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SERM. they are managed by: seducers in so undue a manner, ©¢xxx!!. and to ends and purposes fo cross to the main de
sign of christianity. This is the second advantage which the Spirit of truth hath above the spirit of error and seduction, that the motives to persuade men to adhere to truth and holiness are really in themselves more powerful than the motives to error: and seduction. . .
wi Thirdly, those who sincerely embrace and obey the truth of God, have a greater asistance, and are acted by a more powerful spirit and principle; than that which is in the world, and this seems more especially to be the meaning of the reason here given in the text, why the Spirit of truth is victorious over the spirit of error and seduction; " ye are of God, little children, “ and have overcome them, because - greater is he " that is in you, than he that is in the world;" that is, the spirit which is in good men is more powerful than the devil, that evil spirit which inspires and acts “ the children of disobedience.” -. For the farther explication of this, I shall do these three things.
,, i li 1. Shew, that there are these two principles in the world, the Spirit of God, and the devil, very active and powerful in good and bad men. ; II. That the Spirit of God, which is in good men, is greater than he that is in the world. i o..
III. In what ways the Spirit of GOD doth move and assist good men. ! ; .
1. That there are these two principles in the world, the Spirit of God, and the devil, very active and powerful, the one in good, the other in bad men, I'his is very credible in the general, from the univerfal tradition and consent of mankind, in the be
lief of good and evil spirits attending men, and S E'R M.'
ссxxxчи.. - prompting them to good and evil: but we, who 'em
brace the revelation of the gospel, have a much former
SER M. * tell whence it cometh, and whether it goeth : fo: CCXXXIII.,
;" is every one that is born of the Spiric.” Though, we do not know the manner of the Spirit's working, nor perceive the operations of it upon our minds, yet we find the effects of it in the renovation and sanctification of our hearts. Thus by undeniable ar. guments men are assured of a divine providence go. verning the world, though men do not always see, nor can make out to others the particular interpolicions of it, so as to say that this or that was an immediate effect of divine providence. To know certainly that a thing is, it is not necessary that we should be able to give a particular account of all it's operations, and the manner of them; these may hidden from us, and yet we may be sufficiently alsured by other arguments that there is such a thing. Men are sure they have souls, though they can give no account how the actions of understanding, and remembrance, and sensation are produced by them:, so it is in the present case; we are sufficiently assured from the word of God, that good and bad spirits have a great influence upon the minds of men, tho'. we be not conscious to their operations, and the manner of them. .
II. The Spirit of God which is in good men is greater than he that is in the world; he is more, able and ready to assist men to good puposes, than the devil is to tempt and help forward that which is evil. And this will appear, if we consider. these three things.
1.. The Spirit of God is more powerful than the devil; and this is so evident in itself, that it needs no proof.
2. The Spirit of God is as forward and willing to S ER M. aflift mcn to good purposes, as the devil is to the CCXXXII contrary. That extremity of malice and envy which is in evil spirits does no doubt make them very fosward and active to do all the mischief they can to mankind, by tempting and seducing them to fin : buc on the other hand, the utmost perfection of goodness, which in God is more and greater than the malice of the devil, will incline more strongly the holy Spirit of God to pity, and aid, and help good men, than the malice of the devil can urge him to procure the harm and mischief of mankind; and if we could suppose their will and inclinations equal, yet our comfort is, their power is not.
3. The Spirit of God hath a more free and imme. diate access to the minds of good men, and a more intimate conjunction with and operation upon them, than the devil. The Spirit of God is always present to us, and willing to dwell and abide in us, and ready to help and assist us, if we be ready to obey his dictates, and comply with his holy and blessed motions; if we did not resist, and quench, and grieve him, he would always take up his abode and habitacion in us, and would be continually exciting and guiding, and aflifting us to that which is good; he knows our hearts, and sees all the fecrets of ous fouls; knows all our inclinations, knows our weakness and our danger, what assistance we want, and when it will be most seasonable; and is as intimate to us, and as conscious to all the motions of our spirits, as we ourselves are.
But now the devil is under great restraint, and cannot make nearer approaches to any man than God permits him; he does not know our hearts,
SER M. nor can pry into the secret of our thoughts. God
knows, but the devil dges but guess at the thoughts,
1. By exciting good motions in us, and enabling us to bring them to effect.
2. By supporting us under persecution for religion,
1. By exciting good motions in us, and enabling us to bring then to effect. Thefe the apostle puts together, Phil. ii. 13. “ For it is God which work