« AnkstesnisTęsti »
this he did not only by outward miracles, but by the better in. ward miracles of healing the blindness, and lameness, and fickness of the Soul ; by purging with his spiritual Fire what he left unpurgid by the Baptism of water, and by strengthning their reason to apprehend the proofs of the Truth.
That they might have Courage to profess and teach it, notwithstanding the threatnings and persecutions of the world ; when the Rulers of the Jews began to threaten, then was the first 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 persecutions or other troubles ; John 14. 15, 16, our Saviour says to his Disciples, If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and be pall give you another Comforter, that he
abide with you for ever. So the Comforter to be given in Confirmation to all Christians, and to be further given in Ordination, (1 Tim. 4. 14) was to supply the place of Christ on earth, after his Ascension.
He was a Comforter in all his Gifts and Graces, but more particularly in giving them Courage in persecutions, as is aforesaid; in Sealing them for God's people, (2 Cor. 1, 22) in giving them the Earnest of their inheritance; (Ch. 5. 5. Eph. 1. 13, 14) and so bearing witness with their spirit, that they were the children and heirs of God, (Rom. 8. 16, 17) according to his promise ver. 14.
And this his Sealing them, and giving them the Earnest, was not so 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 saying to true believers,' Well done thou good and faithful fervant, by his giving them a plenteous Increase of the Living water of SanEtifying, Grace; and again praising their faithful Use of his Grace, by giving them further Increase, more and more. Matth. 13. 12. John 15: 2.
The word Iiaeaxant in the Original for Comforter, fignifies also Exhorter and Advocate. He was an Exhorter in teaching Christians to understand, and helping them to remember Christ's Word, as is aforesaid; and in giving to some 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 Christians with God, and with men; with God, by helping them to pray as they ought; (Rom. 8. 26) and with men, by teaching Christians what to fay, when they were brought before Magistrates. Luke 12. 12.
Here, from what is aforesaid, is to be observed, that the Gift of the Holy Ghost to be given after Christ's Ascension to
the Apostles, and in Confirmation to all Cbriflians, was Sancti. fying Grace, a rich Increase of the Water of everlasting Life, of the Renewing of the Holy Ghost whereby they were Saved, before given in Baptism; with help to Understand and Remember more of Christ's Word, to Believe it more firmly, and to profefs and teach it with more Courage, notwithstanding the threats and persecutions of the world: That this Increase of Grace was the Holy Ghost's Seal of God's people, his Earnest of their Inheritance, and his Heavenly Comfort.
And it is further to be observ'd, that the miraculous Powers given with this Sanctifying Gift, were only the Attendants of it, necessary for the turning both fews and Heathens from the Religions they received from their Forefathers, unto the Truth of the Gospel.
For 1 Cor. 12, it is plainly affirm'd that those Powers were given, to some one, and to others another : and there is reason to believe that the greater part of Christians had none of them.
When the Holy Ghost came down upon the Apostles, and upon a few of the First fruits of the Gentiles, as the Company of Cornelius, and about twelve disciples at Ephesus; then it is said 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 said 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 soul. Neither said any of them, that ought of the things which be pofleffed was his own; but they had all things common.
So all that is affirm'd of their being filld with the Holy Ghost, is, that they were Confirm’d in their Profession 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 refurrettion of the Lord Jesus. But there is no doubt but that some of the congregation which were filled with the Holy Ghost, 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 saw fit, for the abundant testifying the truth and excellency of the Gospel, as the daughters of Philip. Aas 21.9.
Of the Samaritans, Afts 8, it is said v. 18, When Simon faw that through laying on of the Apostles bands, the Holy Ghost was given. This he might see by hearing only some of them speak with tongues. He might also see, without miraculous effects, such 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 sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. Eph. 1. 13. And as many as God faw fic, had miraculous powers given them. And no more is to be under. stood of signs following them that believe. Mark 16. 17.
firmation was given. The necesity of it.
HE miraculous part of this Grace was given for the teftifying the truth of the Gospel; (Mark 16. 20) which,
without such testimony, would not have been believ'd by either Jews of Gentiles. And when the truth of the Gofpel was sufficiently manifested to the world, then no' more of that Part was given. And so it was but an Attendant for a time of the other part; which was certainly given to enable Christians to live up to the Gospel; (Eph. 3. 16 to 20. Ch. 5. 9) that, as Christ came to Reform the world, and to raise the Law unco Perfection, so his disciples might have Grace to do what he requir'd of them.
