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the Holy Ghost, as well as to the other two Persons of the blessed Trinity. - In discoursing on the fellowship or assistance of the Holy Ghost, I shall, First, shortly state the necessity we all lie under of receiving his aid: shall, Secondly, point 'out the proper fruits or effects of his fellow. ship, by which effects we may judge how far we have received it; and shall, Thirdly, direct you to the most effectual means of procuring such assistance,
First then; the assistance of the Holy Spirit is necessary, in consequence of the weakness and corruption of our nature. The Scriptures both of the Old and of the New Testament, represent the natural state of man as being a state of moral infirmity and sin. In the first age of the world we read of the generation then living, that “the “ wickedness of man was great in the 66 earth,” and “ that every imagination of “ the thoughts of his heart was only evil “ continually; that all flesh had corrupted 66 his way upon the earth.” Whence did this general prevalence of wickedness proceed, but from an innate tendency and
disposition to evil? David laments of himself, that he was « conceived in sin " and shapen in wickedness d," and represents the Almighty" as looking down 6 from heaven upon the children of men, " to see if there were any that would un6. derstand and seek after God; but,” he proceeds, “ they are all gone out of the 56 way, they are altogether become abo66 minable, there is none that doeth good, “ no not one.". The wise son and successor of David in like manner asserts, “ that there is not a just man upon earth " who doeth good, and sinneth not; that 66 the heart of the sons of men is full of 66 evil, and madness is in their heart while " they live :” and Isaiah, in the name of mankind, confesses, “all we like sheep “ have gone astray, and have turned every 6 one to our own way.”
Whatever allowance may be made in some of these passages for the strong manner of expression common among the nations of the east, they certainly imply a great degree of depravity and corruption.
# Psalm li. 5. and xiv. 3, 4. Eccles. vii. 20. and ix. 3. Isaiah liji. 6.
The New Testament speaks the same language. Both our Lord himself, and his apostle St. Paul, express the natural state of man by the terms the flesh,” and “ the - old man;" and again and again assure us, that “they that are in the flesh," in that natural state, “ cannot please God.” Our Saviour speaks of " men as loving 66 darkness rather than light, because their 66 deeds were evil"." And St. Paul, having adopted the acknowledgments of the sinfulness of man, made by the Psalmist and by Isaiah, says, " the Scripture hath con. 66 cluded all under sini.” He addresses the Ephesians as having been “ dead in 66 trespasses and sins, 'wherein," says he, 65 in time past ye walked according to the 46 course of this world, according to the " prince of the power of the air, the spirit 6 that now worketh in the children of dis* obedience, among whom we also had 66 our conversation in time past in the 6 lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of as the flesh and of the mind, and were by “ nature the children of wrath, even as 66 othersk.” And in that well-known passage in the Epistle to the Romans, speak. ing in the person of a man still under the influence of his native corruption, he says, “ I am carnal, sold under sin; for that 66 which I do, I allow not; for what I " would, that do I not; but what I hate, “ that do 1.” And again, “ for I know « that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth " no good thing: for to will is present “ with me, but how to perform that which “ is good, I find not?."
* Rom. viii. 8. h John ii. 19. Rom. iii. 9. and Gal. iii. 22. - * Ephes. ij. 1, 2, 3.
The histories both of ancient and of modern times ; indeed, the daily and weekly records of passing events, tend to 'confirm these Scriptural representations of the sin fulness of man, since a great part of these records is made up of the recital of human weaknesses and human crimes, Our observation-unwilling observation of what passes under our own eyes, bears painful testimony to the same truth, Indeed, for the confirmation of it, we need only appeal to what passes in our own bosoms. For which of us does not often feel a backwardness to what we know to be our duty, and a strong inclination to many things which we know to be evil? How unguarded
! Rom. vii. 14, 15, 18.
are we sometimes, both in our words and in our actions; and how many emotions of vanity, of undue desire, of causeless anger, and of ill-will, arise in our bosoms. In par: ticular how indisposed are we often for prayer, and for the other offices of devotion! . It is true, that a man may, without the aid of the Holy Spirit, maintain a generally moral line of conduct, and a fair reputation among men. He may be led to do this by regard for his own character, for his own interest, his own health, his own ease, and by a variety of other human motives and human feelings; but without that aid he cannot become really religious, he cannot become HOLX; and we know, that “ with“ out holiness no man shall see the Lord.” “ He cannot,” as our Article expresses it, " turn and prepare himself by his own na66 tural strength and good works, to faith, “ and calling upon Godo;” or do works welk-pleasing in his sight, well-pleasing as proceeding from a pure principle of religion. As long as a man is destitute of
Heb. xii. 14. Art. x. See that Article and the ninth.