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.
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A SERMON PREACHED Before the honorable House of COMMONS, Novemb. 26. 1645. being the publike Fast.


JOHN 16. 8.
When he shall come, he shall convince the world of sin, &c.

I Will at once open to you the publike scope of this place; and the private sense of my Text, as it lies imbodied in the Con∣text.

Our tender-hearted Saviour is now cheering the hearts of his Disciples, drooping with the sad presages of their dear Master's death.

The Lord Jesus sweetly gives them for a revivall Page  2 of their fainting spirits, a gracious promise of his own Spirit.

This Promise is threefold, The Spirit's

  • 1. Personall Comming,
  • 2. Particular Comforts,
  • 3. Universall Convictions.

Pardon me, if I be somewhat larger in the Expli∣cation of these. For this also will serve my purpose; which is, to set before you the Spirit of the Lord Jesus; that Spirit, by which we know those things, which Reason cannot reach; and live, nota as Men, (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) but asbPartakers of the Divine Nature.

The first Promise is the Personall comming.* This hath two parts. The

  • Person comming.
  • Comming of that Person.

Part 1st. The first part is the Person comming. It appears to be a Person of whom our Saviour speaks, by those demonstrative particles: Hee: Him. It appeares to be some great One, a Divine Person, by those workes, which are to be done by him: To com∣fort hearts: To convince a world: To be in stead of Christ; nay, to be a better Comforter then Christ himselfe in the flesh.

Commentators, Common-placers, Controver∣siaries, School-men; all sorts of Divines in general, Page  3 chuse this place, and such like places in this dying discourse of our Saviour's; for principall proofes of this fundamental point in Divinity; that, the Blessed Spirit is not onely, The Power of the Godhead, but, A Person in the Godhead. For, say they, Christ speakes of him as of a Person; Hee; Him: and as of a Di∣stinct Person in the Trinity, Joh. 14. 16. Another Comforter. Another besides Jesus Christ.

Now these places with the same force prove it to be the same Person, which was to come to the Dis∣ciples. For Christ speaks of him not simply, but in respect of his comming.

Part. 2. The second part of this Promise is; The comming of that Person. School-men call the com∣ming of the Spirit: Novus modus Existendi & Appa∣rendi: A new way of the Spirit's Being in men, and Ap∣pearing to men.

All that I shall say concerning it, amounts to this. The Scriptures very often represent the Comming of Christ in the flesh, & this Comming of the Spirit in the same formes of Expression. I have cul'd forth these five: Comming, Sending, Giving, Dwelling, Appearing.

1stComming. You read of the Comming of Shi∣loh, which is Christ: Hee, to whom. Gen. 49. 10. My Text tells you of the comming of the Spirit. The Divine and Humane Nature are, as it were, two termes of reciprocall motion, for these two glori∣ous Persons.

2d. Sending. The Father sends the Son, Joh. 3. 17. The Son sends the Spirit, in the verse going be∣fore my Text. The Father's Love-token to man, is Page  4his own Son. The Son's Love-token to his spouse, is his own Spirit.

3d. Giving. Christ is the Gift of God to the world, Joh. 3. 16. S. Paul tells us that the holy Ghost is given to us, Rom. 5. 5. In a Gift there is a conferring of Propriety, and Possession.

4. Dwelling. Joh. 1. 14. The Word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us. 2 Tim. 1. 14. By the holy Ghost which dwelleth in thee. These two Texts have this dif∣ference. Christ dwels in Flesh, as in a Tabernacle, or Tent, like a Pilgrim or Souldier. The Spirit dwels in Timothy as at home, in his owne house.

5. Appearing. Christ is God manifested in Flesh, 1 Tim. 3. 16. Jesus speakes of the Spirit to his A∣postles, You shall know him, Joh. 14. 17. These two are distinct Persons in respect of their Appearances, as well as Subsistencies.〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉.

This concurrency of expressions seems to signifie that these two Commings of Christ in the Flesh, and of the Spirit, are True, Reall Unions of God with Man; True, Reall Appearances of God to man; in these two Persons of the Trinity, the Son, the Spi∣rit. But with this threefold difference.

First, the Cōming of Christ in the flesh is a Union of two Natures in one Person. This is that wch we call the Hypostaticall Union; where there is a distinction of Natures without a distinction of Persons or sub∣sistencies. The Comming of the Spirit is a union between Persons as well as Natures. Here is a Distin∣ction and a Union both at once, between Natures and Persons joyntly. Compare those two places of Scripture, 1 Cor. 6. 17. He that is joyned to the Lord, Page  5 is one Spirit. and Rom. 8. 16. The Spirit witnesseth ith our spirits. The result of these will be; that he Spirit of Christ, and of a Christian, are two spi∣its, by distinction of persons, one by Union.

