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counsel: If

ye

wish not to fulfil the lusts of the flesh, walk in the Spirit.

We shall inquire, from these words,

I. What we are to understand by the Apostle's advice of walking in the Spirit.

II. To what extent we may expect the effect of following this advice to take place: Ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.

1. We are to inquire what it is to walk in the Spirit.

I scarcely need to observe that the Spirit of God is always represented in the New Testament as the Author of all holiness in the hearts of Christians; whence the Christian dispensation is eminently styled “the ministration of the Spirit.” Now the Apostle Paul, in speaking of the influence of the Spirit, uses such terms as these; being “after the Spirit,” being “in the Spirit,” being "led by the Spirit," "living in the Spirit,” "walking after the Spirit,” “minding the things of the Spirit.”—These expressions, however, though they may appear to a superficial observer to mean the same thing, are not all to be confounded with each other as perfectly synonimous, since the Apostle manifestly makes a difference between them. Thus: “They that are after the Spirit do mind the things of the Spirit;" minding the things of the Spirit is, therefore, not the same thing as being after the Spirit, but the effect of it. Again; “If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit:" here, also, to walk after the Spirit is the effect or consequence of our living in the Spirit. To be in the Spirit, therefore; to be after the Spirit

; or to live in the Spirit; seem to describe that participation which every real Christian bas in the influenees of the Spirit of God. In such the Spirit of God is said to dwell: He is in them a quickening Spirit; through their union with him, they are one with Christ, and Christ with them; and in this respect their participation of the Spirit is absolutely necessary to their being in Christ, or real Christians. "If any man,” saith the Apostle,

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“have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” By him they are sealed to the day of redemption. Their bodies are said to be his temple, in which he is supposed to reside. However the degree of his influence may vary, yet this union to the Spirit, and his residence in them, are supposed to be perpetual, in the case of real Christians, from their first faith in Christ to their entrance into glory. “I will send you the Comforter, and he will abide in you forever."-And in consequence of this union to the Spirit, which they are supposed to possess, there are peculiar duties required of them. They are exhorted not to “grieve the Spirit;"! not to defile the body, which is his temple; not to “quench the Spirit;" to “mind the things of the Spirit;" to walk after the Spirit.”

This view of the Christian's constant union to the Spirit of God, and of the various duties which are derived from such an union, will assist us to understand the meaning of the phrase in my text: “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh.”

The general idea seems to be this:-Since the Holy Spirit is the author of all holiness; and since, according to his promise, he resides in you who are baptized into the name of Christ, and truly believe in him, you are to cherish his influences, if you would indeed be delivered from the lusts of the flesh; you are to commit yourself to his guidance; act in dependence upon him: attend to his directions; use the means he has appointed for the communication of his grace; in short, you are to exert your utmost efforts to promote his gracious influences upon your heart; and thus, "ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh."

So much for the general idea of the Apostle in this passage, let us now consider more particularly what may be supposed to be included in walking in the Spirit.

1. And first I imagine, that a regard to all the great evangelical principles is implied in the words “walk in the Spirit."-In the Epistles to the Romans and the Galatians, in which the phrases of walking in the Spirit" or "after the Spirit” are chiefly used, the Apostle takes much pains to wean the Judaizing converts from a servile spirit of dependence upon the law, and to instil into them a spirit of liberty in Christ Jesus. He represents it as the cause not only of their serving God with the spirit of fear and bondage, but even of their being under the dominion of sin, that they were destitute of just views of the grace which was in Christ. To be under the law was, in his mode of arguing, nearly the same thing as being under sin. “When we were in the flesh," he says, "the motions of sin which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter. Wherefore, ye also, my brethren are become dead to the law by the body of Christ, that ye should be married to another, even to Him who is raised from the dead that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”—The Epistle to the Galatians was written with the particular view of opposing the error into which they had generally fallen, of placing their dependence for justification upon the observance of the law. He exhorts them, on the contrary, to stand fast in the liberty with which Christ had made them free; and taking occasion to mention the divisions and contentions there were among them, refers to this as one cause of those evils, that their principles and motives were not sufficiently evangelical. "Walk therefore in the Spirit,” he says, with reference peculiarly to the ruling principle of their conduct, “and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh:” for, as it follows in the next verse but one, "if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law;" and therefore it is implied, "sin shall not have dominion over you."

The principles from which a person acts have a constant and powerful influence upon his conduct. It is scarcely possible for one whose views are confined and

Let a

gloomy to act in a liberal and open manner. man's ideas of God and of his service be narrow and dark; let him conceive of him as a jealous and unreasonable Master; let him conceive the duties required of him to be a task rigidly enforced, the reason and propriety of which he does not perceive, and the burden of which is relieved by no delightíul and animating considerations of the nature of the service, or the excellence of him to whom it is due; and what can you expect but a service reluctantly and imperfectly performed,-a service without spirit, a bondage and a burden, a nominal and outward obedience while the heart is withheld?

Now to “walk in the Spirit” is, I apprehend, to entertain and cherish those views which are directly contrary. “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. The dispensation of the Spirit reveals the glory .of the Lord, opens the treasures of his grace, exhibits him as a kind and tender Father, offering pardon and peace and eternal life to all who come to him in Christ. It shews the exceeding riches of his grace and the infinite extent of his love. Taught by the Spirit, we draw nigh to God, as children, and cry, Alba, Father: enlightened by him, we see something of the length and breadth, and depth and height of the love of Christ, and are filled with joy and peace in believing: animated by him, we run the race set before us with the well-founded hope of victory; trusting in the mercy of God, and influenced by the constraining love of Christ. This disposition of mind so necessary to our Christian progress, the Spirit peculiarly conveys to those who believe in Christ; and hence to "walk in the Spirit” may be justly considered to imply the cherishing of such views and such a disposition as are suitable to the Gospel dispensation; and as it is the design of the Spirit, both in his word and in his operations on the soul of believers, to convey.

2. By walking in the Spirit may be also implied habitual dependence upon his help. — It is not enough

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that God is pleased to administer salvation to man by the death of his Son and the influence of his Spirit; he requires that man should believe in the one and should seek for the other. The plan of salvation is adapted to us as rational creatures; and, therefore, proper knowledge and suitable dispositions are required of us. Now, as the merits of the death of Christ are only received by faith, so neither are the influences of the Spirit to be expected but in a way of dependence upon him. To walk in the Spirit, therefore, is to acknowledge with the heart our own weakness and inability to serve God; to expect victory over sin only by the gracious operation of his Spirit; earnestly to solicit his help; to use all means and advantages, with an entire dependence on his Divine blessing to make them effectual; and to give glory and honour to the Spirit for all the increase of knowledge and grace which we receive. It is not enough that our object be good; but our manner of obtaining that object must be good also. All sects and all religions agree in proposing a good end; namely that of a virtuous life; but there is a wide difference in the means used to attain it. The religion of a Christian is a religion in which the sufferings of Christ and the work of the Spirit make a principal part; and he mistakes, in the most important points of it, who thinks it sufficient to attend to the precepts of the Gospel without having respect to the peculiar means which it prescribes. The honour of the Spirit of God, and the glory of the Son in their respective offices of Sanctifier and Redeemer, are perhaps full as properly the objects of the Christian scheme of salvation as the happiness of man. And it is, I fear, the great error of the present day that a religion is proposed, in which the Son and the Spirit have no place: it is the melioration of heathen morality, by a mixture of the purity of the Gospel without that spirituality which is the very essence of the Christian religion.

3. To walk in the Spirit implies also, that we use the means by which the Spirit has promised to convey

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