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THE LOVE OF THE SPIRIT IN ADOPTION.
the head and amuse the imagination: but the fact
No. V. that God is love, cannot be trifled with, and, therefore, it is hated.
Whilst, therefore, I admire the grace of the Spir. in reconciling the heart to the strictness of It does not at all lessen our admiration of the divine justice, and to the scrutiny of divine omni- love of Christ in redemption that God " sent Him science, and to the glory of divine holiness, I adore forth” to redeem them who were under the law, it for reconciling the heart to the fulness of divine that they might receive the adoption of sons. He love-because that is so full of claims upon our was sent forth by the Father ; but he also “came affections, and confidence, and obedience. It forth” as willingly as the Father sent him. The brings all duty with it, in irresistible forms. It fulness of time could scarcely be heard, when makes all sin appear as ungrateful, as criminal. saying, “Go,” so promptly, cheerfully, and loudly, It places us so, that the bare idea of refusing any did he say, "Lo, I come; I delight to do thy will, part of the divine will, becomes monstrous, as O my God." Psa. xl. well as base. Accordingly, Paul says, “ Hope Well; just in the same way the love of the maketh not ashamed," when the love of God is Spirit, in adoption, is brought before us. He, too, shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost.” was ósent forth;" not, indeed, to adopt or redeem Then it begets the love which is “ the fulfilling of children to God; but to regenerate all the adoptthe law;" and thus leaves us to act on David's ed, and to sanctify all the redeemed family of God. principle, "I shall not be ashamed when I have And to do this, the Eternal Spirit came forth, at respect to all thy precepts."
his pentecostal fulness of time, as promptly and And, now, observe how the Holy Spirit has re- willingly as the Father sent him or as Christ conciled you, by the cross, to the dispensations of came at the fulness of his mediatorial time. Providence. Our reconciliation to God is not Very different, indeed, was the kind of work complete, even when we are both quite willing which the Father gave them to do in the world. and thankful to be entire debtors to Christ and The Spirit had not, like the Son, to come forth in grace for all our salvation. Indeed, we are not a the likeness of man, nor in the form of a servant, little inclined to calculate, that surely Providence nor at all in the capacity of a sufferer. No manwill not press very hard upon our patience, when ger, with its privations; no Gethsemane, with its our faith is thus cordially given to the Saviour. cup of wrath; no Calvary, with its cross, awaitWe lay our account with having some trials in the ed his advent. Humiliation, agony, and death, world, but take for granted that they will not be were the tests and trials of the love of Christ many nor mysterious. They turn out, however, alone. Only his heart bled or broke for the reto be of a kind, or in a degree, we did not expect : demption of the adopted. “In bringing many sons and then the Holy Spirit has to begin the work of to glory,” Christ alone had to be made a perfect reconciliation anew. For it is no uncommon thing through suffering.”. to be so unhinged by worldly reverses or disap This creates a distinction all but infinite bepointments, that the very form as well as spirit of tween the work of Christ and the work of the piety goes to wreck for å time.
Holy Spirit. It does not, however, create such It is all very well, for it is very true, to say that a wide distinction between their love as there is the path of the just, like the light, “shineth more between their work; nor such a marked distincand more, to the perfect day." Those, however, tion as to forbid the mention of the love of the who think before they speak, and whilst speaking, Spirit when the love of Christ is celebrated: for, say this, remembering that the sun is often cloud. there is no more danger of detracting from, or of ed, and sometimes totally eclipsed. And the hiding, the love of the Saviour, by exhibiting the clouds of calamity, owing to the weakness of our love of the Spirit, than by exhibiting the love of faith, and from our proneness to walk by sense, the Father ; except, indeed, the exhibition be uncan so hide the wisdom of Providence, that we fair, or disproportionate, or designing. soon lose sight of both the work and worth of It must, however, be confessed, and should grace for a time. It is not, in general, the first never be forgotten, that the love of God has been heavy pressure of the mighty hand of God,” exalted and exaggerated, by some writers, for the which we bear humbly, or interpret fairly. We express purpose of hiding all the glorious peculiare but too ready to judge of his heart by his arities of both the love and work of Christ. Such hand; and thus our own hearts rebel or murmur love is ascribed, by modern Socinians, to the Fcagainst him, until we seem, even to purselves, to ther, as would, if true, render
the atonement unhave no submission to his will.
