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sin which it was under by nature; and being enlarged by light and love, willeth and chooseth freely the things of God. It is the truth (that is, faith in the gospel) which is the mean of this freedom; and it is the Son of God by his Spirit who is the efficient cause of it; "for if the Son make us free, then are we free indeed;" and otherwise we are not free, whatever men pretend.
(3.) The affections, which naturally are the principal servants and instruments of sin, are hereby engaged to God.
Having thus shewn that there is a power of holy obedience in all who are sanctified, as well as a propensity to it, we shall consider the two principal properties of it, which are readiness and facility.
1. It gives readiness, by removing all those incumbrances which the mind is apt to be hindered by, from sin, the world, spiritual sloth, and unbelief. Herein is the "spirit ready though the flesh be weak." These incumbrances are in their full power in all unregenerate persons; whence they are unto every good work reprobate ;" and they partially influence the minds of believers themselves; and this is no small part of their sin and trouble: but these hindrances are removed by this spiritual power. The absolute prevailing power of them is broken by the first infusion of this principle, wherein it gives an habitual preparation of heart for all the duties of obedience; and by various degrees it frees believers from the remains of these incumbrances: for it weakens the bent of the soul to earthly things, so that they shall not possess the mind as formerly. It also gives an insight into the beauty and glory of holiness, and all duties of obedience, so as greatly to incline the mind to them; and it causes the affections to cleave to them with delight. "How do I love thy law," saith David; "my delight is in thy statutes; they are sweeter to me than the honey-comb."
2. It gives facility in the performance of duties. Whatever men do from a habit, or from nature, they do with ease; and the principle of grace is an infused habit, a new nature. I grant there will be opposition
from sin, Satan, and temptation; but still it is the na-
By these things we may inquire after the habit or
(1.) Let us not think it sufficient to gospel-holiness that we have occasionally good purposes of forsaking sin, and living to God. Afflictions, sense of guilt, and fear of death, usually produce this frame. Few are so profligate as not, at one time or other, to project an amendment of life; they will abstain from their old sins for a time, and perform some duties from which they expect relief to their consciences,-especially when the afflicting hand of God is upon them; and this produces that kind of goodness which is "like the morning cloud, or the early dew;" things that make a fair appearance, but quickly vanish: and though this is most remote from evangelical obedience, yet hereby multitudes delude themselves into eternal ruin.
(2.) And we may learn from hence not to be im
posed upon by gifts, however useful, with a plausible profession thereon. These things go a great way in the world, and many deceive both themselves and others by them. By their help alone men may pray, and preach, and perform many duties, and so keep up an eminency in profession; but all this may be without any holiness at all, and then they are apt to deceive the mind. Let them be examined by the nature and properties of that habit and principle of grace which is in all true holiness, as before explained, and it will quickly appear how far they come short of it.
Least of all can morality, or a course of moral duties, when alone, maintain any pretence hereto. We have had attempts to prove that morality is grace, and grace is morality, and nothing else. To be a holy man according to the gospel, and to be a moral man, is all one. Wherefore I shall proceed to the second thing proposed, and this is further to prove, that this habit, or gracious principle of holiness, is specifically distinct from all other habits of mind, whether intellectual or moral, natural or acquired; as also from all that common grace of which any persons not really sanctified may be partakers; and this difference is manifest:
First, From the special fountain and spring of holiness, which is the electing love of God. "He hath chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy." God chooseth us from eternity, that we should be holy, that is, with a design to communicate holiness to us; it is therefore his special work, in pursuit of his special purpose.
Secondly, The special procuring cause of this holiness is the mediation of Christ. Evangelical holiness is purchased for us by Jesus Christ; is promised to us on his account; is actually impetrated by his intercession; and is communicated to us by his Spirit; for he it is who, of God," is made unto us sanctification:" and this he is on several accounts.
(1.) He is made unto us sanctification, with respect to his priestly office, because we are washed from our sins by his blood, in the oblation of it, and the appli
cation of it to our souls. (2.) Because he prevails for the actual sanctification of our natures, in the communication of holiness to us by his intercession. His prayer (John xvii. 17.) is the blessed spring of our holiness: "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.' There is no grace wrought in us, bestowed on us, or preserved in us, but in answer to the intercession of Christ. (3.) He is the rule and measure of holiness to us; the instrument of it is his word and doctrine. The inbred dictates of the light and law of nature, are not the rule of this holiness; nor is the written law itself so. It is the rule of original holiness, but not the adequate rule of that holiness to which we are restored by Christ; nor are both these together the instrument of producing holiness in us; but it is the doctrine of the gospel which is the adequate rule and immediate instrument of it. My meaning is, that the doctrine of Christ, in the preceptive part of it, is so the rule of all our obedience, as that all it requires belongs to it; and nothing else but what it requires does so; and the formal reason of our holiness consists in conformity thereto, under this consideration, that it is the word of Christ. Nothing belongs to holiness materially, but what the gospel requires; and nothing is so formally but what we do, because the Gospel requires it; and it is the instrument of it, because God makes use of it as the external means of communicating it to us. Principles of natural light direct to and exact the performance of many material duties of obedience. The written law requires all duties of original obedience: but there are some duties of evangelical holiness which the law knows nothing of: such are, the mortification of sin, godly sorrow, daily cleansing of our hearts, communion with God by Christ, with faith and love towards him; for though these things may be contained in the law radically, as it requires universal obedience to God, yet they are not so formally; and it is not used to beget faith and holiness in us: This is the effect of the Gospel only. This is "the power of God to salvation;" by the preaching of this it is that "faith cometh;" by the
hearing of this we "receive the Spirit ;" and all the external obedience required of us is, that " our conversation be such as becometh the Gospel,"
(4.) He is so, as he is the exemplary cause of our holiness. The design of God in our sanctification is, that "we may be conformed to the image of his Son." He is proposed to us in the purity of his nature, the holiness of his person, the glory of his graces, the innocency and usefulness of his conversation in the world, as the great example which in all things we ought to conform to.
Examples are universally allowed to be the most effectual ways of instruction; but when to this power which they have naturally and morally, things are peculiarly instituted of God to be our examples, their force and efficacy is increased. Now these both concur in the example of holiness given us in the person of Christ.
Jesus Christ is not only a perfect pattern of holiness, but he is the only one; there is no other complete example of it. The boasted examples of the heathens are full of flaws, and the best examples of the saints have their imperfections; but in this our great Exemplar, there was not the least variableness from the perfection of holiness. Jesus Christ is appointed for this purpose. One end why God sent his Son, was, that he might set us an example in our own nature, of that renovation of his image in us,—of that holy obedience which he requires of us. The angelical nature was not suited to this purpose; for what examples could angels have set us of patience in afflictions, or quietness in sufferings, seeing their nature is incapable of such things! Neither could we have had an example that was perfect in our own nature, but only in him who was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.
The example of Christ has a peculiar efficacy in it. by way of motive, beyond all other instituted examples. We are often called upon to "behold Christ," and to "look upon him;" not only for the purpose of justifition, but as the great pattern of holiness; so that by God's appointment, our beholding him is a means of