PREACHED UPON WHITSUNDAY.
John xvi. 8, 9, 10, 11.
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness,
and of judgment.
Of sin, because ye believe not on me.
Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more.
Of judgment, because the Prince of this world is judged.
Oub panis quotidianus, Our daily bread, is that juge sacrificiwn, that daily sacrifice of meditating upon God; our panis hodiernus, this day's bread, is to meditate upon the Holy Ghost. Today if ye will hear his voice, to-day ye are with him in paradise : for, wheresoever the Holy Ghost is. he creates a paradise. The day is not past yet; as our Saviour said to Peter1, Hodie, in nocte hoc, This day, even in this night thou shalt deny me, so, Hodie in nocte hac, Even now, though evening, the day-spring from on high visits you, God carries back the shadow of your sun-dial, as to Hezekiah'*; and now God brings you to the beginning of this day, if now you take knowledge, that he is come, who, when he comes, Reproves the world of sin, fyc.
1 Luke xxiii. 43 ; Mark xiv. 10. ! Isaiah xxxviii. 8.
The solemnity of the day requires, and the method of the words offers for our first consideration, the person ; who is not named in our text, but designed by a most emphatical denotation, ille, /ie, he who is all, and doth all. But the word hath relation to a name, proper to the Holy Ghost: for, in the verse immediately preceding, our Saviour tells his disciples, That he will send them the Comforter. So, forbearing all other mysterious considerations of the Holy Ghost, we receive him in that notion, and function in which Christ sends him, The Comforter. And therefore, in this capacity, as the Comforter, we must consider his action, Arguet, He shall reprove; reprove, and yet comfort; nay, therefore comfort, because reprove: and then the subject of his action, Mundum, The world, the whole world; no part left unreproved, yet no part left without comfort: and after that, what he reproves the world of; that multiplies; of sin, of righteousness, of judgment. Can there be comfort in reproof for sin ? or can there lie a reproof upon 'righteousness, or upon judgment ? Very justly; though the evidence seem at first, as strange as the crime: for, though that be good evidence against the sin of the world, that they believe not in Christ, (Of sin, because they believe not on me) yet to be Reproved of righteousness, because Christ goes to his Father, and they see him no more, and to be Reproved of judgment, because the Prince of this world is judged, this seems strange, and yet this must be done, and done to our comfort; for, this must be done, Cum venerit, then when the Holy Ghost, and he in that function, as the comforter, is come, is present, is working.
Beloved, reproofs upon others without charity, rather to defame them, than amend them; reproofs upon thyself, without showing mercy to thine own soul, diffidences, and jealousies, and suspicions of God, either that he hated thee before thy sin, or hates thee irremediably, irreconcileably, irrecoverably, irreparably for thy sin, these are reproofs, but they are Absente Spiritu, In the absence of the Holy Ghost, before he comes, or when he is gone; When he comes, and stays, he shall reprove, and reprove all the world, and all the world of those errors, sin, and righteousness, and judgment, and those errors upon those evidences, Of sin, because ye believe not on me, fyc. But, in all this proceeding he shall never divest the nature of a comforter; in that capacity he is sent, in that ho comes, and works. I doubt I shall see an end of my hour, and your patience, before I shall have passed those branches, which appertain most properly to the celebration of this day, the person, the comforter, his action, reproof, the subject thereof, the world, and the time, Cum venerit, When he comes. The indictment, of what the accusation is, and the evidence, how it is proved, may exercise your devotion at other times. This day, the Holy Ghost is said to have come suddenly*, and therefore in that pace we proceed, and make haste to the consideration of the person, Ille, When he, he the Holy Ghost, the comforter, is come.
Ille, ille alone, he, is an emphatical denotation; for to this purpose ille and ipse is all one; and then, you know the emphasis of that ipse; Ipse conteret, fie or It shall bruise the serpents head*, denotes the Messiah, though there be no Messiah named: this ipse is so emphatical a denotation, as that the church of Rome, and the church of God strives for it; for they will needs read it ipsa, and so refer our salvation, in the bruising of the serpent's head, to the Virgin Mary: we refer it according to the truth of the doctrine, and of the letter, to Christ himself, and therefore read it ipse, he. If there were no more but that in David, It is he that hath made us*, every man would conclude, that that he is God. And if St. Paul had said ipse alone, and not ipse Spiritus, that he, and not he the Spirit bears witness with our spirit*, every spirit would have understood this to be the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost. If in our text there had been no more, but such a denotation of a person that should speak to the hearts of all the world, that that ille, that he would proceed thus, we must necessarily have seen an Almighty power in that denotation ; but because that denotation might have carried terror in it, being taken alone, therefore we are not left to that, but have a relation to a former name, and specification of the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.
For the establishment of Christ's divinity, Christ is called The mighty God1; for his relation to us, he hath divers names. As we were all In massa damnata, forfeited, lost, he is Redemptor, a
8 Acts ii. 2. 4 Gen. iii. 15. 4 Psai . c. 3.
* Rom. viii. 16. 7 Isaiah is. 6.
