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Where he is not desired, he does not dwell. The Holy Spirit does not stay in the heart that does not want him. And if the people of God would have much of the Divine presence, they must learn to value the Divine presence. Heavenly blessings will descend in most liberal measure, where they are most coveted, and sought, and prized. Heaven, indeed, is rich in mercy; and it is the principle of free, divine, unmerited benignity in God, by which are regulated the communications of his grace. But Jehovah guards his majesty. It'is worthy of him to do so. And he will withdraw from that people who do not value his presence, whose estimations of heart are such, as to do great dishonor to the majesty of God. Let the hearts of God's people set a high value upon God's presence; let them learn to estimate it as they ought; let them prize it above all price, coveting earnestly the best gifts; and they may hope God will be with them--will abide with them-will be their pillar of cloud and
their pillar of fire, But let them value lightly the Spirit; let them repose the hopes of their heart on something else; let them forget their need of Divine aid ; let their affections go out, habitually and most strongly and readily, after other joys than those of holiness and heaven'; and then the Spirit will depart,—darkness will rest upon the door of the tabernacle, the Comforter will go away from the temple of God !--Know ye not that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost? Do ye forget, that when the Saviour was about to'ascend into heaven, the consolation that he left for his weeping disciples was, It is expedient for you that I go away, for if I depart, I will send the Spirit' unto you? Heed ye not the fact that the Spirit seats us to the’day of redemption ? Are you unmindful that we know
of God, by the Spirit which he hath given us?--that we know not what to pray for as we ought, but when the Spirit itself
in' but hearts)"inaketh intercession for us, with groanings 'which connot be uttered ? Are you unmindful that it is the Spirit, which is to lead you into all truth to help your infirmities, - to take of the things which are Christ's, and whew them into you? How is it, then, that there can be any undervaluings of his presence ? Let us only remember the magnitude of his offices, and we shall be furnished with" demonstrations enough that there is nothing else which we bught more eagerly to desire, more highly to prize more prayerfully
and constantly to seek. It is the Spirit which disperses the darkness of spiritual ignorance, subdues 'the obstinacy of sin, melts down thel hardness of the heart, and opens it to the Saviour. It is the Spirit which teaches our hands to war and our fingers to fight; marks us as the children of God; enables us to resist evil, and gives us the victory over self and sin. It is the Spirit which teaches us to relish holiness: he kindles our desires for God; he furnishes us a foretåste of the joys of heaven ; and being given to us on account of Christ the Son, he communicates all the blessings of redemption, and reconciles us to the Father. It is the Spirit which joins us to Christ, and makes us one with him. By the Spirit we repent; by the Spirit we believe; by the Spirit we love, and hope, and rejoice. By the aid of the Spirit, we make our soul's everlasting covenant with God. The Spirit is God himself, communicating to a lost world the purchased blessings of the redeeming Son of God! ..
Abundant, therefore, are the grounds for prizing above all price, and desiring with the whole heart, the presence of the Holy Spirit. And every church and every believer may rest assured, that, if they would have much of the presence of the Spirit, and thus. walk by the Spirit, they must highly prize and greatly desire the presence of the Spirit with them.
115 2. If we would have the aids of the Spirit in our christian walk, we must be sensible of our need of it. Few persons who profess to know anything of religion will hesitate to acknowledge their dependence upon Divine aid. But assent of the understanding is one thing, and sensi, bility in the heart is quite another. That is no sensibility of heart, which consists in a mere knowledge of fact. Few persons are so ignorant of what the Scriptures teach, as not to know that we are dependent, upon the Holy Spirit to aid and strengthen us for the production of any thing that is good. But still this mere knowledge is not all we need. The heart needs to feel it. The soul needs to have it, as one of its deepest sensibilities. A fact forced upon the understanding, and at the same time not welcomed by the heart, produces in us no 'proper, homage to heaven. Feeble worms like us ought to possess the most deep-seated consciousness of our insufficiency. Our necessity should be a sentiment of the heart. It should be felt as the most certain truth; it should be familiar is the most common principle; it should
be realized as belonging to the very nature of our hearts and of our religion, that we are able to take no step in holiness but by the Spirit of God. Without this we shall not render the proper homage northe proper honor to God. Without this we shall not sufficiently distrust ourselves. Without this we shall not be free from those assailings of pride and creature sufficiency which tend, most of all things, to keep the Spirit of God out of the heart. Feel your need, brethren, if you would find your helper. Realize your dependence ; love your dependence. Love 10 realize it. Many a believer fails, even in proper attempts and duties, for, Want of this. He resembles the warrior clothed in armor that does not fit him. He resembles the aroused but mistaken judge in Israel, robbed of his strength: I will go out, as at other times before, and shake myself, while he wist not that the Lord was departed from him.
