« PreviousContinue »
sages from the liturgy, to shew that the public offices of the Church are duly regardful of the gifts and graces of the Holy Spirit.
“ In the daily service, we pray to God to grant us true " repentance and his Holy Spirit-to replenish the King “ with the grace of his Holy Spirit-to endue the Royal « Family with his Holy Spirit—to send down upon our “ Bishops and Curates, and all Congregations commit“ ted to their charge, the healthful Spirit of his grace" that the Catholic Church may be guided and governed ..“ by his good Spirit, and that the fellowship of the Holy “ Ghost may be ever with us.
“ In the Litany we pray that God will illuminate all “ Bishops, Priests, and Deacons with the true know“ ledge and understanding of his Word-will endue us
with the grace of his Holy Spirit, and that we may all “ bring forth the fruits of the Spirit. .'" In the Collects we pray that God will grant us the 6 true circumcision of the Spirit, that our hearts and all s our members being mortified from all worldly and « carnal lusts, we may in all things obey his blessed “ will—that God will send his Holy Ghost, and pour “ into our hearts the most excellent gift of charity“ that we may. ever obey the godly motions of the Spirit « in righteousness and true holiness that by his holy « inspiration we may think those things that be good, « and by his merciful guiding may perform the same " that God will not leave us comfortless, but send to us « his Holy Ghost to comfort us—that by his Spirit we « may have a right judgment in all thing's, and ever“ more rejoice in his holy comfort—that his Holy Spi“ rit may in all things direct and rule our hearts-that as he will cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the in« spiration of his Holy Spirit.
“ In the office for Confirmation, we pray for the per6 sons to be confirmed, that God will strengthen them
« with the Holy Ghost, the Comforter, and daily in“ crease in them his manifold gifts of grace, the spirit “ of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel 6 and ghostly strength, the spirit of knowledge and true “ godliness—that he will fill them with the spirit of his “ holy fear—and that they may daily increase in his “ Holy Spirit more and more.”
The articles of original sin, free-will and justification evince that the Church of England maintains the doctrine of light, sanctity, and life, deriveable from the operation of the Holy Ghost. And there is a curious passage in a book, written by Archbishop Cranmer and the Committee of Divines, entitled Necessary Erudition for a Christian Man, which fully declares, that “ besides “ many other evils that came by the fall of man, the “ high power of man's reason and freedom of will were “ wounded and corrupted; and all men thereby brought « into such blindness and infirmity, that they cannot “ eschew sin, except they be illuminated and made free « by an especial grace, that is to say, by a supernatural “ help and working of the Holy Ghost*.”
There can be no doubt, in the mind of an impartial inquirer, that the church leaches the doctrine of supernatural influence in plain and strong terms; and that it derives it from the holy scriptures. “ For it is by the “ Spiritof wisdom that our understandings are enlighten« ed: it is by the Spirit that we are rooted and grounded " in love, and that our souls are purified in obeying the o truth; it is by the Spirit that we are called unto liber" ty; for where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty; “ in a word, it is by the Spirit that all our infirmities
* This book was published by Henry VIII. 1543, and approved by the Lords Spiritual and Temporal and the Lower House of Para liament.
" are helped, and that we are strengthened with might “ in the inner man *.”
“ Without me,” says Christ, “ye can do nothing.” Our blessed Saviour opened the understandings of his disciples, that they might understand the scriptures. The Lord opened the heart of Lydia, that she attended to the things that were spoken of Paul. The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation, in the knowledge of him, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.-No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.-For by grace ye are saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of Godt. .
. If there be meaning in words, these passages evince the reality and necessity of internal illumination from the great fountain of light. And what says the homily of the church? “ In reading of God's word, he most « profiteth, not always that is most ready in turning of " the book, or in saying of it without the book, but he « that is most turned into it, that is, most inspired with « the Holy Ghost.” In the same homily, a passage from Chrysostom is quoted to the following purport: “ Man's human and worldly wisdom and science is not
* Eph. i. 17. 1 Pet. 22. Gal. v. 13. 2 Cor. iii. 17. Roin. vič. 26. Ephes. iii. 16, 17. . † John, xv. 5. Acts, xvi. 14. Ephes. i. 17, 18. 1 Cor. xii. 3. Luke, xxiv. 45. 1 Cor. ii. 14. 2 Cor. iv. 6.
« needful to the understanding of scripture, but the reve« lation of the Holy Ghost, who, inspireth the true mean, “ ing unto them that with humility and diligence do seek “ therefore.”
In the Ordination Office, the Bishop says to the candidates for priest's orders, “ Ye cannot have a mind or “ will thereto of yourselves, for the will and ability is “ given of God alone. Therefore ye, ought and have 6 need to pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit. You « will continually pray to God the Father, by the medi“ ation of our only Saviour Jesus Christ, for the heaven“ ly assistance of the Holy Ghost.”
A great number of citations might be brought to prove that the doctrine of grace or supernatural assistance is established by the church in exact conformity to the scriptures *; but it is not necessary to insist on a truth which is evident to every one who reads the Common-prayer book and the Bible.
SECTION XXII. On the Means of obtaining the Evidence of Christianitys
afforded by the Holy Spirit.
NOW come to the most important part of my subject. I have produced, as I intended, the unexceptionable authority of great and good men, most eminent divines, to countenance and support me in recommending, above all other evidence, the evidence of the Holy Ghost, to the truth of Christianity. After the suffrages of such men in favour of this sublime doctrine, no man can justly call it heterodox or improperly enthusiasticalo I could indeed cite many other most respectable authorities; but I have already exceeded the just limits of quo tation. It now remains to point out the means of obtaining this evidence.
* It never can be consistent with the character of an honest mar solemnly to subscribe to the doctrines of grace, seriously to pray in the church for divine influence, and then to teach and preaca against the whole doctrine.
FAITH IS THE GIFT of God*. To the Giver only it belongs to prescribe the means of obtaining his bounty. He has prescribed the WRITTEN WORD and PRAYÈR. Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the WORD QF Godt. But the whole tenor of the Gospel proves, that the WRITTEN WORD has not efficacy of itself to convince our understandings, nor reform our hearts; to produce either faith in God or repentance from dead works, without the aid of the Holy Ghost.
Now the aid of the Holy Ghost is promised to PRAYER: “ If ye,” says our Saviour,“ being evil, know “ how to give good gifts unto your children, how much “ more shall God give the Holy SPIRIT to them that “ ask him?"
The Holy Spirit, it appears from this passage, is the best gift, which the best; wisest and most powerful of Beings, can bestow, and he has promised it those who ask it with faith and humility. An easy condition of obtaining the greatest comfort of which the heart of man is capable, together with full evidence of the truth of Christianity:
But do the inquirers into the truth of Christianity seek its evidence in this manner? Do they fall on their knees, and lift up their hearts in supplication? It appears rather that they trust to their own power, than to the power of God. They take down their folios, they have recourse to their logic, their metaphysics, nay even their mathe