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St. Peter declares A&ts. 2. 39. that the Promise, viz. of the Spirit, was not to themselves and that Generation only, but to their Children also, and to all that were afar off, even to as many as the Lord God should call. Thus accomplished and conpleated in the New Birth, which is nothing else but Faith working by Love. Gal 5.6. 6. 15. they can

s not be suppos’d to want those Virtues and Powers, which our Lord hath promised shall always accompany Faith, though no greater than a Grain of Mustard seed, which as himself says, is the least of all Seeds. Luke 17. 6. Mar. 13. 31, 32. $15. This is a Doctrine that will never a Digres.

A go down with those who are wedded to fion con. the commonly received Opinion, that the cerning the miraculous Powers and Gifts of the Holy Refitution

of SpirituGhost were appropriated to the Apostles al Gifts, or the next succeeding Age, looking up- and Miraon them indeed to be no better than the culous Infant Supports of a rising Church, things theChurche

. proper to gain Respect and Authority to new Doctrines and the Preachers of a new Religion, but not at all necessary for times of greater Perfection and Improvement, such as came afterwards, when the Truths of Christianity were sufficient

ly settled, and generally believed; much * less can they be necessary for these Days

of Light and Wisdom, for us who live under such a Dispensation, which, some would have us believe to be as Perfect, both as to Doctrine and Discipline, as any thing can be on this side Heaven.

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This is a common and prevailing Opinion, which deserves a very particular Examination, too long for this Place; I shall therefore only make two or three Remarks upon it, and return to my Subject.

I. St. Paul, Eph. 4. 8, 9, 10, 11, 12. affrom the

serts that the various Gifts and Dispensati: Scriptures.

ons of the Spirit given by our Lord after his Ascension, which were those before mention'd out of St. Mark 16. 17. with the other, whereby they were distinguished into Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors and Teachers, were given, for the Perfečting of the Saints, for the Work of the Minie ! Stry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ, till we all come in the Unity of the Faith, and of the Knowledge of the Son of God, unto a Perfect

, Man, unto the Measure of the Stature of the Fulness of Christ, &c. i. e, as the succeeding Verses explain it. The End of these Gifts and Powers was the gathering and compleating a perfect Church upon Earth; which is a Doctrine of Scripture of singular use in things of this Nature. Now can any one shew me when this End was attained? When and where was this Perfection of the Saints? When did all come in the Unity of the Faith and Knowledge of the Son of God unto a Perfect Man and yet it has pleased God to suspend these Means, these Powers are ceased. What shall we say then that God determind an End which he could not accomplish, or pitch'd upon Meanis disproporţionable to the End propos’d? God forbid! The

Early

Early Apoftarizing of the Church from her first Love, and the gradual Progress of that Apostacy, made God abhor his Sanctuary, and withdraw those visible Tokens of his Presence; and among the Jews the fufpenfion of these miraculous Powers was constantly looked upon as a Mark of the Divine Displeasure. Thus Exod 33: 3,5. God refuses to go up with the People because of their Iniquities, which cannot be understood of his general Presence, who is every where, and filleth all things, but of his special miraculous Care and Protection of them. So when Joshua humbled himself before God, for the Defeat of Israel by the Men of Ai, Folh. 7. 12. God tells him the Reason, and threatens him to be with them no more, unless they did destroy the Accursed Thing from among them. To mention no more, when the Angel of the Lord

appeared to Gideon in his Threshing-floor with this Salutation, The Lord is with thee; Thom mighty Man of Valour. Jud. 6. 12. His. An-, (wer was, Ob my Lord ! if the Lord be with us, ,

! why is all this befaln us (viz. the Oppression of the Madianites) ? and where are all bis Ming racles which our Fathers told us of, such as the, Deliverance out of Ægypt, &c.? As if he had said, the suspending his wonted mirar culous Protection of us, is a sufficient Mark of his Indignation. And I cannot but think that the wife Compilers of our Exs cellent Liturgy, had this in their Thoughts, when after those moving words, Psal. 44. 1.

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o God, we have beard with our ears, &c. The Church. devoutly adds, by way of Confidence in the former Mercies of God,

O Lord arise, help, and deliver us for thine Honour. From the

II. It was the Opinion of many of the Ancients. Fathers, (not to say the Doctrine of the Ca

tholick Church, which the Learned Mr.Dod_ well asserts, Dissert. Cyprian, p. 12. S 10.) that Miracles, or the Gifts of the Holy Ghost, would always accompany the Cátholick Church, and by consequence were never to cease, unless (which was hinted by many of their Expressions) there should be

wanting fit Persons to receive and execute * Lib. 3. those great Commissions. Irenæus *, speaking cont.Hæref

. of the Gifts of the Spirit, says, They were P. 226.

á Treasure deposited by God in the Church; which Spirit, he says, is the Principle of Divine Life and Energy in the Church, even as the Soul to the Natural Body; adding, 'God has placed in the Church Apostles,

Prophets, Teachers, and all the other Gifts

of the Spirit, which all they are not Parta* kers of who are out of its Communion; (plainly intimating, that the Faithful were Partakers :) `For (a little after) where the • Church is, there is the Spirit of God; and

where the Spirit of God is, there is the Church, and all Graces (or Spiritual Gifts,

às the Word signifies.) Origen also t, speak+ Lib. 7; ing of the Jews, says, They had no Procont. Celo. phets among them after the Coming of our

Blessed Saviour. For they were forsaken by God, after they had rejected him whom the Prophets foretold : But these Powers,

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revived again at the Preaching of Jesus, and much more after his Assumption; then they decreased again : But there are still fome Footsteps of them remaining among a few Persons, whose Souls are purified by the Word of God, and whose

Actions are conformable. For (as he goes on) The Holy Spirit of Discipline will flee Deceit, and remove from Thoughts that are without Understanding, Wisd. 1. 5. Eusebius t, di- † Eccl.Hift.

Lib.s. Cap. fputing against the Montanists, has this Pafsage: If (as the Montanists tell us) after Quadratus and Ammianus Philadelphus, these Women of Montanus succeeded in the Gift of Prophecy; let them shew us who fhall succeed them, for the Apostle teaches us, that the Gift of Prophecy must continue in the Church till the Second Coming of our Lord; which, lest any should interpret only of the ordinary ministerial Succession, as it has been expounded, I shall produce another Passage (Lib. s. Cap. 7.) where, after he had quoted a Passage out of Irenæus, concerning the continuance of Miracles to his time, adds, That these different gaeioualice (a very comprehensive Word) were exercised even in his own times tegi Tois džiois, by those that were worthy to receive them. Many other Testimonies might be produced, which I shall omit, excepting only one out of Cardinal Cajetan's Commentary upon Aquinas *. Speaking of the gratiæ gra

* 2da. 2day tis datæ, he puts a Queston, why the Gift

Suelt.

176. of Tongues is not continued in the Church: To this, says he, 1. St. Augustin answers, L 2

That

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