EXPLAINED AND DEFENDED
SERIES OF SERMONS;
TIMOTHY DWIGHT, S. T. D. LL. D.
LATE PRESIDENT OF YALE COLLEGE.
THE LIFE OF THE AUTHOR.
IN FOUR VOLUMES
PUBLISHED BY T. DWIGHT & SON,
AND SOLD BY LEAVITT, LORD & CO.
180 BROADWAY, NEW YORK.
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DISTRICT OF CONNECTICUT, ss.
BE it remembered, that on the fifth day of January, in the forty second year of the Independence of the United States of America, Timothy Dwight, and William T. Dwight, both of said District; Administrators of the Rev. Timothy Dwight, now deceased, and late of the said District, have deposited in this office the title of a book, the right whereof they claim as Administrators as aforesaid, and Proprietors, in the words following, to wit:
Theology; explained and defended, in a Series of Sermons; by Timothy Dwight, T. D., LL. D. late President of Yale college. With a Memoir of the Life the Author,. in five Volumes. Vol 2.’’
In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled, " An Act for the encouragement of learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts, and Books, to the authors arid proprietors of such copies, during the times therein mentioned."
Clerk of the District of Connecticut.
A true copy of Record, examined and sealed by me.
Clerk of the District of Connecticut.
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CONSEQUENCES OP REGENERATION.—JOY IN THE HOLY GHOST.
Romans xiv. 17.—For the kingdom of God it not meat and drink, but righteousness,
peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
ON the last Sabbath, I considered the nature and importance of Spiritual Peace. I shall proceed to examine another consequence of Regeneration: viz. Joy in the Holy Ghost.
In the text, the Apostle declares, that the Kingdom of God is formed of Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost. By thus kingdom he intends, plainly, not the kingdom of Creation, nor the kingdom of Providence, nor, in a strict sense, what is usually called the kingdom of Grace. The word kingdom is here used in a figurative manner; and denotes the Effects of that secret, invisible, incomprehensible influence over the hearts of mankind, which is exerted by the Spirit of Grace in the work of Sanctification. This influence is the great engine of the divine government over the hearts of Intelligent beings; and is often with the utmost propriety termed in the Gospel the kingdom of God. Of this influence, righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost, are effects, primarily important; and in the text are, figuratively, called by a name, which, in simple language, would properly belong to the Cause of their existence. In a similar manner is the term used by Christ, Luke xvii. 20, The kingdom of God cometh not with observation; neither shall they say concerning it, Lo here, or lo there: for the kingdom of God is within you.
Of these three great effects of the energy of the divine Spirit, the first, viz. Righteousness, here used for holiness or Evangelical virtue, is, in the soul, the cause of the two last. From Righteousness, in this sense, spring, of course, the Peace and Joy of the Spiritual character. Joy in the Holy Ghost, therefore, is obviously .s consequence of Regeneration. In the text, as well as in the order of nature, it is subjoined to Peace; although we are ever to remember, that they always exist together in the same mind, and at the same time.
In examining this subject, the following considerations have occurred to me as particularly deserving the attention of a religious assembly.
I. The Joy, spoken of in the text, is not a mere Natural joy.
By natural joy, I intend the pleasure which is found by the mind in natural or physical good: whether possessed, or expected. Such
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is the pleasure, which we experience in property, health, friends, food, and other gratifications of a similar nature. Such is the pleasure, found in the contemplation of beauty, novelty, and greatness; in the multitude, variety, and sublimity, of the works of Creation and Providence; or in the skill, power, and wisdom displayed by their Author. Such, also, is the satisfaction, experienced in the mere belief, that God is reconciled to us, and become our friend and benefactor.
