PREACHED UPON WHITSUNDAY.
Romans viii. 16.
The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children
I Take these words, to take occasion by them, to say something of the Holy Ghost: our order proposed at first, requires it, and our text affords it. ' Since we speak by him, let us love to speak of him, and to speak for him: but in both, to speak with him, that is, so, as he hath spoken of himself to us in the Scriptures. God will be visited, but he will not be importuned ; he will be looked upon, but he will not be pryed into. A man may flatter the best man; if he do not believe himself, when he speaks well of another, and when he praises him, though that which he says of him be true, yet he flatters; so an atheist, that temporizes, and serves the company, and seems to assent, flatters. A man may flatter the saints in heaven, if he attribute to them that which is not theirs; and so a papist flatters. A man may flatter God himself; if upon pretence of magnifying God's mercy, he will say with Origen, That God at last will have mercy upon the devil, he flatters. So, though God be our business, we may be too busy with God ; and though God be infinite, we may go beyond God, when we conceive, or speak otherwise of God, than God hath revealed unto us. By his own light therefore we shall look upon him; and with that reverence, and modesty, that That Spirit may bear witness to our spirit, that we are the children of God.
That which we shall say of these words, will best be conceived, and retained best, if we handle them thus; that whereas Christ hath bidden us to judge ourselves, that we be not judged, to admit a trial here, lest we incur a condemnation hereafter, this text is a good part of that trial, of that judicial proceeding. For, here are first, two persons that are able to say much, The Spirit itself, and our spirit; and secondly, their office, their service, They bear witness; and thirdly, their testimony, That we are the children of God; and these will be our three parts. The first will have two branches, because there are two persons, the Spirit, and our spirit; and the second, two branches, they witness, and they witness together, for Bo the word is; and the third also two branches, they testify of us, their testimony concerns us, and they testify well of us, That we are the children of God. The persons are without exception, the Spirit of God cannot be deceived, and the spirit of man will not deceive himself: their proceeding is legal, and fair, they do not libel, they do not whisper, they do not calumniate ; they testify, and they agree in their testimony : and lastly, the case is not argued «o, as amongst practisers at the law, that thereby, by the light of that, they may after give counsel to another in the like, but the testimony concerns ourselves, it is our own case, the verdict upon the testimony of the Spirit, and our spirit, is upon ourselves, whatsoever it be,
and, blessed be the Father, in the Son, by the Holy Ghost, the verdict is, That we are the children of God. The Spirit beareth, fyc.
First then, a slackness, a supineness, in consideration of the divers significations of this word spirit, hath occasioned divers errors, when the word hath been intended in one sense, and taken in another. All the significations will fall into these four, for these four are very large ; it is spoken of God, or of angels, or of men, or of inferior creatures. And first, of God, it is spoken sometimes essentially, sometimes personally. God is a spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and truth1. So also, The Egyptians are men, and not God, and their horses flesh, and not spirit*; for, if they were God, they were spirit. So, God altogether, and considered in his essence, is a spirit: but when the word spirit is spoken, not essentially of all, but personally of one, then that wrord designeth Spiritum Sanctum, The Holy Ghost; Go and baptize, in the name of the Father, and Son, et Spiritus Sancti, and the Holy Ghost*. And as of God, so of angels also it is spoken in two respects; of good angels, sent forth to minister for them, that shall be heirs of salvation4', and evil angels, the lying spirit*, that would deceive the King by the prophet ; the spirit of whoredom*, spiritual whoredom, when the people ask counsel of their stocks, and spiritus vertiginis, The spirit of giddiness, of perversities1, (as we translate it) which the Lord doth mingle amongst the people, in his judgment. Of man also, is this word spirit, spoken two ways; the spirit is sometimes the soul, Into thy hands I commend'my spirit*, sometimes it signifies those animal spirits, which conserve us in strength, and vigour, The poison of God's arrows drinketh up my spirit*; and also, the superior faculties of the soul in a regenerate man, as there, My soul doth magnify the Lord, and my spirit rejoiceth in God my Saviour'TM. And then lastly, of inferior creatures it is taken two ways too, of living creatures, The God of the spirits of all flesh" ; and of creatures without life, (other than a metapho
1 John iv. 24. * Isaiah xxxi. 3. ' Matt, xxviii. 19.
4 Heb. i. 14. * 1 Kings xxii. 22. * Hosea iv. 12.
7 Isaiah xix. 3. 0 Psalm xxxi. 5. * Job vi. 4.
10 Luke L 47. » Numb. xvi. 22.
rical life) as of the wind often, and of Ezekiel's wheels, The spirit of life was in the wheels 1*. Now in this first branch of this first part of our text, it is not of angels, nor of men, nor of other creatures, but of God, and not of God essentially, but personally, that is, of the Holy Ghost.
