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But what does this mean? We have already seen that ideas of personal inhabitation, of infused grace and of any mystic agency of the Spirit, form no part of the scriptural doctrine of His influence; but that that influence is exercised and displayed in the appropriate impressions of truth, upon our minds and hearts. A man's mind is full of his subject, when it occupies his thoughts, engages the interest of his heart, and is the continual theme of his conversation. we say a man is full of his project or full of himself-he is full of wisdom, full of sorrow, full of wrath, &c., when there is the governing and absorbing influence of such matters, and such affections. In like manner we are filled with the Spirit, when mind, heart and conversation, are under the appropriate, prevailing, absorbing influence of any one or more of the great truths, through which the Spirit operates. And this is the sense in which the phrase is used in the sacred scriptures. Elizabeth on hearing Mary's salutation "was filled with the Holy Ghost." There was indeed an extraordinary, though not unnatural, bodily sensation first experienced, which induced the conviction that she saw the mother of her Lord, the long promised Messiah, and that thought, or truth, or fact took complete possession of her mind.
It was predicted of John the Baptist, that he should be "filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb," that is, from the earliest period of his history, he should be under the controling and absorbing influence of the Spirit. And such was the fact, He was absorbed in his work, and his mind was deeply imbued with truths, which did not thus afect others. Zacharias recovering his specch and prophesying -thus giving proof of the powerful impression of the truth upon his mind,--was said to have been "filled with the Holy Ghost." So also, when the apostles on the day of Pentecost, began to speak, it is observed by the historian that 1 Luke i. 41: 2 Luke i. 15.
3 Luke i. 67.
"they were all filled with the Holy Ghost." Peter be-fore the Sanhedrim,' the apostles when Peter and John returned, and Paul in his address to Elymas the sourcerer, 4 are all said to have been filled with the Holy Ghost, and when we advert to circumstances, we find that the boldness, and absorbing zeal and feeling with which they spoke the truth, are especially worthy of notice. The truths of christianity, when really and fully believed, will make a deep and ab-sorbing impression, and when they do so, we are filled with the Spirit-i.e.qur spirits are appropriately and fully excited by the Spirit of God, through the instrumentality of His own truth, as apprehended and cordially believed by us.
Now, that they should be thus believed by every one, -especially by the ministers of Jesus Christ, who will deny? Is not the obligulion to this, as strong as the truth of Him who speaks can make it, and as solemn as eternity? We are not at liberty, at any time, to refuse to believe the man who speaks the truth. Much less are we, where God is the one that testifies. Nor can we, without guilt, remain unaffected by what Ile testifies. For He never trifles with us, or asks our attention to matters of little or no importance. Cod is ever serious, and His communications to us, are on themes of dcep and thrilling interest. To treat them with indifference to remain unmoved by them, is and must be highly criminal in us. It is a virtual impeachment of the divine solicitude and sincerity.
A deep, operative, heart-felt conviction of the truth, is also indispensably necessary, as our accompanying testimony to the truth of what God testifies. Suppose that a minister of Christ should rise up in the sacred desk, or elsewhere, and address his fellow-men on divine things, in a light and fippant style, or in a cold scholastic manner, or with studied theatrical display, or with evident care
1 Acts ii. 4. 2 Acts iy. 8. 3 Actsiy, 31. 4. Acts xüi. 9. &c,
for rhetorical ornament and effect; who would not, at once perceive, that his own heart attached very little consequence to the message of the Lord, which he was professedly de: livering? It would be utterly in vain to tell us, that he did indeed feel, and that he was a faithful, and learned, and pious minister of Christ. We could not resist the evidence of our senses, and to deliver the truth, in a dull and heartless, or careless and indifferent manner, could scárcely fail, according to the very laws of human feeling, to prejudice the hearer's mind in some degree either against the speaker, or against it. Nothing, as has already been intimated, can make amends for the actual want of feeling on the part of the ministry of Christ. Where however, it does exist, it cannot fail to exhibit itself. private christian, much more any minister of Christ, be free from blame, when destitute of all feeling appropriate to the truths of religion? It is the very evidence, requisite in the nature of things, to demonstrate to others the reality of his faitl, profeso:d, and to bring the truth, under cireumstances favorable for its reception, to bear upon the minds or others? This is the demonstration of the Spirit-the convincing evidence of its being truth, which the minister of Christ publishes,-the very truth and message of God, of which he has no doubts,-through which the Spirit mores and excites, and stirs his own spirit within him,--and which thus, by the very laws of human sympathy, and through the energy of the Spirit, present at the time, comes with convincing light and power to the minds of the hearers. Who can fail to see, and to feel, the immense necessity of this thing, in order to the successful administration of the word?
