Page images
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

be ordained to the office of a deacon, are in the fight of God, and in the presence of the congregation, to declare, that

they trust they are inwardly moved by the Holy Ghost, to take upon them that administration ;” and to those, who are to be ordained priests, the bishop is to repeat these folemn words, 6 Receive thou the Holy Ghost, now committed unto thee, by the imposition of our hands." And yet, О that I had no reason to speak it, many that use our forms, and many who have witneffed this good confeffion, yet dare to both talk and preach against the necessity of receiving the Holy Ghost now; and not only so, but cry out against those, who do infift upon it, as madmen, enthufiafts, schismatics, and underminers of the established constitution.

But you are the schismatics, you are the bane of the church of England, who are always crying out, " the temple of the LORD, the temple of the Lord;" and yet starve the people out of our communion, by feeding them only with the dry husks of dead morality, and not bringing out to them the fatted calf; I mean, the doctrines of the operations of the blessed Spirit of God. But here is the misfortune; many of us are not led by, and therefore no wonder that we cannot talk feelingly of, the Holy Ghoft; we subscribe to our articles, and make them serve for a key to get into church-preferment, and then preach contrary to those very articles to which we have subscribed. Far be it from me, to charge all the clergy with this hateful hypocrisy; no, blessed be God, there are some left

among us, who dare maintain the doctrines of the Reformation, and preach the truch as it is in JESUS: But I speak the truth in CHRIST, I lye not; the generality of the clergy are fallen from our articles, and do not speak agreeable to them, or to the form of found words delivered in the Scriptures ; wo be unto such blind leaders of the blind! how can you escape the damnation of hell? It is not all your learning (falsely so called) it is not all your preferments can keep you from the just judgment of God. Yet a little while, and we shall all appear before the tribunal of CHRIST; there, there will I meet you ; there Jesus CHRIST, the great Shepherd and Bishop of fouls, shall determine who are the falle prophets, who are the wolves in theep's cloathing. Those who 5

say, say, that we must now receive and feel the Holy Ghost, or those who exclaim against it, as the doctrine of devils.

But I can no more; it is an unpleasing taík to censure any order of men, especially those who are in the ministry ; nor would any thing excuse it but necefity: that neceffity which extorted from our LORD himself so many woes against the Scribes and Pharisees, the letter-learned rulers and teachers of the Jewish church; and surely, if I could bear to see people perish for lack of knowledge, and yet be filent towards those who keep from them the key of true knowledge, the very ftones would cry out.

Would we restore the church to its primitive dignity, the only way is to live and preach the doctrine of CHRIST, and the articles to which we have subscribed ; then we shall find the number of diflenters will daily decreases and the church of England become the joy of the whole earth.

I am, in the Third place, to fhew the reasonableness of this doctrine,

I say, the reasonableness of this doctrine; for however it may

seem foolishness to the natural man, yet to thofe, wlio have tasted of the good word of life, and have felt the power of the world to come, it will appear to be founded on the highest reason; and is capable, to those who have eyes to fee, even of a demonstration ; I say of demonstration : for it stands on this self-evident truth, that we are fallen creatures, or, to use the scripture-expression, “ have all died in luom."

I know indeed, it is now no uncommon thing amongst usy to deny the doctrine of original fin, as well as the divinity of JESUS CHRIST ; but it is incumbent on thole who deny it, first to disprove the authority of the holy Scriptures; if thou canft prove, thou unbeliever, that the book, which we call The Bible, does not contain the lively oracles of God; if thou canst fhew, that holy men of old, did not write this book, as they were inwardly moved by the Holy Ghoft, then will we give up the doctrine of original fin; but unless thou canst do this, we must insist upon it, that we are all conceived and born in fin; if for no other, yet for this one reason, becaufe that God, who cannot lye, has told us fo.

But what has light to do with darkness, or polite infidels with the Bible? Alas! as they are strangers to the power, so


very na

they are generally as great strangers to the word of God. And therefore, if we will preach to them, we must preach to and from the heart: for talking in the language of scripture, to them, is, but like talking in an unknown tongue. Tell me then, man, whosoever thou art, that deniest the doctrine of original fin, if thy conscience be not feared as with a hot iron ! tell me, if thou dost not find thyself, by nature, to be a motly mixture of brute and devil? I know these terms will ftir up the whole Pharisee in thy heart; but let not Satan hurry thee hence; stop a little, and let us reason together; dost thou not find, that by nature thou art prone to pride? otherwise, wherefore art thou now offended ? Again, doft not thou find in thyself the seeds of malice, revenge, and all uncharitableness? and what are these but the very tempers of the devil? Again, do we not all by nature follow, and suffer ourfelves to be led by our natural appetites, always looking down-. wards, never looking upwards to that God, in whom we live, move, and have our being ? and what is this but the ture of the beasts that perish? Out of thy own heart, therefore, will I oblige thee to confess, what an inspired apostle has long since told us, that “the whole world (by nature) lies in the wicked one;" we are no better than those whom St. Jude calls " brute beasts;" far we have tempers in us all by nature, that prove to a demonftrations that we are earthly, sensual, devilish.

