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a Defender, who by interior light and grace gives a blessing not our own. The strength and glory of the Church of Christ lie in this. She brings an invisible, and to the world an unknown power to bear upon
She is weak always, and often comfortless to the eye of sense. She is often stripped of human helpers. But she is strong in her divine Comforter and Advocate.
The Church is never to be estimated by her external circumstances merely, her outward supports, the excellency of her creeds, the primitive authority of her Church order, her connection with the State which she sustains by a reference to the supreme Legislator. All these things are good. There must be order; there must be forms of worship; there must be government in the Church. They “that preach the gospel, must live of the gospel.”
But the strength of the Church is in her holy de. pendance on divine aid. Without the Spirit she soon becomes comfortless, formal, cold, inefficient, proud, dead in the eyes of the omniscient Savior. But when she is graced with the presence of the Comforter, all goes on well. She is built and compacted together on Christ. She is like a city that is at unity with itself. She spreads amongst the Heathen and Mohammedan nations. Christ is evidently with her, and “ the gates of hell can not prevail against her.”
4. But I must just observe, lastly, that the Holy Spirit's grace is the chief fruit of our Lord's intercession : “I will pray the Father, and he shall send you another Comforter,” saith our Lord. For the Holy Ghost had not been given previously, “because that Jesus was not then glorified.” Accordingly, the apostles declared, immediately after the day of Pentecost, that “being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the gift of the Holy Ghost, he had shed forth those things which the people saw and heard.” And St. Paul inquires,
« Who is he that condemneth ? It is Christ that died; yea rather, that is risen again ; who is even at the right hand of God; who also maketh intercession for us.”
Thus the main blessing of the death and resurrection of Christ was that gift of the Spirit which was to give them their practical efficacy. We are now under the dispensation and conduct of the Holy Ghost. As the incarnation of Messiah was the great hope of the Old Testament, so the Comforttı is of the New.
How admirably adapted, then, to the state of man is the gospel of Christ! How admirably suited is this concluding branch of the scheme of salvation (for we have in this discourse completed the first great outlines of the redemption of Christ) to give efficacy to all the preceding, and stamp the whole with the seal of truth! What a noble, benevolent, practicable, divine project! Man a sinner, a wandering, weak, blind creature, is directed to deliverance, elevated by the developement of a mystery hid from ages and generations, bound by the great act of Christ's atone. ment to love his fellow creatures, commanded every where to repent, assured of not being cast out by the tender-hearted Savior, furnished with the aids and assistances of the internal Comforter, Teacher, and Sanctifier of the Church !!
Let us then value aright this great gift! Let us pray for the Holy Spirit for ourselves. If we once begin the care of our own salvation in earnest, we shall feel the need of divine assistance. Pray then for the Holy Ghost. Read the Bible depending on his influences. Perform all religious duties in the strength of the Spirit. Attend public
Sermons I to VI.
worship, relying on his illumination, consolation, divine inspiration. Regard not the contempt and ridicule of the world. It knoweth not this Divine visitant. It scorns what it does not understand. But make the blessed Comforter your Guide and Captain through the warfare and miseries of this mortal life.
Remember, also, that the difference between the pretences which the enthusiast makes to the Spirit, and the humble trust of the penitent believer, is to be discerned in the different fruits produced. A gentle, meek, spiritual, loving, teachable, stedfast temper is as surely the proof of the blessed Spirit's teaching, as pride, conceit, worldliness, party-spirit, fickleness is of the contrary.
Finally, unite continually in devout prayer for å larger effusion of the grace of the Holy Spirit. A most hopeful sign of coming grace would be more earnest and general supplications for it. Several years since a beloved friend of my own,' called the attention of the Church to the necessity of prayer for the Holy Ghost. Much good followed the appeal. Allow me to request you to act upon it. Let some evening in each week,' be the especial season for earnest, private and social prayer for this greatest of all gifts; and especially as respects India, where our feeble numbers and feebler health can do absolutely nothing without the quickening energies of grace; but where all may be done, should God be pleased to vouchsafe to us the copious showers of his Spirit.
* The Rev. J. H. Stewart, Incumbent of one of the new churches at Liverpool.
The evening of Saturday may perhaps be suggested,
PSALM L. 21.
These things hast thou done and I kept silence;
thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself; but I will reprove thee and set them in order before thine eyes.
Having contemplated the great scheme of redemption in our six preceding discourses, and having shown it to be full of benevolence to man, we proceed to the SECOND MAIN DIVISION of our entire course, and shall endeavor to trace out the practical application of redemption to the human heart; in which the same features of Divine compassion will be apparent.
As many of the most fatal mistakes in personal religion arise from inadequate or false conceptions of the Divine character as revealed in the gospel, we begin here. The ministers of Christ must use every exertion to correct such fundamental errors as affect the whole application of Christianity; and this is
False views of God's existence, attributes, authority, law, are the source of the superficial and external religion of too many professed Christians ; and are peculiarly dangerous in heathen lands, where
innumerable false notions float about, temptations to a weak faith abound, and the very being and perfections of God are perpetually assailed.
This is the topic suggested by the words of the text, in which the Almighty, after exposing the folly of men in relying on external observances to the neglect of inward religion, and after taxing the ungodly with some of their more glaring provocations; proceeds to arraign them for those false conceptions of his glory and sovereignty from which their impenitence sprung. They imagined God to be such an one as theinselves; they thought his delay in punishing arose from similar causes as in human judicatures ; and they totally forgot the future tribunal before which they would have to appear : “ These things hast thou done, and I kept silence ; and thou thoughtest that I was altogether such an one as thyself; but I will reprove thee and set them in order before thee.”
Let us point out, then, the danger of false conceptions of the Divine character, by considering,
The extraordinary weight which Revelation gives to the true idea of the ever blessed Godthis is the primary proposition.
The tendency of fallen man to low and unworthy thoughts of him—this is the danger.
The direct and fatal consequences of false views of God on every part of practical religion-this is the reason for urging both.
I. The whole Bible is a manifestation of God. Revelation begins and ends in the person, the majesty, the attributes, the will of God.
All redemption springs from the glorious character of the one true God.
The Scriptures take for granted his existence and perfections, as impressed on the heart of man at his creation, or revealed to him in Paradise,