Page images
PDF
EPUB

friend, by obeying Him, serving Him, pleasing Him, praying to Him, and following his steps. He that saith he abideth in Him ought as He walked so also himself to walk. If we wish to be accepted by Christ in heaven, we must give our whole heart to Him now.

If we are strangers to Him now, He will be a stranger to us then, saying I never knew you. We must observe and maintain that temper of heart which will make the passage from hence to his kingdom an easy transition.

There is a great congruity in what happens to us in this world with what will happen to us in the world to come. There is a connecting link between both. If there we receive, here we must ask. If there we find, here we

here we must seek. If there it be opened to us, here we must knock. If there we be delivered from Satan's torments, here we must be delivered from Satan's power. If there we be delivered from death, here we must be delivered from sin. If there we be admitted into glory, here we must be admitted into a state of grace and reconciliation. If there we be possessors, here we must be heirs. If there we have the inheritance itself, here we must have the firstfruits of it.

If there our happiness consists in rejoicing in the presence of the Lord, here our happiness must consist in the same thing. If there we see face to face, here we must see through a glass, darkly. If there we know as also we are known, here we must also know in part. If there the kingdom of God be manifested to us, here the

לל

kingdom of God must also come upon us by our resolving to repent and turn to Him, and live soberly, righteously, and godly.

The kingdom of God should not be altogether strange to us when we arrive there. A believer then will say of the glorious sights which shall be revealed to his view “ these are not strange to me for

my frail mortal sight discovered them to me in part when I groaned with desire to know more of Him who made them.” He will say of angels and choruses of hallelujahs “ these are not strange to me, for I have prayed, sung, and rejoiced and have made melody in my heart though fainting under weakness and corruption.” And he will say of Christ “ He is not strange to me, for He has been already enthroned in my heart, the life of my soul, my principle of action, not only the truth and life, but the way. He who is now receiving me into glory has long been guiding me with his counsel. For He is the mighty Counsellor and the Prince of Peace."

Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be ascribed all honour, praise, and glory, might, majesty, dominion, and thanksgiving, for ever and ever. Amen.

SERMON XVI.

ON THE SEAL OF REGENERATION : WHAT OBSTACLES

PREVENT ITS BEING DISCERNED.

EPHESIANS i. 13.

In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that

Holy Spirit of promise which is the earnest of our inherit

ance.

The confident assurance of our adoption in Christ is a great point in religion, being indeed the grand incentive to Christian holiness and perfection. It is Satan's advantage to hide from us this assurance and all the comfort and encouragement arising from it; and as long as we are irresolute and inconstant in prayer he succeeds in keeping us in doubt or ignorance of our adoption; but let a man arm himself by faith, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance, and he will soon discern the earnest of his inheritance, the indwelling of the Spirit, the pledge of his adoption in Christ, the seal of his regeneration. He will arise from the dead, and Christ will give him light. The Spirit of wisdom and revelation will be given unto him. The

eyes of his understanding will be enlightened. He will know something of the hope of his calling ; of the riches of the glory of his inheritance, and the exceeding greatness of the Lord's power unto them who believe. He will be strengthened with might by the Spirit in the inner man. Christ will dwell in his heart by faith. Being rooted and grounded in love he will comprehend something of the breadth and length and depth and height. He will know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. He will be filled with all the fulness of God.

There are my brethren many hindrances, many obstacles of our own making which prevent us from attaining any degree of assurance of having this seal of the Holy Spirit.

One great hindrance to our obtaining any degree of assurance of having this seal of the Holy Spirit is consciousness of guilt. It is one of the attributes of God's Holy Spirit to convince us of sin. It is one of the symptoms of the workings of that Spirit that we should remember our own evil ways, and our doings that were not good, that we should lothe ourselves in our own sight for our iniquities and for our abominations.

our abominations. Consciousness of unworthiness when attended with repentance is no proof against our having the seal of the Spirit; it is even a proof of the contrary, and should comfort us, as affording one infallible mark of the Spirit's operations.

Another and a greater hindrance to our obtaining any degree of assurance of having this seal of

M

the Holy Spirit is, want of sincerity in giving ourselves up to his guidance. So much wilful exclusion of that light which is always ready to be imparted from above is so much want of assurance of the seal of our inheritance. Will any one say that the good suggestions (that is the suggestions of the Holy Spirit of promise) are not distinguishable from those of the tempter or of our own hearts ? Are the workings of the Spirit and the workings of the flesh so much alike that they cannot be known one from the other? In proportion then as we obey the dictates of the Holy Spirit we shall have assurance of his seal. If we are sincere in devoting ourselves to his guidance, we shall be more and more watchful to obey his motions, until we shall arrive at such a degree of assurance of being marked and sealed for happiness eternal as to leave room for no doubt what

ever.

The impression of this seal is not altogether unperceived by men. The fruits of this devotedness to the Holy Spirit will be visible. The fruits of the Spirit are manifest, manifest to the world, still more manifest to the person in whom He resides. Men indeed are slow to attribute good works to the Spirit of God when they can possibly attribute them to any thing else. But still, the lives of a regenerate and of an unregenerate person are so different as to be visible and apparent to all. By their fruits ye shall know them.

But whether other men shut their eyes or no to

« PreviousContinue »