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tion. The presence of the Spirit of God must doubtless manifest itself by the purity, and righteousness, and holy affections which are imparted by it. What then do we know of the work of the Spirit? What tokens do we possess of his spiritual aid? 'Thus are we called upon by the Apostle to prove ourselves: “Examine," saith he, “whether you be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, (that is, by his Spirit,) except ye be reprobates?”—except your profession of Christianity be only an empty form. God grant that we may have a witness in ourselves that God hath given to us eternal life, and that this life is in his Son; and a well-founded hope that we have been sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.
To conclude: Are we labouring not to fulfil the lusts of the flesh? Is it our chief desire to mortify our corrupt nature? This is indeed the characteristic property of every
real Christian. He cannot be a true disciple of Christ unless he is supremely influenced by such a wish. Then let us attend to the direction of the Apostle: "Walk in the Spirit.” Consider in what manner the Spirit is pleased to impart his sacred influences. There is a line of conduct which he requires us to pursue in order to be partakers of them. The connexion between a spiritual walk and victory over sin is indissoluble. It is vain to expect the one without the other. Let us see, then, that we are spiritually-minded; that we are following the rules which the Spirit has laid down for the edification of the church. Let us beware of grieving the Spirit by forsaking the path he has pointed out to us; by seeking to obtain dominion over sin by motives merely human or worldly, by neglecting to seek his aid, by slighting his ordinances, by giving way to wilful sin, or by encouraging a worldly and sensual spirit
. Vain is the hope of that man who expects the influence of the Spirit to operate upon him, while he takes no pains himself, exercises no self-denial, watches not against transgression. Vain is the hope of those who, because they coldly pray for the influence of the Spirit, think there is no necessity to do more, and are easy and at rest, though they experience no victory over sin: as if the fault no longer rested with them but with God, who does not please to communicate his aid. God does not offer the Spirit to encourage and foster the sloth of man, but to quicken his diligence. Walk, then, in the Spirit; let your whole conduct and conversation be ordered according to the holy directions of the Spirit of God in his revealed word. Thus you will obtain the victory over sin. Thus you will overcome in the good fight of faith, and receive the palm of triumph.
REGARD TO GOD, THE GREAT PRESERVA.
TIVE FROM SIN.
Gen. xxxix. 9.
How then can I do this great wickedness, and sin
IT is of the utmost importance that we should possess right principles of action; both because the quality of an action is to be determined, chiefly, by the principle from which it flows, and because a man's conduct is so influenced and directed by bis principles, that the whole quantity of good or evil which he does may be chiefly attributed to these.
The power of bad principles to produce bad actions is evident; but it is not always perceived that they sometimes give birth to actions which appear to be good, and which would be really so, if the principle from which they flowed were not corrupt. Yet this is very frequently the case: and much of the virtue, therefore, which passes current in the world, at least much of the abstinence from vice which is seen in it, will be
found deficient in real worth, on account of its not having proceeded from right principles.
1. One false principle on which some men abstain from sins, and practise some duties, is that of commutation. Against the sensualindulgences, for example, which they will not renounce, they set off a liberality which they take pride perhaps in indulging; and while they feed the hungry, and clothe the naked, and bid the widow's heart rejoice, think their vice of no weight in the balance, and claim the full benefit of that declaration of our Lord: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.”—Others rest it on their integrity to redeem their failings; and because they are true to their word, and faithful in their engagements, assume that profaneness, for instance, or pride, are venial faults, which may be endured in such characters, and which God binself will overlook, in consideration of the virtue: “for the righteous Lord loveth righteousness, and a just weight is his delight.”—A third class, if possible worse than these, are they who would compound for their sins, by exercises of devotion: who, while they live in injustice, in deceit, in malice, or covetousness, yet confide in all the promises to the godly, with only this symptom of godliness, that they make many prayers.
Now, in all such cases, the duty wbich is practised serves only as a cover to sin, and as a preventive to that salutary remorse of conscience which else might restrain their corruptions.
2. A second false principle, by which men are kept from certain acts of sin, is the propensity to sins of an opposite nature. --Thus avarice will be a check not only on profusion, but on all the vices which may lead to it. Lewdness, or drunkenness, or ambition, for instance, may be stigmatized, may be avoided, may even be really disliked; not out of any regard to true virtue, but for the mere expense which they may occasion.A spirit of prodigaliiy, on the other hand, will, for the same reason, and on principles just as corrupt, inveigh against avarice, paint in lively colours the effects of a