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ness, from corruptions, temptations, and the affairs of the world, that they are ready to faint and give it up. But the Scripture so abounds with encouragements to such persons, that we need not here insist upon them.
Believers the only Object of Sanctification, and
HAT which we are next to enquire into, is the per
of persons are made holy. Now these are all believers, and believers only. All who unfeignedly believe in God through Jesus Christ, are sanctified, and no other. It is for them, and them only, that our Saviour prays for this grace, Sanctify them by thy truth' (John xvii. 17.); and it is also his promise to them: He that believeth on me, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. This spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive.' John vii. 38, 39.
1. Without faith it is impossible to please God.' Heb. xi. 6. Now holiness, wherever it is, pleases God; and therefore without faith it is impossible we should have any interest in it. All that pleases God in us is our holiness, or some part of it; and it principally consists in an opposition to all that displeases him. That which he commands pleases him, and all that which he forbids displeases him; and our holiness consists in a compliance with the one, and an opposition to the other. Wherefore, that any others but believers should have any thing that really belongs to this holiness, the apostle declares it to be impossible.
2. Jesus Christ affirms that men are sanctified by the faith that is in him: That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by the faith that is in me.' Acts xxvi. 18. If there were any other way or means whereby men might be sanctified,
or made holy, he would not have confined it to the faith that is in him.
3. Faith is the instrumental cause of our sanctification. God purifies our hearts by faith' (Acts xv. 9.) and not otherwise; and where the heart is not purified, there is no holiness. All the duties in the world will not denominate him holy whose heart is not purified; nor will any such duties be holy themselves; for to the unclean all 6 things are unclean.' All the obedience that is accepted of God, is the obedience of faith;' thence it springs, and thereby it is animated. So it is expressed :- You who by Christ do believe in God, and have purified your souls in obeying the truth, through the Spirit.' 1 Pet. i.
4. All grace is originally entrusted in and with Jesus Christ. The image of God being lost in Adam, whatever was prepared for the renovation of it, was treasured up in him, as the second Adam. 'It pleased the Father that in him all fulness should dwell, that of his fulness we might receive grace for grace;' and we receive nothing from him but by virtue of relation to him, or union with him: 'As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine,-no more can we, except we abide in him.' Now our being and abiding in Christ is by faith; without which we can derive nothing from him, and consequently never be partakers of holiness in the least degree. It is therefore undeniably evident, that believers only are sanctified and holy.
And hence we may detect many pernicious mistakes about this matter, both notional and practical; for there are some who would carry holiness beyond the bounds of a special relation to Christ, or that relation beyond the only bond of it, which is faith; for they would have it to be no more than moral honesty, or virtue, and so cannot with any modesty deny it to those heathens who endeavoured after it according to the light of nature; and what need then is there of Jesus Christ? I commend moral virtues as much as any man ought to do, and am sure there is no grace where they are not; yet to make any thing to be our holiness that is not derived from Christ, I know not what I more abhor. Such an imagination dethrones Christ from his glory, and overthrows the Gospel.
Others proceed much further.
They have notions of
good and evil by the light of nature; these are improved by convictions from the law, and produce great effects; for where the soul is once effectually convinced of sin, it cannot but seek deliverance. These convictions are still more improved, according to the means of knowledge men enjoy, or the errors and superstitions they embrace. From the latter proceed penances, vows, uncommanded abstinences, and other painful duties. Where the light received is in general according to truth, it will engage men to a reformation of life, a multiplication of duties, abstinence from sin, and a zealous profession of religion in one way or another. Such persons may have good hopes that they are holy, may appear to the world to be so, be accepted in the church of God as such, and yet be utter strangers to true Gospel Holiness; and the reason is, because they have missed it in the foundation; and not having in the first place obtained an interest in Christ, have built their house on the sand, whence it will fall in the time of trouble.
