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Encourage the spirit of prayer; practise the duty of prayer; knock at the gate of prayer; seek the comfort of prayer; secure the peace of prayer; treasure up the promises of prayer; enjoy the delight of prayer; and remember the power of prayer. “ Pray without ceasing. In everything giving thanks, for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you," 1 Thess. v. 17, 18.
THE HOLY GHOST RESISTED. The Holy Ghost is that blessed Agent, who, with infinite condescension and tenderness, comes from heaven to earth to bring the wandering sinner back to God.
And can this heavenly Visitor be resisted ? and this, too, by the very beings whom he comes to help? Yes, the Holy Ghost may be, and often has been resisted. He was resisted in ancient times by the Jews, Acts vii. 51; he is resisted by many at the present day. Perhaps the reader is among the number. If you are not a Christian indeed, put it solemnly to your own conscience whether you are not resisting the Holy Ghost. The Holy Ghost has often striven with you. How have you treated his tender solicitations ? If you have not yielded, you have resisted.
You resist the Holy Ghost when you despise or neglect the means of grace, through which he operates. The principal of these is the Bible. This is peculiarly his book. The
holy men of God” who wrote it, wrote “ as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” How then have you treated the Bible? When it has spread before you the character of God in all its excellence, and commanded you to love it; when it has depicted your own guilty character and commanded you to repent; when it has pointed you to the Lord Jesus as the only sufficient Saviour, and invited and urged you to believe on him; when it has presented all the solemn, tender, and alarming motives which heaven, earth, and hell supply, and has besought, entreated, and warned you to flee from the wrath to come, and lay hold on eternal life--have you yielded to its expostulations? Have you obeyed its commands ? If not, then have you resisted the Holy Ghost.
Sometimes the truths of the Bible have been urged upon your conscience by the living preacher, with all the solemnity of Divine authority, and all the earnestness of Christian benevolence; sometimes by the tender voice of friendship; sometimes by solemn and alarming providences. Have you still refused to yield ? Oh, then, with what fixed and bold determination have you resisted the Holy Ghost !
But the Holy Spirit comes yet nearer. He enters the mind, arrests the attention, produces a deep and awful conviction of the reality and importance of eternal things, arouses the conscience, awakens a painful sense of guilt and fearful apprehension of coming wrath, and impresses upon the mind the necessity of immediate attention to the soul and its salvation. Such an influence the reader has doubtless sometimes felt. How have you treated it? Have you yielded, or resisted?
There are many ways of resisting the Holy Ghost. It is sometimes done by a bold and impious resolution to stifle all sense of guilt and danger; and when this alone is not found effectual, by plunging more deeply into worldly business; by resorting to scenes of pleasure, to the society of the gay, to books of amusement, to anything that will help to banish thoughts of God and eternity, of Christ, and heaven, and hell. Have you never thus resisted the Holy Ghost ?
The Holy Ghost is resisted by refusing to comply with his suggestions. He urges to repent of sin; to give up every unjust pursuit; to relinquish every sinful pleasure; to forsake ungodly companions; to choose the company of the pious; to take up the cross and follow Christ, trusting in him alone for salvation.
The Holy Ghost is resisted by procrastination. The Spirit presses to immediate repentance. The sinner's heart replies, 16 When I have a convenient season I will call for thee." But the Holy Spirit allows no delay. You cannot defer for a day, an hour, a moment, without resisting the Holy Ghost.
Reader! does not the guilt of resisting the Holy Ghost lie upon you? And what is that guilt ? Oh, who can tell? What finite mind can grasp it?
In resisting the Holy Ghost, you directly resist God. And who or what are you that you should take the attitude of resistance to the greatest and best Being in the universe ? a worm of the dust, a breathing atom, against Him who made and rules the world! a sinner, upheld from perdition by mere mercy, against Him whom angels adore, and all holy beings delight to obey !
You resist God in his most amiable character and loveliest aspect, engaged in the work in which he unfolds his brightest glory. He comes to you as the God of salvation, to trans
form you into his own image and adopt you into his family, that he may place you before the throne of God as an everlasting monument and bright illustration of his wisdom and love, his truth and mercy.
What black ingratitude is involved in such resistance! He comes to make you happy; to deliver you from the power of sin, the most cruel of all tyrants; to bring you into reconciliation with God; to give you the peace of an approving conscience, the joy of forgiveness, the assurance of Divine favour, and the hope of everlasting life. He comes to enrich you for eternity ; to make you an "heir of God, and joint heir with Christ;" to bestow upon you glory, honour, and immortality: happiness which eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath entered into the heart of man, to last throughout unceasing ages.
In resisting the Holy Ghost you would rob God of his glory, and defeat the purposes of his infinite love in the gift of his Son. You show a most inveterate hatred of holiness, and love of sin. You set an example of rebellion, which, if followed universally, would spread anarchy, darkness, and woe over the universe.
