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guise the nature of his engagements, and the high characters of the gospel. Because, on the solemn festival-day, when we appear in the presence of the Lord our God;-when we enter into covenant with him; and after the engagement, when we come to ratify it in the holy sacrament; we not only enter, but we also pass into covenant, according to the idea attached to the term: we pass between the parts of the victim divided in sacrifice; we pass between the body and blood of Christ, divided from each other to represent the Saviour's death. We then say, "Lord! I consent, if I should violate the stipulations of thy covenant, and if after the violation, I do not recover by repentance, I consent, that thou shouldst treat me as thou hast treated thy own Son, in the garden of Gethsemane, and on Calvary. Lord! I consent that thou shouldst shoot at me all the thunderbolts and arrows which were shot against him. I agree, that thou shouldst unite against me all the calamities which were united against him. And, as it implies a contradiction, that so weak a mortal as I should sustain so tremendous a punishment, I agree, that the duration of my punishment should compensate for the defects of its degree; that I should suffer eternally in the abyss of hell, the punishments I could not have borne in the limited duration of time."

Do not take this proposition for a hyberbole, or a rhetorical figure. To enter into covenant with God, is to accept the gospel precisely as it was delivered by Jesus Christ, and to submit to all its stipulations. This gospel expressly declares, that "fornicators, that liars, that drunkards, and the covetous, shall not inherit the kingdom of God." On accepting the gospel, we accept this clause. Therefore, on accepting the gospel, we submit to be excluded the kingdom of God, if we are either drunkards, or liars, or covetous, or fornicators; and if after the commission of any of these crimes, we do not recover by repentance. And what is submission to this clause, if it is not to enter into the execration oath, which God requires of us, on the ratification of this covenant?

Ah! my brethren, wo unto us should we pronounce against ourselves so dreadful an oath, without taking the precautions suggested by the gospel to avert these awful consequences. Ah! my brethren, if we are not sincerely resolved to be faithful to God, let us make a solemn vow before we leave this temple, never to communicate, never to approach the Lord's table.

thing awfully solemn. The oath, the oath of execration which God tenders, is, I farther allow, very intimidating. But what constitutes the fear, constitutes also the delight and consolation. For what end does God require these engagements? For what end does he require this oath? Because it is his good pleasure, that we should unite ourselves to him in the same close, constant, and indissoluble manner as he unites himself to us.

Let us be sincere, and he will give us power to be faithful. Let us ask his aid, and he will not withhold the grace destined to lead us to this noble end. Let us say to him, “Lord, I do enter into this oath of execration; but I do it with trembling. Establish my wavering soul; confirm my feeble knees; give me the victory; make me more than conqueror in all the con- ' flicts, by which the enemy of my salvation comes to separate me from thee. Pardon all the faults into which I may be drawn by human frailty. Grant, if they should suspend the sentiments of fidelity I vow to thee, that they may never be able to eradicate them." These are the prayers which God loves, these are the prayers which he hears. May he grant us to experience them! Amen.


THE SEAL OF THE COVENANT. (For the day of Pentecost.)

2 Cor. i. 21, 22.

He which establisheth us with you in Christ, and

hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.

How distinguished soever this sabbath may be, it affords a humiliating consideration to us. How glorious soever the event might be to the church, whose anniversary we now celebrate, it cannot be recollected, without deploring the difference between what God once achieved for his saints, and what he is doing at the present period. In the first Pentecost, the heavens visibly opened to the brethren; but we, we alas! are unable to pierce the vaults of this church. The Holy Spirit then miraculously descended with inspiration on those holy men, who were designated to carry the light of the gospel throughout the world; but now, it is solely by the efforts of meditation and study, that your preachers communicate knowledge and exhortation. The earth shook; the most abstruse mysteries were explained; languages the least intelligible became instantaneously familiar; the sick were healed; the dead were raised to life; Ananias and Sapphira expired at the apostles' feet; and such a multitude of prodigies were then achieved, in order to give weight to the ministry of the first preachers of the gospel, that no one among us can be unacquainted with those extraordinary events. But good wishes, prayers, entreaties, are all we can now exert to insinuate into your hearts, and conciliate your attention.

