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nature seems to be quietly reclining on the bosom of peace. But how demon-like is the feeling when the turbulent passions gain the ascendancy: what agitation and what torment are the result!
Love is the very element which is congenial to the Holy Ghost, and renders the heart the abode of his delight. The irascible passions," says Mr. Hall, in his beautiful tract on the Work of the Spirit, "surround the soul with a sort of troubled atmosphere, than which nothing is more contrary to the calm and holy light in which the Spirit loves to dwell." "Let all bitterness, and wrath, and clamour, and evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all malice; and grieve not the Spirit of God;" -an expression, as we have already considered, which, from its context, intimates that the Spirit of God is susceptible of offence; and peculiarly so, by any neglect or violation of the law of love. Everything connected with our spiritual well-being depends on the indwelling of the Holy Ghost in our hearts when this divine guest retires from our souls, and withdraws his gracious influences, he gives utterance at the same time to the solemn denunciation, "Woe be unto you, if my soul depart from you." The heart of the believer assumes then the character and appearance of a temple forsaken by its deity: all is ruin and desolation; the sacrifice ceases, the altar is overthrown, the fire is extinguished. We have all much need to present with the utmost fervour the supplication of the Psalmist,
Cast me not away from thy presence, and take not thy Holy Spirit from me." No witness to our sonship, no consolations, no faith, no hope, no
growth in grace, no joy and peace in believing, can then be enjoyed; instead of this we shall be abandoned to worldly-mindedness, unbelief, despondency, gloomy apprehensions, and foreboding anticipations. Now the Spirit will retire from that heart which is destitute of love, and which is perpetually indulging in tempers of an opposite description. If, then, you would retain this divine visitant-this illustrious guest; if you would indeed continue to be the temples of the Holy Ghost; if you would have God abiding in you ;-cultivate the grace of charity; invite him to your souls for this very purpose; yield yourselves to his tender solicitations and gracious drawings; open your minds to his gentle illapses; and when at any time you feel an unusual relenting of mind, follow up the impression, and resign your whole selves to the benign power of which you are at that time the happy subjects.
Love will promote your own peace and comfort, by conciliating the good-will and kindness of others. In all the commerce of life, we are generally paid back in the same kind of conduct which we maintain towards others. Ill will, and pride, and envy, and selfishness, are sure to excite and to array against us the bad passions of mankind. Under such circumstances, many will take delight in annoying us; all our unkindnesses will come back upon us in inņumerable acts of retaliation. But love conciliates esteem. "The meek shall inherit the earth;" their quiet, and inoffensive, and benevolent spirit subdues, by a mild but irresistible power, the most violent and injurious tempers. It has often led the lion, the tiger, and the serpent, by its soft and silken
cord; it has charmed to tameness not only the fierceness of wild beasts, but the frantic rage of the furies. It was thus that Jacob subdued the rage of Esau, who was marching against him with purposes of revenge; so that instead of executing his wrath, "he ran to meet him, and embraced him, and fell upon his neck, and kissed him." It was thus that David softened the heart of Saul, and disarmed his malignity of its murderous intention. "Is this the voice of my son David?" said the royal persecutor; " and he lifted up his voice, and wept, saying to David, Thou art more righteous than I, for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil." "Who is he that will harm you,” said the Apostle, "if you are followers of that which is good? Who can be the enemy of charity? Who will subject himself to the odium and reproach of being unkind to love?
In all these ways do we promote our own peace by the cultivation of this temper. And can we be indifferent to our own comfort? Is it a matter of no moment to us, whether our bosom be the seat of quietude or agitation? O no; it is not, it cannot be. But we have had our attention too much drawn off from ourselves. We have forgotten that it is said, the good man shall be satisfied from himself. We have thought or acted too much as if we thought that the sources of peace were without us, and beyond us. We are not yet cured of the disease of earthly-mindedness. We still labour under the mistake, that happiness is something unconnected with moral disposition; that it is a matter foreign from ourselves, and arising from the adventitious
circumstances of wealth, and rank, and fame. It is time to take another course, to try another scheme, and to adopt other means. Let us seek God's grace to open springs of pleasure in ourselves. Not that we are to seek in ourselves for joy and peace, when suffering under a consciousness of sin; not that, as sinners, we are to seek relief from the burden of guilt in our own virtues or graces; not that we are in any sense to look to our own works, as constituting our justifying righteousness: in all these views of our case, we must rejoice only in the Lord; but as those who are justified, and at peace with God through Christ, we are to do the work of righteousness, which is peace, and enjoy the effect of righteousness, which is quietness and assurance for ever : we are to covet the rejoicing which Paul speaks of as arising from "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." There is the joy of justification, and the joy of sanctification: one, the delight of being restored to God's favour by the work of Christ, and the other the joy of being restored to God's image by the work of the spirit. Many seem afraid of the joys of holiness, and count all delight but that of faith to be a mere effervescence of self-righteousness, and which only intoxicates the soul with pride. Why, then, has our Lord pronounced his sevenfold beatitude on the graces of a renewed mind? Why has he thus so emphatically and solemnly connected happiness with holiness? The angels are happy, because they are holy; and the heavenly felicity is the perfection of sanctity. In proportion,
therefore, as we give ourselves up to the influence and the government of love, we approach to the blessedness of the spirits of just men made perfect. He that lives in love shall drink of the waters of his own cistern, and be satisfied; he shall, every morning, find this heavenly manna lying upon the surface of his soul, and be fed with it to eternal life; and finding himself united by faith to the truth, he shall find peace within, though in the world he should have tribulation.
True religion is no sullen stoicism, or gloomy melancholy; it is not an enthralling tyranny exercised over the noble and generous sentiments of love and delight, as those who are strangers to it imagine: but it is full of a vigorous and masculine felicity, such as ennobles, instead of degrading, the soul; such as invigorates, instead of enervating, its powers; such as does not dispirit and sadden the mind afterwards, when the season of enjoyment is gone by, as do earthly and sensual pleasures; but elevates its views and purposes, and strengthens it for lofty enterprise and heroic deeds, by giving it to drink of the river of life, clear as crystal, which flows out of the throne of God and of the Lamb, and refreshing it with what, in a true and a holy sense, may be called the nectar of immortality. That religion which does not consist in mere airy notions, in cold and heartless orthodoxy, in pharisaic forms and ceremonies, but in faith working by love,-love to God, to Christ, to the brethren, and to the world,-does sometimes, in its higher elevations, lead the soul into a mount of transfiguration, where it glows amidst the splendour that falls on it from the excellent glory or takes it to the top of Pisgah, where it sees