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strain: namely, that after the Spirit of God is given, it remains and rests with ourselves whether we avail ourselves of it or not. "If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live," ver. 13. It is through the Spirit that we are enabled to mortify the deeds of the body. But still, whether we mortify them or not, is our act; because it is made a subject of precept and exhortation to mortify them. Health is God's gift; but what use we will make of it, is our choice. Bodily strength is God's gift; but what advantage it shall be to us, depends upon ourselves. Even so, the higher gift of the Spirit remains a gift, the value of which will be exceedingly great, will be little, will be none, will be even an increase of guilt and condemnation, according as it is applied and obeyed, or neglected and withstood. The fourth chapter of Ephe sians, ver. 30, is a warning voice upon the subject: "Grieve not the Holy Spirit of God:" therefore He may be grieved: being given, He may be rejected; rejected, He may be withdrawn. Archdeacon Paley.
Eternal SPIRIT! we confess
And sing the wonders of thy grace;
The Gospel is designed to be the channel through which the Divine Spirit conveys his enlightening influences to the minds of God's elect people; and having, in the preceding article, contemplated the operations of the Holy Spirit, we will now direct our attention to the Gospel, as the usual means by which men are brought from "the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear
The original commission, given by our adorable Redeemer to the first publishers of the Gospel, is recorded with great precision by the Evangelist, as follows:
These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go
not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not,
go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.
And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand.
Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give.
Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses;
Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat,
And into whatsoever city or town ye shall enter, enquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thence.
And when ye come to an house, salute it:
And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words; when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your
Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha, in the day of judgment, than for that city. Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
But beware of men: for they will scourge you in their syna
And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.
But when they shall deliver you up, take no thought how or shall speak: for it shall be given you in that same hour
what ye shall speak.
not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you.
But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another:
for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel till the Son of man be come. Matt. x.5-20, 23.
And again, we find it written:
And they went forth, and preached everywhere; the Lord working with them, and confirming the Word with signs following.Mark xvi. 15, 16, 20.
Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word. Acts viii. 4.
And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and to preach Jesus Christ. Acts v. 42.
Then Philip went down to the
city of Samaria, and preached
Christ unto them.
And passing through, he preached in all the cities, till he came to Cesarea. Acts viii. 5, 35, 40.
Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus, and straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. And how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. Acts ix. 19, 20, 27.
Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and rise again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the judge of quick and dead. Acts x. 36-42.
Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come;
That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. Acts xxvi. 21-23,
We preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; but unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God. 1 Cor. i. 23, 24.
For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.
For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. 1 Cor. i. 18-21.
What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice; yea, and will rejoice. Phil. i. 18.
The Gospel is frequently in the New Testament compared to light; and it did in nothing more resemble light than in this, that as soon as the heavenly doctrine therein contained arose upon the world, it darted its bright rays and diffused its quickening influence from east to west with an inconceivable rapidity. The kingdom of God came not with observation, neither could men say, "Lo, here! or Lo, there!" Luke xvii. 20, 21. i. e. it did not establish itself, like other kingdoms, in a slow and leisurely manner, so that men might trace it from its rise through the several steps of its progress; but fixed itself at once, almost everywhere, with so rapid and amazing a course, as did, as it were, leave the eyes and observations of men behind it. And still, as it went along, it gained mighty spoils from all religions, and gathered vast multitudes of every country under its banners. And it is most clear that this success of the Gospel was miraculous, and chiefly owing to the mighty operations of the Holy Spirit of God; for the natural and visible causes, which concurred to the production of this great effect, were not any ways equal to the effect produced; and therefore some supernatural and invisible cause must needs have given birth
The appearing causes and instruments of this wonderful revolution were, chiefly, twelve men, of obscure birth and plain understandings, without learning, eloquence, or experience. These men set out from Jerusalem, with the design of altering the settled habits, the inveterate prejudices, the established rites and religions of all countries. They dispersed themselves through all quarters of the earth, and they succeeded everywhere, prevailing with great multitudes, in a very short time, in every nation and kingdom, to submit to the laws, and to own the religion of Jesus. Here was no manner
of proportion between the effect and the cause, between the work which was wrought, and the instruments which wrought it; and therefore we may and must conclude, that a divine invisible power went along with them at every step, and miraculously blessed their endeavours, Bishop Atterbury's Sermons-1662. We should pause to consider who where the men singled out by our blessed Lord for the purpose of diffusing His religion through the world; that is, for the singular purpose of persuading men to relinquish the religion of their ancestors, the principles they had imbibed from their infancy, the customs, prejudices, and habits, the ways of thinking which they had for a long course of years indulged, and to adopt in their room a system of thinking and acting, in many respects directly opposite to them; a religion exposing them to many present hardships and severe trials, and referring them for their reward to a distant period and an invisible world. Would not a charge such as this require agents of a superior class, of considerable influence from birth, wealth, and station in life, men of profound erudition, of the brightest talents, the most consummate knowledge of the world and the human heart, and the most commanding eloquence? Were then the Apostles of this description? Quite the contrary. They were plain, humble, unpretending men, of low birth and low occupations, without learning, education, or any extraordinary endowments, natural or acquired; without any thing, in short, to recommend them, but their simplicity, integrity, and purity of manners. With what hopes of success could men such as these set about the most difficult of all enterprises-the reformation of a corrupt world, and the conversion of it to a new faith? Yet we all know that they actually did accomplish these two most arduous things, and that, on the foundations they laid, the whole superstructure of the Christian Church has been raised, and the divine truths of the Gospel spread through all parts of the civilized world. How then is this to be accounted for? It is utterly impossible to account for it in any way, but that which Christ himself points out in his charge to the apostles, Matt, x. 8. "Ileal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils." Here is the explanation of the whole mystery: it was by the powers with which they were invested, the