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mercy. If we defraud others in any way, we grieve the Spirit; for he is a Spirit of justice and uprightness. If we indulge in unchaste or frothy conversation, we grieve the Spirit; for he is an Spirit of purity. Let us avoid these, and all other sinful courses, lest we grieve “the Holy Spirit of God."
2. We grieve the Spirit when we entertain low views of his work, or practically disregard it. It is his province to awaken the conscience—to enlighten the understanding to change the affections—to renew the whole man. All this, if accomplished at all, must be accomplished by him. A more important and necessary office cannot be filled. Yet we may slight him in connection with it. We may undervalue the greatness of his work. We may fail to recognise his agency in it. We may attribute to others what is solely his. We may take to ourselves the glory which belongs to him. We may forget to pray for his influence. Thus we grieve him.
Let us be careful how we treat this Divine Spirit. In our creed let there be a distinct recognition of his work. In all our efforts to do good let us rely on him for success. In our prayers let us refer to him as our quickener, sancti. fier, restorer, comforter. If we honour him, he will honour us. Therefore let us see to it that we “grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.”
3. We grieve the Spirit when we resist him, or neglect to follow his gracious counsel. In his operations he does not regard us as mere machines, but as rational, free, responsible beings. It is possible for us to resist the Spirit. When we reason against the course he indicates, or endeavour to avoid compliance with his will, or neglect his monitions, we grieve him.
We should take heed to obey all his commands—to act in harmony with his gracious will. It is “ the love of the Spirit” that prompts him to take such an interest in our welfare. Slight not that love. “Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.”
Having thus specified two or three ways in which the Spirit is grieved, let us now endeavour to dissuade you from grieving him.
1. Remember who he is and what he has done. He is not a fellow-creature. He is God. This fact should make us fear to offend him. But the apostle does not seek to work upon our fear, as much as to move our love. .
Think, then, on what the Spirit has done, is doing, and will yet do for you. Can you be guilty of such ingratitude as to grieve him? Could you grieve the friend who is the light of your home, and the joy of your heart? How much more unkind and wicked it is to grieve him who is more to you than all earthly friends united! By all your sense of obligation to Divine mercy-by all the love due to him who hath so loved you, “ grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.”.
2. Consider the consequences of grieving the Spirit. If you grieve him, you will lose his counsel and comfort. How dreadful to be forsaken by such a friend ! To be left to ourselves without comfort in ordinances--to see no precious truth in the Bible-to groan beneath a weight of conscious guilt to seek God and not to find him-perhaps to fall into gross sin, and become an outcast from the Church of God! Many saints have groaned out in this state, “ Make me to hear joy and gladness: that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoice." That you may be saved from falling into such a state, see that you “grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.”
3. Think, finally, of the blessings the Spirit sheds abroad where he dwells; and grieve him not. He is your light. As the sun scatters all darkness from the face of nature, so he chases doubt, and perplexity, and fear, and sorrow, from the soul. He inflames the heart with holy affections, shedding abroad there the love of Christ. He bestows the blessed gift of peace. He is our strength; so that when he is with us, there is no labour we cannot perform-no sufferings we cannot endure-ro sacrifices we cannot cheerfully make. He makes every breast that is his home a heaven of joy and glory.
Once more, then, we urge the exhortation of the text. By your desire to walk continually in the path of wisdom--to cherish ardent love to Christ-to enjoy a peace which no outward storms can ruffle-to be strengthened with all might in the inner man--to have free and pleasant communion with God-to lead a holy, useful, and happy life--" grieve not the Holy Spirit of God.”
Let those who have grieved the Spirit, lose no time in seeking his gracious return.
Let those who have never had the Spirit remember that unless they possess him they can never enter heaven; and let them earnestly seek to possess him now. Remember that Christ hath said, “ Ask, and it shall be given you.”
BY THE REV. J. T. WIGNER.
