CHRIST'S SPIRIT, A Christians Strength: OR, A plain discovery of the mighty and invincible power, that all Be­lievers receive through the gift of the SPIRIT. First held forth in two Sermons, on Act. 1.8. and after published for the instruction and use of those that are spiritual, Anno 1645.

By WILLIAM DELL, Minister of the Gospel of JESUS CHRIST at Yelden in the County of Bedford.

1 Cor. 4.19.20,

I will come to you shortly if the Lord will, and will know not the speech of them that are puffed up, but the power.

For the Kingdom of God is not in word but in power.

2 Tim. 3.5.

Having a form of Godliness, but denying the power of it; from such turn away.

London, Printed for Hen. Cripps and Lod. Lloyd, 1651.

To the Right Honorable the Lady ELIZABETH Countess of BULLINGBROOK.

Right Honourable,

THe form of Godliness, is very common in these dayes of ours; but the power of it, is very rare. How few persons, shall we finde in the visible Church, who live and act in the strength of God? But ge­nerally, men do, what ever they do, in their own strength, and that not onely in humane things, but in divine. How seldom do we see, either in Ministers or Christians, in the discharge of their duties in their seve­ral places, more then the power of men? The greatest part by far, not onely of those who are called Christians, but also of forward Professors, being ignorant what it is, to be strengthened with might in the inner man, ac­cording to the glorious power of the great God. How little is there (among all our plenty) of that preaching, which is not in the plausible words of mans wisdom, but in the demonstration of the Spirit and Power? How few Congregations (among the many that are in the King­dom) are gathered together in the Spirit and Power of our Lord Iesus Christ? How few of those Christians are there, in whom is the exceeding greatness of Gods power, together with the effectual working of it? But the form of Godliness, is now become, almost the co­vering of all flesh, and in these dayes of light and know­ledge, [Page] it is accounted by all (that are not down-right A­theists) a great shame, not to seem to be religious. And when men, and families, and Congregations, are gotten into this form, they think themselves both safe and hap­py, as being near the suburbs of the Kingdom of God, and close Neighbours to the Saints. And this form of godli­ness, as it is of very easie compliance with flesh and blood, in this particular, in that according to this, men onely make their actions new, retaining still their old natures; so it is also of great credit and esteem, with carnal Gospel­lers. But the spiritual man judgeth all things, and yet he himself is judged of no man: and he being partaker of the power of God himself, can in some measure discern both the presence and want of it in others, both which he knows in his own experience.

Now this form of godliness, is, when men are godly without God, and anoynted without Christ, and regenerate not having the Spirit; that is, when they have a sem­blance of holiness, but not the thing it self: a semblance of grace, retaining their old natures. And such Christians as these, perform spiritual duties, with natural strength, heavenly duties, with earthly strength, the works of God, with the power of men. In the Religion of these men, there is the outward duty done, and it may be very specious­ly and plausibly, but there is none of Christ, nor the Spirit in the duty. There is their own working towards God, which is faint and faithless, and not Gods own working in them towards himself, which is lively and mighty: and all the religious acts they do are onely their own operations, and not the operations of God in them.

This form of godliness, how pleasing soever it be to a mans self, and of what reckoning soever with others, who are like himself, yet is indeed, of very evil and wo­ful consequence, whether we regard the doings or [Page] sufferings, unto which this form necessarily engages.

For first, when men by occasion of this form are called forth to do the great works of God, and yet are destitute of the power of God, their duties are above their strength, and their strength bears no proportion to their duties. And so sooner or later, meeting with difficulties, they faint, and languish as a Snail, their works being too high for their faculties. For nature being strained above its power, and offering at that which is beyond its abilities, by degrees grows weary, and returns to its old temper again. And he that sought that glory which was not his own, at last lies down in his own shame.

Again, the form of godliness exposes a man to those evils, that are incident to the faithful because of godli­ness. Now when a man hath the same evils, with the faith­ful, and not the same power to support him under those evils; when men have the same evils in the flesh, but not the same power in the Spirit, the same burthens on their shoulders, but not the same everlasting arms underneath them, they fall sadly and desperately, to the great scandal of the ways of God.

However, if men be not called forth, to such eminent doings and sufferings, and so scape such manifest disco­veries and downfals: yet the form of godliness, hath this evil in it, That it brings a man onely to the troublesome part of Religion, but not to the comfortable; it engages a man in the same duties with the godly, but supplies him not with the same strength; it involves him in the same bitterness of flesh, but doth not furnish him with the same joy of Spirit. For as such a mans Religion, doth not reach above flesh and blood, no more doth his strength and comforts. And so he performs duties at a low rate; yea and his bare and empty form, casts a black vail upon Religion, and utterly obscures its beauty, and glory, [Page] and makes the world judge meanly of it, and to think it a matter only of singularity and humour, and not of power. Whereas when a Christian walks in the strength of the Spirit, doing and suffering the will of God, beyond all strength and abilities of flesh and blood, the world often times wonders and gazes at him, and many are provoked to glorifie God, who hath given such power to men.

For this power of godliness, among other things, hath these three advantages.

1. It makes a man do every duty strongly and mighti­ly. And whatever, might take a man off from duty, or distract and disturbe him in it, all fals to nothing before this power. There is that strength, in each duty, performed by the power of the anoynting, which declares it to be the operation of God himself in man, and nothing else, but the very power of God, that is, Iesus Christ himself, in action in us.

2. It makes a man inflexible in the ways of God, that he shall neither turn to the right hand, nor to the left, but take straight steps towards the mark set before him. No fear nor favours, nor frowns, nor flatteries, nor temptations, nor insinuations nor designs of others, nor ends of his own, can turn him aside. He carries such strength in his Spirit, as he can never be bended, and so far forth as he partakes of the power of God, is as unmoveable and unchange­able, as God him self.

3. It makes a man invincible, by all evils and enemies. Because all the power against him, is but the power of the creature, but the power in him, is the power of God. And the power of God, easily overcomes the mightiest power of the creature, but is never overcome by it. And if this power in a Christian, should be prevailed against, God himself who is that power, should be conquered, which is impossible.

[Page]To conclude, the power of godliness, is the doer of every duty, in Gods Kingdom, the subduer of every sin, the conquerour of each tribulation and temptation, the life of every performance, the glory of each grace, the beauty of a Christians life, the stability of his conversation, the lustre of his Religion, his great Honour and excellency both in do­ing and suffering, yea it is the very glory of God himself, in the Church of God; for by faith, the Lord arises on us, and by this power of godliness, his glory is seen upon us.

These considerations, right honourable, moved me to discourse of the power of the Holy Spirit coming on all Christians, Ministers and People. And besides the im­portunity of some other friends, your Honours earnest desires of these notes, hath especially prevailed with me to publish them. Not that I am worthy to publish any thing, but that the truth of God is worthy to be published, be the instrument never so mean and unworthy. And although I well know, the doubtful success of such undertakings as these, yet in this matter I am not at all carefull, being most willing to be bound up in one condition with the truth of God, and to have with it, the same common friends and enemies. Besides if Christ dwell in my heart by faith, I car­ry in my bosome already, my reward, out of whom, I neither regard praise or dispraise, good or evil.

Now I was bold to prefix your. Honours name to these Notes, because your desire of them, hath made them yours, and also your many noble favors are a strong and continual engagement, for me to serve you, according to what God hath made me. Especially I remember your extraordinary com­passion, and bowels towards me, in the day of my deepest distress, when my soul drew near to the Pit, and the shadow of death sate upon my eye lids, and I had not the least drop of comfort, either from earth or heaven; Your Honor then shewed me the kindness of the Lord, and encompassed me [Page] both with your pitty and goodness, though then through bitterness of spirit, I tasted it not. Wherefore when I re­member the wonderful goodness of God to me after so great sorrow and darkness, I cannot forget that part of his goodness, which he was pleased to administer to me by your Honours hands; And the remembrance of this, causes me to pray, that God would double the same goodness on you, and that he would pour forth upon my Lord, your Honour, your noble off-spring and family, this power of the holy Spirit, here treated of: which shall render you, a thousand times more precious and excellent, before God and his Saints, then all worldly Honour and Nobility whatsoever. And by this means, shall Religion shine in your Family, in its native beauty and lustre, and the Kingdom of God, which stands not in word, but in power, shall appear in its bright glory among you, till the Kingdom of the Son, first fit you, and then after deliver you up to the Kingdom of the Father, and God be all in all immediately;

Which is the earnest prayer of your most humble and faithful servant WILLIAM DELL.

The Contents.

THe Context.

The Explication of the Words.

Three General Doctrines.

  • 1. That Christ gives his own people sufficient strength for their imployments; his own strength for his own Works.
  • 2. That when Christ leaves his people in regard of sense, he never leaves them without a promise; and in that pro­mise his Spiritual presence.
  • 3. That the pouring forth of the spirit, is the means whereby God both increases and governs his Church.

The more special Doctrine from the words, is That the receiving of the Spirit, is the receiving of power.

For the Spirit it self is power,

  • 1. Essentially in it self.
  • 2. Operatively in us. By being in us,
    • 1. A Spirit of Knowledge,
    • 2. Of Truth,
    • 3. Of Wisdom,
    • 4. Of Faith, which inables us
      • To do
      • Indure the same things with Christ himself.
    • 5. Of Righteousness, in
      • Destroying sin.
      • Imparting Grace.
    • 6. Of the fear of the Lord.
    • 7. Of Love and Vnity.

[Page] The Use, twofold.

1. Exhortation, to inforce this; the necessity of having this power is urged, in reference

  • 1. To Ministers.
  • 2. To all Christians.

1. Ministers stand in need of the power of the Spirit to come upon them.

  • 1. Because, without they have this power, they are desti­tute of all power.
  • 2. Without this power they are insufficient for the work of the Ministery: As being unable,
    • 1. To preach the Word, that is the true Spiritual and li­ving Word of God.
    • 2. To preach it zealously and powerfully; But without this presence of the Spirit of power,
      • 1. Their Ministery is cold and hath no heat in it.
      • 2. Weak and hath no strength in it.
    • 3. To persevere in their ministery and to carry it on a­gainst all opposition and contradiction.
    • 4. To reprove the world of sin. For the Spirit of judge­ment, must needs be accompanied with the spirit of might.
    • 5. To incounter and overcome the Devil.
    • 6. To inable them to be comfortable and invincible a­gainst all evils and enemies.

2. Christians; this Spirit of power, and power of the Spirit is necessary for all Christians, as well as Ministers.

Object. But do all Christians receive the Spirit of God, as well as Ministers?

Answ. Yes, equally and alike; without any diffe­rence.

Now this Spirit of power is necessary for them,

  • 1. To distingush them from reprobates and Devils.
  • 2. To exalt them above all the rest of mankinde who are destitute of the Spirit.
  • 3. To unite them unto Christ.

