104, SERMON XXXV.
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 belicve 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.
In a former sermon upon these words, we have established this, that the person whom our Saviour promises here, being by himself promised, in the verse before the text, in the name and quality of The Comforter, all that this person is to do in this text, is to be done so, as the world, upon which it is to be done, may receive comfort in it. Therefore this word, reproof, admitting a double signification, one by way of authority, as it is a rebuke, an increpation, the other as it is a convincing by argument, by way of instruction, and information, because the first way cannot be applied to all the parts of this text, and to all that the Holy Ghost is to do upon the world, (for, howsoever he may rebuke the world of sin, he cannot be said to rebuke it of righteousness, and of judgment) according to St. Augustine's later interpretation of these words, (for in one place ot his works, he takes this word, reproof, in the harder sense, for rebuke, but in another, in the milder) we have and must pursue the second signification of the word, That the Holy Ghost shall reprove tlie world of sin, of righteousness, of judgment, by convincing the world, by making the world confess and acknowledge all that that the Holy Ghost intends in all these. And this manifestation, and this conviction in these three, will be our parts. In the first of which, That the Holy Ghost shall reprove, that is, convince, the world of sin, we shall first look how all the world is under sin; and then, whether the Holy Ghost, being come, have convinced all the world, made all the world see that it is so; and in these two inquisitions, we shall determine that first branch.
For the first, (for of the other two we shall reach you the boughs anon, when you come to gather the fruit, and lay open the particulars, then when we come to handle them) that all the world is under sin, and knows it not, (for this reproof, Elenchus, is, says the philosopher, Syllogismus contra contraria opinantem, An argument against him that is of a contrary opinion) we condole first the misery of this ignorance, for, Quid miserius misero, non miser ante seipsum1? What misery can be so great, as to be ignorant, insensible of our own misery ? Every act done in such an ignorance as we might overcome, is a new sin; and it is not only a new practice from the devil, but it is a new punishment from God; Insisti Domine, et sic est, ut pcena sit sibi omnis inordinatus animus*, Every sinner is an executioner upon himself; and he is so by God's appointment, who punishes former sins with future. This then is the miserable state of the world. It might know, and does not, that it is wholly under an inundation, a deluge of sin. For, sin is a transgression of some law which he that sins may know himself to be bound by: for, if any man could be exempt from all law, he were impeccable, he could not sin; and if he could not possibly have any knowledge of the law, it were no law to him.
Now under the transgression of what law lies all the world ? For the positive laws of the states in which we live, a man may keep them, according to the intention of them that made those laws ; which is all that is required in any human law; (to keep it, if not according to the letter, yet according to the intention of the law-maker) nay it is not only possible, but easy to do so: Augusta innocentia ad legem bonum esse, (says the moral man's Holy Ghost, Seneca) it is but a narrow and shallow honesty, to be no honester than the law forces him to be. Thus then, in violating the laws of the state, all the world is not under sin.
If we pass from laws merely human, (though, in truth, scarce any just law is so, merely human, for God, that commands obedience to human laws, hath a hand in the making of them) to those ceremonial, and judicial laws, which the Jews received immediately from God, (in which respect they may be called
- Augustine. * Augustine.
divine laws, though they were but local and but temporary) which were in such a number, as that, though penal laws in somo states be so many, and so heavy, as that they serve only for snares, and springes upon the people, yet they are nowhere equal to the ceremonial and judicial laws, which lay upon the Jews; yet even for these laws St. Paul says of himself*, That touching that righteousness which is in. the law, he was blameless. Thus therefore (in violating ceremonial or judicial laws) all the world is not under sin, both because all the world was not bound by that law, and some in the world did keep it.
But in two other respects it is; first, that there is a law of nature that passes through all the world, a law in the heart; and of the breach of this, no man can be always ignorant. As every man hath a devil in himself, Spontaneum dcemonem*, A devil of his own making, some particular sin that transports him, so every man hath a kind of God in himself, such a conscience, as sometimes reproves him. Carry we this consideration a little higher, and we may see herein, some verification, at least, some useful application of Origen's extreme error. He thought, that at last, after infinite revolutions, (as all other substances should be) even the devil himself should be (as it were) sucked and swallowed into God, and there should remain nothing at last, (as there was nothing else at first) but only God; (not by an annihilation of the creature, that anything should come to nothing, but by this absorption, by a transmigration of all creatures into God, that God should be all, and all should be God) so in our case, that which is the sinner's devil, becomes his God ; that very sin which hath possessed him, by the excess of that sin, or, by some loss, or pain, or shame following that sin, occasions that reproof and remorse, that withdraws him from that sin. So all the world is under sin, because they have a law in themselves, and a light in themselves.