Origen says, the ancients before him had made this note, that where we find the word spirit without any addition, it is always intended of the Holy Ghost. Before him, and after him, they stuck much to that note; for St. Hierome makes it too, and produces many examples thereof; but yet it will not hold in all. Didymus of Alexandria, though born blind, in this light saw light, and writ so of the Holy Ghost, as St. Hierome thought that work worthy of his translation ; and he gives this note, that wheresoever the apostles intend the Holy Ghost, they add to the word Spirit, Sanctus, Holy Spirit, or at least the article the, the Spirit. And this-note hath good use too, but yet it is not universally true. If we supply these notes with this, that whensoever any such thing is said of the Spirit, as cannot consist with the Divine nature, there it is not meant of the Holy Ghost, but of his gifts, or of his working; (as, when it is said, The Holy Ghost was not yetTM, for his person was always, and where it is said, Quench not the Holy Ghostli (for the Holy Ghost himself cannot be quenched) we have enough for our present purpose. Here, it is Spirit without any addition, and therefore fittest to be taken for the Holy Ghost; and it is Spirit, with that emphatical article, the, the Spirit, and in that respect also fittest to be so taken. And though it be fittest to understand the Holy Ghost here, not of his person, but his operation, yet it gives just occasion to look piously, and to consider modestly, who, and what this person is, that doth thus work upon us. And to that purpose, we shall touch upon four things: first, his universality, he is all, he is God; secondly, his singularity, he is one, one person; thirdly, his root from whence he proceeded, Father and Son; and fourthly, his growth, his emanation, his manner of proceeding : for our order proposed at first, leading us now to speak of this third person of the Trinity, it will be almost necessary, to stop a little upon each of these.
" Ezek. i. 21. " John viL 39. " 1 These, v. 19.
First then, the Spirit mentioned here, the Holy Ghost is God, and if so, equal to Father and Son, and all that is God. He is God, because the essential name of God is attributed to him ; he is called Jehovah; Jehovah says to Esay", Go and tell this people, &c. And St. Paul making use of these words, in the Acts, he eays", Well spake the Holy Ghost, by the prophet Esay. The essential name of God is attributed to him, and the essential attributes of God. He is eternal; so is none but God; where we hear of the making of everything else, in the general creation, we hear that the Spirit of God moved", but never that the Spirit was made. He is every where; so is none but God; Whither shall I go from thy SpiritTM? He knows all things; so doth none but God; The Spirit searcheth all things, yea the deep tkings of God". He hath the name of God, the attributes of God, and he does the works of God. Is our Creator, our Maker, God? The Spirit of God hath made me**. Is he that can change the whole creation, and frame of nature, in doing miracles, God? The Spirit led the Israelites miraculously through the wilderness". Will the calling and the sending of the prophets, show him to be God? The Lord God, and his Spirit hath sent meTM. Is it argument enough for his Godhead, that he sent Christ himself? Christ himself applies to himself that", The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, and hath anointed me to preach. He foretold future things, The Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spoke before, says St. Peter". He establishes present things, The Spirit of truth guides into all truth". And he does this, by ways proper only to God; for, our illumination is his, He shall receive of me, (says Christ) and' sltou- it youTM. Our justification is his; Ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, by the Spirit of God". Our regeneration is his; there is a necessity of being born again of water, and the SpiritTM. The holy sense of our natural wretchedness is his; for, It is he, that reproves the u-orld of sin, of righteousness, of judgmentTM. The sense of true comfort is his; The churches
15 Isaiah vi. 9. " Acts xxviii. 25. " Gen. i. 2.
10 Psal. cxxxbt. 7. " 1 Cor. ii. 10. 80 Job xxxiii. 4.
81 Isaiah Lxiii. 14. " Isaiah XLviii. 16. f* Isaiah Lxi. 1. Luke iv. 18.
*4 Acts i. 16. *s John xvi. 13. ** Ver. 14.
*7 1 Cor. vi. 11. M John iii. 6. '-* John xvi. 8.
were multiplied in the comforts of the Holy Ghost**. All from the creation to the resurrection, and the resurrection itself, is his; The Spirit of him that raised Jesus from the dead, shall quicken your mortal bodies, by the same Spirit". He is Arrha, the earnest that God gives to them now, to whom he will give all hereafter". He is Sigillum, that seal of our evidence, You are sealed with that holy Spirit of promise". He is the water, which whosoever drinks, shall never thirst, when Christ hath given it"; and he is that fire, with which Christ baptizes, who baptizes with fire, and with the Holy Ghost". He is Spiritus precum, the Spirit of grace, and supplication**; and he is oleum icetitice, the oil of gladness*7, that anoints us, when we have prayed. He is our advocate, He maketh intercession for us, with groanings which cannot be uttered**; and when our groanings under the calamities of this world, are uttered without remedy, he is that Paracletus, the Comforter", who when Christ himself seems to be gone from us, comes to us; who is, (as Tertullian expresses it, elegantly enough, hut not largely enough) Dei Villicus, et Vicaria ms Christi, the Vicegerent of Christ, and the Steward of God; but he is more, much more, infinitely more, for he is God himself. All that which St. John intends, in the seven spirits, which are about the throne, is in this one, in this only Spirit, who is unicus et septiformis, solus et multiplex"; one and yet seven, that is infinite; for, Though there be diversity of gifts, yet there is but one Spirit". He is God, because the essential name of God is his; therefore let us call upon his name: and because the attributes of God are his; therefore let us attribute to him, all might, majesty, dominion, power, and glory: and he is God, because the works of God are his; therefore let us co-operate, and work with this spirit**, and we shall be the same spirit with him.
