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ministration of the letter and of death, nor a ministration of the Spirit and of life, it is antichrist's. Now the first it cannot be; the ministration of the letter and of death, is the ministration of the law; and the ministration of the gospel, is the ministration of the Spirit. But say some, it is so, because the Spirit of God hath revealed all gospel dispensations; without which, it had not been within the compass of the reason of man to have found them out. But in answer to this, the Spirit of God revealed all the ordinances and ministrations of old, from first to last, even the little additions that David made after Moses's time. 1 Chron. xxviii. 12. 19. All these things did the hand of God teach me by the Spirit.' So that if it be the ministration of the Spirit, because the Spirit revealed them, so was the law the ministration of the Spirit, because the Spirit revealed that. The ministration of the Spirit must signify, either that the Spirit is the efficient of the ministration, or the effect of it. If the Spirit be the efficient of the ministration, then it is the Holy Spirit of God, giving spiritual gifts and abilities to the ministers of the gospel, to enable them to administer all gospel ordinances to the glory of Christ, and the edification of the church. Or the ministration of the Spirit may signify the communication of him, and so be the effect of the ministration. Gal. iii. 2. Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?' i. e. Received ye the Spirit by the law, or by the gospel? Then this follows, that so long as there is the preaching of the gospel, there is the communication of the Spirit: take it which way you will, it is sufficient for my end. If you take the Spirit to be the efficient of the ministration of the church, enabling its ministers to perform their work, or for the effect of the ministration, he is to abide with the church for ever. For the clearing of this, which is the hinge on which all gospel order turns, we have gone thus far, that Christ hath promised the Spirit to be with the church: that it is neither the essential presence of his divine or human nature in particular, and that the Spirit is promised to be with the church, by an everlasting and unchangeable covenant; from whence it is, the gospel is the ministration of the spirit, and of life, and not of death.

Fifthly, Let us consider the general end, why the Spirit

is thus promised unto the church. God hath promised unto Jesus Christ, that he shall have a kingdom and church in the world, while the sun and moon endureth; Psal. lxxii. 17. 'His name shall endure for ever. His name shall be continued as long as the sun,' i. e. To the end of the world. Isa. ix. 7. it is said, of the increase of his government, or church, there shall be no end;' he shall order it for ever. Matt. xvi. 18. I will build my church upon this rock,' i. e. upon himself, and the gates of hell shall never prevail against it.' Now this promise doth Christ require, that we should mix with faith, which we cannot do, unless there be some ground for the infallible accomplishment of it. Whereon then doth depend the certain accomplishment of this great promise, that God hath made unto Jesus Christ? concerning which, we have as much reason to have our faith exercised at this day, as ever. It must depend on some work of God, or man. Suppose it depends on some work of man, i. e. upon the steadiness of the will of man, in yielding obedience unto Jesus Christ, and so continuing his church and kingdom in the world: leaving the ordering of the things of the church, according to God's institution of it, and maintain withal, that God doth not by effectual grace determine the will of man to obedience, and then God himself can only conjecture. Nor does this lay any ground for us to mix it with faith; but rather faith will depend on men's doing their duty in the world, which indeed can be no real ground of faith: for what happens in one place, in the same circumstances of things, may fall out in another: and we know some places where the gospel hath been embraced, and afterward hath come to nothing. Therefore, certainly, the accomplishment of this promise must depend upon the work of God. If you ask, What work of God that is, whereon the certainty of this promise doth depend? I say, it is this work, and no other, of sending the Holy Spirit.

There are but two things to be considered therein; its internal form, and its external form. Its internal form is union to Jesus Christ by saving grace; its external form and constitution is according to the law of the gospel, and its power. And this cannot be continued without the continued ministration of the Spirit of God, in and with his church.


To suppose the internal form, that we may have union with Christ, or saving grace without the effectual work of the Spirit, is at once to blot out all. Therefore, if God should cease to communicate the Spirit, as to an internal saving work upon the hearts of the elect, the church would cease, as to its internal form. No church would have a relation unto Jesus Christ as the mystical head, if God should cease to communicate the Spirit as to gifts. For the outward administration and form of the church, whatever order you bring into it, cannot be accounted a church of Christ, unless there be the presence of Christ in it. And no man can make confession, that Jesus Christ is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost; 1 Cor. xii. 3. You can make no profession, continue no dispensation of ordinances, or any thing that is acceptable unto God, without the Holy Ghost. The sum of all you do this day is, your acknowledging Jesus Christ to be the Lord, that you are in subjection unto his authority, that you are in the observation of his appointments, and that you recommend your consciences unto him who is 'your Lord and your God;' but you must have the Spirit of God, and his presence, in order to this. The Holy Ghost is promised and given for the continuance and preservation of a church here below, and therein of the accomplishment of this promise, which God hath made to us, to continue with the church to the end of all things. And if he should cease, as to either of his operations, either in working internal saving grace, or spiritual abilities for gospel administrations, the church must cease both in the internal and external form and power of it.