And it is so in a second respect, that all being derived from Adam, Adam's sin is derived upon all. Only that one man, that was not naturally deduced from Adam, Christ Jesus, was guilty of no sin; all others are subject to that malediction, Vcegenti peccatrici*, Woe to this sinful world. God made man Inexterminabilem, says the wise man*, undisseisible, unexpellible; such, as he could not be thrust out of his immortality, whether he would or no: for, that was man's first immortality, Posse non mori1, that he needed not have died. When man killed himself, and threw upon all his posterity the Morte morieris, That we must die, and that death is Stipendium peccati, The wages of sin, and that Anima quce peccaverit, ipsa morietur, that That soul, and only that soul that sins, shabl die*, since we see the punishment fall upon all, we are sure the fault cleaves to all too; all do die, therefore all do sin. And though this original sin that overflows us all, may in some sense be called peccatum involuntarium, a sin without any elicit act of the will, (for so it must needs be in children) and so properly no sin, yet as all our other faculties were, so Omnium voluntates in Adam*, All our wills were in Adam, and we sinned wilfully, when ho did so, and so original sin is a voluntary sin: our will is poisoned in the fountain; and, as soon as our will is able to exercise any election, we are willing to sin, as soon as we can, and sorry we can sin no sooner, and sorry no longer: we are willing before the devil is willing, and willing after the devil is weary, and seek occasions of tentation, when he presents none. And so, as the breach of the law of nature, and as the deluge of original sin hath surrounded the whole world, the whole world is under sin.
* Phil. iii. 6. * Chrysostora.
That all the world is So, requires not much proof: but then, does the Holy Ghost, by his coming, reprove, that is, convince the whole world, that it is so? The Holy Ghost is able to do it, and he hath good cause to do it; but does he do it? Is this cum venertiftfKfl he comes, come ? Is he come to this purpose, to make all the world know their sinful condition ? God knows they know it not. Howsoever they may have some knowledge of the breach of the law of nature, yet they have no knowledge of any remedy after, and so lack all comfort; and therefore this is no knowledge from the Holy Ghost, from the Comforter. And for the knowledge of original sin, which lies more heavy upon them than upon us, (who have the ease of baptism, which slackens, and weakens original sin in us) they are so far from knowing, that that sin is derived from Adam, as that they do not know, that they themselves are derived from Adam; not that there is such a sin, not that there was such an Adam. How then doth the Holy Ghost, who is come according to Christ's promise, according to his promise, reprove, that is, convince the world of sin, since this (being to be done by the Holy Ghost) implies a knowledge of Christ, and a way of comfort in the doing thereof?
8 Isaiah i. 4. ' \Vii <!. ii. 23. ; Augustine.
0 Ezek. \viii. 4. * Augustine.
This one word arguet, he shall reprove, convince, admits three acceptations. First, in the future, as it is here presented, he shall; and so the cum venerit, when he comes, signifies antequam abierit, before he departs. He came at Pentecost, and presently set on foot his commission, by the apostles, to reprove, convince the world of sin, and hath proceeded ever since, by their successors, in reducing nation after nation; and, before the consummation of the world, before he retire, to rest eternally in the bosom of the Father and the Son, from whom he proceeded, he shall reprove the whole world of sin, that is, bring them to a knowledge, that in the breach of the law of nature, and in the guiltiness of original sin, they are all under a burden, which none of them all, of themselves, can discharge. This work St. .Paul seems to hasten sooner: to convince the Jews of their infidelity, he argues thus, Have not they heard the GospelTM? They, that is, the Gentiles; and if they, much more you : and that they had heard it, he proves by the application of those words, Their voice is gone through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world", that is, the voice of the apostles, in the preaching of the Gospel.
Hence grew that distraction, and perplexity which we find in the fathers, whether it could be truly said, that the Gospel had been preached over all the world in those times. If we number the fathers, most are of that opinion, that before the destruction of the temple of Jerusalem, this was fulfilled. Of those that think the contrary, some proceed upon reasons ill grounded; particularly Origen; Quid de Britannis et Germanis, qui nee adhuc audierunt verbum Evangelii? What shall we say of Britain, and Germany, who have not heard pf the Gospel yet? For, before
Y1 Romans x. 18, " Psal. six. 3.
Origen's time, (though Origen were oue thousand four hundred years since) in what darkness soever he mistook us to be, we had a blessed and a glorious discovery of the Gospel of Christ Jesus in this island. St. Hierome, who denies this uersal preaching of the Gospel before the destruction of the temple, yet doubts not but that the fulfilling of that prophecy was then in action, and in a great forwardness; Jam completion, aut brevi cernimus complendum; Already we see it performed, says he; or, at least so earnestly pursued, as that it must necessarily, very soon be performed : Nee puto aliquam remanere gentem, qua? Christi nomen ignorat; I do not think, (says that father, more than one thousand two hundred years since) that there is any nation that hath not heard of Christ; Et quanquam non habuerit prcedicatorem, ex vicinis, &c. If they have not had express preachers themselves, yet from their neighbours they have had some echoes of this voice, some reflections of this light.
The later divines, and the school, that find not this early, and general preaching over the world, to lie in proof, proceed to a more safe way, that there was then odor Evangelii, a sweet savour of the Gospel issued, though it were not yet arrived to all parts: as if a plentiful and diffusive perfume were set up in a house, we would say the house were perfumed, though that perfume were not yet come to every corner of the house. But not to thrust the world into so narrow a strait, as it is, when a decree is said to have gone out from Augustus, to tax all the world1*, (for this was but the Roman world) nor, That there were men dwelling at Jerusalem, devout men, of every nation under heavenTM, (for this was but of nations discovered, and traded withal then) nor, when St. Paul says1', That the faith of the Romans was published to the world, (for that was as far as he had gone) those words of our Saviour", This Gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness to all nations, and then shall the end come, have evermore, by all, ancient and modern, fathers and schools, preachers and writers, expositors and controverters, been literally understood, that before the end of the world, the Gospel shall be actually, really, evidently, effectually preached to all nations;
" Luke ii. 1. " Acts ii. 5. " Rom. xi. IS.
