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A61475 The spirit convincing of sinne opened in a sermon before the Honorable House of Commons, assembled in Parliament upon the solemne day of their monethly fast, Novemb. 26, 1645 / by Peter Sterry ... Sterry, Peter, 1613-1672. 1645 (1645) Wing S5483; ESTC R34606 20,614 44

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first comes from heaven and that immortall Spirit If you see your sins this day and weep for them though it be only by the Owle-light of your own reason as the Philosopher himself styles it you shall not lose your reward though you may lose your soules But what will it profit you to save three Kingdomes by your sorrows and in the mean time to carry in your own bosomes dying perishing soules of which every single one is more worth than all the world 'T is dreadfull to expresse but I will speak it for your sakes If God should please to put the choice into my hands I had much rather that all these three Kingdomes should be consum'd at once in this very moment with fire from heaven by an outward destruction then that any one the meanest most miserable soule in them should perish everlastingly Draw then water out of that Well of salvation the Spirit and powre it forth before the Lord If the Spirit be the Spring your tears will quench both flames those that burn outwardly and inwardly so you shall at once save these nations and your own soules A Caution If it be the work of the Spirit to convince of sin then it is his work more especially to convince of spirituall Duties and spirituall Truths Take heed of measuring divine things by the modell of Reason Take heed of rejecting what Reason cannot receive St. Paul gives you a full account of the Jews case and ruine in a few words Rom. 10. 3. While they sought after righteousnesse by the Law they fell short because they were ignorant of the righteousnesse of God Feare lest you also fall after the same example of unbelief lest you fall short of the knowledge of spirituall things because you seek it by Reason and know not the Spirit of God It is true all grant that some some say that all truths which come by revelation of the Spirit may also be demonstrated by Reason But if they be they are then no more Divine but humane truths They lose their certainty beauty efficacy they become like the Name of Jesus in the mouth of those counterfeit Exorcists which made them not the Devil's Masters but his scorne Spirituall truths discovered by demonstrations of Reason are like the Mistresse in her Cook-maid's clothes They differ from themselves in their own true shape as those little plump boyes with wings the pictures of Angels in Churches differ from the Angels in Heaven Spirituall things are foolishnesse to the naturall man 1 Cor. 2. chap. No visible shape is so lovely so full of Majesty as that of Man No shape is so deformed ridiculous as the resemblance of man in a beast in the Ape So heavenly things lose their majestie become weak and contemptible when they are represented by Reason only For they are not the things themselves but an apish mimicall imitation of them The Philosopher gives us this rule that wee should seek for sutable demonstrations in every sort of truths and not leape from one kinde to another The Apostle gives us this rule to compare spirituall things with spirituall Spirituall Conclusions with spirituall Principles You will reap both pleasure and profit from this Observation that the true Protestant differs from all sorts of men and Religions by making the three Persons in Trinity according to their severall properties the foundation of all truth 1. He distinguisheth himself from the Atheists by worshipping the Father as the Fountain of truth 2. He dissents from Mahumetans Indians Infidels while he sets up Christ in himself for the only Image of truth 3. By seeking and imbracing the discovery of truth in the Spirit hee differs from all sorts of Christians especially three 1. The Papists a Faction of policy These perswade us to receive the testimony not of the Spirit but of the Church for a Touchstone of truth And this Church is the Popes private Consistory or Generall Councel Thus the Church's Authority not the Demonstration of the Holy Ghost shall be the light of Faith to Truth Thus not content with an Antichrist they set up their Consistory or Councel for an Anti-spirit But wee need no visible Judge on earth to determine upon our consciences What is Scripture what is the sense of Scripture We have an invisible Judge and Witnesse in our own breasts He that believeth hath the testimony in himself 1 Joh. 5. chap. 10. v. for he hath the Spirit 2. The Arminians a Sect of Moralists who give the over-perswading power of the Spirit to strength of Rhetorick and Reason inward or outward 3. A Party of wit and worth so farre as the wit and worth of man can go if they would submit the wit and worth of man to the Power and Wisdome of God The Socinians the Principles of Reason are