Redeemer, for that that is past, The Redeemer shall come to Sion, says the prophet*, and so Job saw his Redeemer*, one that should redeem him from those miseries that oppressed him. As Christ was pleased to provide for the future, so he is, Salvator, a Saviour, therefore the angel gave him that name Jesus, For he shall save his people from their sinsTM. So, because to this purpose Christ consists of two natures, God and man, he is called our Mediator11. There is one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus. Because he presents those merits which are his, as ours, and in our behalf, he is called an advocate, If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteousTM. And because every man is to expect according to his actions, he is called the Judge", We testify that it is he, that is ordained oj God to be the Judge of quick and dead. Now, for Christ's first name, which is the root of all, which is, The mighty God, no mancan say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost1*; and there is our first comfort, in knowing that Christ is God; for, he were an intruder for that which is past, no Redeemer, he were a weak Saviour for the future, an insufficient Mediator, a silenced Advocate, and a Judge that might be misinformed, if he were not God. And though he were God, he might be all these to my discomfort, if there were not a Holy Ghost to make all these offices comfortable unto me. To be a Redeemer and not a Saviour, is but to pay my debts, and leave me nothing to live on. To be a mediator, a person capable by his composition of two natures, to intercede between God and man, and not to be my advocate, is but to be a good counsellor, but not of counsel with me; to be a judge of quick and dead, and to proceed out of outward evidence, and not out of his bosom mercy, is but an acceleration of my conviction; I were better lie in prison still, than appear at that assize; better lie in the dust of the grave for ever, than come to that judgment. But, as there is Hens in anima, There is a mind in the soul, and every man hath a soul, but every man hath not a mind, that is, a consideration, an actuation, an application of the faculties of the soul to particulars; so there is
0 Isaiah Lix. 20. * Job xix. 2. 10 Matt. i. 21.
11 1 Tim. ii. 5. » 1 John ii. 1.
1* Rom. ii. 6; Acts n. 42. " 1 Cor. xii. 3.
Spiritus in Spiritu, a Holy Ghost in all the holy offices of Christ, which offices, being, in a great part, directed upon the whole world, are made comfortable to me, by being, by this holy Spirit, turned upon me, and appropriated to me; for so, even that name of Christ, which might most make me afraid, the name of judge, becomes a comfort to me. To this purpose does St. Basil call the Holy Ghost, Verbum Dei, quia interpres filii: The Son of God is the word of God, because he manifests the Father, and the Holy Ghost is the word of God, because he applies the Son. Christ comes with that loud proclamation, Ecce auditum fecit", Behold the Lord hath proclaimed it, to the end of the world, Ecce ealvator, and Ecce merces, Behold his salvation, Behold thy reward, (this is his publication in the manifest ordinances of the church) and then the Holy Ghost whispers to thy soul, as thou Etandest in the congregation, in that voice that he promises, Sibilabo populum meum1C, I will hiss, I will whisper to my people by soft and inward inspirations. Christ came to tell us all, That to as many as received him, he gave power to become the sons of God", the Holy Ghost comes to tell thee, that thou art one of them. The Holy Ghost is therefore Legatus, and Legatum Christi, he is Christ's ambassador sent unto us, and he is his legacy bequeathed unto us by his will; his will made of force by his death, and proved by his ascension.
Now, when those days were come, that the Bridegroom was to be taken from them, Christ Jesus to be removed from their personal sight, and conversation, and therefore even the children of the marriage chamber were to mourn, and fastTM; when that church that mourned, and lamented his absence, when she was but his spouseTM, must necessarily mourn now in a more vehement manner, when she was to be, (in some sense) his widow; when that shepherd was not only to be smitten, and so the flock dispersed", (this was done in his passion) but he was to be taken away, in his ascension ; what a powerful comforter had that need to be, that should be able to recompense the absence of Christ Jesus himself, and to infuse comfort into his orphans, the children of his marriage chamber, into his widow, the desolate, and
14 Isaiah Lxii. II. " Zach. x. 8. 17 John i. 12.
18 Matt. ix. 18. " Cant. * Matt. xxvi. 21.
disconsolate church, into his flock, his amazed, his distressed, and, (as we may, properly enough, say in this case) his beheaded apostles and disciples? Quantus ergo Deus, qui dat Deum" ? Less than God could not minister this comfort; how great a God is he, that sends a God to comfort us ? And how powerful a comforter he, who is not only sent by God, but is God I Therefore does the apostle enlarge, and dilate, and delight his soul upon this comfort, Blessed be God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort, who comforteth us in all our tribulations, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any affliction, by that comfort, wherewith ourselves are comforted of God". The apostle was loath to depart from the word, comfort; and therefore, as God, because he could swear by no greater, sware by himself**, so, because there is no stronger adjuration, than the comfort itself, to move you to accept this comfort, as the apostle did, so we intreat you by that, If there be any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels, and mercy", Lay hold upon this true comfort, the coming of the Holy Ghost, and say to all the deceitful comforts of this world, not only Vane consolati estts", Your comforts are frivolous, but Onerosi consolatores, Your comforts are burdensome"; there is not only a disappointing of hopes, but an aggravating of sin, in entertaining the comforts of this world. As Barnabas, that is, Filius consolationis, The Son of consolation*1, that he might be capable of this comfort, divested himself of all worldly possessions, so, as such sons, Suck and be satisfied, at the breasts of this consolation, that you may milk out, and be delighted with the abundance of his glory*6; and as one whom his mother comforteth, so will I comfort you, and you shall be comforted in JerusalemTM. Heaven is glory, and heaven is joy; we cannot tell which most; we cannot separate them; and this comfort is joy in the Holy Ghost. This makes all Job's states alike ; as rich in the first chapter of his book, where all is suddenly lost, as in the last, where all is abundantly restored. This consolation from the Holy Ghost makes my midnight noon, mine
11 Augustine. " 2 Cor. i. 31. *' Heb. vi. 13.
" Phil. ii. 1. " Zach. x. ii. £0 Job xvi. ii.
