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this he did not only by outward miracles, but by the better inward miracles of healing the blindness, and lameness, and ficknefs of the Soul; by purging with his fpiritual Fire what he left unpurg'd by the Baptifm of water, and by ftrengthning their reafon to apprehend the proofs of the Truth.
That they might have Courage to profefs and teach it, notwithstanding the threatnings and perfecutions of the world; when the Rulers of the Jews began to threaten, then was the firft Confirmation of the believers: and upon that they spake the word of God with boldness. Acts 4. 31.
And that no Comfort might be wanting to them in their per fecutions or other troubles; John 14. 15, 16, our Saviour fays to his Difciples, If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and be fhall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever. So the Comforter to be given in Confirmation to all Chriftians, and to be further given in Ordination, (1 Tim. 4. 14) was to fupply the place of Chrift on earth, after his Afcenfion.
He was a Comforter in all his Gifts and Graces, but more particularly in giving them Courage in perfecutions, as is aforefaid; in Sealing them for God's people, (2 Cor. 1. 22) in giving them the Earneft of their inheritance; (Ch. 5. 5. Eph. 1. 13, 14) and fo bearing witnefs with their spirit, that they were the children and heirs of God, (Rom. 8. 16, 17) according to his promife ver. 14.
And this his Sealing them, and giving them the Earneft, was not fo much his giving them outward miraculous gifts; (Luke 10. 20) for those were given to many that were never own'd by Christ. Matth. 7. 22, 23) but his faying to true believers, Well done thou good and faithful fervant, by his giving them a plenteous Increase of the Living water of Santifying Grace; and again praifing their faithful Ufe of his Grace, by giving them further Increase, more and more. Matth. 13. 12. John 15. 2. The word Пagnant in the Original for Comforter, fignifies alfo Exhorter and Advocate. He was an Exhorter in teaching Chriftians to understand, and helping them to remember Chrift's Word, as is aforefaid; and in giving to fome the Gift of Prophecy; 1 Cor. 12. 10) which was speaking unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. Ch. 14. 3.
He was an Advocate for Chriftians with God, and with men; with God, by helping them to pray as they ought; (Rom. 8. 26) and with men, by teaching Chriftians what to fay, when they were brought before Magiftrates. Luke 12. 12.
Here, from what is aforefaid, is to be obferved, that the Gift of the Holy Ghoft to be given after Chrift's Afcenfion to
the Apoftles, and in Confirmation to all Chriftians, was Sanctifying Grace, a rich Increase of the Water of everlasting Life, of the Renewing of the Holy Ghoft whereby they were Saved, before given in Baptism; with help to Understand and Remember more of Chrift's Word, to Believe it more firmly, and to profefs and teach it with more Courage, notwithstanding the threats and perfecutions of the world: That this Increase of Grace was the Holy Ghoft's Seal of God's people, his Earnest of their Inheritance, and his Heavenly Comfort.
And it is further to be obferv'd, that the miraculous Powers given with this Sanctifying Gift, were only the Attendants of it, neceffary for the turning both Jews and Heathens from the Religions they received from their Forefathers, unto the Truth of the Gofpel.
For 1 Cor. 12, it is plainly affirm'd that those Powers were given, to fome one, and to others another: and there is reason to believe that the greater part of Chriftians had none of them. When the Holy Ghoft came down upon the Apostles, and upon a few of the Firft fruits of the Gentiles, as the Company of Cornelius, and about twelve difciples at Ephesus; then it is faid that they spake with tongues. But when great multitudes receiv'd the Gift, as the Congregation of Believers, Acts 4, and the Samaritans, Ch. 8; there is no mention of their speaking with tongues, or of any other miraculous power.
Of the Congregation of Believers, Acts 4 it is faid V. 31, 32, And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness. And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart, and of one foul. Neither faid any of them, that ought of the things which be poffeffed was his own; but they had all things common. So all that is affirm'd of their being fill'd with the Holy Ghoft, is, that they were Confirm'd in their Profeffion of the Gospel, and their Unity and Charity, which they were Baptiz'd into. Of the Apostles only it is faid that with great power they gave witness of the refurrection of the Lord Jefus. But there is no doubt but that fome of the congregation which were filled with the Holy Ghoft, had miraculous powers given them, to fit them for Offices in the Church, as Stephen and Philip the Deacons had; and that divers others had them, as many as God faw fit, for the abundant testifying the truth and excellency of the Gofpel, as the daughters of Philip. Ats 21. 9.
Of the Samaritans, A&ts 8, it is faid v. 18, When Simon faw that through laying on of the Apostles hands, the Holy Ghost was given. This he might fee by hearing only fome of them fpeak with tongues. He might alfo fee, without miraculous
effects, fuch a change in the countenance and behaviour, as is the natural effect of any one being made better and wiser than he was before.
Every true believer was certainly fealed with the Holy Spirit of promife. Eph. 1. 13. And as many as God faw fit, had miraculous powers given them. And no more is to be under. ftood of figns following them that believe. Mark 16. 17.
