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 send Him unto you.
'But if I go, I will send Him to you.' And He did go, and He did send Him, and this day He did send Him. So that between this text and this feast there is that mutual reference and reciprocation that is between promissio missionis and missio promissionis, 'the promise of the sending,' and 'the sending of the promise;' the promise of the sending, the substance of the text, and the sending of the promise, the substance of the solemnity; it being the solemnity of mittam and veient, both in the text, the sending and coming of the Holy Ghost.
Christ's words they be, and all is nothing else but a setting forth or demonstration of the non veniet--of non veniet, the not coming, and of expedit, the expediency of Christ's going, and consequently of this feast.
There seems to be a question here, whether best the [163/164] Comforter come, or not come; that is, whether any Whitsuntide or no? The question of His coming grew out of another, of Christ's going; whether best Christ go or not go, that is, whether any Ascension day or no. The Apostles were all mainly against His going, and so opposed hard against the Ascension. But here Christ resolveth the point thus: if they were against the Ascension, they lost festum Paracleti, a feast which they might not miss out of their calendar; and so with promising them this, persuades them to beat with that; to yield to the Ascension in hope of Whitsuntide.
Which two feasts are both in the text, and the two main points of it. Here is an abeam, a going, and here is a veniet, a coming; Christ's going, that is the Ascension; the Holy Spirit's coming, that is Pentecost, the day which we now celebrate, as it were ¢uttiballÒmeua, one to make amends for the other. And you will observe it as usual. After Christmas day, and the poor estate of Christ's birth, there comes the Epiphany with a star, and great men's oblations, as by way of compensation. Presently after Good Friday and the sorrow of His passion, Easter day follows straight, the day of His triumph, to revive us again. And even so here, upon His Ascension or going from us, there ensues Whitsunday, the mends together withal. No impedit without an expedit, no abeam but a mittam; no going away to bring a loss, but a coming too to make a supply.
The truth is, Ascension-day, though to Him it were a day of glory, yet to them it could not be but a day of sorrow. It was a going to His Father, but it was a going from them. Going from them, they were to lose Him; and loss breeds sorrow; and a great loss, as this was, great sorrow. It did so: the very next words before these are. 'Your hearts are full of sorrow.' And good reason. 1. To part with, to forego any friend, is a grief. Not without some grief doth the Apostle recount, that even Demas was fallen off, and had forsaken Him. 2. And if any friend, how much more of such a friend as Christ was to them? It was a festival all the while, and they 'the children of the Bride-chamber,' so long as He was with them. To forego such an one, must fill up the measure a good way.
[164/165] 3. But to fill it full: if to part with such an one be grievous at any time, then to part with Him; then He to leave us and we Him, when we have most need of Him, when troubles are at hand, is above measures grievous. And at hand they were, persecutions to rise, and they to be in that case, that they that cut their throats should 'think they did God good service.' If needs He would leave them, He should stay till fair weather. Now a tempest is toward, then to be left, is the worst time that may be.
Now join all these--1. of a friend, 2. of such a friend, 3. at such a time, to be deprived--and tell me if there were not great reason, ut tristitia impleret cor eorum, 'their hearts should be full of sorrow' for His going. Non expedit ut abeas. This for them.
Now for Christ: we shall see, quam incertæ providentiæ nostræ. It falleth out many times men are grieved with that which is for their good, and earnestly are set on that which is not expedient for them. It was their case in desiring Christ might not go. All was out of mistaking. Therefore Christ begins: 'But I tell you the truth;' as much to say, You are in error all the while, 'your hearts be full of sorrow' because your heads are full of error. You conceive of My stay as beneficial to you, but falsely: 'I tell you true,' it is so far from that impediet, 'it will hinder you,' turn to your loss. You apprehend My going as an hindrance, but err. 'I tell you true,' expedit vobis, 'it will be your gain.' This gain and loss are set down both: The loss, in the not coming; the gain, in the coming of the Comforter, this day. This coming, or not coming, depends upon Christ's going, or His stay. Non veniet nisi, 'if Christ go not He cometh not:' veniet si, 'if Christ go, He cometh.' Seeing then you will be losers by My stay, and gainers by My going, be not for My stay, My stay will deprive you of Him, non veniet. Be not against My going, My absence will procure you Him; Mittam. I love you not so evil, as to say with you for your hurt. Be not grieved, be not against that which is for your good.