8; Acts iv. 36. " Isaiah Lxvi. 11. » Ver. 13.
executioner a physician, a stake and pile of fagots, a bonfire of triumph ; this consolation makes a satire, and slander, and libel against me, a panegyric, and an elogy in my praise ; it makes a tolle an ave, a vce an euge, a crucifige an Hosanna; it makes my death-bed, a marriage-bed, and my passing-bell, an epithalamium. In this notion therefore we receive this person, and in this notion we consider his proceeding, Hle, He, he the Comforter, shall reprove.
This word, that is here translated To reprove, Arguere, hath a double use and signification in the Scriptures. First to reprehend, to rebuke, to correct, with authority, with severity; so David, Ne in furore arguas me, 0 Lord rebuke me not in thine anger**: and secondly, to convince, to prove, to make a thing evident, by undeniable inferences, and necessary consequences; so, in the instructions of God's ministers, the first is to reprove, and then to rebuke"; so that reproving is an act of a milder sense, than rebuking is. St. Augustine interprets these words twice in his works; and in the first place he follows the first signification of the word, that the Holy Ghost should proceed, when he came, by power, by severity against the world. But though that sense will stand well with the first act of this reproof, (that he shall reprove, that is, reprehend the world of sin) yet it will not seem so properly said, to reprehend the world of righteousness, or of judgment; for how is righteousness, and judgment the subject of reprehension ? Therefore St. Augustine himself in the other place, where he handles these words, embraces the second sense, Hoc est arguere mundum, ostendere vera esse, quce non credidit; This is to reprove the world, to convince the world of her errors, and mistakings; and so (scarce any cxcepted) do all the ancient expositors take it, according to that, All things are reproved of the light, and so made manifest**; the light does not reprehend them, not rebuke them, not chide, not upbraid them; but to declare them, to manifest them, to make the world see clearly what they are, this is to reprove.
That reproving then, which is warrantable by the Holy Ghost, is not a sharp increpation, a bitter proceeding, proceeding only out of power, and authority, but by enlightening, and informing, and convincing the understanding. The signification of this word, which the Holy Ghost uses here for reproof, jEleuchog, is best deduced, and manifested to us, by the philosopher who had so much use of the word, who expresses it thus, Elenchus est syllogismus contra contraria opinantem; A reproof, is a proof, a proof by way of argument, against another man, who holds a contrary opinion. All the pieces must be laid together : for, first it must be against an opinion, and then an opinion contrary to truth, and then such an opinion held, insisted upon, maintained, and after all this, the reproof must lie in argument, not in force, not in violence.
** Psal. vi. 1. *1 2 Tim. iv. 2. ** Ephes. v. 13.
First it must come so far, as to be an opinion; which is a middle station, between ignorance, and knowledge; for knowledge excludes all doubting, all hesitation ; opinion does not so ; but opinion excludes indiftereucy, and equanimity; I am rather inclined to one side than another, when I am of either opinion. Id opinatur quisque quod nesclt**: A man may have an opinion that a thing is so, and yet not know it. St. Bernard proposes three ways for our apprehending divine things ; first, understanding, which relies upon reason ; faith, which relies upon supreme authority; and opinion, which relies upon probability, and verisimilitude. Now there may arise in some man, some mistakings, some misapprehensions of the sense of a place of Scripture, there may arise some scruple in a case of conscience, there may arise some inclinations to some person, of whose integrity and ability I have otherwise had experience, there may arise some paradoxical imaginations in myself, and yet these never attain to the settledness of an opinion, but they float in the fancy, and are but waking dreams ; and such imaginations, and fancies, and dreams, receive too much honour in the things, and too much favour in the persons, if they be reproved, or questioned, or condemned, or disputed against. For, oftentimes, even a condemnation nourishes the pride of the author of an opinion ; and besides, begets a dangerous compassion, in spectators and hearers ; and then, from pitying his pressures and sufferings, who is condemned, men come out of that pity, to excuse his opinions ; and from excusing them, to incline towards them; and so that which was but straw at
first, by being thus blown by vehement disputation, sets fire upon timber, and draws men of more learning and authority to side, and mingle themselves in these impertinencies. Every fancy should not be so much as reproved, disputed against, or called in question.
As it must not be only a fancy, an imagination, but an opinion, (in which, though there be not a certo, yet there is a potius, though I be not sure, yet I do rather think it) so we consider contraria opinantem, that it must be an opinion contrary to something that we are sure of; that is, to some received article, or to some evident religious duty; contrary to religion, as religion is matter of faith, or as religion is matter of obedience, to lawful authority. Though fancies grow to be opinions, that men come to think they have reasons for their opinions, and to know they have other men on their side, in those opinions; yet, as long as these are but opinions of a little too much, or a little too little, in matter of ceremony and circumstance, as long as they are but deflectings, and deviations upon collateral matters, no foundation shaked, no corner-stone displaced, as long as they are but preteritions, not contradictions, but omissions, not usurpations, they are not worthy of a reproof, of a conviction, and there may be more danger than profit in bringing them into an over-vehement agitation. Those men whose end is schism, and sedition, and distraction, are brought so near their own ends, and the accomplishment of their own desires, if they can draw other men together by the ears: as some have all they desire, if they can make other men drunk, so have these if they can make sober men wrangle.
