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ascribing these consolations of peace and joy to the Comforter; we may regard them as the earnest and pledge of the spirit in our hearts": and then, our part is so to cherish and use them, as to go on from strength to strengths, till we arrive at perfection.
You see there is enough for us to do, though. the spirit strive with our spirits, and in such sort that we derive the power to will and to dot what we ought, ultimately from him.
I know that this, and other things, which on the authority of scripture, I have delivered on the present subject, will appear strange to natural reason. But so that scripture has prepared us to expect they would do. For the natural man, says the Apostle, receiveth not. the things of the spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto himų. And to the same purpose our divine Master himself, speaking of the spirit of truth; whom, says he, the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him ; but ye, addressing himself to his disciples (that is, to men, who walk by faith, and not by sight] ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
9 Eph. i. 14.
Ps. Ixxxiv. n. # Phil. ii. 13.
On this assurance, 'then, we may reasonably believe what, by reason, we cannot understand. And the substance of what we are to believe on this whole subject, is contained in a single text of St. Peter, where the three divine persons, yet ineffably one God, “ the Trinity in “ unity," whom we adore, and their respective offices, are accurately distinguished. For in the opening of his first epistle, he pronounces the Christians, to whom he writes, ELECT, that is, entitled to salvation, according to the foreknowledge, or pre-determination, of God the Father ; through the sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience; and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,
In these memorable words, we have a brief, yet clear epitome of our whole faith. And
* Athanasian creed.
y So the word topórywow means in this place; as it likewise does in Acts ii. 23. where the sense of it is clearly explained and defined by the words, τη ωρισμένη βελη, which introduce it.' The participle wporywouéve has the same sense in 1 Pet. i. 20.
thus at length you see that, though eternal life be the gift of God in his Son, it is only ensured, and finally conveyed to us, by the ministry of his HOLY SPIRIT : to which blessed TRINITY, therefore, be all honour, and praise, and adoration, now and for ever! AMEN.
PREACHED JUNE 19, 1774.
2 Cor. vii. 1.
Having therefore these promises (dearly be
loved) let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
OUR discourses from this place turning very much, as they ought to do, on the great Christian doctrine of salvation, that is, of eternal life, considered as the gift of God to mortal and sinful man, through the redemption of his Son, and the sanctification of his holy Spirit, it would be a strange neglect in us,
, if we did not take care to remind our hearers
of the effect which that doctrine ought to have
This duty I mean now to discharge towards you: and I cannot do it more properly than by enforcing that advice which St. Paul gave the Corinthians, as the result of a long and eloquent discourse to them on the same subject. Having THEREFORE (says he) these
promises [i. e. the promise of eternal life, and of acceptance through Christ, so as to become the people of God, nay the sons of God, with other assurances of the like sorta, interspersed in the two preceding chapters, Having these promises] let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
The inference, you see, is direct to our purpose: and common ingenuity, if nothing else, might well engage us, in return for such great and precious promises, to draw the same conclusion for ourselves. But, when we further consider that these promises are conditional, and made only to those who obey the giver of them, interest, as well as gratitude, will oblige us to yield that obedience so expressly required of us.
a Ch. v, 1. v. 13. And ri. 16, 18.