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him, any spark of gratitude for his unspeakable grace, condescension, and sufferings, with the eternal fruits of them, any desire of his glory and honour in the world,-if we would not be found at the last day the most hateful traitors to his crown and dignity,-if we
ave any expectation of grace from him, or advantage by him, here or hereafter, let us labour to be "holy m all manner of conversation," that we may hereby adorn his doctrine, express his virtues and praises, and grow up into conformity to him, who is the First-born and Image of the invisible God.
The Promise of the Holy Ghost as a Spirit of Prayer.
THE works of the Spirit of God towards believers, are either general or particular:-of the first sort are regeneration and sanctification;-of the latter are various operations, which, though included in sanctification, require a distinct consideration; such, for instance, is the aid or assistance which he gives us in our prayers and supplications; and it cannot be denied that this is more frequently and expressly asserted in the Scripture than any other operation of his what
We have a special promise to this purpose: "I will pour upon the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and supplication." Zech. xii. 10. A plentiful and abundant effusion of the Holy Spirit is undoubtedly intended. Those to whom he is promised, are "the house of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem;" that is, the whole Spiritual Church of God, as represented by the family of David, and the inhabitants of Jerusalem. He is called
"the Spirit of Grace," with respect to the sovereign cause of his dispensation, which is the mere grace of God, without any regard to our deserts; and because he is the author, fountain, and efficient cause of all grace in us; and because those on whom he is poured out have grace and favour with God, being " accepted in the beloved.”
He is, as thus poured out, "a Spirit of Supplications," that is, of prayer for grace and mercy; and he is so, (1.) By working gracious inclinations in us to this duty. We are naturally wholly averse from all intercourse with God; and there is still a secret alienation working in us from all duties of immediate communion with him: it is he alone who prepares, disposes, and inclines us to pray with delight and spiritual complacency. (2.) He is so, by giving an ability for prayer, communicating a gift to the minds of men, enabling them, profitably to themselves and others, to exercise all his graces in that special way of prayer.
We have an account of the accomplishment of this promise in Gal. iv. 6, "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying Abba, Father." The persons on whom he is bestowed are believers; or those who by faith have obtained the privilege of adoption. He is called "the Spirit of the Son," not only because he was in the first place given to him, and by him given to believers,—but because he enables them to behave themselves suitably to their new relation; not as foreigners and strangers, nor as servants only, but as children and heirs of God. "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power and love, and of a sound mind :" not a spirit of bondage unto fear," filling our minds with dread, so as to keep us at a distance from him, but a spirit of power, strengthening us to every duty of obedience; and a spirit of love, working in us that love to God, and delight in him, which becomes children towards their heavenly Father; and a spirit of modest, grave, and sober mind. By the effectual working of the Holy Ghost, believers are enabled to cry "Abba, FaTHER." The object of prayer is "God, even the Fa
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ther." Abba is the Syriac or Chaldée name for Fa-
This twofold testimony concerning the promise of the Holy Ghost as a spirit of supplication, and the accomplishment of it to believers under the New Testament, sufficiently proves, that there is a peculiar work, or special gracious operation of the Holy Spirit in the prayers of God's people, enabling them thereto.-We shall now proceed to declare what is the work of the Holy Ghost in them to this end and purpose.
The Work of the Spirit as to the Matter of Prayer,
THE first thing we ascribe to the Spirit herein is, that he supplies the mind with a due comprehension of the matter of prayer, or what ought to be prayed for; without which no man can pray as he ought. The testimony of the apostle is expressed to this purpose :"Likewise also the Spirit helpeth our infirmities, for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groans that cannot be uttered." Rom. viii. 26.
It is true that whatever we ought to pray for, is declared in the Scripture, and summarily comprised in the Lord's Prayer; but it is one thing to have this in the book, another to have it in our heart; without which it cannot be to us the due matter of prayer. Without the assistance of the Spirit we neither know our own wants,-nor the supplies of them that are expressed in the promises of God,-nor the proper end for which we should seek those supplies.