[Page] And the power of the Spirit is necessary for them,

  • 1. To change their natures; which is the daily work of the Spirit, till all be renewed.
  • 2. To work grace in them; and each grace, is so much of the power of the Spirit in the flesh.
  • 3. To inable them to mortifie sin; and the power of the Spirit mortifies,
    • 1. The whole body of sin in all its parts and members, and
    • 2. Each particular strong corruption.
  • 4. To performe duties. For no more strength in any du­ties then of the Spirit in them.
  • 5. To confess the Word before Kings, and Magistrates.
  • 6. To publish the word, and that both
    • 1. In private,
    • 2. In publique, in case of necessity.
  • 7. To suffer and overcome affliction.

Natural strength, withdraws it self from the evil.

Spiritual strength, stands to it and overcomes it.

The second Vse, is for information and instruction, shewing that the way to obtain this power, is to obtain the Spirit; and to encrease this power, is to encrease the Spirit.

Now that we may obtain the Spirit, we must first prepare our selves.

Wherein this preparation doth not consist.

Wherein it doth consist: that is,

  • 1. In emptying us.
  • 2. The work of the Spirit after he hath emptied us, is to fill us.

The means through which the Spirit is conveyed to us.

  • 1. By the Word; and this word, the Word of the Gospel.
  • 2. By Faith, which carries us to Christs flesh to receive of his Spirit. [Page] Through the word and faith, we are born of God, and so partake of the Spirit of God.
  • 3. Prayer: and in prayer we may ask the Spirit either of the Father or the Son.

Again that we may encrease the Spirit,

  • 1. We must be constant and continual in the use of the Word.
  • 2. We must daily encrease faith.
  • 3. Must be much in prayer.
  • 4. Must withdraw our seves from the creatures, and live loose from them.
  • 5. Must cease from our own works.
  • 6. Must give our selves up to the Sprit that he may work his work in us.
  • 7. The works of the Spirit we must attribute to the Spirit, and not to our flesh.

Christs Spirit a Christians strength, OR, A plain discovery of the mighty and invincible power that all Believers receive through the Gift of the SPIRIT.

Acts 1.8.

But ye shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and ye shall be witnesses unto me, &c. Or,

You shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you.

THese words are the more remarkable, because they are the very last words in the confe­rence between the Son of God, and his be­loved Apostles, immediatly before his a­scension into heaven. Now, you know, when dear and intimate friends are to part, as their love then runs strongest, and their affe­ctions are most intire and vehement, so then also they especially discourse of those things, wherein most of all they desire to be satisfied, and resolved. Thus was it between Christ and his Apostles: never was there such dear and intimate friendship, and such sincere and burning love between any, as be­tween them. The Apostles, all of them, loved Christ most truly, and passionately; and Peter, who had three times denied him, [Page 2] three times professed his love to him, and being sorry that Christ should question his love the third time, he thus answered, Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee. And Christ also loved them dearly, yea he loved them John 4 19. first, and having John 13.1. loved his own, he loved them to the end, and so he was not discontented with them, for their leaving and forsaking him, through humane infirmity, when he was led away to judgement and to death; For though death quite puts out all natural love, yet spiritual love is not extinguished, but enlarged by death. Now when such loving friends as these, were even now ready to take their last leave one of another, in regard of bodily presence, who would not most willingly have been present, to have heard what discourse passed between Christ, and his Disciples, at this their last parting?

The summ of Christs dis­course with his Disciples after his Re­surrection, till his Ascension. Now Luke acquaints us with the whole summe and substance of Christs discourse with his Apostles, all the time he lived together with them, after his Resurrection, till the day wherein he A­scended into Heaven: In the third verse of this Chapter, he saith, he did discourse with them, De Regno Dei, touching the Kingdome of God. That is, not only touching his Spiritual Kingdom, which he sets up in each particular Christian, and which begins at our regeneration, and is consummate in glorification: but also touch­ing his Mediatory and Monarchical Kingdom, which, in the time appointed of his Father, he should set up in the world; When he should have the Psal. 2.8 Heathen for his inheritance, and the utmost ends of the earth for his possession, and Dan. 7.14. all people and Nations, and Languages should serve him, and he Psal. 72.8 should reign from sea to sea, and from the river to the worlds end. This was the summ of Christs discourse with them. And the Apostles were fully satisfied touching the thing, onely they were unsatisfied touching the time. For besides, that the setting up of this King­dom of the Messias in the power, beauty, and glory of it, was at that time the common discourse and expectation of all Israel; the Apostles themselves remembred many Prophesies and promi­ses of the Old Testament, for the restoring the Kingdom of Da­vid; And this they thought Christ would have done, in the daies of his flesh: but presently, all their hopes were blasted by his death. But when they saw him risen again from the dead, then presently their hearts were revived, into their former hopes; but yet again, seeing nothing done, all the time he conversed with [Page 3] them after the resurrection, when now he was ready to Ascend into Heaven, they desire him, first, to resolve them of this question, whether or no he would at that time, restore the Kingdom to Is­rael; Lord (say they) Wilt thou at this time restore again the Kingdom to Israel? Now Christ, doth not deny, the restoring of the Kingdom to Israel, but denies, to acquaint them with the time when it should be done. He tells them, it was not for them to know the times and seasons, which the Father had put in his own power. verse 7.

The like answer to the like demand, Daniel received in his time. For when the Angel had represented to Daniel, the totall destruction of the image of worldly Monarchy, together with the rise and reign, and ruin of Antichrist, and the setting up of Christs Kingdom in the world, in the stead of the two former, Daniel said, Chap. 12.8. And I heard, but I understood not; thou said I, O my Lord, What shall be the end of these things? And he said, Go thy way Daniel, for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. So that the Angel, who discovered the things themselves to Daniel, refused to discover to him plainly and expressely, the time when they should be done: but that was to be closed and sealed up till the time of the end. And so here in like manner, Christ who had discoursed largely and cleerly to the Disciples touch­ing the Kingdom of God, yet denies to discover to them the time, when it should be set up in the world. And the reason why he denied this to them, to whom he had not denyed himself, was not for want of loue, but because the Father had kept the time and season, wherein all this should be done, in his own power. Had this been placed in Christs power, he had no doubt made it known to them, as well as he did those other things, which he had heard from his Father; but the Fa­ther had not placed this in his Sons power, but had reserved it in his own: and the Apostles were not to pry after, that which was hidden with God, but were to content themselves with what he had revealed.

But though the Son did not reveal to them what the Father had kept in his own power, yet he tells them, what the Father had promised unto them, and what he had also put into his power, and what he would certainly perform ere long, and that was the gift of the Spirit of power, saying, But ye shall re­ceive [Page 4] power when the Holy Ghost is come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to me, &c. As if he should have said, Do not you trouble your selves about secret things, which shall not be accomplisht in the world, till many yeers after you are fallen asleep, but do you mind your present business, wherein you are to serve God, in your generation; your present task is to be witnesses unto me, in Je­rusalem and all Judea, and in Samaria, and to the utmost parts of the earth; to declare and make known, what you have heard and seen with your eyes, and looked upon, and your hands have handled of the Word of life: you are to testifie to the world, my Incarnation, Doctrine, Miracles, Life, Death, Resurrection, and my Kingdom and glory, that is to come; You are to make known to the world, the high and deep, the great and glorious mystery of Christ and of the Gospel; and that you may be fit for this great and weighty work, you shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost: you shall receive power, when the Holy Ghost is come upon you, &c.

Which words also may be an Answer to another questi­on which the Disciples did, or might make, after this maner.

Quest.Our dear Lord and Master, why wilt thou leave us, thy poor Disciples, among so many evils and enemies in the world, which our weakness must of necessity sink under? We well remember how fearful and foolish we have been, whilest thou wast yet with us; but how much more timorous and trembling shall we be, when thou art gone from us? When thou wast apprehended by the armed power of the Magistrates, thou knowest how we all forsook thee and fled; and I, said Peter, denied thee and forswore thee, at the voice of a simple maid. And therefore if thou now quite leave us, what Witnesses are we like to be unto thee, and what Preachers of thy Name, among the obstinate Jews, among the angry and inraged Rulers, and people, who will be ready, for thy Names sake, every day to deliver us up to a new death? And how shall we be able to stand amidst so many difficulties, trou­bles, distresses, oppositions and persecutions, when thou hast left us? Surely, we are such weak and infirm creatures, that we shall never be able to hold out, but shall lie down both in shame and sorrow.

Answ.To this Christ answers in these words, Accipietis virtutem, You shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you. As if he [Page 5] should have said, You have a hard task indeed, but you shall be furnished with proportionable power. The business you are to undertake, is not humane, but Divine; the things that you are to teach, are not carnal, but spiritual; the work that you are to set upon, is not mans work, but Gods: you are to act among men for God; you are to act in the world against the world; you are to act against the devill, in the very midst of the devils Kingdom. You are to convert Infidels; to make, of Heathens, Christians; to bring them neer unto God, who are now without God in the world; to carry the light of heaven, up and down this dark world, a­mong the people that sit in darkness, and shadow of death, to shew them the way to life and salvation; you are to turn the world upside down; to change the manners, and customes of the people; to bring them off from the idolatry of their forefathers, to worship the true God in spirit and truth; you are to reduce the earth in­to conformity with heaven, and set up Gods Kingdom, here in this present world. And all this you shall not do, in ease and qui­etness, and prosperity, and pleasure; but whilest you are thus im­ployed and busied, you shall have the whole world rise up against you, and the devil prosecuting you with his utmost power through wicked men, and you shall not onely be hated of all men, for my names sake, but you shall be even overwhelmed with reproaches, obloquies, slanders, oppositions, persecutions, prisons, torments, deaths. And therefore that you may be able both to do and to suffer all these things, You shall receive the power of the Holy Ghost coming upon you.

Now from these words, we shall note something generally, and something more particularly.

In general three things. The first is this:

1. That as Christ will not suffer his Disciples to be tempted a­bove their power, so neither to be imployed above their power;1. Gen [...] Doctrin but he furnishes them with power sufficient, both for their tempta­tions, and for their imployments; for their sufferings, and for their doings. And as Souldiers, that are under a wise and carefull Com­mander, when they are neer an ingagement, are not suffered to run rashly upon the enemy, nor permitted to go forth to battle till they are armed, and mounted; so Christ would not suffer his Disciples, to go forth in his warfare, to incounter so many evils, and oppositions, and persecutions, and the whole power of the [Page 6] world, and of the Devil, till first he had armed them with the power of Holy Spirit; Ye shall receive power when the Holy Ghost is come upon you, &c.

Christ alwayes gives unto all those whom he sends forth and imployes, of his own power, for his own works; heavenly power for heavenly works, spiritual power for spiritual works, the pow­er of God, to do the works of God. Indeed Christ gives unto some a greater measure of power, and to some a lesser, according as he intends to use some, in greater works and difficulties, and some in lesser; but still they have of Christs power, whether more or lesse, who are imployed by Christ; and a little of that power that is com­municated by Christ, will inable a man to do great things, far greater then the world suspects, or imagines.