3. In order to enjoy the presence of the Spirit, we must have faith to believe in the free communication of it, as well as to depend upon its holy efficiency. It needs no argument to show, that the human mind will not depend on that which is regarded as beyond its reach and its expectation. We need faith in God; faith to believe the promise ; faith to rely upon its fulfilment. We ought to have such ideas of the veracity of God, and the goodness of God, and the communicativeness of God, mingled with such ideas of our own weakness and want of sin, that, like Abraham, we shall not stagger at the promise ; and that, like Paul, we can say, when I am weak, then am I strong. The veracity of God is pledged to the fulfilment of the promises. The goodness of God is as infinite as his power, and is exercised in bestowing. There is a readiness in the Holy Ghost to come and to dwell with true believers. And it is for these reasons that we are exhorted to be strong in the Lord, to walk in the Spirit, to be filled with the Spirit. Such expressions make it manifest, that God would bave our faith embrace the idea of free communications of the Spirit; and would have us know that sovereign grace has established a connection between our depending faith and the communioations of the Holy Ghost. We are bound to be strong in the Lord, because the Lord is ready to impart strength to those who in faith rely in him. We are bound to be filled with the Spirit, because in the careful use of the appointed means of grace faith should expect to be filled, and shall not expect in vain. We are bound to walk in the Spirit, because the Spirit is ready to impart to every traveller to eternity, both wisdom and strength to walk and not be weary, whilst journeying towards that better land. In few things do men more offend God, than in their want of faith in his blessed promises. It is this want which makes them shrink from recorded duty. It is this wánt which leads them to substitute something else in the place of the Divine command. It is this want which often brings up expediency, and manufactures it into a rule of life; which covers over and hides the
command of God; and because the command seems difficult, leads to that rebellion which is as the sin of witchcraft, and to that stubbornness which is as iniquity and idolatry. Let us believe the promises. Let as depend on God to fulfil them. Let us be diligent in the service of God, yielding ourselves, without reserve, to all his commands. Let us go where he points, discharging duty in fear and in faith, and leaving results to him. And then, and not till then, we may hope for bis favorable, his forgiving, his strengthening presence. That unbelief which questions his promise, and therefore hesitates at his requirement, or neglects his invitations, is a great offence against the veracity of the Most High God.
4 If we would experience much of the Divine Spirit, we must be careful to maintain a temper of mind suited to his presence. The Scriptures make it evident, that the Holy Spirit may be grieved away from the hearts of his people. They rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit, therefore he was turned to be their enemy. There are a thousand feelings which rise in the hearts of men, which are opposed and offensive to the Spirit of God: and if they are cherished und indulged,-indeed, if they are not resisted, and baffled, and subdued, the continuance of the Spirit with them is not to be expected. There are passions which war against the soul; there are gratifications of world liness and vanity; there are scenes and societies of ungodliness which must be forsaken by the people of God, or the Spirit will not dwell with them. The hateful, the turbulent, the peculent, the proud, the impatient, the ungentle, the unforgiving; those whose minds are easily angered, and agitated, and ruffled, need not expect much of the presence of that Spirit whose fruit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Those who indulge in irascible and malignant feelings, who cherish bitterness, and enmity,
and ill-will, need not expect the presence of that Spirit who admonishes, Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamor, and evil speaking be put away from you, with all malice. Those immoderately attached to earthly possessions, and not seeking first the kingdom of God, may expect that Spirit will leave them whose influence would lead them to love heavenly things more than earthly. It is the object of the Holy Spirit to lift us above the world. In his sacred visitations he would prepare us for heaven. His influence is exerted to form us for sacred communion with God; for sweet, and habitual, and holy converse with spiritual and eternal things Things seen and temporal, occupying and controlling us, shut him out of the heart. With things unseen and eternal he wouid' fit us to commune. In sacred sobriety, in wise and holy thoughtfulness, in self-possession and devotion to God and to heavenly interests we must live, if we would walk in the Spirit, enjoying his presence, and his power, and his sacred comfortings.
3. If we would be aided in our christian walk by the power of the Spirit, we must be carefully and deeply sensible to his monitions. It is not enough that we aim to combat and conquer sin. It is not enough that we attend to the duties of piety, and use the appointed means of grace. It is not enough that we endeavor to resist the fascinations of worldly pleasure, and those temptations which would lead' uş to lay up our treasures on the earth. There is something beyond this. There is a still small voice to which we must lend our attentive ear. Christians are not to be taken to heaven in a path they are unwilling to tread. They are not to expect that God will always so admonish them that nothing but the most hardened impiety and unbelief can resist. Sinai does not always thunder. . Calvary does not always quake. Not to every incredulous Thomas will the Saviour say, Bring hither thy finger and thrust it into my side. - No, far from this. There are monitions of the Spirit most wonderfully gentle, and tender, and still. God speaks to the heart in that small voice which agitates no feeling, troubles no composure, and is only the gentlest indication to the adopted child. Let him hear it, let him heed it. If he will not keep his heart fearfully sensible to the calls of God, his God may be offended and call no more.
As you speak to your children in gentleness, tenderness, lowness,