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1. “Grieve not the Spirit of God, by whom ye are sealed unto the day of redemption," Eph. iv. 30. Will ye know how we grieve the Spirit? We do this, (a) by not obeying his commands, motions, convictions, and excitations, but resisting him in these respects; therefore it is said, Isaiah Ixiii. 10, “But they rebelled and vexed his Holy Spirit : therefore he was turned to be their enemy, and be fought against them." (b) By an unbelieving suspicion, and a fretful discontent with the leading of the Holy Spirit. Concerning this Eliphaz asked Job, “ Are the consolations of God small with thee? is there any secret thing with thee? Why doth thine heart carry thee away? and what do thine eyes wink at, that thou turnest thy Spirit against God, and lettest such words go out of thy mouth?” Job xv. 11, 12, 13. (c) By scandalous sins. David was obliged, on account of such sins, to pray that “God would not take his Spirit from him, but restore to him the joy of his salvation," Psalm li. !I, 12. (d) By “quenching the Spirit," from which the apostle de horteth i Thess. v. 19. This we do often in ourselves by a defect of zeal, in others by suspecting and opposing their gifts and graces: we do it also when we use our liberty to excess, so that we offend those who are weak; for “thus we sin against the brethren, and wounding their weak conscience, we sin against Christ," I Cor. viii. 12. (e) By envying the grace and gifts of others, by which discontentment arises on both sides, and the Spirit being grieved in this manner, departs ; therefore James asks, “Do ye think that the scripture saith in vain, Doth the Spirit who dwelleth in us, delight in envy ?"** James iv. 5. This ought not so to be, my brethren, "but follow after charity, and covet spiritual gifts."
%. Cherish and stir up in yourselves the gifts of the Holy Spirit by a constant attention to the inbreathings of the Spirit, by following them, depending on them, making use of spiritual means, and conversing with spiritual persons. Thus Paul admonished his Timothy, to “stir up the gift of God, which was in him," 2 Tim. i. 6.
Walk and conduct in all things by the Holy Spirit. “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.”+ saith Paul, Gal. v. 25. Permit me to declare briefly, how we walk by the Spirit. We do this. (a) when we walk according to the rule or word of the Spirit, Gal. vi. 16. (b) When we employ ourselves with spiritual things, Epli
. V, 18, 19. Rom. viii. 5. (c) When we act from the spiritual princi. ple of life, I Tim. i. 5. Matt. xii. 35. Psalm xlv. 2. (d) When we regulate ourselves by spiritual ends in our actions, 1 Cor. x. 31. ) When we do all things by the influence of the Lord's Spirit, and
according to the Dutch, translation.
neered this passage according to the Dutch translation
not by our own mig'it and power, Zech. iv 6. (f) And also when we conduct ourselves circumspectly, and courageously through the Holy Spirit, and thus “ walk in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost,” Acis ix. 31.
Thus ve will have the clearest evidences that ye are truly partakers of Christ and all his bencfits; your souls will be filled with the comfürt of the Holy Ghost; yea, the Spirit will abide with you for every and your state will remain immovable through the Almighty Spirit, until he pronounce you blessed in death, and quicken your bodies in the blessed resurrection ; for "we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, even w ourselves, groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body," saith Paul, Rom. viii. 23. Amen.
1 Cor. i. 2. Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them
that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.
Q. 54. What believest thou concerning “ the holy catholic church" of Christ?
A. That the Son of God, from the beginning to the end of the world, gathers, defends, and preserves to himself by his Spirit and word, out of the whole human race, a church chosen to everlasting life, agreeing in true faith ; and that I am, and for ever shall remain a living member thereof.
Q. 55. What do you understand by " the communion of the saints ?"
A. First, that all and every one who believes, being members of Christ, are in common, partakers of him, and of all his riches and
gifts : secondly, that every one must know it to be his duty readily and cheerfully to employ his gifts, for the advantage and salvation of other members.
Q. 56. 11 hat bılievest thou concerning " the forgiveness of sins ?”
A. That God, for the sake of Christ's satisfaction, will no more remember my sins, and my corrupt nature, against which I have to struggle all my life long; but will graciously impute to me the righteousness of Christ, that I may never be condemned before the tribunal of God.
