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that to the sacrifice of Christ we are indebted for the gift of the Spirit; and that by faith in his atoning sacrifice, as a grace of the Spirit, we are united to Christ, as members of that body of which he is the head: we are quickened into a divine life, and made partakers of a new and heavenly nature. The gift of the Spirit, therefore, comprehends within it the gift of eternal life. It is the same Spirit which now regenerates and sanctifies the believer, that is the earnest and pledge of his future and eternal glory. It is not merely promised to him, that he shall at the resurrection of the dead be raised up by the power of Christ, to die no more: it is declared of him, that he already lives; that he has entered on a new and spiritual life, which shall never be extinguished, but shall be continued and perfected in heaven. It was for this that the Saviour interceded on behalf of all who should believe in his name to the end of time, in that prayer which he offered up in the
in the presence of his disciples, on the evening preceding his sufferings: Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word ; that they all may be one ; as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.
The consequences resulting from the adoption of this opinion are in the highest degree important. For if the gift of the Spirit, with all his enlightening, comforting, and sanctifying influences, be the commencement of that eternal life which is promised by Christ to believers, then obedience to the will of God is the fruit of eternal life already begun in the soul, and not the meritorious condition of obtaining it. We obey, not that we may live hereafter, but because we already live, And thiş is exactly consonant with what Christ elsewhere says of obedience to the will of God: Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine ; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the Vine, ye are the branches : he that abideth in me, and I in him, the $ame bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing
I feel anxious that you should keep this important point constantly in view—that the indwelling of the Spirit is the source, the earnest, and the pledge of that eternal life which Christ promises to believers. This single principle is the hinge or which some of the most interesting truths of divine revelation turn. It is the key which opens some of its most sublime, sanctifying, and consolatory mysteries. It gives to faith its assurance, to love its ardours, to hope its sure and stedfast anchor; whilst of those who pretend that they are Christians, but afterwards apostatise from the faith, it says, as the apostle John said of certain apostates in his day, If they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us. If they had entered into the spirit of the gospel, and felt its transforming power upon their hearts, they would, doubtless, have remained stedfast in their Christian profession, notwithstanding all the persecutions and sufferings to which they were exposed. But they went out, they apostatised from their Christian profession, that they might be made manifest, what they really were, and that their fall might prove a warning to others. But ye, says he, speaking of real believers, have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. That is, you have such an anointing of the Holy Spirit, such an experimental acquaintance with all the essential truths of Christianity, and such delight in God, and in fellowship and communion with him, with his Son Jesus Christ, and with us, as members of that body of which Christ is the head, as afford us the most pleasing and the fullest confidence, that He who hath begun a good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.
This good work, methinks I hear some one say, is, I trust, begun in me. Not unto me, O Lord, not unto me, but unto thy name give glory. For, to his praise will I for ever most gratefully acknowledge, that God was found of me when I sought him not. I was thoughtless, careless, and indifferent about the great concerns of eternity, when by some means or other (it must have been of God) I became impressed with a sense of my guilt and danger. The thought of death and of its awful consequences often occurred, and was as often repelled : yet I could not help envying the happiness of those who could look their danger in the face, and take measures to provide against it. Those to which I resorted, worldly amusements and pleasures, I soon found to be, in some instances, mere childishness, in others to resemble the tender mercies of the wicked from whom they originated. Instead of allaying, they served only to exasperate the disease. My fears returned,' heightened and aggravated by a clearer view of my guilt, and more alarming apprehensions of my danger. Sin now appeared exceeding sinful, and my whole life to have been but one continued act of rebellion against the Most High, and one systematic plan of excluding him from my thoughts, and of living without him in the world. And thus wretched and helpless, I cast myself at the foot of sovereign mercy. A ray of hope for the first time beamed into my soul, and I said, I will arise and go to my Father. But the very name, the very thought of a Father such as God had been to me, made me fear, lest to appear in his presence might be regarded as adding insult to disobedience. Yet I could no longer restrain myself, and I said, Father, I have sinned, and am not worthy to be called thy son. Assign me any, the meanest, place in thy household; or, if I cannot be admitted there, permit me to pour out my soul in deep sorrow and penitence at thy feet, and to perish there, if perish I must.
These, or similar exercises of the mind, have, in every age of the church, accompanied the commencement of this good work. And were a narrative, such as I have supposed, to be furnished by every individual Christian, it would unquestionably be found, that it was when he was thus apprehensive lest God, whom he had so grievously, offended, should spurn him forever from his presence, that he beheld him pointing the sceptre of his mercy towards the sacrifice that was offered on the cross, and heard Him who offered it exclaiming, Look unto me, and be saved: for God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. He would find, that it was the love of God manifested in the gift of his only and beloved Son, that opened the floods of penitential sorrow in his soul, and made him exclaim with the prophet, О that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for my transgressions against a God of such tender and endearing mercies ! He would find that it was the view which he then obtained of the sin of his nature, the alienation of his heart from God, his base ingratitude, and his unprovoked rebellion against him, that led him first in good earnest to the throne of grace; and that it was then, for the first time, that it could be truly said of him, Behold he prayeth,
If it has been thus with you, you will have since found how difficult a matter it is to order your speech before God, to fix your thoughts in devotional duties, and still more to perform them with all your heart and soul. Why? Because it was from the blessed era to which we allude, that, under the guidance of the divine Spirit, you began to take cognizance of the secret workings of your mind; to view with self-abasement the pride and selfishness and worldly-mindedness of corrupt na