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Does any one say,
“ How can I obey the Gospel until God shall renew my heart ?" I answer,—the difficulty which lies in your way is not the want of power, but the want of an inclination. If you are, really willing to obey, there is nothing to hinder. You need not wait for God to operate on your heart ; for if you are truly willing to obey the Gospel, God is now operating on your heart. If he were not, you would not be willing. Work out, then, your salvation with fear and trembling; lay hold on eternal life ; give all diligence to make your calling and election sure. There is nothing to hinder you from coming to Christ and securing eternal life, if you are willing to come. Whosoever will, let him iake of the water of life freely. But if you are unwilling, why complain of the want of power? Why say, how çan I repent ?-how can I believe?-how can I renounce the world? when the fact is, that you are unwilling to do it. Why do you excuse and justify yourself, and cast the blame on your Maker, when, in infinite mercy, he expostulates with you, saying, As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the deuth of the wicked, but that he turn and live ; turn ye, turn ye, for why will you
die ? 'To conclude: in view of this subject, we see the fatal mistake of those who flatter themselves that they have nothing to do. There are many who say, if God has determined to save us, we shall be saved, let us do what we will. We
therefore as well fold our hands, and rest securely in sin, as to seek our salvation. Is any one in this assembly thus quieting his conscience ? let me say to him, resting in this presumption, you will not be saved. Is this working out your salvation with fear and irembling? Is this striving to enter in at the strait gate? Is this seeking the Lord while he may be found? Is this running the Christian race, and fighting the good fight of faith, and laying hold on eternal life? Rest assured, that you cannot be saved without your own exertions. You might as well refuse to eat and drink, and trust in God to preserve your life, as to refuse to work out your salvation, and trust in God to save you. If God has determined to save you, you will not be carried to heaven in stupidity and sin. You will be waked from your slumbers. You will find that there is a tremendous weight of responsibility resting on you. You will find that you have something to do— that you have much to dom and you will be disposed to do what your hand findeth to do with your might. If God shall save you, he will save you by causing you to work out your own salvation. And just so long as you are disposed to slumber in this state of spiritual apathy, you have no more reason to expect salvation than you have to look for grapes on thorns, or figs on thistles. (, how many are dreaming of heaven, and waiting, as they imagine, for God to convert them! But, ah! what multitudes have waited all their lives, and are wailing still; and will wait till the quenchless fire shall cease to burn, and the deathless worm shall die.
Sinner, wake, I beseech you, from this delusive dream_flee from this enchanted ground; for verily as God liceth, and as thy soul liveth, there is but a slep between thee and death Escape for thy life, look not behind thee, neither tarry in all the plain ; escupe to the mountain, lest thou be consumed.
BY ALVAN HYDE, D.D.
THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT. GALATIANS, v. 22, 23.-But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace,
long 91.ffering, gentleness. goodness, faith, meekness, temperance : aguinst such there is no law.
In the chapter containing the text, the apostle contrasts the appear. ance and conduct of men as they are by nature, with their appearance and conduct when renewed by the Holy Spirit. “Now the works of the flesh,” he says, “ are manifest, which are these ;-adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like; of the which I tell you before, as I have told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” It is a black catalogue of crimes; and they are not peculiar to any age or nation. But what a mighty change does the Holy Ghost produce. “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance : against such there is no law.” There is no law against these, because they are exactly what the Divine law requires.
These fruits of the Spirit are essential to the Christian character. of this Christ fully assures us, when he says, “ Herein is my Father gloritied, that ye bear much fruit; so shall ye be my disciples.” My brethren, in this day of religious revivals, when the number of Christ's disciples is so greatly multiplied, it is all-important to distinguish between true and false religion. It deeply concerns all to bring their feelings and conduct to the word of God, as the only true test of character. In whatever place, and by whatever instruments and extraor. dinary means, we may suppose ourselves to have been converted, we Cannot expect to reach heaven, unless we, in this world, bring forth the fruit of the Spirit. We have before us, then, a subject of great moment, not only to the church, but to the many individuals who hope they have recently passed from death unto life, yea, to all who are candidates for eternity. In discussing it, I have only to follow the method marked out by the apostle in the text.