15 Matt. xxiv. 14.
and so, cum venerit, when the Holy Ghost comes, that is, antequam abierit, before he go, he shall reprove, convince the whole world of sin, and this, as he is a comforter, by accompanying their knowledge of sin, with the knowledge of the Gospel, for the remission of sins.
It agrees with the nature of goodness to be so diffusive, communicable to all. It agrees with the nature of God, who is goodness, That as all the fountains of the great deep were broken up, and the windows of heaven were opened16, and so came the flood over all, so there should be diluvium Spiritus, a flowing out of the Holy Ghost upon all, aa he promises, I will pour it out upon all17, and diluvium gentium, that all nations should flow up unto him1*. For this Spirit, Spirat ubi e-ultTM, breathes where it pleases him; and though a natural wind cannot blow east and west, north and south together, this Spirit at once breathes upon the most contrary dispositions, upon the presuming, and upon the despairing Bumer; and, in an instant can denizen and naturalize that soul that was an alien to the covenant, empale and inlay that soul that was bred upon the common, amongst the Gentiles, transform that soul, which was a goat, into a sheep, unite that soul which was a lost sheep to the fold again, shine upon that soul that sits in darkness, and in the shadow of death, and so melt and pour out that soul that yet understands nothing of the Divine nature, nor of the Spirit of God, that it shall become partaker of the Divine nature*0, and be the same spirit with the Lord. When Christ took our flesh, he had not all his ancestors of the covenant; he was pleased to come of Ruth, a Moabite, a poor stranger; as he came, so will the Holy Ghost go to strangers also. Shall any man murmur, or draw into disputation, why this Spirit doth not breathe in all nations at once ? or why not sooner than it doth in some ? Doth this Spirit fall and rest upon every soul in this congregation now ? May not one man find that he receives him now, and suffer him to go away again ? May not another who felt no motion of him now, recollect himself at home, and remember something then, which hath been said now, to the quickening of this Spirit in him there ? Since the Holy Ghost
" Gen. vii. 11. " Joel ii. 28. 10 Isaiah ii. 2.
" John iii. 8. *0 2 Pet. i. 4; 1 Cor. vi. 17.
visits us so, successively, not all at once, not all with an equal establishment, we may safely embrace that acceptation of this word arguet, he shall, he will, antequam abierit, before the end come, reprove, convince the whole world of sin, by this his way, the way of comfort, the preaching of the Gospel. And that is the first acceptation thereof.
The second acceptation of the word is in the present; not arguet, he shall, but arguit, he doth, now he doth reprove all the world. As when the devil confessed Christ in the Gospel, as when Judas, (who was the devil's devil, for he had sold Christ to the chief priests, Matt. xxvi. 14, before Satan entered into him after the sop, John xiii. 27,) professed this Gospel, this was not Sine omni impulsu, ftpiritu s Sancti, Altogether without the motion of the Holy Ghost, who had his ends, and his purposes therein, to draw testimonies for Christ out of the mouths of his adversaries ; so when a natural man comes to be displeased with his own actions, and to discern sin in them, though his natural faculties be the instruments in these actions, yet the Holy Ghost sets this instrument in tune, and makes all that is music and harmony in the faculties of this natural man. At Ephesus St. Paul found certain disciples which were baptized, and when ho asked them. Whether they had received the Holy Ghost, they said, That they had not so much as heard that there was a Holy Ghost". So certainly, infinite numbers of men, in those unconverted nations, have the Holy Ghost working in them, though they have never so much as heard that there is a Holy Ghost. When we see any man do any work well, that belongs to the hand, to write, to carve, to play, to do any mechanic office well, do we determine our consideration only upon the instrument, the hand, do we only say, He hath a good, a fit, a well-disposed hand for such a work, or do we not rather raise our contemplation to the soul, and her faculties, which enable that hand to do that work ? So certainly when a moral man hath any reproof, any sense of sin in himself, the Holy Ghost is the intelligence that moves in that sphere, and becomes the soul of his soul, and works that in him primarily, of which, natural faculties, or philosophical instructions, are but ministerial instruments and suppletory assist
M Acts xix. 2.
ances after. And not only in the beginning of good actions, but in the prosecution of some evil, the Holy Ghost hath an interest, though we discern him not: in the disposing of our sins, the Holy Ghost hath a working thus, that when we intended some mischievous sin to-morrow, a less sin, some sin of pleasure meets us, and takes hold of us, and diverts us from our first purpose, and so the Holy Ghost rescues us from one sin, by suffering us to fall into another. What action soever hath any degree of good, what action soever hath any less evil in it than otherwise it would have had, hath received a working of the Holy Ghost, though that man upon whom he hath wrought, knew not his working, nor his name. As we think that we have the differences of seasons, of winter and summer, by the natural motion of the sun, but yet it is not truly by that natural motion, but by a contrary motion of a higher sphere, which draws the sun against his natural course; (for, if the sun were left to himself, we should not have these seasons) so if the soul and conscience of a mere natural man have any of these reproofs, and remorses, though perchance fear, or shame, or sickness, or penalties of law, yea though a weariness, and excess of the sin itself, may seem to him to be the thing that reproves him, and that occasions this remorse, because it is the most immediate, and therefore most discernible; yet there is digitu s Dei, the hand of God, and spiritus Spiritus Sancti, the breath of the Holy Ghost, in all this, who, as a liberal alms-giver, sends to persons that never know who sends, works upon persons who never know who works. So the Holy Ghost reproves all the world of sin; that is, all the reproof, which even the natural man hath, (and every man hath some at some times) is from the Holy Ghost; and, as in the former sense, the cum venerit, when he comes, was antequam abierit, before he goes, so here the cum venerit, is quia adest, because he is always present, and always working.
