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I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed.
THE spiritual blessings of God are frequently
I represented in scripture under the metaphor of rivers and streams, which water the ground and render it fruitful. Under this metaphor is here clearly pointed out that plentiful effusion of God's Spirit, which was again and again mentioned by the Prophets, as the peculiar blessing and privilege of the gospel-times, and which was, as on this day, realized in the persons of those great multitudes, who were assemVOL. III.
gether out of all the nations of the
The nature of this spiritual blessing, arising from the effusion of the Holy Spirit, the ancient Prophets, likewise, in various places, foretold. -“ Thy children shall be taught, of the Lord,” says Isaiah. Analogous to which is the language also of Jeremiah, “ No more shall every “ man teach his neighbour or his brother, say“ ing, Know the Lord: for they shall all know
me, from the least of them to the greatest, " saith the Lord; and all thy children shall be " taught of the Lord.” Agreeably to which, our Saviour, who had witnessed the completion of all these prophecies, in the descent of the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, tells us, " It is written in the Prophets, They shall all be 166 taught of God :" and then draws from it this important conclusion, “Every man, therefore,
« that hath heard, and hath learned of the Fai " ther, cometh unto me.”
To display the importance of the instruction here promised, I shall consider the character of the Teacher, and the peculiar nature and effect of his divine instructions.
First, then, the Teacher is that almighty Being, to whose awful voice Isaiah of old summuned the whole circle of created nature to ata tend :-“ Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O “ earth: for the Lord hath spoken."
And as the Author of these instructions is great, and superior to all beings, so also various and powerful are the modes of his instructions : He teacheth us by that word, which made a Felix tremble on the seat of judicature; lie teacheth us by those works, all which, like the heavens, declare his glory, and, like the firmament, shew his handy-work; and, lastly, he teacheth us by that Holy Spirit, which was this day shed abroad on the hearts of the first Christians. In his word, he hath given us a compleat discovery of his will, which every one that runs may read : “ He hath shewed thee, O man, “ what is good,” in language that cannot be mistaken, but by wilful ignorance or gross corruption ; and in three words, Repentance, Faith, and Obedience, hath comprized more than is contained in all the cumbrous volumes of ancient learning and philosophic investigation.-God teacheth us also by his works. It may seem, perhaps, disgraceful for man to be sent to learn of irrational objects ; for the Lord of the crea. tion to have worms and insects for his instrucT 2
tors : yet, even the least and lowest of God's works are capable of teaching man knowledge. They teach us the wisdom and greatness of Him, who 'made them all, in number, weight, and measure: they teach us our own nothingness and insignificance in the sight of Him, who is able to hold the heavens in a balance, and to divide the sea through his power.----But we are most perfectly taught of God by his Spirit; because by that he teacheth us to subdue our passions, to bend our stubborn wills, to purify our hearts, and to prepare them for the reception of those great and important truths, which are necessary to lead us into the way of salvation.
Do we want to be informed of the advantages of having God for our instructor; let us turn our eyes for a moment to the nature and quality of his instructions. , ,
And 1st, God alone is able to teach us with certainty and efficacy. Consult the boasted masters of human arts and sciences, the proudest and best pretenders to learning and reason : what will you discover :-precisely this : that all pretensions to science are precarious and unstable, and that even the most laboured deductions of reason are fallible and problematical; that truth is mingled with falsehood, and obscu
rity with evidence; and, lastly, that even the bare knowledge of all this uncertainty and vanity. of mortal science cannot be acquired without much time, and labour, and vexation of spirit. But God is able to convey divine knowledge to us in one moment; to produce the efficacious energy of saving faith by a single impression; and to reveal to us unchangeable truth without labour, and without any alloy or mixture of error.
2dly, It is our peculiar happiness to be taught of God; because God alone can teach us that most important of all knowledge, the knowledge of salvation.
It is an evident proof of the divinity of the Christian religion, that neither men nor angels knew those mysteries, which are now the objects of our faith : nay more, they are not able to comprehend them, even when they are revealed : it is therefore neither men nor angels that revealed them, but God only that has taught thein to us. We are therefore justly said to be all taught of God: for without him, we know not how to believe aright. Without his light, nothing is light: without his wisdom, there is no wisdom : but when his voice is heard, darkness and uncertainty fly before it; when his word T3