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for the planting and propagating of the Gospel of which we read in this 2d Chapter of the Acts; where, in the first and following Verses, we are told, that the Holy Ghost, according to Chrift's most gracious Promife, came down on the Apostles, in the found of a mighty rufbing Wind, and Sat upon the Heads of them, in the Shape of cloven Tongues as of Fire, and fill'd all the Houfe where they were fitting. Our Saviour at his leaving the World had commanded the Apostles to stay at Jerufalem, and not to undertake the preaching or planting the Gospel, till they were endow'd with Power frem on high. Upon which Order, they continu'd there till the Day of Pentecoft; at which time, while they were together, the Holy Ghoft defcended upon them in a vifible Body of bright fhining Fire, and infpir'd them with thofe Gifts that enabled and qualify'd them to propagate the Gospel thro' the World.

Now to this end, three things were abfolutely neceffary. 1. That they fhould be able to fpeak the feveral Languages of the World, to whom they were to preach.

2. That they fhould fully understand the Doctrines they were to deliver. And,

3. That they fhould have power to convince and confirm the World in the Truth of them; for all which they were endow'd with Power from on high, by this Descent of the Holy Ghoft.

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1. I fay, to preach and propagate the Gofpel, 'twas neceffary that the Apostles fhould be enabled to Ipeak the feveral Languages of the Countries to which they were fent for without this, they were neither capable of teaching, nor the People of learning any thing from them: for except they should utter with the Tongue Words eafy to be understood, how should it be known what is spoken? In fuch a cafe they would only speak into the Air, they would be Barbarians to the People, and the People Barbarians unto them. To provide against this, the Holy Ghoft infpir'd them with the Gift of Tongues, by which they were enabled of a fudden, without any Rules of Grammar or previous Inftruction, to fpeak to Men of all Nations in their feveral Languages, declaring to each of them the wonderful Works of God. This our Text here tells us, that being fill'd with the Holy Ghost, they began to speak with other Tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance. This the Men of all Nations, then prefent at Ferufalem, faw and heard, to their great Amazement; they all wondring how thofe illiterate Gali

leans,

leans, who fcarce understood their own Mother-Tongue, fhould all of a fudden speak thus fluently in the Languages of all Countries, and even out-do the greatest Linguifts and Philofophers which could not be done by any Power of Nature or Art, but was the intire Work and Gift of the Holy Ghoft, Again,

2. Not only the Knowledge of the Tongues, but a full and clear understanding of the Doctrine of the Gospel was neceffary to the preaching and propagating of it; for as none can teach another what he hath no knowledge of himfelf, so neither could the Apostles lead others into all Truth, without a clear and certain knowledge of it themselves: and because what they deliver'd was to be the Rule and Standard of Truth to all fucceeding Generations, therefore the Holy Spirit, befide the Gift of Tongues, furnish'd them with the Gifts of Knowledge and Prophecy, whereby they were enabled to understand all Myfteries, and likewife to reveal and expound them to others. Thus we read, that the Difciples who receiv'd the Holy Ghost, spake with Tongues and prophefy'd; Acts 19. 6. meaning, that in the several Languages of thofe Places where they came, they explain'd the Myfteries of the Kingdom of Heaven; the Holy Ghoft bringing to their Remembrance all that Chrift had faid and done, and likewife affifting them with farther Infpirations, neceffary for the propagating of the Gofpel, and delivering down the Truth to future Ages,

3. Another thing neceffary to this end, was a Power of confirming the Truth of what they deliver'd with fuch unqueftionable Evidence, as might be fufficient to convince and convert the World to the Belief of it: For none can or will believe without fufficient Evidence; and therefore that nothing might be wanting to the Faith of Mankind, the Holy Ghost, to the Gift of Tongues and Prophecy, added the Gift of Miracles, whereby the Apoftles and others were enabled by many mighty and wonderful Works to atteft the Truth and Divinity of their Doctrine. Hence we read, upon this coming down of the Holy Ghoft, that many Wonders and Signs were done by the Apostles; Acts 4. 30. they heal'd the Sick, cur'd the Blind and the Lame with a word's fpeaking, they made the Deaf to hear and the Dumb to fpeak; yea, and rais'd the Dead to Life again: all which exceeding the Power of Art and Nature, were the miraculous Effects of a Divine Power, and prov'd the Doctrine they deliver'd to be truly Divine. Indeed, Miracles

are

are the Broad Seal of Heaven, to confirm and testify a thing to come from God, call'd therfore the Demonftration of the Spirit and Power, I Cor. 2. 4. And by these the Apostles plainly appear'd to be Teachers come from God; for none could do the works that they did, except God were with them.