All these I acknowledge to be innocent and lawful enjoyments. I acknowledge them to be enjoyments which we are not merely permitted, but required, to experience; and to be enjoyments also, an greater or less degrees, experienced by every sanctified mind. Still they may be possessed in a manner, merely natural; and by a mind, utterly destitute of the Evangelical character. When the Christian rejoices in these things, he rejoices virtuously; because he regards them with just views. But when a sinner rejoices in them, he regards them with erroneous views, and with emotions destitute of virtue. Evangelical joy in these things is one of the fruits of the Spirit. But nothing, experienced by a sinner, can be a peculiar characteristic of a Christian. Nor is any genuine fruit of the Spirit ever found in an unsanctified mind.
11. Joy in the Holy Ghost is, however, joy in God.
God is the only solid foundation of joy to the universe; and is seen and acknowledged, in this character, by every virtuous being. In this most pleasing and magnificent manner, he is every where exhibited in the Scriptures. Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous! says the Psalmist. Ps. xxxiii. 1. Thou shalt rejoice in the Lord, saith the Prophet Isaiah, and shalt glory in the Holy One of Israel. Is. lxi 16. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall be joyful in my God; saith our Saviour; Is. lxi. 10. Be glad, then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; saith Joel, chapter ii. 23. Though the fig-tree shall not blossom, neither shall fruit be in the vine; the labour of the olive shall fail, and the fields shall yield no meat; the flocks shall be cut off from the fold, and there shall be no herd in the stall: yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will joy in the God of my salvation. Hab. iii. 17, 18. The same language is adopted by the Virgin Mary, and by St. Paul, in the New Testament; and is applied by Christ to the Apostles; and to the whole body of Christians; either as an account of facts; or as a precept, directing their duty.
To Revelation, Reason joins her fullest testimony; and easily discerns, when informed of the true character of God by Revelation, that in him the proper, rational, supreme, and eternal joy of his Intelligent creatures must ultimately centre; and that he is the object, to be thus enjoyed, as well as the source whence this enjoyment flows. The eternal, unchangeable, almighty, all knowing, the infinitely just, faithful, true, benevolent, and merciful Mind is, in an infinite degree, a more beautiful, lovely, and glorious object
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in itself, than any, or than all, others. Of such a Mind all the conduct, all the manifestations, are accordant with its true and essential nature; are beautiful, glorious, and lovely, like itself. These amazing considerations are also enhanced, in a manner literally boundless, by the great fact, that from this Mind sprang all the objects of admiration, and delight, which are found in the Universe.
In the Power of God, we are presented with an everlasting and unlimited source of joy; when it is considered as perfect Sufficiency for every great and good purpose; for the accomplishment of whatever wisdom can approve, or virtue delight in; and for the accomplishment of this in the manner, which is perfectly desirable.
In the Knowledge of God, there is an endless source of delight; as the original spring, whence have flowed the innumerable beings, and events, of the Universe; together with their attributes, operations, and effects. In the perpetually diversified structure, the wonderful purposes, and the no less wonderful uses, of these, is the state of the infinite Mind, as the Origin of whatever is great and good, presented to us in a manner, perfect in itself, and endlessly delightful to every virtuous beholder. The mineral, vegetable, and animal, kingdoms, even of this world, are full of these displays; and the structure, powers, and operations, of a single being, furnish a field of investigation, altogether too wide for the comprehension of any human understand
In the Bounty of God, we behold an amazing source of gratitude, and of the pleasure, always found in that most amiable and delightful emotion. We here discern ample provision made for our continuance in being; for our daily wants; and for all our reasonable wishes. Our food and raiment are most liberally supplied; our innocent desires most richly gratified; our taste delighted with the beauty, novelty, and grandeur, of the world around us; our eyes charmed with the glorious prospects of the earth and the heavens; and our ears feasted with melody and harmony.
In the Mercy of God, the soul is assured, that its sins may he forgiven, and its nature renewed; is presented with the most illustrious proofs of divine Love, and the overflowings of infinite tenderness towards a world of apostates. It is here furnished with the greatest and best gift of God; Evangelical Virtue; and beyond the grave, is secured in the endless possession of unmingled and unfading happiness. From sin, its own most debased character, and from misery, its proper reward, it is here presented with a final deliverance; is instamped with the image of God, and admitted to the kingdom of the blessed.
