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shall be scattered every man to his own, assuredly we cannot reckon ourselves as belonging to that flock of the good Shepherd, who hear his voice, and also follow him whithersoever he goeth, so that they never go astray from the fold. Then how shall we be made free'; how shall we be able to love Christ always, to walk as well as to feel according to the Spirit, and not according to the flesh ?
The answer is, that we must attain to the Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus; that the Spirit of God must abide in us, and change us into his own image, that we may be delivered from sin and the flesh, and serve them no more at all. And yet this great truth, on which our whole salvation depends, and without which Christ has died in vain for each of us, as far as we ourselves are concerned—this great truth is for ever forgotten; and of all the points which the Gospel teaches us, this is, perhaps, the least regarded, So true are our Lord's words of that blessed Spirit whom we thus continually de. spise, “ that the world cannot receive him, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him.” We pray to God; few, very few, none of us there are, I trust, who do not pray to him ; but I greatly doubt whether the prayer for the gift of the Holy Ghost, the prayer for the real
enjoyment of that blessing which Christ has promised to his true disciples, that the Comforter should abide with them for ever-whether this be so often a part of our addresses to God as it ought to be. But consider that this is the very main thing of all.
main thing of all. We are living, if I may so speak, under the dispensation of the Spirit: in that character God now reveals himself to his people, as he did of old, by conversing visibly with the prophets and patriarchs; or in the latter times, when he became manifest in the flesh, in the person of Jesus Christ. He who does not know God the Holy Ghost, cannot now know God at all. Though we have known Christ after the flesh, says St. Paul, yet henceforth know we him so no more: the Divine presence is henceforth to be of a different kind, not less real, but only revealing itself to our minds instead of our bodily senses. We must pray then for the Spirit; the Spirit of holiness, the Spirit of liberty, the Spirit of peace, and love, and joy. As the apostles were changed
his influence, so even shall we be. When he had once entered into their hearts, we hear no more of their being scattered every man to his own, and leaving their Saviour alone. The words of Peter, which, spoken in his own unaided strength, were but an idle boast soon re
proved by the event, “ Lord, I will lay down my life for thy sake;" were, after the Spirit had once made him free from the bondage of corruption, the words of truth and soberness; and, according to his words, so did it happen to him. And may not we hope the very same thing in our own case; that we, who now make vain professions of faith and love to our Lord in the church-vain, because they are so soon broken, however sincerely they were uttered at the time; that we who are scattered every man to his own, each after his several idols, which he worships with the service of his daily living; that we may no more go astray from our Shepherd; but even as we believe in him when our hearts are most warmed within us, so we may also keep the assurance of our faith stedfast to the end? Indeed we may hope for it; for is it not God's own promise, “ If ye, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give his Holy Spirit to them that ask him ?” He does not say, only to those who are already his children, but to those that ask him, however little of a childlike affection they may yet feel towards him; yet if they do but ask, they shall have their portion of the children's bread. We may hope for it, then, if we will but pray for it with a sincere and earnest desire. We shall feel the blessing if we persist; not coming indeed suddenly, nor all at once rendering us perfect; but loosening one bond of sin after another, and strengthening one good affection after another, till we shall be free altogether, and full grown in faith, and hope, and love: a state of happiness, which the more we think
it will seem the more desirable; and which, indeed, is but a very short way removed from the entrance into the kingdom of God, where they who do enter can never for one instant be scattered from their Lord, but follow him whithersoever he goeth, night and day serving him and praising him with an entire and everlasting love.
EPHESIANS ii. 22.
In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of
God through the Spirit.
Of all the events which the Christian year commemorates, there is none which more immediately concerns us now, than that recorded in this day's service. The day of Pentecost was, in fact, the birth-day of Christianity; for it was then that the Christian scheme was completed, and began to be put in practice, such as it was to continue to the end of the world. On that day the Holy Spirit first descended, and took upon himself the guidance and governance of God's people; so fulfilling the declaration of God, in which he had said that he would be their God, and they should be his people, in a manner different from any that had been known before. On that day the heaven was opened, and from thenceforward the angels of God have
* Preached on Whitsunday.