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far more valuable to those by whom they were ex. perienced.
If we accurately study the language of the sacred oracles, we shall be convinced that the Holy Spirit is there spoken of, as the immediate Author of all that is holy and excellent in man: and that a spiritual death, and a total incapacity of delighting in God and heavenly things, universally prevail in the human heart; till " the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Je. “ sus makes us free from the law of sin and death." “Except a man be born again-born of water and “ of the Spirit, he cannot see—he cannot enter into,
the kingdom of God.” He is “ the Spirit of wis. “ dom and revelation in the knowledge of God, to
enlighten the eyes of our understanding, that we
may know the hope of our calling.*" He “con. "s vinces the world of sin, of righteousness, and of
judgment:" “ he glorifies Christ, for he receives " of his, and shews it unto us.” It is his office to “ teach us all things, and lead us into all truth.” Christians are “ elect according to the foreknow
ledge of God, through sanctification of the Spirit " to obedience :” they abound in hope“ through the
power of the Holy Ghost.” “ They pray in and " by the Holy Ghost, who helps their infirmities :"
they are led by the Spirit,” and all their holy tempers and actions are " the fruits of the Spirit.” So that, " if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is “ none of his :" for all his redeemed people are " sealed by the Spirit, who is the earnest of their in
* Eph. i. 17, 18.
"heritance :” as “ the Spirit of adoption, he wit“ nesses with their spirits that they are the children “ of God:” and thus he becomes their all-sufficient Comforter; “ for the kingdom of God is—in righ“ teousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.”
In these respects we are warranted to expect the pouring out of the Spirit on our souls and congregations: and we are confident that all true Christians are “ the temple of the Holy Ghost, an habitation of “God through the Spirit;" and we are amazed that any man, who calls himself a disciple of Christ, should be so ignorant, as to deny this fundamental truth of the gospel, or so profane as to turn it into ridicule! “ If ye,” says our Lord,“ being evil, "know how to give good gifts unto your children:
how much more shail your heavenly Father give " the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ?*" This accords to the promise of the Lord by his prophet, “ I “ will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to “ walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them.t”
Far be it from us to affect equality with prophets and apostles: nor do we expect any new revelations : for the scriptures soberly interpreted are the standard of truth. But we profess, to depend on the Holy Spirit to enable us properly to understand them. We have no other rule of duty, but the commandments of God: but we need the promised teaching and assistance of the Holy Spirit, to enable us to understand this rule, to convince us of our manifold deviations from it, to humble and soften our hearts in true repentance, to encourage our hope of mercy and he us to apply for it, and to strengthen us for renewe obedience. We do not pretend to know that our sin are pardoned; except as we are conscious that we hate and abhor them, and humbly trust in Christ to deliver us from them. We infer our interest in the love of God as our heavenly Father, from our love to him as his adopted children; and from an habitual desire of living to his glory, obeying his commandments, and doing good to our brethren for his sake.
Surely no man, who professes to reverence the scriptures will call this enthusiasm! We disclaim all pretensions to predict future events, or to discover things unknown to others by any immediate revelation from God; yea, we protest against them, as derogatory to the holy scriptures and a disgrace to the gospel; and even the incautious language of some well-meaning persons, meets with decided disapprobation from others, who hold most of the same doctrines; because it is capable of being perverted, or misunderstood.
These remarks having been premised, I observe, that as all spiritual religion is produced by the influences of the Holy Spirit, and every degree of success attending the gospel of Christ must be ascribed to a few drops, as it were, of this fertilizing rain; so, there are seasons, in which the Spirit is poured from on high in copious showers, upon some favoured spots of the Lord's vineyard. This was most remarkably the case on the day of Pentecost, and for a considerable time afterwards: and though the effects were gradually diminished; yet neither the communication of miraculous gifts, nor the abundant converting and
sanctifying influences accompanying the preaching of the gospel, ceased, till perhaps more than two centuries afterwards. Such an outpouring of the Spirit attended the labours of the reformers, in the time of Luther, and for many years after his death. Nor has our land been left wholly destitute of this special benefit during the present century : and some places seem yet to be favoured with it in a considerable degree. In short, they, who are conversant with the records of the church, ancient or modern, will recollect various seasons, when, in different places, the Spirit of God was poured upon his people from on high : and all these should be considered as earnests of more abundant blessings, when the fulness of the Gentiles shall be brought into the church ; and the Jews “shall " look to him whom they have pierced,” uniting penitent tears with believing supplications. *
II. We proceed to consider more particularly the nature and effects of this promised blessing.
In order to elucidate the subject, we must advert to the present state of the church and of the world. If we look among the constituted ministers of religion ; we cannot but perceive, that vast numbers consider their profession, in great measure, as a secular Employment, and pursue their worldly interests by it, like other orders in the community; without any proportionable earnestness in seeking the salvation of of souls, and the advancement of genuine Christianity. Many indeed are very learned and ingenious : but
alas ! they embrace and contend for doctrines, whic certainly were deduced from a very different source than the sacred scriptures. Others preach several o the great truths of the gospel, but seem little concerned to apply them to the hearts and consciences of mankind ; or to excite them by fervent exhortations and a bright example, to " adorn the doctrine of God our “ Saviour in all things.” A few indeed appear to be honestly and simply engaged in the most useful work of their sacred function : yet perhaps the skilfulness, boldness, self-denial, diligence, zeal, and faithfulness, even of this remnant, fall much beneath the degree which “men of like passions” have at more favoured seasons been known to display.
These things should not be considered as a censure of modern times : for the case has been nearly the same, in almost every age and part of the church. No external appointment to the ministry, no engagement or mode of worship, can, by its own efficacy, dethrone the selfishness of the human heart; or induce the carnally-minded to act from pure motives, and to delight in the spiritual service of the Redeem. er. But wlien “ the Spirit shall be poured upon us " from on high ;" we may espect, that such ministers, as have feebly sought the glory of God in the salvation of souls, will feel their hearts enlarged with more abundant zeal and love; and that a vast acces. sion will be made to their wisdom, and knowledge of Christ and his holy doctrine. They will probably be to a great degree delivered from the fear of men ; raised above the love of the world; emancipated from a bigotted regard to systems and parties ; filled with