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shine on his own work, as its character was narrowly examined ; and cause it to manifest more clearly its nature and authorship. The Spirit would put into more vigorous exercise the affections it had renewed, making them increasingly influential on the conduct, and thus putting more and more out of doubt their having been subject to his operation. The Spirit would give a greater power to the understanding of distinguishing the natural from the supernatural; and thus strengthen it to recognise a divine work, where it would have discovered nothing but the human. We pretend not to offer any explanation, as to the manner in which the Spirit may accomplish all this. Mysterious as well as mighty in his every operation—coming and going as the wind, of which we know not whence it proceedeth nor whither it departeth-rapid and piercing as the arrow, and yet, like the arrow, leaving no trace of the path which it cleft-we desire not indeed to scrutinize the work of the Holy Ghost, nor to explain it, except by its effects. But we are sure, that all who depend on the Spirit to assist them in judging themselves, will admit the truth of our statement, that the divine Spirit enables the human to form a just estimate of motive and of action, to discriminate between what is born with us, and what is obtained from above, and to trace the course of those regenerating processes through which are quickened the “dead in trespasses and sins:" and what is this, if it be not “ the Spirit itself bearing witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God ?"
If it be the divine Spirit, which not only enables us to produce the fruits which are the fruits of faith, but which further enables us to perceive those fruits when produced, and to discover in them the evidences of conversion, beyond all doubt it is through the joint workings of God's Spirit and our own, that we obtain a testimony to our adoption ; and the testimony when obtained proceeds from the two witnesses concurring in one affirmation. It is a testimony which is not borne without our own conscience, and much less borne against our own conscience, but which binds that conscience, yea, rather, coincides with it, and is so powerful that only its voice is heard. And here it is that the witness of the Spirit, whilst never to be confounded with those unaccountable and indescribable attestations which have been substituted for it by the credulous and the fanciful, may be as glittering and gladdening a thing as was ever imagined by those most anxious for the fullest assurance. If the Spirit bears witness with our spirit, by enabling us to form a right estimate of our condition, enlightening the mind so that it discovers the great change in
itself, warming the affections, and quickening the graces, till the fervour and the life are undeniably not of this earth, why we have a ground-work of confidence, which would be poorly exchanged for the warmest that enthusiasm ever delineated. I ask no trance, no vision, no lofty rapture, no message by angelic lips, if the Spirit itself be thus a fellow-witness with my spirit, so that, sitting in assize upon myself, I find my understanding and my conscience deciding, by scripture tests, that I have passed from death unto life. You tell me, that, after all, my decision may be false. I know it; I know that I may be throwing away my soul, and all the while supposing myself grasping immortality. But I am incalculably less likely, when the witness is to be gathered from the life, my spirit depending upon God's for ability, to be deceived, than if the testimony come from a frame which fancy may counterfeit, if it address itself purely to high-wrought sensibilities, and be incommunicable to all but myself. And if I am not deceived, would I barter the assurance, derived from the joint witness in question, for any which might flow from a solemn voice heard by me in the midnight, or a vivid impression traced, I know not how, on the tablets of the inner man? I can examine my assurance again and again; I can repeat the process by which it has been reached. The voice has died away, and I cannot waken its echoes; the impression has faded, and I cannot revive its characters: but the Spirit witnessing with my spirit-I can have this always with me: the testimony may be recompounded as often as it is needed: I carry about with me the tribunal and the evidence; and if tempted to doubt, may reconstruct the ground-work of witness.
Where then is the witness which is comparable in its permanence to this? And if not comparable in its permanence, how can it be comparable in its power of administering comfort ? A Christian's comfort must lie mainly in the sense that he is safe for eternity; and what can communicate, what can preserve this sense, like a standing witness that he walks the path-way of life ? O! we know, as we before said, that believers in Christ have often seasons of unutterable gladness, a tide of joy setting in upon the soul, and glorious earnests of the portion being imparted to cheer them in their remaining warfare. Nevertheless, it is not from such seasons that they obtain their clearest proofs of adoption into God's family; they cannot be always on the mount of transfiguration, and the memory of enjoyment is but a weak support, when principalities and powers are labouring to undermine their peace. But O! if when doubts arise, they can examine motives and actions by the rules of God's
word, and the light of God's grace, and prove them, in spite of much to be corrected, and much to be deplored, demonstrative of renewal of nature, this indeed is to bear about with them materials from which they may always construct a reason for the hope that is in them; this is to have their title for immortality written and graven, so that it may be inspected and authenticated; and this it is to have the Spirit itself bearing witness with their spirit, that they are the children of God.