In the Truth and Faithfulness of this perfect Being, the soul is furnished with entire security, that His declarations are steadfast and immoveable; and that his promises endure for ever. The encouragement, given to it, therefore, of both present and future
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good, is encouragement, on which perfect reliance may be placed, and with regard to which disappointment can never arise, either here or hereafter. When we remember, that one of these promises to Christians is, that all things shall be theirs; and another, that all things shall work together for their good; the importance of this consideration appears to be literally infinite. On these declarations the virtuous Universe reposes with absolute safety, and with reliance which will strengthen for ever.
The Justice of God is seen to be the immensely grand and awful, yet the immensely beneficial, administration of the vast kingdom of Jehovah. In the exercise of this glorious attribute are secured all the rights of intelligent creatures, and their infallible and complete protection from every ultimate wrong. The least right, and the least wrong, of the least individual, are as firmly assured, as the greatest interests of Angels and Archangels. By this amazing Mind nothing is forgotten, or unregarded. Lazarus, at the gate, is as effectually remembered, as David, on the throne; or Gabriel, standing before God in the highest heavens.
Alone, and to a world of sinners, the Justice of God would be only great and terrible; but, harmonizing with Mercy in all its dictates, it renders, even to our view, the character of the great Possessor transcendently excellent and amiable. What would become Of the universe, were God to be unjust? What creature would for a moment be safe; what interest uninvaded?
Of these glorious attributes, we need not, in order to find displays, cast our eyes abroad into incomprehensible systems of worlds and beings. . At home, by our firesides, in our friends, in our families, in our bodies, and in our minds, they are seen with high advantage and supreme endearment. Are we fed? The hand which feeds us is that of our heavenly Father. Are we clothed? He made the flax to grow; he formed the fleece; he gave the silkworm skill, to spin her, mysterious thread; and brought to us the necessary, and beautiful materials, to form our attire. Are we in health? He preserves in their pristine strength the numerous powers of our bodies; sends the stream of life through our veins; and animates Our hearts with, wonderful and unceasing energy. Do we see? He contrived the eye. Do we hear? He fashioned the ear. Do we think, and choose, and feel? He lighted up the lamp of Reason in our minds. Are we, and ours, virtuous? He poured out the Spirit of sanctification upon our minds. Have we enjoyments ? He provided them. Have we hopes? They all sprang from his bounty, and are secured-by his unchangeable promise.
All these divine considerations are enhanced beyond measure by the nature of those attributes, which may be termed qualifications of these. The Omnipresence of God teaches us, that all these perfections are every where present; every where ready to be employed in the production of good.. His Immutability proves to us, that these perfections will never be changed in their nature
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degree, and operations; and that, as he has thus acted, so he will always act in the same manner. The Eternity of God shows us, that these perfections will know no end; and that, therefore, the enjoyments of his children will endure for ever. Thus what God is here, he is every where;. what he is now, he will be through eternity.
In the venerable and endearing characters of the Father, the Redeemer, and the Sanctifier, of mankind, God appears as the source of peculiar joy. As the Father of mankind, he appears as a Sovereign and Lawgiver, offended by our rebellion, but with infinite kindness proffering to us forgiveness and reconciliation; as sending, for this benevolent end, his beloved Son, to expiate our sins, and his holy Spirit, to renew our hearts and lives; and, thus, as opening his arms, unasked and undesired, to receive his penitent and returning children.
In the endearing character of the Son, he appears with boundless benignity, as making an end of sin, finishing transgression, and bringing in everlasting righteousness; as becoming man, that we might again be united to God; as dying, that we might live; as rising from the dead, ascending to heaven, assuming the government of all things, and interceding before the throne of infinite Majesty, that we might rise, hereafter, incorruptible and immortal; might follow him to the heavens; enjoy the infinite blessings of his administration; and be accepted as his faithful friends at the final day. Christ is the Corner stone of this living and glorious building, formed, according to the glowing language of St. Peter, of living stones a spiritual house of God, eternal in the heavens. On Him, the sole Foundation, the vast structure is erected, to stand for ever.
