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tend to the good of the individual, and of all with whom he is connected. Who will be finally the worse for them? Who is the worse for them now? Who will repent of them on a dying bed ? No man ever repented of true repentance, nor of true self-denial and mortification, nor of faith in Christ, nor of love to God, nor of zeal for his glory. If you will not believe ministers, ask medical men, some of whom have religion little enough. Can they tell you of one dying man, who ever exclaimed, “Oh, that I had not repented of sin ! that I had not trusted in Christ! that I had not loved God so much! that I had not been so religious ! that I had indulged my appetites and passions more! and had pursued the world more eagerly! Oh that I had never been led by the Spirit! that I had not been so heavenly-minded! I wish that I had cursed and swore, instead of praying! I wish I had seen more plays, and heard fewer sermons !'? Which of all the fruits of the Spirit, would make a man melancholy in life, and miserable in prospect of eternity?
Reflect how much this good work has been carried on in defiance of so much opposition, and this will enhance the love of the Spirit. I refer not to opposition from without, but to that which he has met with from yourself. There is no part of his work, but what you had an aversion to it before it was begun. And since its commencement, you have too often counterworked him in a most ungrateful manner ; as though you would turn his temple into a den of thieves ; or let in Babylonians to break down his carved work with axes and hammers. You have too often rebelled, and vexed him, and grieved him; and if his love were not infinitely strong, he would forsake you, and give you up for ever. Think what will be the issue of his work; to what a pitch of perfection will he bring it at last! He will cleanse you from every defilement, perfect all that concerns you, make you meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, and fill you with all the fulness of God. You shall be filled with light, without any mixture of darkness; filled with love, and all enmity and lukewarmness shall be banished for ever from your breasts. You shall be full of joy, and all sorrow and sighing flee away. You shall be full of purity, and all pol
lution shall be done away for ever.
You shall be holy as God is holy, perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect; and be so one with each other, as that your union will be the strongest resemblance in the universe to the unity of the three persons in the Godhead. And thus shall you enjoy the sum and substance of all the good in the universe, and be blessed with the everlasting presence of God and the Lamb, his good Spirit residing in you for ever.
Now then, let us inquire farther,
THIRDLY, What improvement should we make of the subject ?
Surely, his wonderful love to us should excite us to love him in return. If we truly love the Holy Spirit, shall we not show it in the following manner?
Hold fast the scripture doctrine of his divine personality, or of his personality and divinity. Study the need, nature, evidences, and end of his work and offices; not merely to assure yourselves of safety by an immediate witness, but to prove your sonship, by imparting a filial disposition. Never will the Holy Spirit encourage to indulge sin, or countenance a professor in careless walking. Equally abhor all selfsufficiency, and all false, dishonorable ideas, and abuses of his work. The Spirit never teaches any one to slight either the written word, or ministers of the gospel.
As the promise of the Spirit to lead into all the truth does not supercede ministerial instruction, and the office of the Spirit as a Comforter does not lessen the obligations of ministers to comfort God's people; so the need of the Spirit to quicken and excite to duty, does not render ministerial exhortation superfluous. Readily acknowledge the greatness of your obligations to him.
Ascribe to him the praise of all good, but take to yourselves the blame of all negligence and wickedness. Remember, that the doctrine of divine influence is not inconsistent with the doctrine of human obligation. We want the Holy Spirit to incline and enable us to do our duty. Earnestly implore his constant assistance ; and remember, no parent is so ready to give good gifts to a child, as God to give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him. Luke xi. 13. Show that you love him, by
delighting in his work itself: that you love not merely the name, but the thing. What would you have him do? If you want him to do nothing else but to tell you that you are safe, the worst spirit could do that for you better than he who is the Spirit of truth. Love the excellent and beautiful fruits of the Spirit in others. Be concerned to be filled with them yourselves. Be filled with the Spirit. Eph. v. 18.
Pray for a more copious effusion of the Spirit, to convert souls, and make all Christians holy and active. Dread the thought of grieving and dishonoring him. It should especially excite us to cultivate that love, of which the Holy Spirit is the author. God is love. The Father has shown his love; the Son has shown his love; the Spirit, his love.
