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To this black catalogue the apostle adds, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like. All kinds of licentious excesses manifest that the persons who commit them are living under the dominion of the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that worketh in the children of disobedience; and that they are the children of wrath,91 who after their hardness and impenitent hearts are treasuring up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his deeds 192 so that they are in the utmost danger of being cast into outer darkness, where shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth,93 unavailing misery, anguish, and despair, throughout eternity.

The apostle solemnly declares respecting these evil practices, Of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. Oh! what need have those who indulge evil tempers, and those who pursue vicious courses, and adopt wicked practices, to consider their ways; since the path in which they are going is that which leadeth to destruction; and therefore except they repent, and turn from their evil ways, they will perish everlastingly. They are walking in a way of which it is said, Whosoever goeth therein shall not know peace ; for there is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked.94 The apostle proposes in the text a remedy for these evils, the only one which is effectual for the purpose of counteracting them. This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. Let us inquire,

90 Psalm xiv. 1. 91 Eph. ii. 2,3. 92 Rom. ii. 5,6. 93 Matt. xxii. 13.

Secondly, What it is to walk in the Spirit. It is called, in the eighteenth verse, being led by the Spirit, which means being influenced and directed by the Spirit of God to think and to do those things which are pleasing in His sight. The apostle says to the Romans, As many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. And how they are led appears by the declaration, If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.95 And here he observes, The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other. The desires of the Spirit are opposed to those of the flesh, and therefore it is said, They that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts. By the true Christian all that the natural sensual inclinations of mankind desire or take pleasure in is mortified and opposed. He regards sin as a cursed thing, which must be crucified, or put to a lingering death, though it will continue to exist in him as long as he is in the body, and will sometimes even seem to revive

94 Isaiah lix. 8; xlviii. 22.

95 Romans viii. 14, 13.

and make a vigorous effort to regain the ascendency. The internal warfare of the flesh and the Spirit often occasions disquietude to his mind, lest he should fall under the power of his spiritual enemies, and bring distress into his conscience, and disgrace upon his profession and the cause of God. But those who, in obedience to the command of Christ, Watch and pray lest they enter into temptation, knowing that the flesh is weak, will ever obtain that Divine aid which they need to enable them to withstand the enemies of their souls' peace and safety. When we seek for the help of the Lord against the mighty power of Satan and his angels, for the Spirit to help us in our weakness, to come to our succour in the time of our need, no enemy shall prevail against us.

We shall be enabled to triumph through Christ who strengtheneth us, and to give thanks unto God for His gracious interference on our behalf.

But God is pleased to direct the means to be used in order to the attainment of the end, that we may be sensible that it is not by our own might or power, but by the Spirit of the Lord, that the powers of darkness are discomfited and put to fight. Of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ it is said, If ye be led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law; that is, they are delivered from its curse and condemnation ; for Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us ;96 and there is therefore no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For although they are exposed to temptation, and liable to be overtaken by sin, yet it shall not have dominion over them, because they are under grace, which reigns through righteousness unto eternal life, by Jesus Christ our Lord; and therefore, being justified by faith, they have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.97 Those who walk in the Spirit and are led by the Spirit, will produce the fruit of the Spirit. · What this is the apostle states, as contrasted with the works of the flesh. The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.

The first of these fruits is love. Faith worketh by love.

Love to God is produced in the heart in consequence of His love being experienced in it. We love Him because He first loved us; and we have known and believed the love that God hath to us.98 The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost, which is given unto us.97 This love is the cause of all holy obedience to the will of God. If a man love Me, said our blessed Saviour, he will keep my words; and this love is therefore described as the fulfilling of the law. He who truly loves God in his heart, will desire and endeavour to pay a reverential regard and obedience to the duties of both the first and the second table of the law, his duty toward God, and his duty toward his neighbour. Love will make that pleasant which would otherwise be opposed to his natural inclinations. He will desire to love God above all things. He will pray that he may be enabled to love Him with all his heart and mind and soul and strength, so as to seek his happiness in the enjoyment of the favour of God. He will live as seeing Him who is invisible. He will consider himself as at all times in the presence of God. He will not imagine it needful to have inferior beings to mediate with God on his behalf or to pray for him, as the Romish church impiously directs her votaries to seek to departed spirits for this purpose, thus setting up strange gods and inferior beings as the object of worship. God is a Spirit who fills heaven and earth with His

96 Gal. iii. 13. 97 Rom. viii. 1; vi.14; v.21,1,5. 98 1 Johniv.19,16.

presence; behold and whose eyelids try the children of men; who searcheth all hearts, and understandeth all the imaginations of the thoughts.99 This cannot be said of any created being. It is therefore the greatest impiety for human creatures to address angels or departed spirits, since it is not possible to have any communion or fellowship with them. It is a violation of the first commandment to do any thing of the kind. It is still more gross impiety to set up images to bow down to, as representations of God or of any creature, as the

whose eyes

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