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THE WORK OF JESUS CHRIST AS AN ADVOCATE

Written by: Bunyan, John    Posted on: 03/31/2003

Category: Classic Christian Library

Source: CCN

THE WORK OF JESUS CHRIST AS AN ADVOCATE,

CLEARLY EXPLAINED, AND LARGELY IMPROVED,

FOR THE BENEFIT OF ALL BELIEVERS.

1 John 2:1-- "And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

By JOHN BUNYAN, Author of "The Pilgrim's Progress."

London: Printed for Dorman Newman, at the King's Arms, in the Poultry, 1689.

ADVERTISEMENT BY THE EDITOR.

This is one of the most interesting of Bunyan's treatises, to edit which required the Bible at my right hand, and a law dictionary on my left. It was very frequently republished; but in an edition by John Marshall, 1725, it became most seriously mutilated, many passages were omitted, and numerous errors were made. In this state, it was copied into Mr. Whitefield's edition of his works, and it has been since republished with all those errors. It is now restored to its original state; and we hope that it will prove a most acceptable addition to our theological literature. Although Bunyan was shut up for more than twelve years a prisoner for the truth, and his time was so fully occupied in preaching, writing, and labouring to provide for the pressing wants of his family; still he managed to get acquainted, in a very remarkable manner, with all those law terms which are connected with the duties of a counsel, or advocate. He uses the words replevin, supersedeas, term, demur, nonsuit, reference, title, in forma pauperis, king's bench, common pleas, as properly and familiarly as if he had been brought up to the bar. How extraordinary must have been his mental powers, and how retentive his memory! I examined this work with apprehension, lest he had misapplied those hard words; but my surprise was great, to find that he had used every one of them with as much propriety as a Lord Chief-Justice could have done.

We are indebted for this treatise to Bunyan's having heard a sermon which excited his attention to a common, a dangerous, and a fatal heresy, more frequently preached to crowned heads, mitred prelates, members of parliament, and convocations, than it is to the poor, to whom the gospel is preached. In this sermon, the preacher said to his hearers, "see that your cause be good, else Christ will not undertake it." p. 159. Bunyan heard, as all Christians ought to hear, with careful jealousy, and at once detected the error. He exposes the fallacy, and uses his scriptural knowledge to confute it, by showing that Christ pleads for the wicked, the lost; for those who feel themselves so involved in a bad cause, that no advocate but Christ can bring them through. He manifests great anxiety that every inquirer should clearly ascertain definite truths and not be contented with general notions. See p. 189-199, and 201. This is very important advice, and by following which, we shall be saved from many painful doubts and fears. Our need of an advocate is proved by the fact, that Christ has undertaken the office. Some rely on their tears and sighs, as advocates for them with God; others on imperfect good works-from all these the soul must be shaken, until it finds that there is no prevailing Advocate but the Saviour; and that he alone, with his mystical body, the church, is entitled to the inheritance. Then sincere repentance, sighs, and tears, evidence our faith in him, and our godly sorrow for having occasioned him such inconceivable sufferings; tears of joy that we have such a Saviour and an Advocate, equally omnipotent to plead for, as to save us. The inheritance being Christ's, the members of his body cannot be cheated of it, or alienate it. p. 187. Bunyan, with his fertile imagination, and profound scriptural knowledge, spiritualizes the day of jubilee as a type of the safety of the inheritance of the saints. By our folly and sin we may lose sight for a time of our title deeds; but the inheritance is safe.

The whole work is a rich treat to those who love experimental divinity, and are safe in Christ as Noah was in the ark; but, Oh! how woeful must those be, who are without an interest in the Saviour; and that have none to plead their cause. "They are left to be ground to powder between the justice of God and the sins which they have committed. It is sad to consider their plight. This is the man that is pursued by the law, and by sin, and by death, and has none to plead his cause. Terrors take hold on him as waters; a stone hurleth him out of his place" (Job 27). p. 200. Reader, this is a soul-searching subject-may it lead us to a solemn trial of our state, and to the happy conclusion, that the Saviour is our Advocate, and that our eternal inheritance is safe in heaven.