The manner of this answer is, 1. first, retorquendo--holden ever to be the best. You think it will hinder you; I say sum_rei, 'it will benefit you' that I go. 2. Then to prove it He proceeds, abducendo ad absurdum. For why, 'if I go [165/166] not,' there will follow a main inconvenience, which by no means is to be admitted, and that is, non veniet Paracletus. The experience of veniet, we deuce out of the inconvenience of non veniet.
This inconvenience, if He go not. What, if He go? He will come certainly, for He will be sure to send Him. Now choose whether I shall go, and you have Him; or stay, and you want Him. The answer is clear: have Him you must, want Him you may not. So, if this be the case, if no Ascension, no Pentecost, we yield, Ascendat Christus, ut descendat Paracletus.
Where we have to consider of these. 1. Of the reason: 'It is expedient,' 'expedient for you I go.'
Then of the two. 1. The inconvenience of non veniet, the Holy Ghost not coming; 2. and of the necessity of si non abiero, that Christ must go, that He may come.
And last, of veniet and mittam, His coming, and Christ's sending. Where we are to treat, 1. of Paracletus, His name and nature first; 2. and then of the time, and manner of His sending.
1. There is no act of our Saviour Christ's, but ever at the first view there sheweth forth; no speech, but ever at the first hearing there soundeth some virtue in it. As here, in this, that virtue which the Apostle calleth prvÒthta,. His 'mildness' and equity- the beams of that virtue brake forth in this. 1. Herein is equity: this very first, that He would yield to yield them a reason of His departure; not use His authority as well as He might, come and go at His pleasure--who could ask Him why? But even condescends to render them, though far His inferiors, a reason of His going and coming, which sure He was no way bound to do.
2. And what reason? that is next. It is not licet, what is lawful for Him, but expedit, what is 'expedient' or meet to do.
And thirdly, His expedit is not expedit Mihi, but expedit vobis, meet or 'expedient,' not for Himself, but for them to whom He renders it.
There was amongst the heathen, one that would have his will stand for reason. And was there non such among the people of God? Yes; we find one of whom it was said, [166/167] Thus it must be, for Hophni will not have it so, but thus. His reason is, 'for he will not;' and God grant none such be found among Christians.
But among Christians, there were that stood with St. Paul upon licet: what they might do, this was lawful for them, and who should abridge them of it? St. Paul may well seem to have had relation there to His Master's reason here, where He teacheth them a better rule, if they could hit of it, that licet is not it, expedit is Christ's, and is the true Christian's reason.
And not expedit at large. for so we know not whom it refers to. It may be to Himself, expedit Mihi; as all the world's reasons tread inward. No, but expedit vobis, for them, their profit and benefit, rather than His own. We find one before in this Gospel, and he was the High Priest, that made him from expedit, but it was a expedit nobis--so reasons Caiphas there But Christ our High Priest taketh it the other way. I do it because 'it is expedient for you' that I do it. And the Apostle followeth Him in that too: use your rulers, your spiritual rulers, so as 'they may do their office with joy, not with grief;' ¢lusitelesj, 'for that is not good for you:' not for you, hear you, and let them go. Well, certainly herein is equity, herein is mildness, in these two first words. It was to His Father and to His glory He went. He would not do it, but acquaint them with the reason of it; and that reason was, He would not do it but that it was for their good. I have enough from these three, if we learn to avoid 1. Hophni's non vult enim, to make our vult our enim; and the 2. Corinthians' standing with him upon his licet; 3. and frame our rule by expedit; and that, not Caiaphas' expedit nobis, but Christ's expedit vobis; for you it is good, you the Disciples; and make that the rule of our going and coming in. This for expedit vobis.
