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Earnestly soever they may be Defired by You. He proceeds therefore, in the following Ch. to shew Particularly, that Charity is Preferable to the Extraordinary Gifts of the Spirit: Which indeed are, in Themselves, neither Effettual to the attainment of Holiness and Eternal Life, because we find, that Those who have Prophesied and wrought Miracles in Christ's name, may Possibly be Workers of Iniquity, and therefore finally Condemned; nor yet Necessary to Salvation, because every Sincere Christian, though not endued with those Extraordina Gifts, will certainly be Saved. And, that he might give the Disciples a Still Higher recommendation of this Divine Grace, and, at the same time, raise their Esteem of those other Graces, which are absolutely Necessary to Salvation, 'tis added, in the Words of the Text, And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greates of these is charity.
From which words I shall,
I. First, Give some Account of these three Graces, consider'd Severally and Apart. II. Secondly, I shall enquire, how far, and in what respects, it must be granted, that, notwithstanding the Necessity and Excellency of Faith and Hope, Charity is Preferable unto Both. III. Thirdly, I shall conclude with some Application. I. First, I shall give such a Short Account of these three Graces, consider'd Severally and Apart, as the Narrow com— pass of this Discourse will allow. And in representing the Necessity of Each, God's Preventing and Exciting Grace, as ever concurring with every man's Sincere endeavours, is all along to be Supposed and taken for granted. And, 1. First, In treating of Faith, which, consider'd as a Grace, denotes in General an Assent unto Divine Truth, grounded upon Divine Testimony, 'tis necessary to distinguish betwixt That Faith, which is the Duty of every Christian, and That, which is reckon'd amongst the Extraordinary gifts of the Spirit; whereby * - - L O
of the First Christians were qualified to cast out Devils, * and to work Miracles. And, notwithstanding that All Christians are not obliged to This kind of Faith, yet it was a Duty strićtly Incumbent upon all those persons, to whom a Promise of Extraordinary power was given: And if they did not firmly depend upon such Extraordinary Abilities, so Ascertain'd unto them, Diffidence was as much Unbelief in Them, as an Asurance of working Miracles, would be Presumption in Others. To this purpose we read, that when our Blessed Saviour had cast out a Devil, and the Disciples came unto him and said, why could not we cast him out? jesus said unto them, because of your Unbelief of For he had given them power and authority over all Devils, and to cure diseases. And though in This instance they failed of success, through their Unbelief, yet in many Other instances we find their Miraculous Faith crowned with Effectual demonstrations
* Mat. xvii. 20. and Mark xvi. 17, 18.
of their Miraculous Power. Nor were the Supernatural effects of this Extraordinary Faith Peculiar to the Aposiles, or to the Apostolick Age, but were extended into Succeeding * Times, whilst the Circumstances of Things required That Power, for the Support and Propagation of the Gospel. 'Tis scarce to be doubted, but that those Other persons, who did not receive an Immediate Promise from our Saviour, as the Aposiles did, of a Power to cast out Devils and to work Miracles, and yet had such a Power Communicated to them, for ends and purposes agreeable to the Infinite Wisdom of God, were by the Spirit Blessed with an Extraordinary Faith, a Fiducial Dependence upon God, for such Supernatural abilities, as a Previous Disposition to the Exercise of them. But still, if they had not been so Influenc'd, the
* Vide Just. Mart, in Dial. cum Tryph. p. 247. Edit.
Paris. – Irenae. adv. Haeres. lib. ii. cap. 56, 57, & lib. v. Cap. 6. collat. cum Euseb. Histor. Eccles, lib. v. cap. 7. — Theoph. Antioch. ad Autol. lib. ii. Ter
tullian, ad Scap. & in Apologet. Origen. Comm. ab Huet. Edit. Vol. ii. p. 328. & contra Cels. l. i. & iii. — Cyprian. ad Demetr. & de Vanit. Idol. Lačiant. Divin. Instit. lib. iv. c. 27.- Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. lib. V. c. 1.-S. Chrysost, in Ps. cx. —
L 2. if
Want of such a Faith had been no more Culpable in them, than the Want of such a Power: For the One is a Miraculous gift of the Spirit, as well as the Other. 'Tis no more the Duty of a Christian, as such, to Believe that he can remove Mountains, than 'tis within the compass of his Strength to Remove them. Extraordinary, or Miraculous Faith
* Mark, xvi. 16.