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ners for slighting his gracious offers, when at the same time they lay under a fatal necessity of slighting them, would be a solemn mockery unworthy of a being of infinite mercy and holi
In fact, the general experience of mankind perfectly agrees with Scripture. There never yet was a good man, who did not find that he both required and received divine assistance to enable him to overcome his corruptions; and there never yet was a bad man, who did not perceive somewhat within him forcibly restraining him from the commission of sin, and strenuously urging him to the practice of holiness. Half of the follies and vanities of the world are mere contrivances to silence this
THE NECESSITY OF THE ORDINARY OPERATIONS OF THE SPIRIT SHOWN FROM A VIEW OF THE STATE OF MAN BY NATURE; HIS UNDERSTANDING, HIS WILL, AND HIS AFFECTIONS, BEING ALL DEPRAVED IN CONSEQUENCE OF ORIGINAL SIN.
In the last solemn discourse which our blessed Lord addressed to his disciples immediately before his bitter sufferings upon the cross, he promised them another Comforter, who should abide with them for ever. Though he himself was about to be shortly separated from them, and to sit down at the right hand of his Father, yet his place should be abundantly
supplied by the effusion of the Spirit of truth. The world, indeed, cannot receive this divine Person; because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but it is the peculiar characteristic of the true disciples of Christ, that they do know him; for he dwelleth with them, and shall be in them'. Accordingly, in due season, and pursuant to the declaration of Christ, the Holy Ghost descended upon the Apostles, and conferred upon them spiritual gifts, both extraordinary and ordinary. By the reception of the former, they were specially qualified to discharge the duties of their important office, and were awfully and incontrovertibly accredited to every nation as the peculiar delegates of Heaven: by the reception of the latter, they were eminently endowed with all the pure dispositions of a renewed heart, and were enabled to testify the reality of their internal change by an exact holiness of life and conversation.
Extraordinary gifts they received for the
1 John xiv. 16.
benefit of the Church: ordinary gifts they received for their own personal benefit. Extraordinary gifts were conferred upon a few only: of those ordinary gifts, without which no real sanctification can be attained, without which a man must labour under a physical incapacity of enjoying the kingdom of heaven, it is the privilege of every genuine Christian to be a partaker. They are ordinary, not as inferior in point of importance to the possessor (for in this respect they are superior); but as gifts ordinarily bestowed upon all the faithful, and not limited after an extraordinary manner to a few.
Since those miraculous powers, which were conferred upon the founders of the Christian Church, were designed only for a special and determined purpose; as that purpose was gradually accomplished, the powers were gradually withdrawn, until at length they entirely ceased. The religion of the Messiah, after the lapse of three centuries, obtained a firm establishment: princes became its nursing fathers: and they, who refused to yield to the voice of