necessary, and the love of Christ but baman. This is the state of mind which the Spirit has And we have lately seen the gifts of the Spirit to subdue. We have not only to be reconciled to exalted above the preaching of the cross, even the crosses we groan under, but also to the cross when nothing beyond " unknown tongues” was of Christ, which permits them, and to the govern- pretended to. It is, therefore, possible to have a ment of God, which appoints them.
sinister purpose in emblazoning the love of the How many will join me in wondering and ador- Spirit. It may be employed sometimes, as the ing, that the love of the Spirit has reconciled us love of God has been already, to eclipse the glory to privations and sorrows, which, at first, seemed and grace of the Saviour. Indeed, the light of to harden our hearts against God, and to alienate the Spirit is, at present, made of more importance them from the Saviour, and to make them reck- by some, than the death of Christ and the word less of eternal consequences? Our troubles would of God. I, therefore, write, and would have you have done all this, had not the Spirit lifted up read and judge, with a jealousy equally scrupulous a standard in the midst of them, which claimed us. I and scrutinizing. I have taken my place, in stu
dying this subject, in the very centre of “ the There was more than our Bible with us in our heights and depths, the lengths and breadths,” of closet then :-“ Verily, God was in that place," the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge ; | whether we knew it, or not, at the time. We, irthat thus I may ascribe nothing to the Spirit which deed, were reading, or praying, or pondering ; but belongs to Christ ; nor so present what belongs it was the Spirit, working mightily, who unveiled to the Spirit as to hide any of the wonders of re to us the solemn fact, that we were both aliens deeming love.
and outcasts from the special family of God. On the other hand, however, equal care ought Thus, it is owing to the love of the Spirit that we to be taken that we neither overlook nor under- came to know, so as to feel and confess, the nerate any part of the work of the Spirit, or of the cessity of being “ born again,” before we could wondrous love which distinguishes his operations. be the sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty. Now, in regard to adoption, all the children of It will be easy and delightful now to trace the God are " born again of the Spirit,” “ led by the love of the Holy Spirit, in creating the desire to be Spirit,” and “ sealed by the Spirit.” In like man- the children of God. Did you ever observe how ner, all their knowledge and enjoyment of their that desire arises in the mind of a penitent? It adoption comes from his witness to its truth. is not the first wish of a broken and contrite Hence Paul says, “ The Spirit beareth witness spirit. with our spirit that we are the children of God.” Rom. vii. 16. For these and similar reasons, the
“ Call me a child of thine!" Comforter is expressly and emphatically called " the Spirit of Adoption."
is not tne first prayer which springs from the heart With such facts before us, there can be neither to the lips, when we feel ourselves to be children danger nor difficulty in tracing, even minutely, the of wrath by nature. Penitents, in general, adopt love of the Spirit, as that is manifested in connec- instinctively the prayer of the prodigal, “ Make tion with adoption. It shines brightly even in the me as one of thy hired servants, for I am no more preliminary step of convincing us that our natural worthy to be called thy son.” relationship to God, as “the Father of our spirits," You remember that you would have been conis not sonship. We are all, indeed, by creation, tent, yea, well pleased, to be restored to the favor " his offspring.” Yes; and, by nature, we should of God, in any capacity, or relation, which would all trust to that, as enough for safety. So prone have placed your soul in safety. To be on the is the human mind to rest satisfied with mere na. right hand, at the judgment-seat, however far oft tural and nominal relations to God, that the Jews from the spot where crowns of glory were falling : reckoned themselves the children of God because to be in heaven for ever, however obscure or unthey were the “ seed of Abraham," and although noticed, would have more than satisfied your soul, this presumptuous fallacy was met and unmasked at first. You could not see then, how Ġod could by the startling oracle, “ God is able of these “pul you among the children, and give you a stones to raise up children to Abraham,” many goodly heritage,” in the general assembly and have taught, and more believed, even in the face church of the first-barn, whose names are written of John the Baptist's protest, that baptism makes in heaven, and whose mansions are near the an infant a child of God, and an heir of the king-throne. You would have counted it “joy unspeakdom of heaven.
