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and by the extraordinary Operations of the Holy Spirit, enabled them to speak with Tongues, to prophefy, to work Miracles : But his Goodness extends to every one of his Subjects; the ordinary Operations of God's Holy Spirit are Benefits which He is continually pouring down upon every Member of his Church ; and whatever Advances are made by any one of them in Holiness, whatever Virtues we bring to Perfection, whatever Progress we make towards Eternal Happiness, they are entirely the Effects of Christ's Merits : He departed that He might send the Comforter unto us, for 'till Jesus was exalted, the Holy Ghost was not given ; these Gifts and Graces were the Purchase of his most precious Blood, the Attainments of his Victories, and were there. fore made the necessary and immediate Consequences of his triumphant Ascension into Heaven.
I PROCEED now, in the fecond Place, to consider what our Duty is with respect both to the Reception and Application of thele Gifts ; with respect to the Reception of them, we must feck them by L 4
fervent Prayer, and by the Use of outward Ordinances, If ye, being Evil, know how to give good Gifts to your Children ; how much more Mall your Heavenly Father give his Holy Spirit to them that alk Him. God's Grace is the resery'd Portion of God's Children ; and Devotion alone it is which evidences such a Dependance upon the Almighty as becomes the Relation of Children to their parents; Devotion bears Testimony to our own great Insufficiency, and the extreme Necessity we lic under of Assistance from on High. Prayer is intended not to bring God acquainted with our Necessities, for He knows them long before we ask, but that we ourselves should be duly sensible of our own wants and Infirmities, and of God's Power and Goodness to relieve and assist them ; yet we may be engaged to give the Lord the Honour due unto his 'Name; and that we may make Him all in all, as with respect to our Happiness, so likewise with respect to our Love and Adoration. What we call the Gifts of Nature and Fortune come indeed alike to all, but the good and perfect Gift of
God's Grace, which is from above, falleth not down like the Rain upon the Just and the Unjuft ; it is the promised Reward of true Devotion, because true Devotion alone it is whereby the Soul rises up to God in Dependance and Gratitude, and which will engage us to apply those Portions of Grace to the Purposes of Chriftian Holiness for which they were given. Again, We must seek after God's Grace by the Use of outward Ordinances; viz. the Ministry of God's Word, frequenting the Publick Service of the Church, the Use of the Blessed Sacraments, &c. It hath ever pleased the Almighty to annex the Communication of his Holy Spirit to some outward Instances of Worship, and that for many wise and gracious Purposes, because thereby we are the better enabled to worship both in Body and Soul, the Face of Religion is much better kept up in the World, the substantial Service of Spiritual Devotion will become more sensibly our Duty, and will not be so likely to suffer through ungrate. ful Forgetfulness.
Thus far with respect to the Reception of God's Grace : As to the Application of it ; First, We ought to have our Souls filld with all Thankfulness to that adorable Being from whom we receive it. Secondly, We ought to make it the Means of our improving in all Christian Virtue and Holiness.
1. It seems to fare with God's Difpensations in the Moral and Divine, as in the Natural World ; in both Cases his extraordinary Operations fix our Thoughts so intensly upon Him, that in his Ordinary Operations we are apt to overlook and neglect Him. When we consider, ex. gr. the miraculous Encrease of five Barley-Loaves and two small Fishes, whereby five Thousand were fed, and twelve Baskets full were taken up, our Thoughts bear immediate Testimony to that God by whose Power and Goodness this Miracle was wrought ; but how rarely doth the much greater Indulgence of our Heavenly Father engage our Adoration towards that Providence whereby Millions of Millions are daily fed by his continual Bounty ?
2. In like Manner, when the Gift of the Holy Ghost was attended with extraordinary Demonstrations of outward Power, the Influences of God's Holy Spi. rit were readily acknowledged and thank. fully receiv'd; but since these Demonstrations have ceased, Men have been apt to disregard thesc Influences in general to a Degree almost of Disbelief ; but let us consider, that the former Circumstances were necessary only for the Infant State of Christ's Church ; but the latter will always be necessary; and therefore from the Nature of the Thing, but much more from the Proinise of God himself, we may be assured they will be always largely supply'd, and if supply'd, certainly by the same Means now whereby they were supply'd formerly: The Power of work. ing Miracles and such-like in the Apostles Days, was not imparted to all those who might truly be said to receive the Holy Ghost ; the Power of inward Holiness, the Graces of Gospel.Righteousness, the Blessings of an enlightened Mind and purified Heart, were the much more general and much more beneficial Influences