ON THE MEANS OF KEEPING THE HOLY GHOST IN THE SOUL
Consider first, that the soul which has been favoured with a visit from the Holy Ghost, if she desires a continuance of that happiness, must take care to entertain him in a proper manner. For if she takes little or no notice of this heavenly guest if she quickly turns her back upon him, to attend to every idle and impertinent amusement that offers itself; if she does not frequently go in to wait upon him, in her inward house; if she loves not to converse with him there, she will quickly lose him, she will drive him away from her. He delights to be with them that delight to be with him. He expects a correspondence and return of love, and therefore withdraws himself from such souls as take no care to entertain him by recollection and love, but choose to give themselves up to dissipation of thought, and to squander away that precious time, which they should spend in his company, in following empty phantoms and roving imaginations. O my soul, is not this too often thy case? Amongst the many thoughts which successively occupy thy mind all the day long, how few are there that are anything to the purpose; how few that are fit to appear in presence of the Holy Ghost? How then canst thou expect he will stay with thee, if thou introducest such company as this into his lodging?
Consider 2ndly, that as the Spirit of God will not dwell in a soul that does not attend on him by recollection of thought, so neither will he dwell in a soul that does not serve him with purity of heart and affection. He will be sole master of the heart in which he resides; he will allow of no partner there. He is a jealous lover that will bear no rival. A heart divided in its affections between the Creator and the creature, excludes the Holy Ghost: he will suffer no division; he claims the whole heart; he will have all or none. Christians, if then you pretend to the happiness of being temples of the Holy Ghost, you must not admit of any idols in your souls. Now all disorderly affections are idols, inasmuch as by them you prefer the creature before the Creator; and all such affections are disorderly as captivate your hearts and take them off from God. Let the object of your love be ever so innocent in itself; it is no longer innocent when it is loved without a due subordination to the love of God. It becomes then impure; it defiles the heart, it chases away the Spirit of God, who will not dwell but in a clean heart.
Consider, 3rdly, that in order to keep the Holy Ghost in the soul, so that he may choose to dwell there as in his temple, we trust not only keep this temple clean and undefiled, ‘for if any man violate the temple of God, him will God destroy,’ 1 Cor. iii. 17, but we must also take care that it be made a house of prayer, as the house of God should be. We must frequently go into this temple, there to worship this Spirit of truth, in spirit and truth. We must apply and employ all the three powers of the soul, the will, the memory, and the understanding, in frequently attending there upon their God in the way of mental prayer. In a word, the worship of God should be ever going forward in this temple of his. This is the true way to engage him to stay with us, and to make our souls the place of his rest for ever and ever.
Conclude to make use of all these means to entertain this sovereign guest, and to fix him in your souls. Give him full possession of your memory and understanding, by recollection of thought and attention to his presence, and make him the absolute master of our will by simplicity of intention and purity of heart and affection, and he will be yours for ever.