And this will ferve as another argument, to prove the reality of the operations of the blessed Spirit on the hearts of believers, against those false professors, who deny there is any fuch thing as influences of the Holy Spirit, that may be felt. For if they will

grant that the devil workeih, and so as to be felt in the hearts of the children of disobedience (which they must grants unless they will give an apostle the lye) where is the wonder that the good Spirit should have the same power over those who are truly obedient to the faith of Jesus CHRIST?

If it be true then, that we are all by nature, since the fall, a mixture of brute and devil, it is evident, that we all muft receive the Holy Ghost, ere we can dwell with and enjoy God.

When you read, how the prodigal, in the gospel, was reduced to fo low a condition, as to eat husks with swine, and VOL. VI. G


not your

how Nebuchadnezzar was: turned out, to graze

with oxen; I am confident, you pity their unhappy state. And when you hear, how Jesus Christ will say, at the last day, to all that are not born again of God, “ Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels," do

hearts shrink within you, with a secret horror ? And if creatures, with only our degree of goodness, cannot bear even the thoughts of dwelling with beats or devils, to whose nature we are so nearly allied, how do we imagine God, who is infinite goodness, and purity itself, can dwell with us, while we are partakers of both their natares? we might as well think to reconcile heaven and hell.

When Adam had eaten the forbidden fruit, he fled and hid himself from God; why? because he was naked; he was alienated from the life of God, the due punishment of his difobedience. Now, we are all by nature naked and void of God, as he was at that time, and consequently, until we are changed, renewed, and cloathed with a divine nature again, we must Ay from God also.

Hence then appears the reasonableness of our being obliged to receive the Spirit of God. It is founded on the doctrine of original fin: and, therefore, you will always find, that those who talk against feeling the operations of the Holy Ghost, very rarely, or slightly at least, mention our fall in Adam; no, they refer St. Paul's account of the depravity of unbelievers, only to those of old time. Whereas it is obvious, on the contrary, that we are all equally included under the guilt and consequences of our first parent's fin, even as others; and to use the language of our own church-article, “ bring into the world with us, a corruption, which renders us liable to God's wrath, and eternal damnation.”

Should I preach to you any other doctrine, I fhould wrong my own soul; I should be found a false witness towards God and you; and he that preaches any other doctrine, howsoever dignified and distinguished, shall bear his punishment, who. soever he be.

From this plain reason then appears the necessity why we, as well as the first apostles, in this sense, must receive the Spirit of God.


For the great work of sanctification, or making us holy, is particularly referred to the Holy Ghost; therefore, our LORD says, “ Unless a man be born of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” · JESUS CHRIST came down to save us, not only from the guilt, but also from the power of fin: and however often we have repeated our creed, and told God we believe in the Holy Ghost, yet, if we have not believed in him, so as to be really united to Jesus CHRIST by him, we have no more concord with JESUS CHRIST than Belial himself.

And now, my brethren, what shall I say more? tell me, are not many of you offended at what has been said already? do not some of you think, though I mean well, yet I have carried the point a little too far ? are not others ready to cry outy

if this be true, who then can be saved ? is not this driving peopla into despair?

Yes, I ingenuously confess it is; but into what despair? a despair of mercy through Christ? no; God forbid; but a despair of living with God without receiving the Holy Ghost. And I would to God, that not only all you that, hear me this day, but that the whole world was filled with this despair. Believe me, I have been doing no more than you allow your bodily physicians to do every day: if you have a wound, and are in earnest about a cure, you bid the surgeon probe it to the very bottom; and shall not the physician of your souls be allowed the same freedom? What have I been doing but searching your natural wounds, that I might convince you of your danger, and put you upon applying to Jesus CHRIST for a semedy? Indeed I have dealt with you as gently as I could ; and now I have wounded, I will attempt to heal you. For I was in the

Last place, to exhort you all to come to Jesus CHRIST by faith, whereby you, even you also, shall receive the Holy Ghost. “For this fpake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive.”.

This, this is what I long to come to. Hitherto I have been preaching only the law; but behold I bring you glad tidings of great joy. If I have wounded you, be not afraid ; behold, I now bring a remedy for all your wounds. Notwithstanding you are funk into the nature of the beast and devil, yet, if you


G 2

« PreviousContinue »