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of a divine influence.
.66 No man can say “ that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy “ Ghost ,” and “ whosoever confesseth “ from his heart that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is born of Gode.”
A leading feature in the character of those who are led by the Spirit of God, is frequency and earnestness in prayer. In one of the prophetical promises of the Spirit it is said, “I will pour upon the “ house of David, and upon the inhabitants " of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace
supplication";" and the Spirit is represented by St. Paul, as assisting us in prayer, as
making intercession for us 8.” If we pray not at all, or but seldom, and then without earnestness or fervency, we have great cause to fear that we are very imperfectly influenced by the Holy Ghost.
Our Lord assures us that the love of God is the first and great commandment of all. This love of God, however, finds little place in our corrupted nature ; until, as the Apostle speaks, “it is shed abroad
• 1 John iv. 2.
i Zech. xii. 10.
di Cor. xii. 3.
“ in our hearts by the Holy Ghost“, which “ is given unto us."
In the passage of the Epistle to the Galatians before referred to, St. Paul says, “the “ fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long“ suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, “ meekness, temperance!.” He whose heart is renewed by the Holy Spirit, will be influenced by love to God; and by real good will to man, which he will shew in all the acts and offices of Christian charity, as opportunity is offered to him. The other fruits of the Spirit here mentioned are joy, a religious cheerfulness, springing from an humble trust in God's mercy through Christ; and peace, peace of conscience, produced by the same cause, the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, together with a peaceable disposition and be haviour towards men, and a wish to promote peace by all proper means. Long, suffering, gentleness, and meekness, are again and again recommended and in. forced by the Apostles, and by their divine Master, as distinguishing marks of being influenced by the Spirit; and we are rede Rom. v. 5.
Gal. v. 22, 23.
peatedly charged to put away from us all « bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and cla“mour, and evil-speaking, with all malice,” ás sins which are contrary to his suggestions. Faith, in the passage above quoted, appears to inean, not so much faith in God, as faithfulness, or good faith, in our intercourse with man ; a strict regard for truth in all we say or do, the being true and just in all our dealings. And certainly, we shall not be otherwise than true and just if we are guided by the Spirit of truth. Tem perance implies self-command and mode ration in all things. It implies not only the curbing of the appetites and desires of the body, but the keeping within due bounds all earthly passions and feelings of every description.
There are many other passages in the Epistles, particularly in those to the Ephesians and the Colossians', which give the distinguishing marks of the old and of the new man; that is, of a man under the government of his evil nature, and of him
Ephes. iv. 31. See the three last chapters of each of these Epistles,
who is led by the Holy Spirit. By attentive consideration of these passages, you may be assisted in judging for yourselves, whether you are, or are not, led by the Spirit of God.
Let us, my friends, guided and assisted by these passages of Scripture, fairly and honestly ask ourselves how far we have got the better of the lusts of the flesh, and how far we shew forth in our tempers and conduct the fruits of the Spirit.
Perhaps upon such examination we shall find that we are far from being habi. tually led by the Spirit of God, and that therefore we have little reason to consider ourselves as his children. And this leads me, in the last place, to direct you to the means of procuring the influences the fellowship-of the Holy Ghost.
Since the Holy Spirit is the spirit of knowledge, you must seek the knowledge of him, and of the effects which he produces on the heart, in those Scriptures which were “given by his inspiration,” which
holy men of old wrote as they were moved “by the Holy Ghost.” Ifable, you should diligently read them; but at all events,
should attentively hear them, should mark, learn, and inwardly digest them.
Prayer, however, is the great means for. obtaining the aid of the divine Spirit; but our supplications must be frequent and earnest, in proportion to the importance, the absolute need in which we stánd, of the blessing which we ask. Petitions uttered only with the lips, without any corresponde ing emotions of heart, deserve not the name
Our prayers for the help of the Holy Spirit must be constant, fervent, im. portunate; and if we thus pray, we shall be graciously heard. Ask, and it shall be "given you",” says our Saviour; “seek, and "ye shall find;" and he encourages us to hope that “our heavenly Father will give “his Holy Spirit to them that ask him”.”
Another powerful means of proçuring the assistance of the Spirit of God is fur nished by the holy Sacraments. To the sa. crament of Baptism we were admitted in our infancy; but when arrived at mature, years, we should look back to it with se rious reflection upon the privileges to which
* Matt. vii. 7.
Luke xi. 13.