able and full of glory” for you, to have had the We may never have attached any such impor- prospect of serving the servants of God, by cartance to our baptism, nor founded any claim or rying their harps after them on the sea of glass, hope upon our descent from pious parents: but or by helping them to cast their crowns at the feet the time was when we took for granted that we of the Lamb. You thought of no crown nor harp needed no nearer relationship to God than our for yourself; but felt, that you could adore the birth in a Christian land gave us. When we Lamb for ever without either, if only permitted to spoke of God, it was as our maker chiefly, if not be where he is. only. We addressed him, indeed, as “our Father,” Now there was real humility in all this : but it when we repeated the Lord's prayer; but we was not so wise, as it was well-meant, nor so very. thought of him only as our creator and preserver; humble as it seems. For, as this is not the form and never dreamt, that he who made us could in which eternal life is promised or presented to have “ no mercy upon us," apart from redeeming any one by the gospel, so it is not a form in which uz from the curse of the law by the death of his it should be sought or desired, by any one. It is, Son.
remember, “many sons," or only as children, that Thia delusion did not end with our childhood. God will bring to glory. Heb. ii. 10. Accordingly, It would never have ended by age or experience, the Holy Spirit did not allow your hopes or dehad not the Holy Spirit convinced us, that “we sires to rest satisfied with the bare prospect of were by natore the children of wrath, as well as just escaping hell, and entering heaven at last.others.” Eph. j. 3. This conviction is his work He led them out, however gradually, to seek for upon the soul, wherever it is an humbling convic- an interest in the great atonement—for the retion. And what but love,-even great love,– generating power of grace-for conformity to the could have induced him to implant it in any soul ? divine image; and thus led them on to embrace For no truth, perhaps is more hateful to the natu- the prospects of the gospel, as well as the promises ral mind; it exasperates, as well as mortifies, our of it; and to lay hold of eternal life, just as Christ pride. Oh, it was “a night much to be remem- has revealed it. bered before the Lord,” when we first applied this Do you not see the love of the Spirit in this? humbling truth to ourselves, and said of ourselves, Consider; had you been left to take up with the “ We are the children of wrath as well as others !” | mere hope of escaping hell, or of being merely “a
hired servant,” in your father's house, you would an anxious and honest desire to see God just, in soon have relaxed in prayer to God, and in de- justifying : to see God glorified, in saving. Acpendance on Christ. There is, alas, but too little cordingly, until something of this is scen, no peniof both maintained, even when a hope full of im- tent ventures to answer God's question,"How mortality is taken up: and there would be still can I put thee amongst the children ?" less, if less than “ the glory to be revealed” were This, however, is just the question, for drawing permitted to become the final object of desire or us to search the Scriptures, that we may ascerpursuit.
tain whether there be any way in which God can Besides; it is of immense importance, yea, ab- be merciful to us, without injury to his character. solutely necessary, to be led on to the desire of And is not the love of the Spirit 'illustrious, in thus full adoption into the family of God. Willingness throwing us upon an inquiry, that throws us di. to be a servant is all very well, as a feeling ; but rectly upon the gospel? Were our great question as a principle, it does not, and cannot, produce only—how shall I become better, or how shall I either the kind or the degree of service which resist temptation in future? we might, and most God requires. Indeed, when it is thoroughly sift. likely should, stop short of the cross of Christ, and ed, as a principle, it will be found somewhat un- think only of our need of some divine help. But holy as well as slothful. Our hearts, remember, the question-how can I become an adopted, acare very deceitful, and quite capable of preferring cepted, and beloved child of God ? cannot be anthat relationship to God, which involves the fewest swered by any prospect of mere help, however sacrifices, and the least serving. It is, therefore, great. It is unanswerable, until we discover that just as possible to hold back from embracing the for this very purpose, or that we might be "dear hope of sonship, in order to avoid the duties of children,” Christ both died and rose again. How children, as to keep back from the sacrament, in wise and kind it is, therefore, to fix and exercise order to stand clear of its peculiar moral obliga- our hopes and fears, with a point upon which we tions and responsibilities. More is expected from can obtain no real satisfaction, but by finding out children than from servants, in life: and in godli- from the word of God, that he sent his Son to re. ness, this is soon discovered to be still more true. deem them who were under the law, just “ that 0, it is well that the Comforter is “the Spirit of we might receive the adoption of sons." Gal. iv. adoption!" By this, he proves himself to be the 5. Truly, the Spirit is often a Comforter, when Spirit of sanctification and holiness. For it is we do not think him so. Yes; his work is often sonship alone, that is seen and felt to call for filial, in tender love, when we suspect him of desertion cheerful, and impartial obedience. It is the duty or denial. We, no doubt, thought, when turning of being
“ followers of God as dear children,' over and over in our minds, the absorbing inquiry, that explains and enforces “ following the Lord " Am I a child of God—shall I ever be one of his fully."