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These were fome of thofe extraordinary Gifts of the Spirit that were requifite upon the firft planting and propagating of the Gofpel, and were therefore rife in the early days of Christianity. But when the Gospel had fpread and prevail'd every where, when the Natives of every Country embrac'd and understood the Chriftian Religion, and were able to inftruct each other in their own Language; when the whole New Teftament was reveal'd, and the great Truths of it fufficiently confirm'd, by the miraculous Effects of a Divine Power accompanying it: then did these extraordinary Gifts expire and ceafe, together with the. Reason of them; for the Spirit of God that doth nothing in vain, is not wont to give extraordinary Affiftances, when ordinary Means will ferve the turn. And this will lead me

to confider,

2dly, Thofe ordinary and standing Offices and Operations of the Holy Ghoft, which he ftill exercifeth in the Church, and will continue to do to the end of the World; for 'tis by this Holy Spirit that Chrift promis'd to be with his Followers to the end of the World, Mat. 28. 19. And when he afcended up into Heaven, he told them, he would fend another Comforter, that is, this Holy Ghoft, which would abide with them for ever, John 14. 16. Which Promise was not confin'd only to the Apoftles, and firft Chriftians, who died foon after, but to all Chriftians that live and fucceed them to the end of the World. To these he continues,

1. To be a Teacher and Inftructor in all the weighty Matters of Religion; which Office he performs for them, partly by the infpir'd Writings of the Prophets and Apoitles, who fpeak not of their own heads, or by the Will of Man, but, as they were moved of the Holy Ghoft. And theretore St. Paul affures us, that all Scripture is given by Inspiration of God, and is profitable for Doctrine, for Reproof, for Correction, for Instruction in Righteousness, that the Man of God may be perfect, and thorowly furnish'd to all good Works; 2 Tim. 3. 16, 17. So that the Holy Scriptures are now the ftanding Rule and Direction for Matters of Faith and Practice, and we fhould not vainly expect, or lightly

rely

rely upon any new Revelations. Again, the Holy Ghoft now continues to inftruct us, partly by appointing and confecrating an Order of Men to unfold, inculcate, and apply to us the Holy Scriptures: for St. Peter tells us, that no Prophecy of Scripture is of any private Interpretation, 2 Pet. 1. 20. So that private Perfons may not prefume to depend too much upon their own Senfe and Interpretation of Scripture, but fhould be directed by thofe that are appointed to rule and teach them, and in a great meafure yield to the publick Wisdom and Authority of the Church, which is the Pillar and Ground of Truth.

2. The Holy Ghoft continues to fanctify, and work Grace in the Hearts of God's People, and thereby prepare them for Glory. Hence he is ftyl'd the Spirit of Grace and Holiness, because he is the Caufe of these things, and works them in us. 'Tis this Holy Spirit that illuminates our Minds, rectifies our Wills, renews our Affections, and purifies our Hearts: fo the Apoftle tells us, we are wafh'd, we are fanctify'd, we are justify'd in the Name of Chrift, by the Spirit of God, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost; 1 Cor. 6. 11. Tit. 3. 5.

3. The Holy Ghoft continues to perform the Office of a Comforter, by fuggefting to our Minds Arguments of Confolation in every Condition, encouraging us to go on in our Christian Courfe, and bearing up our Spirits under all the Oppofition and Difficulties we meet with in it. Hence we read of the Comforts of the Spirit, and the Foys of the Holy Ghoft. 'Twas this fupported the Saints, Martyrs, and Confeffors of old under all their Sufferings; and 'tis by thefe Cordials that our Spirits are kept from finking under the many Preffures, Troubles, and Temptations of this Life. The Spirit of God, by bringing to our Mind comfortable Thoughts, fills us with Foy and Peace in Believing, and adminifters fometimes ftronger Cordials, as our Neceffities require.

4. The Holy Ghoft continues to be our Advocate, to plead and make Interceffion for us: And this he doth by infpiring us with thofe pious and devout Affections, that make our Prayers afcend like Incenfe, and return laden with Bleffings into our own Bofom. 'Tis by this Holy Spirit (as the Apoftle fpeaks) that we are enabled to cry Abba, Father; Rom. 8. 15, 16. And in the fame Chapter he adds, that he makes Interceffion for us with Sighs and Groans that cannot be utter'd.

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Laftly,

Laftly, The Holy Ghoft performs the Office of a Witnefs, that is, not only to teftify of Chrift, that he is the Son of God, but likewife to bear witness with our Spirits, that we also are the Children of God.

Thus we fee what we are to believe concerning the Holy Ghoft, the third Perfon in the Bleffed Trinity. From all which we may learn,

1. To render all due Honour and Adoration to this Divine Spirit; for being God bleffed for ever, equal with the Father and the Son, he must have an equal fhare of Divine Honour and Worship.

2. Let us learn hence earneftly to defire and pray for this Holy Spirit, the Fountain of all fpiritual Grace and Comfort to which we have abundant Encouragement from God's gracious Promife, of giving the Holy Spirit to them that ask it; Luke 11. 13.

Laftly, Let us demean ourfelves becomingly to this Holy Spirit, not grieving it by neglecting its Gifts, and quenching its good Motions; nor doing defpight to it, by contemning its Graces, and refufing its Calls, nor any way provoking it by rejecting its Comforts or Inftructions; but thankfully giving ourfelves up to its Guidance and Direction, imploring its Aid, receiving its Counfel, and embracing its Comfort: that being led by the Spirit in the ways of Grace here, he may after bring us to Glory.

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There is one Body, and one Spirit, &c.

H

AVING in the foregoing Article explain'd what is reveal'd concerning the Perfon and Offices of the Holy Ghoft; I proceed in the next place to what we profefs to believe concerning the Church, which is conftituted and animated by it: And this is held forth in the following Article; I believe in the Holy Catholick Church, and the Communion of Saints. Which Article hath two

Branches:

The

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