By the Spirit of truth is this mighty work completed. With infinite kindness and patience he awakens, convinces, renews, and purifies, the soul; forms it for endless holiness, and endless life; and conducts it through this earthly wilderness to the land of promise beyond the grave.
In all these things, united, is the Love of God seen with supreme advantage, as immense, unchanging, and eternal; as endeared with all possible tenderness; as overcoming the most perverse obstinacy; as forgiving the greatest guilt; as flowing out to enemies and apostates, condemned by’ unerring justice, and discarded by the virtuous universe.
To the Christian, in all these respects, is God the source of supreme and unceasing joy. As a Christian, he has become a new
creature; entered into a new creation; and enrolled himself as a subject of a new and immortal kingdom. This kingdom is a kingdom in which will be progressively accomplished, universal, entire, and everlasting good. For this end it was created. To this end it is uniformly conducted by the all pervading, all-ruling, hand of JEHOVAH. The subjects of it are universally children of
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light. Their intercourse is an endless succession of, diversified virtue and loveliness. Purity, dignity, and excellence, are their inherent characteristics; and everlasting happiness, and glory, their final destination. In all that they are, in all that they do, and in all that is done to them, God himself rejoices with intense and eternal joy.
With this new kingdom the Christian has begun an everlasting connexion. His union to the members of it, and his intercourse with them, instead of terminating, will unceasingly become more intimate, more endearing, more exalted. The views of their minds and his are destined to become perpetually more and more just and comprehensive; their affections and his to be more pure, intense, and noble; their mutual friendship to be more sweet and serene; and their conduct to be, in unceasing gradation, such as is proper to be exhibited in the house, and presence, of God.
In accordance with this state of things, therefore, will the whole scheme of the Christian’s future being be formed. His plans will, of course, be concerted in such a manner, as to embrace, and promote eternal purposes. They will be the plans of an immortal being, destined to act with immortal beings in a boundless field of existence: the plans of a dutiful and faithful subject of the infinite Ruler; of a child, warmed with perpetual and filial piety to his divine Parent; of a brother, finally united to the household which as named after Christ; of a redeemed, sanctified, returning prodigal, brought back with infinite compassion, and infinite expense, to the house of his father, and welcomed with exquisite joy by the family of the first-born. To glorify God, to bless his fellow-creatures, and to be blessed by both, will be the combined and perfect end for which he lives. This end he will pursue in a world where no obstructions ever arise; where no toil ever wearies; where no disappointments ever intrude; where no temptations ever arrest; and where no enemies ever alarm: where his affections cannot be too intense, nor his pursuits too ardent; and where his only professional business will be to be virtuous and happy. As a citizen of this new and heavenly kingdom, the Christian begins his course of spiritual life. All these things are already become his. God is his Father; Christ his Redeemer; the Spirit of Grace his Sanctifier; and all the children of virtue are his brethren. In the present world he is only a stranger and a sojourner: he regards it, therefore, as a mere lodging; and fixes his eye on heaven as his home.
With this new character, all things, with which he here converses, assume, to his eye, a new aspect; and are filled with the presence and agency of God. The heavens declare his glory, and the firmament sheweth his handy work. Day unto day uttereth speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. The year, in all its revolutions, is crowned with his goodness. The Spring is his beauty, blooming in endless varieties of elegance and splendour. Summer and Autumn are manifestations of his bounty; filling his creatures
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with good. The Winter is a solemn display of his majesty. Then the Lord bath his way in use whirlwind, and in the storm; -and the clouds are the dust of his feet.