“ "TRULY God is good to Israel," saith Asaph, Psalm Isxiii. I.
RULY God is
, “ The Lord is indeed good to all; and his tender mercies are over all his works,” Psalm cxlv. 9. Yea, there is no creature, whether rational, or irrational, animate, or inanimate, that doth not exhibit many evidences of the divine goodness. “ He is kind also to the unthankful and to the evil.” Luke vi. 35. But God is good particularly to Israel from a hearty and fatherly love, “ giving" himself 6 his Son, and all things with him” to Israel, Rom. viii. 32. The Lord promised once with respect to Solomon's temple, 1 Kings ix. 3. “ Mine eyes and mine heart shall be there perpetually." But this is especially true with respect to Israel, his spiritual temple ; for God doth set his heart upon Israel with a special affection ; he bestows himself wholly upon them for an inheritance, and a sufficient possession : “ Israel is that happy people, whose God is the Lord, and whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance," Psalm xxxiii. 12. Yea, the whole divine Trinity is engaged in showing favour to Israel; the Father elected them, the Son redeemed them, and the Holy Ghost sanctifies them; and therefore the believing Israelites are " a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people," į Peter ii. 9. They are “ the church of God, sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints," as Paul saith in our text; and herewith agrees the description, which the instructor gives of the church, upon which God bestows such precious favours, both in this life, and in that which is to come.
Having seen thus far the lovingkindness of the three Persons in the divine essence, and that each person contributes his share to the salvation of the sinner, it behooves us now to show you who are the Israel, the church of God, to which he shows all his saving kindness.
It appears that three particulars are exhibited to us here: 1. The faith of Christians concerning the church, Q. 64. II. Concerning the communion of saints, Q. 55.
III. Concerning the forgiveness of sins, Q. 56.
1. With respeci to the faith of Chrisuans concerning the church we will inquire 1. What the church is, 2. How we believe this church,
1. In order that we may learn what the church is, we must know that the word church is properly a Greek word, and that it signifies the Lord's, as this word is used of the Lord's supper, and the Lord's day, I Cor. xi. 20. Rev. i. 10. And this word was also used thus by the Christians of old to denoie the houses of worship, which they set apart for the worship of the Lord; but when we now make use of the word church, we understand by it not only the ordinary houses of worship, but particularly the congregation of the Lord. This is called by the Hebrew. gnedch, Jer. xxx, 20, and kahal. The first word is sometimes translated by the Greeks “Synagogue,” as we see in the septuagint, Joshua xxii. 16, which word is commonly used by the writers of the New Testament to denote the Jewish houses of worship, which they had besides the temple; and sometimes also the assemblies of Christians, who were of Jewish extraction, as we may see, Heb x. 25 James ii. 2. But the Hebrews most commonly used the word kahal, as the Greeks did the word ekklesia, by which they translate that Hebrew word as we may see, Psalm xxii. 22, 25, which word, derived from ek, and kalea, signifieth an assembly of men cal). ed from among others, and together. And so this word is used of the church and congregation of the Lord, which is called and gathered together by his word and Spirit, Matt. xvi. 18, either with respect to her internal state ; and so believers only are .called "the church, which God hath purchased with his blood," Acts xx. 28. Eph. V. 25, 26, or with respect to her external state, in the publick administration of the word and sacraments, to which hypocrites also join themselves. This, considered by itself, and without respect to tie leaders, is sometimes called "the church of the living God," 1 Tim. iii. 15, as the leaders also, exclusively of the common members, are sometimes called the church, Matt. xviii. 17, “Tell it to the church." This word is moreover used to denote the body of believers, in this or that place; so the apostles wrote their epistles to particular churches, as John to the seven churches of Asia, Rev. i. 11. It is also used to denate the catholic (or universa!) church of all times, nations, and places, of which the particular churches are particular members. “God gave him," namely Christ, “ to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, and the fuloess of him that filleth all in all,” Eph. i. 22, 23. And in this sense the church is spoken of in the creed, and in this Lord's day. And thus