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SER M. the miracle certain, unquestionable and
manifest; and accordingly the Effect of
ver any other religion was propagated in the compass of many Ages. This gift of Tongues
ceased indeed after some time, as other SE R M.
XI. Miracles did; because all these sort of gifts were bestowed not for their own fake or intrinsick worth, but only in order to the propagation of the Gospel, and to convince men of the Truth of that Religion, whose principal end and design confifted in those gifts and graces of the Spirit which were to continue for ever. Which end being once obtained, and the Gospel established in the World, these miraculous gifts ceased; having been given, as St Paul expresses it, not for them that believe, but for them that believe not. But those gifts of the Spirit, in which consists the renewal of the mind of man, and which are the Springs of all virtues which make us like unto God; these are to continue through all Ages; and are so much more excellent and more desirable than the former, as the End is better and more excellent than the Means. In our Saviour's and in the Apostle's time, it was very natural to the Weakness of Men, to be most ambitious of such gifts, as made the greatest appearance, and could not but
SER M. gain the greatest esteem and applause in XI. the eyes of the World : But our Saviour
himself cautioned his Disciples, not to rejoice so much at their being indued with a power of working Miracles, as at their Names being written in Heaven: And St Paul afterwards took great pains to convince his hearers, that though it was indeed lawful to covet miraculous gifts, yet he could still show unto them a more excellent way; that it was a greater and far more desirable thing, to instruct men in their plain and necessary duty, than to work the most ftupendous miracle; and that Love and Goodness, Righteousness and Holiness, Meekness and Charity, were things more excellent and valuable in themselves, than to be able to speak with all the Tongues, either of Men or Angels. The reason is plain, because the one is beneficial only to Others, but the other to ourselves likewise ; He that works a Miracle or speaks with Tongues to convince another, may yet possibly himself have no title to the rewards of the Gospel; but He that is indued with those gifts which
are the end and design of the Gospel, Serm. and for the sake only of which all the XI. rest were given, does thereby secure his own Salvation, as well as promote the Salvation of others. Let us then by Charity and Goodness and the practise of all virtues secure to ourselves that which is most excellent ; and then though the gifts of Miracles, be not continued to us, yet we shall obtain the End for which alone those gifts have ever been given to Others. For, he that speaks with Tongues for the conversion of others, may (without the Virtues of Meekness and Humility, Love and Charity,) himself possibly become a Cast-away : But he whose Mind is indued with those inward Virtues, which are the more excellent gifts and fruits of the Spirit, has attained that End, for the promoting of which, the other outwardly brighter and more resplendent Gifts, were all intended but as Means.