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of these things, and are cordially reconciled to those they now envy and persecute, and that by owning and embracing the pure worship and ordinances of Christ, which hitherto they have branded with the odious term of fanaticism, Judah shall no more vex Ephraim, but cheerfully embrace them as brethren, and go hand in hand in advancing the true protestant interest against all the combined powers of Rome and hell.
Object. 6. Christ hath given power to his church to institute and appoint whatever may make for her own edification and peace. Matt. xviii. 18.
Ans. In two particulars.
Ans. First, They who deny the church, to which Christ spoke in Matt. xviii. 18, to be a congregational church of visible professing saints, called out from the fellowship of the ignorant unbelieving world by the Spirit and word of Christ, to subject themselves under Christ, their mystical head and king, to walk in church fellowship, worshipping God, and building up themselves in their most holy faith, according to the rules prescribed by Christ himself in his word, will sooner or later be convinced of their mistake respecting it.
Secondly. The power given by Christ to his instituted churches under the gospel is a power of trust only, not a power of instituting new ordinances of worship. To institute and appoint both the matter and manner of divine worship
belongs to Christ the head and king of his church. Subjection and obedience to his institutions and appointments, belong to the subjects of his kingdom, the church; Deut. xviii. 18, 19. Prov. xxx. 5, 6. It is in this sense Paul is to be understood where he calls the church the pillar and ground of truth, 1 Tim. iii. 15, on the account of the trust wherewith the Lord Jesus hath honoured and dignified his churches, to keep pure, from men's defilements, the doctrines and institutions in divine worship which he delivered from his Father. For thus doing, Paul highly commends the church in Corinth, 1 Cor. xi. 2; and Christ himself for the like practice, commends the church of Philadelphia, Rev. iii. 10. He never yet did, nor ever will, commend any person or church for adding to his institutions, but rather the contrary. It was for such whorish tricks as these that God denied the Jewish church to be his wife, and for which he threatened to strip her, and make her bare, Hosea ii. 2, 3. The apostatical synagogue of Rome remains as yet under the odious character of whore of Babylon, and mother of harlots, for blending the doctrine of God's
delivered by Christ the messenger of his holy covenant. I wish those meretricious and spurious doctrines of her own and the devil's devising, and her imposing on the world a pompous, carnal worship, which God hates as truly as a sober and a godly man hates and loaths the paint and gaudy dress, with the wanton and lascivious looks and actions, where
by his wife allures and tempts other lovers to his bed, may be exposed to contempt. Let all Rome's advocates, who plead for her inventions in God's worship, look to it, and in time consider how they can avoid being styled the children of such a catholic strumpet, notwithstanding that partial and mincing separation which they pretend to make from her communion. The separation which some in our days do make from Rome is like the shaving of a man's beard; what is outward and offensive to the eye is cut off, but the stumps of it remain inhering in the flesh still. The gross idolatry of Rome is, seemingly at least, cast off and renounced by too many who are very fond of her superstition, and who, it is to be feared, will, when opportunity serves, open a door to her gross idolatry, rather than part with her God-provoking superstition, which they so dearly love.
So much in answer to the most material objections brought in by the patrons and imposers of stinted forms of prayer.
I now proceed to resolve the fifth question
Quest. 5. Whether doth an extemporary gift of
prayer bespeak or prove a man to be in a state of saving grace?
To this question I answer in the negative, viz. That a gift of prayer doth not bespeak or prove a man to be in a state of saving grace.
For, as I have already observed, most certain it is that a formal hypocrite, who is and will for
ever remain a stranger to regeneration, may have such a measure of the common gifts of the Spirit of God as may render him capable of outstripping or outdoing in praying and preaching, &c. the most holy believer living; and all by the strength of the coinmon gifts of the Spirit, such as notional or brain knowledge, quick invention, great memory, volubility of speech, and the like; neither of which common gifts can reach the heart to renew and change it. These common gifts flow not from any
vital union between Christ and hypocrites, but are from the common operation of the Holy Ghost, who dispenseth his common gifts to whom, and in what measure, he pleaseth. 1 Cor. xii. 8—10. Heb. vi. 4, 5.
Quest. 6. What is that spirit of is the infallible character of a regenerate soul?
Ans. It is that spirit of grace and supplication which God promised he would pour forth on the elect; intended by the house of David and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Zech. xii. 10. And hereof that anointing poured forth on Aaron, the type of Christ, every true believer's high priest, was typical and shadowy. The material oil poured forth on Aaron did, in a type, represent the effusion of the gift and graces of God the Father poured forth on the human nature assumed by his Son, and taken into union with his own Godhead. “ I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him," Psalm
Ixxxix. 20. Hence it is that Christ the Son is styled God the Father's anointed, Psalm cxxxiii. 2.
The ointment descending from the head of Aaron to his beard, and from thence to the skirts of his garments, did typically shadow forth that spiritual anointing which descends from Christ on the souls of his elect in effectual calling. First, it descends firstly and originally from the Father upon his Son; and, secondly, from him to all his members in effectual calling. “And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace.” “Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts," 2 Cor. i. 21, 22. The Spirit of prayer, whereby every true believer is enabled to cry Abba, Father, is an essential part of the earnest given into the heart of the regenerate believing soul in saving conversion.
“ For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear : but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father,” Rom. vii. 15.
“ And because ye are sons God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your heart, crying, Abba, Father,” Gal. iv. 6.
The Spirit, here called the Spirit of adoption, and the Spirit of the Son, is no other than the Holy Ghost, that Comforter which Christ, before his ascension, promised he would send to supply the want of his fleshly presence.
" And I will