« PreviousContinue »
to Us; but that thro’ the assistance of our Blessed Saviour, by Suffering like Him, especially for Him, we may be entitled to a certain hope of reigning with Him to all Eternity.
Which God of his Infinite Mercy &c.
He said unto them have ye receiv'd
the Holy Ghost since ye believ'd? and they said unto him we have not so much as heard whether
there be any Holy Ghost. And he said unto Them, unto what then were ye Baptiz'd? and they said unto Him unto John's Baptifm.
Hese remarkable words are part T
of the Narration, which St Luke gives us, of an encounter, which
the great Apoftle of the Gentiles St Paul met with at Ephesus, where coming he
found certain Disciples, very probably the 1 Disciples of Apollos, who we read in the
foregoing Chapter v. 24, 25. had been there before, and tho'a Man mighty in the Scriptures and instructed in the way of the Lord, as : it is there express'd, yet às it follows, knew
only the Baptism of John. And at the first meeting, the very first question he puts to them is, Have ye receiv'd the Holy Ghost fince ye believ'd? Which is sufficient to let us understand how very material a point the believing and receiving the Holy Ghost is to all Christians, since the great Apoftle makes it the first Article of his Enquiry, as a Teft of these Disciples Faith, a Tryal whether they were yet indeed Christians or no. Their Answer ye have heard read in the Text, namely That they were so far from having receiv'd the Holy Ghost, that they had not so much as heard whether there were any Holy Ghoft. Which was fo ftrange an answer from the Mouths of Chriftians, for such they pretended to be, we find that St Paul is furprizd at it, and asks them Unto tobat then were you Baptiz d? It being impoflible that any true Member of Christ's Church, into which none enters but by Baptism, should not have heard of the Holy Ghoft. the very Förm, and Effential words of Baptism being by Christ's own Institution and the agreeing Practice of all his Apoftiles,
I baptize thee in the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. But St Paul finding by their Anfwer, that, as it was faid of Apollos before, they knew only the Baptifm of John, meekly instructs them that, as John was to Chrift, so was his Baptism to Christ's Baptism, a Preparation only and a Forerunner of that which was to come, as St John himself confess’d, and openly declar'd, and own'd, Luke 3. 16. I indeed baptize you with Water, but One mightier than I cometh, He fball baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with Fire. And when they heard this, they were baptiz'd in the Name of the Lord Fesus. And when Panl had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them, and they Spake with Tongues and prophesied, v. 5 and 6. of this Chapter. This is the full Account of this Adventure of St Paul at Ephesus, by which we plainly may perceive, how important an Article of Christian Faith it is to Believe, and how absolutely necesfary to Chriftian Life to Receive, the Holy Ghoft. And God forbid, that any that have been Baptiz d into Chrift's Baptism, should be fo ignorant, as these Disciples in my Text, who knew no other Baptism than that of John. Tho' it is to be fear'd, that many that have receiv'd even Christian Baptisın, if
they were examind concerning their Faith as to this point, it can fcarce be thought
they they should answer, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost , yet could give but a very indifferent account of their Belief of this important Article of their Faith. I shall make it therefore the business of this present discourse to explain as briefly and as clearly as I can this great Article of our Creed, that every One that repeats
know what he means when he says, I Believe in the Holy Ghost. This being the most proper Argument to entertain your Meditations with this Day, which is for this very purpose celebrated by the Church of Christ, and most folemnly Dedicated to the Honour of the Blessed Spirit, in commemoration of that Visible and Glorious appearance of his, as at this time Descending and Refting on the Apostles in cloven Tongues of Fire in the fight of the People of all Nations, indueing them with a moft miraculous power of speaking in all languages under Heaven the wonderful works of God, Acts 2. 11. And certainly this it self was a wonderful Work of God, that the fame means of divers Tongues which was the destroying of Babel, should be made use of to work the Building of Sion, that the same means that scatter'd Mankind from the Tower of Confusion, should reduce them again to the Fold of Unity, that so the Curse might be taken away and a Blessing