In his own blessings the Christian sees God in a manner still more delightful. His blessings are not mere enjoyments: they are gifts; unspeakably endeared by the Hand from which they flow. When he is in prosperity; The Lord is his Shepherd, who maketh him to lie down in green pastures, and leadeth him beside the still waters; who prepareth a table before him in the presence of his enemies, who anointeth his head with oil; who causeth his cup to run over, and goodness and mercy to follow him all the days of his life. Is he in adversity? The rod and staff of the same Shepherd support and comfort him. Is he in doubt and darkness, where he is scarcely able to trace the path of life? He hears a voice behind him, saying, This is the way: walk thou therein. Is he mourning in Zion? God appoints to him beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy for mourning. Is he sick? God is his physician; and has already taught him to say, Why art thou cast down, O my soul? and why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God: for I shall yet praise Him,, who is the health of my countenance, and my God. Has he come to a dying bed? Christ has vanquished death and the grave; and has taught him to sing at their approach, O death! where is thy sting? O grave! where is thy victory? Has he friends? God has raised them up. Has he children? They are an heritage from the Lord. Is the land of his nativity safe? God is a wall of fire round about it. Does Religion flourish? God is the glory in the midst of it. The Church, to which be is united, is a garden, which the Lord hath planted. Is it enlightened, quickened, and edified? It is not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of Hosts. Is it comforted? The consolations have come down from the heavenly Comforter. Is it protected? The Lord hath created upon Mount Zion, and upon all her assemblies, a cloud and a smoke by day, and a light of a flaming fire by night.
Thus to the Christian all things in heaven and earth are full of God. Wherever he walks, wherever he is, he is surrounded with His presence; and in that presence there is abundance of joy. To Him, in his meditations, and in his worship, he instinctively turns, as the supreme Object of his affections, and of his obedience. in loving, fearing, and serving Him, with all the heart, he finds his chief delight; and becomes continually able, with more and more propriety and truth, to say, Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon the earth, whom I desire, beside thee?
III. The Christian rejoices in Spiritual things universally.
Spiritual things, are those, in which the power of the Spirit of grace is peculiarly visible; and which, therefore, have a peculiar tendency to improve us in the Christian character. In all things of this nature the Christian finds a peculiar joy. Particularly in
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the Word of God he discovers multiplied streams of pure and increasing pleasure. Here all the transporting things, already mentioned, are made known to mankind. Here are disclosed the character, designs, and works, of the Creator; the rebellion,, guilt, and condemnation, of man; and his restoration by forgiving, redeeming, and sanctifying love. Here the means of grace and salvation are revealed; the truths which we are to believe, and the precepts which we are to obey. Here life, and immortality are brought to light by the Redeemer;. and the path, which leads to them, is pointed out by the finger of God. . The Bible is a window in this prison of hope, through which we look into eternity. It is the door-of heaven, through which, opened by a divine hand, we cast our view into that glorious region; and behold the beauty, splendour, and happiness, which reign and triumph there for ever.
Here the Christian finds himself most mercifully checked in the hour of temptation by the threatenings of the law, and divinely allured to righteousness by promises and invitations. Behind him, Justice displays its flaming sword, to prevent him from returning to the by-paths of sin. Before him, Mercy calls, with the music of heaven, and the smile of Infinte love, to quicken his course in the highway of holiness.
In the Worship of the same glorious Being, the same delight is experienced; and with enhanced enjoyment. In his closet, like Moses, he converses with God face to face; and, while he spreads all his wants and woes, all his sins and dangers, all his hopes and joys, before him, is assured of an open reward. In his family, when his nearest connexions are around him, he finds every comfort endeared by these beloved objects; and sweetened by the remembrance, that his house is a house of God. -In the Sanctuary, he unites with his fellow christians to ask counsel at the mercy-seat, and to present before it prayers and praises, refined and exalted by Evangelical sympathy. Here, also, all his virtuous affections and purposes are purified, and strengthened, by the heavenly influence of the holy day, and the holy place. Here grace is given, and glory anticipated.
