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painful are some of his discoveries and in- i most direct way is, BY CASTING WATER UPON fluences! Does fire destroy ?-He consumes IT. And this I compare to actual, wilful sin. our errors and our corruptions. Does fire By this Christians are sometimes seduced, refine?-He purifies and sanctifies. Does and the consequences with regard to religion fire produce both light and heat ?-He not are mournful. An example is better than a only illuminates, but warms. Does fire con- description. Let us take David as an induce to our comfort ?-He fills us " with all stance, and see the injurious effects of his fall. joy and peace in believing."
Read his penitential psalm. Some have told It is hardly necessary to observe, that the us that sin cannot hurt a believer. I am sure Holy Ghost is not spoken of personally, but it injured David. His fall produced several in reference to his agency and operations. fractures, and occasioned him the most acute Now these are twofold. First, extraordinary pain and anguish. This is what he means and miraculous—these were confined to the when he says, “ Make me to hear joy and apostolical age. Secondly, common and gladness; that the bones which thou hast broken saving; and these will continue to be experi- may rejoice!" He is filled with awful appreenced to the end of the world. And be it hensions of being cast away—“Cast me not remembered, that while these are no less real away from thy presence; and take not thy in their existence than the former, they are holy Spirit from me. He is deprived of the far more glorious in their effects. Though joy of the Lord, which was once his strength they do not heal bodily discases, they cure -“Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation, the disorders of the mind. Though they do and uphold me with thy free Spirit.” He was not qualify us to “discern spirits,” they lead struck dumb, and could not speak of God, or us to “prove ourselves," and to “examine to God, or for God, as he once did—“Open thou whether we be in the faith.” Though they my lips, and my mouth shall show forth thy do not furnish us with other tongues," they praise.” Finally, he had made by his fall enable us to comply with the admonition: breaches and ravages in the Church-"Do " Let no corrupt communication proceed out good in thy good pleasure unto Zion: build thou of your mouth, but that which is good to the the walls of Jerusalem.” For in this case it use of edifying, that it may minister grace may be truly said that “one sinner destroyeth unto the hearers."
much good.” The sins of a professor cause These influences of the Spirit are rendered - the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme; justify necessary by our depravity and inability. and confirm the wicked in their iniquity; and Some of the wiser heathens confessed the lead the world to suspect that religion is only need of divine assistance to enable a man to the covering of hypocrisy. Nor do they only commence and continue a virtuous course. " affect them that are without:" they also But what unenlightened reason imperfectly prove a stumblingblock to the weak, and a discerned, the book of God has fully establish- distress to the strong; and discourage the ed. There we find all real religion traced up heart, and weaken the hands of those who to a divine agency. If there be a Christian minister in holy things. Thus they check grace to be exercised, it is called “the fruit the cause of God in general, as well as injure of the Spirit.” If there be a Christian duty the welfare of the individual. to be performed, it is to be done in the Let us therefore beware. Let us never Holy Ghost.” We are said to " live in the imagine ourselves beyond the reach of temptaSpirit;" and " to walk in the Spirit.” And |tion. We carry about us passions and appethat the Spirit is still possessed for these all-tites which are not completely subdued. important purposes appears undeniable-if “The sin that dwelleth in us” renders us we appeal to the testimony of the Scripture. susceptible of danger from external circumWitness its decisions—“Ye are not in the stances. Indeed there is nothing with which flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit we have to do, however harmless in itself, of God dwell in you. Now if any man have that may not prove an occasion of sin. not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. " Wherefore let him that thinketh he standKnow ye not that ye are the temple of God, eth take heed lest he fall.” Let us " watch and that the Spirit of God dwelieth in you ?" and be sober." Let us “watch and pray." Witness its promises_“I will put my Spirit Let us “pass the time of our sojourning here within you, and cause you to walk in my in fear," and daily and hourly come to “the statutes.” “If ye, being evil, know how to throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, give good gifts unto your children, how much and find grace to help in time of need." more shall your heavenly Father give the Secondly. FIRE MAY BE QUENCHED BY Holy Spirit to them that ask him!” Witness SPREADING EARTH UPON IT. And observe to its commands" Be filled with the Spirit. what we apply this. We do not here speak, Grieve not the Holy Spirit, whereby ye are as in the former article, of things grossly, and sealed unto the day of redemption. Quench unquestionably criminal—but we speak of not the Spirit.” Let us examine this ad- “minding earthly things; of the cares of this monition.
