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Spirit, is to assist them in all religious duties. “ Without me,” said Christ, “ye can do nothing :" and St. Paul says, “We are not sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves ; but our sufficiency is of God;" that is, we have it by actual supplies of the Holy Ghost. Christ is present, by his Spirit, “wherever two or three are gathered together in his name;" and if they get a blessing under the word preached, or in singing psalms or hymns, or in prayer, it is entirely from the influence of the Holy Ghost. He is said, Rom. viii. 28, to "help our infirmities in prayer;" and we read also of “praying in the Spirit, and of singing in the Spirit."
The Holy Ghost is also given to believers as a Comforter. Under this pleasing name, Jesus Christ promised to send him to his sorrowful disciples, and said he should always abide in the Church as a Comforter. Blessed be God there is comfort in religion. The ways of God are pleasantness and peace; and none will deny it, but those who never tried them. True happiness is found only in the way of faith, love, and obedience. The knowledge of sin forgiven; peace of conscience through the blood of Christ; a good hope through grace; victory over the fear of death:are not these comfortable and blessed things? What can the world, or sin, propose of equal value? Well, all these are from the gracious and powerful influence of the Spirit; and this leads us to the last thing proposed,
III. The evidence of our state, as it arises from having, or not having, the Spirit. Our text says, that "if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his ;" consequently, is in a dreadful condition; and, dying so, must perish for ever without remedy. But the words imply a glorious truth, namely, that some persons do belong to Christ. Yes, they are his dear people, by the gift of the Father, by the purchase of his blood, and by the power of his Spirit, whereby they gave themselves up to him.
Having the Spirit, in the manner and for the purposes we have heard, is the grand proof of being in a state of salvation. This is called the Seal, 2 Cor. i. 22; Eph. i. 13, iv. 30. Valuable things are sealed, for the security of them, and to denote whose property they are. Thus are believers sealed. It is not any particular impulse on the mind which is called the
sealing" or the earnest of the Spirit,” but it is the communication of the Holy Spirit himself to believers. God has given them his Spirit; he dwells in their souls; he quickens them; he enlightens them; he convinces them of sin; he enables them to believe in Christ; he sanctifies them; he helps them to pray; he comforts their hearts. This is God's seal. It cannot be counterfeited. St. John says, “ Hereby know we that we dwell in God, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.” This is the grand evidence of our interest in the favour of God; this is the only solid ground of our assurance that we belong to him. “For there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus ;” and who prove they are in him by walking after the Spirit. “To be spirituallyminded is life and peace. As many as aře led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Whoever has the Spirit has the sure earnest of heaven, 2 Cor. i. 22, Eph. i. 14; he becomes “a joint heir with Jesus Christ;" he has “ the first fruits of the Spirit;" and both soul and body shall certainly be made happy for ever in the eternal world.
APPLICATION. And now, dear immortals, what do you think of these things? Seeing that having the Spirit of God determines our state, how is it with you? Have you the Spirit? It may be known. It ought to be known; for our all depends upon it. Heaven is ours if we have the Spirit. Hell will be ours if we die without him. Recollect a moment what has been said, and pray with David, 6 Search me, O Lord, and try my heart." You have heard for what purposes every believer receives the Spirit. He quickens the dead soul. Has he quickened you? Are you alive to God, or are you alive to sin and the world? He enlightens the mind in the knowledge of the truth. Do you know, distinguish, and love, the truth of the Gospel; or do you despise and hate it? He convinces of sin. Are you convinced and humbled for your iniquity? Or do you make light of itperhaps boast of it? He is the author of faith. Do you believe in Jesus, or do you neglect his salvation? He sanctifies the soul. Is your soul sanctified by his grace, or are you wallowing in the filth of sin ? He helps the true Christian to pray. Do you know any thing of his gracious help in prayer, or do you live without prayer, or which is nearly as bad, content yourself with a lifeless form of bare words without the heart? The Spirit of God is a Comforter. Is your comfort or pleasure derived from him, or from the vanities and vices of the world? May the Lord enable you to give a serious and honest answer to these inquiries ! If, as it may be feared, some of you are without the Spirit, what is your case? You belong not to Christ; you are none of his. Tremble at the dreadful thought. Die you must, and you must come to judgment too. When you see him on the awful throne, oh, how you will wish to belong to him, and to be owned by him! Oh, then, be persuaded this moment to lift up your heart to God, and say, Merciful God, give me thy Holy Spirit! He has promised to give him to those who ask. This blessed gift may yet be yours, and shall, if you sincerely desire it. “ Ask then, and you shall receive; seek, and you shall find; knock, and the door shall be opened.” God Almighty, in compassion to your souls, enable you to do this!
And as to those who have obtained this greatest of blessings, who have the Holy Spirit, what more can be said to you? Survey the wondrous gift with grateful acknowledgment. What has God wrought? Deny not, from false humility, the heavenly benefit.
Have you experienced those sacred effects of the Spirit, which have been so frequently mentioned ? Here then is the broad seal of the Majesty of heaven, securing your relation to Christ, and your title to mansions of glory. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; and having received the Spirit, take care to “ walk in the Spirit;" be careful not to "grieve the Spirit;". and be concerned to bring forth the “ fruits of the Spirit,” which are by Jesus Christ, to the praise and glory of God.- Amen.
MARK VI. 12. And they went out, and preached that men should
repent. TT is remarkable, that whatever different notions I men have of religion, they all believe that repentance is necessary to salvation. But it may be feared, that many mistake its true nature, and take the shadow for the substance. There are also many, who, though they think it necessary, delay their repentance to some future period; and more than a few die without it, and perish in their sins. It is, therefore, of great importance that we should know wherein true repentance consists; and that we should be urged ourselves to repent, that we perish not.
That repentance, then, which is true and genuine, and “needeth not to be repented of,” will be found to include the four following things :
I. Conviction of sin.
IV. Conversion from sin. I. The first thing that belongs to true repentance is a conviction of sin, or a clear sight and feeling sense of our sinfulness; without this, there is no repentance, no religion; for the gospel may be justly called, “ the religion of a sinner;" none