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And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are scaled unto

the day of Redemption.

THIS passage stands among the practical instructions and cautions, which the Apostle addresses to the Ephesian converts, and which occupy a large part of his epistle to them. From an analysis of the context it will derive no special elucidation, and we hope it will need no other than what may be given in the course of our observations upon it.

1. It is here supposed that there is a divine influence necessary to the salvation of fallen men. No doctrine is more plainly taught in the gospel than this.

The conviction of sinners, and their renovation to a holy temper and life, and the progress and perseverance of the saints in their religious course, are in scripture attributed to the Spirit of God, in such terms and phrases, as plainly import the necessity of his influence to effect these important purposes.

The operations of the Spirit, spoken of in scripture, often intend those extraordinary communications, by which the prophets and apostlcs understood the deep

things of God, foretold distant events, and performed supernatural works. But besides these, it also speaks of an influence and assistance of the Spirit alike neces. sary for all men, and alike common to all good men.

If we believe ourselves dependent on God for our nat. ural life, and its daily supplies; for wisdom to contrive and ability to pursue our ordinary business; it would be absurd to deny our dependence on him for the prin. ciples and supports of the divine life, for security against temptations, and our safe conduct through this dangerous world, to the kingdom of glory,

We are not to conceive of the common influence of Providence, or of the special influence of grace, in a manner which contradicts our moral agency ; for God treats all his creatures agreeably to the natures which he has given them. But if we suppose that the concur. rence of Providence in our common labors is consist. ent with our freedom, as well may we suppose that the concurrence of his grace in our religious duties, is consistent with our freedom. If we believe that the motives and arguments, which we propose to one another, may influence the human mind without controling its liberty of choice, we must believe that God can open the mind to the admission of motives proposed, without controling this liberty.

II. The influence of the Holy Spirit, is expressed in scripture by a great variety of phrases.

Christians are said to be born of the Spirit-renewed, sanctified and led by the Spirit—to be anointed and fit. led with the Spirit, and to be the temples in which the Spirit dwells. In our text, and in several other places, they are said to be scaled by the Spirit.

Šealing in common use, is the impression of the im. age or likeness of one thing upon another. A seal impressed on wax, leaves there its own resemblance. The Christian sealed by the Spirit receives the divine im. age on his heart. The word of God is the seal-the Holy Spirit is the sealer--and the heart of man the subject. When the Spirit so impresses the truths

of the gospel on the human mind, as to transform it : into the divine image, then it is said to be sealed by the ? Spirit. The plain literal meaning of the phrase is, that

believers, by the influence of the Spirit accompanying the word of truth, are renewed after the image of God, assimilated to the precepts of the gospel, and wrought into that temper of goodness, righteousness and truth, which is the fruit of the Spirit.*

III. Believers are said to be sealed unto the day of redemption.

There is a twofold redemption spoken of in the gospel; the redemption of the soul from guilt by tlie re. mission of sin ; and the redemption of the body from the grave, and its reunion with the soul at the glorious resurrection. The former is mentioned in this epistle, chapter i. 7. “ In Christ ye have redemption, through his blood, the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of God's grace. The latter in Romans viïi. 23. “ We who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of the body.” This is the redemption which the apostle intends in our text. Of the same he speaks chap. i. 13. “ After ye believed, ye were sealed with the holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession."

The felicity of the heavenly state consists in pure and spiritual tempers and exercises—in nearness to, and communion with God-in the devout contempla. tion of his character, government and works—in the performance of such services as are assigned to all in their respective spheres--and in the pleasing interchange of benevolent affections and kind offices for the common advancement of knowledge and virtue. For such a state none are prepared, while sin has dominion over them. Fleshly lusts, impure affections and malev.

See SIRMON VII,

olent passions are utterly inconsistent with admission to so glorious a world. Nothing can enter thither that de. files or works abomination. In the holy place he only can stand, who has clean hands and a pure heart. The sealing or sanctification of the Spirit is therefore a necessary preparation for heaven.

It is also an evidence of our title to heaven-an earnest of our inheritance in the purchased possession. The inheritance is promised to the pure in heart. When we find in ourselves this character, we may appropriate the promise. “ Blessed are they that do the commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city.” If the Spirit of God dwells in us by his sanctifying in, fluence, we may conclude, that this Spirit, which has quickened to righteousness our souls once dead in sins, will also awaken to immortality these bodies sleeping in the dust.

It is only in this way that the Spirit is an earnest and seal of our future redemption. The evidence of our right to the inheritance is not communicated by imme. diate discovery, but

obtained by diligent inquiry. The testimony of the Spirit, that we are heirs of glory, consists in that work of the Spirit, which qualifies us for glory. We are then to conclude that we have the Spirit, when we are conscious of those tempers which are the fruits of the Spirit. We may then believe, that we are heirs of God's kingdom, when we possess that righteousness, peace and joy of the Holy Ghost, by which his kingdom is distinguished from the world.

IV. The apostle speaks of the Spirit, as being grieded, when we act in opposition to his influence. « Grieve not the holy Spirit of God.”

Joy and grief are attributed to the divine nature, not as expressive of any real emotions of passion like those which are raised in us by success and disappointment; but only as importing in accommodation to human conceptions, the wonderful efforts of divine goodness,

mercy and love. As we are grieved, when we are disappointed in our endeavors to make others happy, and when our benevolent intentions are treated with con. tempt and ingratitude ; so the Spirit of God is repre. sented as being grieved and disappointed, when his friendly and gracious influences meet with opposition and resistance from us. God's Spirit is called the Spirit of grace, in regard of his readiness to assist us in the duties, and support us in the difficulties of the religious life. The great Parent of our nature is more forward to give his holy Spirit to them who ask him, than we are to answer our children's cries for bread. So much does his goodness surpass the highest instan. ces of parental love, that, in comparison with him, the most affectionate earthly parents are called evil. The grace of God's Spirit is expressed by his striving with men. He is beforehand with them in his kind offices. He comes to their door and knocks. He continues his addresses, even after he finds opposition. He is reluctant to leave them to the evil imaginations of their hearts. Yea, they who rebel against his gra- . cious motions, are said, not only to grieve him, but, by a bolder metaphor, even to vex him. Final opposi. tion is called doing despite to the Spirit of grace. No language can more strongly than this, express God's abundant mercy towards us, and his wonderful grace to assist us in the mighty concern of our salvation.

Great encouragement have we to seek for, and rely upon the grace of the holy Spirit for every purpose of the religious life. We may come boldly to the throne of grace for help in the time of need.

How dangerous must it be to continue in a course of wickedness! This is nothing less than to oppose, grieve and vex the Spirit of God, that kind benevolent Spir. it, who strives with us. of how sore a punishment

shall he be thought worthy, who does despite to the Ý Spirit of grace ?” -“ Vengeance is mine ; I will recom

pense, saith the Lord. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

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