The spirit convincing of sinne opened in a sermon before the Honorable House of Commons, assembled in Parliament upon the solemne day of their monethly fast, Novemb. 26, 1645
Sterry, Peter, 1613-1672.

Spirituall Perswasives follow.*

First, Sense of Divine Love. Zach. 12. 10.

First, a Spirit of Grace, or Love, is shed upon the Heart; Then teares are shed. What an eye was that which Christ cast upon Peter, when he went out and wept bitterly? Was it not an Eye of love? a Page  19 Melting look? You have seen how a Sugar-loafe dissolves, and weeps it selfe away, when it is dipt in wine. So hearts dissolve, so they melt, dip't in the sweet sense of Divine Love. Who knowes not what a wound, abused love, a wronged Friend makes upon a tender breast? How then doth the dearest love, the sweetest friendship of the great God wound a soule with the sense of Love and Sin.

Have you not sometimes read that place, and drop't teares upon it? some have told me, that they have done it often. The place is Es 43. 22. I have not wearied thee with sacrifices; thou hast wearied me with thy sins, O Israel. I blot out thy transgressions like a Cloud, & remember then no more. Give me the worst, the hard∣est Heart in this great Assembly: how soft would it grow on a sudden, if the Spirit of Christ should whisper to it such words as these are: Many years hast thou lived profanely; many a secret wickednesse hast thou practis'd, which mine eye hath seen. Often I have set my selfe before thee in the blood of my Manhood, in the glory of my Godhead, in the love of both my Natures: Thou hast wearied me with thy scornings:— But thou sha't be mine, I freely forgive all thy sins, as if they never had been committed. Come and see how much I love thee! how I have ever loved thee! What temper would thy heart be in when thou shouldst hear these words? Would it not be like unto that, when Joseph revealed him∣selfe to his brethren: Whiles thy Saviour falls on thy neck to kisse thee, thou would'st fall at his feet unable to speak any word for weeping.

I appeale to you that feel the love of your God, how it works in the soules of men: doe you not of∣ten Page  20 in sweet pangs cry out? Ah! my God, the swee∣ter thou art to me, the more sinfull still doe I appear to my selfe. This is a Spirituall Conviction, a Con∣viction by Love.

2. Sight of Jesus Christ. They shall see him whom they have pierced, and mourne over him. As the looking forth of the Sun melts the Snow; so doe the shi∣nings out of Jesus Christ melt the Soule. 'Tis sweet when a Saint sayes; Mine eyes have seen my Saviour, and now they powre forth teares. A Rain∣bow, the Covenant of peace is then formd, when the Sun shines upon a watry cloud: When Christ puts forth himselfe, and scatters his beams upon a mour∣ning cloudy soule; then followes faire weather: there is peace. This is a spirituall Conviction, a Conviction by the Beames of Beauty.

3. The greatest sin, the not-beleeving in Iesus Christ. In spirituall Perswasives the Person of our Saviour is the Argument and Conclusion of all Convictions. A sight of Christ, is that, by which Men are powerfully convinc'd. Not-beleeving on Christ, is the grand sin, of which they are convinc'd.

They shall mourn over him whom▪ they have pierced. Not to beleeve on Christ is to pierce him.

To beleeve Christ is to see him. So in those Chronicles of Faith, Hebr. 11. c. 27. v. Moses's faith is exprest by his sight: He saw him who was invi∣sible. But this sight is Inward, Spirituall, Divine: a sight by no ordinery Light. St Peter describes the state of beleeving, the sight of faith, 1 Pet. 2. 9. Hee Page  21 hath brought us into his (his own 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) marvel∣ous Light. Hee that sees Christ, sees him in a strange, wonderfull, in a divine Light, in God's own Light. To believe, is thus to see Christ, and to live continually by this sight of Christ; The life I live▪ is by the faith of the Son of God, Gal. 2. chap. ver. ult.

Paul was convinc'd by this sight of Christ; and of this sin, that he had ever liv'd on any other sight. Gal. 1. chap. 16. vers. When it pleased the Father to reveale his Son in mee, I consulted not with flesh and blood.

You may see by Paul's Conversion, what his Con∣viction was. He had consulted with flesh and blood; that is, with Principles of Reason, with the Spirit of man; what should hee have consulted with? or whom? with the Word, the immortall Word: with the Wisdome of God; with the discoveries of Jesus Christ in him.

Is this the Sin, you chiefly mourn for this day? By this judge of your convictions. Do you grieve to think; that the glory of God hath shined so long, so sweetly from the face of Christ; filling all things round about you: while you have been sitting un∣der the shadow of humane wit and reason, as in the shadow of death; That so bright a Day hath dawn'd from the Person of the Lord Jesus; and yet you sit spinning out your Counsels and Course▪ by the candle-light of man's spirit, and policy, as in the night? Do your hearts sigh-forth this sense? Lord, we have sate in counsell concerning the great affairs of many Kingdomes, Churches, Common-wealths▪ but not by thy Wisdome; by the shining forth of Page  22 thy Son in us. Many Principles of State, Reason, Policy, have raigned over us; but the sight of thee, O Jesus, in our hearts, hath not ruled us.

When the Spirit convinceth of sin; hee makes this the great sin and folly; that the appearances of Christ have not been our Sun and shield. No such shield is there to defend us from the strifes, contentions, conspiracies of men and things; as to be hid in the light of our Saviour's looks. No such advantage is there as to gain this Sun, to have the beamings forth of our Husband-king on our side: How do the glorious dartings of his presence from among us, dazle the spirits of our enemies, trouble their order, and make them unable to fight against us, or hurt us?

When the Spirit convinceth of sin, hee shews us, that the story of things in the Wildernesse, was a Figure for us under the Gospel, 1 Cor. 10. c. 4. ver. When the Jews were to passe over the river Jordan, the Ark went before them; so they passed through dry-shod. When they travelled through the De∣sart; the Cloud, the Glory went before them: as that moved, they marched on; when that rested, they stood still.

Your Ark now is the spirituall presence of Je∣sus Christ in your hearts; the Cloud, the Glory now, is the appearance of your Saviour, resting upon your spirits. You have waded through many rivers of blood, have you seen the discoveries of your Jesus going before you, and followed these? You have made many Marches, many Rests; hath the wel-pleased face of your Jesus, as your Leading-starre, Page  23 been still in your eye? Have you march't as this hath moved? Where this hath stood still, have you stay'd?

The Jews sung of old; What ailed you, ye wa∣ters, that ye fled? ye seas, that ye were driven back∣wards? The waters saw thee, O God, and fled be∣fore thee. If these things be thus with you, you may go forth, and say in your songs: What ailed you, ye mighty armies, at Keinton, Newbury, York, Naseby; that ye fled, and were driven backwards? What ailed you, ye strong treasons, close conspi∣racies, that ye trembled, and fell, and your founda∣tions were discovered, before you could take effect? They saw thee, O Jesus! they saw thee appearing in the midst of us; so they fled, so they fell before thee.

If things have not been thus with you; behold the sin, over which you are principally to powre out your tears. Behold the sin, which troubles you. Assure your selves; all your acts in Coun∣sell and Camp will be Null; till the Lord Jesus be as the shout of a King, in the midst of you. Vain are all our hopes, sweet dreams of Peace; till our Deare Saviour shew himself among you, as once among his Disciples; Saying; Peace be with you; Breathing Peace upon you.

These are the Perswasives, in which Rationall and Spirituall convictions for sin differ; not all, but some few, which I have chosen for you from among the rest.

Now remains the difference between these Con∣victions in the Principles themselves.