Wherefore, let them wisely consider these things who have any conviction of the necessity of holiness. It may be they have laboured hard in duties that materially belong to it; many things they have done, and many things forborne, on account of it; and it may be, think that for all the world they would not be found among unholy persons at the last day. This may be the condition of many young persons who have lately engaged in the ways of religion it may be so with others, who for many years have followed after righteousness in a way of duty. But it is observable, that the duties of obedience seldom prove more easy and pleasant to such persons than they did at first, but rather more burdensome every day. Besides, they never arrive to a satisfaction in what they do; something still is wanting; and hence they often become apostates. But, what is worse still, all they have done, or can do on this bottom, will come to no account, but perish with them at the great day. Would we prevent these fatal evils, would we have a real, thriving, everlasting holiness, let our first business be to secure a relation to Jesus Christ; without which it can never be attained.
And this may obviate the calumnies which are cast by some on the doctrine of free justification, through the im
putation of the righteousness of Christ; for with a most shameless impudence they clamour on all those who assert it, as maintaining that salvation is attained through a mere external imputation of righteousness, while those so saved are unclean and unholy, or negligent of the duties of righteousness and obedience; for the frontless impudence of this calumny is sufficiently evident from hence, That as we assert sanctification and holiness to be peculiar to believing justified persons, so we affirm that all such persons are infallibly sanctified and made holy.
All believers, and only believers, being sanctified, what it is that is sanctified in them, or what is the proper seat and subject of this work, is in the next place to be declared; for it is not a mere external denomination, nor any transient act, nor any series of actions that we plead for, but that which has a real existence, and a constant residence in us. Now this subject of sanctification is the whole person of a believer, or the entire nature of every believer and this must be demonstrated.
1. Our entire nature was originally created in the image of God; our whole souls, in the rectitude all of their faculties and powers, bore this image. The body also, not as to its figure or natural use, but as an essential part of our natures, was interested in the image of God, by a participation of original righteousness.
2. By the entrance of sin, this image of God was ut terly defaced and lost. The Scripture describes the depravity of our natures distinctly in all the powers of it, in our minds, wills, and affections. The original first actings of these faculties, in our thoughts and imaginations, are evil. Hence, all the outward actions of persons in this state are evil, unfruitful works of darkness.' The body also has a partnership in all this obliquity; the members of the body are servants to uncleanness and iniquity.'
This being the state of our whole nature, sanctification, in which its reparation consists, must equally respect the
1. Hence it is called the New Man: Put on the new man, which, after God, is created in righteousness and holiness.' Eph, iv. 24. As the principle of sin is called the old man, because it possesses all the active powers of the whole man, so this principle of holiness is called the New
Man, because it possesses the whole person, with respect to its proper operations and ends.
2. The heart, in Scripture, is taken for the whole soul, and all its faculties. Now this is not only affected with the work of sanctification, but consists in this, That thereby a new heart is given to us, according to the promise of the covenant.
3. There is special mention made of the effecting of this work on our souls and bodies, with their powers and faculties distinctly. This I have already proved, in the declaration of the work of our regeneration, which is only preserved and carried on to its proper end in our sanctification.
4. We need go no further for the proof hereof, than to that prayer of the apostle for the Thessalonians, which we insisted on at the beginning of this discourse; The God of peace himself sanctify you (xorus) throughout; that is, in your whole natures or persons; and he distributes our whole natures into the two essential parts of soul and body; and in the former he considers, (1.) the Spirit; (2.) the Soul. By the Spirit, the mind, or intellectual faculty, is understood; and by the Soul, the affections, as is generally acknowledged. These therefore the apostle prays may be sanctified and preserved holy throughout, or entirely. But this is not all. Our bodies are an essential part of our natures; and by their union with our souls are we constituted individual persons. The body became a subject of the depravity of our nature by participation, and is considered as one entire principle with the soul, of communicating original defilement from parents to children. Besides, it is now subject, by this corruption of its constitution, to many disorderly motions, that are provocations to sin. Hence sin is said to reign in our mortal bodies; and our members to be servants to unrighteousness. Moreover, by its participation in the defilement and punishment of sin, the body is disposed and made obnoxious to corruption and destruction; for death entered by sin, and no otherwise. On all these accounts therefore it is necessary on the other hand, that the body should be interested in this work and privilege of sanctification and holiness:—and so it is, (1.) By participation; for it is our persons that are sanctified; and though our souls are the first proper subject