So that we may judge of our calling to any business, and of our imployment in it, by the power we have received from Christ for it. If we have none of the power of Christ, we were never set on work by Christ; for Christ never sets any, on his work, without communicating unto them of his power. And hereby we may certainly know and conclude, that those in the Ministery, that are loose and vitious, and idle, and negligent, and insufficient for that work, were never called to it, nor imployed in it, by Christ, but they run of their own heads, when they were not sent, and minister in the Church for the gain of money, and preach onely that they might live. Whereas if Christ had imployed them in that calling, he would have furnished them with abilities for it: and they being destitute of such abilities, it is most evident, they were not sent by Christ. Melius est, nullum habere, quam sacrile­gum, impium & scelcratum ministrum, qui non venit nisi ut mactet & perdat, sicut fur & latro. Luth. de in­stir. Ministr. Eccl.

Judge then what a kinde of Reformation this church were like to have, if some men might have their minds; who would have ignorant and insufficient men, yea loose and prophane men, tolerated in the Ministry, under pretence of keeping up ordinances; when yet such men, were never imployed by Christ, nor supplyed with any power from him: Yea and what ordinances (I pray) are those like to be, which are kept up by men that are carnal, not ha­ving the Spirit? But you see here that Christs way and wisdom, was different from this; for he first gives the Apostles, the power of the Spirit, and then sent them to preach, when he had first inabled them to preach.

2. General Doctrine.2. You see here, that Christ being to leave his Disciples, in re­gard [Page 7] of his bodily presence, yet leaves behind him the promise of the Spirit of power; and this was some establishment to them, yea this gave great joy and comfort to them, who before had their hearts filled with sorrow.

Christ, though sometime he leave his people in regard of sense, yet he never leaves them without a promise. The soul sometimes, in the hours of temptation and desertion, may want the sense and feeling of Christ, but it never wants a promise from Christ: and the promise makes Christ present, in his absence. For Christ him­self is spiritually present, in the promise, and not Christ onely, but the Holy Spirit also; for Christ, and the Spirit, are never asunder, but as the Father and the Son, are one, so is Christ and the Spirit one, and all are in the promise. And so the promise is able to up­hold the soul in any condition, not because of its own nature, but because God and Christ and the Spirit are present in the Pro­mise, and they are infinitely able to support the soul through the Promise, under the greatest evils either of earth or hell. Now this injoyment of God in the Promise, is the injoyment of faith, and not of sense; and this injoyment of faith, is the most excellent and intimate injoyment of Christ. And thus may the soul, injoy Christs presence in his absence; his presence according to faith, in his absence according to sence. And therefore Christ departing from his Disciples in regard of his bodily presence, leaves with them the promise of the Holy Spirit, and in that promise, his spi­ritual presence. And this is the worst condition, that Christ ever leaves his true Church in; he leaves them his presence in a Promise, when in regard of sense, he forsakes them.

3. Note,3. Gener. Doctrine that Luke being to speak in this Book of the Acts of the Apostles, of the propagating and inlarging, and governing the Christian Church, doth first make mention, of the pouring forth of the Spirit, and that both upon the Apostles, and after­wards upon the Disciples. Signifying hereby, that there is no­thing so necessary, for the increase and well ordering of the true Church of Christ, as the pouring forth of the Spirit. And therefore they are altogether deceived, and walk in the light of Nature and not of God, who think the increase, and propagation, and preservati­on, and establishment, and order, and ordering, of the Church of God, depend especially upon the Councels, and Decrees, and Con­stitutions of men: and that without these, the Church of God, would [Page 8] soon come to woful disorder, yea to utter ruine and confusion; as if Christ and his Spirit sate idle in heaven, and had left the whole business of his Church to men: and the sacred power confirmed with the secular, were abundantly sufficient, for the increase and well ordering of the Church. In the mean time, not regarding the promise of the Father, or the pouring out of the Spirit by the Son. And this is the very mystery, of the mystery of iniquity among us, and the very head of Antichrist, which is yet to be broken. And therefore let us know, that as the Psalmist saith, Except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it: and except the Lord keep the City, the watchman watcheth but in vain: so also except the Lord, through his Word, pour forth the promise of the Spirit, and by that Spirit of his, in and through the Word inlarge and go­vern the Church, they labor in vain, that undertake these things of themselves. For it is the Spirit alone, that through the faithful ministry of the Word, makes the increase of the Church, and layes hold on all the elect, and brings them through faith, into the unity of the Son and of the Father, and teaches them, and orders them, and governs them, and preserves them. And therefore you see here, that the promise of the Spirit is first performed, before the Church of God hath any inlargement, or government.

The particular handling of the words.And now from these general things we proceed to the words more particularly. Ye shall receive power when the Holy Ghost is come upon you.

And here we may note two things.

1. What he promises them, and that is Power; you shall receive power.

2. How they should be made partakers of that power, and that was, by the Holy Spirits coming upon them.

The point we will insist on from both, is this.

The Doctr.That the receiving of the Spirit is the receiving of power: till we receive the Spirit, we are altogether without power; and when we receive the Spirit, then first of all, do we receive power; power from on high.

By nature, we are all without strength, weak, impotent crea­tures, utterly unable to any thing, that is truly and spiritually righteous and good. For by nature, we are nothing but flesh; for that which is born of flesh is flesh, and all flesh is grass, a fa­ding, withering and decaying thing, together with all the flow­ers [Page 9] of it, that is, the perfections and excellencies of it. So that by nature, we are all without power, because we are nothing but flesh, of which, weakness is an inseparable adjunct.

But when we receive the Spirit, we receive power:The Spirit is Power two wayes. for power is an inseparable adjunct of the Spirit, as weakness is of flesh: yea the Spirit it self which is given us, is power, and that both essentially and operatively, in it self, and in us.

1. The Spirit is power essentially in it self:1. Essentially in it self. for it is one God with the Father and the Son, co-essential, co-equal, co-eternal; and so as Christ, is the power of God, so also is the spirit, the power of God; yea the spirit is the God of power, aswel as the power of God. So that the Spirit is power in himself essentially, and he that partakes of the power of the spirit, partakes of that power, which is God and no creature.

2. The Spirit, is power operatively in us, by being in us,2. Operatively in us; By be­ing in us;

1. A spirit of Knowledge;1. A Spirit of Knowledge. for the Holy Spirit teaches us to know the things that are freely given to us of God; yea, he teaches us to know, what sin is, and what righteousness; what death is, and what life; what Heaven is, and what hell; what our selves are, and what God is, and these things he teaches us to know, otherwise then other men know them. In a word, the spirit teaches a Christian to know all things, that is, to know God and the Kingdom of God, and all the things of both, all other things being nothing in comparison of these. Thus the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of knowledge in us, and so of power; for knowledge is the strength of a man. Whereas an ignorant man is a weak man, you may carry him whither you will; but knowledge, renders a man strong and unmoveable. And in all things, wherein the Holy Spirit is a spirit of knowledge in us, he is also a spirit of strength.

The Holy Spirit is a spirit of Power in us,2. A Spirit of Power. by being in us a spirit of Truth. And so the spirit is, because it doth not onely lead us unto the truth (that is unto the word which is the onely truth, as it is written, Sanctifie them through the truth, thy Word is truth) but also the Spirit leads us into the Truth; it leads us into the truth, and the truth into us, till we and it, be­come one by an inseparable union. The Holy Spirit takes a be­leever, and leads him, into one truth after another, till at last it lead him into all truth. Now wherein the Spirit, is a Spirit of truth to us, it is a Spirit of Power; for through the truth we learn [Page 10] from the Spirit of truth, we are altogether stedfast and unmovable, among variety of different and contrary winds of Doctrine. And this is the very cause, that among so many divisions, and facti­ons, and errours, and heresies, which wofully prevail in these present times of ours, the people of God are not seduced and overcome to wit, because they are all taught of God, of God and not of men, and have the Spirit of truth, to lead them into the truth; the Spi­rit I say and not men: and so it is impossible, that they should fully and finally be deceived. For wherein we are taught by the Spirit of God, it is unpossible we should be perverted by men. Whereas on the contrary, the true ground, why so many are seduced and overcom, by the errors and heresies of this age, is, be­cause they have taken up their religion onely from mans teaching, and have received their opinions or doctrine from men: and so what one man hath taught us, another man can unteach; yea if we be led, to the truth it self, onely by man, man can again lead us from it. For all the world cannot lead any man into the truth, till the Spirit lead him into it; and when the Spirit doth lead us into the truth, all the men in the world cannot lead us out of it; but we are so sure of those things, wherein the Spirit hath been a teacher to us, that if all the Councels and Churches in the world, yea all the Angels of Heaven should teach us contrary, we would hold them accursed. But a man that hath not been taught of the Spirit, every day you may win him into new opinions, by the power and authority of men, together with the strength of other advantages; But he that hath been led into the truth, by the Spirit of truth, is unmoveable and invincible among all doctrines. And thus also the Holy Spirit by being a Spirit of truth is also a Spirit of Power in us.

3. A Spirit of Wisdom.3. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of Power in us, by being in us a Spirit of Wisdom: and so it is, because it makes us wise with the wisdom of God, wise upon earth after the rate of heaven, wise to salvation. There is no man wise without the Spirit of God; for the wisdom of carnal men is but foolishness before God, yea before Angels and Saints: but the wisdom of the Spi­rit is most gracious and heavenly wisdom. And this wisdom of the Spirit, is the strength of a Christian: the more he hath of it, the more mighty he is, both in all his doings and indurings. It is said, Eccles. 9.15. That there was a poor wise man, delivered a small city [Page 11] from the power of a mighty King, and therefore Solomon concludes that wisdom is better then strength, for it can do greater things then strength can. When David carried himself wisely, Saul a great King was afraid of him: he thought himself too weak, to deal with David, and David too mighty to deal with him, because of his wisdom; and Solomon asked Wisdom of God above all things, for the strength of his Government; all Government without this, 2 Cor. 1.10. being but weak and brittle. Thus wisdom contributes strength to us, whereas we say of a man that wants wisdom, he is a weak man; And so the Holy Spirit being a Spirit of wisdom in us, is also a Spi­rit of Power.

4. The Holy Spirit, is a Spirit of Power in us, by being in us a Spirit of Faith. 4. A Spirit of Faith. For faith is a work of the Spirit of power; and no less power would work faith in us, then that which raised up Christ from the dead, when he lay under all the sin of man, Ephes. 1.19. and all the Wrath of God, and all the sorrows of death, and all the paines of hell; it must be a mighty power indeed, that must raise Christ then, and that power was the power of the Spirit; and no less power, will work faith. So that, whoever truely beleeves by this faith, of the operation of God, is sensible in his own soul, of the self same power, that raised Christ up from the dead. And thus the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of Faith in us, and so of Power. For unbelief keeps a man in himself; but faith carries a a man out to Christ; now there is no man weaker then he that rests on himself; and there is no man stronger, then he that forsakes himself, and rests on Christ. And so a man through the power of Faith, is able both to do, and indure, the self same things which Christ himself did and indured.

