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some degree of uncertainty in all these cases, whether we ask what is fit and

proper to be granted; or even what, if granted, would do us good. There is this, likewise, further to be observed, that they are what, if such be the pleasure of God, we can do without. But how incapable we are of doing without God's Spirit, of (proceeding in our spiritual course upon our strength and our own resources, of finally accomplishing the work of salvation without it, the strong description which is given by St. Paul, may convince us, if our own experience had not convinced us before. Many of us, a large majority of us, either require, or have required, a great change, a moral regeneration. This is to be effectuated by the aid of God's Spirit. Vitiated hearts will not change themselves ; not easily, not frequently, not naturally, perhaps not possibly. Yet, “ without holiness no man shall see God.” How then are the unholy to become holy. Holiness is a thing of the heart and soul. It is not a few forced, constrained actions, though good as actions, which constitute holiness. It must reside within us : it is a disposition

of soul. To acquire, therefore, that which is not yet acquired, to change that which is not yet changed, to go to the root of the malady, to cleanse and purify the inside of the cup,

the foulness of our mind, is a work of the Spirit of God within us. Nay, more; many, as the Scripture most significantly expresses it, are dead in sins and trespasses ; not only committing sins and trespasses, but dead in them : that is, as insensible of their condition under them, as a dead man is insensible of his condition. Where this is the case, the sinner must, in the first instance, be roused and quickened to a sense of his condition; of his danger, his fate: in a word, he must by some means or other, be brought to feel a strong compunction. This is also an office for the Spirit of God. “ You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins :” Eph. ii. 1. “ Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light:” Eph. v. 14. Whether, therefore, we be amongst the dead in sin; or whether we be of the number of those, with whom, according to St. Paul's description, to will is present, but how to perform that which is good they find not ; who, though they approve the law of God, nay delight in it, after the inward man, that is, in the answers of their conscience, are, nevertheless, brought into captivity to the law of sin, which is in their members ; carnal, sold under sin ; doing what they allow not, what they hate; doing not the good which they would, but the evil which they would not : whichever of these be our wretched estate, for such the apostle pronounces it to be, the grace and influence of God's Spirit must be obtained, in order to rescue and deliver us from it: and the sense of this want and of this necessity lies at the rootof our devotions; when directed to this object.

To those who are in a better state than what has been here described, little need be said, because the very supposition of their being in a better state includes that earnest and devout application by prayer for the continual aid, presence, and indwelling of God's Holy Spirit, which we state to be a duty of the Christian religion.

But, thirdly, the assistance of God's Spirit being obtained, we are to yield ourselves to

its direction; to consult, attend, and listen to its dictates, suggested to us through the admonitions of our conscience. The terms of Scripture represent the Spirit of God as an assisting, not a forcing power; as not suspending our own powers, but enabling them ; as imparting strength and faculty for our religious work, if we will use them ; but whether we will use them or not, still depending uponourselves. Agreeably hereunto St. Paul, you have heard, asserts, that there is no condemnation to them who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. The promise is not to them who have the Spirit, but to them who walk after the Spirit. To walk after the flesh, is to follow the impulses of sensuality and selfishness wherever they lead us; which is a voluntary act. To walk after the Spirit, is steadily and resolutely to obey good motions within us, whatever they cost us ; which also is a voluntary act. All the language of this remarkable chapter (Rom. vii.) proceeds in the same strain ; namely, that after the Spirit of God is given, it remains and rests with ourselves whether we avail ourselves of it or not. “ If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh ye


shall live.” It is through the Spirit that we are enabled to mortify the deeds of the flesh. But still, whether we mortify them or not, it is our act, because it is made a subject of precept and exhortation so to do. Health is God's gift: but what use we will make of it, is our choice. Bodily strength is God's gift: but of what advantage it shall be to us, depends upon ourselves. Even

the higher gift of the Spirit remains a gift, the value of which will be exceedingly great, will be little, will be none, will be even an increase of guilt and condemnation, according as it is applied and obeyed, or neglected and withstood. The fourth chapter of Ephesians, verse 30, is a warning voice upon this subject. “ Grieve not the Spirit of God:” therefore he may

be grieved: being given, he may be rejected; rejected, he may be withdrawn.

St. Paul (Rom. viii.) represents the gift and possession of the Spirit in these words: “ Ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you:” and its efficacy, where it is efficacious, in the following magnificent terms:

66 If the Spirit of him that raised Christ from the dead

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