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upon this consideration of sin, which the Scripture so frequently inculcates; for as all the first institutions of divine worship had some respect hereto, so the last rejection of obstinate sinners mentioned in it is, "Let him that is filthy be filthy still;" and in order to improve this view of sin for the discovery of the nature of holiness, we may yet observe these three things:

(1.) Where this uncleanness remains unpurged, there neither is nor can be any true holiness; for it is universally opposed to it; it is our unholiness. I acknowledge that it is not perfectly taken away from any person in this world, and those who are truly sanctified are deeply sensible of the remains of it; but there is an initial, real, sincere purging of it, which belongs to the essence of holiness, begun and carried on, though not absolutely perfected in this life.

(2.) Unless this uncleanness be washed away, we can never come to the enjoyment of God. Nothing "that defileth shall enter into the New Jerusalem." To suppose that an unpurified sinner can be brought to the blessed enjoyment of God, is to overthrow both the Law and the Gospel, and to say that Christ died in vain. It is therefore of the same importance with the everlasting salvation of our souls, to have them purged from sin.

(3.) We are unable of ourselves, without the special assistance of the Holy Spirit, to free ourselves from this pollution. It is true, it is frequently prescribed to us as our duty. We are commanded to wash ourselves, to cleanse ourselves from sin, and the like; but these expressions do not imply a power in ourselves to perform what is so required; but they teach us,.that whatever God works in us in a way of grace, he prescribes to us in a way of duty; and though he do it in us, yet he also doth it by us; so that the same work is an act of his Spirit, and of our wills as actuated thereby. We are not able by any endeavours of our own, to cleanse ourselves from this defilement. "IfI wash myself with snow-water," saith Job, "and make my hands ever so clean, yet shalt though plunge me in the ditch, and my own clothes shall make me to be abhor

red." Means may be used whereby an appearance of cleansing may be made; but when things come to be tried in the sight of God, all will be found filthy and unclean. "In vain," saith the prophet, "shalt thou take to thyself soap and much nitre; thou shalt not be purged." The most probable means of cleansing, and the most effectual in our judgment, however multiplied, shall fail in this case. Some speak much of washing away their sins by tears of repentance; but repentance, as prescribed in the Scripture, is of another nature, and assigned to another end. The institutions of the law were of themselves insufficient for this purpose; they purified the unclean legally, and as to the flesh; of themselves they could go no further, only they signified that whereby sin was really cleansed. The real stain is too deep to be removed by any outward ordinances; and therefore God, as it were, rejecting them all, promised to open another Fountain for that purpose. Zech. xiii. 1. Wherefore,

There is great emptiness and vanity in all those reliefs which the papal church have invented. Sensible they are of the stain of sin, but ignorant of the only remedy thereof; and as in the work of justification they submit not to the righteousness of God, so in the work of sanctification, being ignorant of the work of the Spirit of grace, and efficacy of the blood of Christ, they go about to set up their own imaginations. Thus they would have the whole uncleanness of our natures to be washed away by baptism; and having thus shifted themselves of the filth of original sin, as easily as a man may change his clothes when they are foul, they have found out many ways whereby the defilement of actual sins may be purged. There is the sprinkling of holy water, confession to a priest, penances, &c. that are supposed to be wonderfully efficacious; and indeed, the art of confession is the greatest invention to accommodate the inclinations of the flesh that ever the world was acquainted with; for as nothing is so suited to the carnal interests of the priests, nor so secures them veneration in the midst of their loose and worthless conversation, so for the people, who, for the most

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part, have other business to do than long to trouble themselves about their sins, it is such an expeditious method of exoneration to deposit them wholly and safely with a priest, that nothing equal to it could have been invented; but, after all, they cannot be perfectly satisfied in their consciences; their sores will sometimes break through all these sorry coverings; and their sins yet fill them with shame and fear; wherefore they betake themselves to their sheet-anchor in this storm, in the relief which they have provided in another world : this is in their purgatory, to which they must trust at last for cancelling all their odd scores, and purging away that filth of sin which they have been unwilling to part with in this world: but as this whole business of purgatory is a groundless fable; an invention set up in competition with the sanctification of the Spirit and the blood of Christ, so it is as great an encouragement to unholiness and a continuance in sin, as ever was found out, or can be made use of. Wherefore, setting aside such vain imaginations, we shall enquire into the true causes of our purification,


The Pollution of Sin purged by the Spirit and Blood of Christ.

