Page images
PDF
EPUB

in God-He that lovetb dwelleth in God, and God in bim. Faith gives us a dwelling in Chrift-That Chrift may dwell in your hearts by faith. And the Spirit's witness proves our adoption-the Spirit cries, Abba, Fatber. Receiving power to become the sons of God, is receiving the Spirit; and by the Spirit the grace of faith, to enable us, as I before observed, with a holy boldness to claim our fonship before God.-But I said, How fall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly beritage of the hosts of nations? And I said, Thou shalt call me, My father ; and shalt not turn away from me. Jer. iii. 19. This promise the Spirit makes good; he makes us say, My father. And this may be seen in the prodigal son- I will arise, and go to my father. These words were spoken under the emboldening and encouraging influence of the spirit of adoption; and whatever the Holy Spirit says or does is always owned and honoured by God the Father, and confirmed in heaven; as may be seen in that parable-This is my son, says God; he was dead, and is alive again; he was loft, and is found. The Jews spoke the same language the prodigal did, even to Christ-We have one father, even God. But this is neither owned nor honoured; for, If God were your Father, (says Christ) you would love me: for I proceeded forth and came from God', neither cume 1 of myself, but be sent me. Ye are of your father the devil, and the lufts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the

[blocks in formation]

truth, because there is no truth in him. John viii. 42,44: Thus we see that no claim upon birth-privileges, no, not upon national adoption; no unwarrantable, no presumptuous claims upon God, are either approved or confirmed.

10. The Holy Spirit is given for a witness to us. If we receive the witness of men, (as many do, and rest in it,) the witness of God is greater. He that believes bath the witness in himself. And sure I am that with out the infallible testimony of the Holy Ghost no poor convinced, felf-condemned, and self-despairing sinner could ever lay any claim upon the Almighty, A sensible finner, who feels the enmity of his mind and the rebellion of his heart, who is loathsome in his own sight, and conscious to himself that he is a child of wrath, and a willing drudge to Satan; for such an one to call God his father (even while God's wrath and jealousy seems to smoke against him) he would think it the vilest presumption in such a wretch as he, and the greatest affront and insult, the greatest dishonour and indignity, that could be of. fered to the majesty of heaven--He may say to corruption, Thou art my father; and to the worm, Thou art my mother. Job xvii. 14. But to think that God would, or could, ever acknowledge or accept such an one as a child of his, is what would never have entered his mind world without end, if the Holy Ghost did not put it there. And he does it in the following manner :- First, he filences all the finner's accusers and all accusations, and brings the confused and confounded soul into a state of the most profound calm, quietude, peace, and tranquillity. Here our sins, which appeared like the sins of Sodom, crying to heaven ; conscience, also, with his cutting accusations; the law, with all its curses and unlimited demands; justice, with his calls for vengeance; Satan, with all his blafphemies, fiery darts, accusations, and terrible suggestions ; together with all our heart-misgivings and heartrisings, and those terrible passages of scripture which describe the fruitless crys of Esau, the horrors of Judas, the misery of Cain, the distraction of Saul, and the fearful end of Corah, Abiram, and Dathan; are all stilled and hushed into the profoundest silence, the violent storm of wrath abates, and the troubled fea ceases from her raging. The poor finner stands aftonished to know what are become of all his accusers; he looks about him, and finds that all his sins which were set in order against him, all his secret fins which stood in the light of God's countenance, are blotted out as a cloud, and his transgressions as a thick cloud; and, as far as the east is from the west, so far does God separate our transgressions from us. The guilt and filth of sin within is all purged away, and every inbred corruption is subdued and out of sight; so that not one unclean bird remains upon the living sacrifice. The Holy Spirit sets Christ crucified before the eye of faith; while the Spirit, in the application of the blood of

confused

14

sprinkling

sprinkling, speaks pardon, peace, reconciliation, and perfect friendihip. Sin being purged, nothing separates or stands between God and the soul. The Holy Ghost sheds abroad God's love in the heart, which casts out fear and torment, doubts and all misgivings of the heart about it; while love diffolves the ftony heart, melts the stubborn mind, and makes the rebellious will submit and become pliant. Joy unutterable flows in, while foods of pious and godly sorrow flow out. The benign Father of all mercies, and God of all comfort, indulges the foul with the greatest freedom and familiarity, and with nearness of access to him. God shines well-pleased in the face of Jesus, accepts and embraces the soul in him; while faith, attended with the fullest assurance, springs up and goes forth in the fullest exercise upon the everlasting love of God, and on the finished salvation of Jesus Christ, and is fully persuaded of her eternal interest in both; while the Holy Spirit cries, Abba, Father : to which cry both law and gospel, the love of God and the blood of Christ, retributive justice and honest conscience, all put their hearty amen.

The Holy Spirit, with the witness that he bears, follows the convinced finner through every stage of his experience, from his first awakening, until his tranNation into the kingdom of God takes place. So that the convinced sinner who comes to the light, who wairs upon God, and waits for him, has the

witness foolish

1

witness of the Spirit in his own heart to the truth of what he feels, and of what he seeks. The Spirit bears his witness to the reality of his wants; to the deep sense that he has of his sins; to the honesty and integrity of his foul; to his fervent cries and earnest searches; to his real grief on account of his fins, and his earnest desire of deliverance from them. Nor can such a soul look either God or conscience in the face, and say, I am neither awakened nor quickened; I am neither in earnest, honest, nor fincere. Nor dare he say, I have no hunger nor thirst after God, nor that I neither labour nor am heavy laden. Nor dare he say that he has neither hope nor expectation of better days and better tidings; nor dare he say that there is no truth in him, nor that God has done nothing for him; nor would he change states (miserable as he is) with the most secure pharisee, nor with the most gifted professor in the world; nor would he part with his dreadful feelings, the chastisements, the reproofs of God, the bitter sense he has of his fins, nor the intolerable burden of them, for all the treasures of Egypt, unless he could get rid of them the right way; namely, by an application of the atoning blood of Christ. He can smell the stinking favour of an hypocrite in Zion, and feel the barrenness and emptiness of a minister of the letter; he can see through a sheep's fkin on a wolf's back, and knows the empty sound of swelling words. Neither the graceless heart of a

[ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »