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may, without difficulty, understand the principle on which Christ is denominated the “Shepherd and Bishop of souls;" I Pet. ii, 25.

The character of Jesus, as the Shepherd of his people, was unfolded in very touching expressions by our Lord himself. “I am the good Shepherd,” said he, "and know my sheep, and am known of mine,.... other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd.”- My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand;" John x, 14. 16.27, 28, The disciples of Jesus, who were gathered to him during his short abode upon the earth, undoubtedly enjoyed the privilege of being instructed by his outward voice; but that voice of Christ, which was to be afterwards heard by his sheep, who were not of the Jewish fold, and which is still heard by his faithful followers, whom he leads “in the way of righteousness," we may conclude to be the voice of his Spirit—a voice inwardly communicated to the soul of man. Such a view of our Lord's pastoral office, and of the method by which it is conducted, is perfectly accordant with the promise which he made to his disciples on a subsequent occasion :-"I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; even the Spirit of Truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.”...." But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you; John xiv, 16, 17. 26.-"Howbeit, when he, the Spirit of Truth, shall come, he will guide you into all truth;

any man teach

for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak; and he shall shew you things to come. He shall glorify me; for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you ;" John xvi, 13, 14.

These passages contain a plain description of the perceptible guidance of the Spirit of Christ: and the same doctrine was declared, with equal clearness, by the apostle John, at a period when the promises thus made by the Lord Jesus had been graciously fulfilled in the experience of his disciples. “But ye," says the apostle, “ have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things."......“The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that


but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him;" I John ii, 20. 27.

It may, indeed, be remarked, that the disciples, who personally received these promises, and many of those primitive Christians whom the apostle was thus addressing, were endowed, for special purposes, with miraculous powers, and with a correspondent extraordinary measure of the Holy Spirit ; but it cannot, I think, with any reason, be denied, that the promise of the Holy Ghost, the fulfilment of which is described in this passage of the apostle John, was addressed to all who might believe in all ages of the church of Christ. “ He that believeth on me,” said the Saviour, “out of his belly shall flow rivers of living waters," John vii, 38; and, in a passage already cited, he expressly declared that the Spirit, whom he thus promised to believers, should abide with them for ever." "Repent," cried the apostle Peter to the listening multitude, “and be baptized every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ, for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive

the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you and unto your children, and to all that are afar off, even unto as many as the Lord our God shall call;" Acts ii, 38, 39. Hence, therefore, it follows that the true believers in Jesus, of every description, and in all ages, are, in a peculiar and preeminent manner, visited and guided by the Comforter. No longer are they to depend on the teaching of their fellow-creatures; for the anointing which they have received of Christ abideth in them, and teacheth them of all things, and is truth, and no lie.

Such was indeed one of the most striking characteristicks of that new dispensation, under which all real Christians are living; and I cannot better conclude this selection of scriptural evidences on the perceptible inward guidance of the Holy Ghost, than by citing a well-known prophetical description of that dispensation:-“Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake though I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord; but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord : for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord; for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more;" Jer. xxxi, 31-34. comp. Heb. viii, 8_13.

Thus explicit are the declarations contained in both the Old and New Testaments, respecting the actual illumination of Divine Grace—the intelligible voice of the true Shepherd—the perceptible guidance and instruction of the Spirit of Truth in the souls of men.

While it may be hoped that the spiritually-minded Christian will readily admit the force of these scriptural evidences, and will cheerfully embrace that profitable truth which they so clearly unfold, it is not to be forgotten, that the human imagination is very active and very delusive ; and that persons who are superficial in religion, or who are not sufficiently watchful, may sometimes mistake the unauthorized dictates of their own minds for the voice of a divine and unerring guide. That errours of this description have on many occasions occurred, must be freely allowed; and that, under particular circumstances, they may probably continue to occur, will not be denied by those who are sufficiently aware of the infirmity and deceitfulness of the heart of man. It appears, therefore, on the one hand, that the inward illumination of the Spirit of God is mercifully bestowed on us as a perceptible guide to righteousness, and, on the other hand, that we are exceedingly liable to be led about by the dictates of our own imagination. Such a view of the subject necessarily introduces the inquiry, by what characteristicks the voice of the Lord's Spirit and the voice of unauthorized human imagination, in matters of religion, may be distinguished from each other.

That the two influences of which I have spoken,the true guide and the false guide, are in reality absolutely distinct, different, and sometimes even opposite, the least reflection may serve to convince us. The true guide is “ the day-spring from on high,” and comes immediately from God, in whom there is no mixture of evil, and who is the original and unfailing source of all good. The false guide is the creature of human infirmity and misapprehension; and frequently the source, out of which it arises, is positively evil and corrupt. Those who are faithfully following the true guide, are the dedicated children of a holy God. Those who are following only the false guide, have constructed for themselves an unsound religion, and are mere enthusiasts.

As the voice of the true Shepherd and the voice of the strangerare thus really distinct and, in fact, opposed to one another, so, I believe, the sincere and humble Christian, who has been taught the lesson of waiting upon God, and whose religion is of no shallow character, will be, by Divine Grace, enabled to discern the one from the other. He will find that they are clearly distinguished ; first, by the mode of their operation; and secondly, by the fruits which they produce.

First, with respect to the mode of their operation : the human imagination, when applied to matters of religion, may often be justly described as working in the whirlwind. It is violent in its impulses: it lays hold of us, and leads us astray when we are in a condition of restlessness and temporary confusion, and when the disquietude in which we find ourselves affords a sufficient evidence, to any candid mind, that self is predominant. On the other hand, the voice of Christ in the heart is not more pure than gentle. Justly may it be denominated, the “ still small voice," and clearly is the mode of its operation, as distinguished from the mode in which the dictates of mere imagination operate, illustrated by that part of the history of the prophet Elijah, from which these expressions are borrowed. When Elijah stood before the Lord on Mount Horeb, we read, that “the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind : and after

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