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forter always prefent with him, nay, continually dwelling and refiding in him, if we do not grieve and quench, and drive him away from us by our ill treatment of him, and refiftance of his blessed motions.
And this promife of the Spirit our Saviour had a very particular refpect to, when he prescribes faith in him:felf as a fpecial remedy against that trouble which poffeffed their minds, upon the apprehenfion of his departure from them; and therefore he tells them fo often, that when he was gone from them, he would fend them another Comforter or Advocate, who fhould undertake their caufe, and would stand by them in their greatest troubles and temptations. He tells them, that he himfelf would be an Advocate for them in heaven: but because that was at a great distance, and might not be fo fenfible a comfort to them, he promifeth to fend them another Advocate, that fhould be prefent with them here on earth, and upon all occafions undertake their patronage and defence. So that all things confidered, he affures them there was fo little reafon to be troubled at his departure from them, that they had caufe rather to be glad of it, because it would turn to their great advantage; and inftead of the benefit of his outward teaching and prefence, they fhould have the inward prefence and teaching of his Spirit, and the continual aids and fupports of his grace. I go my way, fays he, John 16. 5. 6. 7. I go my way to him that fent me, and none of you afketh me, Whi ther goest thou? but because I have faid thefe things unto you, forrow hath filled your heart. Nevertheless, I tell you the truth, it is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you: but if I depart, I will fend him unto you. And fo the Evangelift tells us before, chap. vii. 39. that the Spirit was not to be given, 'till Jefus was fift glorified. This, fays he, pake he of the Spirit, which they that believed on him fhould receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because Jefus was not yet glorified; plainly declaring, that according to the wife difpenfation of God, it was fo ordered, that the fending of the Holy Ghost for the propagating of the gospel, by thofe miraculous powers which were to be conferred upon the first pub
lifhers of it, and for the fupporting and comforting of Chriftians under the fharp trials and fufferings to which they were to be expofed, was the fruit of Chrift's afcenfion into heaven, and his fitting at the right hand of the majefly an high, and the first boon which he should obtain of his Father, by the virtue and power of his interceffion. I will pray the Father, fays he, ver. 16. of this chapter, and he shall fend you another Advocate, the Spirit of truth, and he shall abide with you for ever. He fball fend you another Comforter; fo our tranflation renders the word wapanλT, but it moft properly fignifies an Advocate or Patron, that undertakes our defence, and pleads our caufe for us. And this the Holy Gholt, in a moft eminent and remarkable manner, was to the Apoftles and firft Chriftians, when they were called to anfwer for themfelves before Kings and Governors. They were generally men of low condition and mean breeding, eafily dafht out of countenance before great men; and therefore our Saviour promifed that the Holy Ghoft fhould be their Advocate, and fhould prompt and affift them in the pleading of their cause. Matth. x. 18. 19. 20. Ye shall be brought before Governors, and Kings, for my fake; but when they deliver you up, take no thought how or what ye shall speak: for it fball be given you in that fame hour what ye shall speak for it is not you that fpeak, but the Spirit of your Father which speaketh in you. Or, as it is in St. Luke, chap. xii. ver. 12. The Holy Ghost all teach you in the fame hour what ye ought to fay. And yet more fully, chap. xxi. ver. 12. 14. 15. Where, fpeaking again of their being brought before kings and rulers for his name's fake, he gives them this charge, Settle it therefore in your hearts, not to meditate before what ye shall answer; for I will give you a mouth and wifdom, which all your adverfaries fhall not be able to gainfay, or refift.
And this promife we find remarkably made good to St. Stephen, Acts vi. 10. Of whom it is there faid, that his enemies were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he fpake. And to St. Paul likewife, when he was firft called to answer for himself at Rome, as he himself tells Timothy, 2 Tim. iv. 16. 17. At my first
anfwer no man flood with me; but all men for fook me : notwithstanding the Lord food with me and strengthened me.
