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are said to be “born of the Spirit;" to be as free as they are suitable. Particularly we “ led by the Spirit;" to “live in the Spirit;" | see Jesus as the Mediator of the new coveto “walk in the Spirit;" and to “ worship nant; as once suffering for sin, the just for God in the Spirit.”
| the unjust, that he might bring us unto God; Let us see how this general reflection as the way to the Father-and “have boldbears upon the subject before us. “I will ness and access with confidence by the faith pour," says God, “upon the house of David, of him.” Thus these words of the Saviour and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit are fulfilled, “He shall glorify me, for he of grace and of supplication.” “Because ye shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto are sons,” says the Apostle, “God hath sent you." forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, Finally. The Spirit renews our souls, recrying, Abba, Father.” And Jude exhorts moves our alienation from the life of God, and Christians to “pray in the Holy Ghost." | produces in us those principles and disposiAnd how are we to understand this? There tions which cause us to delight in approachis only one way in which the Spirit itself ing him; and even to give thanks at the remaketh intercession for us; and that is, by membrance of his holiness. Thus our duty making intercession in us: it is, by teaching, is converted into a privilege; and we find it and enabling us to make intercession for our too good to draw near to God ever again to selves: for the Apostle adds, “ he maketh in | restrain prayer before him. tercession for us, with groanings which can- Here I would observe, That this influence not be uttered." Let us see, then, how this is afforded us all through life, and is not conDivine agency brings the sinner upon his fined to the commencement of a religious knees, and keeps him there.
course: neither is it limited to persons of inFirst. The Spirit leads us to an acquaint-ferior attainments only—What says the Aposance with ourselves. He removes the vail ple? We know not what to pray for as we of ignorance and delusion that concealed our ought; but the Spirit helpeth our infirmities. state, our wants, and our desert: and the The wisest, if left to themselves, would man who once said, I am rich, and increased often ask for scorpions, instead of fish-but with goods, and have need of nothing, now he maketh intercession for the saints, acsees, that he is wretched, and miserable, and cording to the will of God. The most zealous poor, and blind, and naked. He no longer sometimes grow careless and formal--but he denies his guilt; or palliates his offences; or quickens their souls, when they cleave unto goes about to establish his own righteous- the dust. The holiest contract fresh guilt, ness: but, filled with self-abhorrence, con and when they remember God, are troubled demnation, and despair, cries, “God be mer —but he revives their confidence by the apciful to me a sinner.” For,
plication of the blood of sprinkling: and brings Secondly. The Spirit fixes upon the mind them into the presence of God again as their a concern to be delivered and relieved, too Father and their Friend. great to be shaken off. Many persons are Therefore, grieve not the Holy Spirit, followed with some general notions of their whereby ye are sealed unto the day of rebeing in an unconverted state; and feel somedemption. It would be, not only the vilest superficial apprehensions of the unhappiness ingratitude, considering what he has done for and danger of such a condition: but they you; but the greatest folly. How much, how have no burden too heavy for them to bear; entirely, do you depend upon his agencythey are not weary, and heavy laden; they you cannot even pray without him—and can sleep, and eat, and drink, and trade, and what can you do without prayer? Would trifle, as well as before. But it is not so with you grieve a friend, and induce him to give the man whom God is bringing along to his up his correspondence, and his visits; and footstool. He sows in tears. His sin is ever constrain him to withhold his assistance, and before him. Neither business, nor company, to look another way, if he meet you in the nor amusement, can ease the anguish of his road—when you every moment need his broken heart; or divert him from the inquiry, smiles and his aid? “What must I do to be saved ?"