At the Table of Christ, and in the celebration of Baptism, his soul is refreshed and revived by the sight of the dying Saviour, expiating his sins, and of the Spirit of God, symbolically poured out as a divine cleansing, to purify his heart from moral pollution. Earth, here,, borrows the aspect of heaven; and sublunary things are invested with no small degree of immortal beauty.
In the Church of God, he sees a real, though imperfect, picture of the general assembly of the first-born. All Christians are his brethren, and fellow-travellers with him towards the heavenly kingdom, in the straight and narrow way that leads to heaven. Their character, their hearts, their interests, their designs, are one. They are members of one family. They have one Father, even God: they have one Lord, even Christ: they have one Sanctifier, and
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one Comforter, even the Spirit of grace. Their hopes and fears, their doubts and discoveries, their joys and sorrows, are the same. On all, the same Divine image is instamped; the same Evangelical beauty is visible. Lovely and pleasant in their lives, in their death they are not divided.
IV. The Christian finds an exalted pleasure in the good, enjoyed by others. In his view no truth is clearer, than that it is, more blessed to give, than to receive. With this truth he cheerfully accords; and finds in doing good to others a humble share of the same delight, Which is enjoyed by the universal Benefactor in the overflowings of Infinite beneficence to the Creation. Nor is his enjoyment less exquisite, when good is done by those around him. In them, as in him, real disinterested beneficence is a proof of sanctification. If the beneficence be not disinterested; he still possesses the joy of seeing his fellow creatures made happy.
In the diffusion of- the divine beneficence, also; he experiences a perpetual delight; while he beholds the, illustrious exhibitions of the goodness of God, and shares in the comfort of all, on whom it descends. Especially is this enjoyment exquisite, when sinners are brought out of darkness into marvellous light, and from the power of Satan unto God. Then, souls, guilty and debased, condemned and ruined, are redeemed from everlasting sin and wo. Then, heaven is enlarged by the accession of new inhabitants; and the joy, which is felt in that benevolent world over repenting sinners, trembles delightfully through his own bosom. The sight of a sanctified mind, of a redeemed and forgiven sinner, of endless virtue and Immortal life begun, is the fairest and most enchanting prospect; ever seen it the great kingdom of Jehovah.
V. The Joy of the Christian, in this world, is the beginning of Everlasting Joy.
To be spiritually minded is both life and peace. This mind is the mind of every Christian. Of course, life and peace eternal are begun in him, while he resides in this evil and melancholy world.
There are, indeed, many interruptions, diminutions, and preventions, of this glorious possession, accomplished by remaining sin, and its inseparable companion, sorrow of heart. But in the midst
of all these he finds Consolation, often abundant, almost unceasing, and always sufficient for his wants. The promises of the Gospel; are continually before him. God he knows, will never leave him, nor forsake him. Christ, be knows, will always be with him unto the end. He may, indeed, be cast down, but he will not be destroyed: he may be afflicted, but he will not be forsaken. The Father of the spirit may, indeed, smite him in his wrath for a small moment,
yet with everlasting kindness will he have mercy on him. In every
gloomy and distressing day there will be gleams of sunshine, and
openings of a serene, unclouded heaven. In. the dry and thirsty
ground, w,here there is apparently no water, and in the midst of a
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desolation visibly without limits, the wilderness will suddenly rejoice and blossom as the rose.
His piety is a seed, sown here in an unkind, barren soil indeed, and under a wintry climate ; but it will live, and grow, until it shall be transplanted to a happier region beneath a more friendly sky:
where it will shoot forth in its native strength and beauty. The flame of divine love, kindled feebly in his heart will never cease to burn, until it shall rise, and glow, with unextinguishable ardour, beyond the grave. The light, Which here dawns in darkness; and feebly illumines the surrounding gloom, will perpetually shine brighter and brighter, unto, the perfect day. All his sins and sorrows will continually lessen,: and recede, and fade: all his graces, consolations, and hopes, will expand, and improve: until the imperfect good, which he finds in this vale of tears,- shall be lost in the everlasting beauty; happiness, and glory, of Heaven.