Secondly, the coming of Christ was into the broad street of the same common nature of man; to be with us; yet so, as to be without us. The coming of the Spirit is into our particular persons as into the same house with us. See this Opposition, Gal. 4. chap. 4. verse. He hath sent his Son, [made of a woman]; that is, made of the humane nature. Then, vers. 6. He hath sent the Spirit of his Son into our [Hearts]. Christ came into our flesh. The Spirit comes into our hearts; so as to be both with us, and within us, John 14. chap. 16. verse. He dwelleth [with] you, and shall be [in] you.

Thirdly, the comming of Christ in the flesh, was visible to all alike, to the eye of sense. But the com∣ing of the Spirit is invisible to all the world; vi∣sible only to those who receive him, Joh. c. 14. v. 16. The world seeth him not, but ye shall know him, for he shall be in you. To these he is visible inwardly, and after a spirituall manner.

This is the first Promise, The Personall coming.

The second Promise is,* The particular comforts of the Spirit: He shall come as Comforter, saith the verse immediately foregoing my Text.

But can any thing comfort a Spouse that mourns for her beloved One, besides his own presence? ther∣fore this makes the Spirit, a Comforter indeed; He brings Christ for a comfort along with him. Christ was Page  6 to live again in the Spirit, 1 Pet. 3. c. 18. v. He was crucified in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit. Christ was to appeare again to them in the Spirit, and to be for ever with them, Joh. 15. chap. 26. vers. When the Spirit come, he shall testifie of me. The Spirit was to give them a second Sight of their Husband, in a more true, divine, lasting way; as he was unvailed of flesh, and in his own heavenly form.

Yea, this Comfort was to be doubled at the coming of the Spirit: For the Father was to come along with his deare Son, Joh. 14. c. 23. v. I, and the Fa∣ther will come unto him, and make our abode with him. But which way would these Persons of glory come to lodge themselves in the humble Cottage of a Saints heart? In the Spirit. This Person was to be the Chariot for the other two. Therefore but two verses after this Promise, Christ explains it by ano∣ther Promise, that of the coming of the Comforter: And St. Paul tels us, that we have accesse to the Father, by one Spirit, Ephes. 2. c. 18. v. Thus the Father, Son, Spirit, and a Saint, dwell all together, and converse: The Father and Son in the Spirit; the Spirit in our hearts. This is that Unity of the Spirit, which is the band of Comforts, Ephes. 4. c. 3. v.

The third Promise is the Universall Convictions of the Spirit.* Christ and his Disciples were singu∣lar in the world; they saw those things whcih none could see besides themselves: Blessed are your eyes, for they see. They were as mad men; they fill'd the world with a noise of things, as present, reall migh∣ty in glory; they spake every where of a rising Page  7 Sun, of a wonderfull Light, which made all other lights a deep darknesse; when all this while the whole world of men round about them could dis∣cerne no other Sun without them, save that which had shined from the creation untill now; no other Light within them, besides that which their own reason had ever in an ordinary way supplied them withall. Isaiah prophecied of Christ and his Disciples, Es. 8. chap. 8. v. I, and the children which thou hast given mee, are for signes and for wonders.

Would our Saviour now leave his Disciples alone in such a world as this? Therefore hee comforts them with this; that his Spirit should come and con∣vince the world, anoint the eyes of man-kind gene∣rally, to see the same light of divine truth with them.

The Text reads it, Reprove, but the word in Greek (〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉) more properly signifies to convince, as the margin hath it.

This Conviction is threefold:

First, of Sin; Because they believe not in me. The Spirit should shew the world this as the Center, where all sin met in one; from whence all sin flows; their not believing in Christ, their neglect of the Per∣son of Christ.

Secondly, of Righteousnesse, because I go to my Father,a By Christs returning thither, where he was at first; by his going back to the Father, the Spirit should teach the world; that he alone came forth from the Father:bFor no one ascendeth up to Heaven, but the Son of man, who came down from Hea∣ven. And by this Argument shall the Spirit de∣monstrate Christ alone to be the Righteousnesse of God to man.

Page  8 Thirdly, of Judgement, because now the Prince of this world is cast out. The Spirit should reade this Lecture upon the world; how, since the fall, the whole frame, all appearances of things, had been one great enchantment raised and maintained up∣on the spirits of men, by the father of lies, the Prince of darknesse; to hide their eyes from the sight of God. But how Jesus Christ had by his death cast down that old Magician from his Throne and Power; and now the whole enchantment, the fashion or show of this world was dissolving and vanishing, till it should appeare no more.

Thus large I have been in the opening of the con∣text and Text.

Now, without any further stay, or needlesse divi∣sion of my Text;* my Doctrine from it is this.

Rightly to convince of sin, is the proper work of the Spirit.*

I shall give you only one place of Scripture to prove it; but that, I hope, a fit and full one, Zach. 12. 10. I will powre out upon them the spirit of grace and supplications, and they shall see him, whom they have pierced, and mourn over him.

You have here two successive effusions: one of the Spirit, and another of Tears.