| world; and the deceitfulness of riches, which FIRE MAY BE QUENCHED MANY WAYS. The choke the word, so that it becometh unfruit
ful.” We speak of an excess of business, | SEPARATION OF THE PARTS. And this you which not only employs, but “entangles a will apply to our divisions. man in the affairs of this life.” A man sel With what earnestness does our Apostle dom, if ever, feels this, in simply pursuing the enforce connexion, and co-operation among path of duty; but it results from false aims Christians! “Now, I beseech you, brethren, and wrong dispositions. The man “will be by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye rich:” he deems a superior style of life ne- all speak the same thing, and that there be no cessary; he must gain a rapid independence divisions among you; but that ye be perfectin order to retire and live in a state of ease | ly jomed together in the same mind, and in and idleness, for which God never designed the same judgment, endeavouring to keep any man. Hence he not only labours, but the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. toils; grasps; schemes; speculates. And There is one body and one Spirit, even as ye what is the consequence? The powers of the are called in one hope of your calling: one soul are limited, and when full-whatever Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and fills them-can hold no more. And as the Father of all, who is above all, and through water partakes of the quality of the soil over all, and in you all. If there be therefore any which it rolls, so our minds soon acquire a consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, sameness with the object of our affection and if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels pursuit. When the man immersed in secular and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeconcerns hears the word—“his heart is going minded, having the same love, being of one after his covetousness;" he is still planning accord, of one mind.” The enemy knows the and getting. When he prays, a number of importance of union and harmony; he thereworldly thoughts rush in, and, by dividing his fore labours to separate; and, unhappily, he attention, damp his ardour. He cannot “at- finds too much to favour his wishes in our tend upon the Lord without distraction.” ignorance, prejudices, bigotry, and infirmities.
I speak of certain vanities and amusements, How comfortable and edifying is it, when bein which, after all the wise and warm have lievers meet together, not only “in one place," urged, some professors, even of evangelical but “with one accord;" when, of "one heart, religion, occasionally indulge themselves. and of one soul,” they look upon each other Such characters prove the embarrassment of with cheerfulness, and embrace each other in their teachers, and erase the boundary line holy friendship. “Behold, how good and which should obviously separate the church how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell to from the world, by their frequent passing from gether in unity!" It is fragrant as the richest one into the other. And if they will not ad perfume: and refreshing and fertilizing as the mit that these diversions are unlawful in dew of heaven. It peculiarly attracts the themselves will they, can they deny that | Divine blessing. Hence, says the Saviour, they have a tendency to destroy spirituality if two of you shall agree on earth as touchof frame, to impair a taste for devotion, to ing any thing that they shall ask, it shall be alienate from a life of communion with God, done for them of my Father which is in hea. and of preparation for eternity ?
ven. For where two or three are gathered I speak of worldly and political conversa- together in my name, there am I in the midst tion, which, so far from tending to “the use of them.” But how changed is the scene of edifying," frets the mind, and genders where there are whisperings, swellings, antistrife; draws off the attention from the divine pathies, disorders in a Christian Church! Its agency to second causes; attaches us to a beauty is defaced—its worship is pervertedparty, and commits us to approve of all their its strength is impaired-and proceedings; and cools religious ardour. If
“The Spirit, like a peaceful dove, we talk most of that which we love best ; it from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh-where habitually are the thoughts! There are some families who are quarreland affections of many professed Christians ? ing all day, and then go to prayer in the Surely it becomes us to live so as to “de-evening-but this is not “lifting up holy clare plainly that we are strangers and pil- hands without wrath and doubting." It grims upon earth:" surely we should show to were to be wished that some persons would all around us, that we only deem "one thing I adopt the important duty of family worship needful,” and this is the care of the soul. but it would be well for others to lay it aside: With regard to many things which properly and indeed this is likely to be the case in enough belong to others, but would imperti- time. Such mixtures and inconsistencies nently engage us, we should resemble the are too shocking to be long continued. I devoted Nehemiah_“I sent messengers unto prayer does not induce people to avoid pas them, saying, I am doing a great work—so sion, and brawling, and contentions, these that I cannot come down : why should the evil tempers will make them leave off work cease, while I leave it, and come down prayer, or perform it in a manner worse to you ?"