And then there is a third acceptation, where the arguet is not in the future, that he shall do it, nor in the present, arguit, that he doth it now in every natural man, but it is in the time past, arguit, he hath done it, done it already. And here in this sense, it is not that the Holy Ghost shall bring the Gospel before the end, to all nations, that is, antequam abierit, nor that the Holy Ghost doth exalt the natural faculties of every man in all his good actions, that is, quia semper adest, but it is, that he hath infused and imprinted in all their hearts, whom he hath called effectually to the participation of the means of salvation in the true church, a constant and infallible assurance, that all the world, that is, all the rest of the world which hath not embraced those helps, lies irrecoverably (by any other means than these which we have embraced) under sin, under the weight, the condemnation of sin. So that the comfort of this reproof (as all the reproofs of the Holy Ghost in this text, are given by him in that quality, as he is the Comforter) is not directly, and simply, and presently upon all the world indeed, but upon those whom the Holy Ghost hath taken out of this world, to his world in this world, that is, to the Christian church, them he reproves, that is, convinces them, establishes, delivers them from all scruples, that they have taken the right way, that they, and only they, are delivered, and all the world beside are still under sin.
When the Holy Ghost hath brought us into the ark from whence we may see all the world without, sprawling and gasping in the flood, (the flood of sinful courses in the world, and of the anger of God) when we can see this violent flood, (the anger of God) break in at windows, and there devour the licentious man in his sinful embracements, and make his bed of wantonness his deathbed ; when we can see this flood, (the anger of God) swell as fast as the ambitious man swells, and pursue him through all his titles, and at last suddenly, and violently wash him away in his own blood, not always in a vulgar, but sometimes in an ignominious death ; when we shall see this flood (the flood of the anger of God) overflow the valley of the voluptuous man's gardens, and orchards, and follow him into his arbours, and mounts and terraces, and carry him from thence into a bottomless sea, which no plummet can sound, (no heavy sadness relieve him) no anchor take hold of, (no repentance stay his tempested and weather-beaten conscience) when we find ourselves in this ark, where we have first taken in the fresh water of baptism, and then the bread, and wine, and flesh, of the body and blood of Christ Jesus, then are we reproved, forbidden all scruple, then are we convinced, that as the twelve apostles shall sit upon twelve
VOL. II. I
seats, and judge the twelve tribes at the last day; so doth the Holy Ghost make us judges of all the world now, and enables us to pronounce that sentence, That all but they, who have sincerely accepted the Christian religion, are still sub peccato, under sin, and without remedy. For we must not weigh God with leaden, or iron, or Btone weights, how much land, or metal, or riches he gives one man more than another, but how much grace in the use of these, or how much patience in the want, or in the loss of these, we have above others. When wo come to say, Some trust in chariots, and some in horses, but we will remember the name of the Lord our God; they are brought down and fallen, but we are risen, and stand upright". Obligati sunt, et ceciderunt, they are pinioned and fallen, fettered, and manacled, and so fallen; fallen and there must lie: nos autum erecti, we are risen, and enabled to stand, now we are up. When we need not fear the mighty, nor envy the rich, quia signatum super nos lumen vultus tut Domine, because the light of thy countenance 0 Lord, is (not only shed, but) lifted up upon us, quia dedisti laditiam in corde nostro, because thou hast put gladness in our heart, more than in the time that their corn and their wine increased; when wo can thus compare the Christian church with other states, and spiritual blessings with temporal, then hath the Holy Ghost throughly reproved us, that is, absolutely convinced us, that there is no other foundation but Christ, no other name for salvation but Jesus, and that all the world but the true professors of that name, are still under sin, under the guiltiness of sin. And these be the three acceptations of this word, arguet, he shall carry the Gospel to all before the end, arguit, he does work upon the faculties of the natural man every minute, and arguit again, he hath manifested to us, that that they who go not the same way, perish. And so we pass to the second reproof and conviction, He shall reprove the world, de justitia, of righteousness.
This word, justifaare, to justify, may be well considered three ways; first as it is verbum vulgare, as it hath an ordinary and common use; and then as it is verbum forense, as it hath a civil and a legal use; and lastly, as it is verbum ecclesiastioum, as it
w Psalm xx. 7.
hath a church use, as it hath been used amongst divines. The first way, to justify, is to aver, and maintain anything to be true, as we ordinarily say to that purpose, I will justify it; and in that sense the Psalmist says, Justificata judicia Domini in semetipso, The judgments of the Lord justify themselves", prove themselves to be just: and in this sense men are said to justify God, The Pharisees and Lawyers rejected the counsel of God, but all the people, and the Publicans justified God", that is, testified for him. In the second way, as it is a judicial word, to justify is only a verdict of not guilty, and a judgment entered upon that, that there is not evidence enough against him, and therefore he is justified, that is, acquitted. In this sense is the word in the Proverbs, He that justified the wicked, and he that condemneth the just, even they both are an abomination to the LordTM. Now neither of these two ways are we justified ; we cannot be averred to be just; God himself cannot say so of us; of us, as we are we: Nan justificabo impium, I will not justify the wicked**. God will not say it, God cannot do it; a wicked man cannot be, he cannot, by God, be said to be just; they are incompatible, contradictory things. Nor the second way neither; consider us standing in judgment before God, no man can be acquitted for want of evidence ; Enter not into judgment with thy servant, for, in thy sight shall none that liveth be justified". For, if we had another soul to give the devil, to bribe him, to give no evidence against this, if we had another iron to sear up our consciences against giving of evidence against ourselves then, yet who can take out of God's hands those examinations, and those evidences, which he hath registered exactly, as often as we have thought, or said, or done anything offensive to him ?