HACKNEY. MAY 1850. GEORGE OFFOR.



THE EPISTLE TO THE READER.

COURTEOUS READER,

Of all the excellent offices which God the Father has conferred upon Jesus Christ our Lord, this of his being an Advocate with him for us is not the least, though, to the shame of saints it may be spoken, the blessed benefits thereof have not with that diligence and fervent desire been inquired after as they ought.

Christ, as sacrifice, priest, and king, with the glories in, and that flow from, him as such, has, God be thanked, in this our day, been much discovered by our seers, and as much rejoiced in by those who have believed their words; but as he is an Advocate with the Father, an Advocate for us, I fear the excellency of that doth still too much lie hid; though I am verily of opinion that the people of God in this age have as much need of the knowledge thereof, if not more need, than had their brethren that are gone before them.

These words, "if not more need," perhaps may seem to some to be somewhat out of joint; but let the godly wise consider the decays that are among us as to the power of godliness, and what abundance of foul miscarriages the generality of professors now stand guilty of, as also how diligent their great enemy is to accuse them at the bar of God for them, and I think they will conclude, that, in so saying, I indeed have said some truth. Wherefore, when I thought on this, and had somewhat considered also the transcendent excellency of the advocateship of this our Lord; and again, that but little of the glory thereof has by writing been, in our day, communicated to the church, I adventured to write what I have seen thereof, and do, by what doth follow, present it unto her for good.

I count not myself sufficient for this, or for any other truth as it is in Jesus; but yet, I say, I have told you somewhat of it, according to the proportion of faith. And I believe that some will thank God for what I here have said about it; but it will be chiefly those, whose right and title to the kingdom of heaven and glory, doth seem to themselves to be called in question by their enemy, at the bar of the Judge of all.

These, I say, will read, and be glad to hear, that they have an Advocate at court that will stand up to plead for them, and that will yet secure to them a right to the heavenly kingdom. Wherefore, it is more particularly for those that at present, or that hereafter, may be in this dreadful plight, that this my book is now made public; because it is, as I have showed, for such that Jesus Christ is Advocate with the Father.

Of the many and singular advantages, therefore, that such have by this their Advocate in his advocating for them, this book gives some account; as, where he pleads, how he pleads, what he pleads, when he pleads, with whom he pleads, for whom he pleads, and how the enemy is put to shame and silence before their God and all the holy angels.

Here is also showed to those herein concerned, how they indeed may know that Jesus is their Advocate; yea, and how their matters go before their God, the Judge; and particularly that they shall well come off at last, yea, though their cause, as it is theirs, is such, in justification of which, themselves do not dare to show their heads.

Nor have I left the dejected souls without directions how to entertain this Advocate to plead their cause; yea, I have also shown that he will be with ease prevailed with, to stand up to plead for such, as one would think, the very heavens would blush to hear them named by him. Their comfort also is, that he never lost a cause, nor a soul, for whom he undertook to be an Advocate with God.

But, reader, I will no longer detain thee from the perusal of the discourse. Read and think; read, and compare what thou readest with the Word of God. If thou findest any benefit by that thou readest, give the Father, and his Son the glory; and also pray for me. If thou findest me short in this, or to exceed in that, impute all such things to my weakness, of which I am always full. Farewell. I am thine to serve thee what I may, JOHN BUNYAN.