family ?”—that it was very trying, and somewhat Consider now the love of the Spirit in fixing strange, that we could come to no settled concluand exercising the mind of penitents, with God's sion! But see now—what love regulated all the solemn question,~“How shall I put thee amongst work of the Spirit, in this apparent standing afar the children ?” Jer. iii. 29. It is a remarkable off.” He was thus taking care, that we should fact, that all the truly penitent, however intent come near enough to the cross, by the Scriptures, upon escaping the wrath to come, are yet deeply to see in it, and for ourselves, that the great sacriconcerned for the honor of God in their salvation. fice which made mercy free, made adoption equalI mean, that they wish to see how a holy and justly free; that the blood which cleanseth from all God can, consistently, save them. Their chief sin, cancels all unworthiness, and gives power, difficulty lies here.
right, and welcome, to all who receive "Christ This is not what might naturally be expected crucified, to regard themselves as the children of from a sinner, when he is shrinking from “a fear- God. ful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation." There is much of the love of the Spirit maniThen, it might be supposed, that he would care for fested, in thus shutting up penitents “ to the faith" nothing but his own safety—that he would catch of the gospel, for the relief of their anxieties at any hope of escape, without one thought about about sonship. No direct witness of the Spirit the glory of God--that he would count any kind with their own spirit could, under ordinary cirof salvation, in any way, enough for himn. "But a cumstances, do them so much good. It might be penitent does not. The louder he cries, " Who more agreeable to us, to have a sense of sonship, can dwell with devouring fire and everlasting burn- or the consciousness of adoption, borne in upon ings ?" the oftener he asks, How can man be our minds an impulse ; but it would neither be just with God ?" The more he feels his danger, so profitable or safe. We should be in no small the more he wishes to be honorably delivered danger of attaching more value to it, than to the from the wrath to come.
cross; and in great danger of making less use of There is more in this concern for the honor and our Bibles. The Holy Spirit, therefore, does not consistency of God, than can be explained fully give a sense of any thing, which would set aside by the fact, that we know him too well to suppose or lessen the necessity of “a life of faith" on the that he could show mercy at the expense of law son of God. He witnesses to no sonship, but what or justice. This consideration has, of course, no is drawn from the cross, and held at the cross, by small influence upon us. It ought to have much. humble and prayerful faith. Accordingly, even But still, there is more in this state of mind, than those cloudless and glorious discoveries of sonship the conviction that God must act in character, or which hallow and enshrine the death-bed of some in harmony with all the perfections of his nature, saints, are, mo likely,-indeed tainly,_all and principles of his government. There is, also, I made through the medium of their former experi
THE LOVE OF THE SPIRIT IN ILLUMINATION.
mental knowledge of the grace and power of reason in other things, as you do in this matter, Christ ; then, gathered into one full-orbed sight you would render your Bible of no use. But you of the Lamb slain! I mean,—that the Spirit's take the word of the Spirit, for the fact of your witness then, is not to their worth, but to the sin, your danger, your weakness, and your deworthiness of the Lamb. It seals, cr accredits, of pendance; why not, then, for your adoption? It course, their sincerity as the followers of the Lamb is just as true, that the penitents are all the chil-but it shines from the Sun of Righteousness him- dren of God by grace, as that the impenitent are self. Yes; the life of faith is at its height, when all the children of wrath by nature. You are just even the holiest Christians are dying, whether in as welcome to consider yourself a child of God, as triumph or tranquillity.
you are willing to be a debtor to Christ and a serThe witness of the Holy Spirit with the spirits vant to God. Yes; willing servants (made so by of the children of God, to their adoption, is, con- the cross) are welcome sons and daughters of the fessedly, a difficult subject. One thing, however, Lord Almighty. is certain,—and sheds great light upon both his love and witness,—that he does not witness against the testimony of our own spirits, but with it. When our own heart or conscience condemns us for known sin, or for heartless prayer-or for
No. VI. allowed inconsistencies--or for the indulgence of unhallowed terpers and worldly-mindedness,— the Holy Spirit is too holy; yes, and loves us too well, to shine upon our souls. He bears witness Ir is by far too common to confine the expression, to our adoption, only when our own spirit witnesses “ After ye were illuminated,”-to the first enthat we are honestly trying to walk worthy of trance of divine light into the mind. That, inour high calling. When we cease to conduct deed, is illumination, as contrasted with the former ourselves as the children of God, the Comforter blindness of the mind, just as the dawn is light, ceases to act as the Spirit of adoption, until we compared with darkness; but it no more amounts return to filial obedience and submission.