First, An effusion of Teares; They shall mourne. Mourning expresseth true Repentance in all the foure parts of it; conviction, confession, contri∣tion, conversion. The force of the conviction here, as in my Text, lies in a sight of Christ pierced; in a sense of unbelief. Not to receive Christ for Page  9 your Husband and King, is to Pierce him. To take away His Crown and Your Hearts from him, is to kill him the worst way. But this is only a Consequent and Secondary effusion.

Secondly, An Effusion of spirit. This is the Ante∣cedent Effusion. The powring forth of the Spirit is the cause of powring forth teares. But who? or what is this Spirit? He is markt by a double cha∣racter: A Spirit of grace and supplication.

First, a Spirit of grace. There is a twofold grace. The grace of loving-kindnesse in the heart of God. The grace of divine lovelinesse in the heart of man. If this latter be here meant, then the Spirit of grace is he, whom St. Paul calls the holy Spirit, Ephes. 1. and wee generally know by the name of the Holy Ghost.

But this cannot be the sense: For in the Origi∣nall, it is chen, not chesed: Grace, or loving-kindnesse, not graciousnesse, or goodnesse.

This Spirit of Grace then must be, either the Spi∣rit, the spring of love in the bosome of the Godhead: or, the Spirit, the diffuser, the discoverer of this love in the bosome of man. Both these are that One Spi∣rit, the Holy Ghost. Divines give to the third Person, the name of Love; as they do to the second, that of Wisdome: And wee reade from St. Paul's mouth, Rom. 5. 5. The love of God is powred forth in our hearts, by the Holy Ghost, which he hath given us. This is the first character.

Second. A spirit of supplication. You have a Commentary upon this character, Rom. 8. ch. 26. vers. The Spirit helpeth our infirmities, making intercession Page  10 for us by groanes unexpressible. This is the Spirit which convinceth of sin, the Holy Ghost himself.

Reasons.

The Spirit is truth.* These are the words of the Holy Ghost himself, 1 Joh. 5. c. 6. v. The Spirit is truth. Truth absolutely, that is, the Highest and fullest truth; the Principle of all truth: the first truth, and so the last measure of all truth.

Take two Distinctions upon this Reason.

Threre are three Principles of truth.*.

  • 1. Sense.
  • 2. Reason.
  • 3. Spirit.

1. Princ. Sense, Prov. 20. ch. 12. vers. The seeing eye, and the hearing eare, God hath made them both. God hath made the senses, standards and judges of truth, within their own circuit, in such things, as may be seen or heard; as appertain to sense.

2. Princ. Reason, Prov. 20. ch. 26. vers. The spi∣rit of man is the candle of the Lord, searching out the hidden parts of the belly. Though the candle of Rea∣son excell in light the Glow-worms of sense; yet is it but a candle, not the Sun it self; it makes not day; only shines in the darknesse of the night. You will more clearly see this Spirit of man to be the Principle of Reason, planted by nature in man; if you compare this expression of Solomon's with that of St. Paul, which seems to have some glance towards Page  11 this Proverb, 1 Cor. 2. ch. 11. vers. No man knowes the things of a man, but the spirit of man, which is in man. The things of a man are all the things of this creation, visible, invisible;a man is the summe of them all; all are subject to man; God hath, bset this whole world in the heart of man, to search it out; these are the hidden things of his belly: And thus farre the spirit of man, the candle of Reason, spreads his beams, to enlighten this world of na∣ture. This the Scripture calls Man's Day, which is God's and a Saint's night.

3. Princ. The Spirit 1 Cor. 2. c. 11. v. The things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. The Spirit searcheth out the deep things of God. Divine truths are the depths of things; the rest are only the surface. No plummet is strong, no line long enough to sound these depths; save only that of the Spirit.

These three different Principles of truth consti∣tute the three different parts or states of life:

First, the brute part of the world; it is that which is acted by sense.

Seconly, Reason makes man; or the rationall state.

Thirdly, the Spirit is the principle of a Saint c As many as are the sons of God, are led (or acted) by the Spirit of God.

I cannot leave this Distinction betweene these three Principles of truth, before I have annext three Rules.

1. Rule. Every principle of truth is to be confin'd to its own compasse, to its own object. To seek out spi∣rituall Page  12 things by the sent and sagacity of reason; were to plough with an Oxe and an Asse. Sensus non fallitur circa proprium objectum, Sense is not de∣ceived in judging of its own proper object. If sense and reason make no other report but this; This is the state of things, according to our principles: this is the appearance of things to us: Sense and reason may be admitted for true witnesses. But if they will be wise beyond what is written in their book, and say: This is the only, absolute, true appea∣rance of things; because this is the appearance which things make to us. Now sense and reason become blind guides, and will lead you into the ditch: 1 Cor. 2. 12. Spirituall things are spiritually discern'd. By pro∣portion: sensuall things are sensually discern'd: ra∣tionall things are rationally discern'd. You cannot reach the things of reason by the hand of sense, though it be stretch't out like Jeroboam's towards the Prophet. You cannot understand spirituall things Rationally; that is, upon the grounds of Reason.