He is God, that was our first step, and our second is, that he is a distinct person in the Godhead. He is not Virtus a Deo in homine exaltata, Not the highest and powerfulest working of God in man; Not Afflatus Divinus, The breathing of God into the soul of man; these are low expressions; for they are all but Dona, Charismata, The gifts of the Holy Ghost, not the Holy Ghost himself: but he is a distinct person, as the taking of the shape of a dove, and the shape of fiery tongues do declare, which are acts of a distinct person. It is not the power of the king, that signs a pardon, but his person. When the power of the government was in two persons, in the two consuls at Home, yet the several acts were done by their several persons. Wilt thou ask me, what needs these three persons? Is there anything in the three persons, that is not in the one God ? Yes, the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost, falls not in the bare consideration of that one God. Wilt thou say, What if they do not ? What lack we if we have one Almighty God ? Though that God had no Son, nor they two, no Holy Ghost ? We lacked our redemption ; we lacked all our direction; we lacked the revealed will of God, the Scriptures; we have not God, if we have him not, as he hath delivered himself; and he hath done that in the Scriptures; and we embrace him, as we find him there ; and we find him there, to be one God in three persons, and the Holy Ghost to be one of those three; and in them we rest.
« Acts ix. 31. " Rom. viii. 11. *' 2 Cor. i. 22.
" Ep. i. 13. " John iv. 14. " Matt. lii. 11.
08 Zach. xii. 10. " Heb. i. 9. ** Rom. viii. 20.
** John xvi. 7. * Augustine. 41 1 Cor. xii. 4.
« 1 Cor. vi. 17.
He is one ; but one that proceeds from two, from the Father, and from the Son. Some in the Greek church, in later times, denied the proceeding of the Holy Ghost from the Son; but this was especially a jealousy in terms; they thought that to make him proceed from two, were to make duo principia, two roots, two beginnings from whence the Holy Ghost should proceed, and that might not be admitted, for the Father, and the Son are but one cause of the Holy Ghost, (if we may use that word, cause, in this mystery). And therefore it is as suspiciously, and as dangerously said by the master of the sentences, and by the later school, that the Holy Ghost proceeds mintis principaliter, not so radically from the Son, as from the Father; for, in this action, the Father and the Son are but one root, and the Holy Ghost equally from both: in the generation of the Son, the Father is in order before the Son, but in the procession of the Holy Ghost, he is not so. He is from both; for where he is first named", he is called Spiritus Elohim, The Spirit of Gods, in the plural. In this chapter, in the ninth verse, he is the Spirit of the Son, If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his; and so in the apostle, God hath sent the Spirit of his Son into your hearts". God sent him, and Christ sent him, If I depart, I will send the Comforter unto you". He sent him after he went, and he gave him when he was here, He breathed upon his apostles, and said, Receive ye the Holy Ghost". So he is of both.
4* Gen. i. 2.
But by what manner comes he from them ? By proceeding. That is a very general word; for creation is proceeding, and so is generation too: creatures proceed from God, and so doth God the Son proceed from God the Father ; what is this proceeding of the Holy Ghost, that is not creation, nor generation ? Exponant cur et quomodo spiritus pulsat in arteriis, et tum in processionem Spiritus Sancti inquirant*1: When they are able clearly, and with full satisfaction to tell themselves how and from whence that spirit proceeds, which beats in their pulse, let them inquire how this Spirit proceeds from the Father and the Son. And let them think till they be mad, and speak till they be hoarse, and read till they be blind, and write till they be lame, they must end with St. Augustine, Distinguere inter processionem, et generationem, nescio, non valeo, non sufficio, I cannot distinguish, I cannot assign a difference between this generation, and this proceeding. We use to say, they differ principio, that the Son is from the Father alone, the Holy Ghost from both: but when this is said, that must be said too, that both Father and Son are but one beginning. We use to say, they differ ordine, because the Son is the second, and the Holy Ghost the third person; but the second was not before the third in time, nor is above him in dignity.