It is therefore only in the third sense of this word, as it is verbum ecclesiasticum, a word which St. Paul, and the other Scriptures, and the church, and ecclesiastical writers have used to express our righteousness, our justification by: and that is only by the way of pardon, and remission of sins, sealed to us in the blood of Christ Jesus; that what kind of sinners soever we were before, yet that is applied to us, such and such you were
8* Psalm xix. 9. " Luke vii. 29. " Prov. xvii. 14.
" Exod. xxiii. 7. " Psal. cxLiii. 2.
before, But ye are justified by the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our GodTM. Now the reproof of the world, the convincing of the world, the bringing of the world to the knowledge, that as they are all sub peccato, under sin, by the sin of another, so there is a righteousness of another, that must prevail for all their pardons, this reproof, this convincing, this instruction of the world is thus wrought: that the whole world consisting of Jews and Gentiles, when the Holy Ghost had done enough for the convincing of both these, enough for the overthrowing of all arguments, which could either be brought by the Jew for the righteousness of the law, or by the Gentile for the righteousness of works, (all which is abundantly done by the Holy Ghost, in the epistles of St. Paul, and other Scriptures) when the Holy Ghost had possessed the church of God of these all-sufficient Scriptures, then the promise of Christ was performed, and then, though all the world were not presently converted, yet it was presently convinced by the Holy Ghost, because the Holy Ghost had provided in those Scriptures, of which he is the author, that nothing could be said in the world's behalf, for any other righteousness, than by way of pardon in the blood of Christ.
Thus much the Holy Ghost tells us; and if we will search after more than he is pleased to tell us, that is to rack the Holy Ghost, to over-labour him, to examine him upon such interrogatories, as belongs not to us, to minister unto him. Curious men are not content to know, that our debt is paid by Christ, but they will know farther, whether Christ have paid it with his own hands, or given us money to pay it ourselves ; whether his righteousness, before it do us any good, be not first made ours by imputation, or by inhesion ; they must know whose money, and then what money, gold or silver, whether his active obedience in fulfilling the law, or his passive obedience in shedding his blood. But all the commission of the Holy Gh'ost here, is, To reprove the world of righteousness, to convince all sects in the world, that shall constitute any other righteousness, than a free pardon by the incorruptible, and invaluable, and inexhaustible blood of Christ Jesus. By that pardon, his righteousness is ours : how it is made so, or by what name we shall call our title, or estate, or
801 Cor. vi. 11.
interest in his righteousness, let us not inquire. The terms of satisfaction in Christ, of acceptation in the Father, of imputation to us, or inhesion in us, are all pious and religious phrases, and something they express ; but yet none of these, satisfaction, acceptation, imputation, inhesion, will reach home to satisfy them, that will needs inquire, quo modo, by what means Christ's righteousness is made ours. This is as far as we need go, Ad eundem modum justi sumus coram Deo, quo coram eo Christus fuit peccator, so as God made Christ sin for us, we are made the righteousness of God in himTM: so; but how was that ? He that can find no comfort in this doctrine, till he find how Christ was made sin, and we righteousness, till he can express quo modo, robs himself of a great deal of peaceful refreshing, which his conscience might receive, in tasting the thing itself in a holy and humble simplicity, without vexing his own, or other men's consciences, or troubling the peace of the church with impertinent and inextricable curiosities.
Those questions are not so impertinent, but they are in a great part unnecessary, which are moved about the cause of our righteousness, our justification. Alas, let us be content that God is the cause, and seek no other. We must never slacken that protestation, that good works are no cause of our justification. But we must always keep up a right signification of that word, cause. For, faith itself is no cause; no such cause, as that I can merit heaven, by faith. What do I merit of the king, by believing that he is the undoubted heir to all his dominions, or by believing that he governs well, if I live not in obedience to his laws ? If it were possible to believe aright, and yet live ill, my faith should do me no good. The best faith is not worth heaven; the value of it grows expecto, that God hath made that covenant, that contract, crede et vives, only believe and thou shalt be safe. Faith is but one of those things, which in several senses are said to justify us. It is truly said of God, Deus solus justificat, God only justifies us; efficlenter, nothing can effect it, nothing can work towards it, but only the mere goodness of God. And it is truly said of Christ, Christum solus justificat, Christ only justifies us; materialiter, nothing enters into the substance and body of the ransom for our sins, but the obedience of Christ. It is also truly said, Sola fides jitstifioat, Only faith justifies us ; instrumentaliter, nothing apprehends, nothing applies the merit of Christ to thee, but thy faith. And lastly it is as truly said, Sola opera justificant, Only our works justify us: declaratorie, only thy good life can assure thy conscience, and the world, that thou art justified. As the efficient justification, the gracious purpose of God had done us no good, without the material satisfaction, the death of Christ had followed; and as that material satisfaction, the death of Christ would do me no good, without the instrumental justification, the apprehension by faith; so neither would this profit without the declaratory justification, by which all is pleaded and established. God enters not into our material justification, that is only Christ's; Christ enters not into our instrumental justification, that is only faith's; faith enters not into our declaratory justification, (for faith is secret) and declaration belongs to works. Neither of these can be said to justify us alone, so, as that we may take the chain in pieces, and think to be justified by any one link thereof; by God without Christ, by Christ without faith, or by faith without works ; and yet every one of these justifies us alone, so, as that none of the rest enter into that way and that means, by which any of these are said to justify us.
