« AnteriorContinua »
dergone in that Nature, fall continue as long as that Union it self, namely, for ever and ever.
In the mean while the Power which he exerciseth, with regard to that part of his Church which is upon the Earth, consistech in ruling it, by the standing Revelacion of his Will; in making Intercession for it; and prorecting it from the Malice of all its Enemies. He gives the several Members of it, his holy Spirit to enable them to perform their Dury, and to refist the Temptations which would hinder chem from it; This he doth in an ordinary Measure, and in an ordinary Way; to wit, by our using Prayer, his Word, and the Sacraments: These are the Means of obtaining Grace at Present; and by these we are strengthen'd in the Hopes of future Glory.
As for those extraordinary Gifts of the Holy Ghost, which were bestowed upon the Apostles, 'tis very plain that we have them not, and therefore as plain that they are not necessary. After Christianity was planted in the World, the End was gained for which chose extraordinary Gifts were bestowed, and when the End was gain. ed, the Means conducing to it, ceas'd of course. Indeed, 'twas highly necessary, that the first Propagators of CHRIST'S Religion, should have an uncommon Degrce of his Spirir: bey were to encounsee the Prejudice, and Spighe of Jews and Gentiles; and a valt many more Difficulties; and therefore 'twas absolutely requilite chat they should be indued with proporcionable Strength and Ability. And lo we find that they were: For the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles, in a most wonderful and unheard of manner; by whose Help they soon carried the joyful Sound of the Gospel into all Lands, and brought Salvation unto the Ends of the World. And this brings me to the
Second Thing propounded, namely, To consider the Descent of the Holy Ghost after CHRIST's Exaltation. This Expression, Holy Ghost, doth frequently signify in the Scriptures, nothing else but the Gifts and Graces that he confers upon any one; which are called Holy Ghost, by a Figure, by which the Cause of a Thing is put for the Thing it self. By the descending therefore, or Theding forth of the Holy Ghost upon any Perfons, we are to understand that there is communicated unto them a Share of his Favour or Blessing. Of which an extraordinary Degree was poured upon the
Apostles in a very strange and surprizing Manner. And this might be called, the Promise of the Holy Chot, both upon account of the Prediction in foel, mertioned by St. Peter at che 16th, and 17th, and some following Verses of this Chapter; It shall come to pass in the last Days, (faith God) I will pour out my Spirit upon all Flesh, &c. And also because our Saviour several Times promised it his Apostles whilst he convers'd with them upon Earth. Thus in John xv. 25. When the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto gou from the Father, even the Spirit of Truth. And so likewise at the 7ih Verle of the xvith Chapter; It is expedient for j'oul that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. Thele Promises were made before his Death: And they were again repeated after his Resurrection,
Thus St. Luke informs us, in the last Chapter of his Gospel, that he spake after this Manner: Bebold, 1 send the Promise of my Father upon you ; but tarry je in tbe City of Jerusalem, until ze beindued with Power from on bigh. And to the fame Purpose we are told, in the first Chapter of his Acts of the Apostles; that
be commanded them that they should not depart from Yerusalem, but wait for the Promise of the Father, which (faith he) ye have beard of me: For John truly baptiz'd with Water, but ye shall be baptiz'd with the Holy Ghost not many Days hence. Upon either or both of these ACcounts might the Baptism with the Holy Ghost, or the shedding forth of the Holy Ghost upon the Apostles, be called the Projnise of it.
Now of the fulfilling of this Promise to the Apostles, we have a large Account in this Chapter out of which my Text is taken. As they were all with one Accord in one place, suddenly there came a Sound from Heaven, as of a rufing mighty Wind, and it filled all the Houe where they were fitting. The suddenness of this Sound, its impetuous, violent rushing, and its filling all the House, very properly represented the wonderful Power and Force of that Holy Spirit, which bore down the Opposition Christiantity met with in its Infancy, and quickly gave it a very great Footing in all parts of the World.
To proceed; We arc cold that Cloven Tongues appear'd to thein, like as of Fire, and it sat upon each of them; And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and
began to ffeak with other Tongues
, as the Spirit gave them Utterance: Thus they were qualified co talk whatsoever Language they had Occasion to make use of in
propagacing the Christian Faith. This Variery of Languages which they were quallified to talk, might be denoted by the Formin which the Tongues appeared ; for they appeared Cloven or divided.
Their appearing like as of Fire, might be a Token of that Warmth and Vigour, wherewith the Apostles should preach the Doctrine of Jesus CHRIST; and also of the powerful Conviction following their Discourses; which had a Force over confideräte thinking Men, like as Fire over combustible Matter, which it brings into the fame Condition wich it self.
Again, These Tongues coming upon each of them, shew'd that they were all endued with the like Gift ; and their fiting upon them might signify, that this Gift was to rest upon them, or that they should constantly enjoy the Use of those Languages, which were necessary in order to the making Disciples in all the Narions over which they should travel.
And as the Descent of the Holy Ghost enabled the Apostles to impart the Divine Mysteries to others, so it brought the