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only weigh it once. I refer to the reasons which distinction, with his usual precision and prudence : Paul assigns to the Hebrews, when explaining to "So much as we have of the Spirit, so much have them-why God was not ashamed to be called" we of heaven in present enjoyment, and so much the God of the patriarchs. “They desired a evidence of its future fulness. He is in all reheavenly country, wherefore, God is not asham- spects, completely an earnest. For that a thing ed to be called their God.” Heb. xi. 16. Thus be an earnest, it is required that it be a part of the apostle plainly intimates, that God would have the whole, of the same kind and nature as the been ashamed to be called their God," if the whole ; and, that it be a confirmation of a propatriarchs had been ashamed to confess " that mise and appointment :-first, the whole is prothey were pilgrims and strangers on the earth;" mised ; then, the earnest is given for the good or ashamed to avow before the world, that they and true performance of that promise. desired “ a better country.” But they were not us the promise of eternal life. To confirm this, ashamed to do so. They said and did things he giveth to us his Spirit,—which is as the first which “declared plainly,” both that this world part of the promise, to secure us of the whole. “ was not their rest,” and that they sought a city It is the Spirit himself personally considered, that which God had “prepared for them.”
is said to be the earnest."-Owen on Communion What a flood of explaining and humiliating with the Holy Ghost. light, this one fact throws upon our experience! It is by overlooking this simple fact, that 80 How often we have both wandered and wept, many of the timid and tempted are afraid to look because we found so much difficulty in calling or at heaven, as their own home. It is not the Spiconsidering God, as “our God !” How often rit himself
, but “strong consolation,” which they have you and I said, “If God were, indeed, reckon the earnest : whereas, he himself is so, my God, in covenant, or in Christ, would he not whether comforting or humbling, whether cheer. manifest himself to me as such, or as he does not ing or checking us. As Owen says, “ so much manifest himself unto the world ?"
as we have of the Spirit, so much have we of
heaven." That great and good man knew his When I can say, my God is mine,
Bible too well to say,–50 much as we have of When I can feel his glories shine,
comfort, so much have we of heaven. He knew I tread the world beneath my feet,
also, that meetness for the inheritance of the With all that earth calls good or great :" saints in light, is as truly going on in the soul,
when the Spirit is carrying on our humility, or but how seldom, and how slightly this occurs !" our penitence, or our sense of dependance, or
You see one great reason of this now. You even our sense of utter weakness and unworthihave not only been ashamed to avow before the ness, as when he is carrying us " out of the body," world your desire for a heavenly country; but by an abundance of revelations; or within the you have been very slow of heart to cherish that veil
, as upon eagles' wings. It is not, indeed, so desire ; and, therefore, God has very properly easy to regard the Spirit as the earnest of heabeen ashamed to reveal himself to you, as your ven, when he is thus, as it were, burying us in the God in Christ.' For how could he be otherwise ? dust of self-abasement, or leading us through fires Consider this. How can the Heavenly Father and waters of conflict, as when he is witnessing manifest himself with propriety, as our Father, to our adoption, or ministering to our comfort : whilst there is little or nothing heavenly in our but even then, he is leading us to the "wealthy spirit or conversation? If our “ Father's house" place;" for these emptyings, and straits, and is hardly ever thought of, except as a far off and struggles, are as really preparations for the rest final refuge from how can our Father's heart and rapture of glory, as the peace or the joys take much interest in our comfort ?
which are the foretastes of heaven. We have, I will not strain this point, nor turn it too sharply therefore, the earnest already, just in proportion against you. Like myself, you may have found as we have the Spirit himself leading and sanctimuch difficulty, even when trying to set your fying us. The good work he is carrying on in us, thoughts and affections on heavenly things. You warrants us to carry out our thoughts and hopes, may have deemed it useless, if not presumptuous to "glory, honor, immortality, and eternal life :" also, to meditate on heaven, whilst you could for our spiritual discernment, is heavenly light ; hardly see how you could obtain either a title or our spiritual desires, heavenly taste; our spiritual meetness for that glorious inheritance. Well; if character, heavenly purity; just in proportion as you would really be glad to think often of heaven, we judge, and feel, and act, above earthly princicould you only see your own warrant and welcome ples and motives. to hope for it, remember, that the Holy Spirit It will not do, to think of heaven merely or himself is “the earnest of the inheritance,” even chiefly as rapturous joy, or as perfect peace, when when his comforts are not exactly foretastes of judging of the love of the Spirit in becoming the heaven.