And will such guilt go unpunished ? “Who hath hardened himself against God, and hath prospered ?” Job ix. 4. “ Woe unto himn that striveth with his Maker!” Isa. xlv. 9. As sins against the Holy Ghost are of a peculiarly deep dye, so their punishment will be certain and dreadful. “He that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost,” says Christ, “ hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation,” Mark iii. 29. Resistance, it is true, is not blasphemy, but is it not a kindred sin ? Does it not make a near approach to it in guilt and danger?
God may visit you with overwhelming vengeance, according to his threatening: “ He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy,” Prov. xxix. 1. Or, which will be equally fatal, he may utterly withdraw the Spirit from you: “ My Spirit shall not always strive with man," Gen. vi. 3. This solemn declaration he has often fulfilled. The Israelites in the wilderness “ rebelled, and vexed his Holy Spirit," Isa. lxiji. 10, and he “ sware in his wrath that they should not enter into his rest,” Psa. xcv. 11. “ Ephraim is joined to idols : let him alone,” Hos. iv. 17. And how did the Saviour weep over Jerusalem!If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things that belong
unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes," Luke xix. 42.
How often in later years has the Spirit-striven conscience been awakened, and the sinner trembled and cried, " What must I do to be saved ?" but his heart rose in opposition to the terms of the gospel ; he was unwilling to give up the world, could not part with his sinful pleasures and embrace a life of self-denial and godliness. He resisted the Spirit, and the Spirit left him. Like the blasted fig-tree, he has stood the remnant of his days without fruit, leaf, or flower ; seared, withered, dead! and prepared in no common degree for the flames that never can be quenched.
Oh, how wretched, how hopeless is the condition of him from whom God has utterly withdrawn his Spirit! Nothing will ever effectually awaken him, nothing melt his obdurate heart, or bow his stubborn will. Nothing awaits him but the blackness of darkness for ever. “ Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God," John iii. 5. Mercies, means, privileges, warnings, and judgments, only harden his heart, and prepare him for a deeper damnation.
Such, reader, will be your case, if you continue to resist the Holy Ghost. And, in the world of woe, oh how agonizing will be the thought that your own folly and rashness brought you there! The Spirit strove with you, urged you with infinite tenderness to repent, pointed you to a Saviour's blood, held out the promise of life, warned you of coming wrath; but you would not hear. You resisted all his gracious influences. He was willing, but you would not. While eternal ages roll, this dreadful thought will still ring in your ears and pierce the soul, that you destroyed yourself.
Oh, if you do not wish to be “ tormented day and night for ever and ever” with such reflections, no longer resist the Holy Ghost.
MICHAEL CHRISTIAN BOS,
A DUTCH MINISTER. MICHAEL CHRISTIAN Bos, a native of Cape Town, in South Africa, lived to preach in different parts of Holland, Asia, and . Africa, and had much experience as to the wonderful ways in which God deals with his people. In his letters to a friend he has given full particulars of the varied and truly blessed course of his life. These letters have been translated
into German by J. G. Veyhinger, and contain a considerable mass of interesting information. His first charge was the village of Wendenberg, in the province of Utrecht, where he laboured for four years. He thus speaks of his taking leave of his congregation in that place : .
“ I gave my farewell sermon on September 27th, 1789, from Acts xi. 23. It pleased God, among the hearers, to pluck one as a brand from the burning. He was the son of a pious mother, but a self-willed youth, who neglected the preaching of the word, and scarcely attended the meetings for the instruction of the young. Curiosity only led him to hear my last sermon, and to mix with the crowd on that occasion. But the Lord's own time was come for hearing the prayers of his righteous mother, and restoring this prodigal son from his wanderings, and I was directed to say a few words to persons of his class. I set before them, that all my preaching in this place, which they had unnecessarily neglected, would have to be accounted for by them, and that they would shortly be called to give this account, and to answer before God why they had slighted them, and refused to lay these things to heart. These words struck the young man, as he afterwards told me, like a two-edged sword in his breast ; he was, at the time, deeply affected, and, in the course of twelve months, he had become a living monument of the mercy of God. :
" At Pynacke, I was consecrated, on October 11th, 1789, by the excellent Koot, a minister in the town of Delft, and on the same afternoon, I preached my first sermon from the words of Christ, Luke xiv. 22, 23. Here I had, as it were, to begin to speak to the world, and I met with opposition. A farmer, in comfortable circumstances, who had many servants, was on this occasion at church, though he did not often appear there, and being much displeased at what he heard, he said to one of his neighbours, as he was going out, · Has this man come half the way from the East Indies, (from the Cape of Good Hope,) and what does he think that we want of him? Great R. (the former pastor, who was tall of stature,) could not force us to come to him, and yet this little man thinks he can? I shall take care that he does not force me. His eldest daughter, who was about nineteen, was quite of the same mind, and was quite certain that I should not prevail with her.
" But, let all praise be given to the ever-blessed Saviour, these two persons were among the very first whom I was the