to the illumination of the Spirit, than the first faint This is real love to us. For if we could re- streaks of the morning, to daylight. It is spiritual tain the sense of sonship, after having lost the light; but not spiritual illumination; for although spirit of prayer; or could we carry the hope of these are the same in kind, they differ as much in adoption, into the paths of backsliding, without degree, as the second power of vision given to dimming it, we should soon become prayerless, if the blind man at Bethsaida. He saw, after the not apostate.
first touch of the Saviour's hand: but he only saw So far, the rule of the Spirit's witness is as plain, “men, as trees, walking." It was when Jesus as it is wise and holy. There are, however, not put his hands again upon his eyes, and made a few very exemplary Christians, whose own spi- him look up,” that he was "restored, and saw rits bear them witness, that they are trying to every man clearly." Mark viii. 24. walk with God, and to lean entirely upon Christ, Whilst, therefore, it becomes us to say, from and to act as children; and yet they say, that they the very first entrance of the feeblest rays of diare “utter strangers to the spirit of adoption.” vine light, “One thing I know, that whereas I was Now, what shall I say to this? Few, perhaps, blind, I now see,” it is very unwise to call this ilhave seen oftener, or corresponded more with this lumination. It is a change “from darkness to class, than myself. None can tell the dilemmas I light;" but not a translation "out of darkness into have been placed in, by cases of this kind, when marvellous light:" for when he who cominanded I have had to answer startling questions, upon the the light of the day to shine out of the darkness spur of the moment, to the victims of depression of chaos, shines into the mind, he gives " the light and despondency : a class more numerous than of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face many suppose, and more tempted than I suspect of Jesus ;” and that is not, usually, the first, nor ed. Often (and that just in order to throw their the clearest discovery of a newly enlightened thoughts into a new channel, and thus to gain a mind. Accordingly, in general, our first spiritual hearing) have I been compelled, whilst my heart views of God are somewhat alarming. It is his was bleeding with sympathy, to ask with a smile, glory, not in “ the face of Jesus," but rather in the “ Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up to face of the law, or of the judgment-seat, or o. heaven" for the spirit of adoption, without gazing eternity, that we see then. Hence we say then, on your Bibles, at the same time, for the law of like Isaiah, “ Wo is me; for I am undone, for adoption? How can you expect the Spirit to mine eyes have seen the king, the Lord of hosts." witness to your sonship, if you will not hear Isa. vi. 5. Or, with Job, “ I have heard of thee what the Spirit saith” to them who have fled to by the hearing of the ear ; but now mine eye seeth Christ? That is that to as many as have re- thee: wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in ceived Christ, or believed on his name, he gives dust and ashes." Job xlii. 5, 6. power to become (or empowers them to consider. This self-abasement, and this self-condemnation, themselves) the children of God. Here is the re- are indeed felt, even more deeply, although less vealed and written fact, that all who believe with painfully, when the mind discovers the glory of the heart, are warranted and welcome to regard God in the face of Jesus, or sees how “ God is in themselves as "the children of God by faith in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself.” No. Jesus Christ :" and, if you refuse to take the word thing melts or humbles like “ this great sight.” No of the Spirit for this fact, how can you expect him whirlwind, earthquake, or fire of conviction, brings to witness with your spirit? Why; were you to the mantle of godly sorrow so fully or closely over
the face, as the small still voice of a reconciling / usually omitted, when reasoning, with the timid God. That produces just the effect, and all the and trembling, from the fact of their quickening, effect, foretold in prophecy,--Thou shalt“ remem- to the fact of God's love to their souls : omitted, ber and be confounded, and never open thy mouth however, not treacherously nor heedlessly, but in any more because of thy shame, when I am paci- tenderness to their feelings, and in the hope that fied towards thee for all that thou hast done, saith spiritual life may soon be followed by spiritual joy. the Lord God.” Ezek. xvi. 63.