than the neglect of it. The Apostle Peter Thirdly. FIRE MAY BE QUENCHED BY THE exhorts husbands and wives to discharge the
Flies from the realms of noise and strife
respective duties, “as being heirs together things, and heard him gladly." But he of the grace of life, that their prayers be not cherished a criminal passion which destroyed hindered."
| all these fair beginnings. Felix heard Paul. We may take another view of this part of It was his own desire. He wished to be our subject. One truth aids another truth; gratified by a relation of the peculiarities of and one duty another duty. Detach private “a sect everywhere spoken against." But devotion from public, or public worship from Paul, instead of indulging his curiosity, adprivate, and both sustain an injury. Separate dressed his conscience. He “reasoned of practice from principle, or principle from righteousness, temperance, and judgment to practice; faith from works, or works from come.” And “Felix trembled.” The judge faith; promises from commands, or com- on the bench trembled before the prisoner at mands from promises and in the same pro- the bar. It was not the Apostle's eloquence portion you diminish and destroy the effect alone that produced this effect. But instead of the whole. The flame burns by keeping of aiding this impression, the trembler disthese things together.
misses the preacher—“Go thy way for this Fourthly. FIRE MAY BE QUENCHED BY time; when I have a convenient season, WITHHOLDING FUEL. A real Christian will I will call for thee.” This season never soon feel the disadvantage of disregarding arrived. He afterward saw the Apostle, and the means of grace. Were he indeed a mere conversed with him often, but he never exprofessor of religion, he would be sensible of perienced again the feelings he had subdued. no such injury; he has no divine principle to Let the hearers of the gospel remember watch over and to cherish. You may keep this. Beware how you stifle your convicin a painted fire without fuel-but a real one tions, and “do despite unto the Spirit of cannot be maintained without it, unless by a grace." Seek ye the Lord while he may be miracle. But we have no reason to expect found, call ye upon him while he is near. miracles! Is the Divine assistance intended He has said, “my Spirit shall not always to sooth our sloth, or to encourage our exer- strive with man. Behold, now is the accepttion? Is it to be expected in a state of re-ed time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” missness and indifference, or in the use of means?_ The hand of the diligent maketh rich.” “ For all these things will I be in
DISCOURSE XLIX, quired of by the house of Israel to do it for them.” “Blessed is the man that heareth me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at THE ASCENSION OF ELIJAH. the posts of my doors.""They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength: And it came to pass, as they still went on, and they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot they shall run and not be weary; and they
of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them shall walk, and not faint." Thus directed
both asunder; and Elijah went up by a and encouraged, believers repair to his word,
whirlwind into heaven.—2 Kings ii. 11. to his throne, to his house, and to his table; “ By one man sin entered into the world, and are not disappointed. They find him in and death by sin, and so death hath passed his ordinances, and they know by blessed upon all men, because all have sinned." experience, that he attends to their com- Death is called “the way of all the earth ;" plaints, enlivens their devotion, “ helps their and the grave, “the house appointed for all infirmities, and supplies all their need from living." No distinction of age, of rank, of his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” They character has secured the possessor from the who desire soul prosperity, who would not stroke of mortality. The young as well as only have life, but have it more abundantly, the old, the rich as well as the poor, the will be found most regular, and serious, and honourable as well as the obscure, the learndiligent, in the use of those means which ed as well as the illiterate, have successively God has appointed for this very purpose, and gone down to the dust and seen corruption. by which he increases their faith, confirms Yea, the righteous themselves die. Though their hope, and makes all grace to abound infinitely dear to God, and distinguished by towards them.
inestimable privileges, even they are not exWe cannot quench what we have not. empted from the afflictions of life, or the neThe exhortation therefore, supposes the pos- cessity of dissolution. session of the Spirit, and, therefore, I have This invariable law of mortality has howthus far considered it in reference to Chris-ever been dispensed with in two cases. tians. Yet the words may be taken in a Enoch lived before the Flood. “By faith more general way. There is a common Enoch was translated, that he should not see work of the Spirit that accompanies the death; and was not found, because God had preaching of the word, the effect of which translated him; for before his translation he may be entirely lost. Thus we read that had this testimony, that he pleased God.” when Herod “heard John, he did many Two thousand one hundred and twenty-one
years after, we behold, in like manner, Eli- | by the instrumentality of a luminous cloud jah the Tishbite received up into glory. I approaching and enclosing him, and then “And it came to pass, as they still went on, rising with a rapid curling motion ? Or was and talked, that, behold, there appeared a he removed by the ministry of angels, dischariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted guised under these brilliant forms? This them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a seems more probable. For “are they not all whirlwind into heaven."