What! never approach his table! never communicate! Disdain not to enter into the covenant which God does not disdain to make with sinners! What a decision! Great God, what an awful decision! And should this be the effect of my discourse! Alas! my brethren, without this covenant, without this table, without this cath, we are utterly lost! It is true, we shall not be punished as violators of vows we never made: but we shall be punished as madmen; who, being actually in the abyss of perdition, reject the Redeemer, whose hand is extended to draw us thence. Let us seek that hand, let us enter into this covenant with God. The engagements, without which the cove- What then! is the Holy Spirit, who once denant cannot be confirmed, have, I grant, some-scended with so much lustre on the primitive

Christians, refused to us? What then! shall we | dowments for the adequate discharge of their have no participation in the glory of that day? duty. Under this idea, St. John represents the shall we talk of the prodigies seen by the in- gift of the Holy Spirit, granted to the whole fant church, solely to excite regret at the dark-church: "Ye have an unction from the Holy ness of the dispensation, in which it has pleas- One, and ye know all things," 1 John, ii. 20. ed God to give us birth? Away with the By the seal, of which the apostle here says, thought! The change is only in the exterior" God hath sealed us," the sacraments may be aspect, not in the basis and substance of Chris-understood. The metaphor is derived from tianity; whatever essential endowments the the usages of society in affixing seals to coveholy spirit once communicated to the primitive nants and treaties. Under this design are the Christians, he now communicates to us. Hear sacraments represented in the Scriptures. The the words we have read, "He which stablish- term is found applied to those exterior institueth you with us, in Christ, and hath anointed tions in the fourth chapter of St. Paul's episus, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given tle to the Romans. It is there said that us the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts." On "Abraham received the sign of circumcision, these operations of the Holy Spirit in the as a seal of the righteousness of faith. By the heart, we now purpose to treat, and on which institution of this sign, to Abraham and his we shall make three kinds of observations. posterity, God distinguished the Jews from every nation of the earth; marked them as his own, and blessed them with the fruits of evangelical justification. This is the true import, provided the interior grace be associated with the exterior sign; I would say, sanctification, or the image of God; purity being inculcated on us in the Scriptures by the symbol of a seal. This, in our opinion, is the import of that fine passage, so distorted by the schoolmen; "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, the Lord knoweth them that are his: let every one that nameth," (or invoketh) “the name of Christ depart from iniquity," 2 Tim. ii. 19. What is God's seal? How does God know his own?" Is it by the exterior badges of sacraments? Is it by "the circumcision which is in the flesh?" No, it is by this more hallowed test, "Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."

I. It is designed to develope the manner in which this operation is expressed in the words of my text.

II. To explain its nature, and prove its reality.

III. To trace the disposition of the man who retards, and the man who farthers the operations of the Holy Spirit.

This comprises the outlines of our discourse. I. We shall easily comprehend the manner in which St. Paul expresses the operation of the Holy Spirit, if we follow the subsequent rules.

1. Let us reduce the metaphor to its genuine import. St. Paul wishes to prove the truth and certainty of the promises, God had given the church by his ministry; "All the promises of God in him are yea, and in him amen," 2 Cor. i. 20. These are Hebrew modes of speech. The Jews, in order to designate deceitful speeches, say, that there are men with whom yea is nay, and nay is yea; on the contrary, the yea of a good man is yea, and nay, is nay. Hence the maxim of a celebrated Rabbi, "Let the disciples of the wise, give and receive in fidelity and truth, saying, yea, yea; nay, nay." And it was in allusion to this mode of speech, that our Saviour said to his disciples, "Let your yea be yea, and your nay be nay; whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil," Matt. v. 37.

In fine, by the EARNESTS of the Spirit, we understand those foretastes of heaven which God communicates to some of those he has designated to celestial happiness. An earnest (or earnests as in the Greek,) is a deposit of part of the purchase money for a bargain. St. Paul says, and in the sense attached to the term, "We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burthened: not that we would be unclothed, but clothed, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. Now he that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God; who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit," 2 Cor. v. 4, 5.