1. He is able to do the same things that Christ himself did, The power of faith inables us, 1. to do the same things Christ himself did. and therefore saith Christ, all things are possible to him that beleeveth; so that a beleever hath a kinde of omnipotency, and all things are possible to him; because by faith he lays hold upon the power of God, and all things are possible to the power of God, and so all things are possible to a beleever, Phil. 4.13. who is partaker of that power of God. And hence Paul saith, I can do all things through Christ that strengthneth me; This Christ that strengthned him, was the power of God; and this power of God, is not a finite power, but an infinite: nor a particular power, but an universal; and so can do, not some things only, but all things; and so also can all they, [Page 12] who are truly partakers of it, by faith. Yea Christ himself hath a greater expression then this, yea such an one, that I never durst have spoken, if Christ himself, had not first spoken it and that is this, John 14 12. He that beleeveth in me, the works that I do, shall he do, and greater works then these, because I go to the Father. Where Christ saith, a beleever shall not only do, the same works with himself, (which also had been a great thing) but also greater works then himself; and this indeed, is altogether admi­rable and wonderfull, That a beleever shall do greater works then Christ; But how is this made good? Why thus. Christ he overcame the Law, and Sin, and Death, and Hell, and the whole power of the Devill, in a body and soul free from sin; (his hu­mane nature being the immediate formation of the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, and so had not the least spot of sin in it.) But now beleevers, overcome the same evils, even the Law, Sin, Death, Hell, and the whole power of the Devil, in corrupted and polluted nature, in bodies and souls, at the first full of sin, and afterwards defiled through many corruptions. The Devil came to Christ, and found nothing in him, and so he overcame: but he comes to a beleever and findes much in him, and yet he overcomes. And this truly is a greater work, then Christ did; And these works we do, but not through our own power, but through Christs, of which we truly partake through faith.

2. To suffer the same things that Christ himself suf­fered.2. A Christian, through the power of faith, is able not only to do, but also to suffer the same things that Christ himself suf­ferd. Now the sufferings of Christ were the most grievous, and intolerable to nature, that ever were. For how did Christ for the present, as it were lay aside his Divine nature, that he might suffer in his humane! and how did he suffer in this, the whole weight and condemnation of sin, to the very utmost, and the whole wrath of God, to the utmost, and all the sorrows of death, and the pains of hell, to the very utmost! And among all the sufferings, had not the least drop of comfort, either from heaven or earth; and yet through the power of the Spirit, he indured and over­came all. And so each Christian, is able to indure and overcome, the same evills, by the same power: and therefore Paul desired to know Christ truly, Phil. 3.10. and not onely, the power of his resurrection, which any one would desire to know, but also the fellowship of his [Page 13] sufferings, which flesh and blood trembles at, yea and to be made conformable to his very death. Yea I add yet further, that if a Chri­stian should chance to fall down into Hell (as we beleeve Christ descended into Hell, and so also many of his Saints have done, as David and Hezekiah, &c.) Yet a Christian, through the power of the Spirit, were able to overcome both the sins and the pains of Hell; and therefore saith Solomon, Love, Cant. 8.5.6. (which is the power of the Spirit) is too strong for death and too hard, or too cruel for Hell; As is evident in that Godly woman (for I will name but one instance instead of many) who thinking of the tor­ments of hell, and of the hatred and blasphemy of God, which reigned in the damned, did earnestly entreat God, ut etiam si damnaretur, tamen Deum diligeret; that though she were dam­ned, yet still she might love God. Here love, was too hard for Hell indeed.

And thus a beleever through faith, is inabled, both to do and indure, the self same things, which Christ himself did and endured: and the Holy Spirit by being a Spirit of faith, is a Spirit of Power in us.

5. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of power in us, by being in us a Spirit of Righteousness: 5. A spirit of Righteous­ness. and so he is two waies.

1. In regard of mortifying sin. 1. Mortifying sin. For the Spirit of God dwel­ling in us, is not idle in us, but continually active; and so from day to day mortifies sin. And this is the proper work, of the Spirit in our flesh, to destroy out of us, whatsoever is contrary to it self; and that is, every sin, lust and corruption. Now our sins are our weakness; a mans pride and passion, and envy and covetousness, and lust, and intemperance, and every sin is his weakness. Now the Holy Spirit, by being in us, a Spirit of righte­ousness, mortifies and destroyes all our sins, and so takes away our weakness.

2. Again, as the Holy Spirit is a Spirit of righteousness in us, in regard of mortifying sin, so also in regard of imparting grace to us.2. Imparting grace. For all grace is the fruit and operation of the Spirit in our flesh; and as all light is from the sun, so is all grace from the Spirit. Now every grace, is so much strength in the soul. Faith, so much strength; Hope, so much strength; Love, so much strength; and so humility, and patience, and temperance, and godliness, and brotherly Kindness, and all other graces, are so [Page 14] much strength: and according to each mans measure of grace, so is his measure of strength and according to each mans mea­sure of the Spirit, so is his measure of grace. And thus the Holy Spirit, by being a Spirit of righteousness, is also in us a Spirit of power.

6 A spirit of the fear of the Lord.6. The Holy Spirit, is a Spirit of power in us, by being in us, a Spirit of the fear of the Lord: and so he is, by representing God to us in his Glory and Majesty, according as he hath revealed himself to us in his word; from which knowledge of God springs his fear. For what is the reason, that the men of the world fear not God, but sin securely, against the great and glorious God every day? Why, the reason is, because they know not the Lord. Now the Spirit comes, and reveals the Father in the Son, and presents God to the soul, through his word, in his infinite and eternal power, and justice, and wisdom, and truth, and faithfulness, and love, and mercy, and goodness, &c. and shines to the soul, in each attribute of God; and now, when a man sees God, by his own light, and knows him by his own teaching, then first doth he begin, truely to fear God; and the fear of God, is his strength. For he that fears God, is free from all other fear: he fears not men of high degree, nor men of low degree, nor the united power of all the creatures; he fears not the fear of other men in their evils, but in the midst of all fearful things, he is without fear; because he sanctifies the Lord of hosts in himself, in his heart, and makes him his fear, and his dread. And by this means, amidst all evils, he hath admirable confidence and assurance; because he knows, that no evil can befall him from any man,Isa 8.13. or from any creature, till first it be the will of God: and also, that what ever evil befalls him, according to the will of God, it shall work for good unto him, in the end. Thus the fear of the Lord is a Christians confidence, and a beleevers strength: whereas, he that fears not God, fears every thing, yea, not onely reall, but imaginary evils; and as evils multiply his fears, so his fears again, multiply his evils, till at last he be swallowed up of both. But the Holy Spirit being in us a Spirit of the fear the Lord, is also in us a Spirit of strength.

7. A spirit of love and Vnity.7. The Holy Spirit is a Spirit of power in us, by being in us a Spirit of love and unity. The Holy Spirit, is a Spirit of love and unity, in the Godhead; for the Father loves the Son, with the Spi­rit; and the Son, loves the Father, with the Spirit; and the Fa­ther, [Page 15] is one with the Son, in the Spirit; and the Son, is one with the Father, in the Spirit; and the Spirit, is both the bond of love, and unity, between the Father and the Son; and God, be­ing most love, and most one, is also most strong. Now what the Spirit is in the Godhead, he is the same in the Church of God, which is the true temple and habitation of the Godhead, and that is, a Spirit of love and unity: For why is there such con­stant love, and unity, between the members of the same body, but because one Spirit runs through them all? and so there is such con­stant love and unity between all beleevers, because one Holy Spirit runs through them all. And hence we may take notice of a re­markable difference between nature and grace; for nature, of one, makes many; for we all, who are many among our selves, even a whole world of men, were but one in Adam, omnes eramus ille unus homo; but grace, of many makes one; for the Holy spirit which is as fire, melts all the faithfull into one mass or lump, and makes of many, one body, one thing: yea it makes them one, in the unity of God, according to that of Christ, John 17.21. that they all may be one as thou Father art in me and I in thee, that they also may be one in us; mark the words, for they are wonderful; that they all may be one, that is, that all beleevers, who are many among them­selves, may be all made one; one? How one? As thou Father art in me and I in thee, that is, as thou and I, being two persons, are yet but one God: after this highest example of unity. let them be made One in us; as long as they remain in themselves, they are many; and how much they remain in themselves, they are many; for their unity, is not in themselves, but they are one in us who are one; that is, how much the saints by the Spirit, are carried into the Father, and the Son, who are one, so much also are they made one, not onely with the Father and the Son, but also with one another. You may see, in the Acts how the multitude of belee­vers, after they had received the Spirit, so far forth as they had received the Spirit, Were of one heart and of one minde. And this unity of beelievers, is their strength: and when God shall take a­way, all those prejudices, and suspicions, and jealousies, and par­ticular ends and interests, and divisions, and separations, and Schismes, that are among his own people, and the people of God shall be reduced into this blessed unity, among themselves, and the Lord be one, and his name one, among them all; then shall the Church [Page 16] also, be of admirable and invincible power. So that, all they that strive with it, shall perish: and all they, that war against it, shall be as nothing: yea then shall the Lord, make the Church as a new sharp threshing instrument, Isa 41.15. having teeth, and it shall thresh the Mountains (that is the Kingdomes of the world) and shall beat them small, and shall make the hills, (that is, the lesser Common­wealths) as chaffe. But till the Church of God attain to this uni­ty, it shall not do any excellent thing; it shall not work any no­table deliverance in the earth, neither shall the inhabitants of the world fall. When the Spirit of God shall be a Spirit of unity in the faithful, and shall heal all the sad differences, and dissensions, that are now between them, then also shall it be a Spirit of admirable power in them.

And thus much for the explication of the point.

The Vse, is twofold.

1. Vse.1. The first is, to exhort all men, everywhere, to endeavour to partake of this supernatural, spiritual, and divine power of the Holy Spirit, which is certainly communicated, to all the faithful, and Elect, in Christ Jesus. And let no man think it is a thing indifferent, whether he have this power or no, but know that the having of this power of the Spirit, is of abso­lute necessity, and that both for Ministers, and for all other Chri­stians.

1. There is a necessity of this power of the Holy Spirit for Ministers, A necessity for Ministers to have the power of the Spirit. and to them, this present place doth chiefly re­late.

1. Otherwise they have no power at all.1. For first, if they have not this power of the Holy Spirit, they have no power at all. For Christ sent them, only as his Father sent him; and so Christ, never gave unto them, any earthly or humane or secular power, no power of swords or prisons, no power of outward constraint and violence. Christ gave them, no such out­ward and worldly power, for the inlargement of his Kingdom, as not being at all sutable to it. For his Kingdom is spiritual, and what can carnal power do in a Spiritual Kingdom? His Kingdom is heavenly; and what can earthly power do, in a heavenly Kingdom? His Kingdom is, not of this world; and what can worldly power do, in a Kingdom that is not of the World? And though Antichrist, and his Ministers, have arrogated and usurped, such a carnal and earthly and worldly power to themselves, in their pretended ma­naging [Page 17] the Kingdom of Christ, yet the faithful Ministers of Christ cannot.