Shall I also say, Beware that you do not Thirdly. The Spirit enables us to appre- | abuse this encouraging truth? It is abused, hend and believe the mercy and grace re- when you neglect prayer till, you say, the vealed in the Gospel. Hence arises a hope Spirit moves you. For we are to stir up that maketh not ashamed. This hope enters ourselves to take hold of God. We are to the soul, as the sun does a garden in spring; cry for aid, as the Church does: “Awake, calling forth, by a genial influence, the leaves o north wind; and come, thou south; blow and the buds, after the dreariness of winter. upon my garden, that the spices thereof may We are sweetly, yet powerfully, excited and flow out." By tacking about, the mariner encouraged to make known our requests untogets wind—not by lying still. God helps God. We see that our case, however de- us, not in the neglect--but in the use of plorable, is provided for; that all things are means—“ Draw nigh to God, and he will now ready; that the blessings we need are draw nigh to you." The more dull and dead we feel ourselves the more we need these that the Redeemer thinks upon you for goodexercises, which are appointed to help us; and appears in the presence of God for you. and which, for this very reason, are called Well; the proof does not lie far off—it is the means of grace. And Christians well nigh thee, even in thy mouth and in the know what a change they have often ex-heart. It is prayer-not fine prayerperienced, even in the performance of the well-arranged language; the proof does not duty? They have kneeled down, dark, and require language at all. No-but a broken cold, and contracted; but have risen up heart; a contrite spirit; tears; sighs; groahenlightened, and inflamed, and enlarged; ings-groanings which cannot be uttered. and have exemplified the promise; “ They Of this therefore rest assured, that if the that wait upon the Lord shall renew their Spirit itself is thus making intercession in strength ; they shall mount up with wings you, Jesus is ever living to make intercession as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; for you. and they shall walk, and not faint.”—Having And what can you desire more? It was considered the intercession of Christ, and ex- the privilege of David, that he had a friend at plained the intercession of the Spirit, let us, court-and this was Jonathan the king's son.
III. View them IN THEIR RELATION TO It was the privilege of Jacob's sons, that they EACH OTHER.
| had a friend at court—and this was Joseph It is easy to distinguish these Interces-their brother. Christians! both these advansors. The one makes intercession above; tages are united in your portion. You hare the other below :one in the court of heaven; a Friend at court; you have an Advocate the other in the conscience. The one makes with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous intercession for us, the other in us. The and he is the King's Son; he is your Brosanctifying Intercessor produces the petition; ther. “Who is he that condemneth? It is the atoning Intercessor introduces it: the one Christ that died, yea rather, that is rien is the notary that indites the case; the other again, who is even at the right hand of God, is the counsellor that pleads it before the jury who also maketh intercession for us. Who and the Judge.
shall separate us from the love of Christ! But there is a connexion between them; shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, and it is threefold. First: a connexion of or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword! derivation. The one flows from the other. Nay, in all these things we are more than If the Son of God had not made intercession conquerors through him that loved us." for you as a sinner, the Spirit itself would And while he represents you in heaven, never have made intercession in you, as a may you, Christians, represent him on earth, believer. Christ hath redeemed us from the while he pleads your cause, may you plead curse of the law, being made a curse for us : his; and henceforth live, not to yourselves " that the blessing of Abraham might come but to Him who died for you and rose again: on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith." Secondly: a connexion of de
DISCOURSE CIII. pendence. The one needs the other. Is not the work of the Spirit pure and holy? Can that
THE GRAND INQUIRY. which he produces be imperfect and polluted ? | You must distinguish between the same work
Lovest thou me ?- John xxi. 17. as it is his, and as it is ours. What comes from SOME of the greatest works of God seem him is pure and complete; but as far as it is to have been the effects of accidental occur done by us it is defective and defiled, like water, rences, rather than the results of design. which, however clear from the spring, rolling The reason is, because God is the sovereign over a muddy bottom, or running through an Master of occasions, as well as of their com impure channel, will be soiled and injured. sequences. He foresees them; he procures Hence all need, as long as they are here, the them; and what is contingency with us continued mediation of the Saviour: and he purpose with him. is the great high priest over the house of The same may be said of his Word. God, for this very purpose, and offers with parts of it were produced by parc much incense the prayers of all saints. We events; but they were intended for unive
need not be afraid to pray, since all our ser-I and perpetual use; and therefore, in reun we vices pass through his hands, and he presents them, we should be concerned to bring,
and perfumes them. Thirdly: a connexion is said of others to bear upon ourses of evidence. The one proves the other. As Many of the Psalms of David were comp to some of you, how long have you been by the author under the influence of praying, “ Say unto my soul, I am thy sal circumstances; but these peculiar vation? Show me a token for good, that I stances were comprehended in may rejoice in thee? What happy beings arrangement, and have been rend would you go away at the end of this exer-servient to the welfare of the on cise, if you could ascertain one thing: namely, | God in all ages of the world. W
prehended in the Divin.
