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No various scenes to come, no change of place,
And all this, that “whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we may do all to the glory of God;" that whatever we do in word or deed, we may do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God, even the Father, through him.”
3. And now, shall not this blessing be ours ? Can we hear of this renovation of our fallen nature, of this health and good constitution of soul, and not long to possess it? Surely this sanctification, so excellent in itself, and so beneficial in its effects, must
in the eyes of all that are enlightened, to be far more desirable than the most valuable of those earthly vanities, which so universally engage the attention, and engross the affections of mankind! Surely one cannot even transiently behold this divine perfection and beauty, without emotion, and cannot attentively consider it without being overcome with desire, and made (as it were) sick of love ! How lovely is this image of God, this divine nature ! How honourable and happy to be clothed with it! To have all our sins forgiven, and our consciences sprinkled from guilt! To have all our diseases healed, and our souls restored to perfect soundness! To have our life redeemed from eternal destruction, and our heads crowned with loving-kindness and tender mercies ! To have God's approbation on earth, and to hear him
« Well done!" O what equals this?
.." And shall the victor now
4. As to the way in which this holiness is obtained, I must beg leave to make that a distinct head of discourse, having enlarged so much on the points already treated. In the meantime, let us carefully consider what hath been advanced ; let us mark, learn, and inwardly digest it; and let us lift up our hearts unto God in earnest prayer for his blessing upon it! Thus shall we become more and more acquainted with its excellency and necessity. Our desires after it will be maintained and increased, and we shall not only be prepared to receive benefit by what may hereafter be said, but shall be in the high-way to have our desires accomplished; for “ blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled."
hunger and thirst after righteousness.” And then we shall
THE WAY OF ATTAINING SANCTIFICATION.
May the very God of peace sanctify you wholly: and I pray God
your whole spirit, and soul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. 1 Thess. V. 23, 24.
1. HAVING considered the nature and extent of sanctification, I proceed now, secondly, as was proposed, to show how it may be obtained ?
1. With regard to this, I must observe, 1st, We cannot produce this change in ourselves by any wisdom or power of our own. This will be readily allowed by all who attentively consider what has been already advanced on the nature of sanctification. For it appears by the account given above, that previous, at least to some measure of sanctification, and while in our natural state, we are devoid of all wisdom and power to do any manner of thing that is good. And this is confirmed by our Lord, who saith, “ Without me ye can do nothing." Now if we can do nothing without him, how can we do this, so great, so wonderful a work? Can the blind restore himself to sight ? Can the dead raise himself up ? Can the dead in sin quicken his own soul ? Alas ! he does not even know that he is dead, but sleeps on still and takes his rest ; and if he did know, he has no ability to perform what is so supernatural. What then must be done in this case? Where shall we find relief? St. Paul tells us, “ Our sufficiency is of God;" and again, “ God worketh in us to will and to do of his good pleasure.' Hence it is, that in the words of our text, he directs his prayer unto God
for this blessing, “ May the very God of peace, «ulos de ó EOS TIS Elpavas:" It should rather be rendered, “ May the God of peace himself sanctify you.” It is his peculiar work: Only " he who commanded light to shine out of darkness,” can
66 shine into our hearts ;” only he who created the world, and brought order out of confusion, can new-create our souls. We must acknowledge “ his workmanship,” if we are “ created in Christ Jesus unto good works."
2. I observe, 2dly, God works this change in us, by communicating to us his Holy Spirit in his various graces. As a Spirit of wisdom and revelation, he dispels the darkness of our minds, and makes us light in the Lord.” As a Spirit of holiness, he subdues our wills, and raises our affections to God and heaven. Comforter, he removes our guilty fears, scatters our doubts, and sprinkles our consciences from dead works, that we may serve the living God. He composes the tumult of our breasts, gives us
peace and joy through believing" and fills us with strong consolation. He is the “ earnest of our future inheritance in our hearts,” and it is by him we are “ sealed to the day of redemption.” Hence it is that we are said “ to abound in hope by the power of the Holy Ghost ;" and love, meekness, gentleness, longsuffering, and every holy affection and temper, is in Scripture ascribed to the Spirit of God. Yea, sanctification itself, with all that it includes, is there said to be the work of the Spirit.*
3. And as God begins this work by giving us his Spirit, so he maintains it by causing his Spirit to continue with us.
For as the beginning, so the continuance of sanctification depends necessarily upon his inspiration. For “ as the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abide in the vine,” and the sap of the vine abide
no more can we, except we abide in Christ,” and the Spirit of Christ abide in us. “ If any man (do not observe this, and) abide not in him, he is cast forth as a branch and is withered." Hence Christ exhorts us, - Abide in me and I in you; and, for our encouragement, adds, • He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; and every branch in me that beareth fruit, my Father purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” The sum of the matter is this: All our wisdom in spiritual things, holiness, and happiness, arise from the presence of the Spirit in us. While he continues to enlighten, sanctify, and comfort us, so long we know, obey, and are happy. But if he for
* 2 Thess. ii. 13.
sake us, (which it is not his will to do) all our good vanishes, and we are left the same ignorant, unholy, miserable creatures we were before.
4. It plainly follows from what has been advanced, that our sanctification can only be increased by an increase of the Spirit's influences. For if the beginning and continuante of our sanctification depend so entirely on the beginning and continuance of the operations of the Spirit, so must an increase of it, on an increase of those operations. The more deep, constant, and universal those influences are, the more deep, constant, and universal must our sanctification be. So that in order to our full, perfect, and entire sanctification, we must “ be filled with the Spirit,” must receive all those measures of grace purchased for us, and promised to us ; must “ be filled with all the fulness of God," must “ dwell in God, and God in us." Thus shall “ all the good pleasure of his will be fulfilled in us, and the work of faith with power;" we shall be made perfect and entire, lacking nothing; shall stand complete in the whole will of God, being “ holy as he that hath called us is holy.”
5. It appears, therefore, if ever we are sanctified, we must be indebted to God for our sanctification, must acknowledge him the author of it. Now none of us can doubt his power in this matter. “ He is able,” we know, “ to do for us exceeding abundantly, above all that we can ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us.” But is he willing ? Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean." And surely we have no more reason to doubt his willingness than his power ; for he is a “ God of peace,” was the apostle informs us in our text. Had it been otherwise, we could have had little hope of being forgiven, and much less of being renewed ; we could have expected nothing but utter destruction, having been rebels against his government, and traitors to the King of kings, and Lord of lords. But here is our comfort, He is a “ God of peace.” He has “ made peace for us by the blood of the cross.” He is "s in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing their trespasses to them,” and “ Peace be unto you,” is the language of his love. He sent his angels to bring tidings of peace upon earth, and has appointed his ministers to proclaim peace throughout all lands.
6. And now say, whether it is reasonable to call his willingness in question ? “ If he hath not withheld from us his only-begotten Son, but freely delivered him up for us all," to sufferings, to death, even the most ignominious and accursed death of the cross, “ how