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by such means as must increase the cause, while they afford a momentary suspension to the effects; but earnestly beseech the God of all grace, to give unto you “ the Holy Spirit, the Comforter,” that you may have “ peace and joy in believing, “and abound in hope” by his powerful consolations. In the same manner seek fortitude in dangers, assistance in duties, and the assurance and earnest of heaven during life, and at the approach of death.
Whatever be your station in the community, or in the church, as magistrates, senators, ministers of state, or ministers of religion: you ought to seek wisdom and grace to fill up the duties incumbent upon you, to the glory of God and the benefit of mankind, from the same Author and Giver of all good gifts. Whatever be the talents entrusted to your stewardship, you cannot expect to hear with comfort the solemn call,
account of thy stewardship; for thou mayest no “ longer be steward;” unless you improve them in dependence on the Holy Spirit, and continually pray for his teaching and assistance.
The same is the case with you, my brethren, who occupy the more lowly stations in life.
. You cannot be "patient in tribulation, joyful in hope;" “contented with such things as you have,” thankful for the past, simply dependent for the future, superior to murmurings, envyings, and covetings; unless the Holy Spirit form your mind and heart
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to a heavenly taste and judgment, and communicate to you his holy consolations. You cannot properly attend to your relative duties, as parents or children, wives or husbands, masters or servants; or go on cheerfully in the laborious occupations to which you are called; or bear injuries and contempt with meekness and gentleness, except under his influence.
And can we, my brethren, wonder, that there is so little christianity among men called Christians; that the church is so lamentably divided and corrupted; that so small a measure of love, peace, purity, and joy, appear even where, we cannot but hope, there is some vital piety, when we consider how generally this promise is either entirely, or in a great degree, overlooked; and how often the doctrine of the Spirit is even treated with profane ridicule? If all divine life, wisdom, holiness, and joy, come from this source; and men neglect, and quench, and grieve, and resist the Holy Spirit, in whose name they were baptized; can we be surprised that they continue dead in sin, and blinded by the god of this world, and that they rise no higher than mere formality?
Many of you might truly say, “We have heard many sermons, and hold certain doctrines as evangelical; yet we are conscious that we do not live, as we shall wish we had done, when we come to die.' But in hearing sermons and attending to the external parts of religion, have you
been used to pray to our heavenly Father to bestow on you the Holy Spirit of truth, and wisdom, and power? If not, you know the reason why you have received no real benefit.' The seed of the word of God has been sown “ by the way-side, " and the devil has taken it out of your hearts, lest you
should believe and be saved;” or it has fallen on stony ground, where it could find no root; and so has soon withered; or among “ thorns, which “have sprung up and choked it.” Oh! that you would now begin earnestly to plead the promise given by the prophet, “A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within
and “I will take away the stony heart out of your
flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh; and “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you “ to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments and do them.” Then you would find, that the seed falling on good ground, “ receiving the word in an honest and good heart,” you would " keep it and bring forth fruit with pa" tience.” “ Ask and it shall be given you; seek “ and you shall find; knock and it shall be opened "unto you; for every one that asketh receiveth; " and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that " knocketh it shall be opened.”
To you who really desire to find and walk in the ways of peace and holiness; it is enough to say, you have an infallible Teacher, an almighty Helper,
Ezek. xxxvi. 26, 27.
and an all sufficient Comforter. More than this cannot be expressed in human language, “ Happy “art thou, O Israel; who is like unto thee, O
people, saved by the Lord? the Shield of thy
help, and the Sword of thine excellency.” “The "“ eternal God is thy Refuge, and underneath are “the everlasting arms." And the blessings he hath bestowed “ shall be in thee a well of water “ springing up into everlasting life.” Begin, therefore, and go through, every undertaking in this confidence and dependence; with prayer and thanksgiving; and you will soon be made “more “ than conquerors, through him that loved you."
In addressing you thus fully concerning the promise of the Holy Spirit, I wish it always to be understood, if not particularly mentioned, that this promise is given and fulfilled, only through the merits and mediation of CHRIST. But without the Spirit of Christ, we can have no saving benefit from his mediation.
And now imagine to yourselves a large company, a whole nation, a continent, all the human race, universally receiving the gospel under the teaching and influences of the Holy Spirit; with deep repentance, lively faith, genuine humility, fervent love, and a heavenly mind: would not a large proportion of the miseries, which now desolate the earth, be terminated? Would not the remaining troubles be alleviated? Would not peace and harmony, and mutual good offices of every kind, with temperance, purity, and enlarged benevolence, effectually meliorate the state of human society? Now from whence can that be, except from God, who is Love, which, if duly attended to, would fill the earth with holiness and happiness? Can we shew our philanthropy more effecturally, than by promoting this genuine Christianity? And if we have little else in our power; can we do better than pray continually, “ that the Spirit may “ be poured out upon us from on high;” and that “the gospel may be preached, with the Holy “ Ghost sent down from heaven,” in every region, which is enlightened by the beams of the sun?