They must be opinions, not fancies, and they must have a contrariety, an opposition to certain truths, and then they must be held, persisted in, before it be fit to give a reproof, either by calling in question, or by confutation. As some men are said to have told a lie so often, as that at last, they believe it themselves, so a man admits sometimes an opinion to lodge so long, as that transit in intellectum**, It fastens upon his understanding, and that that he did but think before, now he seems to himself to know it, and he believes it. And then, Fides si habet haasitatioiiem, inr
firma est, As that faith that admits a scruple is weak, and so, without scruple he comes peremptorily to believe it. But so, Opinio si habet assertionem, temerarla est, When that which is but an opinion comes to be published and avowed for a certain, and a necessary truth, then it becomes dangerous; and that grows apace; for scarcely does any man believe an opinion to be true, but he hath a certain appetite and itch to infuse it into others too. Now when these pieces meet, when these atoms make up a body, a body of error, that it come to an opinion, a half-assurance, and that in something contrary to foundations, and that it be held stiffly, publicly persisted in, then enters this reproof; but yet even then reproof is but syllogismus, it is but an argument, it is but convincing, it is not destroying; it is not an inquisition, a prison, a sword, an axe, a halter, a fire ; it is a syllogism ; not a syllogism, whose major is this, others, your ancestors believed it, and the minor this, we that are your superiors believe it, ergo you must, or else be banished or burnt. With such syllogisms the Arians abounded, where they prevailed in the primitive church, and this is the logic of the inquisition of Rome. But our syllogism must be a syllogism within our author's definition, when out of some things which are agreed on all sides, other things that are controverted, are made evident and manifest. Hell is presented to us by fire, but fire without light: heaven by light, and light without any ill effect of fire in it. Where there is nothing but an accuser, (perchance not that) and fire, citation and excommunication, here is Satan, (who is an accuser, but an invisible one) and here is hell itself, a devilish and a dark proceeding. But when they, to whom this reproof belongs, take Christ's way, not to tread out smoking flax, that a poor soul, misled by ignorant zeal, and so easily combustible and apt to take fire, be not trodden down with too much power, and passion, when they do not break a bruised reed, that is, not terrify a distracted conscience, which perchance a long ill conversation with schismatical company, and a spiritual melancholy, and over-tender sense of sin hath cast too low before, then does this reproof work aright, when it is brought in with light before fire, with convenient instruction, and not hasty condemnation.
We may well call this Viam Christi, and Viam Spiritus Sancti,
Christ's way, and the Holy Ghost's way, for he had need be a very good Christian, and a very sanctified man, that can walk in that way; Perfectorum est, nihil in peccatore odisse prceter peccata": He that hates nothing in a heretic, or in a schismatic, but the schism, or the heresy, he that sets bounds to that sea, and hath said to his affections, and human passions, stay there, go no farther, hath got far in the steps of Christian perfection. The slipperiness, the precipitation is so great on the other side, that commonly we begin to hate the person first, and then grow glad, when he grows guilty of anything worthy our hate ; and we make God himself the devil's instrument, when we pretend zeal to his service, in these reproofs and corrections, and serve only our own impotent passion, and inordinate ambition. For therein Plerumque cum tibi videris odisse inimicum, fratrem odisti, et nescit"; Thou thinkest or pretendest to hate an enemy, and hatest thine own brother, and knowest it not; thou kuowest not, considerest not, that he, by good usage and instruction, might have been made thy brother, a fellow-member in the visible church, by outward conformity, and in the invisible too, by inward. Etiam fatilia vasa confringere, domino soli concessum", If thou be a vessel of gold or silver, and that other of clay, thou of a clear, and rectified, he of a dark and perverted understanding, yet even vessels of clay are only in the power of that potter's hand that made them, or bought them, to break, and no bodies else: still, as long as it is possible, proceed we with the moderation of that blessed Father", Sic peccata hcereticorum compesce, nt sint quos pceniteat peccasse, Take not away the subject of the error, (the perverseness of the man) so, as that thou take away the subject of repentance, the man himself; if thou require fruit, leave a tree ; if thou wouldst have him repent, take not away his life, says he. We see the leisurely pace that God's justice walks in : when Daniel had told Nebuchadnezzar his danger*0, yea the decree of God upon him, (as he calls it) yet he told him a way how to revoke it; by works of mercy to the poor, and breaking off his sins; and after all this, he had a year's space to consider himself, before the judgment was executed upon him.
*5 Augustine. M Augustine. a7 Cyprian.
