« PreviousContinue »
dwelling in us, to be saints here, and partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. So exceeding great are the promises which are given unto us, actually given unto us who believe! For by faith we “receive, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God,"—the sum of all the promises,—“ that we may know the things that are freely given to us of God.”
4. The Spirit of Christ is that great gift of God, which, at sundry times, and in divers manners, he hath promised to man, and hath fully bestowed since the time that Christ was glorified. Those promises, before made to the fathers, he hath thus fulfilled: “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes.” (Ezek. xxxvi. 27.) “I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground : I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring ." (Isaiah xliv. 3.)
5. Ye may all be living witnesses of these things; of remission of sins, and the gift of the Holy Ghost. “ If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.” “Who among you is there, that feareth the Lord; and" yet walketh on “ in darkness, and hath no light?" I ask thee, in the name of Jesus, believest thou that his arm is not shortened at all? That he is still mighty to save ? That he is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever? That he hath now power on earth to forgive sins ? “Son, be of good cheer ; thy sins are forgiven.” God, for Christ's sake, hath forgiven thee. Receive this, “not as the word of man; but as it is, indeed, the word of God;" and thou art justified freely through faith. Thou shalt be sanctified also through faith which is in Jesus, and shalt set to thy seal, even thine, that “God hath given unto us eternal life, and this life is in his Son."
6. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you; and suffer ye the word of exhortation, even from one the least esteemed in the Church. Your conscience beareth you witness in the Holy Ghost, that these things are so, if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. “ This is eternal life, to know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent.” This experimental knowledge, and this alone, is true Christianity. He is a Christian who hath received the Spirit of Christ. He is not a Christian who hath not received him. Neither is it possible to have received him, and not know it. “For, at that day,” (when he cometh, saith our Lord,) "ye shall know that I
am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you." This is that
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. 17.)
7. The world cannot receive him, but utterly reject the Promise of the Father, contradicting and blaspheming.
But every spirit which confesseth not this is not of God. Yea, “this is that spirit of Antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come into the world, and even now it is in the world.” He is Antichrist whosoever denies the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, or that the indwelling Spirit of God is the common privilege of all believers, the blessing of the Gospel, the
unspeakable gift, the universal promise, the criterion of a real Christian.
8. It nothing helps them to say, “ We do not deny the assistance of God's Spirit; but only this inspiration, this receiving the Holy Ghost, and being sensible of it. It is only this feeling of the Spirit, this being moved by the Spirit, or filled with it, which we deny to have any place in sound religion.” But, in only denying this, you deny the whole Scriptures; the whole truth, and promise, and testimony of God.
9. Our own excellent Church knows nothing of this devilish distinction ; but speaks plainly of “feeling the Spirit of Christ ;** of being “moved by the Holy Ghost,"+ and knowing and “ feeling there is no other name than that of Jesus," # whereby we can receive life and salvation. She teaches us all to pray for the “inspiration of the Holy Spirit ;"S yea, that we may be“ filled with the Holy Ghost." || Nay, and every Presbyter of hers professes to receive the Holy Ghost by the imposition of hands. Therefore, to deny any of these, is, in effect, to renounce the Church of England, as well as the whole Christian Revelation.
10. But “the wisdom of God” was always" foolishness with men.” No marvel, then, that the great mystery of the Gospel should be now also “hid from the wise and prudent," as well as in the days of old; that it should be almost universally denied, ridiculed, and exploded, as mere frenzy; and that all who dare avow it still, are branded with the names of madmen and enthusiasts ! This is “ that falling away” which was to come ; that general apostasy, of all orders and degrees of men, which we even now find to have overspread the earth. « Run to and fro in the streets of Jerusalem, and see if ye can find a man," a man that loveth the Lord his God with all his heart, and serveth him with all his strength. How does our own land mourn (that we look no farther) under the overflowings of ungodliness! What villanies of every kind are committed day by day; yea, too often with impunity, by those who sin with a high hand, and glory in their shame! Who can reckon up the oaths, curses, profaneness, blasphemies; the lying, slandering, evil-speaking ; the sabbath-breaking, gluttony, drunkenness, revenge ; the whoredoms, adulteries, and various uncleanness; the frauds, injustice, oppression, extortion, which overspread our land as a flood ?
* Art. 17. + Office of consecrating Priests. # Visitation of the Sick. $ Collect before the Holy Communion.
