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to their view: let them but hear their Lord speak in his own natural dialect-and he doth so indeed when we hear him speak as an advocate--and their minds are calmed, their thoughts settled, their guilt vanished, and their faith revived.
Is Christ Jesus the Lord my advocate with the Father? Then awake, my faith, and shake thyself like a giant; stir up thyself and be not faint: Christ is the advocate of his people; and as for sin, which is one great stumble to thy actings, O my faith, Christ has not only died for that as a sacrifice, nor only carried his sacrifice unto the Father into the holiest of all, but is there to manage that offering as an advocate, pleading the efficacy and worth thereof before God against the devil for us.
The modest saint is apt to be abashed, to think what a troublesome one he is, and what a make-work he has been in God's house all his days; and let him be filled with holy blushing, but let him not forsake his Advocate.
If thy foot slippeth, if it slippeth greatly, then know thou it will not be long before a bill be in heaven preferred against thee by the accuser of the brethren; wherefore then thou must have recourse to Christ as advocate, to plead before God thy Judge against the devil thine adversary for thee. And as to the badness of thy cause, let nothing move thee save to humility and self-abasement, for Christ is glorified by being concerned for thee; yea, the angels will shout aloud to see him bring thee off. For what greater glory can we conceive Christ to obtain as advocate, than to bring off his people when they have sinned, notwithstanding Satan's so charging of them as he doth ?
He gloried when he was going to the cross to die; he went up with a shout and the sound of a trumpet to make
intercession for us; and shall we think that by his being an advocate he receives no additional glory?
Christ, when he pleads as an advocate for his people in the presence of God against Satan, can plead those very weaknesses of his people for which Satan would have them damned, for their relief and advantage. Is not this a brand plucked out of the fire?" This is part of the plea of our Advocate against Satan, for his servant Joshua, when he said, "The Lord rebuke thee, O Satan." Zech. 3:2. Now, to be a brand plucked out of the fire, is to be a saint-impatient, weakened, defiled, and made imperfect by sin. This then is the next plea of our goodly Advocate for us: "O Satan, this is a brand plucked out of the fire.” As if he should say, "Thou objectest against my servant Joshua, that he is black like a coal, or that the fire of sin at times is still burning in him. And what then? The reason why he is not totally extinct as tow, is not thy pity but my Father's mercy to him. to him. I have plucked him out of the fire, yet not so out but that the smell thereof is yet upon him; and my Father and I, we consider his weakness and pity him; for since he is as a brand pulled out, can it be expected by my Father or me, that he should appear before us as clear and do our biddings as well as if he had never been there? This is a brand plucked out of the fire, and must be considered as such, and must be borne with as such."
His righteousness Christ presents to God for us; and God, for this righteousness' sake, is well pleased that we should be saved, and for it can save us and secure his honor and preserve the law in its sanction.
For Christ, in pleading against Satan as an advocate with the Father for us, appeals to the law itself if he has not done it justice; saying, "Most mighty law, what command of thine have I not fulfilled? What demand of
thine have I not fully answered? Where is that jot or tittle of the law that is able to object against my doings for want of satisfaction?"
Here the law is mute; it speaks not one word by way of the least complaint, but rather testifies of this righteousness that it is good and holy. Rom. 3:22, 23; 5:15–19.
Now then, since Christ did this as a public person, it follows that others must be justified thereby; for that was the end and reason of Christ's taking on him to do the righteousness of the law. Nor can the law object against the equity of this dispensation of heaven; for why might not that God who gave the law its being and its sanction, dispose as he pleases of the righteousness which it commends? Besides, if men be made righteous, they are so; and if by a righteousness which the law commends, how can fault be found with them by the law? Nay, it is witnessed by the law and the prophets," who consent that it should be "unto all and upon all them that believe," for their justification. Rom. 3: 20, 21.
And that the mighty God suffereth the prince of the devils to do with the law what he can against this most wholesome and godly doctrine, it is to show the truth, goodness, and permanency thereof; for this is as if it were said, Devil, do thy worst.
When the law is in the hand of an easy pleader, though the cause that he pleads be good, a crafty opposer may overthrow the right; but here is the salvation of the children in debate, whether it can stand with law and justice: the opposer of this is the devil, his argument against it is the law; he that defends the doctrine is Christ the advocate, who in his plea must justify the justice of God, defend the holiness of the law, and save the sinner from all the arguments, pleas, stops, and demurs that Satan is able to put in against it. And this he must do fairly, righteously, simply, pleading the voice of the self-same law for the justification of the soul that he standeth for, which Satan
pleads against it; for though it is by the new law that our salvation comes, yet by the old law is the new law approved of, and the way of salvation thereby consented to.
VIII. THE HOLY SPIRIT.
It is the Spirit of God, even the Holy Ghost that convinceth us of sin, and so of our damnable state because of sin.
Therefore the Spirit of God, when he worketh in the heart as a spirit of bondage, doeth it by working in us by the law, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. Rom. 3:20. And he in this his working is properly called a spirit of bondage; because by the law he shows us that indeed we are in bondage to the law, the devil, and death and damnation.
He is called in his working the spirit of bondage, because he here also holds us-to wit, in this sight and sense of our bondage state-so long as it is meet we should be so held; which to some of the saints is a longer, and to some a shorter time. Paul was held in it three days and three nights, but the jailer and the three thousand, so far as can be gathered, not above an hour; but some in these later times are so held for days and months, if not for years. But I say, let the time be longer or shorter, it is the Spirit of God that holdeth him under this yoke, and it is good that a man should be his time held under it.
Now, as I said, the sinner at first is by the Spirit of God held under this bondage; that is, hath such a discovery of his sin and of his damnation for sin made to him, and also is held so fast under the sense thereof, that it is not in the power of any man, nor yet of the very angels in heaven, to release or set him free, until the Holy Spirit changeth his ministration and comes in the sweet and peaceable tidings
of salvation by Christ in the gospel to his poor dejected and afflicted conscience.
The Spirit loveth to do what it does in private that man to whom God intendeth to reveal great things, he taketh him aside from the lumber and cumber of this world, and carrieth him away in the solace and contemplation of the things of another world.
This water of life is the very groundwork of life in us, though not the groundwork of life for us. The groundwork of life for us is the passion and merits of Christ; this is that for the sake of which grace is given unto us, as is intimated by the text, Rev. 22:1. It proceeds from the throne of God, who is Christ. Christ then having obtained grace for us, must needs be precedent as to his merit, to that grace he hath so obtained. Besides, it is clear that the Spirit and grace come from God through him. Therefore, as to the communication of grace to us, it is the fruit of his merit and purchase.
But I say, in us grace is the groundwork of life; for though we may be said before to live virtually in the person of Christ before God, yet we are dead in ourselves, and so must be until the Spirit be poured upon us from on high; for the Spirit is life, and its graces are life, and when that is infused by God from the throne, then we live, and not till then. And hence it is called as before, living water, the water of life, springing up in us into everlasting life. The Spirit then and graces of the Spirit, which is the river here spoken of, is that, and that only, which can cause us to live; that being life to the soul, as the soul is life to the body. All men therefore, as was said afore-though elect, though purchased by the blood of Christ-are dead and must be dead until the Spirit of life from God and his throne shall enter into them; until they shall drink it in by vehement thirst, as the parched ground drinks in the rain.