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us. His work by us. Let us then praise his glorious name, his glorious grace, his glorious condescension, and his glorious work.
Let us be thankful, and to increase our thankfulness, let us think of our faults, our follies, and our transgressions. Notwithstanding these, God has wrought for us, in us, and by us, and the best we can do is grate. fully to exclaim, “Now therefore, O God, we thank thee, and praise thy glorious name.” Let us be hopeful, for the Lord who has done so much for us, will do more. He who has begun, will complete the work. Yes, we are warranted to say, “ The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: thy mercy, O Lord, endur. eth for ever." Let us be prayerful, and hav. ing received so much, let us ask for more ; especially for more grace, and a fuller supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ. O God, there is nothing that thy church needs, so much as thy Spirit! Wilt thou not pour down the Spirit upon us from on high, and so fill us with the Holy Ghost and with power, to the praise of thy glorious grace! O Holy Spirit, come in the fulness of thy power, with all thy gifts, and grace into thy Church, and fire it with holy zeal, fill it with profound gratitude, and make it a universal blessing !
A LOSS DEPRECATED.
EVERY believer possesses the Holy Spirit, must possess the Spirit; for he is the author of faith, and there is no believing unto salvation without him. He is the worker of all inward religion, working in the Lord's people, to will and to do of his good pleasure. Bat he so works in us, after regeneration, as to influence, dispose, and prompt us ; helping our infirmities, but not in the least interfering with our accountability or responsibility, Though he works in us, yet we act freely ; as freely as if no power were exerted, or influence employed. Therefore we read of his being resisted, grieved, and vexed ; and have the exhortation given us, “ Quench not the Spirit,” as if the Spirit's influence were a gentle flame within us, which may be extinguished by us. And that his presence and comforting influence may be forfeited and sinned away is clear, which caused David with intense feeling to cry out, “Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.” Ps. li. 11.
The Spirit entirely leaves some, on whom he has acted, as he did those with whom he strove before the flood; as God said, “My Spirit shall not always strive with men." And as he did Saul the King of Israel, as we read, “The Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him." And as he did the people of the Jews, which caused him to say, “Woe also to them when I depart from them." How careful then should persons be, not to stifle convictions, harden their hearts, and resist the Holy Ghost. Every one should encourage the first motions of the Spirit, yielding to him, and asking for more and more of his influence and operation. With. out the Holy Spirit working within us, and forming Christ in the heart, we cannot be saved; for the work of the Spirit within us, is as necessary to salvation, as the work of Christ without us.
When the Spirit of God once takes up his residence as the Spirit of life, of love, and adoption, he never finally withdraws, or abandons the soul to ruin. But though he does not totally and finally withdraw, he witholds his influence, and leaves us pretty much to ourselves. He ceases to comfort us, or to strengthen us with might, according to his power in the inner man. He refuses to assist us in prayer, and we are left to toil alone. Then like Samson, we become weak, and are like other men ; or like the church we cry out, “The Comforter that should relieve my soul is far from me." When the Spirit is withdrawn from us, all our graces wither, our evidences become obscured, our joy dies out, and our duties become a task. Then we become light and frivolous, or gloomy and morose; our hearts are hardened, our understanding is darkened, and all within us appears carnal or cold. The greatest loss we can sustain is the presence and operation of the holy Comforter in the heart. Then very often doubts, fears, and misgivings spring up, unbelief works, and a sense of condemnation is felt in the conscience. We turn every thing against ourselves, refuse to be comfort. ed, and begin to neglect duties, because we have no enjoyment in them. Past experience looks like delusion, the hard heart refuses to weep, and the mouth is often ready to speak against God. Sad, very sad, has been the experience of many professors, when the Spirit has left them for a time; well therefore may David pray, “ Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.”
This is never done but for sin. It is a pun. ishment, or rather a paternal correction. When we forsake the Lord, slight his word and ordinances, and improperly mix up with the world, we provoke the Lord to anger. When we ungratefully slight and disregard his sweet intimations, and resist his kind and gentle promptings to duty, we grieve his loving heart. When we sin against the light, oppose the suggestions of a tender conscience, and openly act contrary to his divine word, We vex and rouse up his displeasure. When
we allow ourselves to live in the neglect of known duty, in the practice of any acknowledged sin, or persevere in any course in opposition to the testimony of our conscience, we resist the Holy Ghost, and must expect to suffer. All such conduct dishonours God, belies our profession, wounds the Saviour, and causes the Holy Spirit to withdraw. But the Spirit, seldom if ever, withdraws at once, he checks us, smites us, and in various ways expostulates with us; and only when he is wearied with forbearing does he say, “I will go and return to my place until they acknowledge their iniquity, in their affliction they will seek me early
Reader, have you received the Holy Ghost? Have you enjoyed the sweet comforts of his love, his soul-ravishing joy, and his precious revelations of the Saviour? Has your heart been softened, humbled, and purified by his gracious operations ? Has your conscience been enlightened, made honest, and tender, by his revealing the truth and applying the blood of the Saviour ? Has he liberated the will, elevated the affections, and filled the understanding with pleasant and saving light, in your experience? Do you enjoy his help in prayer, his teaching in reading the Scriptures, and his presence in the ordinances of God's house? If so, happy are you, and it becomes you to walk softly, carefully, and closely with God. The dove is one of the most timid of birds, and is soon startled ; and