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said to perform their wonderful works; but especially by S ER M. him, . XXXIV.
3. God manages that great work, so earnestly designedby him, of our salvation; working in us all good disposition, capacifying us for salvation, directing and assisting us in all our actions tending thereto.
We naturally are void of those good dispositions in understanding, will, and affection, which are needful to render us acceptable to God, fit to serve and please him, capable of any favour from him, of any true happiness in ourselves: our minds naturally are blind, ignorant, stupid, giddy, and prone to error, especially in things supernatural, spiritual, and abstracted from ordinary sense: our wills are froward and stubborn, light and unstable, inclining to evil, and averse from what is truly good; our affections are very irregular, disorderly, and unsettled: to remove which bad dispositions, (inconsistent with God's friendship and favour, driving us into sin and misery,) and to beget those contrary to them, the knowledge and belief of divine truth, a love of goodness and delight therein, a well composed, orderly, and steady frame of spirit, God in mercy doth grant to us the virtue of his Holy Spirit; who first opening our hearts, so as to let in Acts xvi. and apprehend the light of divine truth, then by repre- '*■ sentation of proper arguments persuading our reason to 8,9. embrace it,begetteth divine knowledge, wisdom, and faith in our minds, which is the work of illumination and instruction, the first part of his office respecting our salvation.
Then by continual impressions he bcndeth our inclinations, and mollifieth our hearts, and tempereth our affections to a willing compliance with God's will, and a hearty complacence in that which is good and pleasing to God; so breeding all pious and virtuous inclinations in us, reverence toward God, charity to men, sobriety and purity as to ourselves, with the rest of those amiable and heavenly virtues of soul, which is the work of sanctification, another great part of his office. Both these operations together (enlightening our minds, SERM. sanctifying our will and affections) do constitute and acXXXIV. complidi that work, which is styled the regeneration, reTit. i». s. novation, vivification, new creation, resurrection of a man; Cot. ii. la, the faculties of our fouls being so improved, that we beEph. ii. s. come, as it were, other men thereby; able and apt to do Y\' 10'"* tnat *°r wm°h before we were altogether indisposed and 3 Cor. v. 17. unfit.
He also directeth and governeth our actions, continually leading and moving us in the ways of obedience to God's holy will and law. As we live by him, (having a G»l.». as. new spiritual life implanted in us,) so we walk by him, Rom. viii. are continually led and acted by his conduct and help. He reclaimeth us from error and fin; he supporteth and strengthened us in temptation; he adviseth and admoniflieth, exciteth and encourageth us to all works of piety and virtue. Rom. viii. Particularly he guideth and quickeneth us in devotion, 16John xv fhewing us what we should ask, raising in us holy desires 14. and comfortable hopes, disposing us to approach unto
God with fit dispositions of mind, love, and reverence, and humble confidence.
It is also a notable part of the Holy Spirit's office to
comfort and sustain us, as in all our religious practice, so
Rom. x». particularly in our doubts, difficulties, distresses, and af
He'b. iii 6. fl'&i°ns 3 to beget joy, peace, and satisfaction in us, in all
1 Pet. i. 8. our performances, and in all our sufferings; whence the
title of Comforter belongeth to him. Rom. Tiii. It is also another part thereof to assure us of God's 9 Cor 5 aa S1"30'0118 l°ve and favour, and that we are his children; T. s. confirming in us the hopes of our everlasting inheritance.
P • • • We, feeling ourselves to live spiritually by him, to love God and goodness, to thirst after righteousness, and to delight in pleasing God, are thereby raised to hope God loves and favours us; and that he, having by so authentic a seal ratified his word and promise, having already bestowed so sure a pledge, so precious an earnest, so plentiful first-fruits, will not fail to make good the remainder designed and promised us, of everlasting joy and bliss. 4. The Holy Ghost is also our intercessor with God;
presenting our supplications, and procuring our good. He SERM. crieth in us, he pleadeth for us to God: whence he is XXXIV. peculiarly called »rapaxA)iroj, the Advocate; that is, one~ who is called in by his good word or countenance to aid him whose cause is to be examined, or petition to be considered.
5. To which things we may add, that the Holy Ghost bears the office of a soul to God's Church, informing, en-a Cor. xii. livening, and actuating the whole body thereof; connect-"'l*' ing and containing its members in spiritual union, harmony, order, peace, and safety; especially quickening the principal members (the governors and pastors) thereof; constituting them in their function, qualifying them for the discharge thereof, guiding and aiding them in it; Takekeaxx.it.. heed, said St. Paul to the elders of Ephesus, unto yoKr-Eph-IT,,i* selves, and to all the stock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers: and, All tfiefe things workelh 1 Cor. xii. that one and the self-fame Spirit, dividing lo every man severally as he willeth.
We have thus passed over the several main doctrines concerning the blessed Holy Spirit; the application of which to practice briefly should be this; the uses, which the consideration of these points may have, are these.
1. We are upon the premises obliged to render all honour and adoration to the majesty of the divine Spirit.
2. The consideration of these things mould work in us an humble affection and a devout thankfulness to God, for so inestimable a favour conferred upon us, as is the presence and inhabitation, the counsel, conduct, and assistance of God's Holy Spirit in us. Him we gratefully must own and acknowledge as the Author of our spiritual life, of all good dispositions in us, of all good works performed by us, of all happiness that we are capable of; to him therefore we must humbly render all thanks and praise, assuming nothing to ourselves.
3. We should earnestly desire and pray for God's Spirit, the fountain of such excellent benefits, such graces, such gifts, such privileges, such joys and blessings inestimable. If we heartily invite him, if we fervently pray for him, he SERM. assuredly will come to us; for so our Lord hath promised, XXXIV. shut our heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit lo them Lukcxi.ia. which q/k it.
4. We should endeavour to demean ourselves well toward the Holy Spirit; yielding to that heavenly guest, when he vouchsafeth to arrive, a ready entrance and a kind welcome into our hearts; entertaining him with all possible respect; and observance; hearkening attentively to his holy suggestions, and carefully obeying him; not quenching the divine light, or the devout heat, which he kindleth in us; not resisting his kindly motions and suasions; not grieving or vexing him; that so with satisfaction he may continue and reside in us, to our infinite benefit and comfort. It should engage us to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit; that we may be fit temples for so holy and pure a Spirit to dwell in; lest he, by our impurities, be offended, loathe, and forsake us.
5. It is matter of comfort and encouragement, exceedingly needful and useful for us, to consider that we have such a guide and assistant in all our religious practice and spiritual warfare. If our lusts be strong, our temptations great, our enemies mighty, we need not be disheartened, having this all-wife and all-mighty friend to advise and help us: his grace is sufficient for us, against all the strength of hell, the flesh, and the world. Let our duty be never so hard, and our natural force never so weak, we shall be able to do all things by him that strengtheneth us; if we will but faithfully apply ourselves to his aid, we cannot fail of good success.
THUS far the Authors Sermo?is upon the Creed. As to the remaining Articles, he hath only left a short Explication of them, like to that upon the Lord's Prayer, &c. And there needed not much more, considering that the Substance of these Articles had been treated of before: that of the Holy Catholic Church, and of the Communion of Saints, in his Discourse of the Unity of the Church, at the end of his Treatise of the Pope's Supremacy; and that of the Forgiveness of Sins, in his Sermons of Justification; and that of the Resurrection of the Body, in his Sermon of the Resurrection of Christ.