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ing into his rest, any of us should seem to come short of it;" while it also powerfully invites us to imitate the example of the pious Caleb, that we too may receive the divine approbation.
The words of the text afford us the three following observations.
First. Real Christians are actuated by a spirit different from that of the world." Caleb had another spirit with him."
Secondly. Those who possess a right spirit, will follow the Lord fully-and
Thirdly, That those who follow the Lord fully shall be honourably distinguished by him.
First. We observe that real Christians are actuated by a different spirit from that of the world.The apostle Paul, in his first epistle to the Corinthians, 2d chapter and 12th verse, distinguishes between the two different spirits by which men are actuated; he says, "Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God, that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God."Let us, in a few particulars, contrast these opposite spirits.-The spirit of the world is a spirit of darkness and error; for we are assured, in the passage just referred to, that "the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God," even when they are proposed to him; and though they are a display of the infinite wisdom of God, they seem to him "foolishness ;" and while he is under the influence of the spirit of the world, "he cannot know them," for, to know them aright we must have "the Spirit of God:" by his aid alone they are "spiritually discerned ;" and all believers have the Spirit of of God, who is also "the Spirit of Truth ;" and by his teaching they "know the things which are freely given to us of God." The spirit of the world is a spirit of enmity
against God. "The carnal mind," of which the apostle speaks unchanged by the Spirit of God, is "enmity against God ;" and this enmity against God is manifested both by disobedience to the divine law, and contempt of the divine Gospel; so that they who are yet "in the flesh, cannot please God," and "if any man hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his:" but, if the Spirit of God, which is also the Spirit of love, dwell in us, then are we brought into a state of reconciliation and friendship with God, and are enabled to walk with him in love.-Again, the spirit of the world is a spirit of pride. Pride is natural to man-to every man; so that every mortal, however mean, guilty, and condemned by the broken law of God, fondly conceives that he has some excellencies that raise him above others, and can venture to boast of his good heart and of his good works : but, how contrary is this to the humbling gospel of Jesus! Our Lord himself says, " Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God""when the commandment comes"-when the law comes to the conscience with light and power, as once it did to the heart of Saul the Pharisee, then pride receives a deadly blow; the rebel falls at the feet of Christ, and cries "Lord, what wilt thou have me to do;" he receives the broken heart and the contrite spirit, which in the sight of God are of great price. Once more, the spirit of the world is an indolent spirit, that is, in matters of religion, however diligent a man may be in the affairs of the world, yet how irksome to him is prayer, and other religious duties! how dull and tedious the Sabbath day! what a neglected book is the Bible! But, when we have the Spirit of God, we possess an active spirit, compared in scripture to "a well of water-springing up to everlasting life," and rendering the exercises of pure religion natural and pleasant to us. Again, the spirit of the world is an earthly spirit-so our Lord testifies that, "that which is born of the flesh is flesh”—it is nothing more-nothing better.
While men remain in a state of nature, they "love the world and the things of the world;" they seek and delight only in carnal objects; but if we have the Spirit of God, we" seek the things that are above," and give an habitual preference to them; weighing them in the balances of the sanctuary, where all things else, compared with them, must be found wanting. The spirit of the world is a dastardly spirit. The spies were terrified with the gigantic stature of the Amalekites, but they forgot the Almighty God, who had delivered them out of Egypt, carried them through the Red Sea, sustained them by miracle in the wilderness, and promised to deliver them from all their enemies. Thus natural men are wonderfully afraid of the difficulties of Religion; they are extremely afraid of meeting the scornful smile of the world, for "all who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer," at least that species of persecution; but, on the other hand, if we have the Spirit of God, we shall not be ashamed of the gospel of Christ-of the cause of Christ-of the name of Christ; but we shall determine, with courageous Paul, to glory, and to glory in nothing else but in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Finally, the spirit of the world is a spirit of unbelief-this was the great crime of the people spoken of in this chapter; and the Lord complains, in the 11th verse, "How long will this people provoke me? and how long will it be ere they believe me, for all the signs which I have shewn among them?" And alas! how slowly do men give credit to the God of truth!-How disposed are they to cavil at every peculiar and distinguishing doctrine of grace, and to catch hold of every difficulty and objection that can be started; while, perhaps, they themselves are slaves of their credulity as to the things of this world, and can receive even the grossest absurdities; but the real Christian is actuated by "the Spirit of truth;" he is "led into all truth, and the Spirit of God in him is "a Spirit of faith;"
he hears the word, mixes faith with it, and is profited by it. But,
In the second place, Those who possess a right spirit will follow the Lord fully." My servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath followed me fully.”
To "follow the Lord," is a scriptural phrase, in allusion to the affairs of men, and is used to include the whole of true religion. Thus, you know, soldiers follow their leader, children follow their parents, disciples follow their teacher; and following the Lord fully, is to be distinguished from following him partially, as many do-some profess to approve of serious religion, and perhaps, "do many things gladly;" yet they make some reserves; there are some omissions which they allow; some indulgencies which they retain ; and they are far from being universal, or uniform, or consistent in their religious services. Such persons resemble the people we read of in the 2d book of Kings, the 17th chapter, the Babylonians who were sent to reside in Samaria ;-" they feared the Lord, and served their own gods, after the manner of the nations who carried them away from thence"-" they feared the Lord"—they thought he was the God of that country, and that they ought to shew some respect to him, but at the same time, they retained a superior regard to their own false deities, whom they had served in Babylon. Natural men resemble these very much in their religion; they pretend to fear and serve God, but at the same time are devoted to the service of idols; but this is a temper peculiarly displeasing to him. His language is, "My son, give me thine heart;" nor will he be content with only a part of that he must have the whole heart. Hear how he resented this partial kind of spirit, in the primitive church of Laodicea, "I would that thou wert either cold or hot; but because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor
hot, I will utterly reject thee." There are many who, at least occasionally, attend the preaching of the Gospel; they admire and commend it; and it is to them, as to some of old, "a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument;" but it is added, "they hear thy words, but they do them not." They are pleased at church, and equally pleased at the theatre and ball-room. The well-sung hymn delights them much; but they are equally delighted with the song of vanity. They are grave, and can perhaps weep under a pathetic sermon, and they can weep with equal devotion at a tragedy. They associate with the pious, and join with them in their public services; but their dress, their manners, their chosen companions-all proclaim that they are still "of the world;" such persons, assuredly, do not follow the Lord fully.
What is it then fully to follow him? I would express the whole, briefly, in a few particulars. It is, I conceive to give full credit to the divine testimony-To pay a practical_regard to all the ordinances of divine worship-To aim at the most perfect obedience to the command of God-To seek the fullest enjoyment of communion with him; and, To be zealous in promoting his cause in the world.
In the first place, it is to give full credit to the whole (not to a part only) of the divine testimony: And does not this testimony deserve and demand it? God is "a God of truth;" he cannot lie; he cannot deceive, or be deceived; but not to believe what he speaks, is "to make him a liar." It is a horrid crime, surely, to disbelieve the testimony of the God of truth; and finally to do so, is certain and everlasting ruin. Our first mother disbelieved the divine testimony, while she gave credit to the father of lies, and thus she fell. Thus also Israel fell in the wilderness; and thus their posterity, many ages afterwards, filled up the measure of their iniquities. The Gospel is of a simple nature; it demands "the obedience of faith," for "this is his commandment,