2. Ru. Right Appearances of things to one Principle of truth, may be directly contrary to those which are right Appearances of the same things to another Principle of truth. The greatest lights of this world, Angels and Invisible things, are meere darknesse to the eye of sense. The light of this life is darknesse in the lan∣guage of the Scripture. Darknesse it selfe is as the light before the face of God. 1 Cor. 2. 14. The wis∣dome of the Spirit is foolishnesse to the Naturall man. The Apostle distinguisheth betweene two men, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉. Page  13 & 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉: Man, whose Principle is Rationall soul: and Man, whose Principle is the Spirit. That which is Wisdome to one, is Foolishnesse to the other.

3. Ru. Lower Principles of Truth cannot comprehend the Higher; but they are comprehended and judged by these. So Philosophers say, that Reason corrects the errors of Sense. 1 Cor. 2. 15. The spirituall man judgeth all things, but he is judg'd or discern'd by none. ver. 9. Eye hath not seen, eare hath not heard, neither can the heart of mā receive the things of the Gospel. See here both Prin∣ciples of Sense and Reason. The senses are too super∣ficial: the large heart of Man, the vast spirit of Rea∣son in him is too narrow to take in any thing of the spirit. But the spirit understands them with all their wayes and workings 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉; distinctly and criti∣cally.

These three Principles of truth are as three Circles upon the face of the water; one within ano∣ther: the lesser are infolded in the greater; but can∣not extend themselves to the wide compasse of the greater circle, unlesse they break and vanish in them∣selves, * that they may become one with it. If any man be wise, let him become a foole that he may be wise.

The soule shuts the windowes of sense when she would have the room fill'd with the light of Rea∣son. Reason's selfe must first be cast cast into a deep sleep and die, before she can rise again in the bright∣nesse of the Spirit. I have dispatch'd the first Di∣stinction.

Dist. 2d. All three Persons in the Trinity are Page  14Truth, but with their severall and distinct Idioms or Characters. The Father is the onely True God, Joh. 17. 3. The Son is Truth, Joh. 14. 6. The Spirit is Truth, Joh. 5. 5. But,

1. The Father is Truth in the Root: therefore hee is call'd the Father of Lights, Jam. 1. 17.

2. The Son is Truth in the Image. He is the Image of the Invisible God, Coloss. 1. 15.

3. The Spirit is Truth in the Irradiation or Dis∣covery: therefore the Spirit is the witnessing Truth, 1 Joh. 5. The Spirit is the testifying Truth, Ioh. 15. 26.

Nazianzen delivers the Doctrine of the Tri∣nity to us from that place of Scripture, Psal. 36. 9. In thy light shall we see light. 1. The Father is Light in the Fountain. Thy Light. 2. The Son is Light in the Face or Fulnesse: See Light. 3. The Spirit is Light in the Flowing or Emanation of it: In light. The Father is the Light, from which is all we see: The Son is Light, which we see: The Spirit, the Light by which we see.

Sin is spiritually discern'd.* Privations and Habits; Perfections and Defects, are judg'd by the same fa∣culty. The eye discerns light and darknesse. Sin is a privation or the absence of Divine Grace. Holi∣nesse is frequently exprest by light; sin by darknesse. Holinesse is a spirituall beauty: sin, deformity. Both are perceiv'd by the same Spirit.

VSES.

An Admonition.* You have dedicated this day, Page  15 and many such dayes, to a holy sorrow. I know some, I beleeve many, I hope most of you carry bro∣ken hearts in your bosomes thorough these dayes. Indeed very nature in you cannot but relent; and reason it selfe tremble, to see those things, which your eyes see. Three Kingdomes stand before you this day, like those three crosses on Mount Golgotha, all laden with broken and bleeding carkasses. These three doth your God take, as one Text, that hee may preach sin to your soules from it, that he may con∣vince you of sin by it.

Behold, Scotland comes with her thousands of slain men; England with her ten thousands; Ireland with her millions; besides innumerable multitudes which no man can reckon up, of families, persons, now undone, now famishing. These come crying to every one of us, Our bloods be upon your heads, if you weep not for us before our God this day whilest we bleed and dye. Sure your hearts doe break at the representa∣tion of these things; which your selves know to bee at this present farre more sad in Fact, then they can be made by any Relation.

You that are the Fathers of your Countries over all this Nation, doe you not often look back upon your severall Countries with a tender and dropping eye? Do you not find as much reason and sweetnesse as once David did, to sigh and say within your selves, Lord, we have sin'd, wee should have kept this people as their shepheards: but we have procur'd their woe. Alas! what have these sheep done?

But now is it not pitie that broken hearts should be worthlesse and uselesse? that God should say of Page  16 our Mourning, as Solomon sayes of Mirth: what doth it? Yet so it will be, if it be your Reason one∣ly, and not the Spirit, which by your sufferings con∣vinceth you of your sins. If your convictions and contritions be Rationall and no more; your groanes will be to God as the unpleasing cry, the howling of wild beasts when they are pinch'd with famine, or caught in a toyle: He that sacrificeth with a heart thus broken, will be as if he offer'd a Dog's Heart.

