Imatges de pÓgina

ourselves; but being by sin fallen off from God, having lost our conformity to him, we fell into all the confusion and disorder before described. Wherefore,

4. The only cure of this condition is by holiness, by the renovation of the image of God in us. By this our souls are in some measure restored to their primitive rectitude; and without this, attempts for inward peace, with due order in the affections, will in vain be attempted. It is the holy soul, the sanctified mind alone, that is composed into an orderly tendency towards the enjoyment of God; and hence, to all persons not in love with sin and ruin, arises a cogent argument and motive to holiness.

But it may be objected hereto, that we admit there are remainders of sinful disorder in sanctified persons; that it occasions great conflicts, yea, that it works so powerfully as to make them captives to the law of sin: therefore it does not appear that this holiness doth so cure the sinful distempers of our minds. On the other hand, men supposed to be yet destitute of this renewing grace, seem to possess more inward peace and quiet of mind; they complain of no inward conflict, and find that satisfaction in their lusts and pleasures by which they relieve themselves against the troubles of life.

Answer, 1. As to the peace and order pretended to be in unsanctified persons, it is like that which is in Hell and the kingdom of darkness. Satan is not divided against himself, nor is there such a disorder in his kingdom as to destroy it; but it has a consistency from the common end of all that is in it, which is an opposition to God and all that is good. Such peace there may be in an unsanctified mind: there being in it no active principle for God, all works one way, and all its troubled streams have the same course: There is no other peace than that by which Satan, the strong man armed, preserves his goods, till a stronger than he comes to bind him :' and if any one think that peace and order to be sufficient for him, wherein his mind, in all its faculties, acts uniformly against God, or for sin, and the world without opposition, he may find as much in Hell when he comes there.

2. There is a difference between confusion and rebellion. Where there is confusion in a state, all government is dissolved, and every thing is let loose to the utmost

disorder but where the rule is firm, there may be rebellions that disturb some parts and places, but yet the whole state is not disordered thereby. So it is in the condition of a sanctified soul; there may be rebellion in it, but no confusion. Grace keeps the rule in the heart, so that there is peace to the whole state of the person, though lusts and corruptions rebel against it. But in the state of unsanctified persons, though there be no rebellion, yet there is nothing but confusion: and however men may be pleased with it for a season, yet it is nothing but perfect disorder, because it is a continual opposition to God.

3. The soul of a believer has such a satisfaction in this conflict, that its peace is not ordinarily disturbed; and is never quite overthrown by it. Such a person knows sin to be his enemy, and knows the assistances prepared for him against its deceit; and considering the nature and end of this contest, is satisfied with it. Yea, the greatest hardships to which sin can reduce a believer, only put him to the exercise of those graces in which he receives great spiritual satisfaction: such are humiliation, self-abasement, and abhorrence, with fervent cries for deliverance. Now, though these things may seem to be grievous, yet the graces of the Spirit being acted in them, they are so suited to the nature of the new creature, that it finds secret satisfaction in them all. But the troubles others meet with on account of sin, is merely from the severe reflections of their consciences, as certain presages of everlasting misery.

4. A sanctified person is secured of success in this conflict, which preserves a blessed peace and order in his soul. Suppose the conflict be with any particular lust or temptation, we are assured, that persisting in the diligent use of appointed means, we shall not fail of actual success; and as to general success in the whole cause, namely, that sin shall not utterly deface the image of God in us, nor finally ruin our souls, we have the covenant faithfulness of God for our security. Wherefore, notwithstanding this opposition, there is peace and order peserved by the pow er of holiness in a sanctified soul.

But it will be further objected, that many professors, who pretend highly to holiness, are yet peevish, morose, unquiet in their minds, among their relations and in the world; yea, much outward disorder is observable in

them;-and where then is the advantage pretended, that should render holiness so indispensably necessary to us?

Answer. If there be any such, the more shame for them; and they must bear their own judgment: for these things are diametrically opposite to the work of holiness, and the fruits of the Spirit; and, therefore, I say (1.) That many are esteemed holy who are not so. Tho' I will judge no man in particular, yet I had rather pass this judgment on any man, that he has no grace, than that, on the other hand, grace does not change our nature and renew the image of God in us. (2.) Many who are really holy, may have the double disadvantage, first, to be under such circumstances as will frequently draw out their natural infirmities; and then to have them heightened in the apprehension of those with whom they have to do; which was actually the case of David all his days, and of Hannah. I would be far from giving countenance to the sinful distempers of any; yet I doubt not that the infirmities of many are represented by envy and hatred of profession to an undeserved advantage. (3.) Wherever there is the seed of grace and holiness, an entrance is made on the cure of all these sinful distempers; and I am pressing the necessity of holiness, that is, of the increase of it, that this work may be carried on to perfection and as when a wandering impostor, who pretended to judge of men's lives and manners by their physiognomy, beholding Socrates, pronounced him, from his countenance, a person of a flagitious, sensual life, the people derided his folly, who knew his sober virtuous life; but Socrates excused him, affirming that such he had been, had he not bridled his nature by philosophy. How much more truly may it be said of multitudes, that they had been eminent in nothing but untoward distempers of mind, had not their souls been rectified by the power of grace and holiness!