And therefore seeing the Ministers of the Gospel, have no power, from beneath, they must needs have power from on high; seeing they have no fleshly power, they must needs have Spiritual power; seeing they have no power from earth and from men, they must needs have power from heaven and from God, that is, the power of the Holy Spirit coming on them, or else they have no power at all.

2. The Ministers of the Gospel, must needs have this power of the Holy Spirit, because otherwise they are not suffi­cient for the Ministery. For no man, is sufficient for the work of the Ministery, 2. Without this they are insuf­ficient for the work of the Ministry. by any natural parts and abilities of his own, nor yet by any acquisite parts of humane learning and knowledge, but onely by this power of the Holy Spirit, and till he be indowed with this, notwithstanding all his other accomplishments, he is al­together insufficient. And therefore the very Apostles, were to keep silence, till they were indued with this power: they were to wait at Jerusalem, till they had received the promise of the spirit, and not to preach, till then. Yea, Christ himself, did not betake himself, to the work of the Ministery, till first, the spirit of God came upon him, and anointed him to preach. And therefore for thirty years together, he did not preach, publikely and ordinarily, till at Johns Baptism, he received this power of the spirit, coming on him. Now if Christ himself and his Apostles were not suffici­ent for the Ministery till they had received this power from on high, no more are any other Ministers, whatsoever. For as I said, it is not natural parts and abilities, and gifts, and learning, and eloquence, and accomplishments, that make any man sufficient for the Ministery, but only the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon him. So that who ever is destitute, of the spirit of power, is insufficient for the work of the Ministery; and that in these re­gards.

1. Without this power of the spirit, Ministers, are utterly un­able to preach the Word;1. They are un­able to preach the Word. that is the true, spiritual, and living Word of God. For to preach this Word of God, requires the Power of God. One may speak the word of man, by the power of man: but he cannot speak the Word of God, but by the power of God. And Christ himself, in all his Ministery, spake nothing of [Page 18] himself, in the strength of his humane nature; but he spake, all he spake, by the power of God; and without this power of God, he could not have spoken one word of God. And so in like manner, no man is able to preach Christ but by the Holy Spirit, which is the power of God. For Christ, is the power of God; and can never be represented, but by the Holy Spirit, which is the power of God. For as we see light in his light, that is, the Father who is light, in the Son who is light; or else the Son who is light, in the Holy Spi­rit who is light; So we know power in his power, that is the Son who is power, in the Holy Spirit who is power. And Christ who is the power of God, can never be made known to the Church, but by the ministration of the spirit, which is the power of God. So that, it is not an easie thing, to preach Christ the power of God; yea none can do it aright, but by the power of the Holy Spirit com­ming upon him.

2. Unable to preach it pow­erfully.2. Without this power of the Spirit, Ministers are unable to preach the word powerfully. They may, it may be, happen upon the outward word, yet there is no power in their Ministry, till they have received this power of the spirit, comming upon them. Other­wise, their Ministery is cold, and there is no heat in it; it is weak, and there is no strength in it.

1. The Ministe­ry cold with­out this power1. It is cold, and there is no heat in it. Without men have re­ceived the power of the spirit, there is no fire in their preaching. Their ministery, is unlike the ministery of Elias, whose ministery was as fire; and unlike John Baptists, who in his ministery was a burning and shining light; and unlike Christs, whose ministery made the Disciples hearts burn within them; and unlike the A­postles, who having received this spirit, were as men made all of fire, running through the world and burning it up. Without this spirit, a mans ministery is cold, it warms the hearts of none, it inflames the spirit of none, but leaves men still frozen in their sins.

2. Weak.2. It is weak and hath no might in it. There is no strength in a Ministery where there is no spirit. Whereas when men have re­ceived the spirit, then their ministery is a powerful ministery; as Paul 1 Thess. 1.5. The Gospel came to you not in word onely, but in power and in the Holy Ghost; and therefore in povver because in the Holy Spirit. And again, 1 Cor. 2.4. My speech and preaching was not with the entising words of mans wisdom, but in demonstration of the [Page 19] spirit and power. Where you see the spirit and power in the work of the Ministery, are alwayes conjoyned, as the Sun and light are. And that Ministery that is in the spirit, is alway in power. And being in power, it is alwayes effectual, either to convert men or to inrage them: And the inraging of men, is as evident a sign of the spirit of power in a mans ministery, as the conversion of men. Whereas a cold and dead ministry that is destitute of this power, doth (as we use to say) neither good nor harm, neither converts nor inrages, neither brings in righteousness, nor destroyes sin, neither kils nor quickens any, but leaves men, in their old tem­per, for many years together, and never stirs them. But the mini­stration of the spirit and power, is operative and mighty, and car­ries all before it. And though evil and carnal men, will ever be murmuring, and wrangling, and opposing, and contending against such a ministry, yet they are never able to resist the wisdom and spirit of it; as the Libertines, Cyrenians, and Alexan­drians, were not able to resist,Acts 6.10. the wisdom and spirit by which Stephen spake. And therefore, let them that will needs be stri­ving against such a ministery, know, that they strive against more then a meer man, they strive against power from on high, against the greatest power that ever God put forth; against the power of Christ himself, and his eternal spirit, and so they shall never be able to prevail against this power, but shall surely sinke under it. But to return from whence we have a little digressed.

3. Without this power of the spirit, as Ministers are not able to preach the Word, nor to preach it powerfully, so neither are they able to hold out in their ministry, 3 Unable to hold out in the Ministery. and to carry it on strongly against all opposition and contradiction. Peter and John preached the Gos­pel, but presently the Rulers and Elders and Scribes convented them; and straightly threatned them, and commanded them, not to speak at all, nor to teach in the name of Jesus. Acts 4.17.18. And now if the Apostles, had wanted this power of the spirit, they would present­ly, have been suibd and awed, and would [...]ve sneaked away, and you should have heard no more of them. But they having received this power, all the threatnings and scornings, of the Rulers and Magistrates, could not deterr them from the discharge of their of­fice, and that ministery they had received from Christ. But though before, they were fearful, and trembling, and daunted at the ap­prehension [Page 20] of the least danger, yet now having received this power, they are altogether undaunted, and said to the Rulers and El­ders, whether it be right in the sight of God, to hearken unto you, more then unto God, Acts 4.19. judge ye. As if they should have said, O ye Rulers and Elders of the people, our case is a plain case, wherein we are most willing that even your own selves should be Judges. For we have received a command from God, to preach the Gospel of his Son Iesus Christ; and you forbid us to do that, which God hath commanded us. Now do you your selves, be Judges, who is fit­test to be obeyed, God or you? the great and glorious God of hea­ven and earth, or poor wretched men, such as your selves? Nay, what God hath commanded us, we must, and will obey, against all your threatnings and punishments, and what ever you can say or do. We cannot conceal, but must publish, what we have seen and known, of our Lord Jesus Christ, of his incarnation, life, death, resurrection, ascension, kingdom, glory, and of that great redemp­tion and salvation, which he hath wrought and purchased for all the Elect of God.

Now I would to God, that the unjust commands of all Magi­strates, and secular Powers whatsoever, might be no otherwise obeyed, then this unjust command of the Rulers, was by Peter and John; and that no man would dare to yield more obedience to the creature, then to the Lord of all.

For no Princes or Magistrates in the world, have any power to forbid the preaching of the everlasting Gospel, which God hath commanded, should be published to all Nations, for the obedience of Faith. I say, they have no power at all, to forbid the preaching of this Gospel, or of any one truth of it, though never so cross to their designs. And if they should, yet herein, ought we to know no more obedience, then Peter and John did here. We ought to obey God, and not them, and to make known the whole minde of God, though it be never so contrary to their minde: After the example of Peter and John, who having received this power of the Holy Spirit, held [...] their Ministery, against all the counter­mands, and threatnings, and punishments of the Magistrates. Where­as, without this power, they had soon fainted and failed, and had never been able to have gone through with it.

4. Unable to re­prove the world.4. Without this power of the Holy Spirit, Ministers are not able to reprove the world. For every man by nature, seeks the [Page 21] amity of the world, and no man by his good will, would provoke the enmity of it, against himself. And therefore flesh and blood, will never reprove the world of sin, but allows it, and counte­nances it, in sin. But now the Spirit when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin. When a man hath this power of the Spirit in him, then presently he reproves and argues the world of sin, and so by his ministery, bids defiance to the whole world, and provokes the whole world against himself. And this no man, either can do, or dares do, except he be first indued, with this power of the Spirit, coming on him. And therefore saith Micah, Cha. 3. vers. 8. I am full of power by the Spirit of the Lord, and of judgement and of might, to declare unto Iacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.

The world, of all other things, cannot indure the reproof of sin, and the declaration of its evil wayes. And therefore it is exceed­ingly offended, yea and extreamly rages against the faithful teach­ers of the Word, with all sorts of punishments and persecutions, as the examples of all the Prophets, Apostles and faithful teachers of the Word of God in all ages, do declare. Yea, and Christ him­self, testifies touching himself, therefore the world hates me, because I testifie of it, that the works thereof are evil. But now, they that will connive at sin, and flatter the world in its own wayes, these are the onely men of reckoning, and live in all worldly Honour and prosperity. And all ages can witness, that all Teachers, are not of that strength, and resolution, to contemn the hatred and fury of the world; Nay, the most are quite overcome, with the pro­sperity of this present life, and with the desire of friends and riches and preferment, and so wink at the sins of the world, and are, Mi­nisters in whose mouths are no reproofs, though the whole world lye in wickedness. For, thus they escape the rage and violence, and obtain the favour and love of the men of this world. And thus weak and unworthy are those men, who are onely indued with their own Spirits. But now (saith Micah) I am full of pow­er by the Spirit of the Lord, and of judgement and of might, to declare unto Iacob his transgression, and to Israel his sin.

As if he should have said, the power of the Spirit of the Lord dwelling in me, puts forth its self, two wayes, in judgement, and in fortitude.

1. In judgement, and this signifies the reproving and the con­demning [Page 22] sin and wickedness, as the Prophet himself explicates, saying, that I might declare unto Iacob his transgression, and to Is­rael his sin. But seeing their being full of judgement doth not want danger, but exposes a man to a thousand evils, in as much as the world can indure nothing less then the reproof of sin; therefore I am, by the power of the Spirit, not onely full of judgement, but also

Secondly, full of Might; and as the Spirit of judgement expo­ses me to danger, so the Spirit of might inables me to contemn those dangers. So that though the world, because of the Spirit of judgement, threatens never so many evils: yet the Prophet is not frighted from his office, but through the Spirit of might, discharges it faithfully, in despight of all those threatnings.

And whatever Ministers, want this Spirit of might, though out of danger, they may be confident, yet at the very first incoun­ter of evil, they will bend and yeeld, and speak and do all things for the favour of the world; rather then for the truths sake, they will expose themselves, to the hatred and opposition of the world.