If it be good, and good for them, they will not hinder it; nemo impedit quod expedit; that lesson will soon be learned to yield to that which is for our behoof. All the matter will be, to bring expedit vobis and ut ego abeam together; to understand that good; how ego abeam can be 'expedient' for them. Indeed it is hard to conceive. This we can well conceive--expedit vobis ut Ego veniam, 'expedient it is, that [167/168] I come,'--and say with the Apostle, etiam veni, 'yea, come Lord,' come quickly. And this we can also--expedit vobis ut Ego maneam, expedient that I tarry--and say with them, Luke the twenty-fourth, mane nobiscu, Domine; yea, 'tarry with us good Lord.' It is more than expedient for Thee so to do. But expedit vobis ut Ego abeam, 'expedient I go my way and leave you,' durus est hic sermo, 'it is a hard saying' and who can endure it, that it should be good for them or for any to have Christ go from them or forsake them?
And sure, the proposition is not so hard, but the reason that induceth it is as hard and more, if more may be: 'The Comforter will not come.' Be it so; let Him not come, stay you. In Te satis nobis, we are well enough, we desire no other Comforter. And the other moves not neither, 'unless I go; why may He not stay, and He come not withstanding? What hinders it but we may enjoy both together? Two difficulties which must be cleared, or we cannot proceed.
Non veniet, that may be answered with ne veniat. But He is 'a Comforter.' No comfort to Christ; no loss so great as to lose Him: if we may keep Him, we care not.--ne veniat. Stay His ascension, we fear not Pentecost. But He is in earnest, and tells us for a truth it is altogether expedient the Holy Spirit come; so expedient, ut expedit ut Ego abeam, potius quam Ille ne veniat; 'better I go, than He not come;' of the two, better I spared than He. So it must be, else He said nothing; else the balance hangs even, one as good as the other; they may take which they will, say there were well enough as they are. But weigh the feasts together, Ascension and Pentecost, the expedience of Ego abeam, and the expedience of Ille veniet; better Christ depart than the Holy Ghost stay from us. This sets before us and shows us the greatness of this day's benefit, consequently the highness of this feast; that the Holy Ghost is equal to Christ, else should we be at an after-deal, and change for our loss: no, St. Augustine prayeth well, Domine da mihi alium Te, alioqui non dimittam Te, 'Give us another as good as Yourself, or we will never leave that, or consent that You leave us;' but that some inequality there is, else they might stand as they are, seeing they should be never the better; but sure as [168/169] the case standeth, more for their behoof than Christ Himself.
We shall never see it in kind, the expedience of veniet, the absolute necessity of His coming, till we see the inconvenience of non veniet, that is by no means may be admitted, we cannot be without Him. First then, absolute necessity it is; in both the main principal works of the Deity all three Persons co-operate, and have their concurrence. As in the begining of the creation, not only dixit Deus was required, which was the Word, but ferabatur Spiritus, the motion of the Spirit, to give the spirit of life, the life of nature. As in the beginning of creation, not only dixit Deus was required, which was the Word, but ferabutur Spiritus, the motion of the Spirit, to give the spirit of life, the life of nature. As in the Genesis, so in the Palingenesy [i.e. regeneration] of the world, a like necessity; not only the Word should take flesh, but flesh also receive the Spirit to give life, even the life of grace to the 'new creature.' It was the counsel of God that every Person in the Trinity should have His part in both, in one work no less than the other, and we therefore baptize into all Three.
