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2dly, Quenching the Spirit, 1 Thess. v. 19. Sometimes this holy fire begins to burn, and ye may find the heat of it: O then take heed as one who is upon the point of cure, that ye do not mar it! Do not cast water on this fire to drown it out, by sinning against light, putting out your convictions out of your hearts and heads, by sinning with a strong hand, or filling up your thoughts with worldly business, drowning them by sinful pleasures, &c. Withdraw not fuel from this fire, by neglecting the motions and operations of the Spirit. Do not smother it, by not giving them vent in prayer, and supplication, and confession before God, or in consulting with his servants in cases wherein ye need particular direction. O, why will ye ruin yourselves, and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life?
3dly, Grieving the Spirit, Eph. iv. 30. Even believers themselves have need of the Spirit for carrying on this work of application of Christ's redemption. And they are in hazard of retarding and interrupting it, by their grieving the Spirit by gross sins, which in a special manner defile the conscience, or by sins, though smaller in their nature, yet attended with great aggravations, or by not valuing and esteeming the Spirit's graces, comforts, influences, and ordinances. These things provoke the Spirit to withdraw; and so the application of the redemption is not advanced.
4thly, Vexing the Spirit, Isa. Ixiii. 10. It is true, the Spirit of the Lord is not subject to passions ; for these are inconsistent with the infinite happiness of God; and so he cannot properly be grieved or vexed, nor disturbed. But men are said to vex the Spirit, when they treat him so as would vex one capable of vexation. This is done by often falling into the same sins, Numb. xiv. 22. especially falling into them again after a person has been convinced of the evil of them, confessed, mourned for them, and resolved against them; and much more when, besides all this, they have smarted for them. This is the great trial of divine patience, a tempting of God, and puts men in great hazard of being given up of God, Numb. xiv. 27.
Lastly, Blaspheming the Spirit in his operations. This is done by mocking at religion, or the work of the Spirit of the Lord, in others: A dangerous business, as these young blasphemers felt, 2 Kings ii. 23, 24. “ And Elisha went up from thence unto Bethel : and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go
thou bald-head, Go up, thou bald-head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the Lord : and there came forth two she-bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.' Or by fathering the operations of the Spirit in ourselves
or others, on some other cause, as when religion is counted folly, soul-exercise melancholy or distraction, and communion with God delusion. Thus the Spirit, as the Spirit of regeneration and of prayer, is often blasphemed.
2. As ever ye would have the redemption purchased by Christ applied to you, labour to get the Spirit; make it your business to get him to dwell in you, and work in you. Lay out yourselves to be his habitation. Consider,
Mot. 1. Ye are by nature without the Spirit, Jude, 19. therefore ye have need to seek him. The highest principle of acting in you is your own spirit, which is so corrupted that it can do nothing truly good, John xv. 5. And being without the Spirit, ye are without God in the world, and therefore without hope, while ye are so.
Mot. 2. Ye can have no saving benefit by Christ but by the Spirit. Ye can have no interest in Christ without him, Rom. viii. 9. and no access to God through Christ, but by him, Eph. ii. 18. While ye have not the Spirit, the redemption is indeed purchased, but, alas ! it is not applied to you. Christ has died, but you have no interest in him, no saving benefit by him. There is a full treasure of grace in Christ, but, alas ! ye want the key to open it. The bridegroom stands ready to receive you, but there is none to bring the bride to him, and she cannot go her alone.
Mot. 3. Without the Spirit ye are spiritually dead in sin, John vi. 63. When the soul is away, the body is dead; and when the Spirit is away, the soul is dead. The man cannot move in God's way, cannot perform one duty acceptably; for nothing is so but what is done in the Spirit, John iv. 24. Hence all ordinances an 1 providences are lost on such an one; for he is like a dead tree, to which spring and winter are alike. Hence,
Mot. 4. Without the Spirit ye are undone for ever; without the Spirit, without Christ, Rom. viii. 9. without Christ, without God; and without God, without hope; therefore 'aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise,' Eph. ii. 12. The dead corpse may be kept a while; but when there are no hopes of the returning of the soul, it is buried in a grave: so without the Spirit ye may be kept a while, through God's patience ; but the end will be, to be cast into the pit, and buried out of God's sight.
Mot. last. If ye get the Spirit, ye are made up for ever. For he is the leading benefit of Christ's purchase, which all the rest infallibly follow, Zech. xii. 10. When the Spirit comes, life comes, that shall never fail, John iv: 14. He will unite you to Christ, and then all is yours. He will enlighten, quicken, renew and sanctify you,
subdue your corruptions, give grace, actuate and increase it, change you from glory to glory, and raise up your bodies at the last day to glory, Rom. viii. 11.
I shall conclude all with a few directions.