5. Unable to wrestle with and overcome the devil.5. Without this power of the Spirit, they are unable to wrestle with, and overcome the Devil; whose subtilty, and wrath, and malice, and power, they must needs encounter with, in the work of the Ministry. Christ, as soon as he was indued with this power, and anointed by the spirit to preach, was immediately led into the wilderness, to be temped of the devil, who would fain have taken him off, from the work of the Ministery, if it had been possible: But Christ being indued with this power, overcame the divel. And Christ, before he sent his Apostles to preach the Kindgdom of God, as you may see Luke 9.1. called them together, and gave them power and authority over all devils; and when they returned, they told him, that the devils themselves, were subject to them. But now, the seven sons of Sceva, who were destitute of this pow­er, when they took upon them, to call over one, who had an evill spirit, the name of the Lord Iesus, and to say, we adjure you by Iesus whom Paul preacheth, The evil spirit, answered and said, Jesus know, and Paul I know, but who are ye? and so, the man in whom the evil spirit was, leaped upon them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, and they fled away, naked and wounded. Acts 19. So that they being destitute, of this power from on high, [Page 23] the devil was presently too hard for them, and they were overcome by the devil. But now, they that are invested with this power of the Holy Spirit, are able to wrestle with principalities and powers and the rulers of the darkness of this world, and to out-wrestle them, and to tread Satan himself, under their feet.

Sixthly, without this power of the Holy Spirit, they are unable to suffer persecution for the Word;6 Unable to suf­fer persecuti­on for the Word. but the least touch of evil, causes them to pull in their hornes; and each reproach, and opposition, and persecution, shakes them down. Whereas this power, makes them confident, couragious, comfortable, and invincible, in the midst of all evils. See this in some examples. Our Lord Iesus Christ be­ing anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power, did not onely preach the truth in his life, but also witnessed a good confession before Pontius Pilate, and sealed to the truth with His death. Paul, who was indued with the same power, when Agabus fore­told him by the Holy Spirit his bonds at Jerusalem, and the bre­thren hearing it came weeping to Paul, and besought him to keep himself out of bonds, by not going up thither, Paul reproved them, and told them that he was ready not onely to be bound, but to dye at Ierusalem for the Lord Iesus. Chrysostome, was indued with the same power, and so resolved to preach the truth, and not to depart from the truth, though the whole world, should wage war against him alone: And professed, that he desired nothing more, then to suffer for the cause of Christ; and that if it were offered to him of God, whether he would immediately go to heaven, or stay on earth and suffer for Christ; he would a thousand times rather chuse this latter, then the former. Because in going immediately to heaven, he should seek himself; but in staying on earth to suffer for Christ, he should wholly deny himself, and seek his honour alone. Luther was indued with the same spirit of power, and so when he was called to Wormes before the Emperour Charls the fifth, and before all the estates of the Empire, to render a reason of his Doctrine, and some of his friends (perceiving undue deal­ing among his adversaries) perswaded him not to go, to expose himself to danger; but he answered with a mighty spirit, Mihi vero qui vocatus sum, decretum & certum est ingredi urbem, in nomine Do­mini nostri Iesu Christi, etiamsi scirem tot dia­bolos mihi op­positos, quot sunt tegulae in omnibus totius urbis tectis. I have decreed and am resolved, because I am called, to go into the City in the name of our Lord Iesus Christ, though I knew there were so many Devils to oppose me, as there are tiles on all the houses of the City. And when he was called to return to Wittenberge by the people, [Page 24] which he could not do without most evident and apparent danger, he being already condemned by the Edicts and Authority both of the Pope and Emperour, and so in regard of them, could expect no less then a violent death every day, yet for all this, he was resolved to return to his charge; and upon this occasion hath this passage to the Duke of Saxony. Verum quid faciam? urgent me causae inevitabiles, Deus cogit & vocat, hic nulli crea­turae tergiver­sandum est. Age fiat igitur in nomine Iesu Christi qui est Dominus vitae & mortis. Nihil habeo quod possim perdere; Domini ego sum; si per­dor, Domino perdor, id est invenior. Ali­um ergo quaere quem terreas. Verum ego scio & certus sum, Iesum Chri­stum Dominum nostrum vivere & regnare: qua scientia & fi­ducia inflatus, non timebo etiam multa millia Papa­rum. Major est enim qui in nobis, quam qui in mundo est. Quid si me occidat Papa aut damnet ultra Tartara? Occisum non suscitabit, ut his & iterum occidat: damnatum vero ego volo ut-nunquam absolvat. Confido enim, instare diem illum quo de­struetur regnum illud abominationis & perditionis. Vtinam nos primi digni simus, vel exuri vel occidi ab eo, quò sanguis noster magis clamet, & urgeat judicium illius accelerari. Sed si digni non su­mus sanguine testi ficari, hanc saltem oremus & imploremus misericordiam, ut vitâ & voce testemur, quòd Iesus Christus solus est Dominus & Deus noster, Benedictus in secula seculorum. Luther. in Epist. ad Patr. But what shall I do? una­voidable causes urge me, God himself calls and compells me, and here I will turn my back to no creature. Go to then, let me do it in the name of Jesus Christ, who is Lord both of life and death. A­gain, in his answer to the Dialogue of Sylvester Prierias, who had threatned him, he saith, I have nothing that I can loose, I am the Lords, and if I am lost, I am lost to the Lord, that is, I am found. And therefore seek some body else to fright, for me you cannot. Again in his answer to Ambrosius Catharinus, he saith of the Pope and his Instruments, they seek not to overcome me with Scriptures, but to destroy me out of the earth, but I know and am sure that Christ our Lord lives and reigns. And being even filled with this knowledge and confidence, I will not fear many thousands of Popes. For greater is he that-is in us, then he that is in the World. And again, in his Epistle to his Father, he hath this remarkable passage, What if the Pope shall kill me or condemn me below hell? He cannot rayse me up again when I am slain, and kill me a second and third time. And having once condemned me, I would never have him absolve me. For I am confident that the day is at hand, wherein that Kingdom of abomination and destruction, shall be it self destroyed. But would I might first be counted worthy either to be burned or slain by him, that so my blood might cry the lowder and urge his judgement to be the more hastened. But if I am not worthy to testifie with my blood, let me at least intreat and implore this mer­cy, that I may testifie by my life and Doctrine that Jesus Christ alone is our Lord, and God blessed for ever and ever.

Calme Melancton was indued with the same Spirit of power, and so when his enemies threatned him not to leave him a place [Page 25] in all Germany whereon to set his foot, he said, avido & tranquillo animo expecto exilia. I expect banishment with a desirous and peaceable mind.

Many more Examples might be produced, to show that when Ministers are indued with the power of the Spirit coming on them, then they are stronger then all opposition and Persecution whatsoever; otherwise, when these evils encounter them, they with Demas leave the Work, and imbrace the World.

And thus you see, what necessity all the faithful Ministers of the Gospel have, of the power of the Holy Spirit coming upon them; and without this power, though they be called Ministers, yet they are none. For without this power, they are unable to preach the Word, to preach it powerfully, and to persevere and hold out in the course of the Ministery; they are unable to reprove the World, to wrestle with and overcome the Devil; and to suffer that Persecution, which necessarily attends that calling. And so without this power, they may Minister to themselves, but cannot Minister to others, the manifold graces of God: they may do their own work, but they cannot do Gods work; they may feed themselves, but not the Flock of Christ: they may domineer over the sheep, but cannot drive away the Wolf: they may build up their own houses, but cannot build up God house.

Secondly; as the Holy Spirit and the power of it, is necessary for Ministers, so also for all other Christians whatsoever.The Holy Spirit and the power of it necessary for all Christians.

But some here will be ready to say, yea, but do all believers, receive the Spirit of God, and the power of the Spirit,Question. as Mini­sters do?

Yes, Equally and alike with them, without any difference. This is evident, Act. 11.15. where Peter tels the Jews,Answer. who con­tended with him for conversing and eating with the Gentiles, that when he began to speak the Word to them, the Holy Spirit fell on them (saith he) as on us at the beginning. And again, ver. 17. Forasmuch then as God gave [...] them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, what was I, that I could withstand God. So that God gave the Holy Spirit to as many Gentiles as believed, in like manner as he did unto the A­postles themselves: and they received the same power of the Holy Spirit coming on them, as the Apostles did. Whereby you may [Page 26] perceive that not Ministers only are Spiritual men, and all others temporal, as the Papists have taught, and many Ignorant people among our selves, are still perswaded: but all true Believers are spiritual, as well as they, being born of the Spirit, and Baptized with the Spirit, equally as they are.

And so all true Believers as well as Ministers being indued with the Spirit; are also indued with the power of the Spirit, and so have more then an Earthly power in them. They have all of them, power of another nature then the power of the World; they partake of spiritual, heavenly, and divine power, even of the very power of Christ himself, which infinitely transcends all the power of the creature.

You see then clearly, that all faithful Christians, have the Spirit of power, and the power of the Spirit coming on them, aswe [...] as Ministers. And they stand in need of both these, for these causes.

They need the Spirit of power.1. They stand in need of the Spirit of power, first to difference and distinguish them from Reprobates and Devils: for without the gift of the Spirit, there is no difference, between us and them. For Michael doth not differ from the Devil, nor Gabriel from Belzebub, but only by the Spirit. And Moses differs not from Pharoah, nor Abel from Cain, not Jacob from Esau, nor Peter from Judas, in regard of their substance, but in regard of the Spirit, which the one received, and the other were counted un­worthy of.

2. To advance them above the condition of flesh and blood, and above all those, in whom is none of Gods Spirit. The ex­cellency of each creature is, according to its Spirit; for the more excellent the spirit of the creature is, the more excellent is the creature it self; and each creature, is valued and rated according to the Spirit of it. How excellent then, must they be above all the World, who have received the Spirit that is of God? Surely these are people of the most excellent spirit: And hence it is, that the righteous is more excellent then his neighbour, because his spirit is more excellent then his neighbours.

3. To unite them unto Christ. The Spirit is the bond of Vnion between the Father and the Son, in the Godhead; and the Father and the Son, are one in the Spirit (as we spake before.) And now, the same spirit, is our bond of Vnion with Christ, and makes [Page 27] us one with Christ, as Christ is one with God, and unites us unto Christ, in the unity of God; for as Christ, is one with the Father, in the Spirit, so are we one with Christ, in the Spirit: For he that is joyned to the Lord, is one Spirit; and he that is not one Spirit with the Lord, is not joyned to him.

4. All faithful Christians stand in need of the power of the Spirit,They need the power of the Spirit. as well as of the Spirit of power.