Doth it not much concern you to know whether your convictions be from a Rationall or Spirituall Principle? Are you not eager to understand the difference between these, that you may judge your sorrows? As God shall assist me, I will assist you in this enquiry, by which you are to examine your selves.

Rationall and Spirituall convictions differ in their Perswasives, in their Principles.

Rationall Perswasives in conviction for sinne are such as these.*

First, Self-love. Will you heare the workings of this? One man afflicted and oppress'd, laments af∣ter this manner: I have blasted my reputation; wasted my estate; brought my body into diseases; by my lusts: and now I hang over a pit of flames by the thin, worn thread of this life; in the same moment that this thread is cut; I drop in, and am lost for ever. Wo is me! Thus he cryes; then he runs to prayers, Sermons, Fasts, in these he hopes for ease. Another, as he, lies rest∣lesse all the night; hath these thoughts working like a storm in his breast. I have exposd my life to Page  17 the Censure of the Lawes, by Treacheries against my Coun∣trey, and my God. If the Preacher's words prove true, and there be a hell at last; there remaines nothing for me, but a fearfull expectation of my share there. In these an∣guishes this man breathes forth a groan, and cries to God, to have mercy on him. So Pharaoh, so Ahab were convinc'd. This is like weeping with an Oni∣on; the eyes shed teares because they smart.

2. Sparklings of Naturall Worth. A generous heart, if it be no more, when it hath done any thing foulely dishonest, or dishonorable; will call aloud for Seas of Teares; a Laver of Blood to wash it clean.

The Jewes in the Wildernesse, when once they had refus'd to fight at God's command, would purge that blot with their blood, fighting though forbid∣den, when they were sure to fall. This is not beyond that Elephant, which reproach'd with the offer of a∣nother Elephant to draw his burthen for him; drew till he broke his heart, and fell down dead.

3. Naturall Religion heightned by temper, edu∣cation, custome, formalities of Nation, age, in which wee live. The Heathen Romanes wounded deeply with the losse of an Army, or the pestilence; sought reliefe in reforming their Religion: The Si∣byl's books were search'd: Ludi instaurati: solemne showes and pomps for devotion renew'd: Temples set open. Cushions laid; Holy tables, seats, beds made ready: the Matrons flock't in Troops, fill'd the Churches, fell on their faces, with their haire Page  18 spred and torne; moystening the Marble pavement with their plentifull teares at the feet of every I∣doll.

In after-times the Heathens among whom the Christians lived, on every sad accident, exclaimed: The Christians are the cause of this, which joyn not with us in the worship of our gods. Appease the gods, by the suppression, or slaughter of these Christians.

Happy are our times, if some amongst us doe not, upon no higher Conviction, then these of Natu∣rall Devotion, call for dayes of Humiliation, Reforma∣tion in Religion.

But do I condemne these Convictions? No. God commands and commends them from the example of Brute Creatures: The Oxe knowes his owne; and the Asse his Masters Crib. But this I say; These are no better things then the Best of Beasts, the worst of Men have attain'd unto. These indeed, if they be but Sin∣gle, may procure Temporall, Temporary blessings. But if they be not Subordinate to the Convictions of the Spirit, they can doe your souls no good. You may save the Kingdome by such teares, but alas! what shall be done for Your souls?

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. StPeter 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.

Page  24

Principles.

The Principles themselves are the Spirit of Man or Reason; the Spirit of God. But I can no more convey a sense of this difference into any soule, that hath not seen these two Lights shining in it self: than I can convey the difference between Salt and Sugar; to him, who hath never tasted Sweet or Sharp. These things are discerned only by exercise of senses; and are too hard for those, who have not their own senses exercised in them, as St. Paul speaks, Hebr. 5. chap. 14. ver. When you shall see the Sea of Truth, the Spirit; then you will know, that the Great River of Reason was not the Sea.

I can tell you, that as much as the complexion of a face; the colour of a cloth or lace, seen by Moon-light, and Sun-shine differ: So, and farre more do the convictions or discoveries by Reason, and the Spirit.

But still this is the difference in the Effects, not in the Principles themselves. To give you, as I may, some shadowie description of this; I will commend to your most constant and serious medi∣tations that place, 1 Cor. 15. chap. 45. v. The first man was a living soule; the last man a quickening spirit, Vers. 46. The naturall is first, and then the spirituall. Vers. 48. As the earthy, so are they that are earthy; as is the heavenly, so are they that are heavenly. Vers. 49. As we have born the Image of the earthly man; so shall we beare the Image of the heavenly.

Page  25 From these places you may draw these Archi∣tectonick, or commanding Conclusions.

1. A Living soule in her full glory, as she was in the first man in innocencie, in Paradise, is not the Principle of the second man, the new birth; but the All-quickening, the Eternall Spirit.