The fruit of the Spirit is love. Learn then to practise, love to God; (2 Thess. iii. 5. Jude xx. 21.) love to Christ, who gave himself for us ; love to holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Can a man have the Holy Spirit, and not love holiness ? Surely not. Love to saints; (1.Thess. iv. 9.) love to ministers; (Col. i. 8.) love to all men; (1 Thess. iii, 12.). love to enemies. There may be persons from whom you are warranted to withdraw your confidence and esteem, but never your benevolence. The context shows, that one principal way to show our love is by abundant prayer. Thus we should show our love to ministers especially.
O for a sense of the love of the Spirit! May. we be enabled to manifest our love to him. And
may we prove our real participation of that loving disposition which he produces in all his people.
1 Cor. i. 18.
The language of the Apostle here implies the same with his more direct assertion, (ii. 2.) that Jesus Christ, as the
crucified Saviour, was the main subject of his ministry; and though it is suggested, that it met with a very unwelcome reception among many, yet to others, it was found to be salutary and efficacious. Hence Paul assured the Romans, (i 16.) that he was not ashamed of the gospel ; and declared to the Galatians, (vi. 14.) that he gloried in the cross alone.
It is needful that we should briefly inquire, What is intended by the preaching of the cross; and then we will endeavor to account for its very different reception. By the preaching of the cross is intended, the declaration of our Lord's humiliation and sufferings; including also, the connexion and consequences thereof. The causes, immediate and remote, of his sufferings and death ; viz. our badness, and the law's goodness; which might otherwise have been set aside or revealed, or salvation might have been granted without an atonement. But God's glory required the interposition of a Mediator, and his sovereign grace provided a ransom. The end of Christ's sufferings on the cross; the honor of the divine law; and the salvation of guilty sinners ; with the manifestation of the divine glory' as the result of both. So the preaching of the cross implies, an assertion of the rights of God, and the equity of his law and government; the great evil of sin ; man's inability to satisfy divine justice; Christ's all-sufficiency, including the dignity and wonderful constitution of his person ; whence results the efficacy of his death : also the Spirit's efficiency, in applying redemption ; the obligations of the saved, and their eternal felicity. In short, the whole gospel. And now let us inquire,
First, Why is the preaching of the cross foolishness to them that perish?
Not for want of excellence in the gospel ; nor yet for want of evidence of its truth ; not for want of natural capacity in the generality of its hearers. It is a plain gospel, intelligible cnough. The wise often reject it, and the weak embrace it. But it is owing to their sinful dispositions that so many despise and undervalue it; yea, contemn and dislike it.
First : It displays glories, to which they are criminally blind. It is calculated to glorify God in the highest ; and
they do not want him to be glorified at all ; but are averse to his genuine and unalterable moral character.
Secondly: It confirms claims they are not disposed to admit. God is their entire owner, and supreme lawgiver : he demands constant obedience, and requires the whole heart.. And they cannot think all this is justly required.
Thirdly : It implies charges they cannot bear to acknowledge. That they have broken the law of God ; despised his authority; infringed his rights; despised and ruined their own souls.
Fourthly: It justifies threatenings, to which they themselves are obnoxious. That they have deserved to suffer the divine displeasure ; have done things worthy of eternal death ; are infinitely to blame.
Fifthly : It refutes the excuses, where with they would fain palliate their crimes. As though sin were a trifle; as if disinclination would excuse from obligation.
Sixthly : It rejects the confidence on which they depend. They can make no amends for their transgressions. which they pride themselves must be renounced, and the fairest characters be saved like the chief of sinners.
Seventhly : It requires them to be beholden to another for their entire salvation : and that not only to his power or wisdom, but to his grace! All is of unmerited kindness.
Eighthly : It demands the sacrifice of the idols they love. Self, sin, the world. All must be forsaken for Christ, and they must be wholly the Saviour's property.
Ninthly : It proposes trials they cannot think of encountering.-Hatred of the world ; daily crosses.
Tenthly : It promises a happiness not suited to their taste ; spiritual, future, divine.
SecondLY: How does the preaching of the cross appear to be the power of God to them that are saved ?
First : It powerfully attracts the heart to the supreme good. God in Christ appears infinitely lovely and glorious. His favor and friendship are infinitely valuable; his glory is worthy to be celebrated and advanced.
Secondly: It effectually bows the will to the supreme Governor ; justifies both his former and his present require