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you: but, while you are thus engaged, let it not be from motives of policy, merely to increase your auditory; but from love to Christ and the souls of your fellow-sinners. It is this only that will endure reflection in a dying hour. The Apostle Paul was charged, by some of the Corinthian teachers, with being crafty, and with baving caught the Corinthians with guile : but he could say, in reply to all such insinuations, in behalf of himself and his fellowlabourers, Our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world.
4. Value it in the general tenor of your behaviour. Cultivate a meek, modest, peaceful, and friendly temper. Be generous and humane. Prove, by your spirit and conduct, that you are a lover of all mankind. To men in general, but especially to the poor and the afflicted, be pitiful, be courteous. It is this, my brother, that will recommend the gospel you proclaim. Without this, could you preach with the eloquence of an angel, you may expect that no good end will be answered.
5. Prize the character of the good man, above worldly greatness. It is not sinful for a minister, any more than another to possess property ; but to aspire after it is unworthy of his sacred character. Greatness, unaccompanied with goodness, is valued as nothing by the great God. Kings and emperors, where that is wanting, are but great beasts, horned beasts, pushing one at another. When Sennacherib vaupted against the church of God, that he would enter the forest of her Carmel, and cut down her tall cedurs, the daughter of Zion is commanded to despise him. God speaks of him as we should speak of a buffalo, or even of an ass, I will put my hook in thy nose, and my bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou camest.
Outward greatness, when accompanied with goodness, may be a great blessing ; yet, even then, it is the latter, and not the former, that denominates the true worth of a character. Once more,
6. Value it above mental greatness, or greatness in gifts and parts. It is not wrong to cultivate gifts ; on the contrary, it is our duty so to do. But, desirable as these are, they are not to be com« pared with goodness. Covet earnestly the best gifts, says the
Apostle, AND YET SHOW I UNTO YOU A MORB EXCELLENT WAY ; viz. charity, or love. If we improve in gifts, and not in grace, to say the least, it will be useless, and, perhaps, dangerous, both to ourselves and others. To improve in gifts, that we may be the better able to discharge our work, is laudable ; but if it be for the sake of popular applause, we may expect a blast. Handreds of ministers have been ruined by indulging a thirst for the charater of the great man, while they have neglected the far superior characters of the good man.
Another part of the character of Barnabas was, that
II. He was FULL OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. The Holy Spirit sometimes denotes his extraordinary gifts, as in Acts xix. where the apostle Paul put the question to some believers in Christ, whether they had received the Holy Spirit; but here it signifies his inpwelling and ordinary operations, or what is elsewhere called an unction from the Holy One. This, though more common than the other, is far more excellent. Its fruits, though less brilliant, are abundantly the most valuable. To be able to surmount a difficulty by Christian patience, is a greater thing, in the sight of God, than to remove a mountain. Every work of God bears some mark of godhead, even a thistle or a nettle ; but there are some of his works which bear a peculiar likeness to his holy moral character: such were the minds of men and angels in their original state. This will serve to illustrate the subject in hand. The extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit are a communication of his power ; but in bis dwelling in the saints, and the ordinary operations of his grace, he communicates bis own holy nature ; and this it was of
; which Barnabas was full. To be full of the Holy Spirit, is to be full of the dove, as I may say; or full of those fruits of the Spirit mentioned by the Apostle to the Galatians; namely, love, joy, peace, long-sufferings, gentleness, goodness.
To be sure, the term full is not here to be understood in an unlimited sense; not in so ample a sense as when it is applied to Christ. He was filled with the spirit without measure, but we in
The word is doubtless to be understood in a comparative sense, and denotes as much as that he was habitually under his holy influence. A person that is greatly under the influence
of the love of this world, is said to be drunken with its cares, or pleasures. In allusion to something like this, the Apostle exhorts that we be not drunken with wine, wherein is excess ; but FILLED with the Spirit. The word filled, here, is very expressive ; it
; denotes, I apprehend, being overcome, as it were, with the holy influences and fruits of the blessed Spirit. How necessary is all this, my brother in your work! O how necessary is an unction from the Holy One!
I. It is this that will enable you to enter into the spirit of the gospel and preserve you from destructive errors concerning it. Those who have an unction from the Holy One, are said to know all things; and the anointing which they have received abideth in them, and they need not that any man teach them: but, as the same anointing teacheth them all things, and is truth, and is no lie. We shall naturally fall in with the dictates of that spirit of which we are full. It is for want of this in a great measure, that the scriptures appear strange, and foreign, and difficult to be understood. He that is full of the Holy Spirit, has the contents of the Bible written, as I may say upon his heart; and thus its sacred pages are easy to be understood, as wisdom is easy to him that understandeth.
