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of sin, it cannot be separated from hatred of sin; and then, if the grief and hatred be real, they cannot be separated from the desire and effort of being free from sin. The propitiation and advocacy are provided for the soul that is seriously conscious of sin, freed from its remaining power, abhorring its recurrence, and desiring to be freed from it, and at every return into even the conception of evil, hastening to the Saviour. If any one, to whom these marks vouch for his conversion to God, still find that, though habits of sin are broken, yet they are not taken away from him, let him not from that experience despairingly say, that his adoption is now lost, that heaven is now shut against his prayers, and that he can never be readmitted to his Father's face; but let me exhort him to go at once from this

lamented experience of still remaining sin, to the still effectual sacrifice; from this additional proof he has received of his utter want of all personal favour, to that mighty Advocate whose plea can never fail. Let him go, and with earnestness renew his solicitation; and so long as he trusts in the great propitiation, so long as he looks for every blessing exclusively at the hands of the great Intercessor, so long as he has recourse to this comfort and instruction given to penitent sinners, so long as there is love to men who believe, be assured, that for him to cast away from him the hope of acceptance with God, were to cast from him that very plea for acceptance with God, with which the wisdom of God is eternally satisfied. Now unto God the Father, be ascribed, &c. Amen.

THE TENDENCY OF THE WORD OF GOD TO PRODUCE SANCTIFICATION.

A SERMON, PREACHED ON THE AFTERNOON OF SUNDAY, 9th DECEMBER, 1832, By the Rev. THOMAS BROWN, D. D.

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Minister of St. John's Church, Glasgow.

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.”—John, xvii. 17.

THE two great points to which these | words naturally direct our attention are the necessity of sanctification, and the manner in which that sanctification is effected. In formerly discoursing from these words, I endeavoured to point out the necessity of sanctification, the necessity of being renewed, of being made like to God, from the following considerations; First, That it formed part of the salvation of Christ Jesus. It is not merely deliverance from guilt and punishment-it is not merely deliverance from transgression, that constitutes salvation, but deliverance from its

power and dominion, to a resemblance of the divine nature. Next, I said, it was necessary, in as far as it was corresponding to the divine character. There is no view of God more evident than this, that God is a God of holiness; that sin is that abominable thing which God hates, and that he cannot look upon it without abhorrence. Next, I endeavoured to point out the necessity of sanctification, arising from the command of God. This is to be found in every part of the divine record. Next, I endeavoured to prove it as necessary in order to evidence our faith and

union to Christ. Faith without purity is vain. Next, I shewed you that it was necessary for the advancement of God's glory, and the interests of Christ's kingdom in the world. It is not to be expected that any thing but a holy Christian can be instrumental, and beneficial, in advancing the cause of religion in the world. Next, I shewed you it was necessary for the peace of our minds. Without purity there can be no peace. God has said it, and he knows our constitution, that there is no peace to the wicked. Next, I said it was necessary, in order to qualify us for the heavenly kingdom. We must be like God if we would enjoy a hereafter; there must be a meetness for heaven, as well as a title to heaven. Such were some of the points I enlarged on at considerable length. I endeavoured then to shew, that sanctification, to be real, must be universal; it must extend to the whole man, to the thoughts, words, and actions, to the affections and desires of the heart, and to the outward conduct. It is not for you and me to say, I am partly sanctified. The work of the Spirit of God is not confined to this part or that, but the whole man is

brought into subjection to the Lord Jesus. | the salvation of individuals in that church is promoted, and their relation to Christ, their turning to God, their growth in grace, their establishment in peace, purity, and meetness for heaven, secured. It is the word of salvation that is preached unto perishing sinners, and it is of essential importance to the most advanced Christian as well as to him that is just beginning to lisp, as it were, the language of praise; it is just of as much importance to those that have made the greatest progress in the divine life, as to those who have made the least; just of as much in the end, as in the beginning. And how valuable must be that word, when it is considered that it comes home to all circumstances, that it is a light to the feet, and a lamp to the path, that it comforts in distress, soothes in the hour of sorrow, and upholds in the hour of death!