This decp, heart-felt, moving, spirit-stirring, belica of the truth, on our part, as ambassadors of Jesus Christ, is necessary to prove to those that hear us, that we do indeed believe the messages of God by us. If wanting, it willeseite in others the suspicion, and indeed gencratethe
presumption, that as we, who profess to have the message from God, give so little pirouf, of its being believed by
us, the thing after all is not as we represent it. It is, necessary also, to conciliate and engage the attention of our hearers; for all men naturally refuse to attend to, and do actually, turn away with disgust from, the man that does not, at the time, believe what he is saying. And it is necessary, still further, to give that sort of sensible exhibition of the reality, of what we preach, which, according to the laws of human emotion and sympathy prevailing among creatues of sense, is requisite, in the very nature of things, for effectively, and successfully, inducing the minds of others to believe it.
In all this, there is nothing but what may be most appropriately demanded of every minister of Christ. It eannot, in any case, be wanting, without guilt on his part, without endangering the souls of his hearers--and without his being, more likely, the instrument of their unbelief, than of their faith. Ol, have we not reason to fear, that our eshibitions of truth, may sometimes be made, in any other way than in the demonstration of the Spirit?” If
? our hearers remain, from year to year, unbelieving, and unconverted, ouglit we not to institute a strict inquiry, whether we may not in some way conduce to it? Surely, if the demonstration of the Spirit,” were with us, it would not, could not be thus! And can that be long, and totally, wanting, without guilt on our part, when it is most reasonable, and natural, and of rightful obligation, that we should cordially believe, and he fully and powerfully affected, by the great facts of religion, which we teach, and when God, is ever willing to give His Holy Spirit to them that ask Ilim?” Ah, will we not have rcason to dread the disclosures of cternity, if our own hearts and souls, are not fully imbued with the truth we prcach? How can we look our Master in the face, or how can we
ever think of mecting with our hearers at His bar, if we have not admonished, rebuked, instructed, exhorted, entreated, and expostulated; as those that fully, and cordially believed the truth themselves. Our religion does not consist of merc abstractions; nor is that preaching the gospel, and watching for souls, which consists in exhibiting mere doctrinal propositions, that may engage and instruct the intellect, instead of asserting facts which we know and feel, have a direct and solemn bearing on the character, experience, and destiny of our hearers. This can never be done, where our own hearts have pot beliered, and felt, and we have thus been practically taught by the Spirit of God. We must speak from experience--from our personal experimental sense, and knowledge of the truth, or our preaching will be more human science--the theology of the schools,—the wisdom of philosophy,—the tradition of the elders,-the opinions of the fathers, -and the like matters, in which we cannot bear wilness, as those who knolo The truth as iuusktof God. Thus Paul was taught, and thus he preached, whether he addressed the unconverted, or belicvers. “Knowing thercfore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men, " said he, as realizing the awful condition of the im.penitent. And when addressing the people of God, still he ventured not beyond his own experience, teslifying in all cases, as to what he know to be matters of fact. “Who comforteth us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."2
And thus ought the minister of Christ, ever to preach. Ile professes to believe, that there is a Hell of unutterable and unalterable woc, where the wicked shall be forever made to endure the unmingled and unmitigated wrath of
1. 2 Cor. v. 11.
2. 2 Cor. i. 4.