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a vapor; all which shew his native weakness.
AND yet, great things must be done by, and in, this worm, this flower, this grass ; and how must they be done? How ? he must be strengthened by the spirit's might in the inner man; and hence the word Tragaxantos, rendered comforter, also signifies a conformer or strengthener; and we see how this character was verified in the apostle Peter.
IN the highpriest's ball, he was a flower all blighted and withered; but being endued with this power from on high, at the day of pentecost, he stood like a stately oak, or like a cedar unshaken.
He had now received not the spirit of fear; but of power, love and a sound mind. Thus it is with all who receive the heavenly paraclet, who go out in the strength of the Lord God, and who make mention of his name in truth and sincerity.
For he giveth power to the weak, and to them that have no might he encreaseth strength. They shall mount up with wings as an eagle; they shall run without wearying, they shall walk without fainting
3. SUPPOSING we were condemned for any heinous crime, and fast bound in prison, and in awful expectation of the day of execution; who would perform the office of a . comforter? He who would inform us that an ample estate was fallen to us ? No. He
that would treat us with an elegant entertainment ? No. He that would present us with a suit of splendid apparel ? No, we should be ready to say to all such, miserable comforters are ye all. But, should a person come authorised to bring the king's pardon to the prisoner, would not such an one be thought a comforter ? undoubtedly. Such a comforter is the ever blessed spirit of God, by witnessing with the believer's spirit that he is a child of God.
Now the horrors of everlasting punishment are over, and the bitterness of the second death is past; there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus, while the love of God is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Ghost given to them. The man can say, I confessed my sin unto the Lord, and he forgave the iniquity of my sin.
4. SUPPOSE you were a leper, and under the Mosaic dispensation; the disorder was not only loathsome to the person himself, but to the whole community; and therefore he was excluded human society, and was obliged to live in a separate dwelling. Pray who could act the part of a comforter to such a miserable being ? Verily none but one that could remove his disorder. Now, O sinner, such is thy case; but here is a purifier; one that can sprinkle clean water upon thee; and make thee clean ; that can cleanse thee from all filthiness of flesh and
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spirit; yea, that can make thee pure in heart, so shalt thou see the face of God, with comfort and delight, in the realms of eternal day. If we live after the flesh we shall die ; but if we through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, we shall live for evermore.
5. SUPPOSING we were famishing with hunger, just ready to perish; upon whom should we look as a comforter ? Surely to him that should richly supply us with all needful sustenance. In this, the ever blessed Spirit acts the part of a Comforter, by bringing to us the bread of Life. He shall test y of me, said our dear Saviour, he shall take of mine and give to you. All that a precious Christ has done for sinners must be applied by the ever blessed Spirit. Without his divine influences even our most approved morality is only like the vision of the dry bones; bone came to its bone, and the sinews and flesh came upon them, and the skin covered them above ; but there was no breath in them. (a) Therefore, while that is the case, we are not happy: something is still wanting, and must be so till we receive the breath of life. The joy in the Holy Spirit excels all other consolations, as much as light excels darkness.
6. I MIGHT multiply similies and comparisons ad infinitum. This heavenly Com.
(a) Ezek. xxxvii. 8.
forter will be with us in all time of our tribulation, in all time of our wealth, in the hour of death, and in the great day of judgment. He shall abide with you for ever. That divine paraclet may well be stiled the Comforter, emphatically so, for all other delights will stay with us but for a little space; they will scarcely see us out of the harbour; but will certainly-leave us to toil with the waves of the wide ocean. But this blessed companion will never leave us nor forsake us; and oftentimes sheds its charming influence in the soul when in the greatest straits and difficulties, as is manifest in the saints in times of heavy afflictions, in their last conflicts with death, even the martyrs found it so in their dreadful torments: yea still their heavenly consolations out balanced their pains to the astonishment of their tormentors, which realizes the power of religion above all we can conceive. O blessed spirit of promise, seal us unto the day of eternal redemption.
, II. BUT notwithstanding the many gracious offices which this heavenly agent does for the children of men, the world will not receive him. Nothing can be a greater proof of the fall than this stupid perverseness in mankind.
1. By the world, here, we are to understand the obstinate and disobedient part of the human race, of which our Saviour -speaks, when he says to his carnal friends, The world cannot hate you, but me it hateth, because I testify that its deeds are evil. (a) And in that divine prayer for his disciples and followers, of whom he says, They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world ; the world hath not known thee, but
I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me. (b) · Marvel not if the world hate you ; it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world the world would love you ; but because I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Likewise, in St. John's epistle, We know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in the wicked one. (c) In all which places, and many more, the term world means the obstinate, disobedient part of mankind, in whom the carnal mind is found which is enmity against God.
2. Now this world is quite ignorant of God and the things of God; and this ignorance is the source of all their blunders. When our Lord was warning his disciples of the persecutions that they should meet with, namely, that they should be put out of the synagogues; yea, the time would come, that whosoever killed them would think that he did God service. These things, saith he, will they do, because they know not the Father nor me. (d) And the apos(a) John vii. 6. (b) John xvii. (c) 1 John i. 5, 19.
(d) John xvi. 3.