I observed, also, that it was progressive. "Sanctification," the Shorter Catechism tells us "is the work of God's free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man, after the image of God, and are enabled, more and more, to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness." This is the nature of sanctification. It proceeds, from small beginnings, to a great increase. It is just like a grain of mustard seed, scarcely perceptible at first, but it goes on till it becomes a great tree. It is thus that it operates on the heart and mind; upon the whole outward, as well as upon the whole inward man. It is like the morning light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day. I then shewed you also how it was attained, it is God's work-we cannot bring a clean thing out of an unclean. If the Ethiopian cannot change his skin, nor the leopard his spots, no more can they that are accustomed to do evil learn to do well. It is the work of divine power, and that divine Redeemer, who has said, "all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth," can subdue all people to his will, can conquer the hardest and stoniest heart, can bring their whole desires into captivity to himself. It is His work, not merely at the commencement: the great artificer must be at the laying of the foundation stone; and not only so, but superintending and assisting to the close, from the first to the last, through all the intermediate steps of our advancement in holiness, till we arrive at the fulness of the stature of perfect men in Christ Jesus-till we be no longer fitted to live in this world of sin and corruption-till we be translated into the world of purity, where no sin is to be found. The whole is the work of God; he must begin and carry forward, and be must perfect. This was shewn from the declarations of God's word, and from the experience of the people of God. They know that their own efforts are fruitless and unavailing, unless God be with them to strengthen, help, and uphold; but the word of God tells us that God makes use of means. Our Lord, when he prays to his heavenly Father that his disciples might be sanctified, says, Sanctify them through thy truth-thy word is truth;" and we do not hesitate to affirm, that it is by the word of truth, either communicated in writing, or addressed orally to men, that

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But how does the word sanctify us? It is to this that I am now to turn your attention. In the first place, it has a tendency to sanctify, by the discoveries it makes to us; secondly, by the motives it presents to us; and, thirdly, by the examples it holds out to us. In the first place, the word has a tendency to sanctify us, by the discoveries it makes. Where there is ignorance of divine things, there cannot be much purity; where the mind is darkened, the heart must be corrupted-the life cannot be holy. No doubt, much knowledge maketh mad, and much religious knowledge too, there may be, without any sanctity of character. A man may be profoundly learned in the truths of religion, and yet the light of his own mind may be darkness: he may still continue, notwithstanding all he knows of the ways of God, in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity; he may not be, in any degree, conformed to the divine will and image; he may look unto the Lamb of God, but not behold him in the mirror that is held up to him; and, beholding him in the mirror of salvation, he may go and forget what manner of person he is. But this is not the natural tendency of the thing-this is not the design, and this is not the effect of sacred revelation, nor was the word of God communicated for this purpose. Its tendency is good, if it be used well; but it may be perverted-familiarity with it may defeat the gracious purpose the Lord had in view in communicating it to us.

word of God make known to us? It reveals his character to us in all its plenitude, and illustrates that character, and delineates all the features and attributes of Deity, in a way fitted to solemnize the mind, and shew that he is glorious in holiness, and fearful in praises, as well as doing wonders. It contains the his tory of Divine Providence, in God's dealings with the children of men. It reveals the whole truth of our fallen and lost condition, and responsibility, and weakness, and guilt, and condemnation. It unfolds to us the divine will, the holy commands and precepts by which the Lord would have our hearts and lives to be regulated. It reveals and makes known to us another world-its certainty, its nature, and our interests in it, and our future destiny there. It makes known the character that shall be blessed, and that character that shall be made to drink eternally of the cup of wrath. It tells of the all-sufficiency of Christ, and of the allperfect and finished salvation made known to us by him. It tells us of the Spiritof its sanctifying influences, and of the means of our being brought under their power. It informs us, in the plainest and most unequivocal terms, that the pure in heart alone shall see God, and that without holiness, no man shall enter the kingdom of heaven. Now, I would just ask any rational, thinking being, if he reads attentively what is said on the various topics of God's word-if he studies the record of unerring truth, is it possible that he can do so, without feeling something of the influence that these truths are fitted to produce? The great design of God, in imparting a revelation to sinful man, was not to amuse the fancy, to gratify curiosity, or please the taste, but to benefit the soul, to sanctify the heart, and regulate the life. The great object of revelation is not to awaken speculation about its contents, but to excite a practical regard to its truths. The great object of God in making himself known to us in all the excellence and greatness of his power, in all the discoveries of his mercy and grace, is just to beget a love of, and trust in, his perfections, and imitation of his character. The great object of revealing the law and the gospel, is to make us feel sin's guilt and deformity, and seek for, and rejoice in, a way of deliverance from it; so that, if the word is read and heard in the way in which, and for the purpose for which, it has been