2. A Living soule, with the highest improve∣ments, raised to the noblest actings of Wit, Rea∣son, Worth, is naturall, not spirituall; the Image of the first Adam, not the Image of the Lord Jesus.

3. The naturall and spirituall man differ as much as earth and heaven; corruption and immortality; flesh and spirit.

You see the difference between these two sorts of convictions; as I have been able to set it before you. I will now conclude this Use with an Admo∣nition, as I begun it.

An earthly Root may bring forth earthly fruit; nothing can reach up to Heaven, and immortalitie, but that which first comes from heaven, and that immortall Spirit. If you see your sins this day, and weep for them, though it be only by the Owle-light of your own reason, (as the Philosopher him∣self styles it) you shall not lose your reward, though you may lose your soules.

But what will it profit you to save three King∣domes by your sorrows; and in the mean time to carry in your own bosomes, dying, perishing soules, of which every single one is more worth than all the world?

Page  26 'Tis dreadfull to expresse; but I will speak it for your sakes. If God should please to put the choice into my hands; I had much rather, that all these three Kingdomes should be consum'd at once, in this very moment, with fire from heaven, by an outward destruction; then that any one the meanest, most miserable soule in them, should perish ever∣lastingly.

Draw then water out of that Well of salvation, the Spirit; and powre it forth before the Lord. If the Spirit be the Spring; your tears will quench both flames, those that burn outwardly, and inwardly; so you shall at once save these nations, and your own soules.

A Caution.* If it be the work of the Spirit to convince of sin; then it is his work more especi∣ally, to convince of spirituall Duties, and spirituall Truths. Take heed of measuring divine things by the modell of Reason. Take heed of rejecting what Reason cannot receive. St. Paul gives you a full ac∣count of the Jews case and ruine, in a few words; Rom. 10. 3. While they sought after righteousnesse by the Law, they fell short; because they were ignorant of the righteousnesse of God. Feare, lest you also fall after the same example of unbelief; lest you fall short of the knowledge of spirituall things; be∣cause you seek it by Reason, and know not the Spirit of God.

It is true; all grant, that some; some say, that all truths which come by revelation of the Spirit, may also be demonstrated by Reason. But if they Page  27 be, they are then no more Divine, but humane truths: They lose their certainty, beauty, efficacy; they become like the Name of Jesus in the mouth of those counterfeit Exorcists, which made them not the Devil's Masters, but his scorne. Spirituall truths discovered by demonstrations of Reason, are like the Mistresse in her Cook-maid's clothes. They differ from themselves in their own true shape; as those little plump boyes with wings, the pictures of Angels in Churches, differ from the Angels in Heaven. Spirituall things are foolishnesse to the na∣turall man, 1 Cor. 2. chap. No visible shape is so lovely, so full of Majesty, as that of Man: No shape is so deformed, ridiculous, as the resem∣blance of man in a beast, in the Ape. So heaven∣ly things lose their majestie, become weak and con∣temptible, when they are represented by Reason only: For they are not the things themselves; but an apish, mimicall imitation of them.

The Philosopher gives us this rule; that wee should seek for sutable demonstrations in every sort of truths; and not leape from one kinde to another. The Apostle gives us this rule; to com∣pare spirituall things with spirituall.*Spirituall Con∣clusions, with spirituall Principles.

You will reap both pleasure and profit from this Observation; that the true Protestant differs from all sorts of men and Religions, by making the three Persons in Trinity, according to their se∣verall properties, the foundation of all truth.

1. He distinguisheth himself from the Atheists,Page  28 by worshipping the Father as the Fountain of truth.

2. He dissents from Mahumetans, Indians, In∣fidels, while he sets up Christ in himself, for the on∣ly Image of truth.

3. By seeking and imbracing the discovery of truth in the Spirit, hee differs from all sorts of Christians; especially three.

1. The Papists, a Faction of policy. These per∣swade us to receive the testimony, not of the Spi∣rit, but of the Church, for a Touchstone of truth: And this Church is the Popes private Consistory, or Generall Councel. Thus the Church's Authority, not the Demonstration of the Holy Ghost shall be the light of Faith to Truth. Thus not content with an An∣tichrist, they set up their Consistory, or Councel for an Anti-spirit. But wee need no visible Judge on earth, to determine upon our consciences; What is Scripture; what is the sense of Scripture. We have an invisible Judge and Witnesse in our own breasts: He that believeth, hath the testimony in himself, 1 Joh. 5. chap. 10. v. for he hath the Spirit.

2. The Arminians, a Sect of Moralists, who give the over-perswading power of the Spirit, to strength of Rhetorick and Reason, inward or outward.

3. A Party of wit and worth: so farre as the wit and worth of man can go; if they would submit the wit and worth of man to the Power and Wis∣dome of God: The Socinians; the Principles of Reason, are the pillars of Religion, and truth to Page  29 these men. But Reason is a pillar of a Cloud; the Spirit only is the pillar of Fire, which hath light in it. Reason is that Gladius versatilis, that sword in that hand of the Cherubim, that kept Paradise; a sword that turns every way. It may keep men from the tree of Life, but can never bring them to it. Our faith is not in the wisdome of man, but power of God, 1 Cor. 2. chap. 5. verse.

