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Mount; for all the blessings he pronounced, consist in giving particular instances of holiness, annexing a special promise to each of them. "Blessed," saith he, "are the pure in heart:" heart-purity is the spring of all holiness; and why are such persons blessed?
they shall see God:" he appropriates the promise of the eternal enjoyment of God to this qualification of purity of heart. So also it has the promises of this life, both in things temporal and spiritual In things temporal, we may select that special instance given us by the psalmist: "Blessed is he that considereth the poor. Wisely to consider the poor in their distress, so as to relieve them according to our ability, is a great act and duty of holiness. He that doth this, saith the psalmist, is a blessed man. In what respect? "The Lord will deliver him in the time of trouble. The Lord will preserve and keep him alive, and he shall be blessed on the earth, and thou wilt not deliver him into the hand of his enemies; the Lord will strengthen him on the bed of languishing, and thou wilt make all his bed in his sickness." Many special promises in the most important concerns of this life, are given to the right discharge of this one duty; for "Godliness hath the promise of this life." It is so with respect also to spiritual things. So the apostle Peter having repeated a long chain of graces, adds for an encouragement, "If ye do these things, ye shall never fall." The promise of permanence in obedience, with preservation from all such fallings into sin as are inconsistent with the covenant of grace, is affixed to our diligence in holiness: and who knows not how the Scripture abounds in instances of this nature! We conclude therefore, that together with the command of God, we should consider the promises with which it is accompanied, as an encouragement to the cheerful performance of that obedience which the command itself makes necessary.
Wherefore, the force of this argument is obvious to all. God has positively declared his will, interposing his sovereign authority, commanding us to be holy, and that on the penalty of his utmost displeasure; and
therewith he has given us redoubled assurance, that be we else what we may, without sincere holiness, he will neither own us, nor have any thing to do with us. Be our gifts, places, usefulness, or profession, what they may, unless we are sincerely holy, we are not, we cannot, we shall not be accepted with God.
And the Holy Ghost is careful to obviate a deceit in this matter, which he foresaw would put itself on the minds of men; for whereas the foundation of our salvation, the hinge on which the whole weight of it turns, is our FAITH, men might be apt to think that if they have faith, it will be well enough with them, although they are not holy. Therefore, because this pretence of faith is great, and apt to impose on the minds of men who would willingly retain their lusts, with a hope and expectation of Heaven, we are plainly told in the Scripture, that that faith which is without holiness, without works, without fruits, which can be so, or it is possible that it should be so, is vain; not that faith which will "save our souls," but equivocally so called, that may perish for ever with those in whom it is.
The Necessity of Holiness, from God's sending Jesus
We have yet other arguments to plead to the samė purpose; for one principal design of God in sending his Son into the world was, to recover us to a state of holiness, which we had lost. "For this purpose was the Son of God manifested, that he might destroy the works of the Devil." 1 John iii. 8.-The Son of God was manifested by his incarnation, in order to the work he had to accomplish in our nature: and this was to destroy the works of the Devil, the principal of which was, the infecting of our nature with a principle of sin and enmity against God; and this is not done away but by the introduction of a principle of holiness. Unless this be done, there is no new creation, no restora
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tion of all things, no one end of the mediation of Christ fully answered:-but we shall consider this matter a little more distinctly.
The exercise of the mediation of Christ is confined to his threefold office. Whatever he does for the Church, he does it as a priest, or as a king, or as a prophet; and we may consider how each of these offices has an influence unto holiness, and makes it necessary unto us.
First, the priestly office of Christ. The proper acts of this office, which are oblation and intercession, immediately respect God himself; for a priest is one who is appointed to deal with God in the behalf of others; and therefore Christ does not by either of these sacerdotal acts immediately and efficiently work holiness in us: but the effects of these acts are of two sorts, immediate and mediate. (1.) Immediate, such as respect God himself; as atonement, reconciliation, satisfaction. In these consists the first and fundamental end of the mediation of Christ; without which all other things would be useless: we can neither be sanctified nor saved by him, unless sin be first expiated, and God atoned. But (2.) The mediate effects of Christ's sacerdotal acting respect us; namely, our justification and sanctification: for God effects holiness in all believers by virtue of the oblation and intercession of Jesus Christ.