I find there is no end of arguments which offer their service to the purpose in hand. I shall therefore wave many of great importance, and shut up this discourse with one that must not be omitted.

In our holiness consists the principal part of that revenue of glory and honour which the Lord Christ requires and expects from his disciples in this world, That he does require this of us is out of question, though most


who are called Christians live as if they had no other design than to throw reproach on him and his doctrine : but if we are indeed his disciples, he hath bought us with a price;' and we are not our own,' but his; and that to glorify him in soul and body,' because they are his. Our inquiry must be, How we may do so? and, What he requires of us to that purpose ?


Now the sum of all is, that we should live holily to him, and suffer patiently for him. The first he expects at all times and in all things; the latter, on particular occasions. Where this revenue of glory is paid him, he repents not of his purchase, nor of the invaluable price he hath paid for us; yea, he says, The lines are fallen to me in pleasant places, I have a goodly heritage.' Now, among many others, we shall mention but one way whereby we glorify Christ; whence also it will appear how much we dishonour him when we come short of it.


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The Lord Christ, coming into the world as Mediator, accomplished a mighty work among us; and what he did may be referred to three heads :-(1.) The Life which he led,-(2.) The Doctrine which he taught,and (3.) The death which he suffered. Concerning these, there ever was, and now is, a great contest. Some have openly traduced his life as unholy, his doctrine as foolish, and his death as justly deserved; which was the sense of the Pagan world, and the apostate church of the Jews. Others allow them to pass with approbation, pretending to believe what is taught in the gospel concerning them; but, in fact and practice, deny any such power and efficacy as is ascribed to them, and without which they are of no value; which is the way of carnal gospellers, and all idolatrous superstitious worshippers among Christians. In opposition hereto, the Lord Christ calls all his true disciples to glorify him, by giving their testimony to and against the world, that his life was most holy, his doctrine most heavenly and pure, his death most efficacious and precious. Now all this is no otherwise done but by obedience to him in holiness, as it is visible and fruitful.

(1.) We are obliged to profess that the life of Christ is our example. No man can take upon him the holy name of Christian, but the first thing he signifies thereby is, that he makes the life of Christ his pattern. How then

may we yield a revenue of glory herein? How may we bear testimony to the holiness of his life against the blasphemies of the world? Can this be done otherwise than by holiness of heart and life, by conformity to God in our souls, and living to him in fruitful obedience? Can men devise a more effectual expedient to cast reproach upon him, than to live in sin, to prefer the world and present things to eternity, and yet, profess that the life of Christ is their example? Is not this to bear witness with the world against him, that indeed his life was unholy? Surely, it is high time for such persons to leave the name of Christians, or the life of sin. It is, therefore, only in conformity to him, in the holiness we are pressing after, that we can give him any glory on account of his life being our example.

(2.) We can give him no glory, unless we bear testimony to his doctrine,-that is holy and heavenly; and there is no way to do this but by holy obedience, expressing the nature, end and usefulness of it: and indeed the holy obedience of believers is essentially distinct from any thing to which we are directed by the principles and light of Nature. It is spiritual, heavenly, filled with principles and actings of the same kind with those whereby our communion with God in everlasting glory shall be maintained. Now, though the life of evangelical holiness be hidden from the eyes of the world, in its principle and chief actings, yet there are always such apparent fruits of it as are sufficient for their conviction, that the rule of it, which is the doctrine of Christ alone, is holy, wise, and heavenly and multitudes, in all ages, have been won over to the obedience of the gospel by the holy, fruitful, and useful conversation of such as have expressed the power and purity of his doctrine in this manner.


(3.) The power and efficacy of the death of Christ, as for other ends, so to purify us from all iniquity,' and to' purge our consciences from dead works, that we may serve the living God,' is herein also required. The world indeed sometimes rises to that height of pride and atheism, as to despise all appearance of purity. But the truth is, if we are not cleansed from our sins in the blood of Christ,' if we are not thereby purified from iniquity, we are an abomination to God, and shall be objects of his wrath for ever! However, the Lord Christ requires

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