Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

World, who truly defire and endeavour to ferve God as well as they can, and live G honeft and virtuous Lives, and hope well too in the Mercies of God, but yet have none of those extraordinary overflowing Confolations of the Spirit that this Notion fuppofeth Nay, many of them are frequently apt to diftruft their own Condition, as thinking they are not fo good as they fhould be; Nay, and perhaps they may die in that Opinion. What fhall we fay of fuch? that they are not fealed by the Spirit to the Day of Redemption? God forbid ! I should much lefs doubt of the Happiness of fuch a Perfon in the World to come, tho' I faw him go out of this World unfatisfied as to his future State, than I should of one who had thofe fweet and comfortable Infpirations of his being the Child of God, if I faw that he had been lefs careful in his Life and Converfation than the other.

But Fourthly, That ftrong Affurance which we fometimes feel in our Minds that we are in a good Condition, cannot be the Spirit's fealing to the Day of Redemption upon this Account; that at this rate, the Spirit's fealing us would be no Seal of God at all; viz. it would be a very fallible Seal, and the Man who had it, might for all that be in a miferable Condition. The plain English is, that there is nothing in this Perfuafion or Confidence of our good Condi

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

0

tion (unless it be fetched from fome other Ground than this ftrong Impulfe on our Minds) but what a very wicked Man may have as well as the best. A wicked Man may at fome Times, and in fome Humours, especially when his Brains are heated, and his Blood runs quick in his Veins, and he hath for fome Time vigorously bent his Mind to the applying of Chrift's Righteoufnefs to his own Soul: I fay, in fuch a Fit of Devotion as this, he may easily be brought to fancy himself as true a Believer, and as great a Saint, as the best of them; tho' in the mean time there is no real lafting Change made upon his Heart, but when the Heat is over, he becomes the fame Man he was before. All that I mean is this, that if there be no other Notion of the Seal of the Spirit of God but this that I am speaking against, it may oftentimes prove no more than a strong Fancy: and the Perfon that will the most easily come by this Seal, will not be he who ftudies to ferve God beft, but he who, hath the most lively and brisk Imagination; which is, in effect, to make the Seal of the Spirit of God a Foundation for all the Enthufiafm in the World.

2. But fecondly, Leaving this extravagant Notion of the Seal of the Spirit, let us come to a more fober and juftifiable one. Many very learned Interpreters do conceive, that the Spirit of God, whereby we are fealed to the Day of Redemption, is to

be understood of thofe extraordinary miraculous Effufions of the Spirit, which were vouchfafed to the Chriftians of the Apostles Time, for the quicker fpreading, and the greater Confirmation of the Christian Religion; all which Gifts of the Spirit are ceafed in our Days. Now, according to this Notion of the Spirit, the Sense of the Text is this, that the Spirit of God, which was in this Manner poured forth upon the Apoftles and the other Chriftians in their Days, was a Seal and an Evidence to them and to all the World, that the Chriftians were the Children of God, that he owned their Cause, that he acknowledged them for his People, and would reward them at the Day of the general Retribution: Nay, thefe Works of the Spirit were not only a Seal to the Chriftians of thofe Days, but to us at this Time, and will be fo to the End of the World. For the Works that were then done, are a Confirmation to us at this Day, of the Truth of Chriftianity, and a Seal that God hath fet to the Evangelical Covenant, that he will make good the Promises of the Gospel to the whole Succeffion of Believers for ever. This now, it cannot be denied, is a very true Sense of the Spirit's fealing, and ought by no means to be refused or excluded; but yet I conceive it is not the full Senfe of the Words, nor the Senfe principally intended by them. And my Reason is this, because it appears

pretty

pretty clear from the Context, and alfo from the Text itself, that the Spirit is here confidered as a Lodger and a Gueft in the Heart of Chriftians, and under that Notion they are bound not to grieve him; and every Christian is concerned in that Advice or Precept; and he is therefore concerned, because the Holy Spirit is to feal to him a Title to his eternal Inheritance. But now if the Spirit's fealing to the Day of Redemp tion be only his Confirmation of Christianity by the extraordinary Works which were wrought in the primitive Times, then either all Perfons are not concerned in the Prohibition of not grieving him (but only those in whom he vouchfafed his extraordinary Prefence in order to the working Miracles): Or, if all Perfons be concerned in it, then the Argument, whereby the Apoftle would enforce it, is either none at all, or but a very dry one. It is therefore reasonable to believe,

3. In the third Place, that these Words are spoken, not with relation to the extraordinary Works of the Spirit, but to his conftant Affiftances to all Chriftians ; and the true Senfe and Meaning of our being fealed by the Holy Spirit to the Day of Redemption will be this; That the Holy Spirit dwelling in our Hearts, and enabling us to mortify our Lufts, and to live a Life of Purity and Holiness, is that Seal that God hath set upon us to diftinguish us from H 4 the

the rest of the World, and to make us his own Children. For any Man to have the Holy Spirit dwelling in him, is a certain Argument that he belongs to God, and that he shall be raised up among the Happy at the laft Day. On the contrary, whofoever hath not the Holy Spirit dwelling in him, cannot plead any Right to the Promises of everlasting Life made by our Saviour. Which St. Paul does more fully make out in his eighth Chapter of the Ro

mans.

This then is the Sum of the Text, That we had need be very careful how we grieve or offend the Holy Spirit, because our everlafting Happiness or Mifery depends upon his dwelling, or not dwelling within us. If we fo carry ourselves as not to grieve him, he will dwell within us; and that Indwelling of his, is our certain Evidence and Security that we fhall be made Partakers of everlafting Life. Life. If by a careless and wicked Courfe, we fo provoke him, that he quits his Habitation, and leaves us to ourselves, then we have no Seal of God upon us, we can challenge no Right or Property to the Rewards of God's Children at the laft Day, but are left in the Crowd of the Miferable, to receive our Portion with apoftate Angels, and with Hypocrites and Unbelievers.

« ForrigeFortsett »