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in who hath this divine gift, or spirit of Christ, since may be pretended to both by the ministers and peo, and yet they may not have it in reality? This in
ed is a great point, and highly necessary to be searchprinto, which is to be known by our Lord's rule, which betez has prescribed for that end. “Do men (saith he) and ther grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles ?” Surely
The grape is gathered from the vine, and the fig urm the fig-tree. “ Wherefore by their fruits ye shall
ow them.” Now those (according to this rule) who na ve the Spirit, or Holy Ghost, bring forth the fruits of Is for “ Which fruits are love, charity, meekness, tem
nrance, patience, experience, hope, faith, and wisdom his m above, which is pure and peaceable, gentle, and de sy to be entreated,” to all and every thing that is good. it id those who have the Holy Spirit, bring forth fruits
it as naturally as the vine doth the grape, or the figside the fig. Also, “ Whatsoever things are holy, just, finest, pure, and of good report,” or tend to piety, or ine stue; in a word, every thing that is good, is the fruit
the Spirit of God and Christ: and they are brought th with divine life and power in that minister and pple, who through true faith in the blessed Jesus, ve received the gift of the Holy Ghost, or Spirit of irist. The minister of the gospel being thus fitly furnished
every good word and work, he is ready to answer the mercoll of his great Lord and holy Master, who is in heaven ;
wants not the call of man, nor authority from man, nor iges of man.
But those who bring forth fruits contrato the above, can neither be true ministers, nor
ristians, according to the doctrine of our holy Lord. 4, -ing thus qualified by the Most High, those ministers Tee freely given up to serve the Lord, and go whereso
er he is pleased to send them, though he send them as that feep among wolves: and it is worth noting, that Christ's s; essengers and ministers are called and sent of him; they no; f) not run of themselves, nor in their will; which if they
d, their end would be like the forward false prophets now ** old, who did not profit the people at all.
Our great Lord seeing what need the world had of true teaching, and true teachers, sends his ministers forth into it, saying, “All power is given unto me in heaven and earth, go ye therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost : teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.” Mah
. xxvii. 18, 19, 20.
Many of his excellent sayings, and commands may be found in that wonderful sermon which he preached on the mount; Mat. chapters v, vi, and vii.
Here Christ shews his ministers his power, and sends them forth in his own name, for there is none other given, under heaven for salvation; and Christ comforts his ministers with a glorious promise, of being with them to the 16 end of the world. Oh, the wonderful sweetness of this gracious promise! and such are all his promises, for they are yea, and amen, forever. Wherefore Christ's ministers may well go forth without doubting, having their authority from the King of kings.
Again he saith, "GO ye into all the world, and preach the gospel unto every creature. He that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved ; but he that believeth not, shall be damned." Mark xvi. 15, 16. So Christ says, go; but the world
, the flesh, and the devil, say, stay; for the spirit of sin and satan is for obstructing the work of Christ, and hindering the free gospel ministry, and the motions of the word and testimony of Jesus; and is for quenching it in those in whom it may appear: it is a new mode or fashion, contrary to the primitive order of Christ, above mentioned, for ministers to stay, and be tied to an outward benefit, or a particular meeting or congregation ; way of preaching, or reading (reading being much in practice now a days) is quite contrary to the call, and practice of Christ, and his ministers, and of the martyrs, and confessors of Jesus: as also of many of the most noted reformers in religion. Oh! but it is objected
, if ministers should always go about-among the nations, what would become of their families, or how must they
e, and be maintained ? to which may be answered, as · ministers of our Lord were, when he at the first sent ·m forth ; who when they returned to their Master, he ked them, “If they lacked any thing ?” they answered, Jo.” But instead of lacking any thing, the devils were oject to them. Pray let the serious christian coner, here is now a wonderful change. Is it in Christ, in the hireling money loving priest? It is certainly in - man and not in Christ Jesus; for he is the same to day, sterday, and forever. Where the power of Christ rules, , ere the devil and his power must of necessity be subject. But some object, that people are not so free now a ys; were there not a law to maintain ministers, the nisters might perish and starve in this generation ; if , then their ministry must starve the people's souls. at this thought of starving, is for want of the gift of od, and power of Christ; which power in the minis7 would wonderfully open people's hearts towards God, d those who are his true servants and ministers; who id, “ Freely ye have received, freely give.” Oh! faith- . ss generation, what, shall we mistrust him who prodes for all his creatures, even to the ravens and sparws, and will he not much more provide for his servants id ministers? How shall we receive power from on
gh, if we want faith, and cannot depend on the proviential hand of God?
