« ZurückWeiter »
his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.
Brethren! a Christian receives the truth in the love of it. He has not only an elevating view of the doctrines of the Gospel, but there is a character impressed on his mind: he has not only a sentiment, but a spiritual taste.
Tell us not what such a man as Colonel Gardiner may have been before his conversion. He might be wicked, hardened, sensual, far from God! But, tell me what Colonel Gardiner was after he received the truth : after that truth, by the Spirit of God, had impressed his character in holiness, humility, love of God, in a peaceable disposition toward his neighbour, in a general desire to do good. Tell me what he was afterward-A light in the world ! salt in the earth, that had not lost its savour ! a city set upon a hill, that could not be hid! a mark for the profligate to shoot their ar. rows at, even bitter words !
The same may be said of Lord Rochester. He might be a monster: he was a monster; and every man, who had any regard to his character, would have avoided him. But tell me what the man was, after he believed the truth, and was sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. He stands a record-a miracle of the grace of God, and of the
power of God; and tells us plainly, as a matter of fact, what it is to be sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.
“ But,” say you, “ granting all this, how is this seal the earnest of our inheritance ?"
Earnest, as you know, is a part of payment ; a security for the remainder: it is common among us, to deliver up a thing of great value, by a kind of pledge or earnest : a house is delivered up, by delivering up the key.
Now, the seal of which I have been speaking differs from a common seal among men, in that it is both seal and earnest. A seal may be annexed to a deed, but it may be cut off from the deed : the deed remains, but there is no seal. But, with this seal, God seems to deliver the future inheritance: as if he should say, “ They are inseparable: this shall be an authentic pledge, earnest, and evidence- heaven begun in the soul !” The Spirit of Promise, when he seals a character, becomes a Spirit of Holiness, a Spirit of Consolation; giving us a taste of what we shall become, since we are heirs of the future inheritance.
The present illumination, therefore, which a Christian receives, is a pledge of that everlasting light to which he is passing. The present love of holiness, which God gives him, is an earnest of perfect holiness among the spirits of just men made perfect. The present comfort, rest, and satisfaction, which a godly man receives, is a taste of that fulness of joy which he shall find in the presence of God.
And every Christian receives his portion of this
earnest: nor did I ever know a single Christian, who, at the very lowest ebb, would part with this sealing of the Holy Spirit, this newness of character, for all that the world could propose. In whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise.
If the faithful, therefore, are sealed by the Spirit of God, then, though the moralist may ridicule the thing, though an antinomian may reject it, though an enthusiast may expose it ; yet, let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering. A counterfeit proves that there is real coin. Let me, then, call on every one of you
here present. May God grant, that I may never so spend my time, nor you so idly waste yours, às to consider points of this nature in a merely speculative way, to pass away our hour! My Dear Hearers, the Gospel is every thing or nothing ! Examine, therefore, whether God has sent his Holy Spirit to enlighten, soften, and impress your hearts : for, if you could speak with the tongue of men or angels, and had not this holy impression
a consciousness of the nothingness of present things; and a hope full of immortality, that shall lead you to stretch out to the mark of the prize set before you-all your hearing will only tend to condemnation,
Whenever, therefore, this work of the Spirit of God begins to be spoken lightly of, ask yourselves a question; “ What is the image and superscription written on this ?” No doubt Satan has, herein, a very important end-to sink and degrade the truth. There never was a time, since the truth was first set forth, but the evil heart of man, influenced by the god of this world, was always attempting to degrade the truth : some taking it up as an opiate; and others professing it, as a means of accomplishing some sinister end. But, Thus saith the Lord: If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.
Examine, therefore, whether the Spirit has impressed the truth on your mind, to any saving purpose.
II. Let me make a few REMARKS on this subject.
1. Be. CAUTIOUS OF GRIEVING THAT HOLY SPIRIT, WHEREBY YE ARE SEALED UNTO THE DAY OF REDEMPTION—that Holy Spirit, who put vitality and effect into the truth proposed.
It is impossible that you can trifle with sin, it is impossible that you can go on unlawful ground, without grieving the Holy Spirit. You may fall, and you may rise again : but, if you go out of the way, you take consequences on yourself; and, if you meet an enemy there, you are on unconsecrated ground. And we are not ignorant of his devices: we know how he
the innocence of this, and the harmlessness of that: there is no danger at all in making such and such experiment! there is no contagion in the breath of wicked men! there is no harm at all in trying how far some new-fangled doctrine may lead! Be cautious of making attempts, where there is so much danger. The path of duty is the path of safety. Be cautious, therefore, of grieving the Holy Spirit of promise, by going out of the way, when it is evident who is the counsellor, when it is evident that Satan is endeavouring to surprise you off God's ground.
Nor should you give way to a repining spirit:“ How sad a way! How painful the impression God is making, in his providencel so that I seem rather like an offender punished, than a child brought into his family!" Do you know what effort it requires to stamp a medal? The very building will shake with the blow! You are led, perhaps, by a way that is not to your wish: it is not the way of ambition, but an humbling, sanctifying way, not approved of flesh and blood; but does it lead to God? does it stamp a character? If affliction put you upon praying ; if it lead you to say, with Israel, I will return unto - my first husband, for then was it better with me than now; if it does this, remember, that, though the stroke of a sanctified affliction may be very heavy, though the stamping of the character may make flesh and blood rebel, yet you will bless God through eternity that he would even thus stamp his image on you-that he would even thus make you meet