language of Scripture, I would animate ' against that day,' 2 Tim. i. 12. I know that
you to love your neighbour as Jesus Christ my Redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand has loved you. In what way has Jesus Christ at the latter day upon the earth. And though loved you? What was the grand object of after my skin worins destroy this body, yet in his love to man? It was salvation. So also my flesh shall I see God, Job xix. 25, 26. should the salvation of your neighbours be "O God, though thou slay me, yet will I trust the object of your love. Be peneirated with in thee. Though I walk through the valley the wretchedness of people - without hope, of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, without God in the world,' Eph. ii. 12. Ps. xxii. 4. I have set the Lord always Avail yourselves of the prosperity of your before me; because he is on my right hand, navigation and commerce, to send the I shall not be moved.' Py xvi. 8. gospel into districts, where creat'ıres made B foretastes of celestial happiness, I mean, in the image of God, know not him that the delights of glorified saints jo beaven, made them, but live in the grossest darkness which some find while dwelling on earth; of the pagan world.
when far from the multitude, secluded from Be likewise impressed with the wretched- care, and converving with the blessed God, ness of those, who, amid the light of the gos. they can express themselves in these words, pel, have their eyes so veiled as to exclude 'My soul is satisfied with marrow and fatness, its lustre. Employ for the great work of when I remember thee upon my bed, and reformation, not gibbets and tortures, not fire meditate upon thee in the night watches,' and faggot, but persuasion, instruction, and Ps. Ixiii 5, 6. - Our conversation is in heaven,' every means best calculated for causing the Phil. iii. 20. truth to be known and esteemed.
| By foretastes of celestial happiness, I mean, Be touched with the miseries of people the impatience which some of the faithful educated in our own coinmunion, and who feel, to terminate a life of calamities and imbelieve what we believe ; but who through perfections; and the satisfaction they receive the fear of man, through worldly-minded every evening on reflecting that another day ness, and astonishing hardness of heart, are of their pilgrimage is passed ; that they are obstructed from following the light. Address one step nearer to cternity. In this taberto them the closest exhurtations. Off r thein nacle we groan, earnestly desiring to be a participation of your abundance. Endea- clothed upon with our house which is from vour to move them towards the interests of heaven,' 2 Cor v. 2. “My desire is to depart, their children. Pray for thein ; pray for the and to be with Christ,' Phil. i. 23. Why is peace of Jerusalem ; pray that God would his chariot so lon in coming ? Why do raise the ruins of our temples i that he would his coursers proceed so slow? When gather the many scattered flicks; pray him shall I come and appear before God,' Ps. to reinvigorate the Christian blood in these xl. 2. veins, which seems destitute of beat and cir | My brethren, in wbat language have I been culation Pray him, muy tellow countrymen, speaking ? How few understand it! To that he would have pity on your country, in how many does it seem an unknown ton rue! which one prejudice succee is another. Be But we have to blame ourselves alone if we afflicted with the affliction of Joseph, be are not anointed in this way, and sealed by mindful of your native land.
the Holy Ghost ; and if we do not partici. 3. We have said lastly, that the Holy Ipate in these foretastes of eternity, which are spirit confirms the promise of celestial feli- the genuine earnests of heaven. But ah! city, by a communication of its foretastes our taste is spoiled in the world. We have contracted the low habits of seeking hap- , sential to my felicity; the lustre of my mame piness solely in the recreations of the age. is not essential to my felicity; the establisko Most, even of those who conform to the pre- ment of my family is not essential to my felicepts of piety, do it by constraint. We obey city; and, since none of these things are esGod, merely because he is God. We feel sential to my happiness, the great God, the not the unutterable sweetness in these appel. Being supremely gracious, has without the lations of Father, Friend, and Benefactor, un- least violation of his goodness, left them in der which he is revealed by religion. We the uncertainty and vicissitude of all ublunary do not conceive that his sole object, with re- bliss. But my salvation, my salvation, is far gard to man, is to make him happy. But the above the vicissitudes of life. The mountains world.- the world,- is the object which at- shall depart, and the hills be moved; but my tracts the heart, and the heart of the best kindness shall not depart from thee, neither amongst us.
shall the covenant of my peace be removed, Let us then love the world, seeing it has Isa. liv. 10. “Lift up your eyes to the hea. pleased God to unite us to it by ties so ten- vens, and look upon the earth beneath : for der Let us endeavour to advance our fathe heavens shall vanish away like smoke, milies, to add a little lustre to our name, and and the earth shall wax old like a garment; some consistency to what is denominated, but my salvation shall be for ever, and my fortune. But O! after all, let us regard righteousness shall not be abolished, Isa. li.6. these things in their true light. Let us re- May God indulge our hope, and corn it collect that, upon earth, man can only have with success. Amen. transient happiness. My fortune is not es
THE FAMILY OF JESUS CHRIST.
Matthew xii. 46–50. While he yet talked to the people, behold his mother, and his brethren
stood without, desiring to speak with him. Then one said unto him, behold, thy mother, and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee. But he answered and said unto him that told him, who is my mother? And who are my brethren? And he stretched forth his hond towards his disciples, and suid, Behold my mother, and my brethren. For whosvever shall do the will of my Father which is in heuven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.
He said unto his father and to his mother, bers of our families, as ourselves; and if we I have not seen him ; neither did he acknow. may so speak, as our own substance. But if ledge his brethren, nor know his own chil- it be a duty to love our neighbour, it is not dren, Deut. xxxiii. 9. So ,osos said of the less admissible, that we ought to love God tribe of Levi. Was it to reproach, or ap- with all our heart, with all our soul, and with plaud? Following the first impression of this all our mind.' In fact we ought to love God Sentence, it contains undoubtedly a sharp re- alone. Farther, our love to him ought to be buke, and a deep reproach. In what more the centre of every other love : when the lat. unfavourable light could we view the Levites? ter is at variance with the former, God must What became of their natural affection, on have the preference; when we can no long. disowning the persons to whom they were er love father and mother without ceasing to united by ties so tender, on plunging their love God, our duty is determined ; we must weapons in the breasts of those who gave cease to love our parents, that our love may them birth?
return to its centre. These were the dispoBut raising the mind superior to flesh sitions of the Levites. Obedient children, and blood, if you consider the words as con affectionate brethren, they rendered to the nected with the occasion, to which they persons to whom God had united them, refer, you will find an illustrious character every duty required by so close a connexion of those ministers of the living God; and one But when those persons revolted against of the finest panegyrics which mortals ever God, when they paid supreme devotion to an received.
ox that eateth grass,' as the psalmist says; Nature and religion, it is admitted, require when the Levites received this commandus to love our neighbour, especially the mem- ment from God, their Lawgiver and Su