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the growth and increase of holiness in us. "We all with open face, beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord, are change into the same image, from glory to gly, even as by the Spirit of the Lord."
In this respect, therefore, is the Lord Christ made sanctivation to us; and certainly we are most of us
uch to blame that we do not more abound in the use of this means. Did we abide more constantly in the contemplation of Christ, of the glory and beauty of his holiness as our great example, we should be more transformed into his image and likeness; but many who are called Christians, delight to talk of the virtuous actions of the Heathen; and are ready to make them the object of their imitation, while they have no thoughts of the grace that was in our Lord Jesus Christ, nor endeavour after conformity thereto; and the reason is, because the virtue they seek is of the same kind with that which was in the Heathens, and not of that grace which was in Christ Jesus; and we should always consider how we ought to act faith on Christ, with respect to this end. Let none be guilty practically of what some are falsely charged with as to doctrine. Let none divide in the work of faith, and exercise themselves in only half of it. To believe in Christ for justification is but one half of the duty of faith. It respects Christ only as he died for us, as he made atonement for our sins. For this end he is first and principally proposed to us; but this is not all. He is also proposed to us as our example; and it is a cursed imagination, that the only end of his life and death was to exemplify and confirm the doctrine of holiness which he taught,-so to neglect his so being our example, in considering him by faith to that end, is evil and pernicious. Wherefore, let us be much in the contemplation of what he was, and what he did; how in all instances of duties and trials he carried himself till an image of his perfect holiness is implanted in our minds, and we are made like him thereby.
5. That which principally distinguishes evangelical holiness from all other natural or moral habits or duties, is, that from Christ as our head, constant sup
plies of grace are received. On the proof hereof, the whole difference about grace and morality depends; for if that which men call Morality be so derived from Christ, by virtue of our union with him, it is evangelical grace; if it be not, it is either nothing, or somewhat of another nature and kind; for grace it is not.
Whatever grace God bestows on any persons, is in and through Jesus Christ, as Mediator. God himself is the absolute Fountain of all grace and holiness. From his own fulness he communicates to his creatures, either by the way of nature, or by the way of grace. In our first creation, God implanted his image in us: and had we continued in that state, the same would have been communicated by natural propagation; but since the fall and entrance of sin, it is not communicated by way of nature. If it were, there would be no necessity that every one who is born should be born again, as our Saviour affirms that there is. "That which is born of the flesh, is flesh," and nothing else. Now God communicates nothing in a way of grace to any, but in and by the person of Christ. In the old creation, all things were made by him; and so it is in the new creation, both in the raising, and in the support of the whole. God doth work real, sanctifying grace in believers, whereby they are enabled to believe, and are made holy; and doth really sanctify them more and more, that they may be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever is wrought in believers by the Spirit of Christ, is by the virtue of their union to the person of Christ. By him we are united to Christ, that is, to his person;-"For he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit ;" and by virtue of that union, the Spirit communicates all grace to us from Christ, for the edification, preservation, and further sanctification of the whole mystical body, making every member of it "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light."
We have already proved,-That the immediate efficient cause of all gospel-holiness is the Spirit of God:That it is also a fruit and effect of the covenant of grace:-and that herein consists the image of God,
into which we are to be renewed; and from what has been thus briefly discoursed, we may take a prospect of that horrible mixture of ignorance and impudence, with which some contend that the practice of moral virtue is all the holiness required of us in the Gospel.
Virtuous living, some tell us, is the way to Heaven; but what this virtue is, or what is a life of virtue, they have added as little in the declaration of, as any persons that ever made such a noise about them. Many seem to mean no more by it but that honesty and integrity of life which was found among some of the Heathens; and indeed, I wish we could see more of it among some that are called Christians; for many things they did were materially good, and useful to mankind; but let it be supposed to be ever so exact, I deny it to be the holiness required of us in the Gospel, because it has none of those qualifications which we have proved to be essential to it.