e been rendered sub
are of the Church of of the world. When Joshua
was going to cross the river Jordan, at the gels as he is above mortals: comprising in head of the Jewish tribes, to take posses- himself all the graces of time, and all the sion of the land of Canaan, God addressed perfections of eternity; all the attractions of him, and said, “I will not fail thee, nor for- humanity, and all the glories of Deity. Bring sake thee; be strong and of good courage." forward all the excellences the world ever The promise was personal; yet, after a la pse saw: add as many more as the imagination of near two thousand years, the Apostle ap can supply: render them all complete: complies it to all believers, whose minds need bine them together-yet this is not He that the same support, and whose confidence is here demands thy affection; all this aggrederived from the same assurance; “Let your gate is no more to him that asks, “Lovest conversation be without covetousness; and thou me?" than a ray of light to the sun, or a be content with such things as ye have: for drop of water to the ocean: compared with he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor for the Savio'ır, it is nothing, less than nothing, sake thee. So that we may boldly say, the and vanity. Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what Secondly. Observe his doings. man shall do unto me."
Look backward, and consider what he has This reflection fully justifies the plan we done. He remembered thee, O Christian, in have in view this evening—The words which thy low estate : and, without thy desert, I have read were originally addressed to Pe- without thy desire, he interposed between ter; and you are familiar with the circum- thee and the curse of the Law, and said, “Destances of the history. I will not detain you liver from going down to the pit: I have a moment in referring to them. But, my found a ransom." He came and preached dear hearers; imagine the Saviour of the peace. He established the Gospel dispensaworld looking down from his throne, and ap- tion. He gave apostles, prophets, evangelists, plying this question to you—to each of you, pastors, teachers; for the work of the minisyoung or old-rich or poor-learned or illite- try. He sent the word of life to this counrate—while heaven and hell are in suspense, try, and brought it to thy door. He preserved anxiously waiting for your reply-LOVEST thee through years of ignorance and rebelTHOU ME?
lion by his power: and at length called thee The question is REASONABLE.
by his grace; so that thou art no longer a The question is IMPORTANT.
stranger and a foreigner, but a fellow-citizen The question suPPOSES DOUBT.
with the saints, and of the household of God. : The question ADMITS OF SOLUTION.
Look upward, and consider what he is doLOVEST THOU ME?
ing. He has taken with him to heaven the I. The question is REASONABLE. And why same heart of tenderness that he possessed on is it reasonable? Because we ought to love earth. He remembers thee, now that he is him, and the affection is just. This part of come into his kingdom. He ever liveth to our subject engages us in a train of reflec- make intercession for thee. He is moving tion, at once difficult, mortifying, and appa- the wheels of nature, and ordering the disrently presumptuous. Difficult-not from the pensations of Providence, for thy welfare: he fewness of materials, but from the necessity is making all things to work together for thy of making a selection, where proofs are so good. There is not a prayer you offer up but numberless. Mortifying—not because the he hears it. There is not a duty you distheme is irksome; but it is painful to think, charge but he enables you to perform it. that any should want conviction of his worth, There is not a trial you endure but he susor even need to have their minds stirred up tains you under it. There is not a blessing by way of remembrance. Apparently pre- you taste but he sweetens and sanctifies it. sumptuous—for what are we, worms of the Look forward, and consider what he will earth, to take upon us to investigate his do. For he has made known the thoughts of merits, and to determine whether he is de- his heart, and bound himself by promise. He serving of the regard he requires. Oh! let is engaged to be with you in trouble; to rennot the Lord be angry while we thus speak, der your strength equal to your day; and to and, for the sake of those that hear us, at- make his grace sufficient for you. He is entempt to lay open a few of the sources of his gaged to comfort thee upon the bed of lanclaims.
