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THE GREAT REPROVER.
en, who likes.
Do! who manages this? The sentence at last, will not run in this fashion—" well said !” nor in this"well intended /” but thus,—“well done! good and faithful servant!" Remember, the word preached does not profit, unless it be mixed with faith in them that hear it.
Let us try and clear a way to the subject before us. He will reprove; or, as the margin reads it, convince. Which is it, reprove, or convince? And then the world; what does He mean by the world here? May I make no mistake. But, perhaps, I ought so say a few words on that title, which is here given to the Holy Spirit ... ... ... The Comforter.
You know, I think, at least I have told you, that this word is confined to the writings of St. John.
Five times it is used by him; four times hereabouts, in his gospel, and once in his epistle, called in the latter place Advocate; and referring to our Saviour.
You see the word sometimes printed in books as “ Paraclete," from the Greek, which is sounded Paracletos (llapakintos.) It does not mean Comforter only, as you
And, alas! it is true, He, the Holy Ghost, does not comfort the world. The world is against Him. The world cannot receive Him, nor know Him. No! but He convinces, or convicts the world. And He does more to the disciples than even comfort; He teaches. He sanctifies. So that we may say He is Teacher, Sanctifier, Advocate, Monitor, as well as Comforler. Perhaps, however, the last word is the best, because
that may include all the others in its meaning. If you are ignorant, knowledge gives comfort. If you are polluted
, sanctification gives comfort. If you are friendless
, an advocate is a comfort. If you are apt to forget
, even prime truths and gracious privileges,
, and valued properly the privileges set be-
, of the world. I wish I could shew you the
, and then you would be convinced that He is
Let us pass on. There is a difference between
And then the world, what a word this is ! How
that may include all the others in its meaning. If you are ignorant, knowledge gives comfort. ure polluted, sanctification gives comfort. If you are riendless, an advocate is a comfort. If you are apt o forget, even prime truths and gracious privileges, o have a monitor close at hand, reminding and promptng you, is like having a Comforter. Oh! how the ather has provided for His children! I wish we were ll dutiful, and valued properly the privileges set beore us. But we do not, sad to say.
We will read it thus, if you please. He is the Comvrter of true Christians; and He is the Reprover, the onvicter, of the world. I wish I could shew you the orking of a contrite heart, and then you would be invinced that the Holy Ghost is the Comforter. I sh I could shew you the working of an impenitent art, and then you would be convinced that He is Reprover. But there is no necessity-you have a art of your own, study that. Let us pass on.
There is a difference between vroof and conviction. You may be reproved and yet $ convicted. Often reproof is as the outer door, i conviction the inner. You must go through the ; to get at the other; so that, after all, we shall ; err, I think, if we take both the readings before
reprove, as in the text; convince, as in the margin. Ind then the world, what a word this is ! How ay sermons have been preached about it! How ch has been said, right and wrong, on that one
THE GREAT REPROVER.
" they believe not on Me.” The sin of unbelief! Oh!
, lying, deceit, and all; for it is written," he
, and to you, and to me. Now mark the work
imminent peril to
single expression ! 'Tis one of the three great enemies, taken in one sense; and 'tis a beautiful palace of enchantment, taken in another. Now, as is generally the case, people take that meaning which they like best; they choose ; and this may be foul heresy (alpeols, choosing.) When a man is about to plunge into sinful vanities, if a monitor at hand holds him back, saying, “Beware of the world;" he may do the most foolish and wicked thing, if he plunges in nevertheless, without giving the monitor's warning a thought. Crowds are ruined thus. This is heresy with a vengeance.
In the passage before us, some say the Apostle meaneth the Jewish world, or order of things; and so confine the subject to the then state of affairs. Whereas, others would widen the meaning of the word, to suit the common acceptation of it. Indeed, we say the world in a limited sense sometimes, as when we say—“all the world was there;" or, “all the world believes it” —meaning a great many people. We must not force words of scripture, any more than other words, and make them yield only a rigid, and definite, and precise meaning. No; we had better take the spirit of an expression, rather than the letter oftentimes. Let us take the meaning, then, in a wide and comprehensive sense; holding Jew and Gentile, Jewry and England, and every other land under the sun.
And now we can proceed with our subject. He will reprove, or convince the world of sin.
Of sin, because
di the Comforter. On that noted day of Pentecost, Then He came down with power, by a single sermon of Peter
, He convinced three thousand souls. They
Go on a little. At Ephesus, a metropolis of idolatry,
they believe not on Me.” The sin of unbelief! Oh! this is the great sin. We talk of the sin of murder, of the sin of theft, of lying, of deceit, and we are tempted to think that unbelief is no sin. When some one tells us of a sacred verity, we can turn on our heel, and with a too flippant tongue, say—“I don't believe it.” And perhaps that may be worse for us than murder, theft, lying, deceit, and all; for it is written," he that believeth not shall be damned." Oh! think not or a moment, my dear brethren, that you can believe his or that, or not, just as you please, without most mminent peril to your souls.
“If ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in our sins," said the Saviour to the Jews, and to the Gentiles, and to you, and to me. Now mark the work f the Comforter. On that noted day of Pentecost, ihen He came down with power, by a single sermon f Peter, He convinced three thousand souls. They ne and all exclaimed-" It is He! It is He! we have nned because we believed not that it was He, the [essiah, the Saviour, the Son of God Most High.” hey continued steadfast in that faith.
Go on a little. At Ephesus, a metropolis of idolatry, te court of the great Diana, the Holy Ghost came. Many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed eir deeds; many of them also which used curious ts, brought their books together, and burned them fore all men: and they counted the price of them, d found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mighti
THE GREAT REPROVER,
ly grew the word of God and prevailed ; so convinced were they of the great sin of unbelief.
But go on a little further still. The popular altars are forsaken, the sacrifices neglected, idol worship totters and falls, the whole Roman empire is convinced that it is a sin not to believe in Jesus, " It is He! It is He !” is echoed everywhere, and the Cross con
go unto the Father, and ye see Me no more." How
, that is, My righteousness, or
. Pilate said so, in fact, when he washed his
"I go to the Father," said the maligned and per-
quers the world.
Alas! Alas! then, too, the enemy came in like a flood; and that general deluge did not abate until the spirit of the Lord lifted up His standard again. We have the Re-formation. But I must not proceed in this strain.
There is somebody in this church who once was careless about religion, who was given to vanity, and fond of the evil world; but conviction was wrought in the soul; and turning round from the big idol formerly worshipped, there was the meek and lowly Jesus" It is He! It is He !” exclaimed that poor sinner, seeing that glorious Saviour. Peace and joy in believing was the result, and the Comforter was the gracious Agent in the marvellous change. Shall I name whom I mean? No; Is it not I? Is it not you ? Oh! say it is; for if you believe not that it is He, you shall perish in your sins. The crowning sin, the big sin of all, is unbelief. “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. He that believeth not shall be damned."
But let us proceed—“ Of righteousness because I
Mark the character of the early Christians" See, how they love !" “ They allow themselves in no sin ;) Fere the exclamations of the world, convinced of their integrity or righteousness. It is so now. Who is a Christian! He who loveth righteousness, and sheweth it forth. He is no Christian who is one of forms and Beredaonies merely. You may bow and cross yourself kre ever, and yet be no Christian. Are you maligned? des He-Are your principles misunderstood? So were His -- Do they call you hypocrite, fawner, team
, a marrer of their pleasures? They called Him
a clear as the noon. When you dre, your enemies
hil say="Aye, he was a Christian.” “May I die