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SERMON VIII.

THE HOLY SPIRIT, CONVINCING THE WORLD OF SIN, RIGHTEOUSNESS, AND JUDGMENT.

JOHN XVI. 8.

And when he is come, he will reprove the world of fin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.

THE

HESE words contain part of a gracious promife, which the bleffed Jefus was pleased to make to his weeping and forrowful difciples. The time was now drawing near, in which the Son of Inan was first to be lifted upon the crofs, and afterwards to heaven. Kind, wondrous kind! had this merciful High-prieft been to his difciples, during the time of his tabernacling amongst them. He had compaflion on their infirmities, anfwered for them when affaulted by their enemies, and fet them right when out of the way either in principle er practice. He neither called nor ufed them as fervants, but as friends; and he revealed his fecrets to them from time to time. He opened their understandings, that

they might underftand the fcriptures; explained to them the hidden myfteries of the kingdom of God, when he spoke to others in parables: Nay, he became the fervant of them all, and even condefcended to wafh their feet. The thoughts of parting with fo dear and loving a mafter as this, especially for a long feafon, muft needs affect them much. When on a certain occafion he intended to be absent from them only for a night; we are told he was obliged to conftrain them to leave him; no wonder then, that when he now informed them he must entirely go away, and that the Pharifees in his abfence would put them out of their fynagogues, and excommunicate them; yea, that the time fhould come, that whofoever killed them, would think they did God fervice (a prophesy, one would imagine, in an efpecial manner defigned for the fuffering minifters of this generation); no wonder, I fay, confidering all this that we are told, ver. 4. Sorrow had filled their hearts: "Because "I have faid these things unto you, forrow hath fiiled "s your hearts. The expreffion is very emphatical; their hearts were fo full of concern, that they were ready to burst. In order, therefore, to reconcile them to this mournful difpenfation, or dear and compaffionate Redeemer fhews them the neceflity he lay under to leave them; "Nevertheless I tell you "the truth; it is expedient for you that I go away:" As though he had faid, Think not my dear difciples, that I leave you out of anger: No, it is for your takes, for your profit that I go away: For if I go not away, af I die not upon the crofs for your fins, and rife again for your juftification, and afcend into heaven to make interceffice, lead my merits before my Father's throne, the Comforter, the Holy Ghoft, will not, coat come unto you; but if I depart, I will fend him no you And, that they might know what he was to do," When he is come, he will re

"f prove the world of fin, and of righteoufnefs, and of "judgment."

The perfon referred to in the words of the text, is plainly the Comforter, the Holy Ghoft; and the promise was first made to our Lord's apoftles. But though it was primarily made to them, and was lite rally and remarkably fulfilled at the day of Pentecoft when the Holy Ghoft came down as a mighty rushing wind, and alfo when three thousand were pricked to the heart by Peter's preaching; yet, as the apoftles were the representatives of the whole body of believ ers, we must infer, that this promise must be looked upon as fpoken to us, and to our children, and to as many as the Lord our God fhall call.

My defign from these words, is to fhew the manner in which the Holy Ghoft generally works upon the hearts of thofe, who, through grace, are made veffels of mercy, and tranflated from the kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of God's dear Son.

I fay, generally: for as God is a fovereign agent, his facred Spirit bloweth not only on whom, but when and how it lifteth. Therefore, far be it from me to confine the Almighty to one way of acting; or fay, that all undergo an equal degree of conviction; no, there is a holy variety in God's methods of calling home his elect. But this we may affirm affuredly, that, wherever there is a work of true conviction and converfion wrought upon a finner's heart, the Holy Gheft, whether by a greater or lefs degree of inward foul-trouble, does that which our Lord Jefus told the difciples, in the words of the text, that he should do when he came.

If any of you ridicule inward religion, or think there is no fuch thing as our feeling or receiving the Holy Ghoft, I fear my preaching will be quite foolifhnefs to you, and that you will understand me no more than if I fpoke to you in an unknown tongue.

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But as the promise in the text is made to the world, and as I know it will be fulfilling till time fhall be no more, I shall proceed to explain the general way whereby the Holy Ghoft works upon every converted finner's heart; and I hope that the Lord, even whilft I am speaking, will be pleafed to fulfil it in many of your hearts. "And when he is come, he "will reprove the world of fin, of righteousness, " and of judgment."

The word which we tranflate reprove, ought to be rendered convince; and in the original it implies a conviction by way of argumentation, and coming with a power upon the mind equal to a demonftration. A great many fcoffers of thefe laft days, will afk fuch as they term pretenders to the Spirit, how they feel the Spirit, and how they know the Spirit? They might as well afk, how they know, and how they feel the fun when it fhines upon the body? For with equal power and demonstration does the Spirit of God work upon and convince the foul. And,

First, It convinces of fin; and generally of fome. enormous fin, the worst perhaps the convicted perfon ever was guilty of. Thus, when our Lord was converfing with the woman of Samaria, he convinced her first of her adultery: "Woman, go call thy huf"band. The woman answered, and faid, I have no "hufband. Jefus faid unto her, Thou haft well faid, I "have no husband: for thou haft had five hufbands, "and he whom thou now haft, is not thy hufband, "in this faidft thou truly." With this, there went fuch a powerful conviction of all her other actual fins, that foon after, fhe "left her water-port, and went her"way into the city, and faith to the men, Come, and "fee a man that told me all things that ever I did: "Is not this the Chrift ?". Thus our Lord alfo dealt with the perfecutor Saul: he convinced him firft of the horrid fin of perfecution; "Saul, Saul, why per

"prove the world of fin, and of righteousness, and of "judgment."

The perfon referred to in the words of the text, is plainly the Comforter, the Holy Ghoft; and the promife was first made to our Lord's apoftles. But though it was primarily made to them, and was literally and remarkably fulfilled at the day of Pentecoft, when the Holy Ghoft came down as a mighty rushing wind, and alfo when three thousand were pricked to the heart by Peter's preaching; yet, as the apoftles were the reprefentatives of the whole body of believ ers, we must infer, that this promise must be looked upon as spoken to us, and to our children, and to as many as the Lord our God fhall call.

My defign from these words, is to fhew the manner in which the Holy Ghoft generally works upon the hearts of thofe, who, through grace, are made veffels of mercy, and tranflated from the kingdom of darkness, into the kingdom of God's dear Son..

1 fay, generally; for as God is a fovereign agent, his facred Spirit bloweth not only on whom, but when and how it lifteth. Therefore, far be it from me to confine the Almighty to one way of acting; or fay, that all undergo an equal degree of conviction; no, there is a holy variety in God's methods of calling home his elect. But this we may affirm affuredly, that, wherever there is a work of true conviction and converfion wrought upon a finner's heart, the Holy Gheft, whether by a greater or lefs degree of inward foul-trouble, does that which our Lord Jefus told the difciples, in the words of the text, that he should do when he came.

If any of you ridicule inward religion, or think there is no fuch thing as our feeling or receiving the Holy Ghoft, I fear my preaching will be quite foolifhnefs to you, and that you will understand me no more than if I spoke to you in an unknown tongue.

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