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in the gospel. He that stood by and strengthened Saul, will also ftand by, and strengthen us : He is a God mighty to save all that, put their trust in him.' If we look up with an eye of faith; wes as well as the first martyr Stephen, may see JESUS standing at the right hand of God, ready to affist and protect us, Though the LORD's seat is in heaven, yet he has respect to his saints in an especial manner, when suffering here on carth: then the Spirit of CHRIST and of glory rests uponi their souls. And, if I may speak my own experience, “I never enjoy more rich communications from God, than when despised and rejected of men for the sake of Jesus CHRIST." However little they may design it, my enemies are my greateft friends. What I moft fear, is a calm; but the enmity which, is in the hearts of natural men against CHRIST, will not suffer them to be quiet long : No; as I hope the work of God will increase, so the rage of men and devils will increase also. Let us put on, therefore, the whole armour of God; let uş not fear the face of men: “Let us fear him only, who can destroy both body and soul in hell:" I say unto you, let. us fear him alone. You see how soon God can stop the fury of his enemies.
198910 You have just now heard of a proud, powerful. zealot stapt, in his full career, struck down :o the earth with a light from heaven, converted by the almighty power of efficacious grace, and thereupon zealously promoting, nay, resolutely suffering for, the faith, which once with threatenings and daughters he endeayoured to destroyes, Let this teach us to pity and pray, for our Lord's most
, inveterate enemies. Who knows, but in answer thereuntp, our LORD may give them repentance : unto lifelo, Mpft think, that, CHRIST had respect to Stephen's. prayer, when he converted Saul. Perhaps for this reason GOD, suffers his adversaries to go ony, that his goodness and power : may shine more bright in their conversion, 19' 1:0
But let not the persecutors of CHRIST take, encouragement from this to continue in their opposition. Remembers though, Saul was converted, yet the high prieft, and Saul's companions were left dead in trespafles and, fins : Andai if this hould be your case, you will of all men, be moft miserable: for perse: cutors have the lowest place in, hell. And, if Saul was, struck
to the earth by a light from heaveho how will you be able to! stand before Jesus CHRIST, when he comes in terfible mall jesty to take vengeance on all those who iħåvè perfecuted this! gospel! Then the question, “ Why persecütéft thou nie porn will cut you through and through The recret'etimitybofil your hearts shall be then detected before men and angels, and you
shall be doomed to dwell in the blaekness of Hårkierseiferos evermore. Kiss the Son, therefore, left he be angry Fót évén? you may yet find mercy, if you believe bi'the Son of OOD? though you persecute him, yet'hel will be yout"JESUS. Topp! cannot despair of any of you, when I find'a Saul among the disciples at Damafeus. - What 'though your fins are'as
re'as scărlet, 1 the blood of Christ shall walk them as white as fnow. Hav. 11 ing much to be forgiven, despair' not only believe,' and like? Saul, of whom I have now been speaking, love much. He counted himself the chiefest' finner of all, and therefore la boured more abundantly chan all.orgt fin flir. 3 ]
Who is there among you fearing the LORD? Whore hearts hath the LORD now opened to hearken to the voice of his poor unworthy servant? Surely, preach in vain. Who is the happy soul that is this day to be washed in the blood of the Lamb ? Will no poor finnertake encouragement from Saul to come to Jesus CHRIST?'Youni are all thronging round, but which of you will touch the Lord Jesus? What a comfort will it be to Saul, and to youPowhis fouls, when you meet him in heaven, to tell him, that Heating of his, was a means, under God, of your conversion! Doubenis less it was written for the encouragement of all poor, returning finners; he himself tells us for for «in me God The wear all long-fuffering, that I might be an example to them thalu should hereafter believe. Was Saul héte himself,' he would's tell
you fo, indeed he would ; but being dead, by this account of his conversion he yer fpeaketh.d that God may Ypeakin by it to your hearts! O that the ártows of God 'might this day fick fafel in your rotüfe;'anid you
made to cry out," * W6? are thou; "LORD ? Are there any fuch amongst you? Me- ? thinks I feel something of what this Saul felt, when he said, w “ I travail'in birth again for you, til Curts+ "be formed again in your hearts of bome, cotne away ?6"Jesies, '
whóm Saul believed ; and then I care not if the high-priests issue out never so many writs, or injuriously drag me to a prison. The thoughts of being instrumental in saving you, will make me fing praises even at midnight : And I know you will be my joy and crown of rejoicing, when I am delivered from this earthly prison, and meet you in the kingdom of God hereafter.
Have ye received the Holy Ghofi fince ye believed ?
words. Some have supposed, that the question here put, is, Whether these disciples, whom St. Paul found at Ephesus, had received the Holy Ghost by impofition of hands at confirmation ? Others think, these disciples had been already baptized into John's baptism; which not being attended with an immediate effufion of the Holy Spirit, the Apostle here asks them, Whether they had received the Holy Ghost by being baptized into JESUS CHRIST? And upon their an(wering in the negative, he first baptized, and then confirmed them in the name of the LORD JESUS.
Which of these interpretations is the most true, is neither easy nor very necessary to determine. However, as the words contain a most important enquiry, without any reference to the context, I shall from them,
First, Shew who the Holy Ghost here spoken of, is ; and
that we must all receive him, before we can be stiled true
believers. Secondly, I shall lay down some scripture marks whereby
we may know, whether we have thus received the Holy
distinct classes of professors, concerning the doctrine that
shall have been delivered. Vol. VI. L
First, First, I am to shew who the Holy Ghost spoken of in the the text, is; and that we must all receive him before we can be filed true believers. i.
By the Holy Ghost is plainly signified the Holy Spirit, the third Person in the ever-blessed Trinity, consubstantial' and co-eternal with the Father and the Son, proceeding from, yet equal to them both. He is emphatically called Holy, because . infinitely holy in himself, and the author and finisher of all holiness in us. C. This' blessed Spirit, who once moved on the face of the great deep; who over-shadowed the blefled Virgin before that holy child was born of her ; who descended in a bodily shape, like a dove, on our blessed LORD, when he came up out of the water at his baptism ; and afterwards came down in fiery tongues on the heads of all his Apoftles at the day of Pentecoft: this is the Holy Ghost, who must move on the faces of our souls ; this power of the Most High, must come upon us, and we must be baptized with his baptism and refining fire,
before we can be stiled true members of Christ's myftical ·body.
Thus says the Apostle Paul, “ Know ye not that Jesus Christ is in you, (that is, by his Spirit) unlefs you are relatie probates ?” And, If
hath not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his." And again, says St. John, « We know that we are his, by the Spirit that he hath given
It is not, indeed, neceflary that we should have the Spirit now given in that miraculous manner, in which he was at first given to our Lord's Apostles, by signs and wonders ; but it is abfolutely neceflary, that we should receive the Holy Ghost in his fanctifying graces, as really as they did : and fo will it continue to be till ihe end of the world.
For thus stands the case between God and man: God at first made man upright, or as the sacred Penman expresses it, “In the image of God made he man;" that is, his soul was the very copy, the transcript of the divine nature. He, who before, by his almighty fiat, spoke the world into being, breathed into man the breath of spiritual life, and his soul was adorned with a resemblance of the perfections of Deity.