"He gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." His "giving himself for us," is the common expression of his offering himself as a sacrifice to God; and this he did, not only that he might redeem us from iniquity, from the guilt and punishment of our sins, but also that he might purify us to himself, sanctify us, or make us holy, and fruitful, or zealous of good works. His blood, purgeth our consciences from dead works, to serve the living God." "There is a "purging of sin," which consists in the legal expiation of it; but this is by real efficiency in our sanctification. So where Christ is said to "wash us from our sins in his own blood,"
namely, as shed for us, it is not only the expiation of guilt, but the purification of filth that is intended: and as holiness is one special end for which he gave himself for us, without a participation thereof, it is impossible that we should have the least evidence of an interest in his oblation as to any other end of it.
The intercession of Christ, which is his second sacerdotal act, hath also the same end, and is effectual to the same purpose. It is true, he intercedes with God for the pardon of sin by virtue of his oblation; but this is not the whole design of it; he intercedes also for grace and supplies of the Spirit, that we may be made and kept holy. John xvii. 15, 17.
Secondly,-As to the prophetical office of Christ; and there are two parts of it,--the revelation of God in his name, love, grace, goodness, and truth in his promises, that we may believe in him; and the revelation of God in bis will and commands, that we may obey him ;-and this may be considered two ways, 1. As he was peculiarly sent to the house of Israel: 2. With respect to the whole Church in all ages.
The first, which engaged much of his personal ministry, consisted in the declaration, exposition, and vindication of the divine precepts which had been given before; but which, through the carnality of the people to whom they were given, were but obscurely apprehended. He declared the spirituality of the law, with respect to the most secret frames of our hearts, and the least disorder and irregularity of our passions and affections. He declared the true sense of its commands, vindicating them from the false glosses which then passed current in the Church. Thus he restored the law to its pristine crown, as the Jews have a tradition that it should be done in the days of the Messiah.
The second part of this office, with respect to the Church in all ages (including the ministry of the apostles as inspired by him) consisted in the revelation of those duties of holiness which, though they had a general foundation in the law, could never have been known in their special nature but by his teaching." Hence are they called Old and New Commandments
in distinct sense. Such are faith in God through him, brotherly love, self-denial in taking up the cross, doing good for evil, and the like. Besides, he teacheth us all those ordinances of worship which belong to our holiness, and whereby it is promoted.
There are three things considerable in the doctrine of obedience that Christ teacheth. 1. It is complete and perfect. It reaches the heart itself with all its most secret actings. The practice of most men goes no further than outward acts; but he, in the first place, requires the renovation of our whole souls in the image of God. It is a notable effect of the atheistical pride of men, that they betake themselves to other directions rather than to those of the Gospel. Some go to the light of nature and the use of right reason (that is, their own) as their guide; and some add the documents of the philosophers. They think a saying of Epictetus, or Seneca, or Arrianus (being wittily suited to their fancies) to have more life and power in it than the precepts of Christ in the Gospel. Such a contempt have men risen to of Jesus Christ, the wisdom of God, and the great Prophet of the Church, of whom God says, "This is my beloved Son; hear him!"
Let us suppose, for the sake of our modern Heathenswho would have it so, that all our obedience consists in morality; from whence shall we learn it? or to whom shall we go for teaching? Certainly, where the instruction is most plain, perfect, and free from mistakes; where the manner of teaching is most powerful and efficacious; and where the authority of the teacher is most unquestionable. In all these respects we may say of Christ, "Who teacheth like him?" Then, probably, we shall be taught of God, when we are taught by him.
The precepts which are given us by the light of nature, however improved by the reason of contemplative men, are defective; for they never reached to that in which the life of holiness consists,-the renovation of our nature. Hence it is that, by all the documents of the philosophers, the nature of no individual person was ever renewed, whatever change was made in his