ministering spirits, sent forth to minister Observe, First, How he was employed at unto them that shall be heirs of salvation?" the time of his removal: they were “go-Is it not said that “He shall send forth his ing on and talking.” Without this informa- | angels and gather together his elect from tion, many would have concluded, that after the four winds, from the one end of heaven he had received the intiination of his speedy to the other?" Is it not said that Lazarus departure, he was engaged alone in medita- died, “and was carried by angels into Abration and prayer. But it is a mistaken senti- ham's bosom ?” ment, that a preparation for heaven is to be Though these glorious beings " excel in carried on only by abstraction, contemplation, strength, they do his commandments, hearkdevotion. No inconsiderable part of it con- ening unto the voice of his word." And we sists in diligence in our stations and endea know that they have been often held forth vours to be useful to our fellow-creatures to under the allusions here employed. “Of the the last. “Blessed is that servant whom his angels he saith, who maketh his angels spiLord, when he cometh, shall find so doing.” rits, and his ministers a flame of fire. The It is observable that our Saviour ascended, chariots of God are twenty thousand, even while he was addressing his disciples. “He thousands of angels: the Lord is among them led them out as far as Bethany; and he lifted as in Sinai, in the holy place." up his hands, and blessed them. And it came Let us hasten to something less questiona. to pass, while he blessed them, he was ble and more important. Let us take seveparted from them, and carried up into hea- ral views of this wonderful transaction.
I. Let us consider it as A GRACIOUS REA little of the conversation is recorded. COMPENCE OF SINGULAR PIETY. Not that Eli" And it came to pass, when they were gone jah was perfect. We are expressly told that over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what he was a man of like passions with us. And I shall do for thee, before I be taken away we read that once he was afraid, and fled, from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let and wished in himself to die. But in judging a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. I fairly of a person, you are to bring forward And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: the whole of his character; and to remember nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken that casual infirmities no more destroy the from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, effect of general excellency than the hills it shall not be so.” A vail is thrown over and valleys of the earth destroy its globosity, the remainder of this interesting discourse. or a few motes or clouds a solar day. The Perhaps it turned upon the heavenly world ; circumstances also in which he lives should perhaps it respected the state of the church be fairly weighed; for the power and degree he was going to leave; perhaps it furnished of religion are to be often estimated by the instruction and consolation to his successor in unfavourableness of our situation, and the office. However this may be, the conversa- difficulties we have to overcome. tion was doubtless such as became the so- Elijah was a man whose religion was un. lemnity of the occasion. For what could be common. “He was jealous for the Lord of more awful and impressive! He knew that Hosts:" and faithful and steadfast in his adhe was standing on the verge of eternity, andherence to the true worship of God, in times expected every moment the signal of his of peculiar defection and degeneracy. He leaving this world. And could he be vain ? was indeed mistaken, when he said, “I am Could he trifle? And since "you know not left alone;" there were seven thousand men the day nor the hour in which the Son of who had not bowed the knee to the image of man cometh, what manner of persons ought Baal, and whose lips had not kissed him. But you to be in all holy conversation and godli-though this was a considerable number, comness! Let no corrupt communication pro- pared with his conclusion, it was nothing ceed out of your mouth, but that which is compared with the bulk of the country. The good to the use of edifying, that it may min-nation was gone astray from God; idolatry ister grace unto the hearers. If any man of universally prevailed; all classes pleaded for fend not in word, he is a perfect man, and idols. able also to bridle the whole body."
He had therefore to oppose numbers. And Secondly. Observe how he was conveyed numbers take off the two common restraints, from earth to heaven. “ There appeared a of fear and shame; and constantly present to chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted the eye familiar and seducing examples., them asunder; and Elijah went up by a is no easy thing to avoid following a multiwhirlwind into heaven." Was he removed tude to do evil.
