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thing we ascribe to the Spirit of God herein is, the purification of our natures from the pollution of sin; and this purification is ascribed,

1. To the Spirit of God, who is the principal efficient of the whole. To this purpose is that promise, "I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and you shall be clean;" Ezek. xxxvi. 25, and in Isa. iv. 4. “When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughter of Zion, by the Spirit of judgment and the Spirit of burning." Fire and water were the means whereby all things were typically cleansed in the law; and the Holy Spirit, as the efficient cause of all spiritual cleansing, is compared to them both.

2. The application of the blood of Christ to our souls, for our sanctification by the Holy Ghost, is said to be for our cleansing: "Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it." Eph. v. 26, 27. "That he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify to himself a peculiar people zealous of good works." Titus ii. 14. "The blood of Jesus Christ purgeth our consciences from dead works to serve the living God." Heb. ix. 14.

3. Where sanctification is enjoined as our duty, it is prescribed under this notion of cleansing ourselves from sin. "Wash you; make you clean." Isa. i. 16. "O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness." Jer. iv. 14. "Having these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit." 2 Cor. vii. 1.

4. Answerable to these promises and precepts, and in confirmation of them, we have the ordinance of baptism, the outward means of our initiation into Christ and the profession of the Gospel; the great representation of the inward washing of regeneration. Now this expresses the outward putting away the filth of the flesh by external washing with material water; and that which answers to it, is the inward purifying of our souls and consciences by the grace of the Spirit; that is, the "putting off the body of the sins of the flesh." Wherefore, in the explication of this first branch of our sanctification, we shall shew, (1.) That there is a spi


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ritual defilement in sin; (2.) Wherein it consists; and (3.) How it is removed.

The first need not be insisted on. In the whole representation of it made to us in the Scripture, nothing is so much inculcated as its being filthy, abominable, full of defilement and pollution; it is the abominable thing which God hates and detests, and is compared to blood, wounds, sores, leprosy, scum, and loathsome diseases and there is no notion of sin of which believers have a more sensible experience. They find that in sin which fills them with shame, self-abhorrence, and deep abasement of soul.-They discern in it, or in themselves on account of it, an unsuitableness to the holiness of God, and an unfitness for communion with him. Nothing do they more earnestly seek in prayer than a cleansing from it by the blood of Christ; nor are any promises more precious to them than those of purification from it.

Secondly. The nature of this defilement must be considered. By some it is reckoned to guilt: hence sin was said to be purged by sacrifices, when its guilt was expiated; but the Scripture intends also such an internal defilement as is removed only by actual sanctification. There are also some sins which have a peculiar pollution in them, and which are called uncleanness in a peculiar manner. "Flee fornication," saith the apostle: "every sin that a man doth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication, sinneth against his own body;" but it is the uncleanness of all sin, and not the sin of uncleanness, which we intend.

The pollution of sin is that property of it whereby it is directly opposed to the holiness of God; hence he is said to be of "purer eyes than to behold iniquity;" and hence that pathetic dehortation,-" O do not this abominable thing which my soul hateth!" That consideration of sin which ingenerates shame, is taken chiefly from the holiness of God; hence persons are said to blush, to be ashamed, to be filled with confusion of face, under a sense of this filth of sin.

The holiness of God is the infinite perfection and rectitude of his nature; and this holiness he exerts in

all he does, particularly in his Law, which is therefore holy, because it represents his own holiness; and hence whatever is contrary to it, is contrary to his holiness. It follows then, that this defilement of sin is that pravity, disorder, and shameful crookedness that is in it, with respect to the holiness of God, as expressed in the law.

Sin is either original or actual. Original sin is the habitual inconformity of our natures to the holiness of God; in actual sin is our inconformity to God and his holiness expressed in the particular commands of the law. The nature of all sin then consists in its inconformity to the rule. Now this rule may be considered, (1.) As it expresses the authority of God in its precepts and sanction. Hence guilt follows every sin; and this produces fear: so Adam on his first sin: "I heard thy voice, and was afraid." (2.) The law expresses the holiness of God. Hence there is in sin a peculiar inconformity to the holiness of God; which is the spot, the stain, the filth of it;-and this is inseparably attended with shame; so Adam expressed his sense of the filth of his sin; he was filled with shame. This is the order of these things. God, who is the object of our obedience for sin, is the supreme law-giver. On his law he has impressed his authority and his holiness. Sin, with respect to his authority, is attended with guilt; and this in the conscience of the sinner produces fear. As it respects the holiness of God, it is attended with filth or uncleanness; and this produces shame. This then is the pollution of sin, which is purged in our sanctification.

