Page images

his all-fubduing power is displayed in the sout. The Spirit testifies of him as the almighty and eternal God, by the glorious majesty of Christ which the Spirit discovers, and which shines into the soul.- Arise, shine, for thy light is come, and the glory of God is risen upon thee; and the Lord jhall be thine everlasting light, and thy God thy glory. Under this manifestation the soul falls proftrate before him; owns, honours, adores, and worships him. The Spirit testifies of him as our high-priest, and applies the atonement, with pardon and peace, as the blessed effects of it. He testifies of him as our physician; and the proof of it is, our iniquities are all forgiven, and all our infirmities are healed: He testifies of him as the end of the law for righteousness, by applying his righteousness to the heart, and by passing the sentence of justification upon the conscience; at which time Christ, as our Advocate; silences all our accusers; and, as our Mediator, he gives us access to God, a claim upon him, and boldness with him. The Holy Spirit testifies of him as our King, and reveals him as such, and erects his empire in the soul upon our reception of Christ; which stands in power, in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. When sin is dethroned, the devil, his armour, and artillery, are cast out, death is abolished, life and immortality is brought to light, and the fear of death and the dread of damnation are difperfed; and all our perplexing doubts, cares, and gloomy thoughts about it scat


tered into all winds. Thus, my dear brother, does the Holy Spirit testify of Christ, and gives evident proofs of his ability to save to the uttermost; he realizes his faving benefits, applies his merits, proclaims his omnipotence, his mild and blessed go. vernment, the powerful fway of his righteous sceptre, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom. ,

8. The application of all the promises is the work of the Holy Spirit. The promise of life and the spirit of life always go together, for it is the powerful application of the word by the Spirit that makes the promise-The incorruptible feed, the word of God, that liveth and abideth for ever. All the promises of divine consolation have their fincere milk from Chrift by the Holy Spirit: one promise brings peace, another joy, another love, another comfort, another rest; just as the Holy Spirit sends them in, so they discharge their rich contents : the hungry foul, by exercising faith upon them, fucks the sweetness of them, till he is filled with joy unspeakable and full of glory. Rejoice ye with JeruTalem, and be glad with ber, all ye that love ber : rejoice for joy with ber, all ye that mourn for her: that ye may fuck, and be satisfied with the breasts of her consolations ; that ye may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of her glory. Ifa. Ixvi. 10, 11. There is no converting, refreshing, encouraging power attends the word without the Spirit's operation. When he makes application of it, faith, life, and love attend it; for our gospel came not unto you in

· word

word only, but in power, in the Holy Ghost, and in much asurance. i Thefl. i. 5. And various are the sensations of the soul under the Spirit's influence when he applies the word: sometimes it is a word of support that fortifies and strengthens ; sometimes a word of encouragement to keep us watching, waiting, and to bear us up under trials and crofles; sometimes a word of correction that leads us to self-examination, which awes us, and excites watchfulness and amendment; at other times a soft word that breakech the bone, and melts us under a sense of undeserved love and self-abhorrence; and often a word of instruction to correct the mind, disperse some wrong notion, to inform the judgment, and to bring more harmonious and consistent views of things to the soul. Innumerable are the ways by which the Holy Spirit works by the word, and in his application of it; but it is always a seasonable application; And a word spoken in due feason, how good is it? A word fitly Spoken is like apples of gold in pi&tures of silver. Prov. xv. 23. and xxv. II.

9. The secret things of God, such as his counsel and covenants, are made known to us by the Holy Spirit-What man knoweth the things of a man, fave the spirit of man which is in him? Even to the things of God kroweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 1 Cor. ii. II. The Holy Spirit, when he has testified of Christ to us, leads us back to his great undertaking and appointment from everlasting; he leads us up to the everlasting love of God, and to his


absolute choice of us in Christ Jesus ; to his fecret decrees of election and predestination; to his good will of purpose in Christ, and to the secret counsel of his will; and to his covenant made with Christ before the world began-For the froward is abomination to the Lord; but bis secret is with the righteous. Prov. iii. 32. The secret of the Lord is with them that fear bim; and he will shew them his covenant. Psalm xxv. 14: The secret of predestinating us to the adoption of children by Christ Jesus, and of his giving us life in him, and of his ordaining us to it before the world began, is revealed and made known to the elect of God by the Spirit; and our knowledge of these things, and of our interest in them, is our highest wisdom-But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world unto our glory; which none of the princes of this world knew ; for, had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God bath prepared for them that love him. But God bath revealed them to us by bis Spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. i Cor. ii. 7–10. Our faith is called the faith of God's eleet, not only because it is a grace peculiar to them, but because God's election of us is a truth revealed to faith, and a truth which faith apprehends and holds fast; for there can be no such thing as making our calling and election sure, without being


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


assured that there is such a doctrine as election. From God's secret counsel and covenant springs no Imall part of our unspeakable joy, God fills us with joy and peace in believing, and especially in believing our election of God-Notwithstanding, in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subje£t unto you; but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. Luke x. 20. If these things are lacking in our faith, our faith is deficient in one of the most sublime and establishing articles. He that believeth the love that God hath to him, is led to believe that this love took its rise from eternity (for there are no new acts in God); and from those ancient secilements are the goings forth of Christ dated.-But thoủ, Bethlehem Ephratab, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee fall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel ; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting. Micah v. 2. Into these deep things does the Holy Spirit lead us, and into a humble acquiescence with them, and fills us with wonder and astonishment at them. And he likewise leads us into the distinct personal works of the holy and blessed Trinity. As a spirit of adoption he gives us power and boldness to claim our interest in God as our Covenant-God and Father - To as many as received him to them gave be power to become the fons of God, even to them which believe on bis name ; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesk, nor of the will of man, but of God. This birth makes our fonship clear: love gives us a dwelling

« PreviousContinue »