the pillars of Religion and truth to these men But Reason is a pillar of a Cloud the Spirit only is the pillar of Fire which hath light in it Reason is that Gladius versatilis that sword in that hand of the Cherubim that kept Paradise a sword that turns every way It may keep men from the tree of Life but can never bring them to it Our faith is not in the wisdome of man but power of God 1 Cor. 2. chap. 5. verse Now Worthy Senators give me leave to make my particular addresses to your selves You have commanded me to speak before you how farre so ever I finde my self below a sufficiencie for it I must speak I would not seek to work upon you by art or cunning if I had any skill in these things My earnest desire is with all humilitie and lowlinesse to speak the things of God as a man on whom the earliest glimmerings of the Spirit have scarce yet dawned I have believed so I will speak to you those things on which I fasten the immortalitie of mine own deare soule Pardon mee Honourable Patriots if I speake twice to you once as private Christians a second time as publike persons and Magistrates First As Private Christians If the words of a weak worthlesse man may have place in your large hearts I beseech you to lay up within you and to ponder frequently upon this short word which I am now about to speak Remember Remember not to trust to the strength and wisdome of that Living soule which dwels in the Breast of Man But Have all your dependance upon that Spirit of the Immortall God which comes forth from our Lord Jesus Christ I speak this to You who are Princes of Reason in whom the Spirit of Man is at a High pitch Your Saviour died that he might send you this Spirit He left you in his fleshly presence that you might have this Spirit with you O wait for him constantly till he come Wait upon him diligently when he is come Saint Hierom thought hee ever heard the last Trumpet sounding in his eares How well should I think my selfe rewarded for all the pains of this day if I
THE SPIRIT CONVINCING OF SINNE OPENED In a Sermon before the Honorable HOUSE of COMMONS Assembled in Parliament upon the solemne day of their Monethly Fast Novemb. 26. 1645. By PETER STERRY sometimes Fellow of Emanuel Colledge in Cambridge AND NOW Preacher of the Gospel in LONDON Published by Order of the House of Commons LONDON Printed by Matth. Simmons for Henry Overton and Benjamin Allen and are to be sold at their shops in Popes-head Alley 1645. To THE HONOURABLE THE KNIGHTS BURGESSES OF THE HOUSE of COMMONS Assembled in PARLIAMENT GOD hath promised his people to carry them on the Eagles Wing The onely desire and humble endeavour of your lowest servant in Christ hath been to work with God in this Sermon that your Soules Counsels Warres may be carried on by the Spirit of God who in the language of the Scriptures is not onely the Dove for Purity and Peace but also the True Eagle for Wisdome and Power Worthy Senatours if you knew this Spirit you would ask Him of your Saviour and Hee would be in you a Fountain of Counsell and Strength springing up to Everlasting Peace and Glory But have you not known The Spirit His sound hath gone forth into all your Eares All the Scriptures speak of Him as they doe of Jesus Christ Daniel was chosen by the King of Assyria to sway the great affaires of that vast Empire because the Spirit of the immortall God was found in him David was a Statesman Wiser then his Teachers David was a Souldier His fingers were skil'd in fighting his hands train'd up to Victory over Wild Beasts Giants Armies of Men was not the Spirit the Lamp of God which shone thus gloriously on David's Court and Camp which made his Throne so great Thy Word saith he was a Light to my Feet The Word of God is the Spirit of God saith St. Paul The Sword of the Spirit a which Spirit not Sword is the Word of God This made David when hee had sin'd cry Take not thine Holy Spirit from me When the Spirit of God once left Saul an evill Spirit came upon him which vex't him which haunted him to the losse of his kingdome and life together Honourable Fathers of your Countries I humbly move to know By what Title you sit there and rule over us Is it not as Powers on Earth But All power on Earth as well as in Heaven is given to Iesus Christ You are Substitutes and Vice-gerents to the Lord Iesus Look then to Iesus the Beginning and End of your Authority God hath laid the Government on his Shoulder What is his sufficiency for it The Spirit of the Lord resteth on him and this is A Spirit of Counsell and Might in him You who sit at the right hand of the Lord Iesus in this Common-wealth as the Lord Iesus sits at the right hand of his Father in that Kingdome which is over all pray that the same Spirit which was powred forth on him may be by him powred forth on you So shall you be Messiahs anointed ones and Saviours to this people Can You be able to rule over any spot of this earth when Jesus Christ was not fit for the government of the whole without the Spirit Do you