There is processio corporalis, such a bodily proceeding, as that that which proceeds is utterly another thing than that from which it proceeds: frogs proceed (perchance) of air, and mice of dust, and worms of carcasses; and they resemble not that air, that dust, those carcasses that produced them. There is also
44 Gal. iv. 6. 45 John xvi. 17.
** John xx. 22. * Nazianz.
VOL. II. B
processio metaphysica, when thoughts proceed out of the mind ; but those thoughts remain still in the mind within, and have no separate subsistence in themselves: and then there is processio hyperphysica, which is this which we seek and find in our souls, but not in our tongues, a proceeding of the Holy Ghost so from Father and Son, as that he remains a subsistence alone, a distinct person of himself. This is as far as the school can reach, ortu, qui relationis est, non est a se; actu, qui personce est, per se subsistit: consider him in his proceeding, so he must necessarily have a relation to another, consider him actually in his person, so he subsists of himself. And de modo, for the manner of hia proceeding, we need, we can say but this, as the Son proceeds per modum intellectus, (so as the mind of man conceives a thought) so the Holy Ghost proceeds per modum voluntatis; when the mind hath produced a thought, that mind, and that discourse and ratiocination produce a will; first our understanding is settled, and that understanding leads our will. And nearer than this (though God knows this be far off) we cannot go, to the proceeding of the Holy Ghost.
This then is the Spirit, the third person in the Trinity, but the first person in our text, the other is our spirit, The Spirit beareth witness with our spirit. I told you before, that amongst the manifold acceptations of the word spirit, as it hath relation particularly to man, it is either the soul itself, or the vital spirits, (the thin and active parts of the blood) or the superior faculties of the soul, in a regenerate man ; and that is our spirit, in this place. So St. Paul distinguishes soul and spirit, The word of God pierces to the dividing asugder soul and spirit"; where the soul is that which inanimates the body, and enables the organs of the senses to see and hear ; the spirit is that which enables the soul to see God, and to hear his Gospel. The same phrase hath the same use in another place, / pray God your spirit, and soul, and body may be preserved blameless" : where it is not so absurdly said, (though a very great man90 call it an absurd exposition) that the soul, anima, is that, qua animales homines, (as the apostle calls them) that by which men are men, natural men, carnal men;
40 Heb. iv. 12. « 1 Thes. v. 25. » Calvin.
and the spirit is the spirit of regeneration, by which man is a new creature, a spiritual man; but that expositor himself hath said enough to our present purpose, the soul is the seat of affections, the spirit is rectified reason. It is true, this reason is the sovereign, these affections are the officers, this body is the executioner: reason authorizes, affections command, the body executes: and when we conceive in our mind, desire in our heart, perform in our body nothing that displeases God, then have we had benefit of St. Paul's prayer, That in body, and soul, and spirit we may be blameless. In some, we need seek no farther for a word to express this spirit, but that which is familiar to us, the conscience: a rectified consoience is this spirit; My conscience bearing me witness, says the apostle" : and so we have both the persons in this judicial proceeding ; the spirit is the Holy Ghost; our spirit is our conscience; and now their office is to testify, to bear witness, which is our second general part, The Spirit bears witness, &c.
To be a witness, isjjaLan unworthy office for the Holy Ghost himself: heretic* ^nffieir pestilent doctrines, tyrants in their bloody persecutions, call God himself so often, so far into question, as that it needs strong and pregnant testimony to acquit First, against heretics, we see the whole Scripture is but stament; and testamentum is testatio mentis, it is but an
testation, a proof what the will of God is : and therefore when Tertullian deprehended himself to have slipped into another word, and to have called the Bible Instrumentum, he retracts and corrects himself thus, Magis usid est dicere testamentum quam instrumentum, It is more proper to call the Scripture a Testament* than a conveyance or covenant: all the Bible is testament, attestation, declaration, proof, evidence of the will of God to man. And those two witnesses spoken of in the Revelation", are very conveniently, very probably interpreted to be the two Testaments; and to the Scriptures Christ himself refers the Jews, Search them, for they bear witness of me". The word of God written by the Holy Ghost is a witness, and so the Holy Ghost is a witness against heretics. Against tyrants and persecutors, the office of a witness is an honourable office too; for that
M Rom. is. 1. MBev. xi. 2. M John v. 39.
which we call more passionately, and more gloriously martyrdom, is but testimony ; a martyr is nothing but a witness. He that pledges Christ in his own wine, in his own cup, in blood; he that washes away his sins in a second baptism, and hath found a lawful way of re-baptizing, even in blood; he that waters the prophet's ploughing, and the apostle's sowing with blood; he that can be content to bleed as long as a tyrant can foam, or an executioner sweat; he that is pickled, nay embalmed in blood, salted with fire, and preserved in his own ashes; he that (to contract all, nay to enlarge beyond all) suffers in the inquisition, when his body is upon the rack, when the rags are in his throat, when the boots are upon his legs, when the splinters are under his nails, if in those agonies he have the vigour to say, I suffer this to show what my Saviour suffered, must yet make this difference, he suffered as a Saviour, I suffer but as a witness. But yet to him that suffers as a martyr, as a witness, a crown is reserved ; it is a happy and a harmonious meeting in Stephen's martyrdom; proto-martyr, and Stephanas; that the first martyr for Christ should have a crown in his name. Such a blessed meeting there is in Joash his coronation, Po&tit super eum diadema et testimonium, They put the crown upon his head, and the testimony"; that is, the law, which testified, that as he had the crown from God, so he had it with a witness, with an obligation, that his government, his life, and (if need were) his death should testify his zeal to him that gave him that crown.
