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Having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?" Gal. iii. 1, 3.

But as it was in the outward coming of our Lord and Saviour, so it is in his inward and spiritual appearance.

TheJews were in expectation of his coming. Not only the time of his advent, but the manner in which he should come, had been set forth by the prophets. But their views being outward, they fancied to themselves a Messiah with outward pomp and power, taking the throne of David, and raising the nation of the Jews to the very summit of outward glory and thus they overlooked him when he did come. His appearance was so simple, so humble, so different from the king they desired might come, that they denied, rejected, and finally crucified him.


And thus it is with many in the present day. They believe that immediate revelation is something so high-so exclusively conferred on the prophets and apostles, and necessarily accompanied with the knowledge of future events, and the power of working miracles-they cannot persuade themselves that either they or any others know any thing of it in this age of the world; while, at the same time, they overlook the lively operations of this very Spirit in their heart, convincing them of sin, inclining them to a life of holiness-"teaching them that, denying ungodliness and the world's lusts, they should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world."

This very something that secretly disquiets the mind in the midst of earthly enjoyments, and prompts it to arise in living aspirations to the Father of mercies, setting before us the terrors of the Lord for sin, and the unspeakable excellence of an inheritance among them that are sanctified, is the Spirit of Jesus Christ: its dictates in our hearts are immediate divine revelation.

And though this principle in us is thus simple and low in its appearance, yet it is the power of God to salvation to them that believe, producing effects no less miraculous, than restoring the lame, the dumb, the deaf, and the blind. Nay, these very things are accomplished in us. The dead are raised, even those who are dead in trespasses and sin; the blind see, the deaf hear, the dumb speak, and the gospel is preached to the poor.

No one, it is presumed, will deny the following declara

tions: "Behold! I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to him, and sup with him, and he with me.” Rev. iii. 20. “My sheep hear my voice." John x. 27. And where the voice of Christ is thus heard, there is immediate revelation; although it may be in those tender, secret influences, which are too often overlooked and forgotten; but on which our eternal salvation must depend. For it is on condition of our listening to the voice of Christ, when he knocks at the door of our hearts, by these secret influences; and not only hearing him, but giving him admission to come in and rule preeminently there—that we can ever experience that near and intimate relation to take place between him and the soul, which is represented by his supping with us, and we with him.

And let it be remembered that when we hear his voice, we have immediate revelation; for his "words, they are spirit, and they are life." John vi. 63.

Our Lord, on the occasion already referred to, when speaking of the Comforter, told his disciples: “And when he, the Spirit of Truth is come, he will reprove the world of sin," &c. ib. xvi. 8. And who is there that has not felt the reproofs of instruction, and the conviction that some things were offensive to God? And if the temptation has prevailed, has there not been a sense of condemnation impressed upon the mind-a feeling of that judgment, by which the prince of this world is judged? We may also appeal to the consciences of all men, if they have not, at times, felt the love of God to draw their hearts in gratitude to him—if they have not seen the vanity, the mutability, and insignificance of earthly enjoyments; while the superior excellence of an inheritance eternal in the heavens, has been, in some measure, presented to their view? Has not every individual that is capable of religious reflection, felt that sentiment engraven on his heart: "Verily, there is a reward for the righteous; verily, he is a God that judgeth in the earth?" Ps. lviii. 11. These secret convictions, these awful warnings against sin, and desires after happiness and acceptance with God, are the teachings of that Grace which brings salvation. They are the Spirit of God working in us, to will and to do, of his own good pleasure."

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However small its appearance may be, as it is divine, so it has omnipotence in it. It is not only quick to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart, but it is powerful to separate between the precious and the vile, as we submit to its operations; setting us free from the law of sin and death.

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And as there is, on the one hand, encouragement to receive and submit to the influences of the Holy Spirit, in its least and most humble appearances, even though it as low and humble as the babe in the manger-to trust in it as the Power of God to salvation; so there is an awful responsibility on us; for it is in this appearance of "Christ in us the hope of glory," that we may crucify to ourselves afresh the Son of God, and put him to an open shame. Heb. vi. 6.