earnest of heaven. Heaven is worship as well I did not make this distinction, in the essay on as joy; and he is the earnest of it, whenever he the love of the Spirit in sealing believers. There helps our infirmities in devotion, by enabling us to I wrote just as we usually talk and think on the pray with the heart, or to praise with the under. subject, when we are not absorbed with it. But, standing. Yes; it is always heaven begun on now that we are much ashamed and not a little earth, and going on too, whenever we get beyond afraid, because of our want of heavenly-minded- formality in devotion, and somewhat into the spiness, I must be explicit, and say at once, that the rit of worship. All the Sabbaths, and sacraSpirit himself
, and not his comforts, is the earnest ments, and seasons of prayer, which are not "a of the inheritance. Dr. Owen has drawn this weariness" to us, are preludes to that perfect
worship, by which the saints in glory serve God, mation which shall fill the universe with the grand “ day and night without weariness.” We may “ Alleluia! the kingdoms of this world are benot call them preludes nor pledges of heaven; come the kingdom of our God and of his Christ." but they really are so. Their remote connection I will not go on writing, as if I had always with eternity, is not lessened by their immediate looked at heaven in this light; nor as if I thought bearings upon time. Their present influence that this strain would fall in at once, and as a upon our character and steadfastness in this world, matter of course, with your habitual views of neais, indeed, what we notice oftenest and feel most; ven. For even if you are prepared to throw your but they anticipate the future, as well as help at thoughts, in future, into this channel, you cannot present.
afford to detach them from any of the common In like manner, all lively interest and willing ideas of heaven, as a place of rest, and reward, efforts for the glory of God on earth, are heaven and purity, and perfect felicity. These sweet and begun on earth. Never say nor suspect, that the soothing views of our Father's house, are just as Holy Spirit of promise is no earnest of the inhe necessary to sustain us under trials and temptaritance to you,—if you have ever rejoiced over the tions, and in order to keep up the spirit of home repentance of a sinner; or ministered with de- piety and secret devotion, as more enlarged and light to the wants of a dying Christian; or gone practical views of heaven are, in order to inspire willingly to bless little children; or put your hand and regulate public duty. He is not doing nor to the plough of doing good in your neighbor- enduring much in the personal Christian warfare, hood; or had your heart warmed when good news (whatever be his public bustle,) who never needs came from a fár country. All this is part of the to lay a throbbing head nor an aching heart, upon bliss of angels. It is more. It is “ the joy of thy the soft pillow of eternal repose. Lord” himself! Whilst Jesus was going about I have no sympathy, certainly, with sleepy or “ doing good” on earth, he hardly felt himself to lazy notions of the “rest” of heaven; but I be out of heaven. Hence he called himself, “ the have no respect for the piety, which has no longSon of man, who is in heaven.” And there is ings for moral perfection, or no relish for the nothing more heavenly in Paradise itself, than a prospect, deep interest in the glory of God on earth. Tell me not, therefore, and let no one tell you,
" There shall we see His face, that the Spirit is not much the earnest of heaven
And never, never, sin." Tell those who say this, that he was never so much the earnest of the heavenly inheritance, If, therefore, I am at all teaching you a new lesson, since the apostolic ages, as now. It is not the I am not setting you to unlearn any old one. For heaven of their Bibles they are thinking of, who again, I say, you cannot afford to give up any of cannot see in the church, the hope of glory, now those familiar ideas of heaven, to which the soul that the habits and alms of the glorified are so turns when weary and heavy laden, and by which prevalent in the church. All her relations to the the heart is soothed and healed, when torn with poor and the perishing throughout the world, care, or bleeding with sorrow. The things which whether by sympathy or zeal, by good-will or by are unseen and eternal were made visible to faith, enterprise, are identifying relations with all around that patience might counterbalance the things the eternal throne, and even with the Godhead which are seen and temporal, when they are upon the throne.
