« PreviousContinue »
properly called Regeneration. According to his Mercy he faveth us by the washing of Regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, Tit. 3. 5. The Holy Ghoft makes the New Creature, and is the firft Principle of the Spiritual Life. By the fame Spirit that Chrift himself was Conceiv'd, by the fame Spirit also must the Chriftian be. The same way that the Old World was inade in the beginning by the Spirit moving upon the Wacers of the deep, the very fame way is the World made New by the fame Spirit moving on the Waters of Baptism. For as our Saviour told Nicodemus, except a Man be born again of Water and the Holy Ghol, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God.
These are the two Principal Parts of the Office of the Holy Ghoft, namely the renewing of Man in the two commanding Faculties of the Soul, the Understanding and the. Will; without the Renovation of both which, it is impoffible to have a Sanctifying or Saving Faith. For after having of ferd Outward Motives of Credibility, fufficient to create a Rational Affent in the Mind, out of this Rational Affent to form in the Heart a Christian Faith, which includes, besides a bare Belief, a Complacency also and Delight in the Doctrine that it receives, is a further Effect of the good Spirit of God, evincing the Goodness of the Go
spel spel to such as are perswaded of the Truth of it, and rendering it to the Will Worthy of all Acceptatiou, that by the Understanding was before own’d to be a Faithful Saying. Consequent to these and depending upon them are all the other several parts of the Office of the same Spirit in our Sanctification, which I shall but briefly touch upon as they are in sundry places of Scripture rather hinted at, than at large describ'd to us. In short then, this blessed Spirit by a Secret and Unconceivable, but a Powerful and Effectual Operation fanctifies all the Elect People of God, abiding in 'em, and quickening and actuating them from their firft new Birth of Regeneration to their second Birth at the Resurrection; for as St Paul tells us, He that raised up Cbrift from the dead, Jall also quicken your mortal Bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you, Rom. 8. 11. By Him we are 'regenerate at the first in our Baptism, By Him after confirm'd by the Imposition of hands, By Him after renew'd to Repentance when we fall away, By Him taught all our Life long what we knew not, put in mind of what we forget, stirr'd up in what we are dull, helped in our Prayers, relieved in our Infirmities comforted in our Heaviness, joined to Chrift our Head, and assur'd of our Adoption and Everlafting Inheritance. In a word seald
to the Day of Redemption, and rais’d up again · at the Last Day.
Thus doth the Holy Spirit Direct, fanctifie, and Govern every particular Member of the Mystical Body of Christ.
But lastly, for the effecting all these and the like particulars, it is the Office of the same Spirit to take a general care of the whole Charch in setting apart and Sanctifying Perfons for the Duty of the Ministry, ordaining them to interceede between God and His People, to send up Prayers to God for them, to Bless them in his Name, to teach the Do&rine of the Gospel,and rightly and duely to adminifter the holy Sacraments instituted by Chrift; in short, to perform all things necessary for the perfetting of the Saints, for the Work of the Ministry, for the Edifying of the Body of Christ. Ephes. 4. 12. He who in the beginning and at the first Foundation of the Church enlighten'd the Apostles as at this time, and endu'd them with Power from above to perform Personally their Apostolical Function, fitted them also for the Ordination of others, and the committing of a standing Power unto a Succeffive Miniftry to the end of the World, who are thereby oblig'd to take heed unto themselves, and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made them Overseers, to feed the Church of God, Acts 20. 28. By all these and the like . P
means, do's the Spirit of God Sanctify the Sons of Men, and is therefore properly and peculiarly and in diftinction to all other Spirits called the Holy Spirit; and thus I have, as plainly and as briefly as I could, out of the unerring words of Scripture describ'd to you both the Nature and Office of the Holy Ghost ; his Nature in that he is the Spirit of God, and truly God, his Office in that he is the Holy, the Sanctifying Spirit.
And of this Spirit it is that St Paul in my Text so follicitously and in the first place enquires of the Disciples that he met at Ephesus, Acts 19. 1. whether they had receiv'd 'Him or no. Whereby he shews us the absolute Necessity there is for all Chriftians to receive the Holy Ghoft, without whose dwelling within w we cannot be the Temples, without whose leading us we cannot be the Sons of God. We all of us have receiv'd this Spirit at our Baptism, wherein the Holy Ghost, into whole Name we were baptiz'd, first regenerated us, and then took up his Dwelling in us, and would still abide in us and actuate us, and direct and allift and comfort us, if we gave but suitable Reception, any kind Entertainment to fo Divine a Guest. But Alas! on the contrary by our Deafness to secret Whisperings and holy Suggestions have we not rather, as St Paul speaks, griev'd the Holy Spirit of God; have
we not by obstinate Impenitency; as St Stephen speaks, refifted the Holy Ghost, have we not quench'd the Spirit, bave we not finally by a continuance in Sin and those Pollutions, which it is impossible that That Spirit of Holiness and Purity can endure to dwell with, driven him, and quite chas'd him away? made him pronounce the fearful Migremus hinc, and leave the Place he had taken up in our Hearts to be filld with wicked and impure Spirits, which surely will come and take possession there, whenever he deserts us? Would we know and be assur'd whether yet the Holy Ghost is abiding in us? Would we be satisfy'd of this that so highly concerns us? There is but one fure way to come to this knowledge, As the Tree is known by it's Fruit, so is the Holy Ghost. Now the Fruits of the Holy Ghost, as St Paul reckons them up Gal. 5. are these, Love, Foy, Peace, Long-suffering, Gentlenes, Goodness , Faithfulnes, Meeknes, Temperance; On the contrary, the Deeds of the Flesh are these, as the same Apostle there enumerates them, Adultery, Fornication, Uncleannes, Lasciviousness, Idolatry, Witchcraft, Hatred, Variance, Emulations, Wrath, Strife, Seditions, Hereses, Envyings, Murders, Drunkenness, Revellings, and such like. This is the Glass wherein we may behold our selyes, whether we have the Holy Ghoft within us or the Spirit of