Christ sends his ministers into the world, in order to ropagate his gospel of salvation, and to let the world now that he is come to put an end to sin, and bring fe and peace to the soul, according to the angels' testihony of him, that “His name shall be called Jesus (which
a Saviour) for he shall save his people from their sins.” Vat. i. 21. The apostles of Christ also, according to heir holy commission, declared, that “God had sent his sop to bless us, in turning of us from the evil of our vays.” But that doctrine must certainly be opposite o this of the angels, Christ, and his disciples, which eacheth, that we must live in sin while on this side the grave, and that there is no being free from it while we ure in this world ; though Christ himself came for that very end and purpose, to put an end to it, and to save us from it, and to bring unto, and into the world, everlasting righteousness; as also is that doctrine which maintains, that there is no perfection that we can attain to in this life ; though Christ says, “ Be ye perfect (for or) as your Father who is in Heaven is perfect ;"
as he is perfect in fulness, so are we to be perfect, according to the measure of grace received. This faith and belief is much wanting in this unbelieving genera tion, which is the reason that people remain in their sins, and the peoples' leaders cause them to err, and their ministers minister in their sin, and minister sin to the people. Oh! that the great Lord of all may grant the faith which purifies the heart, unto the children of men, and especially to his ministers, that they might be instru. mental to the convincing and converting souls to Christ, and his “Gospel, which is the power of God to salvation, to all them that believe.” And as without believ. ing, and being baptized, we can neither be saved, nor truly preach the gospel ; how do we believe in Christ if we remain in our sins? For Christ saith, "If ve believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins :" So it is plain, that the true faith and belief in Christ taketh away our sins, and that if we remain in our sins, it is evident that we have not the true faith of Christ.
It is not enough to have a notional or historical faith or belief that Christ is the Son of God, but we must also believe, that “ This is he,” that, as the angel de. clared to Joseph, “ should save his people from their sins.” This was before he was born of the holy virgin; and those people mightily mistake the doctrine of Christ in the holy scriptures, who think or believe they shall be saved in their sins; and those ministers must needs be antichristian, who preach and write, that there can be no living here in this world without sin, which is also contrary to their own doctrine at other times, and to their solemn covenant in the water baptism (or sprink. ling) in which they promise for their children, “ To forsake the devil and all his works” (and without doubt all his work is sin, no christian can pretend to greater or higher
rfection, than to forsake the devil and all his works) che pomp and vanity of this wicked world, and all the -ful lusts of the flesh, and to keep God's holy will and mmandments, and to walk in the same all the days of r lives;” so that according to this solemn covenant, re is no day for sin ; yet those covenanters at other les will say, preach, dispute, and write, that the best
nts cannot live without sin, and that people sin in ir best duties. If any think to mock the Almighty
er that manner, they will be much mistaken in the y of the righteous judgement of God: for Christ ne to put an end to sin, and to finish transgression,
to destroy the works of the devil,” which all sin st certainly is. And it is plain, that John, the be. red disciple of Christ, believed this, from his owd they Ords, “I write unto you, young men, because ye ve overcome the wicked one. I have written unto u, young men, because ye are strong, and the word God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wickeone.” 1 John ii. 13, 14. To which I shall add what saith through the Spirit to the seven churches in
To the church of Ephesus.“ He that hath an ear, Is him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches: to le im that overcometh, will I give to eat of the tree of Cre, which is in the midst of the paradise of God." lov. ii. 7. dil To the church of Smyrna. “ He that hath an ear, let beim hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches : he his fat overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death." otev. ii. 11. * To the church of Pergamus. “ He that hath an ear, cryst him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches : to zim that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden nie, bianna, and will give him a white stone, and in it a neve out same written, which no man knoweth, save him that eceiveth it." Rev. ii. 17. To the church of Thyatira.
" He that overcometh ci cind keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give
yower over the nations : and he shall rule them with a