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against himself and all his wretchedness, necessity, and weakness, and devotes, resigns, and surrenders himself to Christ as his Saviour. Blessed hour! over which the angels of heaven rejoice; an hour which, if I may so speak, stands inscribed in the Chancery of heaven, and will continue written, as an everlasting memorial in these words, “On such and such a day, and such and such an hour, this or that poor sinner surrendered himself to Christ, and is resolved henceforward to belong to him. For such characters he will also provide, such he will also justify, sanctify and bless.
Now, dearest friends! is there not one individual here to whom the present is to be such a happy hour? Reflect whether you have ever experienced such a one --whether you have ever sincerely given yourselves to your dearest Redeemer! O if that has not yet taken place, let it be done at least now: do it this moment. Do not go about any longer with a disturbed and accusing conscience. chased you for time and eternity : therefore give yourselves no rest, till you have really delivered yourselves over to him, and entirely resigned yourselves to him.
We must, however, not only yield up ourselves, but also become, indeed and in truth, God's property ; so that Jesus Christ, by his precious and Holy Spirit, may really take possession of us, according to the right he has most sacredly obtained over us, and henceforth be able to fix his continual abode with us. “ Know ye not, that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost, that is in you,
Christ has pur
have of God, and that ye are not your own ?” As soon as an individual, by the saving grace of God appearing to him, is awakened to real conversion, and drawn to Christ-as soon as he yields and devotes himself sincerely, and to the best of his knowledge, to Christ—from that hour, from that moment, the Holy Spirit takes possession of such a heart, to work upon it by his gracious operation, and to prepare it for a holy temple of God, and carries this on continually during the whole course of our lives. By increasing and daily progress in sanctification and the renewing of the heart, he takes ever closer and more complete possession of the hearts of believers, whilst delivering them, more and more, by his gracious operation, from all evil, and making them partakers of the divine nature.
Therefore, my beloved friends! let us be continually mindful of the high purposes of God in our creation and redemption. God created man, chiefly that he might manifest and glorify himself in his ininost part, in his heart and spirit, both in time and eternity. That this was the high purpose of God, is testified both in the Old Testament, and particularly in the New. Thus, for instance, it is said in John, xiv. 23, “He that loveth me will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him.” In the 2 Cor. vi. 16 we have also the following precious promise of God, “I will dwell in them and walk in them. I will be their God, and they shall be my people.” As also in many other places, especially in the New Testament, where the greatest
promises of God are proposed to us, and his high intentions, which he had with respect to us, both in creation and redemption, are clearly made known to us.
The supreme dignity of a Christian, therefore, consists in this, that God, by his Holy Spirit, will himself dwell in our hearts. Of this, the late John Arndt has written very affectingly, in his third book of true Christianity, where he considers and represents the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the hearts of believers as a most valuable treasure, which so very few recognise, seek, and find. “God," says this pious divine, “would rather dwell in a man's heart, and glorify himself there, than in heaven and all the earth.". Now, observe ! this is that of which it is said, “ Know ye not that your bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost, which is in you." The Holy Spirit continually meets those who have resigned themselves to Christ, by his gracious operation, to purify themselves from all pollution of flesh and spirit, and to complete their sanctification, in order that they may become partakers of this great promise, as you may read in the connection of the 7th Chapter, of the second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians.
The Holy Spirit, in all his inward instructions, suggestions, and incitements to the denial of ourselves and all other things, has no other object than to purify our hearts, more and more, from all the dross of sin, and from all the corruption, misery, and woe, which still attaches to
us, that God may continually abide in our hearts as in his temple, and may reveal and glorify himself unceasingly in them. We will by no means venture, on this occasion, upon a copious explanation of the great, nay, the very greatest of wonders, how God, by his Holy Spirit, enters into the hearts of believers, and there takes up his abiding residence : but we will only exhort each and every one unremittingly to proceed in the denial of themselves and of all created things, in order that the Holy Spirit may the more unobstructedly continue with them and dwell in them. In order that the heart may become the habitation of the Holy Spirit, it is necessary that this impure and corrupt receptacle be first cleansed, and, by a thorough eradication of all creature love, be prepared for his fit habitation. The individual must, with the most inward desire and heartfelt prayer, retire into the centre of his heart, and there, by prayer, wait for his coming, and when he comes, make room for him, that he may
do and work in him, according to his good will and pleasure. We must resign ourselves entirely to his operation, filially follow his guidance and direction, without any opposition, in order that he may remain with us, and that we may experience and enjoy his presence immutably and continually.
O my dear friends! let us therefore love God, let us make room for God and his Spirit within
Let us frequently celebrate a holy Sabbath in our hearts unto him ! must not always frustrate the Holy Spirit in our
prayers, but most humbly say with the holy Apostle,
we know not what to pray for as we ought." And if we then sink down in the consciousness and acknowledgment of our helplessness: the Holy Spirit will come to our aid, and make intercession for us with sighs, that are unutterable, according to the will of God. God and his Holy Spirit then gradually acquire a more entire possession of our hearts, and we become more and more his temple and dwelling place.
But what is it, that the Holy Spirit operates in the hearts of believers ? Truly, he is not there as a dead and lifeless image ; let no one suppose so. Ono! he continually works one gracious work after another. First, he reveals Jesus Christ in our hearts, according to the word of the Saviour, “When the Holy Spirit is come, he shall glorify me." John xvi. 14. But what is meant by the expression, “He shall glorify me ?" I reply, he will give us to know and experience Jesus in our hearts, as a most inwardly present Saviour, whilst making his love, his grace, and his treasures appear to us so great and glorious, that we are as much astonished as rejoiced at the unsearchable riches of grace in Christ Jesus. When the Holy Spirit glorifies Christ in our hearts, the latter becomes daily more lovely, beautiful, estimable, and pleasant to us. We then experience how it is, that the knowledge of Christ is not a knowledge of the understanding ; not a thing that one person can teach another; but a work of the Holy Spirit. We experience what St. Paul