Having laid this foundation, I come in the next place,

Sixthly, To some particular proof of the proposition; namely, That the Holy Ghost thus promised, thus sent, thus given, doth furnish the ministers of the gospel, according to his mind, with spiritual abilities in the discharge of their work; and without it, they are no way fitted for, nor able to it; no way accepted with Christ in what they do, nor can give any faithful account of what they undertake. It is that which the Lord Jesus Christ intends to declare unto us, Matt. xxv. 14―30. You have an account there given of the continuance of the church, the kingdom of Christ in the world, to the end of it. The great Lord is gone away, and


intends to return again at the end of the world; in the mean time, he hath appointed servants to take care of the administration of the affairs of his house and kingdom: and for this end, he gives them talents that they may trade with. He gives them variously as he pleases; to one, five; to another, two; and to another, but one: and he provides work for all their talents. Some men have grown so rich in the world, that they care not to employ their stock; but it must not be so with us. We shall have trade for all our talents. None have so little but they may trade. He that had but one might have traded, as well as he that had five, and been as well accepted. It is agreed by all, that they are spiritual abilities that Christ gives his servants to trade with in the administration of gospel ordinances. And these three things are plainly held forth in the parable. 1. That wherever Jesus Christ calls and appoints a minister in his house, for the building work of it, he gives him spiritual abilities to do that work by the Holy Ghost. He set none at work in his house, when he went away, but he gave them talents. 2. For men to take upon them to serve Christ as officers in the work of his house, who have received none of these spiritual abilities to work with, is a high presumption, and casts reflection of dishonour on Jesus Christ, as if he called to work, and gave no strength; as though he called to trade, and gave no stock; or required spiritual duties, and gave no spiritual abilities. Christ will say to such at the last day, 'How came ye in hither?' 3. This is plain in the parable also, that those who have received talents, or spiritual gifts and abilities of the Holy Ghost, they are to trade with them. And I do not know a warning, that I judge more necessary to be given those who are called this day, than to charge them not to trade too much with their natural gifts, and abilities, and learning. These are talents in their kind; but it is the Spirit must manage all that learning they have, or it will prejudice them, and you also. I have known some good men have been so addicted to their study, that they have thought the last day of the week sufficient to prepare for their ministry, though they employ all the rest of the week in other studies. But your great business is to trade with your spiritual abilities.

There is another testimony given to this (to name one

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or two among many), in Rom. xii. 4-8. For as we have many members in one body, and all the members have not the same office; so we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts, differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith; or ministry, let us wait on our ministering; or he that teacheth, on teaching; or he that exhorteth, on exhortation,' &c. It is not to my present concern, whether offices or duties are intended in this place; but three things are plain to me in this text. 1. That this discourse and direction doth concern the ordinary state of the church in all ages. I profess to you, I had rather a thousand times be of their opinion, as bad as it is, who say, that all church state is ceased, than that there may be a church state, when these gifts and graces are not. If I did not see these graces and gifts continued to some, to keep up the ordinances of the church in some measure, I should believe it had ceased. 2. That gifts are the foundation of all church work, whether it be in office or out of office. Having therefore gifts, let us,' saith the apostle, do so and so. If there be no spiritual gifts, there is no spiritual work. Spiritual gifts are the foundation of office, which is the foundation of work in the church, and of all gospel administrations in a special manner, according to the gifts received. Truly, it may be, you may think it lost labour to prove this; but there is nothing more despised or reproached in this world, than this one apprehension, that there are spiritual gifts given unto persons, to enable them to perform all gospel administrations. 3. That not only the discharge of duty and work depends on the administration of gifts, but the measure of work depends upon the measure of gifts; it is according to the measure every one hath received: and there are many measures. As long as there is any measure of spiritual gifts, let it not be despised among you. The gifts of the Holy Ghost are not only for work, but, I say, for the measure of work; Eph. iv. 8-13. All these spiritual gifts the Holy Ghost doth bestow, to enable persons to perform their work. Seventhly, As spiritual gifts are bestowed unto this end, so they are necessary for it. There can be no gospel administration without spiritual gifts; the ministration of the

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