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things of God, foretold distant events, and performed supernatural works. But besides these, it also speaks of an influence and assistance of the Spirit alike necessary for all men, and alike common to all good men.
if we believe ourselves dependent on God for our natural life, and its daily supplies; for wisdom to contrive and ability to pursue our ordinary business ; it would be absurd to deny our dependence on him for the principles and supports of the divine life, for security against temptations, and our safe conduct through this đangerous world, to the kingdom of glory.
We are not to conceive of the common influence of Providence, or of the special influence of
grace, manner which contradicts our moral agency; for God treats all his creatures agreeably to the natures which he has given them. But if we suppose that the concur. rence of Providence in our common labors is consist. ent with our freedom, as well may we suppose that the concurrence of his grace in our religious duties, is consistent with our freedom. If we believe that the mo. tives and arguments, which we propose to one another, , may influence the human mind without controling its liberty of choice, we must believe that God can open the mind to the admission of motives proposed, without controling this liberty.
II. The inAuence of the Holy Spirit, is expressed in scripture by a great variety of phrases.
Christians are said to be born of the Spirit-renewed, sanctified and led by the Spirit-to be anointed and fil: led with the Spirit, and to be the temples in which the Spirit dwells. In our text, and in several other places, they are said to be sealed by the Spirit.
Sealing in common use, is the impression of the image or likeness of one thing upon another. A seal impressed on wax, leaves there its own resemblance. The Christian sealed by the Spirit receives the divine image on his heart. The word of God is the seal-the Holy Spirit is the sealer--and the heart of map
the subject. When the Spirit so impresses the truths of the gospel on the human mind, as to transform it into the divine image, then it is said to be sealed by the Spirit. " The plain literal meaning of the phrase is, that believers, by the influence of the Spirit accompanying the word of truth, are renewed after the image of God, assimilated to the precepts of the gospel, and wrought into that temper of goodness, righteousness and truth, which is the fruit of the Spirit.*:
Ill. Believers are said to be sealed unto the day of redemption.
There is a twofold redemption spoken of in the gose pel; the redemption of the soul from guilt by the re.. mission of sin ; and the redemption of the body from the grave, and its reunion with the soul at the glorious resurrection. The former is mentioned in this episte, chapter i. 7. “ In Christ ye have redemption, through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according ta the riches of God's grace. The latter in Romans viii. 23. “We who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body." This is the redemption which the apostle intends in our text. Of the same he speaks chap. ii 13. “ After y believed, ye were sealed with the holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession.”
The felicity of the heavenly state consists in pure and spiritual tempers and exercises-in nearness to, and communion with God in the devout contemplation of his character, government and works in the performance of such services as are assigned to all in their respective spheres—and in the pleasing interchange of benevolent affections and kind offices for the common advancement of knowledge and virtue. For such a state none are prepared, while sin has dominion over them. Fleshly lusts, impure affections and malev.
See SERMON VII.
olent passions are utterly inconsistent with admission to so glorious a world. Nothing can enter thither that de files or works abomination. In the holy place he only gan stand, who has clean hands and a pure heart. The sealing or sanctification of the Spirit is therefore a ne. cessary preparation for heaven. 3. It is also an evidence of our title to heaven-an ear. nest of our inheritance in the purchased possession. The inheritance is promised to the pure in heart. When we find in ourselves this character, we may ap. propriate the promise. “Blessed are they that do the commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city." If the Spirit of God dwells in us by his sanctifying in, fluence, we may conclude, that this. Spirit, which has quickened to righteousness our souls once dead in sins, will also awaken to immortality these bodies sleeping in the dust. . It is only in this way that the Spirit is an earnest and seal of our future redemption. The evidence of our right to the inheritance is not communicated by immediate discovery, but obtained by diligent inquiry. The testimony of the Spirit, that we are heirs of glory, consists in that work of the Spirit, which qualifies us for glory... We are then to conclude that we have the Spirit, when we are conscious of those, tempers which are the fruits of the Spirit. We may then believe, that we are heirs of God's kingdom, when we possess that righteousness, peace and joy of the Holy Ghost, by which his kingdom is distinguished from the world.
IV. The apostle speaks of the Spirit, as being grien. ed, when we act in opposition to his influence. " Gricte not the holy Spirit of God.” : Joy and grief are attributed to the divine nature, not as expressive of any real emotions of passion like those which age raised in us by success and disappointment; but only as importing in accommodation to human conceptions, the wonderful efforts of divine goodness,
mercy and love. As we are grieved, when we are disappointed in our endeavors to make others happy, and when our benevolent intentions are treated with con. tempt and ingratitude ; so the Spirit of God is reprei sented as being grieved and disappointed, when his friendly and gracious influences meet with opposition and resistance from us. God's Spirit vis called the Spirit of
grace, in regard of his readiness to assist us in the duties, and support us in the difficulties of the religious life. The great Parent of our nature is more forward to give his holy Spirit to them who ask him, than we are to answer our children's crics for bread: So much does his goodness surpass the highest instances of parental love, that, in comparison with him, the most affectionate earthly parents are called evil. The grace of God's Spirit is expressed by his striving with men. He is beforehand with them in his kind offices. He comes to their door and knocks. He continues his addresses, even after he finds opposition. He is reluctant to leave them to the evil imaginations of their hearts. Yea, they who rebel against his gran cious motions, are said, not only to grieve him, but, by a bolder metaphor, even to vex him. Final opposi. tion is called doing despite to the Spirit of grace. No language can more strongly than this, express God's abundant mercy towards us, and his wonderful grace to assist us in the mighty concern of our salvation.
Great encouragement have we to seek for, and rely upon the grace of the holy Spirit for every purpose of the religious life. We may come boldly to the throne of
grace for help in the time of need.
How dangerous must it be to continue in a course of wickedness! This is nothing less than to oppose, grieve and vex the Spirit of God; that kind benevolent Spir. it, who strives with us. “Of how sore a punishment shall he be thought worthy, who does despite to the Spirit of grace ?" "Vengeance is mine; I will recompense, saith the Lord. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
V. Here is a solemn caution against grieving the Spirit of God.
This caution is most expressly given to those who have already been sealed with the Spirit. But it may also be applied to others-to them, who, though not yet the subjects of his renewing operations, have, how. ever, been favored with his common motions, in a way of awakening and conviction.
I shall point out to you various ways in which men are chargeable with grieving the Spirit.
1. Indifference and carelessness in religion is oppo. sition to the grace of God.
If his Spirit strives with men, he is not indifferent to their happiness ; and they ought not to be indiffer. ent to their own. If he works in them of his good pleasure, they ought to work out their own salvation with fear and trembling.
While they indulge an habitual negligence of this important work, to which they are urged by the motions of the Spirit within them, they resist and grieve him. He stands at their door and knocks ; if they open the door he comes in and rejoices as a welcome guest. If they refuse his applications, he turns away grieved, as a despised and rejected visitant.
2. Spiritual pride grieves the Divine Spirit,
The influence of grace is instructive and humbling. It teaches man his emptiness, weakness and unworthi. ness; and excites in him earnest desires after pardon and sanctification. To them who improve this grace, more is given. But a soul full of itself, and relying on its own strength and holiness, will be sent empty away.
The man, who, under a consciousness of his guilty state, flatters himself with an imagination, that he may, at any time, when danger approaches, renew his soul to repentance, treats the Spirit of God with contempt. But he who is sensible of his dependence on the God of all grace, both for a heart to repent, and for the bles. ing of pardon, will seek the Lord while he may be