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and expressions are not of their own present invention. It is to them, the benefit of a gift, bestowed for their edification in its present exercise, according to the mind of God. That only is a form of prayer unto any, which he himself useth as a form; for its nature depends on its use. (5.) The argument is incogent; God hath commanded some to pray according to the ability they have received, and others to join with them therein; therefore it is lawful to invent forms of prayer for ourselves or others, to be used as prayers by them
3. That which those who pretend unto moderation in this matter plead, is, that prayer itself is a commanded duty; but praying by or with a prescribed form, is only an outward manner and circumstance of it, which is indifferent, and may or may not be used as we see occasion. And might a general rule to this purpose be duly established, it would be of huge importance. But, (1.) it is an easy thing to invent and prescribe such outward forms and manner of outward worship, as shall leave nothing of the duty prescribed but the empty name. (2.) Praying before an image, or worshipping God or Christ by an image, is but an outward mode of worship, yet such as renders the whole idolatrous. (3.) Any outward mode of worship, the attendance whereunto, or the observance whereof, is prejudicial unto the due performance of the duty whereunto it is annexed, is inexpedient; and what there is hereof in the present instance, must be judged from the preceding discourse.
THE HOLY SPIRIT AND HIS WORK:
OF THE SPIRIT AS A COMFORTER;
AS HE IS THE AUTHOR OF SPIRITUAL GIFTS.
That there are sundry great and eminent promises, referring to New Testament times, concerning the pouring out of the Spirit, none who is acquainted with the Scriptures, and believes them, can doubt. By the performance of them a church hath been begotten and maintained in the world, through all ages since the ascension of Christ, sometimes with greater light and spiritual lustre, and sometimes with less. It hath been one of the glories of the Protestant Reformation, that it hath been accompanied with a very conspicuous and remarkable effusion of the Spirit: and indeed thereby there hath from heaven a seal been set, and a witness borne, unto that great work of God. In this invaluable blessing, we in this nation have had a rich and plentiful share; insomuch, as it seems, Satan and his ministers have been tormented and exasperated thereby: and thence it is come to pass, that there have some risen up among us, who have manifested themselves to be not only despisers in heart, but virulent reproachers of the operations of the Spirit. God who knows how to bring good out of evil, did for holy and blessed ends of his own, suffer those horrid blasphemies to be particularly vented.
On this occasion it was, that this great, and learned, and holy person, the Author of these Discourses, took up thoughts of writing concerning the blessed Spirit, and his whole economy, as I understood from himself sundry years ago, discoursing with him concerning some books then newly published, full of contumely and contempt of the Holy Spirit and his operations. For as it was with Paul at Athens, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry; so was Doctor Owen's spirit stirred in him, when he read the scoffs and blasphemies cast upon the Holy Spirit, and his grace, and gifts, and aids, in some late writers.
Had not Pelagius vented his corrupt opinions concerning the grace of God, it is like, the church had never had the learned and excellent writings of Augustine in defence thereof. It appears from Bradwardin, that the revival of Pelagianism in his days, stirred-up his zealous and pious spirit to write that profound and elaborate book of his, 'De Causa Dei.' Arminius, and the Jesuits, endeavouring to plant the same weed again, produced the scholastic writings of Twiss and Ames (not to mention foreign divines), for which we in this generation have abundant cause of enlarged thankfulness unto the Father of lights. The occasion which the Holy Ghost laid hold on to carry forth Paul to write his Epistle to the Galatians (wherein the doctrine of justification by faith is so fully cleared), was the bringing in among them of another gospel by corrupt teachers, after which many in those churches were soon drawn away. The obstinate adherence of many among the Jews to the Mosaical rites and observances, and the inclination of others to apostatize from the New Testament worship and ordinances, was in like manner the occasion of the Epistle to the Hebrews. The light which shines, and is held out in those Epistles, the church of Christ could ill have wanted. The like
way and working of the wisdom of God, is to be seen and adored, in stirring up this learned and excellent person to communicate and leave unto the world that light, touching the Spirit and his operations, which he had received by that Spirit from the sacred oracles of truth, the Scriptures.
To what advantage and increase of light it is performed, is not for so incompetent a pen to say as writes this. Nevertheless, I doubt not but the discerning reader will observe such excellencies shining out in