« PreviousContinue »
his family; and our anointing is that of an everlasting priesthood. But there is such a difparity between the high-priest in the holy of holies, and we who wait at the altar, that, if our faith was not from above, we should have just right to conclude that our approaches to the mercy-seat would be as dangerous as that of Korah. But the anointing oil is upon us, and God has taken us from among the Gentiles to be priests and Levites, and to minister in the holy place; and we know that we are accepted, and our enemies know it as well as we, and not a small number are contending, and would even fight for the office; and there are not a few that thrust themselves into it whom God thrufts out again, as he did the king with his leprosy in his forehead. The blood of sprinkling upon the conscience is the atonement, and the fine linen of an imputed righteousness is the ephod, and truth in the mind and heart, this is the curious girdle; hope of salvation, this is the bonnet, and a heavenly countenance is the mitre; love to the brethren, this is the breastplate ; gospel knowledge and perfect love are the Urim and Thummim ; the joy of faith is the anointing oil ; a believing heart is the golden censor; the graces of God's Spirit are the odoriferous spices; the Spirit is the fire that kindles the incense; and earnest desires of being accepted is the cloud of smoke that ascends up before the throne. This is the furniture of the priests with which they are furnished for all the service of the fanctuary. A few days ago I was obliged all at once to fend a few lines to your excellency, not knowing how low you might be, but I know of none who make more noise about little matters than you do; and if I had thought that my letter would have lain two days unopened, I should not have taken the pains to fend it. Adieu.
This day is Thursday, and I have juft
Thou wilt not go out with hafte, nor go by flight; the Lord goes before thee, and will gather thee up behind; so that the leadings of his kind providence, and the energy of his grace shall lead the van, and all the faithfulness and truth that he has thewed shall bring up the rear. The greatest cause of my dear son's grief springs from the want of information of the Spirit's work ; I must inter
rogate my beloved.
“ We are saved by hope," this therefore is one of the things that accompany
salvation; and in this thou hast stood firm and fast for ten years at least, nor has it ever loft ground or lost strength; nay, you have abounded in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost. The principal work of God's Spirit is that of purging us from our filthiness, and from our idols; you labour not under the guilt, nor under the weight of either of these; this you dare not disown, but must confess the truth of my
affertions. 2. The quickening operations of the Spirit are the most blessed, and the most invaluable influences from God that ever the offspring of Adam knew or enjoyed; and this is manifest in thee by illumination, affection, motion, and sensations, which give you an appetite ; and what we eat we love, and what we love we crave and covet, seek and follow after.
The kingdom stands in power; this has made thee willing in every sense, and has sensibly, evidently, and conspicuously fortified, emboldened, equipped, and furnished thee, and fupported thee in every
time of trouble; yea more, it hath lifted thee up when secretly fallen, more than seven times, or than seventy times seven. As thy days so has thy strength been ; you have been filled with power and might by the Spirit to Thew Jacob his transgressions. And this has-sensibly risen up
in thee — sometimes at home, before you went forth to the pulpit; sometimes in the veftry, just before you entered; and sometimes you found it as soon as you began, though it went not in with you; and sometimes it came in and taught thee in the midst of the feast. To confine the Holy Spirit's work to joy, love, and enlargement, is limiting the Holy One of Israel. Those that are superficially drawn, as they tell us, have their passions moved, and the affections of nature ftirred, and the way-side hearers were all glee: but the Spirit's quickening, alarming, and furnishing conscience to do its office, is above all these : life lies in feeling, in tenderness, in appetite, in the food, in fear, in hope, and in faith; in imputed righteousness, in the removal of fin, and in the sentence of justification. And you are in possession of all these, yea, and of love too. Now, was there to come one into thy presence to speak flightingly or lightly of our Lord Jesus, of his word, or of his family, you would consider yourself highly offended : nay, more; you would not suffer the things to come out of their lips which a little before was muttered in secret from your own mouth : the things I do I allow not, neither in myself, nor in others. There are sons of thunder in the work, as well as fons of confolation. But the saving point with us is, whether we are minifters of the Spirit or of the letter; and the grand difference of this is, the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life. Death unto death is ministered to infidels by good men, who are a sweet savour unto God. But life and power have attended the word of God from thy mouth; and this is the seal of confirmation to the ambassador's mission, and in the consciences of all these thou art made manifest. And what shall I say more? Shall I turn Jewish orator, and say, that very worthy deeds have been done to our nation by thy providence, and that we accept it at all times, most noble Felix? God bless the son of my vows-fo prays
It is a sad fault in thee, and I see it in the account of
you measure God by yourself: when you are in the most sweet frames, then God loves you ; but when in the reverse of these, then he hates you.
The reverse of this is the truth ; the language of the covenant is, that you shall remember your own evil way that was not good, and loath yourselves for your iniquity when I am pacified towards you. And this may be seen in Job's experience, and in God's visit to Daniel, when all his comeliness was turned into corruption, though he greatly beloved. You do vex the Holy Spirit in these things, and dishonour him by such a carriage: leave off this folly, I have long since learned this in myself.