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fier and that, in these respects, his operations are perfectly adapted to our condition.
To dwell, for a short time, on the several particulars of the subject, let us observe, in the first place, that the spiritual knowledge of the Christian is progressive. Although, from the very period of his regeneration, he may, on the comparison with his former condition, be safely called the "child of the day," (1 Thess. v, 5) he is by no means brought at once into its meridian brightness. On the contrary, after the first day. spring from on high has dawned upon him, the clouds of doubt and darkness are very frequently found to intervene, and at these times, the Sun of Righteousness is no longer perceptible to his mental vision. When such is his condition, he can exclaim with the prophet, "Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel the Saviour;" (Isa. xlv, 15;) or with Job, "Behold I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive him: on the left hand where he doth work, but I cannot behold him he hideth himself on the right hand, that I cannot see him: but he knoweth the way that I take; when he hath tried me I shall come forth as gold :" xxiii, 8-10. There can indeed be no question that such periods of doubt and darkness, as of every other conflict and affliction, are appointed or permitted by divine wisdom, that "the trial" of our "faith being much more precious than of gold that perisheth".....may "be found unto praise, and honor, and glory, at the appearing of Jesus Christ:" 1 Pet. i, 7. In the mean time, under an experimental sense of our own ignorance, we are encouraged to look to the Holy Spirit as our teacher and leader, who will never fail to guide us into self-denial, virtue, and peace. It is by him that the law of God is "put" in our inward parts," and written on our "hearts: Jer. xxxi, 33. "Thou gavest also thy good Spirit to instruct them," said Nehemiah, in his thanksgiving and prayer in behalf of the Lord's people: ix, 20. "If we live in the Spirit," said the apostle, "let us also walk in the Spirit:" Gal. v, 25. "As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God:" Rom. viii, 14.
But, the Holy Spirit not only instructs us how to walk in the paths of righteousness, but, after having once enlightened us respecting divine truth, he graciously condescends, as we continue in the faith grounded and settled, to deepen and enlarge our apprehension of divine things-to illuminate our spiritual understanding more and more with that true knowledge of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ, which is "life eternal :" for "the Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep things of
God:" 1 Cor. ii, 10. "The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name," said the Lord Jesus to his disciples," he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you :" John xiv, 26. Howbeit, when he the Spirit of truth is coine, he will guide you into all truth :" xvi, 13. Now, although these predictions were preeminently applicable to the persons whom our Lord was actually addressing, we are to remember that they, at that early period, constituted the visible church of Christ on earth; and we have surely the strongest reasons for believing, that every true member of that church, in every period of its annals, has (as far as relates to all that affects his salvation) his own part in the promise. It was to the catholic church of his day, that the apostle John afterwards addressed the following declaration : "But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things-The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him :" 1 John ii, 20. 27.
The Holy Ghost, who thus instructs and illuminates his people, graciously condescends also to strengthen, support, and comfort, them. There is no awakened and regenerate Christian who will refuse to set his seal to the doctrine of Jesus, that, although the "spirit is willing, the flesh is weak:" Matt. xxvi, 41. Numerous indeed are our infirmities, and utterly unable are we, by any strength of our own, to maintain the inevitable combat, not only "against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places:" Eph. vi, 12. But the child of God, in the midst of weakness or distress, is taught to lift up the prayer of the Psalmist: "Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me: restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, and uphold me with thy free Spirit:" Ps. li. It is the Spirit of God by whom (as we learn from the apostle Paul) we are to be "strengthened with might in the inner man;" (Eph. iii, 16;) and as the spiritual life advances, the spiritual strength increases. "Blessed is the man," cried the Psalmist, "whose strength is in thee....they go from strength to strength; every one of them in Zion appeareth before God!" Ps. lxxxiv, 5-7.
The Holy Spirit is our helper also in another point of view. He prays in us and for us-he bestows life, depth, and efficacy, on our petitions to the throne of grace-" Likewise the
Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God:" Rom. viii, 26, 27.
During one of the last conversations which the Saviour of mankind held with his disciples, he said to them-" If ye love me, keep my commandments: and I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another COMFORTER, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you:" John xiv, 15-17. The title under which Jesus Christ has here and elsewhere described the Holy Spirit, is of a very comprehensive character. It is one of those Greek terms which the Jews, at that period, had adopted into their own language, and it denotes not merely one who consoles, but one who patronises and advocates-one who protects, defends, and instructs-one who speaks and acts on behalf of another.* From the observations already made, it is easy to perceive that the Holy Spirit is truly, in all these respects, the helper, and therefore the comforter, of the disciples of Christ. More especially, however, he is their comforter, because he bestows upon them a blessed assurance that God dwells in them, and that they are the children of God, and the heirs of immortality an assurance which amply compensates for all the griefs and trials incident to our present state of being. Hereby we know that (God) abideth in us," says the apostle John, " by the Spirit which he hath given us"- "Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit:" 1 John iii, 24; iv, 13. So also the apostle Paul declares that our hope maketh not ashamed," (or in other words, is such a hope as we know cannot be disappointed) "because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us:" Rom. v, 5. Again, he says, "Ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God. And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together:"
* Vide Schleusner, lex. in voc. ragánances; Buxtorf. lex. Chald. in voc. Nu›bp¬p; and Rosenmuller Schol.”in loc.