But I add secondly; more than expedient it is, the work of our salvation be not left half undone, but be brought to the full perfection, with which non veniet cannot be. If the Holy Spirit come not, Christ's coming can do us no good; when all is done, nothing is done. No? Said not He consummatum est? Yes, and said it truly in respect of the work itself; but quod nos, in regard of us and making it ours, non consummatum est, if the Holy Ghost come not too. Shall I follow the Apostle, and humanum dicere, 'to speak after the manner of men, because of our infirmity?' God Himself so expressed it. A word is of no force though written, which we call a deed, till the seal be added, that makes it authentic. God has borrowed those very terms from us; Christ is the Word, the Holy Spirit the Seal in Quo signati estis. Nis veniat, if the Seal come not too, nothing is done.
2. Yea, The very will of a testator, when it is sealed, is still in suspense till administration be granted. Christ is the Testator 'of the New Testament;' 'the administration is the Spirit's.' If that come not, the Testament is to small purpose.
3. Take Christ as a purchaser. The purchase is made, the price is paid, yet is not the state perfect unless there be investiture, or, as we call it, livery and seizin: that maketh it [169/170] complete. Perquisitio, that very word is Christ's; but the investiture is by the Spirit. If He come not, we lack that: that we may not lack; and so, not lack Him. What will ye that I say? Unless we be joined to Him, as well as He to us; as He to us by our flesh, so we to Him by His Spirit; nothing is done. The exchange is not perfect, unless as He takes our flesh, so He gives us His Spirit; as He carries up that to heaven, so He sends this down into earth. You know it is the first question the Apostles asked, 'Have ye received the Holy Ghost since you believed?' If not, all else is to no purpose. Without it, we are still, as Jude calls us, animales, Spiritum non habentes, 'natural men, but without the Spirit.' And this is a certain rule, Qui non habet, 'He who hath not His Spirit, is none of His,' Christ profiteth Him nothing.
Shall I let you see one inconvenience more of non veniet? As nothing is done for us, so nothing can be done by us, if He come not. No means on our part avail us aught. 1. Not Baptism, for nisi ex Spiritu, if He come not, well may it wash soil from our skin, but no stain from our soul; no laver of regeneration without 'renewing of the Holy Spirit.' 2. No preaching either, for that is but 'a letter that kills,' except the Spirit comes too and quickens it. 3. No Sacrament; we have a plain text for, it, 'the flesh profiteth nothing,' if the Lord and Giver of life, the Spirit be away. 4. To conclude, no prayer, for nisi, 'unless' the Spirit helps our infirmity, and make intercession with us, we neither know how, nor what to pray. So the Spirit must come to all, and it goeth through; neither can aught be done for us, or by us without it. Away then we ne veniat; we cannot say it, we may not think it. We cannot spare this first. Another veniat there must be, a second Advent besides Christ's. Christ's advent begins all, this ends all our solemnities. Come He must; and we must all agree to say, Veni Creator Spiritus; the inconvenience of non veniet we cannot endure.
But then, there ariseth a new difficulty upon si non abiero. We see a necessity of His coming, but we see no necessity of Christ's going. Why not Christ stay, and yet He come? Why may not Christ send for Him, as well as send Him? [170/171] Or if He go, come again with Him? Before it was, Ne veniat Ille, mane Tu; now it is, Veniat Ille, et mane Tu. Why not? Are they like two buckets? one cannot go down, unless the other go up? If it be so expedient He come, Christ I trust is not impedient, but He may come.
Christ sure and He are not ¢sÚstatoi, 'incompatible;' they may be, and abide together well enough. We believe, He was conceived by the Holy Ghost; then, no antipathy between them. At His baptism He was known by this, that 'the Spirit rested and stayed upon Him;' why not now as well? We see not how this holds, 'if I go not He will not come.' It cannot be denied they two can stay together well enough; and the time will come we shall enjoy them both together, and the Father with them. That time is not yet; now, it is otherwise, or for any let in themselves, that is not all; but for some further matter and considerations noted by the Fathers, for which it was expedient Christ should go, that the Holy Ghost might come.