“That they may glorify God in the day of visitation,”—1 Pet. ii. 12. LET us guard against supposing that | ciful. Mercy is mingled with every event Divine visitations belonged solely to a of our life ; it is an element in every trial, former dispensation, or past ages, and that, every cross ; it gilds the mountain top of like miracles, they have ceased in the our prosperity, and shines in the deepest Church.
valleys of our sorrow. Yet there are events There are such visitations now, as real of providence, circumstances which befal as that which Abraham proved when he us, in which we require the eye of faith to “sat in the door of his tent" at Mamre in pierce the gloom, and see mercy working " the heat of the day," or that which was there. The Sun always shines, but fresymbolized in the “ pillar of fire and cloud," quently its appearance is hidden by a coveror that “vision of the Lord high and lifted ing of cloud; on other occasions, we reup” which Isaiah beheld, or the appearance joice in its unclouded lustre, we bask in of the Saviour which refreshed the spirit the sunshine: and there are instances of and cheered the heart of the illustrious the special mercy of God, marked and maexile at Patmos. The visitations of God nifest, - an unexpected deliverance,-an to men, as individuals, and to communities unlooked for success,-a wondrous ariswer in their collective capacity, belong to all to prayer,-expectation far exceeded,--an times and all circumstances, in these later abundant supply of temporal good,-on days, as in the days before the Flood. True, which are inscribed in large and distinct these manifestations are not visible to our characters, MERCY. Cases, as marked as bodily senses ; but although invisible, not the deliverance of the youths from the furless real; though spiritual, not less proven nace, without even “a smell of fire,” or in the personal experience of those who Peter led out of the prison, the night bereceive and believe them. By visitations, fore he was to “be brought forth to the we mean those periods when we more dis people,”—the times, the manner, the chatinctly and feelingly apprehend a present racter of the event, all mercy. You have God; when our attention is arrested by the had such cases in your history-bright whisper of his voice ; when the conviction sunny spots on which memory loves to presses upon us with power, that God is linger; you will not forget them, you canvery near, teaching, warning, arousing, not. These were times of visitation. God blessing us!
visits, as well as speaks, at “sundry times. Let us inquire concerning some of the and in divers manners," and this season oudes of these visitations.
of special mercy is one of God's visitaI. God often visits men by acts of tions, challenging your devotion, gratitude, SPECIAL MERCY.--All his dealings are mer- , and love. Let such be marked in the
diary of your memory as a “day of visi. | shall never be moved ;" but soon the clouds tation.”
gather, the sun is shrouded in gloom, the II. God visits men by peculiar seasons winds rage, the storm is furious ;-the of GOSPEL PRIVILEGES.- Peculiar in va- | house falls, the prop is snapped asunder, rious ways. You have providentially been the idol broken, the nest cast to the led under a ministry which arrests your ground, and, from the pinnacle of hope, attention, and enlists your sympathies in a you are thrown into the depths of despair. manner before unknown to you; or your , “ All these things seem against you." You opportunities for attending the means of cry in anguish of spirit; like the wearied grace have increased ; or your unind re- ' disciples, you say, “ We have toiled all lieved of a burden which had long pressed night, and taken nothing," or, looking on heavily upon it, helps you to hear with the fruitlessness of toil all in vain, you greater interest; or your minister has | askbeen directed to a fresh “seam” in the
“And is this-a harvest-blightedmine of truth, which makes you think,
This the fruit of all my pain ?" say,—"He preaches better than ever he did ;” or an increased power and fruit. This is the day of visitation. The fulness attends the word,—all around you, house is overturned, that thou mayest flee in the same congregation, in the very pew to the “ shadow of the great rock ;” the by your side, conversions are taking place ; gourd is withered, that thou mayest trust many whom you have long known alone in the arm of the Almighty, or hide " without,” are pressing into the kingdom under the shelter of his wings. GOD IS of God; or a spirit of prayer is so seen, NOT, CANNOT BE, UNKIND! He loves not as you have never beheld before; or, not to disappoint your hopes, save when such far distant, showers of blessing are falling ; disappointment shall lead you to a fountain you read the accounts, you hear them men- which will never fail, a Saviour in whom tioned from the pulpit, in the prayer | you may confide and find peace. True, meeting, -and thus “the kingdom of God the remembrance of these bitter disappointis come nigh to you,” very nighi, “at your ments will rise; when the wound is healed, doors," "the word is nigh thee, even in thy the scar remains ; but, rightly viewed, the mouth and in thy heart.” It is a day of scar will be the remembrance of a love visitation. Jerusalem was favoured with tender and gracious, even though the rod the personal ministry of our Lord, he was smarting and severe. “ Ye have heard taught in her synagogues and streets, he of the patience of Job, and have seen the healed her diseased and dying ones, he end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitioffered his mercy and grace to her priests ful, and of tender mercy.” This is the day and people, but they scorned, reviled, blas- of visitation. phemed, in the depth of their guilty un
IV. PERSONAL AFFLICTION AND BEREAVEbelief said, “His blood be upon us, and on our children.” To this period of his
MENT is another mode of Divine visitation. ministry, their privilege, and the rejection
-You have felt this. God comes in the thereof, our Lord refers, Luke xix. 44.