1. To change their nature, 1. To change their nature. which is impossible to all power, but the power of the Spirit. It would be a great power, to change clay into Gold, and a pibble into a Diamond; but it is a greater change that is wrought in a Christian, and requires a greater power. For the power of the Spirit, when it comes into our flesh, changes the nature of it. For it finds a man carnal, it makes him spiritual; it finds him earthly, it makes him heavenly; it finds him a drunkard, it makes him sober; an adulterer, it makes him chast; a swearer, it makes him fear an oath; proud, it makes him humble; it finds him darkness, makes him light in the Lord; in a word, it finds him nothing but a lump of sin, and makes him the righteousness of God in Christ. Thus the power of the Spirit, changes our whole corrupt nature, and makes it conformable to the divine nature; as fire makes the Iron in which it prevails, like unto it self, communicating its own nature to it. After this sort, the power of the Spirit changes our nature, and our nature cannot be changed without it. But without this power of the Spirit, we shall always remain the same we were born, without any change at all. Yea, our corruption will by daily use and exercise, encrease in us, till at last it quite eat out that common natural good, which God hath given to every one of us, for the common benefit of mankind.

2. All Christians have need of the power of the Spirit to work grace in them. 2. To work Grace. For our natures, are wholly carnal and corrupt; and nothing can implant grace in them, but the mighty power of Gods Spirit. And it is as great a [...] to see the Grace of God dwelling in the corrupt [...] of [...] as to see the Stars grow upon the Earth. And yet the power of the Spirit doth this, as it is written, Psal. 25.11. 2 Pet. 1.14. truth shall spring out of the earth; and again, great and precious promises are made to us, that we should be par­takers of the Divine nature; and again, he hath predestinated us that we should be conformable to the Image of his Son. That is, as in [Page 28] other things, so also in all his vertues. So that the power of the Spirit, implants grace in our nature; and each grace, is so much of the power of the Spirit, in our flesh, as was said before. Wherefore we must needs learn to know, whose power, the power of grace is. For though grace be a power in our flesh, it is not the power of our flesh: for Paul saith, in me, that is in my flesh, dwels no good thing, but and if, any good, be, in my flesh, it dwels not in my flesh, but in Gods Spirit which dwels in me. As light, is in the ayr, but dwels in the Sun, so when men are regenerate, good is in the flesh, but dwels in the spirit. For grace in the soul, is nothing but so much of the power of the Spirit, immediately dwelling and working in us; and when the Spirit is gone, all grace goes along with him, as all light with the Sun; but it dwels in him, and is in­separarable from him.

3. To mortifie sin.3. All Christians stand in need of the power of the spirit, to enable them to mortifie and destroy sin. There is no power in our flesh, against sin; but all the power of our flesh, is for it: and therefore it must be another power, then the power of our flesh, that must destroy sin, and that can be no other, then the power of Gods Spirit. And the power of the Spirit ▪ destroys the whole body of sin, and each particular strong corruption.

1. The whole bo­dy of sin.1. The whole body of sin, in all the parts and members and branches of it; each several influence and operation of the Spirit, being a several destruction, of some sin or other. For as the spi­rit that is in us, lusts after envie, or pride, or vain-glory, or co­vetousness, or uncleanness, or the like; so the Spirit we have of God, according to its mighty power, destroys all those sinful works of our corrupt spirit, and mortifies all the deeds of our flesh, according to that of Paul, if ye mortifie the deeds of the flesh by the Spirit, Rom. 8.13. ye shall live: The flesh will never mortifie its own deeds, but the spirit must mortifie the deeds of the flesh; and this will mortifie them, according to the whole Latitude of them.

2. Particular strong cor­ruptions.2. Again, as the power of the Spirit sudues the whole body of sin, so also it over- [...] each particular strong corruption, and keeps a Christian straight and upright in the ways of God. Every man hath some one corruption, to which by nature he is more in­clined, then to another, and this is the byas of a man; but the strength of the Spirit, will over-power this. A boul, if it be thrown with strength, knows not its byas, but is carryed on strait, as if it [Page 29] had no byas at all. So the Godly have still some flesh in them which is their byas, and carries them from God to themselves and the World, but the strength of the spirit, takes away this byas, and makes us take straight steps to God.

4. All Christians stand in need of the power of the Spirit, to in­able them to perform duties, 4. To perform duties. to perform them aright, that is, spi­ritually. For spiritual duties, may be performed, for the outward work carnally; and in such duties there is no strength but weak­ness, because there is none of the Spirit in them. For there is no power in any duty, except there be something of the spirit in the duty. There is no more power in praying, nor in preaching nor in hearing, nor in meditation, nor in reading, nor in resisting evil, nor in doing good, nor in any duty of sanctification, or of morti­fication, then there is of the Spirit in them.

And according to the measure of the spirit, in each duty, is the measure of power in the duty. If there be none of the Spirit in a mans duties, there is no power at all in them, but onely weak­ness and deadness, and coldness, and unpofitableness. If a little of the spirit, there is a little power; if abundance of the Spirit, there is great power; and that duty that is most spiritual, is the most powerful. And therefore saith Paul, I will pray with the Spirit, and I will sing with the spirit; and all the worship of the faithful is in the spirit. Philip. 3.3. We are the Circumcision which wor­ship God in the Spirit, and have no confidence in the flesh. So that there is no more power in any duty then there is of the Spirit in it: and there is no more acceptance of any duty with God, then there is of power in it.

Fifthly, all Christians stand in need of the Power of the Spi­rit, to inable them to the use of the Word, To inable them to the use of the word. and that both in private, and in publique, as occasion serves.

1. In private;In private. for no man can say, that Iesus is the Christ but by the Holy Spirit. No man can speak of Christ, spiritually, but by the Spirit; and without this spirit, which searches the deep things of God, and reveals them to us, Christians are unable to give the Sense of the Word of God in their families, and among their friends, and acquaintance, and are also ashamed to do it. Whereas the Spirit of God gives both ability, and boldness: as Aquila and Priscilla his wife, did not onely speak the word in their family, but also took Apollos a Minister, home,Act. 18.26. when they [Page 30] perceived him somewhat ignorant in the mystery of Christ, and instructed him in the way of God more perfectly.

2. They have need of the power of the spirit, to inable them to speak the word of God in publike, In publike. as every Christian may do, if he come where people are ignorant of Gods Word, and there be no Minister to do it. This I say in such a case he may do by vertue of his anointing with the spirit; And for this you may see the practise of Stephen and Philip, who were but Deacons, and not Elders or Ministers, and yet published the Word, where the people were ignorant; yea you may see Act. 8. how all the Disci­ples except the Apostles, were by reason of a great persecution scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, and they that were so scattered, went everywhere preaching the Word because the people among which they were, were ignorant, and there was no body else to do it. And God, having made known Christ unto them, they could not, but declare him unto others: the love both of Christ, and of their brethren constraining them. But this is in case of necessity, and where other faithful Christians are absent: other­wise when Christians are present, no man can take that to himself, without the consent of all, which belongs to all.

Sixthly, all Christians stand in need of this power of the spirit, to inable them to confess the word, To inable them to con­fess the word. before Kings, and Rulers, and Magistrates, when they are called thereunto. Whereas without this power they would tremble, and bite in the truth. In the 10. Chap. of Mat. Christ tells his Disciples that they should be brought before Governours and Kings, for his names sake. But saith he, vers. 19. When they shall deliver you up, take no thought, how, or what ye shall speak; for it shall be given you in that same hour, what ye shall speak. For it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that speaketh in you. Here Christ tels his Disciples that they should be brought before great men, yea before the greatest in the world, to give testimony to his truth. And surely, it is a very hard thing, for a man not to be daunted then, but to be unmoveable, before all worldly power and glory, and all the terrible frowns and threats of mighty men. Now saith Christ at such a time, when you are to speak before the armed power of the world, be not troubled be­forehand, how, or what to say. For if you have Christ and his Spi­rit in your hearts, you cannot want words in your mouths. And the truth which you profess is most glorious, when it is most naked, [Page 31] and destitute of the garnishings of humane eloquence and wisdom. And therefore be not fearful before hand, no nor yet, careful, touching what you shall say; for it shall be given to you in that same hour, in that same moment; you shall have most present help. How so? for it is not ye that speak, but the Spirit of your Father that dwels in you. The spirit of truth that dwels in you, shall inable you to speak the words of truth, when you are called to it. And though you, it may be, are plain and mean men, and your lips would tremble, and be quite closed up before such an Assembly of power, and Majesty: yet Gods spirit shall give you a mouth to speak, even then. And because, if you were only sup­plied with a mouth to speak at such a time, you would be ready to speak rashly, and foolishly, to the great prejudice, and disad­vantage of the truth, therefore he will give you not only a mouth, but wisdom too; and he himself will manage his own cause with your mouths. And you shall so speak as all your adversaries, shall not be able to resist the truth that you speak, but shall be so convinced in their consciences, that their tongues shall not know what to say. You shall have, a mouth and wisdom, and they shall want both.

And thus, have many poor, mean, simple Christians, when brought before Rulers and Magistrates, been able to carry out the truth in that strength, that all their adversaries have been put to silence and shame, as you may see in a multitude of examples, in the Book of Martyrs. And all this they did, by the power of the Spirit coming upon them.

Seventhly, and lastly, all Christians stand in need of the power of the Spirit, to overcome afflictions and persecutions, 7. To overcome afflictions and persecutions. from which it is impossible they should be free, in this world, they being con­trary to the world, and the whole world to them. A natural man, who hath no strength in himself, but his own strength, faints and fails under affliction and persecution: but the faithful have in them, strength above natural strength, strength above the strength of men, even the strength of the Spirit coming on them, and so they indure and overcome. Our spirits are weak spirits, and are conquered by every evil; but when they are strenghtned, by the power of Gods Spirit, they are, over all evils, more then Conquerors. And this is one thing observable, between natural and spiritual strength, in the overcoming of evil. Natural strength seeks al­wayes [Page 32] wayes to throw off the evil, and so it prevailes: but spiritual strength neever seeks the removing of the evil, but let the evil be what it will, it stands to it, and overcomes it. For the strength of the Spirit, is easily able to overcome, all evils that can happen to flesh and bloud, whether they arise from earth or hell. And thus those blessed Martyrs mentioned Hebr. 11. and thousands and ten thousands of their consorts since, have overcome, cruel mock­ings and scourgings, and bonds, and imprisonment, and stoning, and sawing in sunder, and slaying with the sword, and all the woes of poverty and want, and banishment, and of living in wil­dernesses and caves, and dens of the earth; these and all other evils, they have mightily overcome, by this only power, of the Spirit comming upon them. Thus we stand in need, of the power of the Spirit, to overcome affliction and persecution; and how much power we have, in affliction and persecution, to indure them and overcome them, just so much, of the power of the Spirit, we have, and no more.

And thus also, have I declared unto you what necessity, all Christians have, of the power of the Spirit, coming on them as well as Ministers. And this was to strengthen the Vse of ex­hortation.

The second Use,Second use. is for information and instruction, after this manner. If the receiving of the Spirit be the receiving of power, then it clearly informs us, that the way to partake of this power, is to obtain this Spirit: and the way to increase this power, is to increase this Spirit. I shall endeavour to speak to both these things, and so shall conclude.

1. The way to obtain this power, is to obtain the Spirit.The way to get this power, is to get this Spirit.

And that we may obtain the Spirit, we must first prepare our selves to receive the Spirit.To this end we must pre­pare our selves.

