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ceasing your work of faith and labour of love, and patience of hope"—the grand elements of true Christianity—“in our Lord Jesus Christ, in the sight of God and our Father; knowing, brethren, beloved of God, your election.” How did he know it ? By the clear and unquestionable evidence afforded in their practical life—the only way in which the election of any one can be known. “For our gospel came not. unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

The blessed apostle was, in his daily life, the expo- . nent of the gospel which he preached. He lived the gospel. He did not demand or exaot aught of them. He was not burdensome to them. He preached unto them the precious gospel of God freely; and in order that he might do so, he wrought with labour and travail, night and day. He was as a loving, tender nurse, going in and out among them. There were with him no high-sounding words about himself, or his office, or his authority, or his gifts, or his preaching, or his wonderful doings in other places. He was the loving, lowly, unpretending, earnest, devoted workman, whose work spoke for itself, and whose whole life, his spirit, style, deportment, and habits, were in lovely harmony with his preaching.

How needful for all workmen to ponder these things ! We may depend upon it that very much of the shallowness of our work is the fruit of the shallowness of the workman. Where is the

? Where is the de. monstration of the Spirit ? Where is the “much assurance ?” Is there not a terrible lack of these things in our preaching? There may be a vast amount of fluent talking; a great deal of so-called cleverness ; and much that may tickle the ear, act on the imagination, awaken a temporary interest, and minister to mere curiosity. But oh! where is the holy unction, the living earnestness, the profound seriousness? And then the living exponent in the daily life and habitswhere is this? May the Lord revive His work in the hearts of His workmen, and then we may look for more of the results of the work.

power

Do we mean to teach that the work of conversion depends upon the workman ? Far away be the monstrous notion! The work depends wholly and absolutely on the power of the Holy Ghost, as the very chapter now lying open before us proves beyond all question. It must ever hold good, in every department and every stage of the work, that it is “not by might nor by power; but by my Spirit, saith the Lord.”

But what kind of instrument does the Spirit ordinarily use ? Is not this a weighty question for us workmen ? What sort of vessels are " meet for the Master's use ?" Empty vessels—clean vessels. Are we such ?

Are we emptied of ourselves ? Are we cured of our deplorable self-occupation ?

Are we " clean ?” Have we clean hands? Are our associations, our ways, our circumstances, clean? If not, how can the Master use us in His holy service ? May we all have grace to weigh these questions in the divine presence! May the Lord stir us all up, and make us more

vessels such as He can use for His glory! We shall now proceed with our quotation.

66

and more,

The

whole passage is full of power. The character of the workman on the one hand, and of the work on the other, demands our most serious attention.

“ And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost : so that ye were ensamples for models] to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord, not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to Godward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything, for they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you."

This was real work. It carried its own credentials with it. There was nothing vague or unsatisfactory about it—no occasion for any reserve in forming or expressing a judgment respecting it. It was clear, distinct, and unmistakable. It bore the stamp of the Master's hand, and carried conviction to every mind capable of weighing the evidence. The work of conversion was wrought, and the fruits of conversion followed in delightful profusion. The testimony went forth far and wide, so that the workman had no need to speak about his work. There was no occasion for him to reckon up and publish the number of conversions at Thessalonica. All was divinely real.

It was a thorough work of God's Spirit as to which there could be no possible mistake, and about which it was superfluous to speak.

The apostle had simply preached the word in the power of the Holy Ghost, in much assurance. There was nothing vague, nothing doubtful about his testimony. He preached as one who fully believed and

thoroughly entered into what he was preaching about. It was not the mere fluent utterance of certain known and acknowledged truths—not the cut and dry statement of certain barren dogmas. No; it was the living outpouring of the glorious gospel of God, coming from a heart that felt profoundly every utterance, and falling upon hearts prepared by God's Spirit for its reception.

Such was the work at Thessalonica—a deep, solid, blessed, thorough divine work—all sound and real, the genuine fruit of God's Spirit. It was no mere religious excitement, nothing sensational, no high pressure, no attempt to “get up a revival.” All was beautifully calm. The workman, as we are told in Acts xvii., " came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews; and as his manner was, he went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures"-Precious, powerful reasoning! would to God we had more of it in our midst !—"opening and alleging that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead, and that this Jesus whom I preach unto you is Christ.”

How simple! Preaching Jesus out of the scriptures! Yes, here lay the grand secret of Paul's preaching. He preached a living Person, in living power, on the authority of a living word, and this preaching was received in living faith, and brought forth living fruit, in the lives of the converts. This is the sort of preaching we want. It is not sermonising, not religious talking, but the powerful preaching of Christ by the Holy Ghost speaking through men who are thoroughly impressed with what they are preaching. God grant us more of this!

THE SEAL AND THE EARNEST.

“GRIEVE not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption.” Ephesians iv. 30.

“In whom also, 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." Ephesians i. 13, 14.

In these verses we have the Spirit of God presented to us in two distinct ways, namely, first, as the seal which God puts upon all those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ; and, secondly, as the earnest of the inheritance which the sealed heirs shall possess ere long.

All true believers are sealed with the Holy Ghost. We must, of course, distinguish between being quickened and sealed. The Holy Spirit quickens dead souls ; He seals living believers; that is, He is Himself the seal. God does not seal sinners dead in trespasses and sins; He quickens them, leads them to repentance; and when, through grace, they believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ-crucified, risen, and glorified at the right hand of the Majesty in the heavens--then He seals them by giving the Holy Spirit to dwell in them. Thus He sets His blessed mark on them, until the day of redemption.

It is very important to be clear as to the difference between quickening and sealing. Many persons find difficulty here, but scripture is as plain as possible on the subject. Take, for example, the opening paragraph of Acts xix. : “ It came to pass, that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul, having passed through the upper

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