First, for veniet. The Holy Ghost cannot come as He should. He should come as God. The stay of Christ would have been a let of the manifestation of His Godhead. To manifest His Godhead, being to show great signs and work great wonders, if Christ had still remained and not gone His way, they would not well have been distinguished, and great odds have been ascribed to Christ. So the Holy Ghost had wanted the honour and estimation due to Him, an impeachment it would have been to His divinity. But Christ ascending, all such imaginations cease.
From mittam Eum: a little impeachment it would have been to Christ's equality with His Father. For, He not going to send Him, but staying still here, the sending of the Spirit would have been ascribed to the Father alone, as His sole act. This would have been the most; that the Father for His sake had sent Him, but He as God had no honour of the sending. Being ascended and glorified, mittam will straight be conceived--Quem mittet Pater, et Quem mittam a Patre; that with the Father He sends Him equally, and we alike beholden to them both.
A third is in vobis, on their part also. As their case was to be, it was so meet, even in regard of them. They were to [171/172] be sent abroad into all coasts, to be scattered all over the earth, to preach the Gospel, and not to stay together still in one place. His corporal presence would have stood them in small stead; He could have been resident but on one place, to have comforted some one of them: St. James at Jerusalem, as for John at Ephesus, or Thomas in India, or Peter at Babylon. The Spirit that was to succeed, was much more fit for men dispersed. He could be, and was present with them all, and with every one, by Himself, as filling the compass of the whole world.
This, as their case was to be. But the Fathers rather pitch upon their estate, as presently it was: vobis, that is, vobis sic dispositis; 'for you,' that is, 'you so disposed' as I find you are. So, it is ad homies, to them affected in such sort as then they were. Whereby he giveth us to understand, some are in that case as it is expedient Christ withdraw Himself from them. And is there any vobis, can any man be in that case it should be good for Christ to depart from him? It seemeth so. We see oftentime the case so standeth even in regard of this life, that from some it is good their meat be taken, and yet is meat the stay of their life; that from some it is good their blood be taken, yet blood is nature's treasure, and that holdeth us in life; that from some light be taken, in some diesase of the eyes. yet is light the comfort of this life. All this we conceive: Expedit ut cibus, ut sanguis, ut lux abeat, and all the better than expedit ut Christus abeat; we may spare them all the better than Him.
Yet Christ it is That telleth it us, and telleth it us for a matter of great truth, these were--and whose case is better than these? But if these, some there are in that case it may be said to them truly, It is expedient I be gone. And what case may that be? Even that case that makes the mother many times withdraw herself from her young child, whom she loves full tenderly, when the child grows foolishly fond of her; which grew to be their case just. Christ's flesh, and His fleshly presence, that, and none but that. So strangely fond they grew of that as they could not endure He should go out of their sight; nothing but His carnal presence would quiet them. We know who said, 'If Thou hadst been here [172/173] Lord;'--as if absent He had not been as able to do it by His Spirit; as present by His body. And 'a tabernacle' they would needs build Him, to keep Him on earth still; and ever and anon they were still dreaming of an earthly kingdom, and of the chief seats there, as if their consummation should have been in the flesh. These fancies--indeed, errors they fell into, about the flesh; they had need to have it taken from them. The Spirit was quite gone; they had more need to have Him sent. This was at no hand to be cherished in them, they were not to be held as children still, but to grow to man's estate, to perfect age and strength, and so consequently to be weaned from the corporal presence of His flesh; or to hang all by sense, to which, it is too true, they were too much addicted. The corporal therefore to be removed, that the spiritual might take place; the visible, that the invisible; and they, not in sight or sense as hitherto, but in spirit and truth henceforth to cleave unto Him. To say with the Apostle, 'If we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth we know Him so no more.' This was for them, and we should have been no better, as now we are; the flesh will but hinder the spirit, even the best.
1. One vobis, when men grow faint in seeking, and careless in keeping Him, as in Canticles the third, 'lie in bed, and seek Him.' Gone He was, and meet He should so be, to teach them to rise and seek, to watch and keep Him better.
