صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

with the Spirit of truth, unity and concord." And in the collect for the Fifth Sunday after Easter, "Grant to us thy humble servant, that by thy holy

inspiration we may think those things that be

good." And in another place,* Cleanse the "thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of thy "Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love thee," &c. Now, then, what think you? Do you believe the church holds the doctrine of the inspiration of the Spirit, or not? I have set these passages before you on purpose to convince you that she doth. What shall we say, then, to those who are ready to rave and gnash their teeth at persons who lay claim to inspiration? Do not such people contradict the Articles and Homilies and Liturgies of the Church of England? And what a shocking thing is it for ministers to offer up such petitions in their prayers, and then preach against inspiration as soon as they get into the pulpit! Do not such men, while they deny and oppose the inspiration of the Spirit of God, prove that they are inspired with a contrary spirit? It is in vain here to reply, We only speak against the miraculous and extraordinary inspiration of the Spirit; for who is there pretends to this miraculous and extraordinary inspiration? I know none that make any such pretensions. I entreat you, therefore, do not make this pretence, of denying miraculous inspiration, a cloak for opposing all inspiration

* Communion Service.

whatsoever. Do you believe the Articles and Liturgies of the established church? If you do, why do you disrelish the term inspiration? And why are you offended at those who preach this doctrine, and experience it in their hearts? Do you think our church, in the places I have quoted, means extraordinary inspiration, i. e. a power to work miracles? and if the common influence and inspiration of the Holy Ghost is hereby intended, why should you deride, much less despise or malign those who receive this divine Afflatus? Ought you not rather to acknowledge your want of it, and to wait upon God in prayer, and the use of all other means, that you also may obtain it?

66

The Liturgy, in several other places, holds forth this doctrine: Thus in the prayer for the king, Replenish him with the grace of thy Holy Spirit :" In that for the royal family; "Endue them with thy "Holy Spirit." In the collect for Quinquagesima Sunday; Send thy Holy Ghost, and pour into our "hearts that most excellent gift of charity." And in the office of confirmation; "Fill them, O Lord, "with the Spirit of thy holy fear." Where you see the bishop prays, that the persons confirmed may be endued, yea, filled with the Spirit. So St. Paul prays. for the Ephesians, that they may be filled with all the fulness of God, Eph. iii. 19. He doth not pray, that they may be filled with God, or with the fulness of God, but with all the fulness of God. Who can tell how much these words contain? And yet the apostle offers up this petition for the general bulk of believers

in the Ephesian church; and this prayer had its effect, the event was accordingly, if we will believe Ignatius, who, in his epistle to the Ephesians, saith, "Let us, therefore, do all things, as having him dwelling in us, that we may be his temples, and

he may be in us our own God."* And in another epistle, viz. that to the Magnesians, he hath these words; "Knowing that you are full of God, I briefly "exhort you :" To which we may adjoin that passage of Clement the Roman: "A full effusion of the

Holy Ghost was upon all." And yet some men of sense and learning, esteem those expressions, Full of God, and Full of the Holy Ghost, as ostentatious and enthusiastical, notwithstanding they are countenanced by the scriptures, and found in the writings of primitive fathers. And Bishop Hall describes the state of the soul under the influence of the divine Spirit, as "Ready for God, yea, Full of God."

I now offer the following texts of scripture in proof of what I have said upon this head. John the Baptist, who was to prepare the way for our Lord's coming, informs those who came to his baptism, that there was one coming after him, viz. Christ, who should baptize them with the Holy Ghost and with fire,

* Πανία εν ποίωμεν ως αυτό εν ημεν κατοικωντος, ινω ωμεν αυτό ναοι, και αυτος η εν ημιν Θεός ημών. Ignat. ad Ephes.

† Ειδως οτι Θες γεμελέ, συντόμως παρεκέλευσα υμάς. Ignat. ad Magnes. + Πλήρης Πνευματοσ Α Για Εκχυσις επι παντας εδινείο 1 Epist ad Corinth. § Dec. II. Ep. I.

Matt. iii. 2. By being baptized with the Holy Ghost, is meant receiving him to regenerate and sanctify our souls, both which are typified by water baptism. And if the conjunction and be here taken exegetically, the sense of the words will be this, "He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, who, for his illuminating, penetrating, quickening, and refining influences, resembles fire. Accordingly he is compared to fire, Rev. iv. 5. And when he descended on the apostles, Acts, ii. 8. there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire; which was to denote the power and efficacy of the word preached, when the Spirit of God attends it.

In John, vii. 38. we find these words, He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. Our Saviour here gives us a promise of the Spirit, under the similitude of water. As water cleanses the body from filth and dirt, so the Holy Ghost purifies the heart from the pollution of sin and as water cools and refreshes our bodies when we are faint and weary, so the Spirit of God refreshes and comforts our souls: hence it is, that the Eternal Spirit, is so frequently exhibited to us in scripture under the figure and resemblance of water. God calls himself the fountain of living waters, Jer. ii. 13. for whosoever drinks this water, lives for ever. The prophet Isaiah invites every one that thirsteth to come to the waters, Isa. Iv. 1. and so doth our Saviour, Rev. xxi. 6.-xxii. 17. St. Paul mentions spiritual drink, 1 Cor. x. 4.—

xii. 13. This spiritual drink, this living water, is the common privilege of all believers, which makes the evangelist add, This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive, ver. 30. And so saith God, Acts, ii. 17. I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh, i, e. upon all the fallen race who believe in Jesus Christ.

The angel who foretold the birth of John the Baptist, saith, he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost even from his mother's womb, Luke, i. 15. Elizabeth and Zacharias were both filled with the Holy Ghost, ver. 41.67. Peter was filled with the Holy Ghost, Acts, iv. 8. and Paul, Acts, xiii. 9. Stephen is described as a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, Acts, vi. 5. so likewise is Barnabas, Acts, xi. 24. You will be ready to object, These are particular and extraordinary instances, and they are no rule for us to go by ; though the apostles and some others bad such plenteous and plenary vouchsafements of the Holy Spirit, we are not to expect the same now. But why not? Have we not as much need of the Holy Spirit, as the apostles and first christians had? Is it not our privilege, upon whom the ends of the world are come? Why then should we not ask for it, and expect to receive it at God's hands? and I would advise persons to be cautious of confining the Spirit to primitive times, lest they confine heaven to primitive times, and so miss of it themselves; for, indeed, there is no going to heaven without receiving the Holy Spirit. Besides, what saith the scripture? The disciples were

« السابقةمتابعة »