put your whole trust in the promises of God and expect by them to be made partakers of every blessing Do you believe the promises made in the Word of God I hope I may say at least with as good confidence as Paul said it to Agrippa I know you believe them This is the promise The Spirit shall lead you into all truth You are now searching into the deep things of God which concern Religion Live in the Spirit and the Spirit shall bring all into your minde and shew you the things of Iesus Christ It behoves you to know the method of Satan the stratagems and dark deeps of the Devill himself in mysteries of State and Religion Walk in the Spirit hee shall lead you into their chambers as hee did Ezekiel and let you see what mischiefes they are there contriving in secret This is the promise The Spirit of God and of glory shall rest on his servants in their conflicts and sufferings Sit still in all humble resignation of your selves to the working of this Spirit that hee may rest on you so shall hee manage your counsels finish your wars and end all your sufferings with glorie I shall conclude my Epistle with an humble Petition to your Honours an hearty Prayer for you My humble Petition is that You would ever remember to converse as Doves among Doves with this Dove He is a tender Spirit take heed of grieving this Spirit where ever hee dwels For by him alone can your hopes be sealed to a day of full accomplishment My hearty Prayer is that as you sit debating in Parliament the appearances of the Holy Ghost may be among you as hee was with the Apostles sitting over them in the form of fiery tongues that when you fight in the field the Holy Ghost may be as a two-edged sword going forth from the mouth of the Lord Iesus into your enemy's hearts that you may never see upon the walls of your house that hand-writing which made Bel-shazzer tremble Your kingdome is divided but in stead of this that uniting and building Principle Not by might nor by power but by my Spirit saith the Lord This is the fervent constant prayer of Your Honours humble servant in Christ Peter Sterry A SERMON PREACHED Before the honorable House of COMMONS Novemb. 26. 1645. being the publike Fast JOHN 16. 8. When he shall come he shall convince the world of sin c. I Will at once open to you the publike scope of this place and the private sense of my Text as it lies imbodied in the Context Our tender-hearted Saviour is now cheering the hearts of his Disciples drooping with the sad presages of their dear Master's death The Lord Jesus sweetly gives them for a revivall of their fainting spirits a gracious promise of his own Spirit This Promise is threefold The Spirit 's 1. Personall Comming 2. Particular Comforts 3. Universall Convictions Pardon me if I be somewhat larger in the Explication of these For this also will serve my purpose which is to set before you the Spirit of the Lord Jesus that Spirit by which we know those things which Reason cannot reach and live not a as Men {non-Roman} {non-Roman} {non-Roman} {non-Roman} {non-Roman} but as b Partakers of the Divine Nature The first Promise is the Personall comming This hath two parts The Person comming Comming of that Person Part 1st The first part is the Person comming It appears to be a Person of whom our Saviour speaks by those demonstrative particles Hee Him It appeares to be some great One a Divine Person by those workes which are to be done by him To comfort hearts To convince a world To be in stead of Christ nay to be a better Comforter then
his Disciples Es. 8. chap. 8. v. I and the children which thou hast given mee are for signes and for wonders Would our Saviour now leave his Disciples alone in such a world as this Therefore hee comforts them with this that his Spirit should come and convince the world anoint the eyes of man-kind generally to see the same light of divine truth with them The Text reads it Reprove but the word in Greek {non-Roman} {non-Roman} {non-Roman} {non-Roman} {non-Roman} more properly signifies to convince as the margin hath it This Conviction is threefold First of Sin Because they believe not in me The Spirit should shew the world this as the Center where all sin met in one from whence all sin flows their not believing in Christ their neglect of the Person of Christ Secondly of Righteousnesse because I go to my Father a By Christs returning thither where he was at first by his going back to the Father the Spirit should teach the world that he alone came forth from the Father b For no one ascendeth up to Heaven but the Son of man who came down from Heaven And by this Argument shall the Spirit demonstrate Christ alone to be the Righteousnesse of God to man Thirdly of Judgement because now the Prince of this world is cast out The Spirit should reade this Lecture upon the world how since the fall the whole frame all appearances of things had been one great enchantment raised and maintained upon the spirits of men by the father of lies the Prince of darknesse to hide their eyes from the sight of God But how Jesus Christ had by his death cast down that old Magician from his Throne and Power and now the whole enchantment the fashion or show of this world was dissolving and vanishing till it should appeare no more Thus large I have been in the opening of the context and Text Now without any further stay or needlesse division of my Text my Doctrine from it is this Rightly to convince of sin is the proper work of the Spirit I shall give you only one place of Scripture to prove it but that I hope a fit and full one Zach. 12. 