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3. The Holy Ghost carries on the Redeemer's work by promoting and spreading the Gospel, and blessing the doctrines of the cross. The Gospel is the grand instrument for promoting Christ's interest. This enlightens all the borders of Israel. Where there is no vision the people perish. Wherever he has much people, he sends it. He sends it to gather even a few. Wherever it is faithfully preached it meets with great opposition. It was an adage of Luther's "to preach the Gospel is to draw down the vengeance of the world." But the Holy Ghost maintains and supports it. By him it is given to some to believe the Gospel, and to others to suffer for it. He bestows such grace on many, as makes them declare, and prove, in fact, that they are set for the defence of the Gospel. Tasting the sweetness and nourishing effects of the bread of life broken in ordinances, they make strong and vigorous exertions to procure, and retain it. The history of the church is filled with accounts of what the Lord's people have done for the Gospel. He blesses the doctrines of the cross. After Christ has shed his blood to open a channel for the Holy Spirit, and procure his influences, it cannot once be supposed that the Spirit should accompany and bless doctrines diametrically opposite to the cross. Remarkable is the apostle's question, Gal. iii. 2, "This only would I learn of you, received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?" The Spirit never did, and never can bless those tenets which secretly undermine and sap the doctrines of free grace through the Redeemer's righteousness, or openly and avowedly
oppose them. Moral harangues will never change the heart, or reform the life. If we would make the world better, and put an effectual stop to the progress of vice and immorality, we should preach Christ. The Holy Spirit not only blesses the glad tidings of salvation, but disposes of them according to his sovereign pleasure. He sends the Gospel to one place, and not to another. He did not suffer it to go to Bithynia, but sent it to Macedonia. He will direct its course to the end of the world. Wherever he sends it, he makes it the savour of life to some. No wise man sows all his seed by the way-side.
4. The Holy Spirit promotes the Redeemer's interest by his gifts. He appoints and separates some to take the oversight of his flock, and qualifies them for their work. The various offices in Zion are Christ's ascension gifts for the good of his body, as the apostle declares, Ephes. iv. 10-13, " He ascended far above all heavens, that he might fill all things: and he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." All whom the Lord employs in his service are qualified by the Spirit. There are diversity of gifts, but they are all from him. We have an account of these 1 Cor. xii. 7-11, where after enumerating the various gifts in the church, the apostle expressly ascribed them all to the Spirit: " but all
these worketh that one and the self same Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will" The great diversity of gifts is for the edification of the church. While office-bearers are endowed and qualified for their work, every member has a share from the same Spirit, suited to his place and station, for the benefit of the body. The gifts of the Holy Ghost should be employed, as well as his graces. Among those employed in public work, some are sons of thunder, and others of consolation. The Spirit appoints them their station, and fits them for their work.
5. He advances Christ's work as a Spirit of grace. In this character he chiefly promotes the interest of the Redeemer. When building the second temple, the Jews were encouraged by a precious and comforting promise from Christ of the Holy Spirit as a "Spirit of grace," Zech. xii. 10. It was grace alone which moved him to undertake the application of redemption. Free sovereign grace moved the adorable Three to dwell with men upon earth. Grace chose every sinner who shall be saved, and the Saviour to accomplish his redemption. Jehovah the Father says of Christ," Behold, my servant whom I uphold, mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth: I have put my Spirit upon him, he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles." The apostle says, of all the redeemed, Eph. i. 4, that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath chosen them in him before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without blame before him in love. Grace laid the first stone in the spiritual temple, and the last shall
be brought forth with shoutings of grace, grace unto it. He carries it on by grace bestowed, or the gift of grace. By this, more than any other method, he promotes Christ's spiritual temple. Without this, all his other plans would be inefficacious. The gift of grace includes all his saving operations. His gracious work with every individual is begun in uniting to Christ and implanting faith; and it prospers in proportion to that precious grace. He illuminates the heart; inflames it with love; and inspires it with zeal. While by his graces he builds up those in whom they flourish; he makes them instrumental in the salvation of others. A decline of love and zeal mars the work. When all seek their own things, Christ's interest will be neglected. The Redeemer's will keep pace with the effusion of the Holy Ghost as a Spirit of grace. When he is present, it will prosper. When he is provoked to depart, the progress will be retarded. Once more,
6. The Holy Spirit carries on the Redeemer's work as a Spirit of supplication. He is promised in this character, as well as a Spirit of grace. There is no way in which we can so much promote Christ's interest as by fervent prayer and wrestling. This engages Divine power and faithfulness. When the Lord is about to appear in his glory and build Zion, he will hear the prayer of the destitute. Prayer is to God's work what the hands of Moses were to Israel when fighting against Amalek. The most useful in a church and congregation is not the noisy talkative busy professor, who runs about as if every thing depended on his head and mouth, his hands and feet;
but the poor hidden believer who frequents his closet, and will neither go away without the blessing for himself, nor for Zion's sake hold his peace. Great is the power of prayer. The conversion of sinners and the edification of saints will, in general, bear proportion to the fervent wrestlings of the Lord's people. It is a certain symptom of revival when a spirit of prayer is poured from on high. When the clouds thicken, the rain approaches. On the other hand, it is a sure test of a declining church when a spirit of prayer is restrained. Christ delights to be entreated. When church members have no employment for him, he begins to go away. When those, from whom the merchant can have any expectations, are gone, and only a few children amusing themselves in the market-place, he considers exposing his wares any longer as only a loss of time, and resolves to depart.
II. It was proposed in the next place to specify a few of the excellent purposes answered by the Lord's carrying on his work in this manner-Not by might or power, but by his own Spirit.
1. It secures success to the work. When the Holy Spirit works none can let. If it depended on instruments, these are often weak, sometimes unwilling, and always insufficient. Though they could do more than is competent for such weak creatures, they are mortal, and die. God lives, and Zion must prosper. The work is committed to one who can never fail. He keeps his eye upon the promises, and will faith