Whether, therefore, each of these terms, unction, seal, earnest, express the same thing; as I think could be proved, by several texts of Scripture, in which they are promiscuously used; or whether they convey three distinct ideas; they all indicate that God confirms to us the evangelical promises in the way we have described.

St. Paul, to prove that the promises God has given us in his word, are yea and amen; that is, sure and certain, says, he has established them in a threefold manner: by the anointing, the seal, and the earnests. These several terms express the same idea, and mark the diversified operations of the Holy Spirit, for the confirmation of the Evangelical promises. However, if another will assert, that we are to understand different operations by these three terms, I will not controvert his This is the idea, my brethren, one should opinion. By the unction, we may here under-attach to the metaphors in our text. In order stand, the miraculous endowments afforded to to comprehend the Scriptures, you should althe apostles, and to a vast number of the pri- ways recollect that they abound with these mitive Christians, and the inferences enlight- forms of speech. The sacred writers lived in a ened men would consequently draw in favour warm climate; whose inhabitants had a natural of Christianity. It is a metaphor taken from vivacity of imagination, very different from us the oil poured by the special command of God, who reside in a colder region, and under a on the head of persons selected for grand cloudy sky; who have consequently a peculiar achievements, and particularly on the head of gravity, and dulness of temperature. Seldom, kings and priests. It implied that God had therefore, did the men of whom we have been designated those men for distinguished offices, speaking, employ the simple style. They borand communicated to them the necessary en-rowed bold figures; they magnified objects;

they delighted in amplitude and hyperbole. The Holy Spirit, employing the pen of the sacred authors, did not change, but sanctify their temperature. It was his pleasure that they should speak in the language used in their own time; and avail themselves of those forms of speech, without which they would neither have been heard nor understood.

2. Let us reduce the metaphor to precision, and the figure to truth. But under a notion of reducing it to truth, let us not enfeeble its force; and wishful to reject imaginary mysteries, let us not destroy those which are real. This second caution is requisite in order to supersede the false glosses which have been attached to the text. Two of these we ought particularly to reject; the one on the word Spirit;-the other on the words, seal, unction and earnest, which we have endeavoured to explain.

Some divines have asserted, that the word Spirit, ought to be arranged in the class of metaphors designed to express, not a person of the Godhead, but an action of Providence; and that we should attach this sense to the term, not only in this text, but also in all those we adduce to prove, that there is a divine person distinct from the Father and the Son, called the Holy Spirit.

obstruct the perception of three persons in the words we have read? Can they obstruct our perceiving the Father, to whom all things belong; the Son, who participates in all things which belong to the Father: the Holy Spirit, who receives and reveals those things to the church? I ask again, whether by this proprie ty of thought, and precision of argument, we can understand an action of Providence, from what is ascribed to the Holy Spirit? And whether, without offering violence to the laws of language, one may substitute for the term spirit, the words action and Providence, and thus paraphrase the whole passage; "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when this action of Providence is come, even this action of Providence, it will guide you into all the truth; for it shall not speak of itself; but whatsoever it shall hear, that shall it speak; for it shall receive of mine, and shall show them unto you." We frankly confess, my brethren, nothing but the reluctance we have to submit our notions to the decision of Supreme Wisdom can excite an apprehension, that a distinct person is not designated in the words we have cited. And, when it is once admitted, that the Holy Spirit sent to the church is a divine person, can one, on comparing the words of our text with those we have quoted, resist the conviction, that the same Spirit is intended in both these passages?