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As it is very possible to err in every point of doctrine, so it is possible in this. Seeing this is the only principle and ground of all saving knowledge in divine things, it is not strange that the grand enemy of man's happiness should exert his delusive power, to deceive those who profess to believe in divine revelation and the influence of the Holy Spirit. For as they rely on this to guide in their important duties, and finally to lead them to eternal salvation; if they can be brought to follow a false principle, and to believe in it as the Spirit of Jesus Christ, the enemy places them at once in the most dangerous situation, and the most dif. ficult to be made sensible of their danger. And thus it is that Satan is transformed into an angel of light." It will not follow, because this divine principle may be neglected, and a seducing spirit be followed in its stead, that therefore the whole doctrine ought to be exploded. And yet many, very many, have become followers of the stranger, instead of the true Shepherd.


No individual, whatever his capacity or outward circumstances may be, if he humbly, sincerely, and carefully attends to the teachings of the witness for God in his soul, can possibly be brought under this delusion. If he keeps near his divine Guide, listens attentively to his monitions, and suffers the feelings of gratitude and love to God to spread their influence over his heart, he cannot become the deluded follower of the transformer. But if any should become inattentive to the divine Guide, instead of keeping near to him, enjoying the sustenance, comfort, and pro

tection which he alone can give, they wander from his presence, and perhaps let that separation continue long: then it is that they are exposed to dangers on every side. The enemy is ever near at hand; nor is he more to be dreaded as a roaring lion than in the character of the shepherd, by which the dread of danger is most effectually removed. But let it be remembered, that the danger all arises from one common principle; and it never can operate but in a state of separation from the presence of the preserving Power. Neither the power nor stratagem of the enemy can possibly prevail against those who, in humility and watchfulness, cast their care on the Captain of our salvation.

It would be both a vain and presumptuous attempt, to describe those feelings which constitute the true evidence of divine influence; since nothing but that influence itself can give the capacity to decide between Christ and antichrist. But in general it may be remarked, that this influence leads into great watchfulness and humility. All confidence in ourselves, or in our own attainments, will be brought down, And as we are brought to feel our own weakness and unworthiness, we shall be brought more feelingly and fervently to desire the interposition of an Almighty Friend and Redeemer. As the evidences of his regard are felt, we shall experience the operations of that "faith which works by love, to the purifying of the heart.” And if we love God, we shall also love our fellow creatures. This love, like the Source from which it proceeds, embraces the whole rational creation; but in an especial manner the household of faith. Like the apostle formerly, we desire to give offence neither to Jew nor gentile, nor to the Church of Christ. Far from separating us from the common walks and duties of life, it enables us to pass through the former, and fulfil the latter, with more propriety. It gives to the ties of nature and society—such as husbands and wives, parents and children, brethren and friends a strength and sweetness that were not found in them before. Where the parties united in the bonds of natural affection, are mutual partakers of these bonds of gospel fellowship, there is an ample fulfilment of the promise of the hundred fold in this life. But even if one

party alone should come under the government of this superior principle, the prevalence of that principle does not dissolve the common ties of natural affection; but increases them, sanctifies them-and, while it draws the veil of charity over the faults and failings of the friend or companion, prompts the powerful desire for their redemption; and thus it holds out the invitation : "Come! taste, and see that the Lord is good."

The life of our blessed Lord exhibited an uninterrupted course of the purest morality; and never can his Spirit sanction immorality in any. Thus, in the various relations of life, the divine influence, by regulating the affections, and giving ability to discharge our several duties with propriety, not only produces a course of true and rational morality, but abundantly heightens our enjoyments in this life.

The votaries of pleasure, or, in more general terms, those who have not thoroughly submitted to the cross of Christ, are prone to the opinion, that this cross would be the death of their enjoyments. But if it were, it would afford others more pure, more exquisite, and more permanent in their stead. But the idea is wrong in itself. The objects of revealed religion are, the glory of God and the happiness of mankind. The requisitions of infinite Goodness are neither cruel nor unnecessary. We are called upon to give up nothing essential to happiness-nothing essential to the true dignity of man. The restrictions of the gospel point to those principles, passions and feelings, which are inimical to happiness, both present and eternal—which disturb the order and harmony of our own bosoms, and of the world and render us incapable of enjoying the harmony of heaven, either in anticipation here, or in endless fruition hereafter.

These are the broad outlines of religion. It separates us from the great causes of moral evil; and thus cuts off the sources of unhappiness. By properly balancing, correcting, and governing our passions, feelings, and expectations, it enables us to extract from the material world, whatever good it is capable of affording: securing us, at the same time, from the stings of disappointment, and the dissatisfaction of satiety. Nor is this all casting our care on our Heavenly Father, and looking to a future state for the

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