2. Another vobis, when men grow high conceited and overweening of themselves, and their own strength; and say, with David, non movebor, as if they had Christ pinned to them; and with Peter, Etsi omnes non ego. It is more than time Christ be gone from such, to teach them to see and know themselves better.
But if Christ leave us, if He withdraw His spiritual presence, we fall into sin; and that cannot be expedient for any. 'Good that I have been in trouble,' for 'before I was troubled, I went wrong;' but not good for any to fall [173/174] into sin. Yes indeed: Audio dicere, saith St. Augustine, 'I dare avow it,' Expedit superbo ut incidat in peccatum-- there are the very terms-- 'it is expedient they fall into some notorious sin,' as David, as Peter did, that their faces may be filled with shame, and they by that confusion learn to walk with more humility. 'The messenger of Satan' that was sent the Apostle to buffet him, was of this nature, and to no other end sent, but to prevent this malady. In a word, Christ must withdraw--no remedy--that we may grow humble, and being humble, the Holy Ghost may come; for He cometh to none, rests on none, 'giveth grace to' none, but 'the humble.' So we see, Christ may be and is, even according to His spiritual presence, withdrawn from some persons, and for their good, (Christus abit, ut Paracletus veniat,) and that many ways meet it is, it so should be. This makes us say, Go 'Lord, set up Thyself above the heavens, and Thy glory over all the earth.'
If He go not, the Holy Ghost will not come. But, if Christ go, will He come? shall we not be left to the wide world without both? Will the Comforter come? He will; for Christ will not fail but send Him. If He take His body from our eyes, He will send His Spirit into our hearts. But sent He will be; here is mittam Eum, and so He did. Christ sent Him, and He came; and in memory of this veniet et mittam, hold we this day. He did, to them; but will He also to us? He will. And shall we see fiery tongues; but Illum, 'Him,' 'the Comforter.' And comfort it is we seek. It is not the 'tongues' or 'fire' we care for, or will do us good. We conceive, I trust, after two manners He came as this day: 1. One visible, 'in tongues of fire that sat upon their heads;' 2. The other invisible, by inward graces whereby He possessed their hearts. The former was but for ceremony at first; the other is it, the real matter, Illum, 'Him.' And Him this day as well as that, this day and ever, He will not fail to send. Always we are to think His promise and His prayer were not for these only, but for all that should believe on Him, by their word, to the world's end.
Now this last point--these two, 1. mittam, 2. Illum--we specially to look to. Christ is gone, once for all. We [174/175] have no hold now but of this promise, 'I will send Him.' That we take heed we forgo not Him, and lose our part in that promise too. A great part of the world is sure in this case: Christ is gone, and the Comforter is not sent. Not this; for I speak not of the world's comfort, the rich man's, qui habeat hîc consolationem 'who had his comfort here,' in good fare and bravery, and all manner delights of the flesh,--flesh-comforts; but this here is Paracletus Qui est Spiritus.
And because all religions promise a spiritual comfort, it is said further, Paracletus Qui est Spiritus veritatis, no spirit of error, but 'the Spirit of truth.' And because all Christians, though counterfeit, claim an interest in Spiritus veritatis, yet further it is added, Paracletus qui est Spiritus sanctus. He is no unclean Spirit, but one sanctifying, and leading us into a holy and clean life. This is the true Comforter, and none other that Christ promiseth to send.
Christ will send Him. But, that we mistake Him not, not unless we call for Him, and be ready to entertain Him, for cletus is in Paracletus. Of which let me tell you these three things; it is the chief word of the text, and chief thing of the Feast. It is translated 'Comforter;' that translation is but ad homines, for their turn to whom He speaks; for as their case was, they needed that office of His most. But the true force of the word paracletus is advocatus--not the noun but the participle--one called to, sent for, invited to come, upon what occasion, or for what end soever it be. For what end soever it be, the person sent for is paracletus properly, pro eâ vice; for that time and turn, advocatus. But because 'the spirit of the world' ruleth in this world, the worldly affairs come thickest, our affections in that kind so many and often, it is come to pass that the lawyer has carried away the name of advocatus from the rest, and they grown to be the paracleti of this world, called for even from the Prince to the Peasant, and consulted with, none so often. The Physician, he hath his time and turn of advocation, to be a paracletus too, but nothing so oft: as for Barnabas, which is interpreted 'the son of consolation,' never till both 'Zenas the Lawyer,' and 'Luke the Physician' have given us over; never called for, but when it is too late..