** 2 Cor. v. 21.
Consider we then ourselves, as men fallen down into a dark and deep pit; and justification as a chain, consisting of these four links, to be let down to us, and let us take hold of that link that is next us, a good life, and keep a fast and inseparable hold upon that; for though in that sense of which we spoke, fides justificat sola, only faith shall justify, yet it is not true in any sense, fides est sola, that there is any faith, where there is nothing but faith. God comes downward to us; but we must go upward to God; not to get above him in his unrevealed decrees, but to go up towards him, in laying hold upon that lowest link ; that as the Holy Ghost shall reprove, that is, convince the world, that there is no other righteousness but that of Christ, so he may enable you to pass a judgment upon yourselves, and to testify to the world that you have apprehended that righteousness; which is that that is principally intended in the third and last part, That the Holy Ghost, when he comes, shall reprove the world, as of sin, and of righteousness, so of judgment.
After those two convictions of the world, that is, Jew, and Gentile, first, that they are all under sin, and so in a state of condemnation; and secondly, that there is no righteousness, no justification to be had to the Jew by the law, nor to the Gentile by nature, but that there is righteousness, and justification enough for all the world, Jew and Gentile, in Christ; in the third place, the Holy Ghost is to reprove, that is, still to convince the world, to acquaint the world with this mystery, that there is a means settled to convey this righteousness of Christ upon the world, and then an account to be taken of them, who do not lay hold upon this means; for both these are intended in this word judgment, he shall reprove them, prove to them this double signification of judgment; first, that there is a judgment of order, of rectitude, of government, to which purpose he hath established the church; and then a judgment of account, and of sentence, and beatification upon them, who did; and malediction upon them who did not apply themselves to the first judgment, that is, to those orderly ways and means of embracing Christ's righteousness, which were offered them in the church. God hath ordered all things in measure, and number, and weight**; Let all things be done decently and in order, for, God is the God of order, and not of confusion". And this order is this judgment; the court, the tribunal, the judgment seat in which all men's consciences and actions must be regulated and ordered, the church. The perfectest order was innocency; that first integrity in which God made all. All was disordered by sin: for, in sin, and the author of sin, Satan, there is no order, no conformity; nothing but disorder, and confusion. Though the school do generally acknowledge a distinction of orders in the ministering spirits of heaven, now, angels and archangels, and others, yet they dispute, and doubt, and (in a great part) deny that this distinction of orders was before the fall of those angels; for, they confess this distribution into orders, to have been upon their submission, and recognition of God's government, which recognition was their very confirmation, and after that they could not fall. And though those fallen angels, the devils, concur in an unanimous consent to ruin us, (for, Bellum dcemonum, summa pax hominum") we should agree
*0 Wisdom xi. 20; al 1 Cor. xiv. 40. "* Hieron.
better, if devils did fall out, yet this is not such a peace, such an unity, as gives them any peace, or relaxation, or intermission of anguish, but, as they are the authors of our confusion, so they are in a continual confusion themselves.
There is no order in the author of sin; and therefore the God of order cannot, directly nor indirectly, positively nor consecutively, be the author of sin. There is no order in sin itself. The nature, the definition of sin, is disorder. Dictum, factum, concur pitum contra legem**; God hath ordered a law, and sin is an act; if we cannot do that, it is a word; if we dare not do that, it is a desire against that law. Forma peccati, deformitas; we can assign sin no other form, but deformity. So that our affecting of anything, as our end, which God hath not proposed for our end; or our effecting of true ends, by any other ways than he hath proposed, this is a disordering of God's providence, as much as we can, and so a sin. For the school resolves conveniently, probably, that that first sin that ever was committed, (that peccitinn- prcegnans, peccatumprolificum, that womb and matrice of all sins that have been committed since) the sin of the angels, -it was a disorder, an obliquity, a deformity, not in not going to the right end, (for, Illud qucesiverunt, ad quod pervenissent, si stetissent, says Aquinas out of St. Augustine, They desired no more than they were made for, and should have come to, if they had stood) but their sin was in affecting a right end a wrong way, in desiring to come to their appointed perfection by themselves, to subsist of themselves, and to be independent, without any farther need of God, for that was their desire, to be like the Most High, to depend upon nothing, but be all-sufficient to themselves. So they disordered God's purpose; and when they had once broke that chain, when they had once put that harmony out of tune, then came in disorder, discord, confusion, and that is sin.
