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fruits of the Spirit are they who produce the fruit of the Spirit, which is in all goodness and righteousness and truth ,29 or more particularly, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, gentleness, goodness, faithfulness, meekness, temperance.30 These persons manifest, not only by their profession, but by their life and conduct, that they have not received the grace of God in vain; but that it does teach them that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, they should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.31 These fruits of the Spirit are the first fruits of a glorious harvest of blessedness, which believers in Christ shall reap in the kingdom of God in heaven. And it is by the production of these fruits of the Spirit, that they give evidence to the world that they are indeed the children of God. For if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His. Let it be our earnest prayer that these fruits of the Spirit may be produced by us, to the glory of God, and the consolation and peace of our souls.
But it is said of those who have the first fruits of the Spirit,—even we ourselves groan within ourselves. So the apostle says to the Corinthians, We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened.33 Although the sins of believers in Christ are forgiven them for His name's sake, yet as long as they carry about with them a body of sin and death, it will give them continual occasions of disquietude and uneasiness, and of groanings which cannot be uttered, 34 which are not loud but deep, not heard by their fellow creatures, but which enter into the ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and occasion the exercise of His pity and compassion. How the apostle Paul groaned, we find from his saying, O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death! and making the humiliating confession, I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 34 The Christian’s grief arises from a very different cause from that of the worldling. He may be afflicted in his outward circumstances, and deeply pained by them; but in these respects he can resign himself to the will of God, and pray that bodily diseases, or worldly losses or privations, may be sanctified to him. He regards these things as what he may expect to meet with in this world, because of his having been shapen in iniquity and conceived in sin, and in many things offending through the weakness of the flesh. He considers that suffering is his desert as a sinner against God. That which causes him to groan in reality, is the corruption of his nature. It grieves him that he is so prone to do that which is displeasing to God. It grieves him that the love of Christ does not constrain him as it ought to do; that it does not so fill his heart with gratitude and praise, as to actuate him in every thought, word, and action of his life. It is his desire, his prayer, and his endeavour, that this may be the case; yet he cannot but be conscious of much infirmity in the midst of it. As, however, it is his aim to abound more and more in that which is pleasing to God; he is enabled, in some measure, to bring frth foruit unto God 36 in his life and conduct, and to adorn the doctrine of God his Saviour ; his hopes and desires being chiefly directed to things unseen and eternal; as the apostle describes him in the text, in the
29 Eph.v.9. 30 Gal. v. 22,23. 31 Titus ii. 12–14. 32 Rom. viii. 9.
Third place, Waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. This is the habitual frame of his mind with regard to futurity. He patiently waits all the days of his appointed time on earth till his change come, 57 earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with bis house, which is from heaven, that mortality may be swallowed up of life, 38
35 Psalm li. 5.
36 Rom. vii. 4.
37 Job xiv. 14. 38 2 Cor. v. 2, 4.
whenever he shall be called to leave this perishing world. The manner in which he waits for this event, is shown in the verse that follows the text. His hopes are directed to things unseen. He seeks for the aid of the Holy Spirit, to succour him in his weakness, and to enable him to continue instant in prayer; and considering the blessings of which he has been made a partaker, he depends upon the fulfilment of the promise of his heavenly Father, that He who spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, will with Him also freely give us all things, and therefore no creature shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.39 At times therefore he cannot but be desirous of being beyond the reach of trials and temptations; he cannot but have a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better. 40 For then he will receive the adoption; then all the blessings which flow from being adopted into the family of God, will be his eternal portion. The first fruits or foretaste of this he enjoys now; as the apostle John said, Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." Then he
39 Rom. viii. 32, 39.
40 Phil. i. 23.
41 1 John iii. 1, 2.
will enjoy blessedness in perfection, and without end. Then he will partake of the redemption of the body.
His body, which was sown in corruption, will be raised in incorruption ; which was sown in dishonour, will be raised in glory; which was sown in weakness, will be raised in which was sown a natural body, will be raised a spiritual body.What a blessed hope is this! to be enabled to look forward in the manner in which it is the privilege of believers in Christ to do, and to be waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body, when body and soul will be re-united, and we shall ever be with the Lord,43 having an entrance ministered unto us abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.44 May we be numbered among those who shall be made partakers of this blessedness, when we have done with all things here below. Let us live in hope of it, living above the world; living the life which we now live in the flesh, by the faith of the Son of God 345 and praying that the God of peace may sanctify us wholly; and that our whole spirit, and soul, and body, may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,43 to receive us to Himself in the mansions of everlasting bliss.
421Cor. xv. 42-44.431Thess. iv.17;v. 23.44 2 Pet. i.11. 45Gal. ii.20.