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diftinguish'd from Impostors and Counterfeits. Accordingly he appeals Ver fe 4. to the variety of the Gifts themselves, which though differing in kind, -were yet but one in their Source and Original, and came down from the same Fountain of Light, the Holy Spirit; this was that glorious Spirit wbich on the Day of Penticost assum'd the visible form of cloven Tongues, and at once sat upon the Heads, and inspir'd the Hearts of the Holy Apostles; 'twas the very Spirit promis d under the notion of a Comforter, by our blessed Saviour, when he was about to leave the World, and a sorrowful Family of Servants behind him; in a word, 'twas this same Holy Ghost, the blessed Spirit of the Father and the Son, to whom we owe all the happy and wonderful effe£ts of this Day, got only the appointment of Prophets, Apostles, Teachers, and Ministers in the Church of God, but all those Graces and Operations, whether publickor private, by which the Foundation of the Church was laid at first, and the whole Fabrick has been Arengthen’d and promoted ever since. For ?twas indeed for the advancement of Christianity, in ll the parts and branches of it, that
this great Priviledge was confer'd, and this is what the Words of my Text do more immediately point at; For the mawifestation of the Spirit is given to every one to profit withat.
In discoursing upon which Passage 1 Shall choose to follow this Method.
I. To explain the true Import of the Words, and thereby the Nature of that great Priviledge contain'd in them.
II. To represent from the Words themselves, the main End and Purpose, for which God was pleas’d in fo various a manner to dispense this Benefit to the World. And
III. To lay before
proper Uses that we are instructed to make of so ample a Priviledge. And
I. In order to explain the genuine meaning of this. Passage, I must take notice, that in the Language of Scripture, the Spirit is often made use of to denote, not the Person of the Holy Ghoft, the third in the order of the
Blessed Trinity, but the Gifts and Graces, the Acts and Operations proceeding from him; and though in all those Scriptures where the Word is us’d, 'tis clear from the Context, in what Sense it ought to be taken, whither for the Holy Ghost himself, the Principle of the new life in Christians, or else for those Graces and Qualifications which are the signs and the Fruits of it; yet Men of ill and perverse Minds have made a fcurvy use of this mix'd and general way of interpreting the Word, and have inferr'd from hence, though very erroneously, that the Holy Spirit is not a Person or Being diftinct by himself, but rather a mode or quality, such as we may take the. Faculties of the Human Soul to be. But I presume, this wilful Error (for such I conceive it) is abundantly confuted from feveral Verses in this Chapter, besides the cited one in my Text ; for as at the 5th and 6th Verses we find that the Gifts and Ornaments there mentiou'd are a quite different thing from that Principle (the Spirit of Grace) from which they flow, so may we collect from the Phrase made use of
in my Text; (The manifestation of the Spirit) that thereby we intended, not only the Talents and Capacities which were in a supernatural way confer'd on Mankind; But the Author likewife and Giver of those good Gifts, even God the Holy Ghost, who proceed. ing from the Father and the Son, was by the Consent of both, design'd the Instrument of our Sanctification and Blessedness: Now that which may induce us to believe that the Person and Deity of the Holy Spirit is meant in this place, is the Term here us'd of his Manifestation, or Discovery to the World, which seems very clear. ly and dire&tly to allude to the publick and visible descent of the Holy Ghost, (as upon this Day); for whatever Powers the Apostles, or other Holy Perfons, might havc been actually invested with, or whatever great or amazing things they might have perform'd in virtue of these Powers bestow'd on them, yet this could not have been stil'd properly the Ma. nifestation of the Spirit, had not there been some conspicuous and extraordinary Appearance, which by convey. ing this Capacity in such a way, and
at such a time, was therefore a sufficient Warrant that such Works and Operations were deriv'd from such a Power or Principle working in, and conferr'd upon these very Persons ; we may than gather from the Words, that not only were the Works manifest, which the Apostles wrought by the efficacy of the Spirit, But the Spirit is felf was Manifest likewise by which those Works were perform’d; and this exactly quadrates with the Phrase of God manifest in the Flesh; 1. Tim. 3. 16. By which we can understand nothing less, than the Birth of Christ, publickly declar'd by Signs and Wonders in the first Place, and in the other the real and visible descent of the Holy Ghost, in a general Assembly of Jews and Gentiles, at the Feast of Penticost.
All that remains for the clearing this Passage, is to expound that part of the Paragraph, which tells us, that the Holy Ghost was given to every Man, (that is to every Man, to whom it was manifest in so special publick a manner) to profit withal. And this indeed seems to carry its own Interpretation with it, for can we conceive