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be admitted into the Body of God'sS ERM. Church on Earth, because they are by their Innocence qualified to become Members of his eternal Kingdom in Heaven. Nevertheless, though the thing fignified itfelf, is always of much more importance than the Sign; and often accepted by God in the ftead of and without the external Form; yet this is always fo to be underftood, when the external Form cannot be had. For where, by the Perfon's own wilful and contemptuous neglect, any Ceremony of God's exprefs Appointment is omitted; there be that defpifeth, defpifeth not Man, but God; who has also annexed to what means he pleafeth, the Gift of his holy Spirit. Except a man be born of Water and of the Spirit, faith our Saviour; except he that has the Means and Opportunity of doing it, makes ufe of thofe Means of Grace which God has been pleased to appoint; 'tis reasonable he fhould fall fhort of the Grace itself, and be cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. Except ye Eat my Flesh and Drink my Blood, faith our Lord in another place; His principal Meaning is, except ye reD 4
SER M.ceive my Doctrine, and by obeying it, incorporate yourselves into my fpiritual Body; ye have no Life in you: This (I fay) is plainly his principal Meaning, becaufe the Words were fpoken before any external Symbols of his Body and Blood were inftituted: Yet, when fuch Sacramental Symbols were appointed; then it became the Duty of every fincere Chriftian, not only to eat our Lord's Flesh and drink his Blood fpiritually; not only fo to imbibe his Doctrine, as to make it the Support and Nourishment of a Spiritual Life, the Spring and Ground-work, of a Holy and Virtuous Converfation; but it became their Duty also to participate of the External Sacrament, and to make use of the Means, as well as defire the End, of Chrift's own Appointment. The Difciples in the Text, when they heard St Paul preach about the Gift of the Holy Ghoft, immediately they were baptized in the Name of the Lord Jefus ; And without fo doing, they would not have received the Gifts of the Spirit, notwithstanding that the Text does before call them Difciples, upon their having been baptized with the Baptifm of Repentance
pentance by John. This fhows how wellS ER M. confiftent, the Neceffity of obferving any Rite or Ceremouy of God's own Appointment is, with the Chriftian Religion's laying at the fame time no firess at all upon the external Form or Ceremony itself, but only on the internal moral Difpofition or virtuous Qualification of the Mind. To which inward Qualification of Mind, great regard is always shown in Scripture, even where all external Advantages have been wanting. Thus to the Scribe who was fo well-difpofed, as to judge that the Love of God and of our Neighbour, was more valuable than all whole burnt-offerings; our Saviour immediately replies, Thou art not far from the Kingdom of God; Mar. xii. 34, Of the young man who had obferved the Commandments from his youth, 'tis recorded that Jefus beholding him loved him; Mar. x. 21. To the Syrophonician Woman, whom at firft our Lord feemed to reject with great severity, for not being of the house of Ifrael; yet at length he replies, 0 woman, great is thy Faith, be it unto thee even as thou wilt; Matt. xv. 28. And of
SER M. the Gentiles themfelves, St Paul makes no
2. THE next Obfervation we may draw from the words of the Text, is, that every Disciple of Chrift is here fupposed to have received the Gift of the Holy Ghoft. For fo St Paul, as in words equivalent to asking them whether they
had been baptized or no, thus puts the SER M. Question to them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost fince ye believed? And what was then meant by receiving the Holy Ghost, appears from the following words, ver. 6; And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them and they spake with tongues and prophefied. This was the immediate Effect of the Holy Ghoft's first coming upon the Apoftles at Pentecoft; And This was generally the Effect of its coming afterward upon new Converts at their Baptism. And when this miraculous Effect ceased, yet ftill the receiving of the Holy Ghoft was as conftant and as neceffary as ever: becaufe Except a man be born of the Spirit, as well as of water, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. 'Tis Now true, as well as it was Then, that if any man has not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of bis; and that the Spirit of Chrift dwelleth in us, except we be reprobates.
The way to know whether any person has this Spirit dwelling in him, or no; is by the Fruits of the Spirit; For the Tree is known by its Fruit; Matt. xii. 33. Now