trying; and that watchfulness might counteract The Spirit not the earnest of heaven! Who them, when they are ensnaring and flattering. then raised up hundreds of thousands of Sunday Never forget this fact. But do remember another. school teachers, who, like the Lord of glory, wel. You have the earnest of the Spirit at home, when come little children to their arms and their hearts? you live with your family as “ heirs together of Who then sent out into the lanes and alleys, the the grace of life;" in the circle of your pious garrets and cellars of our towns, the thousands friends, when you live and love as children of one who, like him, “ stand at the door and knock," Father; in the fellowship of the church, when that they may be invited in to counsel and con- your heart iningles, and your hand acts, with sole ? The Spirit, not now making believers those who are preparing for heaven; and in the “ partakers of the glory to be revealed !” Grieve communion of the universal church, when you him not by this ungrateful and unjust charge : for sustain her evangelizing enterprises, or share in what are our Bible and Missionary Societies, now her " joy of harvest at home" or abroad. immoveably planted at home, and immutably This is the kind of heaven upon earth, which is pledged to the world, to fill the whole earth with most wanted for the world, and best for the church. the glory of the Lord, but incarnations of the It answers all the purposes which the raptures of love, the benevolence, and the zeal of heaven? retirement did, when cells and solitudes were al
Those who cannot see in all this, any thing of most the only places in which heaven could be heaven on earth; or who would recognise more realized; and it does what no secret joy ever can of it in dazzling visions and mental raptures, are do, add to the bliss of heaven, by adding to the more Mahomelanized than they intend or suspect. number and variety of the heirs of glory. They refine, certainly, upon the Turkish Para Do, adjust your hopes and habits as a Christian, dise, who conceive of heaven as mental pleasure to the state of things which the dispensation of only; but they are not heavenly minded, who see the Spirit has brought on in the world and the no glory in rejoicing with angels over the repent- church. You cannot make nor see your way to ance of sinners; nor in joining with “ the souls heaven alone, as your fathers did. Ühe voice of under the altar," in crying, “ how long” shall a world crying for help," was not sounding on Babylon stand ? nor in preparing for the consum-' the four winds of the world, in their time. Bel
had not bowed down, nor Nebo stooped, nor that everlasting life was free to all who would beEthiopia stretched forth her hands unto God, nor lieve on Christ for it. Buddh and Bramah began to totter on their Thus the Saviour dealt with individuals, on this thrones, nor the islands of the sea to wait and solemn point. In the same way he dealt with weep for missionaries, when our fathers, as pil- groups of his stated hearers, when he taught them grims and strangers, found the smallest and ob- to pray: “ If ye then, being evil, know how to scurest houses of God," the very gate of heaven.” give good gifts unto your children, how much Neither Grecian chapels nor Gothic cathedrals more shall your heavenly Father give his Holy can be so now, except the glorious gospel sound Spirit to them that ask him ?” Thus the Spirit is forth from them, as well as in them. Churches presented as the paternal gift of God, and as more must be the lights of the world, and the salt of surely forthcoming, in answer to prayer, than even the earth now, if they would find their ordinances food is to our children, when they apply to us.or their fellowship," the savor of life unto life.” Now, this is the form and the spirit in which the
In a word; the Spirit is the earnest of the necessity of the renewing of the Holy Ghost, whole inheritance of glory, and not of that part of should be spoken of by those who would honor it which falls in most with our taste. Think of him, or bring sinners to submit to Christ. He this! What do we more than the world, when stands in the same relation to their spiritual wants we think of heaven, only as a better world, where that household bread does to the wants of our sorrow and sighing will for ever fee away, and children: and that is not certainly, a discouraging where there will be no more death or separation ? connection. Who would deny bread to a hungry We require, indeed, to take and to keep this view child ? Much more will not a paternal God withof the heavenly rest; for we have both cares and hold his Spirit from them that ask him. This is sorrows which need this antidote. But we have an appeal which all classes can understand, and no more right to confine the work or the witness somewhat appreciate too; it comes home so diof the Spirit to the hopes which are popular, than rectly to the bosom and business of both young to confine his teaching to the truths which are and old, rich and poor. most pleasing. His office as a Guide is, to “ lead And now remember how the Saviour preached unto all truth ;" and his work, as the earnest of the work of the Spirit to the multitude. "In the heaven, is to bring down glory to the heart, in last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood, those forms which the circumstances of the world and cried with a loud voice, If any man thirst, let require most, and which the church wants most. him come unto me and drink. This spake he of It is not, therefore,
the Spirit which they that believe on him should
receive." John vii. 37. This appeal was made " In secret silence of the mind,”
to any man" amongst all the assembled thou
sands of Israel, although the people had just said now, that the church can find, most readily, her to Christ, “Thou hast a devil;" although many “ heaven,” or her “God.” She must look for of them wanted to kill him, and some of them them in working, as well as in watching. “ sought to take him.” Neither their malignant
blasphemy, nor their murderous designs, prevented him from crying, “ with a loud voice, If any man
thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” This he No. XV.
