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THOUGHTS ON THE IMPORTANCE OF SPECIAL PRAYER FOR THE GENERAL OUTPOUR
ING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
(Concluded from p, 739.) IV. A fourth reason for this devotional ardour is, THE DELIGHTFUL CONSEQUENCES WHICH WILL FOLLOW THIS GENERAL OUTPOURING OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
This grace is only the forerunner, or, rather, the accompaniment of very signal blessings. They wait the gift of the Holy Spirit. As the Lord declares in Ezekiel : (xxxix. 29.)“ Neither will I hide my face any more from them, for I have poured out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord.” And still more strikingly in Isaiah : (xxxï. 13. and 15; 16, 17, 18.) “ Upon the land of my people shall come úp thorns and briers, yea, upon all the houses of joy in the joyous city : until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high, and the wilderness be a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest: then judgment shall dwell in the wilderness, and righteousness remain in the fruitful field. And the work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever. And my people shall dwell in a peaceable habitation, and in sure dwelling-places, and in quiet restingplaces.” From this prophecy it appears that no very great prosperity can be expected previously to this gift. Then, indeed, such will be the abundance of spiritual blessings, that the wilderness will become a fruitful field ; and that which is now a fruitful field will, from the greater measure of grace then bestowed, be considered as a forest. To obtain, therefore, a large measure of the influences of the Holy Spirit, is to obtain outward prosperity and inward peace and joy. And the reason is obvious. For, until this blessing be vouchsafed, outward prosperity will produce no real benefit, since it will only induce pride and forgetfulness of God: (Deut. xxxii. 15.) but when the Holy Spirit is poured out, then the causes of misery will vanish. For, are men through His divine influence upon the word of God convinced of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment? that is to say, are their minds really impressed with the hateful nature of sin, with its offensiveness to God, its danger, and its misery? Are they also sensible that there is no effectual relief from its curse and its power, but in the righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ ? Do they see that all judgment or authority is committed to Him, that all men should honour the Son as they hopour the Father? Sin will be their greatest dread- an interest in the