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is the Spirit of holiness. Through his transforming power, the church is all glorious within, a temple prepared for the residence of the God of heaven. Oh how great are the privileges of the saints. They are as a royal diadem in the hand of their God. Well might angels sing, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward
Have I been led by the Spirit into the truth as it is in Jesus? Have I experienced a change of heart? Is it now my chief delight to live by faith upon the Son of God, to meditate upon his work of redemption, and to show my love by a prompt, cheerful, unreserved obedience to all his commandments? Is holiness the element in which I move? Is sin odious in my eyes, and hateful to my heart? Am I daily seeking for a more entire deliverance from its power? Do I find the great work of sanctification progressively advancing in my soul? Have old things passed away; are all things become new ?
It is the office of the Spirit to animate, comfort, and strengthen the faithful in Christ Jesus. Hence he is styled the COMFORTER; the Spirit of consolation, a quickening Spirit. By his gracious influences he sheds abroad the love of God in the hearts of believers; fills them, at times, with joy unspeakable and full of glory, and gives them a peace that passeth understanding. He supports them under the severest trials; enables them to rejoice under the greatest tortures; preserves them from the power of evil; guards them from the attacks of Satan; upholds them on their journey through the wilderness, and brings them triumphant to the heavenly Canaan.
Hast thou, O my soul, experienced these delightful influences of the Spirit of grace, the Comforter? When the enemy comes in like a flood, dost thou experience this precious promise-" The Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him?" Under the various crosses and trials of life, what have been thy consolations? Have they been all drawn from
the Fountain of living Waters, flowing in a sacred stream of peace and joy? Are the fruits of the Spirit exhibited in all their loveliness in thy daily walk? With the Apostle canst thou say: filled with comfort, I am exceeding joyful in all my tribulation"?
The Spirit of Christ is the seal of our adoption, the earnest of future glory. As all who are destitute of the Spirit of Christ are none of his, so, as many as are led by the Spirit of God are the sons of God. Believers, who are the temples of the Holy Ghost, are commanded to cherish his godly motions, to abstain from all appearance of evil, lest, by too near an approach to sin, they be drawn aside by its influence from the path of duty, and so grieve the Spirit of God. They are exhorted to beware of wilful transgression lest they quench the holy flame, and thus provoke the Spirit to depart from them, for God hath said, "My Spirit shall not always strive with man."
Am I sealed with this glorious seal of heaven? Is the image of Jesus impressed upon my soul by the Spirit of holiness? Have I received this divine earnest of the heavenly inheritance? Is the private seal of my adoption into the family of God made manifest by the broad and public seal of my sanctification? Am I afraid of offending, grieving, and quenching the Spirit of my beloved Saviour? Do I cherish the godly motions, and pray without ceasing to be more faithful to the outward calls and inward convictions of the Holy Ghost?
Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest how I desire to be thine. Impart to me this blessed Spirit, without whom all profession is hypocrisy. May I never separate the precept from the promise, nor the character from the privileges of thy people. Thou hast declared, "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
Descend, blessed Spirit, into my longing soul. Take up thine abode within me. Convince me of sin. Show me my true character. Lead me to Jesus Christ. Work in me faith and love and every grace. Destroy the power of evil in my soul. Infuse all good desires. Bring them to good effect. Be thou my guardian and guide; my support through life; my consolation in death; my everlasting portion in heaven. Oh! shine with beams of love on my soul, till I am made, through sovereign grace, to shine as the sun in the kingdom of my Father.
My soul enjoys a sweet repose,
Beneath the Saviour's sheltering grace;
Amid the beamings of his face.
Instruct thy servant, gracious Lord,
Thy easy yoke with joy to bear;
To shun each error's fatal snare.
And ever find thy succour near.
By faith, it is, that I am thine,
Yes! Lord, thy goodness, and thy love,
The Light descending from above,
My soul with holy comforts cheer.
All glory be for ever thine,
Thou Fountain of eternal bliss.
XIX. THE SUPERIORITY OF GRACES TO GIFTS.
"Covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet show I unto you a more excellent way."-1 Cor. xii. 31.
"Follow after charity."-1 Cor. xiv. 1.
ONE man may have great gifts whilst destitute of saving grace. Another may have great grace, and yet possess few gifts. Which of the two is the most to be desired? The enlightened Christian who knows himself, and who has experienced the power of the Gospel, will not be long in determining.
Supernatural gifts, such as "working of miracles," "speaking with tongues," "discerning of spirits," &c., which were bestowed upon some of the first Christians; and a critical knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, an eloquence in conveying scriptural truths, and an aptitude to acquire languages which some Christians now possess, only tend to puff up and exalt the gifted individuals, if unaccompanied with the graces of humility, self-denial, and love. Hence gifts may be exercised by persons who never will enjoy the glories of heaven.
The Scriptures are clear on this point. "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied" (or preached) "in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name have done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." "When Jesus had called unto him his twelve disciples, he gave them power
against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease." Amongst this number was "Judas Iscariot, who also betrayed him."
But what did our Lord say of Judas? "Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?" And what did St. Peter declare concerning him at the election of another apostle to fill his office? Thou, Lord, which knowest the hearts of all men, show whether of these two thou hast chosen, that he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go go to his own place." And what place that was, we learn by implication from our blessed Lord. "The
Son of Man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born." These words would never have been uttered had Judas' own place been the place where the penitent thief on the cross was to meet Jesus: "To-day shalt thou be with me in Paradise." Judas, like Lot's wife, stands as a monument of God's wrath, and as a warning against false profession.
Grace, however humble be its possessor, though a poor diseased Lazarus, will never be rejected. Grace is the sterling coin of the kingdom, bearing the image of the Sovereign. When knowledge shall vanish away, when tongues shall cease, and miracles be no longer needed, grace will shine with increased splendour, for glory is but grace perfected. The grace of faith in Christ, love to his name, devotedness to God, activity in his service, self-denial, and spiritual-mindedness, will then receive the smiles of the Great Judge of quick and dead. Oh! that I may daily follow after charity, without which all my doings are nothing worth.
Superior gifts make a man more known to the Christian world, and, by some, to be regarded as a kind of oracle. This distinction is highly gratifying to the natural heart; and the more gratifying it is to