It is no breach of charity to say, that, if the professors of Chris. tianity had more of the spirit of God in their hearts, there would be a greater harmony among them respecting the great truths which he has revealed. The rejection of such doctrines as the exceeding sinfulness of sin, the total depravity of mankind, the proper deity and atonement of Christ, justification by faith in bis name, the freeness and sovereignty of grace, and the agency of the Holy Spirit, may easily be accounted for, upon this principle. If we are destitute of the Holy Spirit, we are blind to the loveliness of the divine character, and destitute of any true love to God in our hearts; and, if destitute of this, we shall not be able to. see the reasonableness of that law which requires love to him with all the heart; and then, of course, we shall think lightly of the nature of those offences committed against him; we shall be naturally disposed to palliate and excuse our want of love to him, yea, and even our positive violations of his law ; it will seem hard,
very hard indeed, for such little things as these to be punished with everlasting destruction. And now, all this admitted, we shall naturally be blind to the necessity and glory of salvation by Jesus Christ. If sin is so trifling an affair, it will seem a strange and incredible thing that God should become incarnate to atone for it: and, hence, we shall be very easily persuaded to consider Christ as only a good man, who came into the world to set us a good example ; or, however, that he is not equal with the Father. The freeness and sovereignty of grace also, together with justification by imputed righteousness, will be a very strange sound in our
Like the Jews, we shall go about to establish our own righteousness, and shall not submit to the righteousness of God. It will seem equally strange and incredible, to be told, that we are by nature, utterly unfit for the kingdom of God, that therefore, we must be born again ; that we are so bad, that we cannot even come to Christ for life, except the Father draw us; yea, and that our best doings, after all, are unworthy of God's notice. It will be no wonder, if, instead of receiving these unwelcome and humiliating doctrines, we should coincide with those writers and preachers who think more favourably of our condition, and the condition of the world at large ; who either deny eternal punishment to exist, or represent men in general as being in little or no danger of it. And, having avowed these sentiments, it will then become necessary to compliment their abettors, including ourgelves in the number,) as persons of a more rational and liberal way of thinking than other people.
My dear brother, of all things, be this your prayer, Take not thy holy Spirit from me! If once we sink into such a way of performing our public work, as not to depend on his enlightening and enlivening influences, we may go on, and probably shall go on, from one degree of evil to another. Knowing how to account for the operations of our own minds, without imputing them to a divine agency, we shall be inclined, in this manner, to account for the operations in the minds of others; and so with numbers in the present age, may soon call in question even whether there be any Holy Spirit.
2. Being full of the Holy Spirit will give a holy tincture to your meditation and preaching. There is such a thing as the mind be
ing habitually under the influence of divine things, and retaining so much of a savour of Christ, as that divine truths shall be viewed and expressed, as I may say, in their own language. Spiritual things will be spiritually discerned ; and if spiritually discerned will be spiritually communicated. There is more in our manner. of thinking and speaking upon divine truth, than, perhaps, at first sight, we are aware of. A great part of the phraseology of scripture is, by some, accounted unfit to be addressed to a modern ear; and is, on this account, to a great degree laid aside, even by those who profess to be satisfied with the sentiments. Whatever may be said in defence of this practice, in a very few instances, such as those where words in a translation are become absolete, or convey a different idea from what they did at the time of being translated ; I am satisfied, the practice, in general, is very pernicious. There are many 'sermons that cannot fairly be charged with untruth, which yet have a tendency to lead off the mind from the simplicity of the gospel. If such scripture terms, for instance, as holiness, godliness, grace, believers, saints, communion with God, &c. should be thrown aside, as savouring too much of cant and enthusiasm ; and such terms as morality, virtue, religion, good men, happiness of mind, &c. substituted in their room, it will have an amazing effect upon the hearers. If such preaching is the gospel, it is the gospel heathenized, and will tend to heathenize the minds of those who deal in it. I do not mean to object to the use of these latter terms, in their place; they are some of them scriptural terms : what I object to is, putting them in the place of others, when discoursing upon evangelical subjects. To be sure, there is a way of handling divine subjects after this sort, that is very clever, and very ingenious ; and a minister of such a stamp may commend himself by his ingenuity, to many hearers : but, after all, God's truths are never so acceptable and savoury to a gracious heart, as when clotbed in their own native phraseology. The more you are filled, ...y brother with an unction from the Holy One, the gieater, relish
possess for that savoury manner of conveying truth, which is so plentifully exemplified in the holy scriptures. Farther.
3. It is this that will make the doctrines you preach, and the duties you inculcate, seem fitted in your lips. I allude to a sar