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your hearts.” Heb. i. 15. If we neglect making out after the Spirit to-day, we know not “what shall be on the morrow." Jam. iv. 14. None knows " what a day may bring forth.” Prov. xxvii. 1. Another day may bring the impenitent sinner into eternal fames. God tells us that “his Spirit shall not always strive with men.
Gen. vi. 3. And if the Spirit of God have once done striving with us, then the time and hope of our getting the Spirit are past and gone also. Now therefore while time and the day of grace last, look about you lest the opportunity be lost and you be undone forever.
If any shall now ask; How shall we do to get the Spirit of God poured out upon us and dwelling in us? There is a great deal of duty incumbent upon us in this respect.
We must not sit still and say, It is not in our power to get the Spirit: God expects that his word should stir us up to careful endeavors, that we should up and be doing, if so the Lord will be with us. If we sit still we are sure to perish, but if we stir up and set ourselves to seek him, who knows but the Lord may help us so to seek him as that he may be found of us? Something therefore of our duty in order hereto I shall endeavor to set before you in these following directions. And the same course is to be taken for the obtaining an increase of the graces of the Spirit.
Direct. 1. Labor for a serious considerate frame. Duly ponder and weigh things, especially matters of eternity. Seriously mind what your state, what your danger, what your work is. That is the woful bane of many a soul, they do not consider. “ My people doth not consider.” Isa. i. 3. They do not thoroughly think of things, some slight notions and workings they may have about them, but it is not to purpose. I believe there are many who . think they are converted, and have the Spirit of God, who never set themselves to purpose to think what conversion was, what sin is from which they should convert; what God, Christ and holiness are, to which they should convert, and what it is to have the Spirit of God. It is a dreadful judgment of God upon gospel sinners, that in seeing they see not, they have some flighty sight and apprehensions of things, but they do not see them really and to purpose : They know every thing almost about Christianity, but they feel nothing, and so indeed know nothing. Did men and women see things really, and consider things seriously and to purpose, we should have other manner of endeavors for the Spirit, for conversion and salvation than there are. It would be a good step if sinners could get their hearts set upon, and their thoughts seriously busied about, those matters that lie betwixt God and their souls, and take up right and thorough apprehensions of those things which are of spiritual and everlasting concernment. Hence is it wont to be said ; consideration is half conversion. A
giddy, flighty generation that can scarce be serious or fixed in any thing, that cannot get their hearts fixed seriously to think of things, especially of a spiritual nature, are not like to be a converted generation, to be the subject of the pouring out of the Spirit. We must therefore labor to set our hearts to the words of God, to feel them in thorough meditation that they may be our life. « One truth felt in meditation is worth a world.” -Mr. Mitchel's Let. Hence David, Ps. xxxix. 3. “My heart was hot within me, while I was musing the fire burned.” A religious pondering frame would greatly make way for the presence of the Spirit of grace in the soul. “I thought on my ways and turned.” Ps. cxix. 59.
Direct. 2. Be sure not to resist or quench the Spirit. When the Holy Ghost is moving upon, or towards you, beware of opposing or stiling its motions : As they did, Acis vii. 51. "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.” If persons will always resist the Holy Ghost, when it is moving towards them, how should they come by it to be partakers of it? Hence are we so expressly charged, 1 Thes. v. 19. “Quench not the Spirit.” If when the Spirit moves by the word, or moves in your hearts to leave sin, to follow God and after holiness, if now you withstand, refuse or neglect to attend its motions, you are not like to obtain the Spirit. If you will not give entertainment to the Spirit of God, nor embrace its motions, how can you be like to receive it? Therefore be very attentive to embrace its motions and obey them: Hearken diligently to his counsel and commands. " When the Spirit of God is knocking at your hearts, and stirs your hearts to accept of him and of his graces, (which he is willing and ready to work in you,) by no means neglect them or slight them, but lay hold of them presently, as one of the greatest mercies that God is intending towards you, bless bim and cherish them, and beseech him to go on with his work in your souls; do not reject any work of the Spirit, neither grieve him by neglecting bis good motions. Prov. i. 23, Turn you at my reproof : behold, I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known my words unto you.'”-Sedgwick on the Covenant, p. 641.
Direct. 3. Remove all prejudices against the Spirit out of your hearts. Our hearts naturally are full of prejudice against the Spirit, and the ways and workings of it, of which we must labor to get them cleared. There are those things wont to be mentioned (as in the author but now quoted, p. 639), wherein we are apt to take up prejudice against the Spirit. 1. Against the humbling work of the Spirit. 2. The mortifying work of the Spirit. 3. The sanctifying work of the Spirit
. 4. The derisions that befal men for the Spirit's sake. That which I have especial reference to here is that we should get removed all prejudice against the mortifying and sanctifying work of the Spirit. Beware of being offended at the way of walking in the Spirit for the strictness of it, as if it were too straight to be restrained from these and those flesh-pleasing actions, and to be tied to these and those religious duties and services. Be so far from looking upon these as unreasonable, as that on the contrary you may account them most equitable, and indeed most pleasant. As Prov. iii. 17. “Her ways are ways of pleasantness.” And account that it is your naughty heart only that makes you think them tedious and irksome. By all means get your hearts reconciled to those ways, in which the Spirit of God leads those he dwells in, that you may from the heart account those happy who by the help and grace of the Spirit can and do walk in them, and that you should account it your own greatest happiness if you could obtain to have and walk in the Spirit, and in all the ways thereof; and that every way and work of the Spirit of God may be very precious and desirable to you. They are the most excellent, glorious, profitable and desirable ways and works, and it is the perverseness of man's heart and will that makes them at any time seem otherwise : which perverse esteem of them we must labor to get rid of.