viii, 15-17. Thus it is that the Spirit bestowed upon the Christian, during his present mortal career, is the "earnest" or "pledge" of his future blissful inheritance: 2 Cor. i, 22; v, 5. Thus it is that we are "sealed" by the Spirit, “unto the day of redemption:" Eph. i, 13; iv, 30. We ought, however, to remember, that in comforting the believer, and in assuring him of his future bliss, as well as in illuminating and strengthening him, the Spirit operates progressively. As the Christian's knowledge and love are enlarged, and his faith deepened, he receives a gradually increasing ability to repose with confidence on the merits of his Redeemer, and to rejoice, with holy serenity, in the expectation of eternal glory.
Although, lastly, we cannot be too grateful to the Author of all our mercies for the protecting, sustaining, and gladdening, influence of the Comforter, it requires peculiar watchfulness that we do not attempt to lay claim to the consolations of religion, while we continue in our sins. It is an unalterable truth, that without holiness none shall see God: and in considering the operations of the Holy Spirit, it is above all things to be remembered, that, notwithstanding the weakness of the flesh and the power of temptation, he is our all-powerful, all-sufficient, Sanctifier. The Scriptures afford us every encouragement to believe that those who walk in the light, and dwell under the influence of the Spirit, and who submit with patience to the work of that Holy One of Israel, who is so justly compared by the prophet to the "refiner's fire" and the "fuller's soap," (Mal. iii, 2) are gradually delivered from the power of iniquity. By "the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost," they are actually "saved" from sin. The promise of Jehovah to his people is of a clear and decided character—“I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean from all your filthiness and from all your idols I will cleanse you...... I will also save you from all your unclean#nesses:" Ezek. xxxvi, 25-29. "Be not deceived," said the apostle to the Corinthians, "neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are WASHED, but ye are SANCTIFIED, but ye are JUSTIFIED, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God:" 1 Cor. vi, 9-11.
Now, when the work of the Spirit of God has thus progressed and prevailed in the soul of man, the needful change from darkness to light, from sin to holiness, and from the world to God, becomes confirmed and established. The fruit of the
Spirit is conspicuously produced; and this fruit has always the same character-that of "all goodness and righteousness and truth :" Eph. v, 9. "The fruit of the Spirit," says Paul to the Galatians, "is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law :" v, 22, 23. And to the Romans he says, " But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life :" vi, 22. When, notwithstanding the many infirmities and corruptions of our nature, such fruit comes to be produced in its true beauty and ripeness, the grace of God is triumphant. The "old man which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts" is put off: the "new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness," is put on; (Eph. iv, 22—24;) and in the experience of the tried and persevering Christian is accomplished the apostolic saying, that "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; BEHOLD ALL THINGS ARE BECOME NEW!" 2 Cor. v, 17.
Such are the operations of the Holy Spirit in the true Christian-operations which afford irresistible evidences of the pure benevolence, the perfect wisdom, and the absolute omnipotence, of that celestial Agent by whom they are conducted. We ought, however, to observe, that, although every indivi dual Christian has his own part in the promise of the Spirit, that promise, nevertheless, is, in the language of Scripture, almost uniformly directed to the church at large. It is not merely the single believer, in his individual capacity—it is the united company of those who fear God and trust in Jesuswho are illuminated and instructed, strengthened and comforted, washed and sanctified, by the Holy Ghost. And it is only as the church of Christ on earth is subjected to the restoring and purifying influence of the Spirit of God, that she can ever maintain her true character of charity, and peace, and holiness; or realize the descriptions which are given of her in the poetry of inspiration :-"the king's daughter is all glorious within her clothing is of wrought gold"-" fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners:" Ps. xlv, 13: Cant. vi, 10.
Christianity is a social religion: its virtues are of a character at once binding and diffusive: and, amidst all the fruits of the Spirit, there is none so delightful, and none so distinguishing, as that holy love, of which God in Christ is the first object, and all mankind the next; and which more especially unites in the bands of the fellowship of the Gospel, those persons, of whatsoever name or profession, who believe in the