11 Order of Confirmation.
11. And even among those who have kept themselves pure from those grosser abominations; how much anger and pride, how much sloth and idleness, how much softness and effeminacy, how much luxury and self-indulgence, how much covetousness and ambition, how much thirst of praise, how much love of the world, how much fear of man, is to be found! Meanwhile, how little of true religion ! For, where is he that loveth either God or his neighbour, as he hath given us commandment ? On the one hand, are those who have not so much as the form of godliness; on the other, those who have the form only: There stands the open, there the painted, sepulchre. So that in very deed, whosoever were earnestly to behold any public gathering together of the people, (I fear those in our churches are not to be excepted,) might easily perceive, “ that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees :" The one having almost as little concern about religion, as if there were no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit;" and the other, making it a mere lifeless form, a dull round of external performances, without either true faith, or the love of God, or joy in the Holy Ghost !
12. Would to God I could except us of this place ! “ Brethren, my heart's desire, and prayer to God, for you is, that ye may be saved” from this overflowing of ungodliness; and that here may its proud waves be stayed ! But is it so indeed ? God knoweth, yea, and our own consciences, it is not. Ye have not kept yourselves pure. Corrupt are we also and abominable; and few are there that understand any more; few that worship God in spirit and in truth. - We, too, are a generation that set not our hearts aright, and whose spirit cleaveth not steadfastly unto
God:” He hath appointed us indeed to be “ the salt of the earth; but if the salt hath lost its savour, it is thenceforth good for nothing ; but to be cast out and to be trodden underfoot of men."
13. And “shall I not visit for these things, saith the Lord ? Shall not my soul be avenged on such a nation as this?" Yea, we know not how soon he may say to the sword, “ Sword, go through this land!” He hath given us long space to repent. He lets us alone this year also : But he warns and awakens us by thunder. His judgments are abroad in the earth; and we have all reason to expect the heaviest of all, even that he “ should come unto us quickly, and remove our candlestick out of its place, except we repent and do the first works;" unless we return to the principles of the Reformation, the truth and simplicity of the Gospel. Perhaps we are now resisting the last effort of divine grace to save us. Perhaps we have well nigh “ filled up the measure of our iniquities," by rejecting the counsel of God against ourselves, and casting out his messengers.
14. O God, “ in the midst of wrath, remember mercy !” Be glorified in our reformation, not in our destruction! Let us “hear the rod, and him that appointed it!" Now, that thy“ judgments are abroad in the earth,” let the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness !"
15. My Brethren, it is high time for us to awake out of sleep; before the “great trumpet of the Lord be blown,” and our land become a field of blood. O may we speedily see the things that make for our peace, before they are hid from our eyes !
66 Turn thou us, O good Lord, and let thine anger cease from us.
0 Lord, look down from heaven, behold and visit this vine;" and cause us to know “ the time of our visitation." “ Help us, o God of our salvation, for the glory of thy name ! O deliver us, and be merciful to our sins, for thy name's sake! And so we will not go back from thee. O let us live, and we shall call upon thy name. Turn us again, O Lord God of Hosts ! Show the light of thy countenance, and we shall be whole."
“ Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, unto Him be glory in the Church, by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end.-Amen!”
SCRIPTURAL CHRISTIANITY: *
ST. MARY'S, OXFORD, BEFORE THE UNIVERSITY,
AUGUST 24, 1744.
Whosoever heareth the sound of the trumpet, and taketh not warning; if the
sword come, and take him away, his blood shall be upon his own hcad. Ezekiel xxxiii. 4.
“ And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” Acts iv. 31.
1. The same expression occurs in the second chapter, where we read, “ When the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all,” (the Apostles, with the women, and the mother of Jesus, and his brethren,) “ with one accord, in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues, like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost :” One immediate effect whereof was, “ They began to speak with other tongues ; " insomuch, that both the Parthians, Medes, Elamites, and the other strangers who " came together, when this was noised abroad, heard them speak, in their several tongues, the wonderful works of God." (Acts ii. 1-6.)
2. In this chapter we read, that when the Apostles and brethren had been praying, and praising God, “the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost.” Not that we find any visible appearance here, such as had been in the former instance: Nor are we informed that the extraordinary gifts of the Holy Ghost
This Sermon was originally published in a separate pamphlet, accompanied by the following address “ to the reader," to which was affixed the author's signature :-" It was not my design, when I wrote, ever to print the latter part of the following Sermon : But the false and scurrilous accounts of it which have been published, almost in every corner of the nation, constrain me to publish the whole, just as it was preached; that men of reason may judge for themselves.”--Edit.