God's work is perfect ; how appears that ? For all his ways are judgment, says Moses in his victorious song". This is perfection, that he hath established an order, a judgment. Which is not only that order which St. Augustine defines, Ordo est, per omnia aguntur, quce Deus- constitute, The order and the
*3 Augustine. " Deut. xxxii. 4.
judgment by which God governs the world, according to his purpose, (which judgment is Providence) but (as the same father says in the same book) it is Ordo, quem si tenueris in vita, perducet ad Deum, It is an order and a judgment which he hath manifested to thee, (for the order and judgment of his providence, he doth not always manifest) by obedience to which order and judgment, thou mayest be saved. The same father speaking of this order and judgment of Providence, says, Nihil ordini contrarium, Nothing can be contrary to that order; he is in a holy rapture transported with that consideration, that even disorders are within God's order; there is in the order and judgment of his providence an admission, a permission of disorders : this unsearchable proceeding of God, carries him to that passionate exclamation, 0 si possem dicere quod vellem! O that I were able to express myself! Rogo, ubi ubi estis verba, succurrite; Where, where are those words which I had wont to have at command ? Why do ye not serve me, help me now ? Now, when I would declare this, Bono, et mala sunt in ordine, That even disorders are done in order, that even our sins some way or other fall within the providence of God. But that is not the order, nor judgment which the Holy Ghost is sent to manifest to the world. The Holy Ghost works best upon them, which search least into God's secret judgments and proceedings. But the order and judgment we speak of, is an order, a judgment-seat established, by which every man, howsoever oppressed with the burden of sin, may, in the application of the promises of the Gospel by the ordinance of preaching, and in the seals thereof in the participation of the sacraments, be assured, that he hath received his absolution, his remission, his pardon, and is restored to the innocency of his baptism, nay to the integrity which Adam had before the fall, nay to the righteousness of Christ Jesus himself. In the creation God took red earth, and then breathed a soul into it: when Christ came to a second creation, to make a church, he took earth, men, red earth, men made partakers of his blood; (for, Ecclesiam qu&simt, et acquisivit", He desired a church, and he purchased a church; but by a blessed way of simony; Adde medium acquisition is, sanguine acquisimt. He purchased a church
with his own blood") and when he had made this body, in calling his apostles, then he breathed the soul into them, his Spirit, and that made up all: Quod insufflavit Dominus apostolis, et dLvit, accipite Spiritum Sanctum, ecclesicepotestas collata est", Then when Christ breathed that Spirit into them, he constituted the church. And this power of remission of sins, is that order, and that judgment which Christ himself calls by the name of the most orderly frame in this, or the next world, a kingdom, Dispono vobis regnum, I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me ".
Now, Faciunt favos et vespce, faciunt ecclesias et Marcionitce", As wasps make combs, but empty ones, so do heretics churches, but frivolous ones, ineffectual ones. And, as we told you before, that errors and disorders are as well in ways, as in ends, so may we deprive ourselves of the benefit of this judgment, the church, as well in circumstances, as in substances, as well in opposing discipline, as doctrine. The Holy Ghost reproves thee, convinces thee, of judgment, that is, offers thee the knowledge that such a church there is; a Jordan to wash thine original leprosy in baptism ; a city upon a mountain, to enlighten thee in the works of darkness; a continual application of all that Christ Jesus said, and did, and suffered, to thee. Let no soul say, she can have all this at God's hands immediately, and never trouble the church; that she can pass her pardon between God and her, without all these formalities, by a secret repentance. It is true, beloved, a true repentance is never frustrate: but yet, if thou wilt think thyself a little church, a church to thyself, because thou hast heard it said, that thou art a little world, a world in thyself, that figurative, that metaphorical representation shall not save thee. Though thou beest a world to thyself, yet if thou have no more corn, nor oil, nor milk, than grows in thyself, or flows from thyself, thou wilt starve; though thou be a church in thy fancy, if thou have no more seals of grace, no more absolution of sin, than thou canst give thyself, thou wilt perish. Per solam ecclesiam sacrificiwn libenter accipit Dens": Thou mayest be a sacrifice in thy chamber, but God receives a sacrifice more cheerfully at
M Acts xx. 28. i Augustine. TM Luke xxii. 29.
** Tertullian. 40 Gregory.
church. Sola, qua pro errantibus fiducialiter intercedit, Only the church hath the nature of a surety; howsoever God may take thine own word at home, yet he accepts the church in thy behalf, as better security. Join therefore ever with the communion of saints; Et cum membrum sis ejus corporis, quod loquitur omnibus linguis, credete omnibus linf/uis loqui", Whilst thou art a member of that congregation, that speaks to God with a thousand tongues, believe that thou speakest to God with all those tongues. And though thou know thine own prayers unworthy to come up to God, because thou liftest up to him an eye, which is but now withdrawn from a licentious glancing, and hands which are guilty yet of unrepeuted un cleannesses, a tongue that hath but lately blasphemed God, a heart which even now breaks the walls of this house of God, and steps home, or runs abroad upon the memory, or upon the new plotting of pleasurable or profitable purposes, though this make thee think thine own prayers ineffectual, yet believe that some honester man than thyself stands by thee, and that when he prays with thee, he prays for thee; and that, if there be one righteous man in the congregation, thou art made the more acceptable to God by his prayers; and make that benefit of this reproof, this conviction of the Holy Ghost, that he convinces thee de judicio, assures thee of an orderly church established for thy relief, and that the application of thyself to this judgment, the church, shall enable thee to stand upright in that other judgment, the last judgment, which is also enwrapped in the signification of this word of our text, judgment, and is the conclusion for this day.
