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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 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 Godi 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, hecause 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 incarnate, and his mediation ? No augmentation of the object of faith? No alteration in the principles, aids, and whole nature. of our obedience te 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 name.
Of the Acts and Duties of Holiness.
we laid down
two assertions: 1. That there is 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,
11. That there is an immediate work of the Holy Spi. rit 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 dulies; 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 layer 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 haLitual disposition to the performance of all holy duties. (2.) Thạt 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 prc
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 habi
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. The enquiry is, what believers themselves, who are habitually sanctified, can do as to actual duties by virtue thereof; and I say, they can no more do any thing spiritually good, without the particular concurrence of the grace of God, that a man can naturally do any thing in an absolute independence on God, his power and providence. This analogy between the works of providence and grace is expressed, "We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works,' &c. Eph. ii. 10. When God had produced all things out of nothing by his creating power, he did not leave them to their own powers ; but he sustains and preserves them in the principles of their beings and operations. Without an incessant emanation of divine power, the whole fabric of nature would dissolve into confusion and nothing. Thus also it is in the New Creation, are the workmanship of God; formed for himself, and fitted for good works, which he has appointed as the way of our living to him. This new creature he supports and preserves; for without his continual influential power it would perish and come to nothing.
But this is not all. lle effectually concurs to every single duty, by new supa plies of actual grace. This we shall confirm. First.
The Scripture declares that we ourselves cannot, by virtue of any strength or power we have received, do
any thing. So our Saviour tells the apostles, when they were sanctified believers, Without me ye can do nothing :'--separated from me, as a branch may be from a vine. Unless believers have uninterrupted influences of grace from Christ
, they can do nothing;'--nothing which appertains to fruit-bearing. Now every act of faith and love, every motion of our minds or affections toward God, is a part of our fruit-bearing, and so are all en ternal duties of obedience. Wherefore,
our Lord being Judge, believers themselves cannot, without new actual supplies of grace, do any thing spiritually good.
Our apostle confirms the same truth : “And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward ; not that we are sufficient of ourselves, to think any thing as of ourselves, but our sufficiency is of God.' 2 Cor. iii. 4, 5. It is an eminent grace which he declares that he was acting, namely, trust in God in the discharge of his ministry, and for the success of it. But he had no souner expressed it, than he seems to be jealous lest he should appear to have assumed something to himself; and therefore he adds a caution against any such apprehension, and renounces any such power or sufficiency in himself :- Not that we are sufficient of ourselves.' And he excludes such a sufficiency with respect not only to eminent acts and duties, but even to a good thought, or whatever may tend to a spiritual duty. For it is the beginning of duties which the apostle expresses by thinking, or thoughts being the first thing that belongs to our actions. We cannot engage in the beginning of any duty by our own sufficiency: but .our sufficiency is of God'; that is, we have it by actual supplies of grace, as necessary to every duty ; and how God communicates this sufficiency, the apostle declares in chap. ix. verse 8 : God is able to make all grace abound towards you, that ye always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.' God manifests the abounding of grace towards us, when he works an effective sufficiency in us, so as to enable us to abound in good works, or duties of holiness. These are the effects of grace, and must be wrought in us by the Holy Ghost, who is the immediate author of all divine operations.
Secondly. All actings of grace, all good duties, are actually ascribed to the Spirit of God. The particular testimonies to this purpose in Scripture are so multiplied, that we can mention only a few by way of instance, and which may be reduced to three heads.
(1.) There are many texts wherein we are said to be led, guided acted, by the Spirit; to live in the Spirit ; to walk after the Spirit ; to do things by the Spirit that dwelleth in us. For nothing in general can be intended in these expressions but the actings of the Holy Spirit on our souls; in a compliance with which, as acting when