But first, from mittam Paracletum, this we have, Mittam, [175/176] Christ 'will send;' but Paracletum, if you send for Him. Veniet, 'come He will,' but not come, unless called; nor sent, but sent for. If we call Him, veniet, 'He will come;'if we send for Him, He will send Him. That is our duty, but what is our practice? We miss in this first, we call not for Him. We find no time for Him, He is fain to call for us, to ring a bell for us, to send about to get us, and then are we advocati, not He. When we send for Him, He is Paracletus; when He for us, then we are, and not He:--if we be that, if we be advocati, and not rather avocati; every trifling occasion being enough to call us away. Thus we stumble at the very threshold; and do we yet marvel if Christ send Him not, nor He come?
Men are sent for some end; and divers are the ends, thereafter as our need is. We send not for them only when we are in heaviness, to comfort us, but when we are in doubt, to resolve us; which is the second significance, and so Paracletus is turned 'advocate' or 'counsellor.' And the Holy Ghost looketh to be sent for both--for counsel, as well as for consolation. For both. He is good for both. Yes, many are His uses; and therefore He thinks much to be sent for but for one, as if He were good for nothing else. If we be in doubt, He is able to resolve us; if perplexed, to advise and to guide; if we know not how, to frame our petition for us; if we know not, to teach; if we forget, to remember us; and not only one use, as we fancy, if we be out of heart, to comfort us.
And because His uses are many, His types are so. 'Water' sometimes, sometimes 'fire.' One while 'wind,' one while 'ointment;' and according to our several wants we send to Him: for fire, to warm; for wind to cool; for water, to cleanse us; for oil, to supply us. And as His types, so His names: 'the Spirit of truth,' 'the Spirit of counsel,' 'the Spirit of holiness,' 'the Spirit of comfort.' And according to His several faculties, we to invocate, or call for, Him by that name that is most for our use or present occasion. For all these, He looks we should send for Him.
Our error is, as if He were only for one use or office--for comfort alone; so, in all others we let Him alone, and if never in heaviness, never look after Him, or care once to hear [176/177] of Him. But He is for advice, and direction also. No less Paracletus, 'a counsellor,' than Paracletus, 'a comforter.' He is not sent by Christ to comfort only. You may see by the very next words, the first thing He doth when He cometh is, He shall 'reprove,' which is far from comforting. But sent He is, as well to mediate with us for God, as with God for us. God's Paracletus, 'His Solicitor,' to call on us for our duty; as our Paracletus, or Comforter, to minister us comfort in time of need.
Our manner is, we love to be left to ourselves, in our consultations to advise with flesh and blood, thence to take our direction, all our life; and when we must part, then send for Him for a little comfort, and there is all the use we have of Him. But he who will have comfort from Him, must also take counsel of Him; have use of Him as well against error and sinful life, as against heaviness of mind. If not, here is your doom. Where you have had your counsel, there seek your comfort; he who has been your counsellor all the time of your life, let him be your comforter at the hour of your death. And good reason. He will not be Paracletus at halves, to stand by all else, and only to be sent for in our infirmity.