guishing; to receive thy departing spirit to And, First, my brethren, we call upon you himself; to change thy vile body into a reto contemplate his person. Go, read his his semblance of his own glorious body; to contory. Look at his likeness as it is sketched in fess thee before an assembled world; and to the Gospel. Survey his features: behold the say of those services over which thou hast so beauty of the Lord, and inquire in his tem- often blushed and groaned—“ Well done, ple. What is he? In himself he is the good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithmost amiable of all beings. He “is the chief ful over a few things, I will make thee ruler of ten thousand; yea, he is altogether lovely. over many things; enter thou into the joy of He is fairer than the children of men :" fairer thy Lord.” than the children of God: as much above an-1 Thirdly. Mark his sufferings. For, to
enable him to be our best friend, something I thousand times implored him to accomplish! more was necessary than the wishes of be--And all this, from day to day-from year nevolence, or the exertions of power. To ob- to year-in lengthened provocation - While tain eternal redemption for us, he submits to he, with all his patience, seemed urged to a scene of humiliation and anguish, such as ask, “How long shall I be with you ? how no tongue can express, or imagination con- long shall I suffer you ?" O, if he were ceive. For our sakes, he who was rich, be- swayed by human passions! if he were a came poor-poor, that while foxes had mere creature like ourselves where, at this holes, and the birds of the air had nests, the hour, should we have been found ! In the Son of man had not where to lay his head. whole universe, where is the benefactor that For our sakes, the King of glory was num- would have continued his regards a moment bered with transgressors; had his name cast longer, after meeting with such instances of out as evil; was treated as a glutton, a wine- indifference, of perverseness, of vilenessas bibber, a friend of publicans and sinners, a we have been continually displaying towards madman, a demoniac, a rebel, a traitor. For the Lord that bought us? our sakes, he, who was blessed for evermore, Even this is not all. We must not only became a man of sorrows, and acquainted observe, what he suffers for us, and from us, with grief. Before the hand of man had but also what he suffers in us. "For we touched his body, we find him in the garden have not an high priest who cannot be exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: we touched with the feeling of our infirmities" see him sweating as it were great drops of Such is the intimate union between him and blood falling down to the earth; we hear him his people, that, as the Head, he feels afresh praying, "Father, if it be possible, let this what every member bears. He that perse cup pass from me." As we follow him from cutes them persecutes him. He that touchGethsemane to Golgotha, he gives his back eth them toucheth the apple of his eye. In to the smiters, and his cheek to them that all their affliction he is afflicted plucked off the hair; he hides not his face
“0, for this love, let rocks and bills from shame and spitting. The thorns enter
Their lasting silence break! his sacred temples. They pierce his hands
And all harmonious human tongues
The Saviour's praises speak." and his feet; he hangs upon the cross, suspended by the soreness of his wounds, and as
“ Angels! assist our mighty joys,
Strike all your harps of gold: he dies—and well he may-he appropriates
But when you raise your highest notes, to himself the language of the prophet; “Is
His love can ne'er be told." it nothing to you, all ye that pass by ? behold, LOVEST THOU ME? and see if there be any sorrow like unto my II. The question is IMPORTANT. And why sorrow !” No; blessed Saviour ! Never was is it important? Because we must love him; there sorrow-and, therefore, never was and the affection is not only just, but neces. there love-like thine!
sary. To illustrate this, you will observe But we must observe, not only what he That this love is even necessary to our suffers for us, but what he suffers from us. sanctification. Love is a powerful and a transThe more holy any being is, the more does forming principle. By constant residence in he abhor sin. Sin is, therefore, more offen- the mind, the image stamps and leaves its sive to a saint than to a man; it is more into- own resemblance; so that every man is in relerable to an angel than to a saint; and it is ality the same with the supreme object of his more grievous to God than to an angel. How attachment. If he loves any thing sordid infinitely provoking it is to him, may be in- and mean, he will become so too; while his ferred from his own expostulation and com- intercourse with purity and grandeur will be plaint, with regard to his people Israel ; “Oh, sure to refine and elevate his mind. And do not this abominable thing that I hate. Is hence it is easy to see what will be the effect it a small thing for you to weary men, but of the love of Christ : for, as he is the centre will you weary God also ? Thou hast made of all excellency, the source of all perfection, me to serve with thy sins; thou hast wearied it follows, that, in proportion as our love to me with thine iniquities." And yet, how him prevails in us, it will renew us; it will much of this has he had to bear with from us, exalt us; it will change us into the same even since we have known him, or rather image, from glory to glory, as by the Spirit have been known of him! O, what unprofita- of the Lord. bleness under the instructions of his word This love is necessary to give us delight in and the ordinances of his house! what in all our religious services. We shall never sensibility and ingratitude under all his mer- proceed to advantage in any cause, especially cies! what incorrigibleness under all his if much opposed and tried, unless we feel an rebukes! what murmuring and repining un- interest in it: conviction may carry us some der the dispensations of his providence! way, but affection much farther. It is the what charging him foolishly, and unkindly, nature of love to render difficult things easy, even when his wisdom and kindness were and bitter ones sweet. What was it that performing the very things which we had a turned the seven years of hard bondage, that Jacob served for Rachel, into so many plea- knew you. But hear Paul: “Grace be with
sant days? The affection he bore to her who all them that love our Lord Jesus Christ in i inspired him. What is it that more than re- sincerity ;" and remember that this is a de
conciles that mother to numberless nameless cision, as well as a wish ; a promise as well anxieties and privations, in rearing her baby as a prayer-Grace shall be with them, adecharge ? " Can a woman forget her sucking quate to all their exigences. I am far from child, that she should not have compassion saying that our love to him is the cause of his on the son of her womb ?" It is love that love to us: but it is unquestionably the consedoes all this. But there is no love like that quence, and therefore the evidence. His love which a redeemed sinner bears to his Re | produces ours; but our love evinces his : “I deemer; and, therefore, no pleasure can love them that love me.” And when we conequal that which he enjoys in pleasing him. sider the attributes of his love-a love so While others say, What a weariness it is to tender, so active, so gracious, so durable, so serve the Lord! he finds his service to be changeless—what are we not authorized to perfect freedom; he calls the Sabbath a de- expect from an assured interest in it ?