In the class of those, who, under a pretext of not admitting imaginary mysteries, reject such as are real, we arrange those divines, who deny the agency of this adorable person on the heart, in what the apostle calls, unction, seal, and earnest: those supralapsarian teachers, who suppose, that all the operation of the Holy Spirit on the regenerate, consists in enabling him to preach; that he does not afford them the slightest interior aid, to surmount those difficulties which naturally obstruct a compliance with the grand design of preach

We have frequently, in this pulpit, avowed our ignorance concerning the nature of the divine essence, if I may be allowed the expression. We have often declared, that we can determine nothing concerning God, except what we are obliged to know from the works he has created, and from the truths he has revealed. We have more than once acknowledged, that even those truths, which we trace from reason and revelation, are as yet very imperfect; and that the design of the Scriptures, when speaking of God, is less to reveal what he is, than the relation in which he stands to us. Hence I conceive, that the utmost moderation, and deference of judgment; and, if I may so speak, the utmost pyrrhon-ing. The Scriptures assert, in so many places, ism, on this subject, is all that reasonable men can expect, from the philosopher and the divine.

When we find in the Scriptures, certain ideas of the Divinity;-ideas, which have not the slightest dissonance to those afforded by his works; ideas, moreover, clearly expressed and repeated in a variety of places, we admit them without hesitation, and condemn those, who, by a false notion concerning propriety of thought, and precision of argument, refuse their assent. Now, it seems to me, that they fall into this mistake who refuse to acknowledge, in the texts we adduce, a declaration of a Divine Person.

I shall cite one single passage only from the sixteenth chapter of the gospel by St. John; "When he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth; for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and show it unto you." I challenge here, this propriety of thought, and precision of argument, of which the persons we attack make a profession, I had almost said a parade, to say whether these can

the inefficacy of preaching without those aids, that no doubt can, in my opinion, be admissi ble upon the subject. But, if some divines have degraded this branch of Christian the ology, by an incautious defence, to them the blame attaches, and not to those who have established it upon solid proof. Those divines, who, by a mode of teaching much more calculated to confound, than defend, orthodox opinions, have spoken of the unction of the Spirit, as though it annihilated the powers of nature, and as though they made a jest;—yes, a jest, of the exhortations, promises, and threatenings addressed to us in the Scriptures:Those divines, if there are such, shall give an account to God for the discord they have occasioned in the church, and even for the heresies to which their mode of expounding the Scriptures has given birth.

You, however, brethren, embrace no doctrines but those explicitly revealed in the Scriptures;-you, who admit the agency of the Holy Spirit on the heart, unsolicitous to define its nature. You, who say with Jesus Christ, "the wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth," John

iii. 8. You, who especially admit, that the more conscious we are of the want of grace, the more we should exert our natural gifts; that, the more need we have of interior aids, the more we should profit by exterior assistance, by the books we have at hand, by the favourable circumstances in which we may be providentially placed, by the ministry which God has graciously established among us! Fear not to follow those faithful guides, and to adopt precautions so wise; under a pretext of reducing metaphors to precision, never enfeeble their force; and, under a plea of not admitting imaginary mysteries, never reject the real. This was our second rule.

me to brevity? We shall, therefore, speak of the nature and reality of the Spirit's agency on the heart, so far only as is necessary to furnish matter for our third head, on which we are now entering; and which is designed to trace the dispositions that favour, and such as retard, the operations of the Spirit: a most important discussion, which will develop the causes of the anniversary of Pentecost being unavailing in the church, and point out the dispositions for its worthy celebration.

What we shall advance on this subject, is founded on a maxim, to which I solicit your peculiar attention; namely, that every motion of the Spirit on the heart of good inen, requires correspondent co-operation; without which his agency would be unavailing. The refusal to co-operate is called in Scripture, "quenching— grieving-resisting-and doing despite to the Spirit." Now, according to the style of St. Paul, this quenching-grieving-resistingand doing despite to the Holy Spirit, is to render his operation unavailing.

a wise lawgiver and the omnipotent God, in the same character. Hence the man on whom he works, may perhaps be considered, either, as a physical, or a moral being; or as a being in whom both these qualities associate. To consider the Holy Spirit in the work of regeneration as the omnipotent God, and the man for whose conversion he exerts his agency, as a being purely physical: and to affirm that the Holy Spirit acts solely by irresistible influence,

