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his instructions, when accompanied, it may be, with sore afflictions, or inward distresses that have been evident tokens of his displeasure? let such souls rouse up themselves to lay hold on him, for he is ready to depart, it may be for ever. And,
Thirdly, We may do well to consider much the miserable condition of those who are thus utterly forsaken by him. When we see a man who hath lived in a plentiful and flourishing condition, brought to extreme penury and want, seeking his bread in rags from door to door, the spectacle is sad, although we know, he brought this misery on himself by profuseness or debauchery of life. But how sad is it to think of a man, whom, it may be, we knew to have had a great light and conviction, to have made an amiable profession, to have been adorned with sundry useful spiritual gifts, and had in estimation on this account, now to be despoiled of all his ornaments, to have lost light, and life, and gifts, and profession, and to lie as a poor withered branch on the dunghill of the world! And the sadness hereof will be increased, when we shall consider, not only that the Spirit of God is departed from him, but also is become his enemy, and fights against him, whereby he is devoted unto irrecoverable ruin.
Spiritual gifts; their names and signification. The second part of the dispensation of the Spirit in order unto the perfecting of the new creation, or the edification of the church, consists in his communication of spiritual gifts - unto the members of it, according as their places and stations therein do require. By his work of saving grace (which in other discourses we have given a large account of) he makes all the elect living stones ; and, by his communication of spiritual gifts, he fashions and builds those stones into a temple for the living God to dwell in. He spiritually unites them into one mystical body under the Lord Christ, as a head of influence by faith and love; and he unites them into an organical body under the Lord Christ as a head of rule, by gifts and spiritual abilities. Their nature is made one and the same by grace; their use is various by gifts. Every one is a part of the body of Christ, of the essence of it, by the same quickening, animating spirit of grace; but one is an eye, another a hand, another a foot, in the body, by virtue of peculiar gifts. For unto every one of us is given grace according, to the measure of the gift of Christ;'Eph. iv. 7.
These gifts are not saving sanctifying graces; those were not so in themselves which made the most glorious and astonishing appearance in the world, and which were most eminently useful in the foundation of the church, and propagation of the gospel. Such as were those that were extraordinary and miraculous. There is something of the divine nature in the least grace, that is not in the most glorious gift which is only so. It will therefore be part of our work, to shew wherein the essential difference between these gifts sanctifying graces doth consist; as, also, what is their nature and use must be inquired into. For although they are not grace, yet they are that without which the church cannot
subsist in the world, nor can believers be useful unto one another, and the rest of mankind, unto the glory of Christ, as they ought to be. They are the powers of the world to come; those effectual operations of the power of Christ, whereby his kingdom was erected and is preserved.
And hereby is the church state under the New Testament differenced from that under the Old. There is, indeed, a great difference between their ordinances and ours; theirs being suited unto the dark apprehensions which they had of spiritual things; ours accommodated unto the clearer light of the gospel, more plainly and expressly representing heavenly things unto us; Heb. x. 1. But our ordinances with their spirit would be carnal also. The principal difference lies in the administration of the Spirit, for the due performance of gospel worship, by virtue of these gifts bestowed on men for that very end. Hence the whole of evangelical worship is called the ministration of the Spirit, and thence said to be glorious; 2 Cor. iii. 8. And where they are neglected, I see not the advantage of the outward worship and ordinances of the gospel, above those of the law. For although their institutions are accommodated unto that administration of grace and truth which came by Jesus Christ; yet they must lose their whole glory, force, and efficacy, if they be not dispensed, and the duties of them performed, by virtue of these spiritual gifts. And therefore, no sort of men by whom they are neglected, do or can content themselves with the pure and unmixed gospel institutions in these things, but do rest principally in the outward part of divine service in things of their own finding out. For as gospel gifts are useless without attending unto gospel institutions; so gospel institutions are found to be fruitless and unsatisfactory, without the attaining and exercising of gospel gifts.