" Augustiue. 0* Dan. iv. 24,
But now beloved, all that we have said, or can be said to this purpose, conduces but to this, that though this reproof, which the Holy Ghost leads us to, be rather in convincing the understanding by argument, and other persuasions, than by extending our power to the destruction of the person, yet this hath a modification, how it must be, and a determination where it must end, for there are cases in which we may, we must go farther. For, for the understanding, we know how to work upon that; we know what arguments have prevailed upon us, with what arguments we have prevailed upon others, and those we can use: so far, Ut nihil habeant contra, etsi non assentiantw, That though they will not be of our mind, yet they shall have nothing to say against it. So far we can go upon that faculty, the understanding. But the will of man is so irregular, so unlimited a thing, as that no man hath a bridle upon another's will, no man can undertake nor promise for that; no creature hath that faculty but man, yet no man understands that faculty. It hath been the exercise of a thousand wits, it hath been the subject, yea the knot and perplexity of a thousand disputations, to find out, what it is that determines, that concludes the will of man so, as that it assents thereunto. For, if that were absolutely true which some have said, (and yet perchance that is as far as any have gone) that Ultimus actus intellectus est voluntas, That the last act of the understanding is the will, then all our labour were still to work upon the understanding, and when that were rectified, the will must follow. But it is not so; as we feel in ourselves that we do many sins, which our understanding, and the soul of our understanding, our conscience, tells us we should not do, so we see many others persist in errors, after manifest convincing, after all reproof which can be directed upon the understanding.
When therefore those errors which are to be reproved, are in that faculty, which is not subject to this reproof by argument, in a perverted will, because this wilful stubbornness is always accompanied with pride, with singularity, with faction, with schism, with sedition, we must remember the way which the Holy Ghost hath directed us in, If the iron be blunt, we must either put to more strength, or whet the edge**. Now, when the
w Eccles. x. 10.
fault is in the perverseness of the will, we can put to no more strength, no argument serves to overcome that; and therefore the Holy Ghost hath admitted another way, To whet the iron; and in that way does the apostle say, Utinam abscindantur, I would they were even cut off which trouble you". There is an incorrigibility, in which, when the reproof cannot lead the will, it must draw blood; which is, where pretences of religion are made, and treasons, and rebellions, and invasions, and massacres of people, and assassinates of princes practised. And this is a reproof (which, as we shall see of the rest, in the following branches is) from the Holy Ghost, in his function in this text, as he is a comforter; this therefore is our comfort, that our church was never negligent in reproving the adversary, but hath from time to time strenuously and confidently maintained her truths against all oppositions, to the satisfying of any understanding, though not to the reducing of some perverse wills. So Gregory de Valentia professes of our arguments, I confess these reasons would conclude my understanding, Nisi didicissem captivare intellectum meum ad intellectum ecclesice, But that I have learned to captivate my understanding to the understanding of the church, and, say what they will, to believe as the church of Rome believes; which is Maldonat's profession too, upon divers of Calvin's arguments, This argument would prevail upon me, but that he was a heretic that found it. So that here is our comfort, we have gone so far in this way of reproof, Ut nihil habeant contra, etsi nobiscum non sentiant. This is our comfort, that as some of the greatest divines in foreign parts, so also, in our church at home, some of the greatest prelates, who have been traduced to favour Rome, have written the most solidly and effectually against the heresies of Rome of any other. But it must be a comfort upon them that are reproved. And this is their comfort, that the state never drew drop of blood for religion; but then, this is our comfort still, that where their perverseness shall endanger either church or state, both the state and church may, by the Holy Ghost's direction, and will return to those means which God allows them for their preservation, that is, To whet the edge of the iron, in execution of the laws. And so we
41 Gal. v. 12.
pass from our second consideration, the action, reproof, to the subject of reproof, the world, He shall reprove the world.
It is no wonder that this word mundus should have a larger signification than other words, for it contains all, embraces, comprehends all: but there is no word in Scripture, that hath not only so large, but so diverse a signification, for it signifies things contrary to one another. It signifies commonly, and primarily, the whole frame of the world; and more particularly all mankind ; and oftentimes only wicked men ; and sometimes only good men, as, Dilexit mundum, God loved the world**, and Hie est fere salvator mundi, This is the Christ, the Saviour of the -world" ; and reconciliatio mundi, The casting away of the Jews, is the reconciliation of the world": the Jews were a part of the world, but not of this world. Now in every sense, the world may well be said to be subject to the reproof of God, as reproof is a rebuke : for he rebuked the wind, and it was quiet**; and he rebuked the Red Sea, and it was dried up4*; he rebuked the earth bitterly in that maledicta terra, for Adam's punishment, Cursed be the ground for thy sake" ; and for the noblest part of earth, man, and the noblest part of men, kings, He rebuked even kinas for their sakes, and said, Touch not mine anointed". But this is not the rebuke of our text; for ours is a rebuke of comfort, even to them that are rebuked; whereas the angry rebuke of God carries heavy effects with it. God shall rebuke them, and they shall fly far off"; he shall chide them out of his presence, and they shall never return to it. Increpasti superbos, et maledicti isti: Thou hast rebuked the proud", and thy rebuke hath wrought upon them as a malediction, not physic, but poison; as it is in another Psalm, Increpasti, et periit, Thou hast rebuked them, and they perished". In these cases, there is a working of the Holy Ghost; and that, as the Holy Ghost is a comforter; for it is a comfort to them, for whose deliverances God executes these judgments upon others, that they are executed; but we consider a rebuke, a reproof that ministers comfort even to them upon whom
48 John iii. 16. " John iv. 42. " Rom. xi. 15. " Luke viii. 14.
46 Psal. cvi. 17. 'j Gen. iii. 17. " Peal. cv. 14.
48 Isaiah xvii. 13. N Psal. cxix. 21. " Psal. ix. 6.
it falls; and so in that sense, we shall see that this Comforter reproves the world, in all those significations of the word which we named before.