And here is the third. In addresses to society in general, what belongs to each should be distinguished. St. Paul here addressed the whole church: but the whole of its numerous members could not have been in the same situation. Hence, one of the greatest faults we commit in expounding the Scriptures, and especially in expounding texts which treat of the agency of the Spirit, is, the neglecting to Adequately to comprehend this maxim, and distinguish what we had designed. This is one at the same time to avoid a mistaken theology, cause of the little fruit produced by sermons. and a corrupt morality, concerning the agency We address a church, whose religious attain- of the Spirit, make the following reflection: ments are very unequal. Some are scarcely that the Holy Spirit may perhaps be considerinitiated into knowledge and virtue; others ap-ed in one of these three respects; either as the proach perfection; and some hold a middle omnipotent God; or as a wise lawgiver: or as rank between the two. We address to this congregation certain general discourses, which cannot apply with equal force to all; it belongs to each of our hearers, to examine how far each argument has reference to his own case. Apply now to the words of our text the general maxim we have laid down; you will recollect the ideas we have attached to the terms used by the apostle, to express the agency of the Holy Spirit on the heart. We have said that these terms, unction, seal, ear-man being simply passive, is, in our opinion, a nest, excite three ideas. And we can never understand those Scriptures, which speak of the operations of the Holy Spirit, unless those three effects of the divine agency are distinguished. Every Christian has not been confirmed by the Spirit of God in all those various ways. All have not received the threefold unction, the threefold seal, the threefold earnest. To some the Holy Spirit has confirmed the first, availing himself of their ministry for the achievement of miracles, or by causing them to feel that a religion, in favour of which so many prodigies have been achieved, could not be false. To others, the second confirmation was added to the first; at the moment he carried conviction to the mind, he sanctified the heart. With regard to others, he communicated more; not only persuading them that a religion, which promises celestial felicity, is true; not only enabling them to conform to the conditions on which this felicity is promised, but he also gives them foretastes here below.

II. and III. I could better explain my sentiments, did I dare engage, in discussing the second part of my subject, to illustrate the nature, and prove the reality of the Spirit's agency on the heart. But how can I attempt the discussion of so vast a subject in one discourse, when so many considerations restrict

morality extremely corrupt. To consider the Holy Spirit simply as a lawgiver, and man merely as a moral being, capable of vice and virtue; and to affirm, that the Holy Spirit only proposes his precepts, and that man obeys them, unassisted by the divine energy attendant on their promulgation, is to propagate a theology equally erroneous. But, to consider the Holy Spirit as the omnipotent God, and legislator in the same character, and man as a being both moral and physical, is to harmonize the laws moral and divine, and to avoid, on a subject so exceedingly controverted, the two equally dangerous rocks, against which so many divines have cast themselves away.

The adoption of this last system (which is here the wisest choice,) implies an acknowledgment, that there are dispositions in man which retard, and dispositions which cherish, the successful agency of God on the heart. What are these? They regard the three ways, in which we said the Holy Spirit confirms to the soul the promises of "immortality and life." These he confirms, first, by the persua sion he affords, concerning the truth of the gospel; causing it to spring up in the heart on review of the miracles performed by the first Christians. Secondly, he confirms them by the inward work of sanctification. Thirdly, he confirms them by foretastes of celestial de

light, communicated to some Christians, even | stances of the miracles: whether it be true that here below. Each of these points we shall resume in its order.

First, the gift of miracles was a seal, which God affixed to the ministry of the first heralds of the gospel. Miracles are called seals: such is the import of those distinguished words of Christ; "Labour not for the meat that perisheth; but for that meat which endureth unto eternal life, which the Son of man shall give unto you, for him hath the Father sealed," John vi. 27. The seal which distinguished Jesus Christ, was the gift of miracles he had received of God, to demonstrate the divine authority of his mission: so he himself affirmed to the multitudes; "The works which the Father hath given me to finish, the same works that I do, bear witness that the Father hath sent me," John v. 36.