I He had also to oppose superiors, whose in- I and of happiness besides this earth-that it - inence is peculiarly corrupting. He lived was to be obtained by leaving this worldo under the reign of the worst of all the bad and that even the body was to share in it.
kings of Israel. “For Ahab, the son of Omri, This was a circumstance of importance. 3. did evil in the sight of the Lord, above all that Nothing of the kind could be inferred from
were before him. And Ahab made a grove. nature. Men were seen to perish by accidents di And Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God and diseases and decays. They were laid in Ei of Israel to anger, than all the kings of Israel the grave: cold and silent they remained that were before him."
there. Wives had gone to the tombs of their elit He had also to oppose the established min husbands; children to the tombs of their
isters of religion. Behold him encountering mothers--but in vain had they implored their Elon the whole priesthood of Baal. Behold him return. In time the body became a mass of
challenging to a public trial four hundred putrefaccion; and dissolving into its original and fifty of his sycophant prophets--and with element, could no longer be distinguished
unparalleled firmness, ordering them all to be from other dust. mai put to death-though he knew the altar was! But man is an incarnate being. The body
defended by the throne. “Elijah said unto is a constituent and an essential part of hu
them, Take the prophets of Baal: let not man nature. Man was embodied in his - one of them escape. And they took them. I primeval state, and will be embodied in his
And Elijah brought them down to the brook final state. A state of separation, therefore, + Kishon, and slew them there."
is a state of imperfection; and whatever hape All this naturally drew upon him reproach. piness may be enjoyed in a disembodied state,
Ahab called him “the troubler of Israel." | it will not be, it cannot be complete before
Jezebel abhorred him, and bound herself in the morning of the resurrection. To this ca an oath to slay him. But God often appeared therefore the sacred writers lead us forward:
his for him: he gave him the keys of the clouds; and while they clearly allow an intermediate the fed him with ravens; he commanded separate existence, they tell us that we “shall 66 strangers and foreigners to entertain him; he be recompensed at the resurrection of the to destroyed captains and their men for his just;" that “when the chief Shepherd shall a sake--and at last he made an exception in appear, we shall receive a crown of glory th his favour, and took him to heaven without that fadeth not away." When Paul would - dying ; carrying him more than a conqueror relieve the minds of bereaved Christians, he nie in a chariot of triumph through the air. And reminds them that their connexions will rise is thereby said to a careless and depraved age, again: and in reference to himself he says, a and to us also upon whom the ends of the “If by any means I might attain unto the re* world are come_ Them that honour me I surrection of the dead." i will honour, but they that despise me, shall Yes, the body will be a partaker of endless
be lightly esteemed. Have no fellowship happiness with the soul; and even “in our .: with the unfruitful works of darkness, but flesh shall we see God." And here was a
rather reprove them. Bear your faithful tes- specimen of it. Here they saw a man carto timony to my canse by your words and ac- ried up into heaven embodied. Here they
tions. Contend earnestly for the faith once saw what transformation of the body was cadelivered to the saints. Dare to be singular. pable of experiencing--it could become light,
Come out from among them, and be ye sepa- agile, unsusceptible of danger; it could re: rate, and touch not the unclean thing; and tain identity, and yet drop those properties
I will receive you, and will be a Father unto which render it a prison and a burden; and for you; and ye shall be my sons and daughters, become a fit companion for the skies. This
saith the Lord Almighty. If you are losers was a beaming forth of that glory which has
in my service, you shall not be losers by it. been more fully revealed under the gospel 1 Verily I say unto you, there is no man that dispensation, and especially in the glorification se hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or of the body of our Saviour, which is to be the
wife, or children, for the kingdom of God's model of our own. “For he shall change sake, who shall not receive manifold more in our vile body, that it may be fashioned like this present time, and in the world to come unto his glorious body, according to the worklife everlasting. Verily, there is a reward for ing whereby he is able even to subdue all the righteous; verily, he is a God that judg- things unto himself. So also is the resurreceth in the earth.”
tion of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it II. Let us consider it as AN INTIMATION is raised in incorruption. It is sown in disOP THE FUTURE HAPPINESS THAT IS RESERVED | honour; it is raised in glory. It is sown in FOR THE SERVANTS OF God. Instances and weakness; it is raised in power. It is sown facts strike the mind much more powerfully a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. than abstract reasonings. By the example There is a natural body, and there is a spiritof Elijah's ascension it was seen that there ual body." was another state of being after this life III. We may consider this translation as a that there was another place of residence SUBSTITUTE FOR DEATH. In some such way