These two things are often separate for a time, in This is illumination! Our awful views of God, point of fact; and, therefore, it is not altogether as holy and just, were light: but this is “marvel- unfair to separate them in argument, when the lous light;" sustaining all the majesty of his holi- purpose is both kind and pure. It is, however, ness and justice, and yet softening and enshrining unwise, however well meant. It defeats itself, both, with pardoning mercy and paternal love. whenever the trembling penitent retires to weighi And until God is seen somewhat in this lovely the argument, by reading the passage. Then he light, we are not illuminated so, that, like the He- sees, that the quickening, which (he was told) was brews, we could“ endure a great fight of afflic. a proof of the great love of God, includes spiritutions,” or even be calculated upon for steadfastness al resurrection, and is connected with some spirituin the faith. It is the illumination of the Spirit, al exaltation, which he does not even understand not the dawn of his light, that produces well-doing the meaning of. Thus, he finds no parallel beand enduring Christians.
tween himself and the Ephesians, except that he, This distinction between some light, and con- like them, is no longer “dead in trespasses and siderable illumination, will go far in explaining sins." Unless, thereiore, be know of something that sad oversight of the love of the Spirit, which in the gospel itself to encourage him, or recollect is so common amongst many, who are certainly some case more parallel to his own, he is then in not strangers to the work of the Spirit. They danger of being more discouraged than ever by think nothing love, but comfort ; nothing sympa- the case of the Ephesian converts. thy, but consolation : and, as they are uncomforta Besides ; the Holy Spirit is generally spoken of ble, they are ready to conclude that they are un as a comforter ; and, therefore, it is no great wonconverted, and thiús not loved by the Spirit at all. der if those who are very uncomfortable suspect This conclusion is often drawn by the weary and very much that the Spirit has no love to them. heavy laden, who, although seeking rest to their They are wrong_sadly wrong, in thus suspecting souls, cannot find any “quiet rest ;” and it would the heart or the hand of the all-gracious Spirit : be oftener drawn, were they not glad to cling to for, as “the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," he must. any thing, which was any proof or token that they give death-wounds to the love of sin, and to the are not given up to a reprobate mind. It is their pride of the heart, and to the power of self-rightedread of being rejected, or “ let alone,” by God ousness. It would be no less to wound them but entirely, that makes them so willing to hear the slightly; and no wisdom to comfort the wounded best construction put upon their fears and distress. spirit by the number or the depth of its bleeding These are not removed, nor much relieved, but convictions. It is not the begun work of the Holy they are alleviated, by the kind interpretations, Spirit on the heart, but the finished work of Christ which ministers and pious friends give of such on the cross, that gives real comfort then. symptoms. It is something, and that something Were this distinction well understood, both the is not a little to a trembling
conscience, or a sink- comfort and the illumination of penitents would ing heart, to be told kindly—that “God would not advance faster than they usually do. Their perhave showed you such things, had he intended no sonal piety also, would make more progress : for mercy ;-you would not feel as you do if God had it, too, is much impeded by trying to graft the hope given you up ;-a reprobate mind is a reckless of salvation upon the depths of conviction. Hapmind; a seared conscience is past feeling. But pily, that unwise process of comforting the awakenthis is not your case ; you are in a far more ed, defeats itself in the end. It is, however, very hopeful state now that you are afraid to hope, than injurious, whilst it succeeds; for the moment à you were whilst you had no fears.”
penitent takes up with the maxim, that his conThere is not, indeed, much of the gospel in all victions are sure to end in conversion, there is an this; but still it is "a word in season to the weary,” end to much of his diligence, and to more of his which often enables them to “ look again” to the watchfulness. Little do they know what they are gospel, or inclines them to try again to find peace. doing, who, in their sympathy with the convicted, In like manner, they are somewhat encouraged, comfort them by their convictions. This is stopalthough not exactly comforted, when ministers or ping their flight from the wrath to come! Accordfriends reason with them out of the Scriptures,” ingly, it is not very uncommon to find persons showing, from the case of the Ephesians, that whose experience and hope amount to nothing there is not only love, but “great love,” manifest- beyond the single fact, that, at one time in their ed in quickening a sinner from spiritual death. life, they had very strong convictions, which were “God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love very like the work of the Spirit. Their alarm wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead and melting did not, however, lead to any consein sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.” cration to Christ or holiness ; but merely to a lazy Eph. ii. 4, 5.
hanging on upon the outward means of grace, 'It is not common to quote, as I have done, the with some vague hope that what they once felt words, “ together with Christ;" much less to add would turn out, at last, to be a work of grace, as the words which follow, " and hath raised us up a matter of course. together, and made us sit toge in heavenly
This is a fearful delusion! There is even in. places in Christ Jesus.” Verse 6. All this is fatuation in it. No man, in his senses, would treat