light; he is glad when they say to him, Let LOVEST THOU ME? 1 us go into the house of the Lord; he finds IIJ. The question SUPPOSES DOUBT. And,
his word, and he eats it, and it is the joy and my brethren, is there nothing in you to renthe rejoicing of his heart. Religion renders der this love suspicious ? Let us fairly and all this our duty; but it is love alone that can honestly examine. make it our privilege; it is love alone that And First. Is there nothing to render it can bring the soul into it; it is love alone that doubtful to the world? You are not only to can make it our meat to do the will of Him be Christians, bụt to appear such. You are that sent us, and to finish his work.
required not only to believe with the heart, This love is necessary, to render our duties but to confess with the tongue; and to hold acceptable. Toa renewed mind nothing can | fast, not only the reality, but the profession be more desirable than the approbation of his of faith, without wavering. Like the primiMaster; nothing more delicious than the tes tive saints, you are to be manifestly the timony that he pleases him. The humility epistles of Christ, known and read of all men; of the Christian, however, renders the attain and not render it impossible, or even difficult, ment no easy thing. He feels the poverty to determine whose hand has inscribed you. and the unworthiness of his services; and, in- Like the patriarchs, you are to declare plainly stead of supposing that his obedience merits a that you seek a country; and not perplex all recompense for its excellences, he rather around you to decide whether you are settling wonders that it is not rejected and disdained here, or only strangers and pilgrims upon for its defects. But the lord looketh to the earth. To them that are in darkness it is heart; and when this is given up to him, he said, “ Show yourselves." values the motive, though we err in the cir Have you always done this? Have you cumstances; he regards the intention, when risen up for Him against the evil doers, and we fail in the execution; and says as he did stood up for Him against the workers of inito David, “It is well that it was in thine quity?' Have you never denied his name? heart." In judging of our services, he ad- Never concealed his truth? Never been ashammits into the estimate, not only what we do, ed to avow your principles and your connexbut what we desire to do. He judges by the ions? Have you never made concessions, in disposition; he acknowledges liberality where presence of the vain and the vicious, to escape nothing is given; and applauds heroism where a reproach which it would have been your nothing is suffered. “For where there is glory to have deserved ; and concerning first a willing mind, it is accepted according which, binding it as a garland around your to that a man hath, and not according to that brow, you should have said, If this is to be he hath not.” But it is equally true, that vile, I will yet be more vile? Have your * in vain we draw nigh to him with our temporizing carriage and conversation never mouth, and honour him with our lip, while inspired men of the world, whom you had the heart is far from him."
professedly left, with the hope that you were Finally. This love is necessary, to ascer-coming round again; and would in time rise tain our interest in the Saviour's regards. above all your scruples, mingle in their disHis followers are not described by their sipations, and run with them to the same exknowledge, their gifts, their creed, their process of riot? fession; but by their cordial adherence to him. Secondly. Is there nothing to render it We may do many things materially good ; we doubtful to the Chureh? Nothing can be may abound with external privileges; we may more opposite to the spirit of the Gospel than eat and drink in his presence, and he may a dark and distrustful temper. We should preach in our streets; we may prophesy in not harbour a misgiving mind; we should not his name, and in his name cast out devils, and even take advantage of the infirmities of our do many wonderful works; and yet at the brethren, to conclude that their hearts are not great day he may profess unto us, I never right in the sight of God. Charity suffereth