Thus the Holy Ghost himself is a witness against heretics in the word; and those men who are full of the Holy Ghost (as Stephen was) are witnesses against persecution, in action, in passion. At this time, and by occasion of these words, we consider principally the first, the testification of the Holy Ghost himself; and therein we consider thus much more, that a witness ever testifies of some matter of fact, of something done before; the Holy Ghost, the Spirit here, (as we shall see anon) witnesses that we are the children of God. Now if a witness prove that I am a tenant to such land, or lord of it, I do not become lord nor tenant by this witness, but his testimony proves that I was so 'before. I have therefore a former right to be the child of God, that is, the eternal election of God in Christ Jesus. Christ Jesus could as well have disobeyed his Father, and said, I will not go, or disappointed his Father, and said, I will not go yet, as he could have disfurnished his Father, and said, He would not redeem me. The Holy Ghost bears witness, tljat is, he pleads, he produces that eternal decree for my election. And upon such evidence shall I give sentence against myself? Si testaretur angelus, velarchangelus, posset quisquamaddubitare"? I should not doubt the testimony of an angel, or archangel, and yet angels and archangels, all sorts of angels were deceivers in the serpent. And therefore the apostle presents it (though impossible in itself) as a thing that might fall into our mis-apprehension : If we, (that is the apostles) or if an angel from heaven preach any other Gospel, anathema sit, let him be accursed*. But fyiando Dens testatur, quis locus relinqititur dubitationi ? when God testifies to me, it is a rebellious sin to doubt: and therefore how hyperbolically soever St. Paul argue there, If apostles, if angels teach the contrary, teach false doctrine, it never entered into his argument (though an argument ab impossibilt) to say, if God should teach, or testify false doctrine. Though then there be a former evidence for my being the child of God, a decree in heaven, yet it is not enough that there ie such a record, but it must be produced, it must be pleaded, it must be testified to be that, it must have the witness of the Spirit, and by that, innotescit, though it do not become my election then, it makes my election appear then, and though it be not introductory, it is declaratory. The root is in the decree, the first fruits are in the testimony of the Spirit; but even that spirit will not be testis singiltaris, he wiH-not fre heard alone, and single, but it is cum Spiritu nostro, The Spirit testifies with our spirit, &c.
84 2 Kings ii. 12.
The Holy Ghost will fulfil his own law, In ore duorum, In the mouth of two witnesses. Sometimes our spirit bears witness of some things appertaining to the next world, without the testimony of the Holy Ghost. Tertullian in that excellent book of his, De testimonio anima\ Of the testimony which the soul of man gives of itself to itself, where he speaks of the soul of a natural, an unregenerate man, gives us just occasion to stop a
" Chrysostom. M Gal . i. 8.
little upon that consideration. If, says he, we for our religion produce your own authors against you, (he speaks to natural men, secular philosophers) and show you out of them, what passions, what vices even they impute to those whom you have made your gods, then you say, they were but poetce rani, those authors were but vain, and frivolous poets : but when those authors speak anything which sounds against our religion, then they are philosophers, and reverend and classic authors. And therefore, says he, I will draw no witness from them, Perversce felicitatis, quibus in falso potius creditur, quam in vero, Because they have this perverse» this left-handed happiness, to be believed when they lie, better than when they say true. Novum testimoniwn adduce, says ne; I waive all them, and I call upon a new witness: a witness, omni literaturce notius, more legible than any character, than any text-hand, for it is the intimation of my own soul, and conscience ; and omni editions vulgatius, more public, more conspicuous than any addition, any impression of any author, for editions may be called in, but who can call in the testimony of his own soul ? He proceeds, Te simplicem, et idioticum compello, I require but a simple, an unlearned soul, Qualem te habent, qui te solam habent, Such a soul, as that man hath, who hath nothing but a soul, no learning; Imperitia tua mihi opus est, quoniam aliquantulceperitic e tuce nemo credit; I shall have the more use of thy testimony, the more ignorant thou art, for, in such cases, art is suspicious, and from them who are able to prove anything, we believe nothing: and therefore, says he, Nolo academiis, bibliothecis instructam, I call not a soul made in an university, or nursed in a library, but let this soul come now, as it came to me in my mother's womb, an inartificial, an inexperienced soul; and then, to (contract Tertullian's contemplation) he proceeds to show the notions of the Christian religion, which are in such a soul naturally, and which his spirit, that is, his rectified reason, rectified but by nature, is able to infuse into him. And certainly some of that, which is proved by the testimony, mentioned in this text, is proved by the testimony of our own natural soul, in that poet whom the apostle cites, that said, We are the off-spring of God".