dark night, and on the troubled sea of “Thou knowest not the time of thy visi
affliction. He removes you from the tation.” The day of reading this paper may
activities of life,“ weakens your strength be the “day of thy visitation "!"
in the way,” shows you the shadowy form
of death in the distance, takes your loved III. SEVERE AND BITTER DISAPPOINTMENT is another way in which God visits
one from your side into another world, men.—Man is a creature of hope. The
and holds you over the verge of an open mind expands, the heart rises, the energies
grave; the spirits sink, the flesh quivers, are put forth, under the influence of hope. It
the soul trembles, the “great white throne" "springs immortal in the human breast ;"
appears in view ; deep thoughts, strong all classes feel it ; the man under the pres
emotions, serious recollections of the past,
sins brought to remembrance, dread of sure of sorrow hopes that to-morrow will be brighter than to-day. To the Christian,
entering on the future, all, all these are the hope is the “anchor of the soul.” Under
fruits of Divine visitation. You have had the influence of hope,-often delusive, we
such ; you remember them. build our house on the sand, rest all our
“ He called me in the hour of dread, hope on earthly props, say, “I shall die in
When death was full in view; my nest," " My mountain stands strong, I |
I trembled on my feverish bed,"
And, oh! must you not add the other line decision on the Lord's side, “What will ye of the verse ?
do in the day of visitation?”
Other kinds of visitation might be men“And rose to sin anew!"
tioned ; these are enough. Here are the And, then, the beloved one removed, her bright and the dark; those which fill the form no longer seen, ber voice silent in spirit with gladness, and those which make death, the smile of welcome to greet you the soul sad ; those which turn all into no more; there is the vacant chair, the brightness, cheerful as a summer day ; unoccupied place at the table, and you are those dark and gloomy as the wintry night. sad and sorrowful, cast down, and in In one or other of these modes you have despondency. 'Tis the day of visitation. known the “ day of visitation.” He draws near, and touches you, not in WHAT THEN? What the use you anger, but in love. How near is God! should make? What the lessons you How solemn, tender, anxious, you! Has should learn? What the spirit you should the visit been blest? Have you risen cultivate, when God, through Christ Jesus, from it better, though sadder ? Have you gives you a “day of visitation "'? Let the derived profit from the visit! Surely such word of God, by Peter, give the answer : a visitation should not be heedlessly “That they may glorify God in the day of passed by!
visitation." These words were at first Yet, again,
written to Christians who were suffering V. THE STRIVING OF GOD'S SPIRIT is severe trial for their allegiance to Christ. another mode of visitation.-God says, in He exhorts them to maintain the dignity, Gen. vi. 3, “My Spirit shall not always holiness, peace, of the Christian character, strive with man;" and Isaiah charges on so as by their good works to “put to the Jews this guilt: “But they rebelled, silence the ignorance of foolish men,” and and vexed his Holy Spirit.” There are to cause the Gentiles beholding these things times when the Spirit of God thus strives, and their Christian deportment to "glorify specially in connection with personal trials God in the day of visitation.” or Gospel privileges. At such a time the That God may be glorified is the pivot heart is unusually susceptible of Divine on which all should turn; then will your truth, the soul is filled with feeling. Under own souls be largely blest. In order to the pungency and pathos of the word you this are subdued, melted; despite your efforts 1. Listen and learn.-The Saviour, when to prevent, the knees will tremble, the on earth, never spoke in vain, nor paid a heart will heave the sigh, the tear will fall. useless visit. God never comes to us, to You Must read the Bible,-perhaps pray. visit us, uselessly or without a design. In You are “ almost persuaded to be a Chris. such seasons, how profound should be the tian.” You “tremble," and say, “Go thy attention, how intense the desire to know way,-for this time.” There were cases of the teachings of his love! “Speak, Lord, this kind under the ministry of our Lord thy servant heareth.” “I will hear what and his apostles. “Good Master, what God the Lord will speak.” If “this mind shall I do, that I may inherit eternal life?" be in you," the heavenly Instructor will “Lord, I will follow thee, but”-Oh! if descend, and illuminate you by his teachyou viewed this “day of visitation" aright, ings. Thousands have proved, and will you would see it to be a heaven-sent for ever rejoice in the fact, that the lessons blessing, coming direct from the throne. which they learnt