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of God, so it has a real spiritual glory in it; it is the first fruits of Heaven; it is a ray of eternal light; a principle of eternal life, and the entire nature of that love, whereby we shall eternally adhere to God.
6. This is that which God indispensably requires of us; and indeed it is all that he requires, for it comprises the whole duty of man. And this surely renders it needful for us both to know what it is, and diligently to seek a participation of it: for what servant, who has any sense of his relation and duty, if he know that his master requires but one thing of him, will not endeavour to be acquainted with it, and to perform it!
But we are by no means to suppose that God requires this holiness of us that we may thereby make an atonement for our sins, though this principle is deeply rooted in our nature, and has been the source of amazing superstitions both among the heathens and the Papists. Nor is this required, that it may become our righteousness for our justification in future; for we are justified freely by grace, through the redemption that is in Christ,' and not by works. Nor is it required, that thereby we should merit life; for all that we can do is no more than our duty, and even that cannot be performed but by grace; and eternal life is the free gift of God, and not a reward of debt. Much less is holiness required, that by doing more than our duty, we should supererogate in the behalf of others; which monstrous fiction of the Church of Rome exceeds all the Pharisaism of the Jews.
Carnal reason indeed concludes, that if what God requires be not necessary on one of these accounts, it is not necessary at all; nor can it conceive why good works should be performed, unless they are in some degree meritorious for it has no regard to the authority of his command; nor to the necessity of the renovation of his image in us, in order to communion with him here, and enjoyment of him in glory; nor to his wisdom in appointing holy obedience, as the means of expressing our gratitude to him, and of glorifying him in the world. But the first true saving light that shines by the gospel into our souls, begins to undeceive us in this matter; and there is no greater evidence of our receiving an evangelical baptism into the spirit of the gospel, than the clear compliance of our minds with the wisdom of God herein.
7. But besides the command of God, we are to consi der the precious promises he has made to perform this good work in us. He who requires it of us, knows that we have it not in ourselves. Now God has multiplied his promises to this purpose: He has said, I will take away the heart of stone, and give you an heart of flesha new heart will I give you a new spirit I will put within you-I will write my law in your heart-I will put my fear in your heart-and cause 'you to walk in my Statutes, and keep my judgments.'-Jer. xxxi. 33, &c. The whole of our sanctification is comprised in these promises. To be cleansed from the defilements of sin, to have an heart inclined always to fear God, and to walk in his ways accordingly, is to be sanctified, or to be holy and all this God promises directly to work in us.
And here we may digress a little, to consider what regard we ought to have to the command on the one hand, and to the promise on the other; to our own duty, and to the grace of God. Some would separate these things as. inconsistent. A command, they suppose, leaves no room for a promise; and a promise, they think, takes off the influencing authority of a command. If holiness be. our duty, there is no room for grace; and if it be an effect of grace, there is no place for duty. But all these arguings are a fruit of the wisdom of the flesh; the wisdom that is from above' teacheth us other things. It is true, that works and grace are opposed in the matter of justification as utterly inconsistent: If it be of works, it is not of grace; and if it be of grace, it is not of works:' but our duty and God's grace are no where opposed in the matter of sanctification; for the one supposes the other. Neither can we perform our duty herein without the grace of God mor does God give us his grace for any other end than that we may rightly perform our duty. He who denies either that God commands us to be holy in a way of duty, or promises to work holiness in us in a way of grace, may with as much modesty reject the whole Bible. Both these, therefore, we must duly regard, if we intend to be holy. In our regard to the command, our consciences must be affected with the authority of it, as the command of God; for holiness is obedience, and obedience respects the authority of the command. We must also see and understand the reasonableness and advantage of the com
mand. Our service is a reasonable service; and in keeping his commands there is great reward; and hence we delight in it as holy, just, and good, because the things it requires are equal, easy, and pleasant to the new nature. And we have a due regard to the promise, when (1.) We walk in a constant sense of our own inability to comply with the command from any power in ourselves; for 'our sufficiency is of God.' (2.) When we adore that grace which has provided help and relief for us. (3.) When we act faith in prayer and expectation on the promise for supplies of grace for all holy obedience. And, (4.) When we have a special regard to it in particular temptations and particular duties; when on such occasions we do not satisfy ourselves with respect to the promise in general, but exercise faith on it in particular for assistance.
