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CHA P. en'd, and to have Eyes open to perceive the Sense XV.
of Scripture, the wonderous things of God's law, and the practical use of the Fear of the Lord, the saving benefit of Faith, and of the great Mystery of Godliness, God manifest in the Flesh. And thus the Governors of our Church (as it is happily at this Day) are afliited with the Spirit of Counsel for giving Advice ; of Knowledge for diftinguishing the Ends from the Means of Religion ; of Wisdom for applying the Means to the End (the principal Sense of Wisdom in Scripture ;) and of a found Mind for the Regulation of their whole Conduct, in their high Sphere of bringing Minds to Christ, the great Bishop of Souls.
Thus the unconstant desultory Will is more fix'd and steady to that which is good ; by the frequent Importunities, urgent Advices, and repeated Suggestions of this divine Friend, watching the mollia tempora fandi, and then putting into the Heart good Desires. Thus good Desires and Affections are kindled in Prayer ; and Comfort springs up in Trouble ; and Chearfulness lightens the burthen of Duty ; by his suggesting and insinuating proper Thoughts and Ideas into the Mind, at those times. And so the whole Man, by degrees, becomes a favourite Subject of the Kingdom of God; which consists of Righteoufness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost ; Shedding abroad the love of God upon the Heart, to its great Joy ; and in the present Satisfaction of being adopted to his Favour, making the Spirit of future Glory rest upon it in all Joy and Peace in believing, that it may abound in Hope through the power of the Holy Ghoft. *
i Pet, iv. 14. Rom. xv. 33.
And is not this an happy Benefit of Chri: CHAP, ftianity, to have our natural Powers aided and XV. affifted imperceptibly, and not the least compelling alteration offered to them? Thoughts and Ideas being kindly whisper'd and familiarly impress’d, as if they were our own Thoughts and Ideas, our natural Powers must be stronger and better furnish'd by having that super-addition, than they are without it. Therefore we are said to be strengthen'd with Might through the Spirit in the inward Man to do his Will, Eph. iii. 15, and to be able to do all things of Duty through Christ that strengthens us, Phil. iv. 13. And when the Spirit, which lufteth against the Flesh, gets the dominion over it, the obsequious Members change their Master, and their work, from Uncleanness and Iniquity, to Righteousness and Holiness.
But what endears ir the more to us is, we have that additional supervening Aid as much in our Power, and as constantly at our Service, as we have our own natural Powers at our own Service, for our good ; and that is by our Prayers for it, and by using that friendly which uses us so. For cho' it is the common Christian Benefit and Effect of God's Government over us in Christ, yet are we as much obliged to depend upon it in Prayer, and be thankful for it, as in the natural course of his Providence we are bound to pray for our daily Bread, and be thankful for that. And as there may be extraordinary Providences out of the common course in one Case, so there may, sometimes, be in the other an over-ruling Determination ; 'never to be prayed for, or expected by any Man,
WHATEVER therefore we can do by our own natural Faculcies, we can much better do, and
CHA P. with more ease, by the help of another Power
added to them; and what we could not naturally
We are bid to covet earnestly the best Gifts; the Holy Spirit in ordinary, is now that best Gift ; and the way of covering it earnestly, and improving that Christian Talent sedulously, is to be earnest in Prayer in the Name of Christ for it.
For he strives with us and for us ; and never abandons us as long as there is any hope of our Recovery ; nor is any left to a reprobate Mind, paft feeling, till by repeated Refusals of his kindly Afliftance, and obstinate Perseverance in Wickedness, they let him know there is no hopes of them ; and as soon as they are lost to all Persuasion, they are loft also to Heaven, without a Miracle : which will not be bestow'd upon them; for as they came into the World a free Creature, so they shall go out of it again to the Place of their own chusing. God respects every thing as he has made it, guides and governs it according to its Nature. Nor shall any Grace of his be a Force upon any Man; hor will be move in us contrary to, but in concert
* Pbil. i. 6.
with the Movements of our own Powers, nor CHAP.
xv. operate inwardly but in Conjunction with our own inward Operations : Notwithstanding he so frequently lays the Thoughts, Opportunities, and Impulses to Good before us, by his Provi.. dential ordering our outward Circumstances of Life.
For as a Graff put into a natural Stock accommodates itself to the natural Powers of the Stock, dwells in, and incorporates with it, not to destroy the Stock, or any of its Powers ; but gradually mends and improves them to the Production of better Fruit ; and by due Culture, and in time, all is converted into the Nature of the Graff, according to the Intention of graffing : So the Spirit of Christ graffed (suppose by Baftism) into the carnal Mind, the natural Stock of every Man, and afterwards duly cultivated, by degrees, as it grows to Maturity, draws the natural Powers of the carnal Mind to itself ; and fo you
see the Fruits of the Spirit, * Love, Joy, Peace, Long-Suffering, Gentleness, Faith (that believech all things, the best of every Body] Meekness, Temperance (changing the Name of moral Virtues into Christian Graces, and Humanity into Charity) flourishing, where nothing otherwise would have grown but the contrary Fruits of the Flesh. And by this appointed Means and Chriftian Culture, of mortifying the Deeds of the Flesh by the Spirit, wild Fruit is changed into good, so good as to be pleasing to God. And as one is a Regeneration of natural Fruit in a physical Way, so the other is a Regeneration of moral Fruit, in a moral Way; the moral Pow
** Gal. v. 22, 23.
CHAP. ers being still the same by Nature (free to Good, XV. 1as they were to Evil) whilft they are freely led
and directed to better Productions, by the Advantage of being incorporated with Christ their Head.
And a great Change to moral Effects and good Fruits may be wrought by this invisible Origin of being born of the Spirit, as in Nature great Changes are made by the invisible blowing of the Wind where it lifteth. However it is so necessary in the Institution of God, that there is no entring his Kingdom, without being born of that, and Water. As we are by natural Birth united to Christ in one Part of our Nature, Flesh and Blood, fo by spiritual Birth the Holy Spirit seems necessary to unite our Spirit, the other Part of our Nature, to God and Christ by Adoption : He who is thus join'd to the Lord, is one Spirit, as before he was one Flesh. ; And he, that is born of Water and the Spirit, if he is not quite taken out of the old Stock of the first Adam, yet the second Adam Christ is graffed in him, or he graffed into that new Stock, to produce all those Alterations for good, which the old one was deficient in.
The Branches that depend upon the Vine for Life and Growth, and bearing Fruit and imbibing Juices in order to it, can do nothing as to either, without a vital Abiding in and Communication with it: And Christ is the true Vine in the same Sense of imbibing from him, as he is the true Bread, in the digesting Sense of his Doctrine; and his Flesh was as much Bread or Meat indeed, as his Blood was Wine and Drink indeed, for maintaining indeed that vital spiritual Communion, in imbibing and digesting bis