spake of the Spirit to them! To whom, then, should we speak of him in warning only? How few cases can come before us in which it is not our first duty to point to him as standing at the
fountainhead of the river of life, saying, “Come; The Saviour always took care to couple the as- whosoever will, let him come, and take of the sertion, “ye must be born again,” with some kind water of life freely.” This would be imitating assurance, which made the grace of the Spirit Christ. Whereas, to tell men of their need of appear as free as it is necessary; and free just the Spirit, without showing them the fulness and because necessary. Even to the woman of Sa- freeness of his grace, is almost to contradict maria, he said, " If thou hadst known the gift of Christ. God, and who it is that saith unto thee, give me It is easy to say, “ Who enforces the necessity to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he of being born again of the Spirit, without at the would have given thee living water.” Thus he same time informing and assuring the unregenewooed her attention to the work of the Spirit
. In rate, that his redeeming grace is free grace, and like manner, he preached to Nicodemus all “tho certainly forthcoming in answer to prayer ?" This fulness of the blessing of the gospel,” in connec- is, indeed, happily true now, upon a large scale tion with the doctrine of regeneration. Neither but still, the improved tone of the pulpit has not the ignorance nor the cavils of Nicodemus, pre- improved the tone of public opinion very much vented the Saviour from throwing the love of God yet. The delaying and the undecided still manage and the glory of the atonement, like a rainbow, to remain “at ease in Zion," by excuses drawn around the work of the Spirit. “God so loved from their want of the Spirit, or from the sovethe world, as to give his only begotten Son, that reignty of his influences. Now, although there whosoever believeth in him, might not perish, but be no mode of treating this subject which would have everlasting life,” was the a small still voice" put an end to all excuses, still the number of them which followed the thunder,—“Except a man be might be reduced, and the character of the rest born again he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” changed. An unconverted man should not have The man was told, at the same time, and as often, it in his power to say, or insinuate, or suspect,
ON COMMENDING THE HOLY SPIRIT.
that he cannot help his unregeneracy. This, ther from his thoughts than the idea of the Spirit however, he will pretend, whilst the work of the designing or desiring to comfort him. The Sa. Spirit is oftener presented to him as a work of viour knew that this suspicion is “in man;" and, power than as a work of love. Calling it even “ a therefore, he calls the attention of the world to work of grace" will not cure him; for he under- " what the Spirit saith unto the churches ;” that stands by grace, not sovereign favor, in the scrip- whoever had an ear to hear,” should hear for tural sense of that expression, but favoritism themselves both the promises and warnings adand, therefore, regards the Spirit rather as a dressed to the churches. This was a fine mea. mighty eagle, sailing and alighting arbitrarily, than sure for commending the love of the Spirit to the as a gentle dove, fond of the habitations of men, world, and for securing attention to his impartialiand for ever hovering around them. Take any ty. So much had been said to the churches in the man who is halting between two opinions, and try apostolic epistles, about the care, and kindness, him upon this point, and you will find that it is and tenderness of the Comforter towards them, not as the dove of love, but as the eagle of power and so little, comparatively, of the breathings of he is resisting the Holy Ghost. I mean, he does bearings of his love to the world, that the apoca. not think that he is standing out against a heart lyptic epistles were added to prevent the very full of love, and a hand full of grace, to himself. suspicion of partiality. Hence, whilst each of He does not believe that the Spirit loves him at them is addressed to a specified church by Christ all. He may have some idea that the Holy Ghost himself
, all of them are re-addressed to the world has designs upon him in the way of alarming, thus," he that hath an ear, let him hear what the humbling, and checking him; but nothing is fur- Spirit saith unto the churches."