Page images
PDF
EPUB

but canst not tell whence it cometh and whither it goeth,” is known by its effects, so the intercourse of God with man is vouchsafed as he pleases; it is imperceptible in its descent; it is inexplicable in its mode of operation ; it appears not in any visible form; it has no tangible substance; but it is felt in the whole soul of man; it gives perceptions to his mind, and raises emotions in his heart, such as no other agency can convey,

of which he becomes conscious to himself, and which have a most powerful effect in producing faith, and peace, and love, and hope, and joy, and all other holy and happy affections, and also in transforming the whole man for the service and glory of God. Let us then study and meditate upon the word of God, and let us pray that the Holy Ghost, which proceedeth from the Father and the Son, may rest upon us, and dwell in us; and then we shall enjoy divine communications from the word and the Spirit rich as any that ever were enjoyed by any of the saints of old.

2. Let us also seek divine communications of the kind which we are now authorized to

expect. We may not desire or look for such as shall have our earthly dwellings and temporal possessions for their object, but such as shall sanctify our souls, and make us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light. They are spiritual in their nature and effects : coming from God they lead to him. They are not such as shall communicate any new knowledge of natural things ; not such as shall enable us to read the fortunes of ourselves or others; not such as shall confer the

power of healing diseases, or working miracles ; but such as shall make us spiritual and holy, such as shall cause us to increase in all goodness and righteousness and truth, such as shall fill our hearts with “ love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.

These are the fruits of the spirit. Let us pray continually that he may communicate to us these and all other his holy and sanctifying graces, and let us carefully improve every such communication, that they may be increased to us more and more.

3. Let us seek these divine communications

in the places where now they are usually bestowed, that is, in the houses of God, where he is worshipped, and the means of grace are used. I mean not to say that the christian does not often enjoy very sweet and happy communion with God in the secret recesses of his own privacy, but it is also true that he is most commonly thus blessed in the public .ordinances of the Lord's house with his people. It was when the disciples were all met together with one accord in one place that the Spirit descended upon them on the day of Pentecost : it is to the assembly of two or three together in his name that the Saviour has specially promised that he will

The Psalms are full of testimonies of the Lord's presence with his people in the courts of his own house. Thither let us constantly repair to meet our God, to render him our worship, and to wait upon him for his blessing. With such holy reverence and awe as Jacob felt let us enter into his temple and say, “Surely the Lord is in this place: this is none other than the house of God, and this is the gate of heaven,"

come,

4. Lastly, let us consecrate a portion of our substance to him. For the support of his worship, for the spread of his gospel, for the relief of the poor, who in this respect are his representatives, for all pious and charitable uses, let something be appropriated out of whatever God has bestowed upon us.

I prescribe not the degree, but let it bear a proportion to the possessions of the giver; the greater that proportion is, the more will it be honoured.

SERMON XVIII.

JACOB'S RESIDENCE WITH LABAN.

GENESIS XXXI. 41.

Thus hare I been twenty years in thy house;

I served thee fourteen years for thy tno daughters, and six years for thy cattle, and thou hast changed my wages ten times.

In the last sermon we saw Jacob setting out from his father's house towards Haran, the country where the other descendants of Terah, the father of Abraham still dwelt : and here we find him preparing to return again to the land of Canaan. There we saw him going alone and poor; here we find him returning with a large family, numerous servants and followers, and exceeding many flocks and herds.

God had promised in the vision at Bethel to be with him; he

« PreviousContinue »