The End for which the Grace of the Apoftolick Confirmation was given. The neceffity of it.
HE miraculous part of this Grace was given for the teftifying the truth of the Gofpel; (Mark 16. 20) which, without fuch teftimony, would not have been believ'd by either Jews or Gentiles. And when the truth of the Gofpel was fufficiently manifefted to the world, then no more of that Part was given. And fo it was but an Attendant for a time of the other part; which was certainly given to enable Chriftians to live up to the Gofpel; (Eph. 3. 16 to 20. Ch. 5. 9) that, as Chrift came to Reform the world, and to raise the Law unto Perfection, fo his difciples might have Grace to do what he requir'd of them.
That he came to raife the Law unto Perfection, he teaches Matth. 5. And that his difciples might accordingly have more Grace, they were in Baptifm born again of the Spirit, (John 3. 5) and therein received living water fpringing up into everlasting life. Ch. 4. 1, 10, 14. But Ch. 7. 37, 38, 39, it is plainly told, that the Living water of the Spirit to fatisfy fully the believers thirft, and to flow out of his belly in plentiful ftreams of all Chriftian actions, was not to be given till Jefus was Glorified. And the Hiftory of the Acts of the Apoftles fhews, that in the Ordinary fettled way, it was given only in Confirmation by Laying on of hands.
Until that Spirit was given, even the conftant Attendants of Chrift had not grace fufficient, either to understand, or to obey his Gospel. John 14. 26, he fays unto them, The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghoft, whom the Father will fend in my name, he ball teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have faid unto you. And Ch. 16. 12, 13,
I have many things to fay unto you; but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth. So before that Spirit came upon them, they had not Grace to bear many things, even from Chrift's own mouth, nor to understand duly what he faid to them. In which understanding they were fo dull, that altho' he had divers times told them of his rifing again from the dead, yet they could not believe it, 'till they faw it, and not eafily then. And it is much to be noted, that Peter, the most zealous of them, who was the moft forward in a most earneft refolution to die with him, rather than deny him, (Mark 14. 29, 30, 31) yet neither in his Baptifm, nor in the Lord's Supper receiv'd the fame night, had he receiv'd Grace fufficient to go through with his good refolution, to forbear denying his Lord fo fhamefully, and even with curfing and fwearing. But he had not yet receiv'd that Grace of the Holy Ghoft, which was to enable him to speak the word of God with boldness. Acts 4. 13, 31. And his most vehement refolution before, and his bitter weeping after, plainly fhew, that his fin was a fin of Infirmity.
And very great fins of Infirmity are recorded in the Scripture of the Beft of men, fuch as cannot be imputed to any thing, rather than the want of that Grace which was reserv'd for the Kingdom of Chrift, and to be given in Confirmation. How great was the want of Faith in the Father of all believers, in denying his wife, and suffering her to be feveral times taken from him, out of fear when he faw no caufe for it, and notwithstanding the affurances God himself had given him of his Protection! What a fupplanter was Jacob in getting the Birthright, and the Bleffing from his brother, and in making haft to be rich! Gen. 30. 37. David was a man after God's own heart, and a Type of Chrift, who was called the Son of David. And of David, 1 Kings 15. 5, it is affirm'd, that he did that which was right in the eyes of the Lord, and turned not afide from any thing that he commanded him, all the days of his life, fave only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. Yet befides that matter, he did these things: For the foolish words of Naal, he fully refolv'd to put to the fword his numerous innocent family, and had furely done it, if he had not been stay'd in his way by the great wisdom of Abigail. And that revenge was no more than what was expected upon fuch an occafion, 1 Sam. 25. 17, the fervant faid to Abigail, Know and confider what thou wilt de: for evil is determined against our mafter, and against all his boufbold. David fo far forgat himself in numbring the people, without collecting the offering appointed by
the Law, Exod. 30. 12, as by that neglect to bring a peftilence
The reason why they were accounted righteous, who were guilty of fo great crimes, is, God knew what Grace he gave them; and he requir'd no more than he gave.
So from the Fall of mankind until the giving of the Holy Ghoft in Confirmation, there was no Due reformation in the Church. And the End for which the Grace of Confirmation was given, was to enable Chriftians to live up to the Gospel, as became the Honour of Christ's Kingdom.
Who were to be Confirm'd by the Apostles. The
N the Promises of the Grace, Chrift fays, John 7. 37, &c. If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink. He that believeth on me, &c. Ch. 14. 15, 16, If ye love me keep my Commandments. And I will pray the Father, &c. And Aas 2. 38, St. Peter fays to the Jews and Profelytes that believed his word, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jefus Chrift, for the remiffion of fins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghoft.
When the Grace was receiv'd, (in the Ordinary settled way) it is faid of the Samaritans, Acts 8, Samaria bad received the word of God: they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jefus. The fame in effect is faid of the difciples at Epbefus, Acts 19.
They therefore who were to be Confirm'd by the Apostles, and thofe to whom the Apoftles gave their Power, were those that did Repent, and Believe the Gofpel, and were Baptiz'd, and did truly Love God, and Keep his Commandments, with a