That he came to raise the Law unto Perfection, he teaches Matth. 5.
And that his disciples might accordingly have more Grace, they were in Baptism born again of the Spirit, (John 3. 5) and therein received living water springing 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 satisfy fully the believers thirst, and to flow out of his belly. in plentiful streams of all Christian actions, was not to be given till Jesus was Glorified. And the History of the Asts of the Apostles Thews, that in the Ordinary settled way, it was given only in Confirmation by Laying on of hands.
Until that Spirit was given, even the constant Attendants of Christ had not grace sufficient, either to understand, or to obey his Gospel. John 14. 26, he says unto them, The Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, be shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. 'And Ch. 16. 12, 13,
I have many things to say unto you; but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when be the Spirit of truth is come, be will guide you into all truth. So before that Spirit came upon them, they had not Grace to bear many things, even from Christ's own mouth, nor to understand duly what he said to them. In which understanding they were so dull, that altho' he had divers times told them of his rising again from the dead, yet they could not believe it, 'till they faw it, and not easily then. And it is much to be noted, that Peter, the most zealous of them, who was the most forward in a most earnest resolution to die with him, rather than deny him, (Mark 14. 29, 30, 31), yet neither in his Baptism, nor in the Lord's Supper receiv'd the fame night, had he receiv'd Grace sufficient to go through with his good resolution, to forbear denying his Lord so shamefully, and even with cursing and swearing. But he had not yet receiv'd that Grace of the Holy Ghoit, which was to enable him to speak the word of God with boldness. Acts 4. 13, 31. And his most vehement resolution before, and his bitter weeping after, plainly Thew, that his sin was a fin of Infirmity.
And very great fins of Infirmity are recorded in the Scrip. ture of the Best of men, such as cannot be imputed to any thing, rather than the want of that Grace which was resery'd for the Kingdom of Christ, 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 several times taken from him, out of fear when he saw no cause for it, and notwithstanding the affurances God himself had given him of his Protection! What a supplanter was Jacob in getting the Birthright, and the Bleffing from his brother, and in making haft to be rich! Gen. 30. 37. David was à man after God's own heart, and a Type of Christ, 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 aside from any thing that be commanded him, all the days of his life, save only in the matter of Uriah the Hittite. Yet besides that matter, he did these things: For the foolish words of Nabal, he fully resolvd to put to the sword his numerous innocent family, and had surely 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 such an occasion, 1 Sam. 25. 17, the servant said to Abigail, Know and confider what thou wilt do: for evil is determined against our master, and against all bis bousold. David so far forgat himself in nụmbring the people, without collecting the offering appointed by
the Law, Exod. 30. 12, as by that neglect to bring a pestilence
And by his fondness (1 Kings t. 5, 6) he ruin'd his son Adonijah, and probably others of his children. Other great crimes are recorded of those, whom the holy Scripture testifies to be Righteous men. And the unnatural fins of polygamy, and divorces for insufficient causes, were tolerated by the Law for the hardness of their hearts, that is, their not having grace sufficient to forsake those fins.
The reason why they were accounted righteous, who were guilty of so 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 Ghost in Confirmation, there was no Due reformation in the Church. And the End for which the Grace of Confirmation was given, was to enable Christians to live up to the Gospel, as became the Honour of Christ's Kingdom.
Want of Confirmation not supplied by the Lord's
N the Promises of the Grace, Chrift fays, yobo 7. 37, &c. If any man thirst, let bim 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 ibe Father, &c. And Aas 2. 38, St. Peter says to the Jews and Profelytes that believed his word, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the Name of Jesus Christ, for the remillion of fans; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghof.
When the Grace was receiv'd, (in the Ordinary settled way) it is said of the Samaritans, Acts 8, Samaria had received the word of God: they were boptized in the Name of the Lord Jesus. The fame in effect is said of the disciples at Ephesus, A&s 19.
They therefore who were to be Confirm'd by the Apostles, and those to whom the Apostles gave their Power, were those that did Repent, and Believe the Gospel, and were Baptiz'd, and did truly Love God, and Keep his Commandments, with a