THE CONTENTS OF THIS TREATISE

The apostle's Divine policy, to beget a due regard to his Divine doctrine of eternal life.-The apostle's explication of this expression, viz., The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth from all sin.-The apostle's exhortation to separation from sin, as a good effect of a good cause, viz., Forgiveness-The apostle's addition, to prevent misunderstanding, viz., We have an advocate with the Father . . . . 154

This brings to the text, in which are two great truths contained: I. A supposition, viz., That men in Christ may sin. II. An expression, by way of consolation, in case of sin, viz., We have an Advocate with the Father . . . . 155

Two things for inquiry in these truths: First. An inquiry into what our apostle means by sin; in which is considered, A difference in the person and in the sin. And, Second, An inquiry into what it is for Christ to be an Advocate, viz., To plead for another in a court of judicature . . . .155

Seven things supposed in the office of an advocate: 1. That God, as judge, is on the throne of judgment. 2. That saints are concerned at that bar. 3. That Christians have an accuser. 4. That sinning saints dare not appear at this bar to plead their own cause. 5. That Christians are apt to forget their Advocate, and remember their Judge. 6. To remember our Advocate is the way to support faith and hope.-7. That if our advocate plead our cause (though that be never so black) he is able to bring us off . . . . 155-157

The apostle's triumph in Christ on this account.-An exhortation to the difficult task of believing.-Christ's advocateship declares us to be sorry creatures . . . . 157

THE METHOD OBSERVED IN THE DISCOURSE.

FIRST, TO SPEAK OF THIS ADVOCATE'S OFFICE . . . . 158

First, By touching on the nature of this office . . . . 158

Second, By treating of the order or place of this office . . . . 158

Third, The occasion of this office, viz., some great sin.-Christ, as Advocate, pleads a bad cause.-A good cause will plead for itself.-A bad man may have a good cause, and a good man may have a bad cause.-Christ, the righteous, pleading a bad cause, is a mystery.-The best saints are most sensible of their sins.-A pestilent passage of a preacher . . . . 159,160

SECOND, TO SHOW HOW CHRIST DOES MANAGE HIS OFFICE . . . . 160

First, How he manages his office of Advocate with the Father.-1. ALONE, not by any proxy or deputy.-2. Christ pleads at God's bar; the cause cannot be removed into another court.-If removed from heaven, we have no advocate on earth.-3. In pleading, Christ observes these rules: (1.) He granteth what is charged on us.-(2.) He pleads his own goodness for us.-He payeth all our debts down.-All mouths stopped, who would not have the sinner delivered.-(3.) Christ requires a verdict in order to our deliverance.-The sinner is delivered, God contented, Satan confounded, and Christ applauded . . 160-162

Second, How Christ manages his office of an Advocate against the adversary by argument.-1. He pleads the pleasure of his Father in his merits.-Satan rebuked for finding fault therewith.-2. He pleads God's interest in his people.-Haman's mishap in being engaged against the king's queen.-N. B. It seems a weak plea, because of man's unworthiness; but it is a strong plea, because of God's worthiness.-The elect are bound to God by a sevenfold cord.-The weight of the plea weighed . . . .162-164

Third, Christ pleads his own interest in them.-A parallel between cattle in a pound and Christ's own sheep.-Six weighty reasons in this plea.-1. They are Christ's own.-2. They cost him dear.-3. He hath made them near to himself.-(a.) They are his spouse, his love, his dove; they are members of his body.-(b.) A man cannot spare a hand, a foot, a finger.-Nor can Christ spare any member.-4. Christ pleads his right in heaven to give it to whom he will.-Christ will; Satan will not; Christ's will stands.-5. Christ pleads Satan's enmity against the godly.-Satan is the cause of the crimes he accuses us of.-A simile of a weak-witted child.-6. Christ can plead those sins of saints for them for which Satan would have them damned.-Eight considerations to clear that.-Seven more considerations to the same end.-Men care most for children that are infirm.-A father offended hath been appeased by a brother turning advocate . . . . 164-169

THIRD HEAD.-TO SHOW WHO HAVE CHRIST FOR AN ADVOCATE; WHEREIN ARE THREE THINGS CONTAINED . . . . 169

First, This office of advocate differs from that of a priest.-1. They differ in name.-2. They differ in nature.-3. They differ as to their extent.-4. They differ as to the persons with whom they have to do.-5. They differ as to the matter about which they are employed.-6. Christ, as Priest, precedes; Christ, as Advocate, succeeds . . . . 169