Now, Worthy Senators, give me leave to make my particular addresses to your selves. You have commanded me to speak before you; how farre so ever I finde my self below a sufficiencie for it, I must speak; I would not seek to work upon you by art or cunning, if I had any skill in these things. My earnest desire is, with all humilitie and lowli∣nesse, to speak the things of God, as a man; on whom the earliest glimmerings of the Spirit have scarce yet dawned. I have believed, so I will speak; to you; those things▪ on which I fasten the immor∣talitie of mine own deare soule.

Pardon mee, Honourable Patriots, if I speake twice to you, once as private Christians, a second time, as publike persons and Magistrates.

First, As Private Christians. If the words of a weak, worthlesse man may have place in your large hearts, I beseech you to lay up within you, and to ponder frequently upon this short word which I am now about to speak: Remember, Remember, not to trust to the strength and wisdome of that Living soule, which dwels in the Breast of Man. But, Have all your depen∣dance upon that Spirit of the Immortall God, which comes Page  30 forth from our Lord Jesus Christ. I speak this to You, who are Princes of Reason, in whom the Spirit of Man is at a High pitch: Your Saviour died, that he might send you this Spirit: He left you in his flesh∣ly presence, that you might have this Spirit with you. O wait for him constantly, till he come: Wait upon him diligently, when he is come.

Saint Hierom thought hee ever heard the last Trumpet sounding in his eares. How well should I think my selfe rewarded for all the pains of this day, if I could fix upon your spirits the constant sound of two onely Sentences, as two blasts of the last Trumpet? The Sentences are, Esa. 2. vers. ult.

Cease from man whose breath is in his nostrils; wherein is he to be esteemed of?


VERS. 17.

The Lord alone shall be exalted in that day. The great God make That day, This day, to every one of your soules.

Thus much to Private Christians.

Secondly, As Publick Persons. Christ tells the Jewes:

If any one sin against the Son of Man, it shall be for∣given him: But if any one sin against the holy Ghost: it never shall bee forgiven him. You will allow it, if I shall make a little change in these words, and so re∣turn them to you. If a State sin against the Sonne of Man, it shall he forgiven: But if a State sin against the holy Ghost, it shall never be forgiven.

Page  31Remember Hierusalem, Christ came in the flesh, and was crucified, yet Hierusalem stood. The Spirit of Christ came in the persons of the Disciples, in the power of the Gospel, and was cast out; then Hie∣rusalem fell. Divided into three Factions within, be∣leaguer'd with a fourth enemy without; Hierusalem miserably fell.

O England! London! Remember Hierusalem. You have had the first day of your Peace, and passed it. Christ hath been preach'd among you; but as in the Flesh; clouded with carnall rites and ceremonies. Christ hath been pierc'd among us, that is, not be∣leeved on: yet we live, though we bleed. You have had the first day of your Peace, and pass'd it. Be care∣full; Be carefull, to know the last day of your Peace; the comming of the Spirit among you.

You have set me on your Watch-Tower, and made me your Watchman for the few sands of these glasses; If you ask mee now; Watchman, what of the Night? My humble answer is: The Nights is almost past, the Day is at hand, if you will receive the Spirit when he comes: If you shall refuse to heare, you will look for day; but I feare, I feare, it will be Black∣nesse of Darknesse, and Desolation.

But I bend my Knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus, who hath hitherto made you tender in a very great measure; that he would send the Spirit of his Son into your hearts; that you may know him, that he may be in you; that all this people may honour the Spirits as they honour Jesus Christ.

Page  32A Vindication of the Spirit from those Who

  • 1. Pretend it to Profanenesse.*
  • 2. Profane it under Pretentes.

1. From those who Pretend the Spirit to Profane∣nesse. Can any think they have the Spirit of Grace in them, and yet sin, and yet not mourn for sin? Can a∣ny man make that Spirit, whose work is to Convince of sin, a Colour for sin? Can any man paint his foule lusts with the specious name of this holy Spirit, whose property it is to paint out lusts in their True deformities, their Hellish shapes?

I read in Ecclesiastick Writers, that in the Pri∣mitive times there were those that deserv'd the name of Borboristae, or Coenosi: The Dirty Sect: and yet a Branch of the Gnostiques.

But I might perhaps feare this to be the Malice, or Mistake of some in those ages; if I did not read in the holy Scriptures ofaFilthy-Dreamers.

Spirituall Discoveries are either Waking Sights, or Dreames. Dreames are False Visions of sleeping men, without connexion, full of absurdities, incon∣sistencies. It is not strange for a filthy vile Person to have fair Glorious Dreames. It is monstrous, that Glorious Discourses, Notions and Apprehensions, should be set upon vile Affections, Actions, and conversations; as the Head of an Angel upon the body of a Beast. But All is a Dream.