10. I will powre out upon them the spirit of grace and supplications and they shall see him whom they have pierced and mourn over him You have here two successive effusions one of the Spirit and another of Tears First An effusion of Teares They shall mourne Mourning expresseth true Repentance in all the foure parts of it conviction confession contrition conversion The force of the conviction here as in my Text lies in a sight of Christ pierced in a sense of unbelief Not to receive Christ for your Husband and King is to Pierce him To take away His Crown and Your Hearts from him is to kill him the worst way But this is only a Consequent and Secondary effusion Secondly An Effusion of spirit This is the Antecedent Effusion The powring forth of the Spirit is the cause of powring forth teares But who or what is this Spirit He is markt by a double character A Spirit of grace and supplication First a Spirit of grace There is a twofold grace The grace of loving-kindnesse in the heart of God The grace of divine lovelinesse in the heart of man If this latter be here meant then the Spirit of grace is he whom St. Paul calls the holy Spirit Ephes. 1. and wee generally know by the name of the Holy Ghost But this cannot be the sense For in the Originall it is chen not chesed Grace or loving-kindnesse not graciousnesse or goodnesse This Spirit of Grace then must be either the Spirit the spring of love in the bosome of the Godhead or the Spirit the diffuser the discoverer of this love in the bosome of man Both these are that One Spirit the Holy Ghost Divines give to the third Person the name of Love as they do to the second that of Wisdome And wee reade from St. Paul's mouth Rom. 5. 5. The love of God is powred forth in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which he hath given us This is the first character Second A spirit of supplication You have a Commentary upon this character Rom. 8. ch. 26. vers. The Spirit helpeth our infirmities making intercession for us by groanes unexpressible This is the Spirit which convinceth of sin the Holy Ghost himself Reasons The Spirit is truth These are the words of the Holy Ghost himself 1 Joh. 5. c. 6. v. The Spirit is truth Truth absolutely that is the Highest and fullest truth the Principle of all truth the first truth and so the last measure of all truth Take two Distinctions upon this Reason Threre are three Principles of truth 1. Sense 2. Reason 3. Spirit 1. Princ. Sense Prov. 20. ch. 12. vers. The seeing eye and the hearing eare God hath made them both God hath made the senses standards and judges of truth within their own circuit in such things as may be seen or heard as appertain to sense 2. Princ. Reason Prov. 20. ch. 26. vers. The spirit of man is the candle of the Lord searching out the hidden parts of the belly Though the candle of Reason excell in light the Glow-worms of sense yet is it but a candle not the Sun it self it makes not day only shines in the darknesse of the night You will more clearly see this Spirit of man to be the Principle of Reason planted by nature in man if you compare this expression of Solomon's with that of St. Paul which seems to have some glance towards this Proverb 1 Cor. 2. ch. 11. vers. No man knowes the things of a man but the spirit of man which is in man The things of a man are all the things of this creation visible invisible a man is the summe of them all all are subject to man God hath b set this whole world in the heart of man to search it out these are the hidden things of his belly And thus farre the spirit of man the candle of Reason spreads his beams to enlighten this world of nature This the Scripture calls Man's Day which is God's and a Saint's night 3. Princ. The Spirit 1 Cor. 2. c. 11. v. The things of God knoweth no man but the Spirit of God The Spirit searcheth out the deep things of God Divine truths are the depths of things the rest are only the surface No plummet is strong no line long enough to sound these depths save only that of the Spirit These three different Principles of truth constitute the three different parts or states of life First the brute part of the world it is that which is acted by sense Seconly Reason makes man or the rationall state Thirdly the Spirit is the principle of a Saint c As many as are the sons of God are led or acted by the Spirit of God I cannot leave this Distinction betweene these three Principles of truth before I