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hearts? While enjoying it no command was too 88vere for them to execute; no bulwark too strong for them to assail; no wall too high for them to climb; no sacrifice too great for them to make. Their whole energy and activity dedicated to the service of God was but the streamlet proceeding from the divine fountain of peace in their souls. “We see,” says Luther, “ that those who have a cheerful and contented spirit, and whose hearts are pervaded by joy and peace, have also strength and activity. Nothing is too heavy for them to bear, and their joy flows like a refreshing stream through their whole body, enlivening and quickening it.” Solomon says also, “ A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance; but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken."
Remember this, my brethren, and throw down that barrier of prejudice and blindness which has been built so foolishly to oppose the progress of the river of Easter peace. Rejoice because even on this side of Jordan a Horeb stands inviting your ascent, and do not let yourselves doubt that God has appointed you to commence here below that great Sabbath which awaits you above. Banish from your souls all false terror of Sinai; cast from you a diffidence for which there is no cause; and in child-like simplicity pluck the fruit which grew
and take with thankfulness that cup of peace presented to you by the Prince of Easter!
THE OFFICE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT.
1 Cor. iii. 16.
Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit
of God dwelleth in you?
Well may we be astonished at the terms in which the Apostle Paul speaks of the children of the new covenant, Never were such things written of the Old-Testament saints as are now written of the people under the gospel dispensation. What then says the apostle? He maintains that those who are regenerated are the temple of God, and that the Holy Spirit, the renewer of the world, has his dwelling-place within them. On another occasion also he says, “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost ?" Showing plainly that it is not merely the brethren taken collectively who are so, but that each member of the community is a temple. Let us now inquire what the apostle means when he speaks of the Holy Spirit and of his living temple ; and let us contemplate the Comforter as resembling Solomon in building-Bezaleel in adorning-and, lastly, Aaron in officiating as high-priest.
I. The Holy Spirit builds; this is his occupation when we first learn to know him, and certainly we often behold him employed in it. He resembles the man in the well-known parable of our Lord, who dug deeply; and like him also he lays the foundation of his house upon a rock. There is a city existing upon earth, which has nowhere its equal: it consists of holy sanctuaries and temples; it is invisible and yet close at hand; and the world contemns it, although it is the most glorious thing in it. The wings of Eternal Love are spread over it; heaven smiles on it benig. nantly; its walls and ramparts are of fire, and its foundations are firm as the eternal mountains. It is the city of the King of kings, and it is the office of the Holy Spirit to raise and extend it. He is a builder of temples; and in this point of view he stands in the same relation to Christ that Solomon did to David. The latter by his victories and conquests first rendered the building of the temple possible; he also provided the materials, and sketched the plan which Solomon put into execution.
No one is by nature a temple ; on the contrary, by nature we are the dwelling-places of an evil spirit, who has his work in the hearts of the unregenerated, and who blinds them so that they believe a lie. It is now the employment of the Holy Spirit to remodel this living charnel-house, and for this purpose he throws down and raises up; he destroys and creates anew. His instrument is the holy Scriptures; he makes the word penetrating and sharper than a two-edged sword; giving it power to make impression, and animating it
with the breath of life. You know from experience how it acts; sometimes it strikes like a thunderbolt, and sometimes it flashes past; two houses stand together, the one is struck, while the other is untouched :-Sunday after Sunday passes by, while the heavy laden clouds of our sermons thunder and lighten over the heads of the people ; but what good does it do? They pass away without effect until the Spirit direct them. Then indeed there is a change; the rain falls on the heart; the fiery flames descend, and the word strikes like an invisible sword, reforming and creating anew.
It is melancholy to see a man going on unchanged, and in all respects the same as when he came into the world; but it is still more melancholy when this man is at peace with himself, and satisfied with his own condition. The curse rests upon his head, and he is at peace! He walks along entangled in the meshes and snares of hell, and still he is at peace! He is the enemy of God, who is never contemned with impunity-and yet peace and tranquillity are his ! Is not this terrible ? It is a sure sign that the Holy Spirit has not yet begun to labour in his heart. It may happen, however, that he feels differently; his feelings may resemble those of a bird confined in a cage, which, at the approach of summer, beats with impatience against the bars of its little prison, because it feels that here is not its element, and that, if possible, it must away
hear the voice of an invisible One whispering at every moment, “Ye must be changed, completely changed !-when the words
Death, Judgment, and Eternity, sound in your ears like thunder or the clang of a trumpet, and when there is an end of silence and tranquillity in your bosoms; then all this argues the approach of a blessed change, and that the Holy Spirit has begun his work in your hearts. When the sounds which you hear become still more distinct and articulate ; when it seems as though some one thus addressed you,“ Verily thou art a sinner!”-when a Nathan whom ye cannot see, brands you as guilty ; then indeed ye must not doubt that the Spirit is there. When ye strive to drown the voice of awakening conscience in the noise and tumult of the world ; but when from every corner ye hear a voice crying, “ Adam, where art thou ?—when ye can no longer take refuge in the thought, “God is merciful!" for from the clouds is responded, " and just, and holy, and like a consuming fire !"--when you say to yourself, “I will try to amend !" but when the words are thundered forth, “ What canst thou do to redeem thy soul ?"—then it is clear that the great Builder has commenced his mysterious work. And when the peace ye once possessed has departed, and the whole world cannot restore it to you ; when ye have ceased to enjoy the pleasures of life, because you have no reconciled God to console you ; when the fountain of tears begins to flow, and the chamber within re-echoes with sighs and ejaculations of “Mercy, mercy !-Help Lord Jesus !-0 Lord Jesus !" then, indeed, the building of the Spirit is making rapid progress. Let him proceed without interruption, for consider that it is a hovel which is being changed into a temple of God;'