As God begun all with judgment, (for he made all things in measure, number, and weight") as he proceeded with judgment, in erecting a judicial seat for our direction, and correction, the church, so he shall end all with judgment, the final, and general judgment, at the resurrection; which he that believes not, believes nothing; not God; for, He that cometh to God (that makes any step towards him) must believe, Deum remuneratorem, God, and God in that notion, as he is a rewarder**; therefore there is judgment. But was this work left for the Holy Ghost ? Did not the natural man that knew no Holy Ghost, know this ?
41 Augustine. ** Wisdom xi *' Heb. xi. 6.
Truly, all their fabulous divinity, all their mythology, their Minos, and their Rhadamanthus, tasted of such a notion, as a judgment. And yet the first planters of the Christian religion found it hardest to fix this root of all other articles, That Christ should come again to judgment. Miserable and froward men ! They would believe it in their fables, and would not believe it in the Scriptures; they would believe it in the nine muses, and would not believe it in the twelve apostles; they would believe it by Apollo, and they would not believe it by the Holy Ghost; they would be saved poetically, and fantastically, and would not reasonably, and spiritually; by copies, and not by originals; by counterfeit things at first deduced by their authors, out of our Scriptures, and yet not by the word of God himself. Which Tertullian apprehends and reprehends in his time, when he says, Prcescribimus adulteris mstris, We prescribe above them, which counterfeit our doctrine, for we had it before them, and they have but rags, and those torn from us. Fabulce immissce, quce fdcm infirmarent veritatis; They have brought part of our Scriptures into their fables, that all the rest might seem but fables too. Gehennam prcedicantes et judicium, ridemur, deeachinnamur. They laugh at us when we preach of hell, and judgment, Et tamen Elysii campi fidem prceoccupaverunt, And yet they will needs be believed when they talk of their Elysian fields. Fideliora nostra, quorum imagines fidem inveniunt, Is it not safer trusting to our substance, than their shadows ; to our doctrine of the judgment, in the Scriptures, than their allusions in their poets ?
So far Tertullian considers this; but to say the truth, and all the truth, howsoever the Gentiles had some glimmering of a judgment, that is, an account to bo made of our actions after this life, yet of this judgment which we speak of now, which is a general judgment of all together, and that judgment to be executed by Christ, and to be accompanied with a resurrection of the body, of this, the Gentiles had no intimation, this was left wholly for the Holy Ghost to manifest. And of this, all the world hath received a full convincing from him, because he hath delivered to the world those Scriptures, which do so abundantly, so irrefragably establish it. And therefore, Memorare novissima et non peccabis; Remember the end, and thou shalt never do amiss**. Non dicitur memorare primordia, aut media"; If thou remember the first reproof, that all are under sin, that may give occasion of excusing, or extenuating, how could I avoid that, that all men do ? If thou remember the second reproof, that there is a righteousness communicable to all that sin, that may occasion so bold a confidence, since I may have so easy a pardon, what haste of giving over yet I But memorare novimma, consider that there is a judgment, and that that judgment is the last thing that God hath to do with man, consider this, and thou wilt not sin, not love sin, not do the same sins tomorrow thou didst yesterday, as though this judgment were never the nearer, but that as a thousand years are as one day with God, so thy threescore years should be as one night with thee, one continual sleep in the practice of thy beloved sin. Thou wilt not think so, if thou remember this judgment.
Now, in respect of the time after this judgment, (which is eternity) the time between this and it cannot be a minute ; and therefore think thyself at that tribunal, that judgment now: where thou shalt not only hear all thy sinful works, and words, and thoughts repeated, which thou thyself hadst utterly forgot, but thou shalt hear thy good works, thine alms, thy coming to church, thy hearing of sermons given in evidence against thee, because they had hypocrisy mingled in them; yea thou shalt find even thy repentance to condemn thee, because thou madest that but a door to a relapse. There thou shalt see, to thine inexpressible terror, some others cast down into hell, for thy sins; for those sins which they would not have done, but upon thy provocation. There thou shalt see some that occasioned thy sins, and accompanied thee in them, and sinned them in a greater measure than thou didfit, taken up into heaven, because in the way, they remembered the end, and thou shalt sink under a less weight, because thou never lookedst towards him that would have eased thee of it. Quis non cogitans hcec in desperationis rotetur abyssum"? Who can once think of this and not be tumbled
** Ecclus vii. 30. *5 Bernard. « Bernard.
into desperation 2 But who can think of it twice, maturely, and by the Holy Ghost, and not find comfort in it, when the same light that shows me the judgment, shows me the Judge too I knowing therefore the terrors of the Lord, we persuade men*7; but knowing the comforts too, we importune men to this consideration, that as God precedes with judgment in this world, to give the issue with the temptation, and competent strength with the affliction, as the wise man expresses it40, That God punishes his enemies with deliberation, and requesting, (as our former translation had it) and then with how great circumspection will he judge his children; so he gives us a holy hope, that as he hath accepted us in this first judgment, the church, and made us partakers of the word and sacraments there, so he will bring us with comfort to that place, which no tongue but the tongue of St. Paul, and that moved by the Holy Ghost, could describe, and which he does describe so gloriously, and so pathetically, You are come unto Mount Sion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven, and to God the judge of all, and to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaks better things than the blood of Abel". And into this blessed and inseparable society, the Father of lights, and God of all comfort, give you an admission now, and an irremovable possession hereafter, for his only Son's only sake, and by the working of his blessed Spirit, whom he sends to work in you, This reproof of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment. Amen.
*7 1 Cor. v. 15. ** Wisd. xii, 21. « Heb. xii. 22.