Second, How far this office of an advocate is extended; in five particulars . . . 169

Third, Who have Christ for their Advocate.-1. In general, all adopted children.-Object. The text saith, "If any man sin."-Answ. "Any man," is not any of the world; but any of the children of God.-A difference in children; some bigger than some.-Christ an Advocate for strong men.-2. In particular, to show if Christ be our Advocate-(1.) If one have entertained Christ to plead a cause.-Quest. How shall I know that?-Answ. By being sensible of an action commenced against thee in the high court of justice.-(2.) If one have revealed a cause to Christ.-An example of one revealing his cause to Christ, in a closet.-In order to this, one must know Christ, (a.) To be a friend.-(b.) To be faithful.-(3.) If one have committed a cause to Christ.-In order to this, one must be convinced, (a.) Of Christ's ability to defend him.-(b.) Of Christ's courage to plead a cause.-(c.) Of Christ's will for this work.-(d.) Of Christ's tenderness in case of his client's dullness.-(e.) Of Christ's unweariedness-(4.) If one wait till things come to a legal issue.-Quest. What is it thus to wait?-Answ . (a.) To be of good courage; look for deliverance.-(b.) To keep his way in waiting.-(c.) To observe his directions.-(d.) To hearken to further directions which may come from the advocate.-(e.) To come to no ill conclusion in waiting, viz., that the cause is lost; because one hears not from court.-(f.) To wait waking, not sleeping.-Ordinances and ministers compared to a post house and carriers of letters.-The client's comfortable conclusion about his advocate and cause.-But yet doubting and desponding.-The author's reply to, and compliance with, the client's conclusion; and his counsel in the case . . . . 169-176

FOURTH HEAD-TO SHOW THE CLIENT'S PRIVILEGES, BY THE BENEFIT OF THIS OFFICE OF ADVOCATE . . . . 176

First Privilege.-The Advocate pleads a price paid.-Of a rich brother and his poor brethren.-Of the ill-conditioned man, their enemy.-Further cleared by three considerations . . . .176

Second Privilege.-The client's Advocate pleads for himself also; both concerned in one bottom.-1. He pleads the price of his own blood.-2. He pleads it for his own.-A simile of a lame horse.-Of men going to law for a thing of little worth.-Object. I am but one.-Answ. Christ cannot lose one . . . .177

Third Privilege.-The plea of Satan is groundless.-Satan must be cast over the bar.-A simile of a widow owing a sum of money.-Of an old law nulled1 by a new law.-Satan pleads by the old law; Christ by the new . . . . 177, 178

Fourth Privilege.-Is consequential; the client's accuser must needs be overthrown.-The client's solemn appeal to the Almighty.-In case the accused have no advocate, Satan prevails . . . . 179

Fifth Privilege.-The Advocate hath pity for his client, and indignation against the accuser.-Men choose an advocate who hath a quarrel against their adversary . . . . 179

Sixth Privilege.-The judge counts the accuser his enemy.-To procure the judge's son to plead, is desirable . . . .179, 180

Seventh Privilege.-The client's Advocate hath good courage; he will set his face like a flint.-He pleads before the God, and all the host, of heaven.-He is the old friend of publicans and sinners.-He pleads a cause bad enough to make angels blush.-Love will do, and bear, and suffer much . . . . 180

Eighth Privilege.-The Advocate is always ready in court.-He appears NOW in the presence of God . . . . 180, 181

Ninth Privilege.-The Advocate will not be blinded with bribes . . . . 181

Tenth Privilege.-The Advocate is judge in the client's cause.-Joseph's exaltation was Israel's advantage.-God's care of his people's welfare . . . .182

Eleventh Privilege.-The Advocate hath all that is requisite for an advocate to have . .182

