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climates;—its appearance, its symptoms, its causes, its mode of traveling throligh the world, and attacking human life, are all new, and human experience is as much against its existence, as against the existence of a miracle; and therefore, according to the highest inficel authority, we ought not, on human testinieny, to believe in the existence of such a pestilence. A moment's reflection shows how inefficient such a reasoning would be in quieting the alarms of the public mind in the present case;—and when man is brought to his serious and honest hour, they will prove equally unavailing in quelling the fears of futurity. But I am tired of unraveling the fallạcies, and exposing the sandy foundations on which men are resting their eternal interests, “O that they were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end."
I have brought forward these statements with the design, if possible, of presenting some antidote to infidelity, and of saving some of my fellow creatures from its fatal consequences. Much has been written in the form of direct argument, to prove the truth of the Scriptures. Indeed, if any thing has ever been proved, which depended on human testimony or historical evidence, the miracles and resurrection of our Saviour, and of course, the truth of the Christian religion, has been proved. One who has fully and honestly attended to the evidences on this subject, would as soon expect, that the existence of France as a nation, or of London as a city, should prove a dream, as that the Christian religion should prove a dream. But with all this evidence before the public mind, we have infidels, and the prospect of reclaiming them seems to be almost desperate. I have attempted a new course, and I humbly pray, that God may give
I have attempted to fix their attention on the plain fact, that infidelity is a stranger to peace, and that hy their creeds they are destroying their own happiness. I have reminded them of this, that the infidel, after all his devices, subterfuges, and sophisms, has no assurance that there is not a hell, and that he may not be in that hell to-morrow. What will the infidel plead against this statement of the case? Will he pretend to deny it? Will he say that he has an assurance that he will not be in hell to-morrow? Let him show us, if he can, from what part of his creed he derives this assurance. I say, for the sake of himself, and for the sake of thousands who are following the same career of darkness and ruin, let him show us, if he can, from what part of his creed he draws the assurance that he will not be in hell to-morrow. And if he can make no reply to this, wil he still attempt to persuade us that his soul is at peace and will he persuade others to trust to the same broken reed? The mind of man can never rest upon such ground as this. The brute has no anticipations of the future, and therefore can be contented with its present good. But the soul of man dwells more in the future than in the present, and without some security for things to come it can have no peace,—and this want of peace is the greatest of positive evils --worse than all the diseases of the body. “The spirit of a man may sustain his infirmity, but a wounded spirit, who can bear?" Amen.
THE GRACE OF GOD IN THE GIFT OF THE
HOLY SPIRIT. John 14: 16,17. .... He shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of truth. ...,
To fallen man a Saviour was necessary. Polluted with sin, burdened with guilt, exposed to wrath, he could not save himself. Dead in trespasses and sins he must have died the second death without remedy and without hope, if he had been left to his own resources. How dreadful his condition! Who could make atonement, or bear his punishment! A Saviour was revealed. God laid help on a Mighty One. Jesus, who is the Christ, the Son of God, became the Redeemer. Atonement was made, pardon was bought, life eternal was secured: now God may be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift! Equally necessary was the agency of the Holy Spirit after the ascension of the Lord Jesus Christ to Heaven, for the purpose of applying redemption. If the offer of pardon had been made to the apostate descendents of fallen Adam, and peace with God had been proposed through the blood of Jesus Christ, and men had been cast on their own determination; not one would have accepted the propitiation: then it would have seemed that, so far as the salvation of sinners was contemplated, Christ had died in vain. Such was not the purpose of God: it was his fixed design that Jesus should “ see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied;" that men, through believing in his name, should “lay hold of the hope set before them;" that a “great multitude whom
no man can number," should say, standing before the throne, “salvation to our God that sitteth on the throne, and to the Lamb." And to fulfil this design, the Holy Spirit was given. It is his appointed work to illuminate the dark mind, to renew the depraved heart, to sanctify the heirs of salvation, and lead them to glory. And for this great work his power is infinitely sufficient.
This deeply interesting view of the Divine Economy our Sa. viour repeatedly exhibited to the faith of his disciples, in that most instructive and consolatory discourse which he addressed to them, shortly before his death. He gives a special promise of the Holy Spirit, defines his office, and describes the purposes and results of
“ He (the Father) shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you for ever: even the Spirit of truth.”
In the gift of the Spirit according to this promise, there is a glorious display of the wisdom and goodness of God. This will be clearly seen, if we consider attentively the doctrine of the Holy Scriptures concerning the CHARACTER, and the OPERATION of the Comforter—the Holy Spirit.
All our knowledge of the existence and nature and office of the Holy Spirit is derived from Revelation. Reason may afford some conclusions respecting the being and attributes of the Great First Cause of all existence, and of all excellence; but the sublime mysteries of the Trinity, including the nature and the office both of the Son and the Spirit
; together with the whole scheme of salvation, in regard of the purposes of God, and the manner in which he accomplishes his purposes by the Gospel, cannot be discovered by her limited researches. To the Bible alone we must apply for instruction on this subject; and we should examine the sacred page with unfeigned humility, and unreserved submission to Divine teaching.
1. The character of the Holy Spirit, is fully described in the Holy Scriptures. The passages which speak of this great Agent in the work of renovation are much more numerous and explicit than a cursory reader of the Bible would suppose. In both the Old Testament and the New, and by various modes of representation, the glory of his nature and the rich grace of his influences are placed before our minds, and impressed on our hearts. All these passages cannot now be recited; it will indeed be sufficient for our purpose to embody and present to the inquirer after truth, a portion of that testimony which the Spirit of Truth bears concerning himself, in his own word.
In the Old Testament we read, “The Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters. Gen. 1:2. The Spirit of God came on Balaam. Num. 24:2. The Spirit of God hath made me, the breath of the Almighty hath given me life. Job. 33:4. Take not the Spirit from me. Ps. 51:11. Whither shall I go from thy Spirit, or whither shall I flee from thy presence. Ps. 139:7. The Lord God, and his Spirit hath sent me. Isa. 48:16. The Spirit of the Lord God is on me. Isa. 61:1. Afterwards the Spirit took me up, and brought me in vision by the Spirit of God, into Chaldea. Ez. 11:24.”
So likewise we read in the New Testament, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. Matt. 1:20. At the baptism of Jesus, John saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him. Matt. 3:16. Whosoever shall speak against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him; neither in this world, nor in the world to come. Matt. 12:32. Whatsoever shall be given you in that hour, that speak ye: for it is not ye that speak, but the Holy Ghost. Go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. The Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him. John 14:17. The Spirit of Truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me. John 15:26. And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. Acts 2:1. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thy heart to lie to the Holy Ghost? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. Acts 5:3,4. The Holy Ghost said, separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them. Acts 13:2. Take heed to yourselves, and to all the flock over the which ihe Holy Ghost hath made you overseers. Acts 20:28. Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the Prophet. Acts 28:25. The Lord (Jehovah) said... Go and tell this people, hear ye indeed, but understand not. Isa. 6:9. Believers are born of the Spirit.... born of God. John 1:13. 3:5,8. Now the God of peace, fill you with all joy and peace in believing; that you may abound in hope through the power of the Holy Ghost. Rom. 15:13. Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God. Rom. 15:19. The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 1 Cor. 2:11. To one is given by the Spirit the word of Wisdom.... But all these worketh that one and the self-same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will. 1 Cor. 12:8.11. As it is now revealed to his holv prophets and apostles by the Spirit. Eph. 3:5. Christ also hath