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النشر الإلكتروني

being under the guidance and agency of the evil spirit, though you may not perceive it yourself. The strong man armed keepeth his palace, and his goods are in peace, Luke, xi. 21. You, therefore, are in a false peace, because the strong man, i. e. the god of this world, hath possession of your heart. Your danger, therefore, is not the less, but the greater, by reason of the insensibility of your condition. As for those who ridicule the doctrine of the Spirit, and hate and revile those holy souls in whom he dwells, the case is evident; they are earthly, sensual, devilish, having not the Spirit, Jam. iii. 15. Jude, 19: Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how can ye escape the damnation of hell? Do not mistake me, I do not speak this as if I wished you in hell, or as if it was impossible for you to escape damnation. I only admonish you of your danger, as our Saviour did the Jews, Matt. xxiii. 33. I tell you there is yet mercy for you I advise you, therefore, not to persist in the error of your way. Turn from the path that leads to destruction, be humbled for your obstinacy in opposing Christ and his Spirit, and meekly call upon God to give you that Holy Spirit whom you have so long resisted, and so blindly contradicted and blasphemed.

But in the next place, if you have received the Holy Ghost, what an infinite honour, what a glorious privilege, hath God conferred upon you! What a wonder of grace is it, that God should in very deed dwell with men! Ye are a spiritual house, an holy

temple in the Lord, an habitation of God through the Spirit, 1 Pet. ii. 5. Eph. ii. 21, 22. How highly hath God favoured you! And this he did not do for any goodness, merit, or excellency in you, but for his own mercy's sake. You are by nature no better than others. If ye differ, it is the grace of God that makes you to differ. Therefore, glory not in yourselves; only in the unmerited goodness of God, and his free grace in Christ Jesus our Lord. "I taste "much of God, (saith Ignatius ;) but I moderate my"self, lest I should perish in glorying."* I wish all who have the Spirit of God in them were of this holy martyr's mind.

The Spirit of God is holy, and, therefore, by way of eminence called the Holy Ghost. He is infinitely holy as God, and he restores all in whom he dwells to the image and likeness of God. It is he that purifies the hearts of God's people, and makes us partakers of a holy, heavenly, and divine nature. As soon as the Apostle Paul had inculcated the doctrine of God's dwelling in the souls of his children, he immediately subjoins this exhortation, wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing, 2 Cor. vi. 16, 17. If the Holy Spirit resides in you, he will make you holy; he will subdue the power of vanity and corruption, and make you pure in heart: you, will

* Πολλα φρονω εν θεω αλλ' εμαυτον μείρω, ίνα μη εν καυχήσει απόλωμαι. Ignat. ad Trall.

no longer live in a servile subjection to sin, but have freedom from it, and dominion over it. The lusts of the flesh will decay and die, all holy desires will be quickened in you, and the virtues and graces of the Spirit will flourish and ripen in your heart. The house of Saul will wax weaker and weaker, and the house of David stronger and stronger. How is it then with thy soul? Dost thou feel those effects wrought in thee? Art thou holy in heart? Dost thou avoid every appearance of evil? Dost thou suppress the first stirrings of sin in thy soul? Dost thou live in no secret sin? Dost thou indulge no unclean thought? Art thou as careful to avoid sinning against God in private, as if the whole world saw thee? In short, hast thou an inward and irreconeileable hatred of all sin, and an eager panting, hungering, and thirsting after all degrees of holiness? Do not labour to shift off these questions; let them strike near your heart, and convince you of your unholiness and unlikeness to God: Why should you deceive yourself? If you have the Spirit of Christ in you, you will feel the bent and bias of your soul carrying you to the highest measures of purity and sanctification; a faithful man hath white hands "and a clean soul, fit to lodge God in ; all the rooms

whereof are set apart for his holiness."* Is your soul thus dedicated to God? And are your words and actions conformable thereto? Do you avoid all

Bishops Hall's Character of a faithful man.

idle and frothy conversation? Is your speech with grace, seasoned with salt? Doth no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying? Do you put off all foolish talking and jesting, which are not convenient? And is it your delight to talk of God and his dear Son Jesus Christ? Do you feel your heart warmed by holy conference and heavenly meditation ? Be diligent likewise to adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Be swift to hear, slow to speak, and slow to wrath. Let your moderation be known to all men. Love all who love Christ, without respect of persons or distinction of parties. Be ready to forgive injuries and bear offences. Labour after that charity which is not easily provoked. Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. Sanctify the Lord God in your heart; having a good conscience, that whereas they speak evil of you as of evil doers, they may be ashamed who falsly accuse your good conversation in Christ, 1 Pet. iii. 15, 16. Alas! how doth the cause of Christ suffer through the vain and trifling behaviour of the professors of his gospel! How many talk of the Spirit of God, and yet live in the spirit of the world, in the pomp and pride of life, and in the indulgence of the flesh? Some people's religion is made up of mirth and jesting; they are light and trifling upon all occasions, and discover nothing so much as a talkative tongue, snd an airy ridiculous turn of mind. Such persons may ask themselves, Does this discourse, this behaviour become one who is to act according to the

inspiration of the divine Spirit? The very thoughts of the presence of God within us would condemn many of our allowed ways of speaking and acting, or else baffle all our pretensions to christianity. Who hath more reason to be afraid of acting below his dignity than he whose soul is the temple of the Holy Ghost? Certainly none ought more carefully to watch over their conduct, than they who are to live and act according to the dictates and motions of the Spirit of God. The sense, therefore, of this divine inhabitant in us should be a motive to universal holiness and undissembled piety. We are also to be reminded, that by our idle words and vain foolish actions we grieve the Spirit, Eph. iv. 30. and cause him to withdraw from us, and leave us in the darkness and misery of our nature. God seldom or never forsakes his people, unless they first forsake him, as David saith to his son Solomon, If thou forsake him, he will cast thee off ever, 1 Chron. xxviii. 9. Souls first forsake God by some inward or outward sin, and then he forsakes them; and so they fall into doubts and darkness, and are often at the point of despair. What a dreadful thing is it to be deserted by the Spirit of God! They who have felt the misery of such desertions, know that no pains are like those pains, no sorrows like those sorrows. As when God speaks peace, who can trouble? so when God troubles, none can speak peace. Watch, therefore, and strive against sin, and avoid every thing that may displease God, or cause his Holy Spirit in his comfortable influences, to depart from you.

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