I. “ The fruit of the Spirit is Love."
This holy affection is entirely different from the love of the things of this world. If we have been taught of the Spirit, the things of this world, though good in themselves, will all be counted nothing, and less than nothing, in comparison with things unseen and eternal. Whoever has found the pearl of great price considers what he has given up for it, though once his treasure, as mean and worthless. He now hates what he once loved, and loves what he once hated. In this great change of mind and affections he has been perfectly free and voluntary as ever he was in laying up a treasure on the earth. The Holy Spirit, in a way not perceived by himself, has influenced him to love what was always lovely, and what, as a rational being, he ought ever to have loved. But what does the Christian love, which he did not when an impenitent sinner? He loves God: he loves his Creator, Preserver, and Benefactor. To be more particular, he loves the character of God, as exhibited in the Bible, and seeks to be acquainted with it ;—and the more he contemplates this character, the more he desires to increase his knowledge of it, and the more lovely it appears. The true Christian delights to meditate upon all the natural and moral attributes of God. He has an abiding conviction that God is infinitely great, without beginning, everywhere present, possessing infinite knowledge and power, and unchangeably the same. He loves and adores him as a God of holiness, justice, and mercy. The apostle John says, and the experience of every true disciple of Christ accords with his testimony : “ God is love ; and he that dwelleth in love, dwelleth in God, and God in him."
This love to God is not natural to man,—it is invariably a fruit of the Spirit ; and if our souls rest upon God as their best portion, the Holy Spirit has begun to sanctify us through the belief of the truth." We have found a refuge, and one which is infinitely safe. It will be to us a stronghold in the day of trouble. If we love God, we certainly shall love his law, because it is an exhibition of his character. The law is indeed a transcript of the holiness of God. Into this we may look and see what he loves and what he abhors. The true dis-, ciple of Christ wishes for no abatement of the Divine law, though he is conscious of having fallen under its condemnation. He loves it, because he discerns its purity and perfection. So felt the pious Psalmist, when he said, “Oh, how love I thy law ; it is my meditation all the day.”
This love, which is a fruit of the Spirit, is in opposition to selfishness, and extends to our neighbor.
It influences all who possess it to seek the welfare of others, and to do good, even to their enemies, in direct opposition to the feelings and maxims of this world. Holy love makes men resemble God. And does not God love his enemies? Is he not kind to the evil and unthankful ? If this were not true, what hope would there be in the case of rebellious men? What hope in the case of any of us? Let us consider what Christ said on this important point:—"God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” He so loved the world when men were his enemies, and gave unquestionable proof of it, in making ample provision for their pardon. To the same effect is the testimony of the apostle :-“God commendeth his love towards us, in that while we were sinners, Christ died for us." It is an obvious truth, then, that all who have experienced saving conversion, and have the image of God stamped upon their souls, are, like him, benevolent to their enemies. Such as cherish ill-will towards those who injure them have fearful reason to decide against the genuineness of their religion ; for love worketh no ill to his neighbor. And how does the true convert, now loving what he formerly hated, feel towards Christ, the great Redeemer of men, who is “ God manifest in the flesh ?" How does he view his character and his amazing condescension in dying on the cross for his enemies? He admires this exhibition of pure benevolence. His love flows out to
Christ, as being the “chief among ten thousands,” and it extends to all who bear his image. Love to the brethren is one of the distinctive marks of having "passed from death unto life.” It may be further remarked, that when holy love is produced in the heart, it is made manifest by a change of conduct. He who loves God seeks and finds his happiness in obeying him. The true convert finds that in keeping God's commandments there is great reward. The reward is found in the keeping of them; and of course, he begins to reap as soon as he begins to sow. Where there is evidence of this love, there is ground to hope a saving change has been wrought in the soul.