1. Pray earnestly for the Spirit, Luke xi. 13. God has made a promise of the Spirit, and gives that as a ground of your prayer for him, Ezek. xxxvi. 27, 37. 'A new Spirit will I put within you.—I will yet for this be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.' And although God regard not prayer as performed by one without the Spirit, yet he regards it as a means and ordinance of his own appointment, whereby the Spirit is conveyed into the hearts of his elect.
2. Wait and look for the Spirit in all ordinances of his appointment, Isa. xxxii. ult. They that would have the wind blow upon them, go out into the open air; though they cannot raise it, they wait where it blows, John iii. 8. Especially the preaching of the gospel is to be attended diligently for this end, 2 Cor. iii. 8. The man that had lain many years at the pool, at length saw the time that the angel moved the waters.
3. Lastly, Give up yourselves to the Spirit, Jer. xxxi. 18. Lay yourselves down at his feet, to be enlightened, quickened, and sanctified by him. Open the door of your hearts to receive him. And when the least good motion is found kindled in your hearts, cherish it as a tender bud of heaven; nourish the spark, and it will increase into a flame.
OF UNION WITH CHRIST.
1 Corinthians xii. 13.—For by one Spirit are we all baptised into one
body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.
The apostle in the preceding verse having asserted, that Christ mystical, t.e. Christ and believers, are one, making but one mystical body, in the words of the text does at once explain and confirm the same from the two sacraments of the New Testament, baptism, and the Lord's supper.
1. From the sacrament of baptism, where he shews us the blessed union made. And here consider,
1st. The parties united : on the one hand, we all ; viz. who believe in Christ, as distinguished from unbelievers. On the other hand, Jesus Christ, whom he had just before mentioned, and who is here understood as implied in the one body, whereof he is the head, or principal part.
2dly, The uniting or joining of the parties, which is expressed by being baptized into one body, the sacramental sign being put for the thing signified: as if he had said, we are united into one body with Christ, which is signified and sealed by our baptism.
3dly, The efficient cause of the union, or the party uniting us to Christ, one Spirit, the one Spirit of Christ. It is by him we are baptized, and are joined to Christ. He casts the indissoluble knot; as Christ brings us to the Father, the Holy Spirit brings us to Christ, by faith which he works in us, and makes the marriage-tie between the King of saints and the daughter of Zion. This Spirit must needs be the infinite Spirit of God, since it is but one Spirit that knits all, not only as the author, but the bond of the union.
4thly, The result of this union, one body. Hence it comes to pass, that Christ and all believers are one mystical body; they are all joined to Christ and among themselves, as the head and members.
5thly, The character of the parties whom the Spirit unites to Christ. He confines not himself to any one party of sinners in the world, but takes them indifferently out of all sorts, whether they be Jews or Gentiles, whether they be bond or free men. He goes to unbelieving Jews that had rejected Christ for some time, and to unbelieving Gentiles that had not heard of him. And he unites them to Christ by working faith in them; for he deals with them that have reason, not as with stocks, knitting them without any action of their own, but as rational creatures, apprehending them, and working faith in them, whereby they apprehend Christ.
2. From the sacrament of the Lord's supper, where he shews us the blessed fruit of this union, and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. Here consider,
1st. The common benefit, the purchase of Christ's redemption; one Spirit, the leading comprehensive purchase of Christ's death. This is that Spirit poured out on Christ without measure, to be communicated for life, and supplies of life, to all that come to him.
2dly, The participation of that benefit, which is expressed by being made to drink into one Spirit, the sacramental sign for the thing signified: As if he had said, We all partake of Christ's Spirit more and more to our spiritual nourishment and growth in grace, which is as necessary to us as drink to strengthen our bodies, which is signified and sealed by the sacrament of the Lord's supper.
3dly, The parties made partakers thereof, we all, who are united to Christ. As life goes before eating or drinking, so the union with Christ goes before communion in and partaking of the benefits of his redemption; and the former is the cause of the latter.
Hence we may see, That 'the Spirit applieth to us the redemption purchased by Christ, by working faith in us, and thereby uniting us to Christ in our effectual calling.'
The great subject to be handled here, is the union betwixt Christ and believers. And here let us consider,
I. How Christ's redemption is applied to a sinner.
1. Let us consider how Christ's redemption is applied to a sinner. It is done by way of uniting the sinner to Christ, as a plaister is applied to a sore, by laying the one upon the other. A sinner is interested in, and put in possession of Christ's redemption through union with him, 1 Cor. i. 30. 'Of him are ye in Christ Jesus. Men. must not think to stand afar from Christ, and partake of the benefits of his death, upon their praying to him for it, as the beggar on his crying gets of the rich man's money thrown to him ; which I observe is the soul ruining notion many have of this matter. But he must unite with Christ, and so partake of the redemption purchased by Christ, as the poor widow drowned in debt, by marrying the rich man, is interested in his substance. It is with Christ himself that all saving benefits are given, Rom. viii. 32; and without him none such are received. Believe it, Sirs, that as Adam's sin could never