Now this Preparation doth not stand (as Papists teach,Wherein pre­paration doth not consist. and ma­ny ignorant persons among our selves think) in sweeping the soul from sin, and then strewing it with graces, that so we may be fit to receive the Spirit.

For first, the sweeping of the soul from sin, is not a work of our own, before the coming of the Spirit, but a work of the Spirit, it self, after it is come. For no flesh can clear the soul of one sin, it is the Spirit must do that.

And secondly, for the strewing of the soul with grace, neither [Page 33] is this a work of our own, but a work of the Spirit it self, after it is come. For the Spirit it self, brings all grace with it, and before the comming of the Spirit, there is no grace at all.

So that, we cannot, by any acts of our own, Wherein it doth. prepare our selves to receive the Spirit; but only by the Spirit we prepare our selves to receive the Spirit. For it is not any work of our own, upon our selves, but the immediate work of the Holy Spirit upon us, that can make us fit to receive himself. It lies wholly in his own power and goodness, first to prepare in us a place for himself, and then after to receive and entertain himself, in that place he hath so pre­pared. Now the workes of the Spirit, whereby he first prepares us for himself, and [...]hen entertaines himself in us, are these two especially.

1. He empties us; and 2. he fills us with himself, whom he hath made empty.

1. He empties us. 1. The Holy Spirit empties us. And this emptying, is the first and chief work of the Spirit, upon the Elect, whereby he prepares them to receive himself. For the more empty a man is of other things, the more capable he is of the Spirit. If you would fill a vessel, with any other liquor then it holds, you must first empty it, of all that is in it before; if you would fill it with Wine, you must empty it of Beer or Water, if any such liqour be in it. For two material things, cannot possibly subsist in the same place, at the same time, the sub­stances of each being safe and sound. And so if the Holy Spirit who is God, must come into us: all mortal and unstable creatures, together with sin and our selves, and what ever else is in us, must go forth. Humane reason, and humane wisdom, and righte­ousness, and power, and knowledge, cannot receive the Holy Spirit: but we must be emptied of these, if ever we would receive him.

We must thus suffer, our selves, to be prepared by the Spirit, to receive the Spirit: but with this caution, A caution. That when the Spirit of God hath wrought this in us, we do not attribute it to our selves, as our own work, nor think any thing of our selves, but descend into our own meer nothing. Otherwise we shall be a hinderance to the Spirit, that he cannot work in us after a more excellent manner.

And when a man is thus empty of himself, and of other things, then he becomes poor in spirit, and such the Spirit alwayes fills, 2. Fills us. [Page 34] and descends into with a wonderful and unresistible power, and fills the outer and inner man, and all the superior and infe­rior faculties of the soul, with himself, and all the things of God.

And this is the second work of the Spirit, to fill those whom he hath emptied. Now the usual and ordinary means,The means are. through which the Spirit doth this, are these three.

1. The hearing of the Word preached.1. The hear­ing of the Word. But here we must distin­guish of the Word. For the Law is the word of God, but St. Paul saith that by that word the Spirit is not given, but by the Word of the Gospel. And therefore how beautiful are the feet of them that bring the Gospel of peace! for nothing is so sweet and precious as the word of the Gospel, which brings with it the Holy Spirit. This you may see Act. 10.44. where it is said, that whilest Peter yet spake, the Holy Ghost fell on all them that heard the Word. And therefore also the Gospel is called the ministration of the Spirit; because as it proceeds from the Spirit, and the Holy Spirit gives utterance, so it also conveyes the Spirit to the faithful. Now the gift of tongues and miracles, and other such like gifts are at the present ceased in the Church: but the gift of the Spirit, is not ceased; and this, the Lord still joynes with the Ministery of the Gospel, that he may keep up in our hearts the due respect of this ordinance, and may preserve us, from the wayes of those men, who seeek for the Spirit without the Word.

2. Means, is faith in the word heard. For it is not every one, that hears the word, that receives the Spirit: but onely they, that hear with the hearing of faith. 2. Faith. For if thou hear the word of the Gospel a thousand times, and wantest faith, thou shalt never re­ceive the Spirit; for unbeleef, shuts up the heart against the Spirit, and ever opposes and resists the Spirit, and never receives it. But faith opens the heart to receive the Spirit.

By faith, we lay hold on Christ in the word: and through our union with Christ, we obtain the Spirit. For we have not the Spi­rit immediately in it self, but in the flesh of Christ. And when we, by faith are made the flesh of Christ, then we partake of that Spi­rit, that dwels in the flesh of Christ.

Now through these two things, the Word and Faith, the Spirit communicates to us a new birth; it begets us unto God: and so we partaking of the nature of God, partake also of the Spirit of [Page 35] God. They are born of men, have nothing in them but the spirit of men but they that are born of God have the Spirit of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, & hath no spirit in it; but that which is born of the Spirit, is spirit, and hath spirit in it. So that there is no means to partake of the Spirit of God but by being born of God: and the means by which we are born of God, are the Word & Faith.

3. Means is Prayer. 3. Prayer. For Christ hath said, the Spirit is given to them that aske. And the Disciples when they were to receive the promise of the Spirit, continued with one accord in prayer and sup­plication. Act. 1.14. For God who hath promised to give us his Spirit, hath commanded us to aske it: and when God hath a minde to give us the Spirit, he puts us in minde to ask it: yea God gives us the Spirit, that by it we may ask the Spirit, seeing no man can ask the Spirit, but by the Spirit. Now in asking the Spirit, there is no difference, whether we ask it of the Father or of the Son, seeing the Spirit proceeds from both, and is the Spirit of both. And therefore Christ, promiseth the sending of the Spirit from both. From the Father, Joh. 14. The Spirit which the Father will send in my name. From himself, Joh. 16. Except I go, the Comfor­ter will not come: but if I go I will send him to you. So that both the Father and the Son, give the Spirit, and it is no matter whether we ask him, either of the Father, or of the Son, so we ask him, of the Father in the Son, or of the Son in the Father.

And thus you see the way, to obtain this power, is to obtain the Spirit, and also by what means this is done.

2. The way to increase this power,2. The Way to increase this power. is to increase the Spirit. And therefore it is as needful for us, to know the means to in­crease the Spirit, as to receive it. And they among others are these:

1. To continue in the use of the Word. As the Spirit is first given by the word, so by the same word it is increased; and the more any Christian is in the use of the word, the stronger and more vigorous and mighty is the Spirit in him: but the neglect of the word, is the quenching of the Spirit. Let a Christian, that is strong in the spirit, neglect the word a while, and he will soon become weak, and as a man without strength. For the Spirit, is not be­stowed on us, but through the word, neither doth it dwell in us, but by the word; and the more the word dwels in our hearts by faith, the more the spirit dwells in our hearts by the word. And according to the measure of the word in us, is the measure of the Spirit.

[Page 36]2. To increase faith. For the more we beleeve, the more we receive of Christ; and the more we receive of Christ, the more we receive of the spirit, in Christ. For faith doth not apprehend bare Christ, but Christ with his Spirit, because these are inseparable. Now alwayes according to the measure of Christ in us is the mea­sure of the spirit; and according to the measure of faith, is the measure of Christ in us.

3. To be much in prayer. For the prayer of the spirit, increases the spirit. The more we have the spirit, the more we pray; and the more we pray, the more we receive the spirit. So that when we have the spirit in truth, we shall have daily, a greater and greater increase of it, till we be filled with the spirit. For the spirit comes from Christ, in whom is the fulness of the spirit, and carries us back again to Christ, that we may receive still more of the spirit. And so by the spirit that is in our hearts, we lay hold on the spirit that is in Christ, and receive more and more of it.

4. To turn our selves daily from the creature to God. For the more we inlarge our hearts, towards the creature, the less capable are we of the Spirit of God. For to live much upon the creature, is to live much according to the flesh, and this quenches and strai­tens the spirit in us. And therefore we must live abstractedly from the creatures; and so use them, as if we did not use them: and so minde them, as if we did not minde them: and abandon the contents and satisfactions of flesh and blood, and wean our selves from all things but the necessities of nature. And the more free and loose we are from the creature, the more capable are we of Gods spi­rit, and the operations of it. He that lives at greatest distance from the world, and hath least communion with the things of it, hath alwayes the greatest proportion of Gods spirit. For as the Apostle saith, If any man love the world, the love of the Father (that is, the Holy Spirit) is not in him: so, if any man love the Father, the love of the world is not in him: now the more, any one loves the Father, the less he loves the world: and the less he loves the world, the more the spirit dwels in him.

5. To cease daily from our own works. The more we act our selves, the less doth the Spirit act in us. And therefore we must must from day to day, cease from our own works, from the opera­tions of our own minds, and understandings, and wils, and affections, [Page 37] and must not be the Authors of our own actions. For we being flesh our selves, what ever we do is fleshly, seeing the effect cannot be better then the cause. And if we mingle, the works of our flesh, with the works of Gods Spirit, he will cease from working in us. But the less we act in our selves, according to the principles of our corrupt nature, the more will the spirit act in us, according to the principles of the divine nature. But our own works, are alwayes a mighty impediment, to the operations of the Spirit.

6. To encrease the spirit in us, we must give up our selves to the Spirit, that he only may work in us, without the least opposition and resistance from us. That, as the soul acts all in the body, and the body doth nothing of it self, but is subject to the soul in all things: so the spirit may do all in us, and we may do nothing of our selves without the Spirit, but be subject to the Spirit in all its operati­ons. For the Spirit of God, cannot work excellently in us, except it work all in all in us. And in such a man, in whom the Spirit hath full power, the Spirit works many wonderful things, that he according to humane sense is ignorant of. For as the soul, doth secretly nourish, and cherish, and refresh the body, and disperses life and spirits through it, even when the body is asleep, and nei­ther feels it, nor knows it: so the Holy Spirit dwelling in the soul, by a secret kinde of operation, works many things in it, for the quickning, and renewing it, whilst it oftentimes for the pre­sent, is not so much as sensible of it.

7. The seventh means, to encrease the spirit, is to attribute the works of the spirit to the spirit, and not to our selves. For if we at­tribute to the flesh, the works of the Spirit: and take from the Spirit, the glory of his own works, he will work no longer in us. Wherefore we must ascribe unto the Spirit, the whole glory of his own works, and acknowledge that we our selves are nothing, and can do nothing: and that it is he only, that is all in all, and works all in all: and we our selves, among all the excellent works of the Spirit in us, must so remain, as if we were and wrought no­thing at all; that so, all that is of flesh and blood, may be laid low in us, and the Spirit alone may be exalted: first to do all in us: and then, to have all the glory, of all that is done.

And thus you see the means to encrease the Spirit, and so consequently strength, as well as to get it. And by the daily use and improvement of these means, we may attain to a great degree [Page 38] of spiritual strength, that we may walk and not be weary: and may run and not faint, and may mount up as Eagles, yea, and may walk as Angels among men, and as the powers of heaven upon earth, to his praise and honour, who first communicates to us his own strength, and then by that strength of his own, works all our works in us: And thus is he glorified in his Saints, and admired in all them that believe.

FINIS.

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