57 Acts xvii. 2<J.
So then our spirit bears witness sometimes when the Spirit does not; that is, nature testifies some things, without addition of particular grace: and then the Spirit, the Holy Ghost oftentimes testifies, when ours does not: How often stands he at the door, and knocks? How often spreads he his wings, to gather us, as a hen her chickens ? How often presents he to us the power of God in the mouth of the preacher, and we bear witness to one another of the wit and of the eloquence of the preacher, and no more I How often he bears witness, that such an action is odious in the sight of God, and our spirit bears witness, that it is acceptable, profitable, honourable in tho sight of man ? How often he bears witness, for God's judgments, and our spirit deposes for mercy, by presumption, and how often he testifies for mercy, and our spirit swears for judgment, in desperation ? But when the Spirit, and our spirit agree in their testimony, that he hath spoke comfortably to my soul, and my soul hath apprehended comfort by that speech, that, (to use Christ's similitude) He hath piped, and we have danced, he hath showed me my Saviour, and my spirit hath rejoiced in\God my Saviour, he deposes for the decree of my election, and I depose for the seals and marks of that decree, these two witnesses^Atf Spirit, and my spirit, induce a third witness, the world itself, to testify that which is the testimony of this text, That I am the child of God. And so we pass from the two former parts, the persons, the Spirit, and our spirit, and their office, to witness, and to agree in their witness, and we are fallen into our third part, the testimony itself, That we are tfo children of God.
This part hath also two branches; first, that the testimony concerns ourselves, We are, and then, that that which we are is this, We are the children of God. And in the first branch, there will be two twigs, two sub-considerations ; we, a personal appropriation of the grace of God to ourselves, We are, we are now, a present possession of those graces. First, consider we the consolation in the particle of appropriation, We. In the great ant-hill of the whole world, I am an ant; I have' my part in the creation, I am a creature; but there are ignoble creatures. God comes nearer; in the great field of clay, of jed earth, that man was made of, and mankind, I am a clod; I anua-nnan, I have my part in the humanity; but man was worse than annihilated again. When Satan in that serpent was come, as Hercules with his club into a potter's shop, and had broke all the vessels, destroyed all mankind, and the gracious promise of a Messiah to redeem all mankind, was shed and spread upon all, I had my drop of that dew of heaven, my spark of that fire of heaven, in the universal promise, in which I was involved ; but this promise was appropriated after, in a, particular covenant, to one people, to the Jews, to the seed of Abraham. But for all that, I have my portion there ; for all that profess Christ Jesus are by a spiritual engrafting, and transmigration, and transplantation, in and of that stock, and that seed of Abraham ; and I am one of those. But then, of those who do profess Christ Jesus, some grovel still in the superstitions they were fallen into, and some are raised, by God's good grace, out of them; and I am one of those; God hath afforded me my station, in that church, which is departed from Babylon.
Now, all this while, my soul is in a cheerful progress; when I consider what God did for Goshen in Egypt, for a little park in the midst of a forest; what he did for Jewry, in the midst of enemies, as a shire that should stand out against a kingdom round about it: how many Sancerras he hath delivered from famines, how many Genevas from plots, and machinations against her, all this while my. soul is in a progress : but I am at home, when I consider bulls of excommunications, and solicitations of rebellions, and pistols, and poisons, and the discoveries of those; there is our nos, we, testimonies that we are in the favour, and care of God ; we, our nation, we, our church; there I am at home ; but I am in my cabinet at home, when I consider, what God hath done for me, and my soul; there is the ego, the particular, the individual, I. This appropriation is the consolation, We are ; But who are they ? or how are we of them ? Testimonium est clamor ipse, says St. Chrysostom to our great advantage, Even this, that we are able to cry Abba, Father, by the Spirit of adoptionTM, is this testimony, that we are his children; if we can truly do that, that testifies for us. The Spirit testifies two ways ; directly, expressly, personally, as in that, Man, thy sins are
** Ver. 15.
forgiven thee", and so to David by Nathan, Transtulit, The Lord hath taken away thy sin ; and then he testifies, per indicia, by constant marks, and infallible evidences. We are not to look for the first, for it is a kind of revelation ; nor are we to doubt of the second, for the marks are infallible. And therefore, as St. Augustine said of the Manichees, concerning the Scriptures, Insani sunt adversus antidotum, quo sani esse possitnt, They are enraged against that, which only can cure them of their rage, that was, the Scriptures; so there are men, which will still be in ignorance of that which might cure them of their ignorance, because they will not labour to find in themselves, the mA:s and seals of those who are ordained to salvation, they vdlr needs think, that no man can have any such testimony.