Be it so, therefore, that these gifts we intend are not in themselves saving graces; yet are they not to be despised. For they are, as we shall shew, the powers of the world to come, by means whereof the kingđom of Christ is preserved, carried on, and propagated in the world. And although they are not grace, yet are they the great means whereby all grace is ingenerated and exercised. And although the spiritual life of the church doth not consist in them, yet the order and edification of the church depends wholly on them. And therefore are they so frequently mentioned in the Scripture as the great privilege of the New Testament; directions being multiplied in the writings of the apostles, about their nature and proper use.
And we are commanded earnestly to desire and labour after them, especially those which are most useful and subservient unto edification; 1 Cor. xii. 31. And as the neglect of internal saving grace, wherein the power of godliness doth consist, hath been the bane of Christian profession as to obedience, issuing in that form of it which is consistent with all manner of lusts; so the neglect of these gifts hath been the ruin of the same profession as to worship and order, which hath thereon issued in fond superstition.
The great and signal promise of the communication of these gifts, is recorded, Psal. Ixviii. 18. “Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive, thou hast received gifts for men.' For these words are applied by the apostle unto that communication of spiritual gifts from Christ, whereby the church was founded and edified ; Eph. iv. 8. And whereas it is foretold in the Psalm, that Christ should receive gifts, that is, to give them unto men, as that expression is expounded by the apostle; so he did this by receiving of the Spirit, the proper cause and immediate author of them all, as Peter declares, Acts ii. 23. “Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this which.
ye now see and hear;' speaking of the miraculous gifts conferred on the apostles at the day of Pentecost. For these gifts are from Christ, not as God absolutely, but as mediator, in which capacity he received all from the Father in a way of free donation. Thus, therefore, he received the Spirit as the author of all spiritual gifts. And whereas all the powers of the world to come consisted in them, and the whole work of the building and propagation of the church depended on them, the apostles after all the instructions they had received from Christ, whilst he conversed with them in the days of his flesh, and also after his resurrection, were commanded not to go about the great work which they had received commission for, until they had received power by the coming of the Holy Ghost upon them in the communication of those gifts; Acts i. 4. 8. And as they neither might nor could do any thing in their peculiar work, as to the laying of the foundation of
the Christian church, until they had actually received those extraordinary gifts which gave them power so to do; so ifthose who undertake in any place, degree, or office, to carry on the edification of the church, do not receive those more ordinary gifts which are continued unto that end, they bave neither right to undertake that work, nor power to perform it in a due manner.
The things which we are to inquire into concerning these gifts, are, I. Their name ; II. Their nature in general, and therein how they agree with and differ from saving graces; III. Their distinction; IV. The particular nature of them; and, V. Their use in the church of God.
I. The general name of those spiritual endowments which we intend is dópara'; so the apostle renders Dinn, Eph. iv. 8. from Psal. lxviii. 18. dona, gifts. That is, they are free and undeserved effects of divine bounty.' In the minds of men on whom they are bestowed, they are spiritual powers and endowments with respect unto a certain end. But as to their original and principal cause, they are free, undeserved gifts.' Thence the Holy Spirit, as the author of them, and with respect unto them, is called dwpɛà toū Decī, the gift of God;' John iv. 10. And the effect itself is also termed duped ToŨ åylov a veúuaros, the gift of the Holy Ghost;' Acts x. 45. The gift of God;' Acts viii. 20. The 'gift of the grace of God;' Eph. iii. 7. The 'gift of Christ;' Eph. iv. 7. The "heavenly gift;" Heb. vi. 4. All expressing the freedom of their communication on the part of the Father, Son, and Spirit.' And in like manner on the same account are they called xaplouara, that is,“gracious largésses;' gifts proceeding from mere bounty. And therefore saving graces are also expressed by the same name in general, because they also are freely and undeservedly communicated unto us; Rom. xi. 28. But these gifts are frequently and almost constantly so erpressed ; Rom. xii.6. 1 Cor. i. 7. vii. 7. xii. 4. 9. 28. 30. 1 Pet. iv. 14. 2 Tim. i. 6. And it is absolute freedom in the bestower of them that is principally intended in this name. Hence he hath left his name as a curse unto all posterity, who thought this free gift of God might be purchased with money; Acts viii. 20. A pageantry of which crime the apostate ages of the church erected, in applying the name of that sin to the purchase of benefices and dignities, whilst the gift of God was