ON THE HAPPINESS OF HAVING THE HOLY GHOST IN THE SOUL.
Consider first, how happy a guest the soul entertains when she has in her the Holy Ghost. He is called in Scripture the Paraclete, (a name that signifies both comforter and solicitor,) from the consolations and graces he imparts to the soul, to sweeten all her crosses and labours in her mortal pilgrimage, and to help her to overcome all difficulties and oppositions; and from his soliciting for her by the spirit of prayer, which he inspires, teaching her to pray, and as it were praying with her, and in her. He is called by excellence the gift of the Most High, as being the greatest gift that God can give; for what can he give greater than himself? A gift comprising all other gifts. He is called the living fountain, or the fountain of living water, springing up to everlasting life, refreshing the inward man, assuaging the heat of concupiscence, extinguishing all thirst after the things of this world, and watering the soul with a never-failing stream. of grace. He is called a fire, from the bright flames of love with which he inflames the soul. And he is called the unction of the soul, from sweetly diffusing himself through all the soul, and giving strength and vigour to it. O what can be wanting to a soul that entertains such a guest as this! Does she not, in some measure, anticipate the joy’s of heaven, having within her the king of heaven with all his graces.
Consider 2ndly, the happy fruits which the presence of the Holy Ghost produces in the soul, as they are reckoned up by St. Paul, Gal. v. 22, 23. 1. Charity, or the love of God for his own infinite goodness’ sake, and the love of every neighbour in God and for God; a fruit so remarkable in the first Christians upon their receiving the Holy Ghost, that through their love of God they had all ‘but one heart and one soul,’ Acts iv. 32. 2. Joy, from the testimony of a good conscience, and from the sense of the presence of this divine guest, and the experience of his sweetness. 3. Peace with God and with our neighbours, and with ourselves; a peace not granted to the wicked. 4. Patience in supporting crosses and adversities, which this heavenly Spirit makes light and easy. 6. Benignity or kindness, in relieving the distressed. 6. Goodness or a willingness to impart all that is good to every neighbour. 7. Longanimity, or long-suffering and perseverance, without being wearied out with labour, in overcoming evil with good. 8. Mildness in restraining wrath, and bearing injuries. 9. Faith, or fidelity to all our engagements, both to God and our neighbours. 10. Modesty, or moderation in all things, regulating every motion both of soul and body. 11. Continency, or temperance in restraining all irregular inclinations; and, 12. Chastity, or purity in keeping both soul and body from the defilements of lust. O what happy fruits are these! O how happy is that soul in which the spirit of God produces all these fruits! O my soul, bring in this heavenly Spirit into thy inward house, and entertain him there, and all these fruits will be thine.
Consider 3rdly, that as nothing can he more happy than to have the Holy Ghost in thy soul, so nothing can be more miserable than to be without this heavenly guest. Where the Spirit of God is not, there Satan is. Alas! can there be a greater misery than to be possessed by Satan? ‘If any man have not the Spirit of Christ,’ says the apostle, Rom. viii. 9, ‘he is none of his.’ If he be none of his, whose then must he be? or what share can he have in Christ or his kingdom? Oh! how true is that which the church sings at this time, in her address to this divine spirit, sine tuo numine, nihil est in homine, nihil est innoxium. That without this deity there is nothing in man, there is nothing that is innocent. O dread then the misery of being without him, and flee from all those evils that may draw him away from thee.
Conclude to neglect nothing that is in thy power, by which thou mayest procure to thy soul the happiness of being the living temple of the living God; and of having the Holy Ghost there, not as a visitor only, but as taking up his abode in thee both for time and eternity.