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known to all that we are indeed Christ's disciples; and when the day of separation comes, when "" the Son of Man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity, and shall cast them into a furnace of fire, where shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth," then shall we be numbered with the righteous, who shall "shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father." Who hath ears to hear, let him hear." Let him take heed; let him obey the warning voice, which proclaims concerning Babylon, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." That we and all our countrymen may hearken unto this call, and be enrolled amongst the citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem, may God in mercy grant, for his son Jesus Christ's sake!
On the subject of this Sermon, the author would particularly recommend two tracts by his excellent and learned friend the Rev. T. Hartwell Horne, of which the titles are, "Romanism contrary to Scripture," and "A Protestant Memorial for the Commemoration of the 4th October, 1835." Of the latter he has freely availed himself on the present occasion.
THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH PROMISED AS A
GUIDE INTO ALL TRUTH.
JOHN, xvi. 12, 13.
"I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth."
We have been for some time, my brethren, engaged in considering the importance of religious truth, and the duty of searching for it in that repository-the Holy Scripture-wherein God has placed it for our benefit. The claims of the Scripture to our full belief have, I trust, been established. We have weighed their testimony to the Lord Jesus Christ, as being, in the highest sense, "the Truth," " the true God and everlasting life;" the only Mediator between God and man; the sole and all-sufficient sacrifice for human guilt; the one Head of the Church, by union with whom our spiritual life is sustained. In the opposite scale we have weighed the pretensions of his self-styled vicar, the Pope, and of the Church falsely called Catholic, to exercise dominion over us. Whilst the invalidity of those pretensions has been exhibited, the duty of adhering to the Church which is
truly Catholic has been maintained, on the same high authority.
To bring arguments which, to the sincere inquirer after truth, may appear sufficient for the confutation of the Atheist, the Deist, the Socinian, and the Papist, is by no means difficult. But it is difficult to dispose men to that candid and diligent inquiry which can alone be successful. For this end a greater than any human teacher must put forth his power. Such a teacher was promised by our Saviour to his sorrowing disciples in that parting address from which my text is taken.
He knew the inveterate prejudices under which they laboured; and, well aware that if the full blaze of light were at once poured upon their minds, they would be dazzled and blinded rather than illuminated, he patiently bore with their infirmities, until the time ordained in the counsels of his Father for sending unto them the Spirit of truth. The Spirit of truth! How grateful the sound of that title to the sincere lover of truth! to him who, having vainly laboured by his own unassisted faculties to comprehend the deep things of God, hears that this heavenly Teacher is promised, to be his guide into all truth!
That we may venture to appropriate the promise will, I hope, be apparent, before I close my present address. Let us, then, in humble dependence on his aid, consider these words of our blessed Saviour:
I. As they had respect to his original disciples.
I. That Christ with reason declared to his Apostles, "I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now," was fully proved by their backwardness in receiving his former instructions. Those instructions had been, in general, elementary and preparatory. He exposed the emptiness of a mere external and ceremonial righteousness, like that of the Pharisees, and most beautifully described the features which should characterise the true children of God. He declared the willingness of his heavenly Father to pardon every real penitent. He spake many parables concerning the nature of his future kingdom, as the disciples were
able to bear them." He also foretold his own humiliation and suffering. But their ears, as well as the ears of the multitude, were dull of hearing; and those who enjoyed the closest communion were revolted by every declaration which contradicted their hope of a present glorious earthly kingdom. They expected a Messiah, but not one who was to suffer and to die. They looked for victories to be accomplished over the persons rather than the hearts of men; to be accomplished by carnal weapons, or perhaps by miraculous agency, not by the converting grace of the Holy Spirit. When Peter, taught of God, confessed him to be "the Christ, the Son of the living God," fuller teaching was needful to make him acquiesce in the decree, that Jesus must “ go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, and chief priests, and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day." "Be it far from thee, Lord; this shall not be unto thee," was the exclamation which drew upon him the severe rebuke, "Get thee