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Here, then, you see the need of a Sanctifier. Some amiable young persons, alive to the sinfulness of their nature, endeavour to subdue sin by fasting and by other austerities, as the primary means for effecting their object. They torment the body, but with no essential benefit to the soul. There is a Sanctifier : and no one will ever obtain true holiness until he become a partaker of His agency; by which, in the use of appointed means, (and fasting, when rightly conducted, may be accounted one of these,) the mind is wrought upon, so as to understand divine things, and the heart is wrought upon, so as to love and delight in them. By this agency we draw near to God through Christ Jesus; we pray in a proper manner; we mortify the deeds of the body; and we put on the
By the Holy Spirit the love of God is shed abroad in the heart; by Him we are purified, strengthened, comforted, and built up in spiritual and practical piety. In short, the whole work of our salvation as a sanctifying operation, is the work of the Holy Spirit. The first good thought that is formed in the mind, the first right feeling that springs up in the heart, the tender anxiety that belongs to repentance, the faith that leads the soul to Christ, the love that glows, and the hope that aspires after heaven-every thing in real piety, from the first breathing of heart-felt prayer to the last expression of resignation and peace uttered by the dying believer, proceeds from the
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agency of the almighty and gracious Sanctifier. Thus I would lead you to see your own poverty and misery, and also the fulness of spiritual blessings revealed and offered to us in the gospel. Here I would advance a few remarks.
1. A due sense of our sinfulness lies at the foundation of true spiritual piety. No one will seek the agency of the great Sanctifier, who does not see and feel his need of it. “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing :" --while such language describes dur frame of mind, and we know not, and feel not, are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked,” we shall not think of the “ tried gold, and of the white raiment, and of the eye-salve" which the gospel offers to us.
Man must have some right apprehension of his misery before he can become an humble mendicant at the door of Mercy.
2. It is the duty of every one to pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit. He is promised in answer to prayer. “If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children ; how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him ?" Scripture and experience teach us our inability to purify ourselves: but we also know that God has made a provision for our purification, and that we shall find it to be effectual if we seek it in humble devotion. If we refuse to seek the divine bounty, we are the destroyers of our own souls. We are bound to believe in the promised Spirit; to accept of, and to imbibe His influence; and as it is our duty to pray, so it is our duty to pray, in an especial manner, that He may be granted to us, and that we may be partakers of all his saving operations.
3. Of the operations of the Holy Spirit we cannot speak distinctly; but whatever variety characterize them, their general result is the same in all
' Repentance towards God and faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ” are wrought in the soul; sin and folly are forsaken ; the happy individual knows the mercy and power of the gospel ; his life is holy and useful. Acting in the light of God's word, and on the principles of the new creation, he opposes sin, keeps the commandments of Christ, improves his talents, and lives as one who is to give an account of himself to God—as one who is looking for an inheritance in a brighter and better world.
4. We ought to beware of resisting, grieving, and quenching the Holy Spirit. If in some cases He take the fortress of the heart by storm, and make Himself possessor of it by a might that sets at nought every hostile influence, yet this is not the common mode of His agency. He comes with a mildness almost imperceptible, touches the conscience and the feelings, softly knocks at the door -but if He be slighted, He withdraws. Pray for His influence: and whatever good thoughts, feel
ings, and resolves are excited and formed within you, be careful to cherish them; and pray for more grace, that they may remain with you, and prevail in you, and that your hearts may be made the dwelling-place of Him who is the Lord and Giver of life. Open your souls, if I may speak so, at His approach : welcome Him ; entertain Him: 0 trifle not with one who, if slighted, if provoked, may never renew His visits, but leave you in darkness, sin, and death.
Thus, my young readers, I have put before you a most important subject : and be assured of this -If you would be blessed in the kingdom of glory above, you must be holy in the kingdom of grace upon
earth. Heaven is a world or state of perfect holiness, into which nothing shall enter that defileth. Redemption is both the remission of sin, and purification from sin : the latter is the great work of the gracious Sanctifier. You will always find inherent evil, melancholy imperfection, in yourselves : yet without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Look, then, unto Jesus: and pray for those mighty influences from above, that you may be always acquiring a greater degree of likeness to Him who is the Holy One, and with whom all holy souls shall for ever dwell in perfect light and blessedness,
"O God, forasmuch as without Thee we are not able to please. Thee ; Mercifully grant, that Thy Holy Spirit may in all things direct and rule our hearts ; through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Amen.
O Holy and Gracious God, great has been my folly, that, through the deceitfulness of sin, I have not seriously attended to the salvation of my immortal soul. How little have I thought in a serious manner of my own sinfulness, of the all-sufficient Redeemer, and of the almighty Sanctifier ! I have vainly satisfied myself with high notions of my own wisdom and ability, of my prudence, virtue, and amiableness, as if by these I could make myself worthy of Thy favour, and secure eternal happiness. I now see in part my error and delusion ; and I pray that, through Thy grace, I may see them more clearly, and feel them more strongly. Man was created in Thy likeness ; but he is now a sinful creature.
I am corrupt, depraved, disordered in all
may claim with sorrow of heart, Unclean, Unclean ! Nor can I purify myself : but in the Holy Spirit I see one who is able to teach the dark mind, subdue pride, correct perverseness, make pure the affections, and cause the soul to reflect Thine image. He only can free it from defilement, and impress upon it unsullied and eternal beauty. No more, O God, will I speak of myself and of my virtues. No more would I fancy myself to be what I am