And though this was extraordinary, yet all Chriftians have, by virtue of this promife, the ordinary affiance and comfort of God's holy Spirit in all their troubles and afflictions. By this Spirit we may in all our diftreffes with confidence make our addresses to God, having access by one Spirit to the Father, as St. Paul speaks, Eph. ii. 18. By the fame Spirit we are affifted in our prayers, and directed many times what to ask of God, fuitable to the condition which his providence defigns to bring us into; which feems to be the Apoftle's meaning, Rom. viii. 26. Likewife the Spirit alfo helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what to pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itfelf maketh interceffion for us; that is, fuggefts to us fuch requefts, as are fit for us to put up to God. By the fame Spirit is fecretly infufed into our fouls, peace and joy in believing, great confolation and good hope through grace. Hence are thofe expreffions in fcripture of the confolation of the Spirit, and of joy in the Holy Ghoft, the beft cordial in the world in all cafes of trouble.
And in extraordinary cafes, good men, by virtue of this promise of the Spirit, may expect to be born up and comforted in a very extraordinary and fupernatural manner, under the greatest tribulations and fufferings for righteoufnefs fake. This was very fignal and remarkable in the primitive Chriftians, who were expofed to the moft fierce and cruel perfecutions; and may still be expected in like cafes of extraordinary fuffering for the teltimony of God's truth. If ye be reproached, faith St. Peter, 1 Pet. iv. 14. for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the Spirit of glory and of God refteth upon you. The Spirit of God is there promifed, to strengthen and fupport all that fuffer for the name of Chrift, in a very confpicuous and glorious manner; according to that prayer of St. Paul, Col. i. 11. that Chriftians might be Strengthened with all might, according to God's glorious power, unto all long-fuffering with joyfulness. For when God exercifeth good men with trials more than human, and fufferings which are beyond the ordinary rate of human ftrength and patience to bear, he hath engaged
himself to assist and endow them with more than human courage and refolution. SoSt. Paul tells the Corinthians, who had not yet felt the utmost rage of perfecution, I Cor. x. 13. No temptation, ar trial, hath yet befallen you, but what is common to men; nothing but what is frequently incident to human nature, and what, by an ordinary affiftance of God's grace men may grapple with; but in cafe God calls men to extraordinary fufferings, He is faithful that hath promised, who will not fuffer you to be tempted abote what ye are able; but will, with the temptation, alfo make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. And why fhould we be daunted at the weight of an affliction, if we be well affured that our ftrength fhall be increased in proportion to our burden?
And where-ever this promise is not made good, there is fome defect on our part; either men are not fincere in the profeffion of the truth, and then no wonder if they fall for fear of fuffering; or they have been too confident of themselves, and have not, with that earneftnefs and importunity they ought, prayed to God for his grace and affiftance, and thereupon God hath justly left them to try their ftrength against a violent and powerful temptation: as he did Peter, who, for all his confidence, did, upon no very great temptation, deny his Saviour; but even in this cafe, where there is truth and fincerity at the bottom, God gives to fuch perfons, as he did to Peter, the opportunity of recovering themselves by repentance.
There are three particulars more remain, but I fhall proceed no farther at this time.
SERM O N CCXVII.
The true remedy against the troubles of life.
JOHN XIV. 1.
Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe alfo in me.
The third fermon on this text.
Rom these words I propofed to fhew, what force and virtue there is in the remedy propofed by our Saviour, to mitigate and allay our troubles; and I told you that our Saviour here prescribes a double remedy.
Firft, Faith in God, the great Creator and Governor of the world.
Secondly, Faith in himself, the Son of God and Saviour of men. I have fpoken to the firft, and have likewife entered upon the
Second, And here I propounded to fhew, what farther confiderations of comfort and fupport, faith in Christ, and the firm belief of the Christian religion, do afford to good men, for the allaying and mitigating of their greatest fears and troubles. And I mentioned five.
I. Faith in Chrift gives us full affurance of immortality, and the rewards of another world.
II. It promifeth to every fincere Christian, the inward affifiance and fupport of God's holy Spirit. Thus far I have gone. I now proceed.
III. It affures us of the fpecial efficacy of our prayers with God, either for our deliverance from trouble, or for the aids and fupports of his grace under it.
Now concerning the great efficacy of our prayers with God, there are feveral very particular and remarkable promises and declarations in the New Testa