As the world is the whole frame of the world, God hath put into it a reproof, a rebuke, lest it should seem eternal, which is, a sensible decay and age in the whole frame of the world, and every piece thereof. The seasons of the year irregular and distempered ; the sun fainter, and languishing; men less in stature, and shorter-lived. No addition, but only every year, new sorts, new species of worms, and flies, and sicknesses, which argue more and more putrefaction of which they are engendered. And the angels of heaven, which did so familiarly converse with men in the beginning of the world, though they may not be doubted to perform to us still their ministerial assistances, yet they seem so far to have deserted this world, as that they do not appear to us, as they did to those our fathers. St. Cyprian observed this in his time, when writing to Demetrianus, who imputed all those calamities which afflicted the world then, to the impiety of the Christians who would not join with them in the worship of their gods, Cyprian went no farther for the cause of these calamities, but ad senescentem mundum, to the age and impotency of the whole world; and therefore, says he, Imputent senes Christianis, quod minus valeant in senectutem; Old men were best accuse Christians, that they are more sickly in their age, than they were in their youth ; Is the fault in our religion, or in their decay ? Canos in pueris videmus, nee cetas in senectute definit, sed incipit a senectute; We see gray hairs in children, and we do not die old, and yet we are born old. Lest the world (as the world signifies the whole frame of the world) should glorify itself, or flatter, and abuse us with an opinion of eternity, we may admit usefully (though we do not conclude peremptorily) this observation to be true, that there is a reproof, a rebuke borne in it, a sensible decay and mortality of the whole world.
But is this a reproof agreeable to our text ? a reproof that carries comfort with it ? comfort to the world itself, that it is not eternal? Truly it is; as St. Paul hath most pathetically expressed it; The creature (that is, the world) is in an earnest expectation, the creature waiteth, the whole creation groaneth, and travaileth in pain". Therefore the creature (that is, the world) receives a perfect comfort, in being delivered at last, and an inchoative comfort, in knowing now, that it shall be delivered; From what I From subjection to vanity, from the bondage of corruption ; that whereas the world is now subject to mutability and corruption, at the resurrection it shall no longer be Bo, but in that measure, and in that degree which it is capable of, it shall enter into the glorious liberty of the children of God, that is, be as free from corruption, or change in that state, wherein it shall be glorified, as the saints shall be in the glory of their state ; for, The light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold"; And there shall be new heavens, and new earth"; which is a state, that this world could not attain to, if it were eternally to last, in that condition, in which it is now, a condition subject to vanity, impotency, corruption, and therefore there is a comfort in this reproof, even to this world, that it is not eternal; this world is the happier for that.
As the world, in a second sense, signifies all the men of the world, (so it is, Woe unto the world, because of offences55) there is a reproof born in every man ; which reproof is an uncontrollable sense, and an unresistible remorse, and chiding of himself inwardly, when he is about to sin, and a horror of the majesty of God, whom, when he is alone, he is forced (and forced by himself) to fear, and to believe, though he would fain make the world believe, that he did not believe in God, but lived at peace, and subsisted of himself, without being beholden to God. For, as in nature, heavy things will ascend, and light descend rather than admit a vacuity, so in religion, the devil will get into God's room, rather than the heart of man shall be without the opinion of God; there is no Atheist; they that oppose the true, do yet worship a false god; and he that says there is no God, doth for all that, set up some god to himself. Every man hath this reproof born in him, that he doth ill, that ho offends a God, that he breaks a law when he sins. And this reproof is a reproof
" Rom. viii. 19. " Isaiah xxx. 26.
M 2 Pet. iii. 13. " Matt, xviii. 7.
VOL. H. H
within our text, for it hath this comfort with it, that howsoever some men labour to overcome the natural tenderness of the conscience, and so triumph over their own ruin, and rejoice when they can sleep, and wake again without any noise in their conscience, or sense of sin, yet, in truth this candle cannot be blown out, this remorse cannot be overcome; but were it not a greater comfort to me if I could overcome it ? No. For though this remorse (which is but a natural impression, and common to all men) be not grace, yet this remorse, which is the natural reproof of the soul, is that, that grace works upon. Grace doth not ordinarily work upon the stiffness of the soul, upon the silence, upon the frowardness, upon the aversenees of the soul, but when the soul is suppled and mellowed, and feels this reproof, this remorse in itself, that reproof, that remorse becomes as the matter, and grace enters as the form, that becomes the body, and grace becomes the soul; and that is the comfort of this natural reproof of the world, that is, of every man : first, that it will not bo quenched in itself, and then, that ordinarily it induces a nobler light then itself, which is effectual and true repentance.