And herein there is a real filthiness, but spiritual; which is compared with and opposed to things materially and carnally so. "Not that which goeth into a man" (meats of any sort) "defile him," saith our Saviour; "but that which cometh out of the heart;" that is, spiritually, with respect to God, his law and holiness; and as men are taught the guilt of sin by their own fear, so are they taught the filth of sin by their own shame. To instruct us herein, is one end both of the Law and the Gospel.-In the doctrine of the law,

with the sanction and curse of it, and the institution of sacrifices to make atonement for sin, God declared the nature of guilt, and its remedy. By the same law, and by the institution of various ordinances for purification; as also by determining various ceremonial defilements, he made known the nature of filth and its remedy. To what end were so many meats and drinks, so many natural diseases, so many external fortuitous accidents, as touching the dead and the like, made religiously unclean by the law? It was to teach us the spiritual defilement of sin; and to the same end, together with a demonstration of the remedy thereof, were the ordinances of purification instituted; which, as they were outward, purged outward uncleanness: but internal and spiritual things were taught and prefigured thereby. Yea, so inseparable is this filth from sin, and shame from filth, that wherever there is a sense of sin, there is a sense of this filth with shame. The very Heathens were not free from a sense of this pollution; and thence proceeded all their lustrations and purgations by washings, sacrifices, and mysterious ceremonies. It remains now that we inquire into the reasons why sin is such a defilement of our natures, and so inseparably attended with shame; and to this purpose we may observe,


(1.) That the spiritual beauty of the soul consists in its conformity to God. Grace gives beauty. Hence Christ is said to be "fairer than the children of men,' and that, because "grace was poured into his lips ;" and when the church is adorned with his grace, he affirms her to be "fair and comely." This beauty originally consisted in the image of God in us, which contained the whole order, harmony, and symmetry of our natures in all their faculties and actions. Sin, therefore, has a deformity in it, or brings spots, stains, and wrinkles on the soul; and this is the filth and pollution of it.

(2.) Holiness is the honour of our souls. It makes them truly noble; for all honour consists in an accession to him who is the only spring and absolute possessor of of all that is so. Now this we have alone

by holiness, or that image of God in which we were created; and, therefore, sin, which is contrary to it, is base, vile, and unworthy. It is the only base thing in nature. Hence it is said of some great sinners, that they had "debased themselves to Hell: and unless men are absolutely hardened, they are in their own consciences sensible of this baseness of sin. When men's eyes are opened to see their nakedness, they see that in sin which is so vile, base, and filthy, that, like persons who have some loathsome disease, they cannot bear the sight of their own sores. Yea, no tongue can express the sense which a believing soul has of the uncleanness of sin, with respect to the holiness of God.

Now this shameful defilement of sin is either habitual or actual. (1.) That which is habitual in all the faculties of our souls by nature; they are all shamefully depraved; hence by nature we are wholly, unclean. (2.) That which is actual in all the actings of our polluted faculties; for be any sin of what naturę it may, there is pollution in it. Hence the apostle advises to cleanse ourselves from all "pollutions of flesh and spirit ;" the sins that are internal and spiritual, as pride, self-love, covetousness, unbelief, have a pollution attending them, as well as those which are fleshly and sensual; and so far as this disorder mixes itself with the best of our duties, it renders both us and them unclean. "We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags."

This uncleanness, as it is habitual, is equal in all men as they are born into the world; but with respect to actual sins, it has various degrees and aggravations. The greater a sin is, from its nature or circumstances, the greater is the defilement of it; hence no sin is expressed under such terms of filthiness as idolatry, which is the greatest of sins. Or, there is an aggravation of it when the whole person is defiled, as it is in the case of fornication; and it is heightened by a continuance in sin, whereby an addition is made to its pollution every day, and which is called "wallowing in the mire."

In this whole discourse I have but briefly touched

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