The inference, with regard to the Lord, is of equal force with regard to the disciples. The miraculous endowments, granted to them, sanctioned their mission; as the mission of the Master was sanctioned by the miraculous powers with which it was accompanied. What seal more august could have been affixed to it? What demonstrations more conclusive can we ask of a religion which announces them to us, than all these miracles which God performed for its confirmation? Could the Deity have communicated his omnipotence to impostors? . Could he even have wished to lead mankind into mistake? Could he have allowed heaven and earth, the sea and land to be shaken for the sanction of lies?

As there are dispositions which retard the agency of the Spirit, who comes to impress the heart with truth, so there are others which favour and cherish his work. With regard to those which retard, I would not only include infidelity of heart, whose principle is malice; I would not only include here those eccentric men, who resist the most palpable proofs, and evident demonstrations, and think they have answered every argument by saying, "It is not true. I doubt, I deny."-Men that seem to have made a model of the Pharisees, who, when unable to deny the miracles of Christ, and to elude their force, ascribed them to the devil. This is a fault so notorious, as to supersede the necessity of argument. But I would also convince you Christians, that the neglect of studying the history of the miracles we celebrate to-day, is an awful source of subversion to the agency we are discussing. Correspond, by serious attention and profound recollection, to the efforts of the Holy Spirit in demonstrating the truth of your religion. On festivals of this kind, a Christian should recollect and digest, if I may so speak, the distinguished proofs which God gave of the truth of Christianity on the day whose anniversary we now celebrate. He should say to himself: "I wish to know, whether advantage be taken of my simplicity, or whether I am addressed as a rational being; when I am told, that the first heralds of the gospel performed the miracles, attributed to their agency."

"I wish to know, whether the miracles of the apostles have been narrated, (Acts ii.) and inquire whether those holy men have named the place, the time, the witnesses, and circum

those miracles were performed in the most public places, amid the greatest concourses of people, in presence of Persians, of Medes, of Parthians, of Elamites, of dwellers in Mesopotamia, in Judea, in Cappadocia, in Lybia; among Cretes, Arabs, and Jews.

"I wish to know, in what way these miracles were foretold; whether it be true, that these were the characteristics of evangelical preachers, which the prophets had traced so many ages before the evangelical period; and whether we may not give another interpretation to these distinguished predictions: 'Yet once, it is a little while, and I will shake the heavens, and the earth, and the sea, and the dry land. And I will shake all nations, and the desire of all nations shall come,' Hag. ii. 5, 6. I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophecy. Your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, fire, and pillars of smoke," Joel ii. 28-30.

"I wish to know, how these miracles were received; whether it be true, that the multitudes, the myriads of proselytes, who had it in their power to investigate the authenticity of the facts, sacrificed their ease, their reputation, their fortune, their life, and every comfort which martyrs and confessors have been accustomed to sacrifice: I wish to know, whether the primitive Christians made these sacrifices on embracing a religion chiefly founded on a belief of miracles.

"I wish to know, in what way these miracles were opposed; whether it be true, that there is this distinguished difference between the way in which these facts were attacked in the first centuries, and in the present. Whether it be true, that instead of saying, as our infidels assert, that these facts were fabulous, the Celsuses, the Porphyrys, the Zosimuses, who lived in the ages in which these facts were recent, took other methods to evade their force; attributing them to the powers of magic, or confounding them with other pretended miracles."

This is the study to which we should proceed; wo be to us if we regard it as a tedious task, and excuse ourselves on inconsiderable pretexts! Is there any thing on earth which should interest us more than those important truths, announced by the apostles; and especially those magnificent promises they have delivered in the name of God? Mortal as we all are, merely appearing on the stage of life, most of us having already run the greater part of our course, called every moment to enter into the invisible world, destined there to destruction, or eternal existence, is there a question more interesting than this? "Is it for destruction, or eternal existence, I am designated by my Maker? Are the notions I entertain of immortality; of pleasures for evermore at God's right hand; fulness of joy around his throne; of intimate intercourse with the adorable Being; of society with angels, with archangels, with cherubim and seraphim; for ages, millions of ages, an eternity with the blessed God, are the notions I entertain, realities, or

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