FIFTH.-LAST HEAD.-TO SHOW THE NECESSITY OF CHRIST FOR OUR ADVOCATE . . . .182

First.-To vindicate the justice of God against the cavils of the devil.-Satan charges God with unjust words and actions.-God is pleased with his design to save sinners . . . . 183

Second.-There is law to be objected against us.-Christ appeals to the law itself.-Christ is not ashamed to own the way of salvation . . . . 183, 184

Third.-Many things give our accuser advantage.-1. Many things relating to the promises.-2. Many things relating to our lives.-3. The threats annexed to the gospel. . . 184, 185

Fourth.-To plead about our afflictions for sins.-A simile of a man indicted at the assizes, and his malicious adversary.-An allusion to Abishai and Shimei, who cursed David . . . . 186

Fifth.-To plead the efficacy of our old titles to our inheritance, if questionable because of new sins-Saints do not sell their inheritance by sin . . . . 186, 187

Sixth.-Our evidences are oft out of our hand, and we recover them by our Advocate 188

SIXTH.-OBJECTIONS REMOVED . . . . 188

First Object.-What need all these offices or nice distinctions.-Answ. The wisdom of God is not to be charged with folly.-God's people are baffled with the devil for want of a distinct knowledge of Christ in all his offices . . . . 188, 189

Second Object.-My cause being bad, Christ will desert me.-Answ. Sin is deadly destruction to faith.-A five-fold order observed in the exercise of faith . . . 189, 190

Third Object.-But who shall pay the Advocate his fee?-Answ. There is law, and lawyers too, without money.-Christ pleads for the poor.-David's strange gift to God . . 190

Fourth Object.-If Christ be my Advocate once, he will always be troubled with me.-Answ. He is an Advocate to the utmost . . . . 191

SEVENTH.-USE AND APPLICATION . . . . 191

Use First.-To consider the dignity God hath put upon Christ, by offices, places of trust, and titles of honour, in general . . . . 191, 192

Use Second.-To consider this office of an Advocate in particular; by which consideration these advantages come:-1. To see one is not forsaken for sin.-2. To take courage to contend with the devil.-3. It affords relief for discouraged faith.-4. It helps to put off the visor Satan puts on Christ.-A simile of a visor on the face of a father.-Study this peculiar treasure of an advocate.-(1.) With reference to its peculiarity.-(2.) Study the nature of this office.-(3.) Study its efficacy and prevalency.-(4.) Study Christ's faithfulness in his office.-(5.) Study the need of a share therein . . . . 192-194

Use Third.-To wonder at Christ's condescension , in being an Advocate for the base and unworthy.-Christ acts in open court, 1. With a holy and just God.-2. Before all the heavenly host.-3. The client is unconcerned for whom the Advocate is engaged.-4. The majesty of the man that is an Advocate . . . . 194-196

Use Fourth.-Improve this doctrine to strengthen grace. 1.To strengthen faith.-2. To encourage to prayer.-3. To keep humble.-4. To encourage to perseverance.-Object. I cannot pray; my mouth is stopped.-Answ. Satan cannot silence Christ.-5. Improve this doctrine, to drive difficulties down . . . . 196, 197

Use Fifth.-If Christ pleads for us before God, we should plead for him before men.-Nine considerations to that end.-The last reserve for a dead lift . . . .198

Use Sixth.-To be wary of sin against God.-Christianity teaches ingenuity. 2 Christ is our Advocate, on free cost.-A comely conclusion of a brute.-Three considerations added . . . . 198, 199

Use Seventh.-The strong are to tell the weak of an Advocate to plead their cause.-A word in season is good . . . . 199, 200

Use Eighth.-All is nothing to them that have none to plead their cause.-An instance of God's terrible judgment.-Object. There is grace, the promise, the blood of Christ; cannot these save, except Christ be Advocate?-Answ. These, and Advocate, and all, little enough.-Christ no Advocate for such as have no sense of, and shame for sin.-Object. Is not Christ an Advocate for his elect uncalled?-Answ. He died, and prayeth, for all his elect, as Priest; as Advocate, pleads for the called only . . . . 200, 201

THE WORK OF JESUS CHRIST AS AN ADVOCATE.