Some describe morality as being of the same extent with the law of nature, as rectified and declared to us in the Scripture. Religion, say they, before the entrance of sin, and under the Gospel, is one and the same; but is there no alteration made in religion by the interposition of the person of Christ to be incar nate, and his mediation? No augmentation of the object of faith? No alteration in the principles, aids, and whole nature of our obedience to God? The whole mystery of godliness must be renounced, if we give way to such imaginations.
If it be said, that by this moral virtue they intend no exclusion of Jesus Christ, but include a respect to him, I ask then, Whether they design by it such a habit of mind, and such acts proceeding from it, as have the properties before described, as to their causes, effects, and relation to Christ. Is this moral virtue what God has chosen us to from eternity? Is it what he works in us, in pursuit of electing love? Is it that which gives us a new heart, with the law of God written in it? Or is it a principle of spiritual life, disposing and enabling us to live to God, and produced in us by the effectual operation of the Holy Ghost? Is
it that which is purchased for us by Jesus Christ, and the increase of which he continues to intercede for? Is it the image of God in us, and does our conformity to Christ consist in it? If it be so, then the whole contest is, Whether the Holy Ghost or these men be wisest, and know best how to express the things of God rationally and significantly? But if the moral virtue they speak of be unconcerned in these things; if it may and doth consist without them,-it will appear at length to be no more, as to our acceptance before God, than what one of the greatest moralists in the world complained that he found it, when he was dying,-a mere empty
Of the Acts and Duties of Holiness.
In the beginning of the former chapter, we laid down two assertions: I. That there is in the souls of believers a supernatural principle or habit of grace, whereby they are enabled to live to God, and that this is essentially distinct from all other habits. We proceed now to the second assertion, namely,
II. That there is an immediate work of the Holy Spirit required unto every act of holy obedience, whether internal or external.
All the acts and duties of gospel-obedience may be referred to two heads: 1. Such as have the will of God in positive commands for their object. (2.) Such. as respect divine prohibitions. The duties of the first sort are either internal only; or external also. There may be internal acts of holiness that have no external effects; but no external acts or duties are any part of holiness which are external only, and not sanctified by internal actings of grace. Two persons may perform the same duty, and in the same outward manner; yet it may be the duty of evangelical holiness in the one, and not in the other: as it was with Abel and Cain.
(1.) By the duties of holiness that are internal only, I intend all acts of faith, love, hope, that have God for
their immediate object, but are not exerted in any external duties; and in these our spiritual life chiefly consists. We may abound in outward duties, and yet be much alienated from the life of God: yea, sometimes men endeavour to supply that defect by a multitude of such duties; and so have "a name to live, while they are dead."
(2.) Duties that are external also, are distinguished with respect to their object and end. God himself is the object and end of some of them, as of prayer and praise; and of this nature are all those which belong to the first table. Others have men in their various capacities and relations as their object, but God as their end. Now all these duties, whether internal only, or external also, proceed from a peculiar operation of the Holy Spirit in us; and to make our intention the more evident, we may distinctly observe, (1.) That there is in all believers an habitual disposition to the performance of all holy duties. (2.) That no believer can of himself actually exert this principle in any one instance of duty, internal or external, so that it shall be an act of holiness, or a duty accepted with God. Therefore, (3.) That the actual assistance and internal operation of the Spirit of God is necessary, required to the producing of every holy act of our minds, in every duty whatever.
As it is in our natural lives with respect to God's providence, so it is in our spiritual lives with respect to his grace. He has, in the works of nature, endowed us with a vital principle, by which we have a fitness and habitual power for all vital actions; yet so, as without the concurrence of God in his energetical providence we can do nothing; for in him "we live, and move, and have our being;" and if any one could of himself perform an action without any concurrence of divine operation, he must himself be absolutely the first and only cause of that action, that is, the Creator of a new being. It is so as to our spiritual life. We are furnished with a principle of it, disposing us to live to God. He who has not this principle is spiritually dead, and can do nothing at all that is spiritually good.