Owen - BX9315 O81

98 A DISCOURSE ON THE HOLY SPIRIT, 4'C. witha i espect unto the sovereign will and pleasure of they are oft-times expelled and cast out after they have the Holy Ghost. Suppose there are such means of the attainment and improvement of them, and that several persons do with the same measures of natural abilities and diligence use those means for that end, yet it will not follow that all must be equally partakers of them. They are not the immediate product of our own endea- vours, no, not as under an ordinary blessing upon them: for they are xaq.Pfara, arbitrary largesses or gifts which the Holy Spirit worketh in all persons severally as he will. Hence we see the different events that are among them who are exercised in the same studies and endea- vours: some are endowedwith eminent gifts; somescarce attain unto any that are useful; and some despise them, name and thing. There is therefore an immediateope- ration ofthe Spirit of God in the collation of these spirit- ual abilities, which is unaccountable by the measures of natural parts and industry. Yet, I say, (4.) That, ordi- narily, they are both attained and increased by the due use of means suited thereunto, as grace is also, which none but Pelagians affirm tobe absolutely in the power of our own wills. And the namingof these means shall put an issue unto this discourse. Among them, in the first place, is required a due preparation of soul by humility, meekness, and teachableness. The Holy Spirit taketh no delight to impart of his especial gifts unto proud, self- conceited men, to men vainly puffed up in their own flesh- ly- minds. The same most be said concerning other vici- ous and depraved habits ofmind, by which, moreover, been, in some measure, received. And, in this case, need not mention those by whom all these gifts are de- spised: it would be a wonder, indeed, if they should beI made partakers of them, or, at least, if they should a- bide with them. (2.) Prayer is a principal means ofd their attainment. This the apostle directs unto, when he enjoins us earnestly to desire the best gifts: for this desire is to be acted by prayer, and no otherwise. (3.) Diligence in the things about which these gifts are con- versant. Study and meditation on the word of God by the due use of means for the attaining a right understand- ing of his mind and will therein, is that which I intend: for, in this course, conscientiously attended unto, it is, that, for the most part, the Holy Spirit comes in, and joins his aid and assistance for furnishing the mind with those spiritual endowments. (4.) The growth, increase, and improvement of these gifts depend on their faithful use according asour duty doth require. It is trade alone that increaseth talents, and exercise, in a wayof duty that improveth gifts. Without this, the, willfirst with er, and then perish. And, by a neglect hereof, av they lost every day, in some partially, in some totally and in some to a contempt, hatred, and blasphemy o what themselves had received. Lastly, Mens natural en dowments, with elocution, memory, judgment, and th like, improved by reading, learning, and diligent study, do enlarge, set off, and adorn these gifts, where the,} are received.