As the world, in a third sense, signifies only the wicked world (so it is, Noah in preparing an ark, condemned the world**; and so, God spared not the old world") that world, the world of the wicked suffer many reproofs, many rebukes in their hearts, which they will not discover, because they envy God that glory. We read of divers great actors in the first persecutions of the Christians, who being fearfully tormented in body and soul, at their deaths, took care only, that the Christians might not know what they suffered, lest they should receive comfort, and their glory therein. Certainly Herod would have been more affected, if he had thought that we should have known how his pride was punished with those sudden worms50, than with the punishment itself. This is a self-reproof; even in this, though he will not Buffer it to break out to the edification of others, there is some kind of chiding himself for something misdone. But is there any comfort in this reproof? Truly, beloved, I can harldly speak comfortably of such a man, after he is dead, that dies in such a disaffection, loath that God should receive glory, or his servants
M Heb. xi . 7. w 2 Pet. ii. 5. s* Acts xii. 23.
edification by these judgments. But even with such a man, if I assisted at his deathbed, I would proceed with a hope to infuse comfort, even from that disaffection of his: as long as I saw him in any acknowledgment (though a negligent, nay though a malignant, a despiteful acknowledgment) of God, as long as I found him loath that God should receive glory, even from that loathness, from that reproof, from that acknowledgment, that there is a God to whom glory is due, I would hope to draw him to glorify that God before his last gasp; my zeal should last as long as his wife's officiousness, or his children's, or friends', or servants'obsequiousness, or the solicitude of his physicians should; as long as there were breath, they would minister some help; as long as there were any sense of God, I would hope to do some good. And so much comfort may arise even out of this reproof of the world, as the world is only the wicked world.
In the last sense, the world signifies the saints, the elect, the good men of the world, believing and persevering men. Of those Christ says, The world shall know that I love the Father**; and, That the world may believe that thou hast sent me". And this world, that is, the godliest of this world, have many reproofs, many corrections upon them. That outwardly they are the prey of the wicked, and inwardly have that stimulum carnis, which is the devil's solicitor, and round about them they see nothing but profanation of his word, mis-employment of his works, his creatures, mis-constructions of his actions, his judgments, blasphemy of his name, negligence and under-valuation of his sacraments, violations of his Sabbaths, and holy convocations. O what a bitter reproof, what a manifest evidence of the infirmity, nay of the malignity of man, is this, (if it be put home, and thoroughly considered) that even the goodness of man gets to no higher a degree, but to have been the occasion of the greatest ill, the greatest cruelty that ever was done, the crucifying of the Lord of life ! The better a man is, the more he concurred towards being the cause of Christ's death; which is a strange, but a true and a pious consideration. He loved the world, and he came to save the world; that is, most especially, and effectually, those that should believe in him, in the world, and live according to that belief, and 88 John xiv. 31. 60 John xvii. 21.
die according to that life. If there had been no such, Christ had not died, never been crucified. So that impenitent men, misbelieving men have not put Christ to death, but it is we, we whom he loves, we that love him, that have crucified him.
In what rank then, of opposition .against Christ, shall we place our sins, since even our faith and good works have been so far the cause why Christ died, that, but for the salvation of such men, believers, workers, perseverers, Christ had not died? This then is the reproof of the world, that is, of the saints of God in the world, that though / had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, I must dwell in the tents of wickedness*1, that though my zeal consume me, because mine enemies have forgotten thy words", I must stay amongst them that have forgotten thy words; but this, and all other reproofs, that arise in the godly, (that we may still keep up that consideration, that he that reproves us, is the Comforter) have this comfort in them, that these faults that I endure in others, God hath either pardoned me, or kept from me: and that though this world bo wicked, yet when I shall come to the next world, I shall find Noah, that had been drunk6*; and Lot, that had been incestuous" ; and Moses, that murmured at God's proceedings"; and Job, and Jeremy, and Jonas, impatient, even to imprecations against themselves; Christ's own disciples ambitious of worldly preferment; his apostles forsaking him, his great apostle forswearing him; and Mary Magdalen that had been I know not what sinner; and David that had been all; I leave none so ill in this world, but I may carry one that was, or find some that had been as ill as they, in heaven; and that blood of Christ Jesus, which had brought them thither, is offered to them that are here, who may be successors in their repentance, as they are in their sins. And so have you all intended for the person, the comforter, and the action, reproof, and the subject, the world; remains only (that for which there remains but a little time) the time, When the Comforter comes he will proceed thus.
We use to note three Advents, three comings of Christ. An advent of humiliation, when he came in the flesh ; an advent of
*1 Psal. Lxxxiv. 10. " Psal. cxix. 138. " Gen. ix. 21.
M Gen. xix. 33. "1 Numb. xi. 11.