Base it is to send for Him never but when in extreme need; but even otherwise, extra casum necessitatis, for entertaining of acquaintance and to grow familiar, as we use to do those we delight in. the word par_, giveth as much. He should be near us, by us; one ordinary, not a stranger, to call or send for a great way off. It is so expedient that He may know us thoroughly, and we Him; the best and nearest way to find sure comfort, when most we shall need it. For he who should minister it soundly indeed, had need be familiarly acquainted with the state of our souls, that he may be ready and ripe then. To go to a lawyer's reading, and not hear it, serves us not for our worldly doubts; not to hear the physic lecture, for the complaints of our bodies. No; we make them paracletos, we call them to us, we question with them in particular, we have private conference about our estates. Only for our souls' affairs, it is enough to take our directions in open Churches, and there delivered in gross; private conference we endure not, a paracletus there we need not.
[177/178] ne we must have, to know thoroughly the state of our lands or goods; one we must have, entirely acquainted with the state of our body; in our souls, it holds not. I say no more; it were good it did. We make Him a stranger all our life long; He is Paraclitus, as they were wont to pronounce Him, truly Paraclitus, 'One whom we declined,' and looked over our shoulders at; and then in our extremity, suddenly He is Paracletus; we seek and send for Him, we would come a little acquainted with Him. But take we heed of nescio vos. It is a true answer; we take too little a time to breed acquaintance in. Nescio vos, I fear, they find that so seek Him; Paracletus, they do not, Paraclitus rather.
This, of Paracletus. Now of mittam, the 1. time, and the 2. manner; both are to the purpose. the time, that when He sends we make ready for Him. The time of the year was this time, in the spring, the fairest and best part of it. The time of the month, the third day; (so they deduce from the fifteenth day, the day of the Passover, and so fifty days, it will so fall out by calculation:), that is, the beginning of the month; the time of the day: it was before 'the third hour,' that is, nine of the clock in the morning plainly. So it was still prime. These teach us, it would be in our prime, the time of health and strength, when we lay the grounds of our comfort; not to tarry till the frost and snow of our life, 'till the evil days come, and the years approach, whereof we shall say, we have no pleasure in them.' He in the spring, we in the end of the year. He in the beginning of the month, we in the last quarter; no, even pridie calendas. He before nine in the morning; we not till after nine at night. If we shall keep time with Him, we know what His time is of sending.
The manner is best, and it is in the body of the word. As the 'spirit of truth' by preaching; as 'the Holy Ghost' by prayer; the Paracletus, we know what He means, per Paraclesin, 'by invitation.' As the dove to baptism, the wind to prayer, (aperui os et attraxi Spiritum,) the tongue to a sermon, the Paracletus to Paraclesis, as it were a refreshing; so friends meet, and nourish love and amity, one with another. And even humanum dicere, after natural men, when our spirits are spent and we wax faint, to recover them (or never) in the natural man, it is done no way more kindly than by nourishment; [78/179]specially, such is apt to breed them, as one kind is more apt than other. There is 'a spiritual meat' and 'a spiritual drink' saith the Apostle, in which kind there is none so apt to procreate the Spirit in us as that flesh and blood which was itself conceived and procreate by the Spirit, and therefore full of spirit and life to them that partake it. It is sure to invite and allure the Spirit to come, there is no more effectual way; none, whether Christ will send Him, or whether He will come more willingly, than to the presence of the most holy mysteries. And namely, at this feast, concerning which our Saviour Christ's voice is to sound in our ears, Si quis sitiat, veniat ad Mei 'if any thirst, let him come to Me and drink, which He meant and spoke,' saith St. John, 'of the Spirit, which was to begin at that time especially when He was newly glorified. De Meo accipiet, says Christ of Him, and it is no where more truly fulfilled, than He will take of Christ's and give it us, than it is done of that which is His most intrinsically. That was this very day, and no better opportunity, no fitter time, to receive the Spirit, than the day of the Spirit; the day of Christ's sending, and of His coming. When shall He be sent or come, if then He do not? But keeping the time and observing the manner, we trust in His promise, and call upon that so He will send Him; and upon the Holy Spirit, that so He will come. And as we be His paracleti, 'His guests,' so He will be ours, dwelling with us with His assistance, and being in us by His graces, to life eternal. Which Almighty God grant.