II. Another fruit of the Spirit is joy.
The unbeliever possesses nothing which can satisfy his immortal mind, however suecessful he may be in his worldly pursuits. He may labor and toil to accumulate a treasure; but he is liable every moment to lose it; and he is conscious that, when obtained, it can afford him none of that consolation which he needs, as one fast approaching eternal scenes. Let an unbeliever survey his earthly treasure, and then look forward to a dying bed; will he see any thing to console him ? A gloom at once comes over his mind. He cannot contemplate what he knows to be facts in relation to himself, and be joyful. Let him reflect on his stupid and unbelieving state of mind, on his practical rejection of Christ, and his prayerless life, and then look forward to the day of judgment. Will he, thus viewing things as they are, find any ground for joy? No ; he is constrained to banish such reflections as unwelcome intruders destroying all his peace: “ The way of transgressors is hard."
Holy joy, such as is felt by angels and the redeemed in heaven, is a fruit of the Spirit. The Christian has joy in his soul-joy in believing-joy in his Savior-joy in his precious promises-joy when engaged in his service--and joy when he contemplates the glory which is to follow. The Savior assured his disciples, and he gives the same assurance to all who take up their cross and follow him, that, however numerous are their corrows in this world, they shall all be turned into joy, and it shall be such joy as no man can take from them. This joyful frame of mind in the salvation and service of the Lord is peculiar to believers. It is far from enthusiasm—it is rational-and, according to the testimony of God, there is sufficient ground for it. The Savior says to all who have given up the vanities of the world, and enlisted under his banner, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me.” There is no class of people on earth whether high or low, learned or unlearned, who have reason to be joyful, but those who, like Paul, “count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus." This peculiar people have placed their hopes where they cannot be disappointed. One of the important inquiries, then, to be made by those whose thoughts are turned upon the great subject of religion, is this, have we joy in believing? This being a fact, there is evidence of a saving change.
III. Another fruit of the Spirit is PEACE.
sures on the earth, so there can be no peace. The heart of every impenitent sinner is “ like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt." But it is not so with the believer. Having escaped the pollutions of this world, and taken refuge in Christ, he has found peace. Before this great change was wrought in his soul, he had ever been prone to strive and contend with his Maker, calling him a hard master. Under the frowns of his righteous Providence, he indulged in murmuring; but being taught by the Spirit, his lofty looks are brought down. He now feels willing, yea, he esteems it his highest privilege, to be in the hands of God. He is reconciled to his character and government, and, believing that he does all things well, he is at peace. If any have not this frame of mind—if they are not reconciled to God, they have not that fruit of the Spirit which is called Peace, and of course, the Lord Jesus has no delight in them. To indulge a murmuring disposition is certainly to be altogether unlike Christ; and if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his."
of this peace, which is a fruit of the Holy Spirit, it may be affirmed, further, that it is not only an habitual calmness of soul, which the Savior promised when he said, “ My peace I give unto you;" but it is a peaceful deportment towards others. The religion of Jesus, imparted by the Holy Spirit to the soul of any person, produces his lovely image. His excellent spirit is imbibed, influencing that person to be peaceable, and a peacemaker. In almost all churches there are some who, though they make high pretensions to religion, and at times have much zeal, are frequently seen engaged in unhappy contentions with their neighbors. But this is no mark of Christian character. Let professors of religion of this description carefully survey the example of Christ, and they must see that they are very unlike him ; for “when he was reviled, he reviled not again." If, then, one of the fruits of the Spirit is peace-peace of conscience and a peaceable disposition -We must conclude that a contentious turn of mind is a dark mark in the case of a professor, and a poor preparation for heaven. The Savior will not delight in those who partake not of his Spirit. He will say to them, “I know you not.” He has already said it in his Word.
IV. Another fruit of the Spirit, specified in the text, is LONG-SUF
All men are naturally inclined to esteem themselves more highly than they ought. This disposition makes them impatient and resiless when reproached, and when called to endure any cross. But one of the first lessons which the religion of Jesus teaches, and one of the first-fruits of the renewed heart, is self-denial. In the case of every person, faint must be his evidence of having experienced the great change, unless he can bear with some degree of patience the reproaches of an ungodly world, and the trials and crosses which a righteous Providence brings upon him. The Holy Spirit brings sinners to a sight of the greatness of God, and produces an abiding conviction that his government extends to every event, even to the most minute occurrences; and this leads them to endure long. Let us not lose sight of the example of Christ. Are we not all witnesses that he has been long-suffering to us-ward? But for this, we should not