THE purification of believers from the defilement of sin, is assigned in Scripture to various causes—To the Holy Spirit, as the efficient cause ;-to the blood of Christ, as the procuring cause ;-and, to faith and affliction, as the instrumental causes.

1. That we are purified by the Spirit of God, has been already proved, and is evident from the nature of his work in our regeneration; for as the spring of all the pollution of sin lies in the depravity of the faculties of our nature, he renews them again by his grace. As far then as our minds, our hearts, our affections are renewed by the Holy Ghost, so far are we cleansed from our habitual pollution. The more we have of

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saving light in our minds, of heavenly love in our af-
fections, of a readiness to obedience in our hearts,-
the more pure are we, the more cleansed from the pol-
lution of sin. The old principle of corrupted nature
is unclean and defiling; the new creature, the principle
of grace, implanted in the soul by the Holy Ghost, is
pure and purifying, clean and holy.

The Holy Ghost also purifies us, by strengthening
our souls by his grace to all holy duties, and against
all actual sins. He preserves the soul free from de-
filements, or pure and holy, according to the tenor of
the new covenant; but it may be asked, How is the
soul freed from those defilements it had contracted be-
fore this work upon it, or those which it has contracted
since? for there is no man who is not more or less de-
filed with sin while in the ody; and if we are thus
defiled, how shall we be cleansed? I answer, "God is
just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all
unrighteousness;" but by what means is this accom-
plished?. "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth
us from all sin." 1 John i. 7, &c.

II. It is therefore the blood of Christ which is the meritorious procuring cause of our purification, by a special application of it to our souls by the Holy Ghost; and there is not any truth belonging to the mystery of the Gospel which is more plainly asserted. "He hath washed us from our sins in his own blood." Rev. i. 5. "He gave himself for his church, that he might wash and cleanse it." Eph. v. 26; and this the faith and experience of all believers confirms; for they are not imaginations of their own, but what, being built on the truth and promises of God, yield sensible spiritual relief and refreshment to their souls. This they believe, this they pray for, and find the fruits and effects of it in themselves.

By the "blood of Christ," is intended the blood of the sacrifice, with the power and efficacy of it; and the blood of a sacrifice may be considered either as it was offered to God to make atonement, or as it was sprinkled on other things for their cleansing. Part of the blood in every propitiatory sacrifice, was to be



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sprinkled round about the altar; and that of the great
sacrifice of expiation seven times before the mercy-
seat and so the blood of Christ's sacrifice is to be
considered, both as he offered it to God to make atone-
ment for sin, and as it is sprinkled by the Spirit on the
consciences of believers, to purge them from dead
works; and hence it is called, with respect to our
sanctification, the "Blood of Sprinkling;" for we have
"the sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, through
the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus."

The blood of Christ, in his sacrifice, is still of the same efficacy as it was in that hour wherein it was shed. The blood of other sacrifices was always to be used immediately upon its effusion; for if it were cold and congealed, it was of no use, to be offered or sprinkled. Lev. xvii. 11. Blood was appointed to make atonement, as the life or animal spirits were in it; but the blood of the sacrifice of Christ is always warm, having the same spirit of life and sanctification still moving in it. Hence our way of approach to God thereby, is said to be always "living" (Heb. x. 20.); and yet always as "newly slain." Every one, therefore, who at any time has an actual interest in the blood of Christ, as sacrificed, has as real a purification from the defilement of sin, as he had typically who stood by the priest, and had blood or water sprinkled upon him; for the Holy Ghost diligently declares, that whatever was done legally or typically, by any of the sacrifices of old, for the expiation or purification of sin, was all done really and spiritually by that one sacrifice and sprinkling of the blood of Christ. Thereby is the gradual carrying on of our sanctification habitually effected, which was signified by the continual daily sacrifice. From thence is special cleansing virtue communicated to us by the ordinances of the Gospel, as is expressly affirmed (Eph. v. 25.) denoted by the doubling of the daily sacrifices on the Sabbath. By it are we purged from all our sins whatever, great or small, as was typified in the great sacrifice on the day of expiation; and to him we have continual recourse, on all occasions of our spiritual defilements whatever.

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