Direct. 4. Get your hearts pressed with the intolerable load and burden of sin, of which you can no way be eased but by the presence and help of the Spirit of God. Never rest nor be quiet till you come to see the intolerable, infinite, endless evil that is in sin, to be sensible that it is an unsupportable burden. That is the reason why many are so little concerned about obtaining the Spirit of God to help and relieve them ; they are not duly sensible of the dreadful burden and load of their sin that lies upon them. They have some lighter convictions and humiliations it may be for some grosser sins, but they are not deep, soaking, nor thorough enough : They are not sick unto death of their sin, and hence they do not look, or not very earnestly, for the physician. It may be they have some physic of their own, something compounded in their own kitchen, some course or work of their own, that they account will do the deed, expiate for their sin, and preserve them from perishing ; and so they look no further. Or if they do look out to this great Physician of souls, it is only to get some directions what they may do themselves for themselves, and they themselves will get it, work it and administer it, and so they rest still upon their own doing : They are not brought so low in themselves, as utterly and forever to despair of their own strength and skill to recover themselves, and hence they do not yield themselves wholly and fully to be healed by the Spirit of Christ, they do not see such need of it. Labor therefore by all means to see clearly the deadly wound that sin hath given you,
and to have your hearts broken all to pieces under the sense thereof. So long as you are whole in yourself
, or think you can make yourself whole, you will see no need of the Physician : But if you be thus sick, heart sick of sin, you will then feel an absolute need of the Physician, you will then prize and look after him. “ They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick.” Matt. ix. 12. Sit not down at quiet till sin become most exceeding bitter. “Go on humbling to be humbled, and to see such intolerable evil in sin, and to be so burdened with the wrath of God lying upon you for it, as it may make sin everlastingly odious to you, and force you to fly for refuge, to lay bold on the hope set before you, and to have strong consolation there."Mr. Mitchel's Let. Do not shun sorrow and mourning for sin : Of necessity you must be troubled for sin in this life or in hell, and it is far better to come mourning to God for sin here, than 10 go mourning from him for bis judgment hereafter. If we be indeed cast down for sin and be in extreme bitterness of soul about it from the sinfulness of it, and its contrariety to God appearing to us, then we shall be fit objects for the Spirit who is the Comforter to manisest his gracious work upon. “I will lead him also and restore comforts unto him and to his mourners.” Isa. lvii. 18. Penitential mourners for sin stand fair in the way to be comforted by God. Thus it is said the Spirit of the Lord was upon Christ for this end. “ The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek, he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound : To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all that mourn : To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning.” Isa. Ixi. 1-3. If we do not feel sin to purpose (as it is to be feared few in these days do, whatever common convictions many have) there is little hope that we should have this blessed Comforter sent to us, to take up his abode with us. Mourning for sin cannot be too much, if it raise the price of Christ in the soul, and draw out a more earnest desire of the applying work of the Spirit to be wrought in the heart.
Direct. 5. Cry mightily to God for his Spirit. Ask this boon of heaven. When you feel an utter want of the Spirit of God in you, then run, fee to the throne of grace and let your soul cry out to the living God for this mercy. Tell the Lord in humble manner what need you have of his Spirit, what your misery is without it, and earnestly beg of him that he will give you his Holy Spirit, to work faith, repentance, and all other graces in you. And for your encouragement, consider what Christ says, Luke xi. 13. “If ye then being evil, know how to give good
gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" and Prov. ii. 3—5. But you will say ; We cannot pray without the Spirit.
Answ. But yet go and present yourselves before God, and spread your case before him as well as you can. wants, your inability to good, your insensibleness of your misery : Plead as well as you can for mercy, for the bestowing of his Spirit upon you : Who knows but when you are endeavoring, seeking and striving, God may give in bis Holy Spirit to you, and help you to pray to acceptation with him? It is our duty to wait and let God take his time and way to work. But be sure to pray and that with great earnestness from a deep sense of your
distress and danger, that God will speedily help you. " Make haste, o God, to deliver me, make haste to help me, O Lord.” Ps. Ixx. 1. “ Hear me speedily, O Lord, my spirit faileth : bide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit.” Ps. cxlii. 7. It must be with humble and earnest prayer on our part, that the Spirit of God will come into our souls, if ever it come there. Look therefore to the infinite mercy of God in Christ to help in this matter.
Direct. 6. Be exceeding diligent in the use of all means, especially in attending upon the word of God for the obtaining of the Spirit. As we must pray, so we must use all due means with praying over them. Seek for the Spirit wherever there is hope it may be found in all those ways which God hath instituted for the giving forth of grace, mercy and good to the souls of men. Let Sabbaths be observed, ordinances attended, meditation, selfexamination, prayer, secret, family and public prayer, reading the word of God; and especially the ministry of the word : Oh, wait there; by that, the word of God dispensed, the Spirit is pleased to convey himself. The gospel is called the “ministration of the Spirit.” 2 Cor. iii. 8. We read of those upon whom the Holy Ghost fell while they were hearing the word. “ While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.” Acts x. 44. The Galatians (Gal. iii. 2.) received the Spirit by the hearing of faith, i. e. the word of faith which the apostles preached. Therefore attend diligently to the ministry of the word, pray before you come, pray when you go from hearing of the word, that it might be a blessed means to convey the Spirit
And when you come to the word, attend with all your might, hear as for your lives, do not heedlessly let slip any one sentence without your careful attention. Expect, wait, long, look when, by what sentence, by what word spoken God will let in his Spirit into your souls. Oh, if persons would set themselves in good earnest to attend upon the word of the gospel, as the word of God, as the ministry of the Spirit, who knows what God might