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gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?" and Prov. ii. 3-5. But you will say; We cannot pray without the Spirit.
Answ. But yet go and present yourselves before God, and spread your case before him as well as you can. Bemoan your wants, your inability to good, your insensibleness of your misery: Plead as well as you can for mercy, for the bestowing of his Spirit upon you: Who knows but when you are endeavoring, seeking and striving, God may give in his Holy Spirit to you, and help you to pray to acceptation with him? It is our duty to wait and let God take his time and way to work. But be sure to pray and that with great earnestness from a deep sense of your distress and danger, that God will speedily help you. "Make haste, O God, to deliver me, make haste to help me, O Lord." Ps. lxx. 1. "Hear me speedily, O Lord, my spirit faileth: hide not thy face from me, lest I be like unto them that go down into the pit." Ps. cxliii. 7. It must be with humble and earnest prayer on our part, that the Spirit of God will come into our souls, if ever it come there. Look therefore to the infinite mercy of God in Christ to help in this matter.
Direct. 6. Be exceeding diligent in the use of all means, especially in attending upon the word of God for the obtaining of the Spirit. As we must pray, so we must use all due means with praying over them. Seek for the Spirit wherever there is hope it may be found in all those ways which God hath instituted for the giving forth of grace, mercy and good to the souls of men. Let Sabbaths be observed, ordinances attended, meditation, selfexamination, prayer, secret, family and public prayer, reading the word of God; and especially the ministry of the word: Oh, wait there; by that, the word of God dispensed, the Spirit is pleased to convey himself. The gospel is called the "ministration of the Spirit." 2 Cor. iii. 8. We read of those upon whom the Holy Ghost fell while they were hearing the word." "While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word." Acts x. 44. The Galatians (Gal. iii. 2.) received the Spirit by the hearing of faith, i. e. the word of faith which the apostles preached. Therefore attend diligently to the ministry of the word, pray before you come, pray when you go from hearing of the word, that it might be a blessed means to convey the Spirit to you. And when you come to the word, attend with all your might, hear as for your lives, do not heedlessly let slip any one sentence without your careful attention. Expect, wait, long, look when, by what sentence, by what word spoken God will let in his Spirit into your souls. Oh, if persons would set themselves in good earnest to attend upon the word of the gospel, as the word of God, as the ministry of the Spirit, who knows what God might
do for them? Let the word of God be precious, if ever you would have the Spirit of God with you and in you.
Direct. 7. Inquire seriously and consult with those that have the Spirit of God. If you have any serious Christian friend you can open your heart to, be plain with him, and beseech him to be plain with you. Inquire the way of the Spirit from those who have had experience thereof. "In those days and in that time saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Judah together, going and weeping: they shall go and seek the Lord their God: They shall ask the way to Zion with their faces thitherward." Jer. 1. 4, 5. Where you meet with difficulty in the way, seek for instruction: Listen to what others, what Christians of approved godliness and experience, say concerning the way of the Spirit of God in their souls, if so be that you thereby might go forth by the footsteps of Christ's flock, and find him whom your soul seeks after. This is the direction the Lord gives to her. "If thou know not-go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock." Cant. i. S. It is of exceeding use for persons whose desires are intensely set after the Spirit of God to be opening their hearts, and conferring seriously one with another about the same. Oh, the holy breathings of the Spirit that have many times been kindled in the souls of persons when they have been seriously and sincerely conferring concerning the things and ways of the Spirit of God!
Direct. 8. Continue seeking, striving and waiting in the use of all means till you find, till the Spirit be poured out from on high upon you. If the Lord do not come and give his Spirit to you presently, yet take heed of giving over, or slacking your endeavors. Many being some way or other roused, for a fit are very earnest, but not finding the Spirit of God to come quickly, they give over, they are soon cooled, and content themselves with their former formalities in the exercises of religion. Take heed we do not cast away our souls here : How many, many perish here! Resolve never to give over seeking and waiting till God be gracious to you, and pour out his Spirit upon you. If God give you not the Holy Spirit to be your Comforter, resolve never to take comfort, but lie down in sorrow. Let nothing divert you from this seeking, let nothing satisfy you till you have found the thing you seek for. "Then shall we know if we follow on to know the Lord." Hos. vi. 3. Importunity and constancy may at last prevail. "Yet because of his importunity, he will rise and give him as many as he needeth," &c. Luke xi. 5-10. "And he spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray and not to faint." Luke xviii. 1. The Lord Jesus spake these things to encourage to importunity and constancy
in prayer. And for the prevalency and good effect of this we have the famous example of the woman of Canaan, Matt. xv. 22-28. Direct. 9. Make this the business of your life. Look upon it as the main thing you came into the world for. Lay out the strength of your souls about it. Drive on this as if you had nothing else to mind or do: Make this your work to get the Spirit of God to be in you, and all other things subordinate and subservient to this. Do not think that for a sinner to obtain all the gracious operations of the Spirit in himself, to get a due sense of sin as most odious and loathsome, and to rest his soul upon Christ as most precious, and to show forth all the blessed fruits of the Spirit in his conversation, is a work easily or quickly done: And yet you must not rest till you come to this, till there be the apparent, manifest, full breathings and operations of the Spirit in you. mercy is not like to come to us till the Spirit be poured out upon us from on high; so let us wait and labor till the Spirit be poured out upon us, singly and generally, that the wilderness may become a fruitful field, and the fruitful field be counted for a forest, and so those mercies and blessings which are consequent to this may be derived down to, and settled upon us. For a close, let every sincere one, whose heart is upon the work and glory of Christ, heartily and earnestly join with the Psalmist in that prayer and profession of his, Ps. liii.6. "O that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad.”
ТНЕ СО N T R I TЕ,
THAT TRUE POVERTY AND CONTRITION OF SPIRIT AND TREMBLING
FOR THE OBTAINING AND RETAINING OF
AS IT WAS MADE IN THE AUDIENCE OF THE GENERAL
BY MR. WILLIAM ADAMS,
PASTOR OF THE CHURCH OF CHRIST IN DEDHAM.
"Think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham." Matt. iii. 9.
"A man's pride shall bring him low: but honor shall uphold the humble in spirit." Prov. xxix. 23. "I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the name of the Lord." Zeph. iii. 12.
BOSTON IN NEW ENGLAND,
PRINTED BY RICHARD PIERCE FOR SAMUEL SEWALL.