They say, It is true, there is a blessed comfort, in this appropriation, if we could be sure of it; they may; we are ; we are already in possession of it. The marks of our spiritual filiation, are less subject to error, than of temporal. Shall the mother's honesty be the evidence ? Alas, we have some such examples of their falsehood, as will discredit any argument, built merely upon their truth. He is like the father; is that the evidence ? Imagination may imprint those characters : he hath his land; a supposititious child may have that. Spiritual marks are not so fallible as these : they have so much in them, as creates even a knowledge, Now we are the sons of God, and we know that we shall be like him; and we know, that we are of God**. Is all this but a conjectural knowledge, but a moral certitude ? No tincture of faith in it ? Can I acquire, and must I bring certitudinem fidei, an assurance out of faith, that a council cannot err; and then, such another faithful assurance, that the Council of Trent was a true council; and then another, that the Council of Trent did truly and duly proceed in all ways essential to the truth of a council, in constituting their decree ngainst this doctrine ? And may I not bring this assurance of faith to St. Paul, and St. John when they say the contrary ? Is not St. Paul's sumus, and St. John's scimtts, as good a ground for our faith, as the servile and mercenary voices of a herd of new pensionary bishops, shovelled together at Trent for that purpose, are for the contrary I
'* Luke v. 20. 4* 1 John iii. 2; v. 19,
A particular bishop in the Roman church", cites an universal bishop, a pope himself in this point, and he says well, Legem credendi statuit lex supplicandi, Whatsoever we may pray for, we may, we must believe Certititdine fidei, With an assurance of faith; if I may pray, and say Pater noster, if I may call God Father, I may believe with a faithful assurance, that I am the child of God. Stet inmcta pauli sententia, Let the apostle's doctrine, says that bishop, remain unshaked; Et velut sayitta, says he, This doctrine, as an arrow shot at them, will put out their eyes that think to see beyond St. Paul. It is true, says that bishop^here are differences amongst Catholics themselves in this point; and then, why do they charge us, whom they defame, by the name of heretics, with beginning this doctrine, which was amongst themselves before we were at all, if they did date us aright ? Attestatur Spiritus, et el damusfidem, et inde certi surmts, says that bishop : The Holy Ghost bears witness, and our spirit with him, and thereby we are sure : but, says he, they will needs make a doubt whether this be a knowledge out of faith ; which doubt, says he, Secumfert absurditatem, There is an absurdity, a contradiction in the very doubt: Ex Spiritu Sancto, et humana? Is it a knowledge from the Holy Ghost, and is it not a divine knowledge then ? But, say they, (as that bishop presses their objections) the Holy Ghost doth not make them know, that it is the Holy Ghost that assures them ; this is, says he, as absurd as the other; for, Nisi se testantem insimiet, non testatur, Except he make them discern, that he is a witness, he is no witness to them: he ends it thus, Sustinere coguntur quod excidit; and thSt is indeed their case, in very many things controverted ; then*when it conduced to their advantage in argument, or to their profit in purse, such and such things fell from them, and now that opposition is made against such sayings of theirs, their profit lies at stake, and their reputation too, to make good, and to maintain that which they have once, how indiscreetly soever, said. Some of their severest later men, even of their Jesuits6*, acknowledge that we may know ourselves to be the children of God, with as good a knowledge, as that there is a Rome, or a Constantinople, and such an assurance as delivers them from all fear that they
" Catarinus. " Vegas. Pererius.
shall fall away; and is not this more than that assurance which we take to ourselves ? We give no such assurance as may occasion security, or slackness in the service of God, and they give such an assurance as may remove all fear and suspicion of falling from God.
It was truly good counsel in St. Gregory, when, writing to one of the empresses bedchamber, a religious lady of his own name, who had written to him, that she should never leave importuning him, till he sent her word, that he had received a revelation from God that she was saved: for, says he, Rem dlfficilem postulas, et inutilem, It is a hard matter you require, and an impertinent, and useless matter: for I am not a man worthy to receive revelations, and besides, such a revelation as you require, might make you too secure: and Mater negligentice solet esse securitas, (says he) Such a security might make you negligent in those duties which should make sure your salvation. St. Augustine felt the witness of the Spirit, but not of his spirit, when he stood out so many solicitations of the Holy Ghost, and deferred and put off the outward means, his baptism. In that state, when he had a disposition to baptism, he says of himself, Infervui exultando, sed inhorrui timendo; Still I had a fervent joy in me, because I saw the way to thee, and intended to put myself into that way, but yet, because I was not yet in it, I had a trembling, a jealousy, a suspicion of myself. Insinuati tunt mihi in prof undo nutus tui, In that half-darkness, in that twilight I discerned thine eye to be upon me; Et gaudens in fide, laudam nomen tuum, And this, says he, created a kind of faith, a confidence in me, and this induced an inward joy, and that produced a praising of thy goodness, Sed eafides securum me non esse sinebat, But all this did not imprint, and establish that security, that assurance which I found as soon as I came to the outward seals, and marks, and testimonies of thine inseparable presence with me, in thy baptism, and other ordinances. St. Bernard puts the marks of as much assurance, as we teach, in these words of our Saviour, Surge, tolle grabatum, et ambula, Arise, take up thy bed, and walk. Surge ad divina, Raise thy thoughts upon the next world ; Tolle corpus, ut non te ferat, sed tu illud, Take up thy body, bring thy body into thy power, that thou govern it, and not it thee; and then, Ambula, non retrospicias, Walk on, proceed forward, and look not back with a delight upon thy former sins: and a great deal an elder man than Bernard", expresses it well, Bene viventibus perhibet testimonium, quod jam sumus filii Dei, To him that lives according to a right faith, the Spirit testifies that he is now the child of God, JSt quod talia faciendo, perseverabimus in ea filiations, He carries this testimony thus much farther, that if we endeavour to continue in that course, we shall continue in that state, of being the children of God, and never be cast off, never disinherited. Herein is our assurance, an election there is ; the Spirit bears witness to our spirit, that it is ours ; we testify this in a holy life; and the church of God, and the whole world joins in this testimony, That we are the children of God; which is our last branch, and conclusion of all.