in “the day of visitaGod is a waiting to be gracious ;" he is tion” were the holiest and the best, and, stirring your soul to its inmost depths. in their results, most fruitful and blessed. The word has fastened on your conscience, In the school of affliction they have obyour heart. Oh! beware lest this period tained the highest degree of spiritual knowpass away, lest the “ grieved" Spirit should ledge and attainments; and all along the "turn to be your enemy, and fight against day of glory, in that world where there is “no you,” and the words of Hosea be applicable night, they will rejoice in those visits of to you: “Your goodness is as a morning mercy when their souls were won to him. cloud, and as the early dew it goeth away." Be this your position : sit at Jesus' feet; Awake to your peculiar position and privi. “take his yoke upon you, and learn of leges, and let the question of Jehovah to | him"; thus will you be a willing and a ancient Israel be heard by you, summoning blest disciple, and you shall know that all all your attention, and inducing your í his dealings are in accordance with the glory of his character, the love of his heart, 1 you do, he will by his grace save you. and your best, your eternal salvation. Surrender! Hark to his own words, “ Vy
2. Expect and embrace.-Always expect | son, give me thy heart", and will you not a blessing in “ the day of visitation." Our respond, “Lord Jesus, take it, cleanse it, Father in heaven never visits us empty| make it thine ?" He says, “Come unto handed; be prepared heartily to welcome me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, the boon wbich he brings. HE VISITS TO and I will give you rest.”. Will you not BLESS. The Psalmist, speaking of God, come ? COME, THEN, while now he visits says, “Thou visitest the earth, and waterest you; COME, while the accents of his grait; thou greatly enrichest it”; and shall cious voice are heard inviting you ; CONE, he enrich the earth by his visits, and yet while others around you are pressing into visit man and leave him unblest ? Verily, the kingdom of God; COME, that you may not. Believe it, he comes to bless ; expect be saved. NOW, in this “ day of visita it, and be ready to embrace it. See our tion,”-NOW, while the Almighty“ma keth Lord and Saviour on earth. He visits thy heart soft," —NOW, while tears are Peter's house, and his wife's mother is falling, for his grace has caused them to restored; he goes to Bethany, and Lazarus flow,-NOW, while “ he waits to be gra. is raised; he enters the Pharisee's house, cious." Yet, once more, HARK NOW! and a woman, “a great sinner," is par to his own words : “Behold, I stand at the doned; he visits Saul, on the road to door and knock; if any man hear my Damascus, and Saul is converted and saved ; voice, and open the door, I will come and Peter is chained in the inner prison, the sup with him, and he with me.” Fes, you angel of the Lord enters, his chains fall off will surrender, and be saved. The Spirit as quietly as silken cords, and massive of God is inducing that surrender while we doors and gates, as if they had heard the speak. Master's voice, open of their own accord, Do we not hear you say, and Peter is blessed with liberty. A day of
"Just as I am, Thy love unknown. visitation is always a day of blessing. It
Has broken every barrier down; may be the visitation of disappointment,
Now to be Thine, yea, Thine alone, affliction, bereavement, coul-distress, but
O Lamb of God, I come” ? 'tis blessing still, 'tis blessing all. Darkest
BLEST "DAY OF VISITATION" THIS! clouds often pour richest showers; heaviest trials ofttimes yield greatest mercies. But we linger ; ere we close, we ask one Eagerly expect, cheerfully embrace, your question ; do not refuse to listen. WHEN eye heavenwards, your heart fixed on God, YOU STAND AT THE JUDGMENT-SEAT OF the arms of faith wide-spread, and a rich CHRIST-YOU-WILL HE HAVE TO SAY OF blessing is yours!
YOU, “Thou knewest not the time of thy 3. Surrender, and be saved.-You cannot | visitation"? WILL HE? save yourself; you can surrender, and when
THE TWO MILLS.
BY THE REV. JOHN cox. How often, when a child, have I stood, full of wonder, by the side of the stream which turned the old mill of my native village ! There were many attractions for boys near that spot. It was a favourite place for catching minnows and other small fish. Very near was the best spot for bathing. There was also the pool for sheep-washing, and as the surrounding district had abundance of pasture, thousands of sheep were brought there to be cleansed previous to undergoing the process of shearing. But equal to, if not beyond all these things in attraction to my boyish eye, were the evolutions of the old mosscovered wheel, with now and then a glimpse of the revolving machinery within. How these and other early scenes flit before the mind, while treading the down. ward hill of life!