8. To come yet nearer to our principal design, I say it is the Holy Ghost who is the immediate Sanctifier of all believers, and the Author of all their holiness. I suppose I need not insist on the confirmation of this assertion; I have before proved that he is the immediate dispenser of all divine grace; besides, it is such an avowed principle in general, that the Holy Ghost is the sanctifier of all God's elect; that as it is not questioned, so it need not be further proved.
Sanctification a Progressive Work
AVING considered several things relating to sanctif
scription of it, and then explain it more particularly.
Sanctification is an immediate work of the Spirit of God on the souls of believers, purifying their natures from the pollution of sin, renewing in them the image of God, and thereby enabling them, from a spiritual and habitual principle of grace, to yield obedience to God, according to the tenor of the new covenant, by virtue of the life and
th of Jesus Christ.
I shall take up this general description, and in the consideration of its parts give some account of the true nature and effects of this work, especially wherein it is opposed or called in question.
It was before proved to be the work of the Spirit of God, a real, internal, powerful work, in and on the souls of believers; and it differs from regeneration, chiefly on account of the manner of its being wrought. The work of regeneration is instantaneous, consisting in one single creating act; hence it is not capable of degrees; no one is more or less regenerate than another: but sanctification is progressive, and admits of degrees; one may be more sanctified than another who is truly sanctified; it is begun at once, and carried on gradually.
Increase in holiness is frequently in the Scripture enjoined on us, and promised to us; so speaks the apostle Peter (2 Epistle, iii. 18.) Fall not,'-be not cast down, from your own stedfastness; but grow, or increase, in grace.' It is not enough that we do not decay in our spiritual condition, but an endeavour after an improvement, an increase in grace, is required of us; and this is much commended in the Thessalonians (2 Epist. i. 3.) namely, the exceeding growth of their faith, and abounding of their love.' This is called 'increasing with the increase of God,' (Col. ii. 19.) or that increase in holiness which God requires, accepts, and approves.
The work of holiness in its beginning is but like the seed cast into the earth; being cherished and nourished, it is in its nature to take root, to spring up, and to bring forth fruit. It is thus with the seed of God, the principle of holiness. It is small at first, but being received in good and honest hearts, made so by the Spirit of God, and there nourished and cherished, it takes root, and produces fruit and both these, the first planting and the increase, are equally of the Spirit; he who begins this good work, performs it to the day of Christ; and this he does two ways.
First. By strengthening and increasing those graces we have received and exercised. There are some graces whose exercise does not depend on any outward occasions, but are absolutely necessary, and that in their actual exercise, to the least degree of the life of God; such are faith
and love. These graces are capable of degrees, and therefore of increase. We read of little and great faith, weak and strong faith; both true, and the same in substance, but differing in degrees. There is also fervent love, and that which is comparatively cold. These graces, then, are gradually increased in the work of sanctification. So the disciples prayed our Saviour to increase their faith ;-to add to its light, multiply its acts, and make it strong against all assaults; and the apostle prays for the Ephesians, that they may be rooted and grounded in love; that is, that by the increase of their love, they may be more established in all the duties of it. Now the Holy Spirit strengthens these graces,
1. By exciting them to frequent actings. They grow and thrive by exercise; and the Spirit of God excites them, by seasonably presenting their proper objects; particularly in the preaching of the word, and other ordinances of worship. God in Christ, the promises of the covenant, and other proper objects of faith and love being proposed to us, these graces are drawn out into exercise. This is one principal advantage we derive from the dispensation of the word; and we are greatly mistaken if we think that we have no benefit from the word beyond what we retain in our memories (though we should labour for that too); our chief advantage is in this, that faith, love, and other graces, are excited to their proper exercise; without this, they would decay and wither; but thus they are kept alive; and thus the Holy Spirit takes the things of Christ, and shews them to us,' and 'brings
to remembrance' what he has spoken. Herein lies the secret profiting of believers under the Gospel, which perhaps they are not sensible of themselves. By this means many thousand acts of faith and love are drawn forth; those graces themselves are strengthened; and consequently holiness is increased. He does it really and internally. All the graces are called the fruits of the Spirit ;' he brings them forth from the stock that he has planted in the heart; and we cannot act any one grace without his effectual operation therein; God worketh in us both to will and to do.' The Spirit, dwelling in believers, effectually excites their graces to frequent exercise, and so increases thens them; and therefore we ought to be ex-.