What remains, then, but that we exhort you all to diligence, in examining whether you be indeed in the faith? We do not send you to seek your proof in any field of speculation ; we direct you to a testimony, in regard of which it is not easy to be deceived, which cannot well be imagined where it does not exist, nor overlooked where it does. We contend, that every one of you may ascertair for himself whether he be a new creature. If we gave you no test but one of feeling, if we required you to decide by secret tokens, and suggestions, and impulses, we should be turning you adrift on a sea of uncertainty, and it would be nothing strange if you remained in doubt, and wandered into error. But when we send you to your own lives, when we bid you judge of change of heart by a change of conduct, when we require you to determine whether you are altered men, by comparing yourselves now and in former days—in your families—in your commerce-in your amusements; never let it be said, that it is hard to find the proof. There is a real and palpable difference between the converted and the unconverted; and you cannot espouse a greater error,
think the new creation may be scarcely, if at all, distinguishable from the old. I know that the change may be made by almost imperceptible steps, so that the man may be gradually converted; but I know, also, that when completed, the change is nothing short of gigantic—a child of wrath to a child of God—an heir of death to an heir of immortality. O! let it not be supposed, that a transition, which thought cannot measure, will leave a man just where he was, so that he may be at a loss for evidence that he has entered a new state. The witness of God's Spirit with your own spirits—search ye for this. It is trumpettongued: its blasts are in the haunts of trade, and the privacies of retirement. It gives itself sound amid all the occupations, amid all the recreations of life. If you are really God's servants, you are God's servants every where, and in all things. If not every where, and in all things, we are bound to tell you,
you can be God's servants no where, and in nothing.
GOD HONOURING THE RIGHTEOUS.
REV. T. MYERS, A.M.
“ Them that honour me, I will honour.”—1 SAMUEL, ii. 30.
THE perusal of the memoirs of some remarkable servant of God, is oftentimes the best excitement to growth in grace. We bend eagerly over the page which records the sayings and doings of men pre-eminent in godliness : we sympathize in their struggles with sinfulness within, and with opposition from without: we rejoice with three-fold joy when the bright rays of peace beam in upon their souls, and the mighty shield of faith is thrown around their path. We sigh when the warrior is caught sleeping at his post, and parleying with the foe; when his foot all but slips, and the tempter is all but successful. We have hope for him when the eye is again fixed steadfastly on “ the prize of his calling," and the hand again grasps firmly “ the sword of the Spirit.” We weep when humility is forgotten, and pride becomes rampant, and zeal becomes tinctured with bitterness.
In the various trials and successes, the weaknesses and victories, of the good man, as he journeys homewards, we view the remains of what man is by nature, and the germ of what he will become by grace. Hence the biography of the saints is a mirror wherein each believer sees a reflection of self. This mirror is not, indeed, as perfect as that of the life of our risen Master; which, when dimned by the breath of our corruption, reflects the hidden deformity of our hearts. But still we may be startled and edified by the accuracy with which it defines to us our true character. Of all knowledge, self-knowledge is the hardest to attain unto ; and when the life of a mortal of the same passions and responsibilities is opened out to us, we are conscious that the same wants are ours, and that the same grace may be ours.
What he did for God, we * A Funeral Sermon for the Rev. CHARLES SIMEON, A.M., of Cambridge.
may do ; what he suffered, we must suffer ; where he failed, we may triumph; where he stood firm, we may stumble. We have one common foe, one common hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism."
Who kindles not with heavenly zeal when he muses over the singular boldness of Micaiah, of Elijah, of Daniel, of Nehemiah ? Who fears not for himself when remembering Judas the traitor, Peter the coward, Demas the lover of this present world ? Should we all have despised the riches of Egypt like Moses, or have endured the heavy strokes of affliction like Job ? or should we have been overcome of lust with David, of vanity with Hezekiah, or of the fear of man with Pilate? Where is the Christian of modern days who can trace the career of the Apostle of the Gentiles, from his first introduction as Saul of Tarsus, till he becomes Paul the aged (the good fight being fought, and the true faith being kept), and not be edified by the matchless example ?
If we turn to the experience of the saints who have lived in uninspired times, we may benefit much by tracing the progress of their spiritual existence from its morning to its evening. The church of God hath in all ages furnished many instances of the triumph of grace over natural corruption, of humility succeeding to pride, of self-abasement substituted for self-sufficiency, and of miracles of grace wrought only by the all-controlling power of the indwelling Spirit of God. There are names laid up in the chronicles of the Christian faith which are the common property of all churches and of all ages. Luther, Calvin, Melancthon, Cranmer, Latimer, Ridley, lived for all times, the example for all the righteous. Each of them stood forth amid a perverse and idolatrous generation; they honoured God, and God did mightily honour them.
And in our own day, we, whose years have scarcely exceeded a quarter of a century, have seen some illustrious instances of devotion to God. The call that has re-echoed through the land for missionary efforts, has roused many from the routine of every-day piety; it hath urged them to deeds of noble daring for Jehovah. Buchanan, Carey, Martyn, Thomason, counted all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of God. They saw the fields of heathenism lying white for the harvest ; and though the labourers were few, and the burden of the day oppressive, they were “ men who hazarded their lives for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
Within the last few days, another of the venerable fathers in our own Israel has been taken to his rest. His sacred name will live long