"AND IF ANY MAN SIN, WE HAVE AN ADVOCATE WITH THE FATHER, JESUS CHRIST THE RIGHTEOUS."--- I JOHN 2:1.

THAT the apostle might obtain due regard from those to whom he wrote, touching the things about which he wrote, he tells them that he received not his message to them at second or third hand, but was himself an eye and ear witness thereof- That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life, (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us;) that which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you.3

Having thus told them of his ground for what he said, he proceeds to tell them also the matter contained in his errand-to wit, that he brought them news of eternal life, as freely offered in the word of the gospel to them; or rather, that that gospel which they had received would certainly usher them in at the gates of the kingdom of heaven, were their reception of it sincere and in truth--for, saith he, then "the blood of Jesus Christ the Son of God cleanseth you from all sin."

Having thus far told them what was his errand, he sets upon an explication of what he had said, especially touching our being cleansed from all sin -- "Not," saith he, "from a being of sin; for should we say so, we should deceive ourselves," and should prove that we have no truth of God in us, but by cleansing, I mean a being delivered from all sin, so as that none at all shall have the dominion over you, to bring you down to hell; for that, for the sake of the blood of Christ, all trespasses are forgiven you.

This done, he exhorts them to shun or fly sin, and not to consent to the motions, workings, enticings, or allurements thereof, saying, "I write unto you that ye sin not." Let not forgiveness have so bad an effect upon you as to cause you to be remiss in Christian duties, or as to tempt you to give, way to evil. Shall we sin because we are forgiven? or shall we not much matter what manner of lives we live, because we are set free from the law of sin and death? God forbid. Let grace teach us another lesson, and lay other obligations upon our spirits. "My little children," saith he, "these things write I unto you, that ye sin not." What things? Why, tidings of pardon and salvation, and of that nearness to God, to which you are brought by the precious blood of Christ. Now, lest also by this last exhortation he should yet be misunderstood, he adds, "And if any man sin, we have an Advocate with the rather, Jesus Christ the righteous." I say, he addeth this to prevent desponding in those weak and sensible Christians that are so quick of feeling and of discerning the corruptions of their natures ; for these cry out continually that there is nothing that they do but it is attended with sinful weaknesses.

Wherefore, in the words we are presented with two great truths--l. With a supposition, that men in Christ, while in this world, may sin--, "If any man sin;" any man; none are excluded; for all, or any one of the all of them that Christ hath redeemed and forgiven, are incident to sin. By "may" I mean, not a toleration, but a possibility; "For there is not a man, not a just man upon earth, that doeth good, and sinneth not" (Eccl 7:20; 1 Kings 8:46). II. The other thing with which we are presented is, an Advocate--, "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."

Now there lieth in these two truths two things to be inquired into, as-First, What the apostle should here mean by sin. Second, And also, what he here doth mean by an advocate-"If any man sin, we have an Advocate." There is ground to inquire after the first of these, because, though here he saith, they that sin have an advocate, yet in the very next chapter he saith, "Such are of the devil, have not seen God, neither know him, nor are of him." There is ground also to inquire after the second, because an advocate is supposed in the text to be of use to them that sin--, "If any man sin, we have an Advocate."

First, For the first of these--to wit, what the apostle should here mean by sin--, "If any man sin."

I answer, since there is a difference in the persons, there must be a difference in the sin. That there is a difference in the persons is showed before; one is called a child of God, the other is said to be of the wicked one. Their sins differ also, in their degree at least; for no child of God sins to that degree as to make himself incapable of forgiveness; "for he that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not" (I John 5:18). Hence, the apostle says, "There is a sin unto death" (v. 16). See also Matthew 12:32. Which is the sin from which he that is born of God is kept. The sins therefore are thus distinguished: The sins of the people of God are said to be sins that men commit, the others are counted those which are the sins of devils.