The Holy Ghost could not express more danger to a man, than when he calls him Filium sceculi, The child of this world**; nor a worse disposition, than when he calls him, Filium diffidentice, The child of diffidence, and distrust in God"; nor a worse pursuer of that ill disposition, than when he calls him Filium diaboli, (as St. Peter calls Elymas) The child of the devil" ; nor a worse possessing of the devil, than when he calls him Filium perditionis, The child of perdition*1; nor a worse execution of all this, than when he calls him Filium gehennce, The child of hell**: the child of this world, the child of desperation, the child of the devil, the child of perdition, the child of hell, is a high expressing, a deep aggravating of his damnation; that his damnation is not only his purchase, as he hath acquired it, but it is his inheritance, he is the child of damnation. So is it also a high exaltation, when the Holy Ghost draws our pedigree from any good thing, and calls us the children of that: as, when he calls us Filios lucis, The children of light**, that we have seen the day-star arise, when he calls us Filios sponsi, The children of the bridechamber'*, begot in lawful marriage upon the true church, these are fair approaches to the highest title of all, to be Filii Dei, The children of God; and not children of God, per filiationem vestigii, (so
" Remigius. M Luke xvi. 18. " Ephes. v. 6.
M Acts xiii. 10. •7 John xvii. ** Matt, xxiii. 15.
" John xii. 36, 1* Matt. ix. 15.
every creature is a child of God) by having an image, and impression of God, in the very being thereof, but c/nldren so, as that we are heirs, and heirs so, as that we are co-heirs with Christ, as it follows in the next verse, and is implied in this name, Children of God.
Heirs of heaven, which is not a gavel-kind, every son, every man alike; but it is an universal primogeniture, every man full, so full, as that every man hath all, in such measure, as that there is nothing in heaven, which any man in heaven wants. Heirs of the joys of heaven ; joy in a continual dilatation of thy heart, to receive augmentation of that which is infinite, in the accumulation of essential and accidental joy. Joy in a continual melting of indissoluble bowels, in joyful, and yet compassionate beholding thy Saviour; rejoicing at thy being there, and almost lamenting (in a kind of affection, which we can call by no name) that thou couldst not come thither, but by those wounds, which are still wounds, though wounds glorified. Heirs of the joy, and heirs of the glory of heaven ; where if thou look down, and see kings fighting for crowns, thou canst look off as easily, as from boys at stool-ball for points here; and from kings triumphing after victories, as easily, as a philosopher from a pageant of children here. Where thou shalt not be subject to any other title of dominion in others, but Jesus of Nazareth king of the Jews, nor ambitious of any other title in thyself, but that which thou possessest, To be the child of God. Heirs of joy, heirs of glory, and heirs of the eternity of heaven ; where, in the possession of this joy, and this glory, the angels which were there almost six thousand years before thee, and so prescribe, and those souls which shall come at Christ's last coming, and so enter but then, shall not survive thee, but they, and thon, and all, shall live as long as he that gives you all that life, as God himself.
Heirs to heaven, and co-heirs with Christ: there is much to be said of that circumstance; but who shall say it? I that should say it, have said ill of it already, in calling it a circumstance. To be co-heirs with Christ, is that essential salvation itself; and to that he entitled us, when after his resurrection he said of us, Go tell my brethren that I am aone1\ When he was
71 John xx. 17.
but born of a woman, and submitted to the law, when in his minority, he was but a carpenter, and at full age, but a preacher, when they accused him in general, that he was a malefactor, or else they would not have delivered him78, but they knew not the name of his fault, when a fault of secular cognizance was objected to him, that he moved sedition, that he denied tribute, and then a fault of ecclesiastical cognizance, that he spoke against the law, and against the temple, when Barabbas a seditious murderer was preferred before him, and saved, and yet two thieves left to accompany him, in his torment and death, in these diminutions of Christ, there was no great honour, no great cause why any man should have any great desire to be of his kindred; to be brother, or co-heir to his cross. But if to be his brethren, when he had begun his triumph in his resurrection, were a high dignity, what is it to be co-heirs with him in heaven, after his ascension ? But these are inexpressible, inconceivable things; bring it back to that which is nearest us; to those seals and marks which we have in this life; that by a holy, a sanctified passage through this life, and out of this life, from our first seal in baptism, to our last seal upon our death-bed, The Spirit may bear witness to our spirit, that we are the children of God. Amen.