If any man indeed have the Spirit, he hath a True Dove in his Breast. The Dove's eyes are the Em∣blem of Chastity; The Dove's song is in Grones. Page  33 Who, so mourn for sin; who, so moane day and night after their God, as those who live with this Spirit?

This is the first Part of the Vindication.

Secondly, from those that Profane the Spirit un∣der Pretences of Fancy, Profanenesse.

1. Under Pretences of Fancy. Why should Jo∣seph be despised as a Dreamer among his brethren? Paul as a Babler among the Athenians? The Spirit as a Fancy, by men onely Rationall? That scurrilous Comoedian in his Greek play call'd the Frogs, re∣proach'd Socrates, as a Worshipper of Clouds, and the Aire; because he neglected their Idols, and con∣vers'd with the Invisible-God, So the workings and Discoveries of the Spirit, often seem to Men of Mighty Reason, Cloudy, Airy. Yet the Spirit is Truth; the onely Solid and Weighty Truth, carry∣ing the power of God for a demonstration along with it.*

Some learned men beare such a modest respect to Nature, that they affirm it Probable, Some Beasts may have a Sense more then we have, which wee can neither judge of, or guesse at; because we have it not. O! that the most Rationall Men, were so modest to∣wards their Maker; as to suspect, that there may be in him a Divine Sense, a Spirit of Light, above the Compasse and Conjectures of their Reason; which he may communicate to whom he pleaseth!

2. Under Pretences of Profanenesse. The Heathens mingled with Christians, of old charg'd their secret Meetings with the Beds of Oedipus, unnaturall In∣cests, Page  34 the Feasts of Thyestes, monstrous cruelties.

The Late Protestants at large cloath'd the best men with the name of Puritan, as with a Cap of Paper; then they painted that Cap with Devils; they loa∣ded that name with all the foule things of all Sects or Persons; as before them the Papist did the Pro∣testant.

God grant that the Father of lies may not still live between the Lips of Men by the same Art of Names; representing the most spirituall men like Christ on the Crosse, under the most carnall Titles of Ambition, Lust, Falshood.

The Spirit is Holy, so are they that are His. This Spirit cannot encourage to sin, comfort in sin; for his work is to convince sin.

Beleeve it, 'Tis true as Gospel: No man that is led by the law of the Spirit of Life; can walk con∣trary to any Law of Nature, Common Honesty, Civill Policy, or whatsoever is of good Report, Praise-worthy.

If any man walk by any other rule; an evill Spirit hath deceived him; only let not the reproach of such fall upon them, who with humble and panting hearts call upon the Name of this Holy Spirit.

A Consolation.* This Spirit, which convinceth of sin, is the Comforter. If you have this day receiv'd his conviction; you shall now go away full of his comforts: with bosomes full of All comforts of peace and joy in your selves; of peace and love, one towards another.

Where the Spirit convinceth of sin, he commu∣nicates Page  35 all contents in these two bundles of com∣forts; Righteousnesse and Peace.

1. Righteousnesse. Have you seen your sins by the light of the Spirit? by the same light you shall see your righteousnesse. Humble your selves be∣fore this Spirit; let him cover your faces with shame; and he shall cloath your persons with glo∣ry. He shall make you precious in the eyes of your God, honourable in all the world: Nations round about shall say, This is a wise and righteous people, for the Spirit of the Eternall God is come down among them.

2. Peace. Naturalists say, A wound is a separa∣tion of parts in the whole. How full are all of wounds? Alas, do we not begin to have wounds up∣on our breasts, neer our hearts? And still we strive to make that good in Civilitie, which is true only in Nature; that the best Balsome for a wound is its own blood: We would make up our divisions, by making them more.

Who now shall restore Peace to our mourners? This Spirit will restore peace to his mourners. This Dove, though he come groaning, yet he brings an Olive branch in his mouth. O ye! every one of you in particular, give this Spirit your single hearts to breake in pieces; and he will make them all one heart. How happy should we live, if God would do this!

If the Lord would powre forth his Spirit upon our souls, and melt them; how sweetly would they Page  36 run all into one piece, like gold?

Then should Righteousnesse and Peace kisse each other in these Lands; and these three kingdomes should mutually kisse and imbrace in this union. The Lambs, England and Scotland, Presbyterians and Independents, shall feed together in fat pastures. The Lambs and the Lion shall live lovingly, and converse one with another.

Then shall your Cattell go forth again in Herds and Flocks: Your children in dances; Your Saints in their assemblies; and the Lord Jesus shall be known for a God in the midst of them.

Then shall after-ages call this Age, this Parlia∣ment; The blessed of the Lord; and make it your Motto for ever.

Blessed are the Peace-makers in divided Common-wealths.
Blessed are the Peace-makers in divided Consci∣ences.

Thus if the Holy Spirit set a crown of thorns by conviction on your hearts; he shall crown you with Righteousnesse and Peace: For;*The Kingdome of God is Righteousnesse, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost.

FINIS.
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