1. The sins of God's people are said to be sins which men commit, and for which they have an Advocate, though they who sin after the example of the wicked one have none. "When a man or woman," saith Moses, "shall commit any sin that men commit - they shall confess their sin - and an atonement shall be made for him" (Num 5:5-7). Mark, it is when they commit a sin which men commit; or, as Hosea has it, when they transgress the commandment like Adam (Hosea 6:7). Now, these are the sins under consideration by the apostle, and to deliver us from which, "we have an Advocate with the Father."

2. But for the sins mentioned in the third chapter, since the persons sinning go here under another character, they also must be of another stamp-to wit, a making head against the person, merits, and grace of Jesus Christ. These are the sins of devils in the world, and for these there is no remission. These, they also that are of the wicked one commit, and therefore sin after the similitude of Satan, and so fall into the condemnation of the devil.

Second, But what is it for Jesus to be an Advocate for these? "If any man sin, we have an Advocate."

An advocate is one who pleadeth for another at any bar, or before any court of judicature; but of this more in its place. So, then, we have in the text a Christian, as supposed, committing sin, and a declaration of an Advocate prepared to plead for him-"If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father."

And this leads me first to inquire into what, by these words the apostle must, of necessity, presuppose? For making use here of the similitude or office of an advocate, thereby to show the preservation of the sinning Christian, he must,

1. Suppose that God, as judge, is now upon the throne of his judgment; for an advocate is to plead at a bar, before a court of judicature. Thus it is among men; and forasmuch as our Lord Jesus is said to be an "Advocate with the Father," it is clear that there is a throne of judgment also. This the prophet Micaiah affirms, saying, "I saw the Lord sitting on his throne, and all the host of heaven standing by him on his right hand and on his left" (I Kings 22:19). Sitting upon a throne for judgment; for from the Lord, as then sitting upon that throne, proceeded that sentence against king Ahab, that he should go and fall at Ramoth-gilead; and he did go, and did fall there, as the award or fruit of that judgment. That is the first.

2. The text also supposeth that the saints as well as sinners are concerned at that bar; for the apostle saith plainly that there "we have an Advocate." And the saints are concerned at that bar; because they transgress as well as others, and because the law is against the sin of saints as well as against the sins of other men. If the saints were not capable of committing of sin, what need would they have of an advocate (I Chron 21:3-6. I Sam 12:13,14)?4 Yea, though they did sin, yet if they were by Christ so set free from the law as that it could by no means take cognizance of their sins, what need would they have of an advocate? None at all. If there be twenty places where there are assizes kept in this land, yet if I have offended no law, what need have I of an advocate? Especially if the judge be just, and knows me altogether, as the God of heaven does? But here is Judge that is just; and here is an Advocate also, an Advocate for the children, an Advocate to plead; for an advocate as such is not of use but before a bar to plead; therefore, here is an offence, and so a law broken by the saints as well as others. That is the second thing.

3. As the text supposes that there is a judge, and crimes of saints, so it supposeth that there is an accuser, one that will carefully gather up the faults of good men, and that will plead them at this bar against them. Hence we read of "the accuser of our brethren, that accused them before our God day and night" (Rev 12:10-12). For Satan doth not only tempt the godly man to sin, but, having prevailed with him, and made him guilty, he packs away to the court, to God the judge of all; and there addresses himself to accuse that man, and to lay to his charge the heinousness of his offence, pleading against him the law that he has broken, the light against which he did it, and the like. But now, for the relief and support of such poor people, the apostle, by the text, presents them with an advocate; that is, with one to plead for them, while Satan pleads against them; with one that pleads for pardon, while Satan, by accusing, seeks to pull judgment and vengeance

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THE SPIRITUAL LIFE AND ETHICS   in Bible Studies

PRINCIPLES FROM GIDEON   in Christian Living


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