glory, when he shall come to judgment; and between these an advent of grace, in his gracious working in us, in this life ; and this middlemost advent of Christ, is the advent of the Holy Ghost, in this text; when Christ works in us, the Holy Ghost comes to us. And so powerful is his coming, that whereas he that sent him, Christ Jesus himself, Came vnto his own, and his own received him not"; the Holy Ghost never comes to his own but they receive him; for, only by receiving him, they are his own; for, besides his title of creation, by which we are all his, with the Father, and the Son, as there is a particular title accrued to the Son by redemption, so is there to the Holy Ghost, of certain persons, upon whom he sheds the comfort of his application. The Holy Ghost picks out and chooses whom he will; spirat ubi T1'// - perchance me that speak ; perchance him that hears ; perchance him that shut his eyes yesternight, and opened them this morning in the guiltiness of sin, and repents it now: perchance him that hath been in the meditation of an usurious contract, of an ambitious supplantation, of a licentious solicitation, since he came hither into God's house, and deprehends himself in that sinful purpose now. This is his advent, this is his pentecost. As he came this day with a manifestation, so, if he come into thee this evening, he comes with a declaration, a declaration in operation. My Father works even now, and I work", was Christ's answer, when he was accused to have broken the Sabbath-day ; that the Father wrought that day as well as he. So also Christ assigns other reasons of working upon the Sabbath" ; Whose ox is in danger, and the owner will not relieve him ? Have you not read how David eat the show-bread"? and did not the priests break the Sabbath, in their service in the temple ? But the Sabbath is the Holy Ghost's greatest working-day: the Holy Ghost works more upon the Sunday, than all the week. In other days, he picks and chooses; but upon these days of holy convocation, I am surer that God speaks to me, than at home, in any private inspiration. For, as the congregation besieges God in public prayers, agmine facto1*, so the Holy Ghost casts a net
" John i. 11. " John v. 17. 6* Luke xiv. 5.
" Matt. xii. 3, 5. '" Tertullian.
over the whole congregation, in this ordinance of preaching, and catches all that break not out.
If he be come into thee, he is come to reprove thee; to make thee reprove thyself; but do that, cum venerit, when the Holy Ghost is come. If thou have been slack in the outward acts of religion, and findest that thou art tho worse thought of amongst men, for that respect, and the more open to some penal laws, for those omissions, and for these reasons only beginnest to correct, and reprove thyself, this is a reproof, Antequam Spiritus venerit, Before the Holy Ghost is come into thee, or hath breathed upon thee, and inanimated thine actions. If the powerfulness, and the piercing of the mercies of thy Saviour, have sometimes, in the preaching thereof, entcndcrcd and melted thy heart, and yet upon the confidence of the readiness, and easiness of that mercy, thou return to thy vomit, and to the re-pursuit of those half-repented sins, and thinkest it time enough to go forward upon thy deathbed, this is a reproof Postquam abierit Spiritus, After the Holy Ghost is departed from thee. If the burden of thy sins oppress thee, if thou beest ready to cast thyself from the pinnacle of the temple, from the participation of tho comforts afforded thee in the absolution, and sacraments of the church, if this appear to thee in a kind of humility, and reverence to the majesty of God, that thou darest not come into his sight, not to his table, not to speak to him in prayer, whom thou hast so infinitely offended, this is a reproof, Cum Spiritus Sanctus simulatur, When the Holy Ghost is counterfeited, when Satan is transformed into angel of light, and makes thy dismayed conscience believe, that that affection, which is truly a higher treason against God, than all thy other sins, (which is, a diffident suspecting of God's mercy) is such a reverend fear, and trembling as he looks for.
Reprove thyself; but do it by convincing, not by a downright stupifaction of the conscience; but by a consideration of tho nature of thy sin, and a contemplation of the infinite proportion between God and thee, and so between that sin, and the mercy of God; for, thou canst not be so absolutely, so entirely, so essentially sinful, as God is absolutely, and entirely, and essentially merciful. Do what thou canst, there is still some goodness in thee: that nature that God made, is good still: do God what he will, he cannot strip himself, not divest himself of mercy. If thou canst do as much as God can pardon, thou wert a Manichsean god, a god of evil, as infinite as the God of goodness is. Do it, cum venerit Spiritus, when the Holy Ghost pleads on thy side; not cum venerit homo, not when man's reason argues for thee, and says, It were injustice in God, to punish one for another, the soul for the body: much less cum venerit inimicus homo, when the devil pleads, and pleads against thee, that thy sins are greater than God can forgive. Reprove any over-bold presumption, that God cannot forsake thee, with remembering who it was that said, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me ? Even Christ himself could apprehend a dereliction. Reprove any distrust in God, with remembering to whom it was said, Hodie mecum eris in Paradiso; Even the thief himself, who never saw him, never met him, but at both their executions, was carried up with him, the first day of his acquaintance. If either thy cheerfulness, or thy sadness be conceived of the Holy Ghost, there is a good ground of thy noli timere, fear neither. So the angel proceeded with Joseph, Fear not to take Mary, for that which is conceived in her, is of the Holy Ghost. Fear not thou, that a cheerfulness and alacrity in using God's blessings, fear not that a moderate delight in music, in conversation, in recreations, shall be imputed to thee for a fault, for, it is conceived by the Holy Ghost, and is the offspring of a peaceful conscience. Embrace therefore his working, Qui omnia opera nostra operatus est nobis, Thou, 0 Lord, hast wrought all our works in us11; and whose working none shall be able to frustrate in us; Operabitur, et quis avertit? I will work, and who shall let it1*? And as the Son concurred with the Father, and the Holy Ghost with the Son, in working in our behalf, so operemur et nos, let us also work out our salvation with fear and trembling, by reproving the errors in our understanding, and the perversenesses of our conversation, that way, in which the Holy Ghost is our guide, by reproving, that is, chiding and convincing the conscience, but still with comfort, that is, stedfast application of the merits of Christ Jesus.
" Isaiah xxvi. 12. '* Isaiah Lxiii. 13.