communicated-and if there be a taking of that word home, and an application of its various contents to ourselves—it is naturally fitted to sanctify and make us holy. "We all, with open face, beholding as in a glass," says the apostle," the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image, from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." It is true, that faith in the word is essential; a believing, a practical conviction, that the record is true and faithful, is needful to render it efficacious in the way we have been speaking; but if there be a believing, a realizing view of the truths of the gospel, we will feel their transforming tendency, without which we cannot be sanctified by the leading views of the truth as it is in Jesus; and the more frequently, and steadily, and habitually, a person does read the divine record, the more will he become acquainted with the glorious truths which it contains; and the more he knows of them, the more ardently will he love them; and the more he loves them, the more will he long to be conformed to them. Thus it appears, that the more we are made acquainted with the discoveries of the Bible, the more clearly we see, and the more firmly we believe its contents, the more shall our hearts be moulded into a likeness of God, into a resemblance of the divine nature; and the more closely we hold converse with God in his blessed record, the more abundantly shall our conversation, our outward man and life, be adorned with all the fruits which are to the praise, and honour, and glory of God's name. In this manner, then, does truth become efficacious in producing that purity of heart which is to the salvation of souls, and that resemblance to Christ, without which uo man shall see the Lord.

But, in the second place, the word of truth has a tendency to purify our hearts and lives, by the motives it presents to us. I cannot here enter on the consideration of all those varieties of motives and inducements, by which the Lord, in his word, works on the human heart. He addresses all the feelings and powers of the human mind, touches all the different springs and cords of the human heart and for what purpose? Just to induce sinners to forsake the ways of unrighteousness, to lead them to the relinquishment of sin as their great enemy, and to lead them to choose God as their chief portion and their

chief good. By pointing to the necessity | such a manifestation of mercy, and such a

of holiness to the attainment of present display of love, and such exhibitions of peace and future enjoyment, he stimulates unmerited favour and grace, as we have us to emulate and struggle to attain them. in the face of the Lord Jesus ChristBy communicating to us the exceeding and nowhere such manifestations of the great and precious promises, the word has humility and abasement of the Son of opened up to us the life that now is, and God in becoming the son of man, as in that which is to come. Recording grace the depth of his sorrow and the severity here, and glory hereafter, in connection of his suffering, in the lowliness of his with a renewed heart, he awakens our life and ignominy of his death. The hopes, and leads us to press forward to the apostle says, "Christ is made unto us sancmeasure of holiness attainable here. And tification," and he means he is the procuthe apostle tells us, that there are such ring cause of all those divine influences glorious promises communicated, in order through which the regeneration of our that the Christian may be made partaker nature is effected, and that through him, of a divine nature, and raised above the as the great living head, all healing and pollution and corruption of the world. sanctifying influences proceed; but I The full relation believers stand in to God, think we are directed to a believing view as made known in the record-that noble of Christ, and I do conceive that a belierelation of sons and coheirs with Christ, ving view of the humility and suffering, which is their sure portion and future and persecution and death, of the Lord inheritance, is frequently urged on them Jesus Christ, is of all motives the strongest as a powerful inducement to holiness. to lead us to watch and pray, that we They are reminded of their holy and high may die unto sin and live unto righteousvocation, not for any mean purpose, but ness. If there be a single individual who to raise them above the sensualities and can contemplate all that Christ underwent, corruptions of the world, and to induce from his cradle to his grave, to purify him,— them to aim at nobler principles and prac- the reproaches of his enemies, the treachery tices, and to have conversations becoming of his friends, the desertion and the hiding the Gospel-to be blameless and harmless even of his Father's countenance, the as the sons of God-to be followers of bodily agony and mental distress to which God as dear children. The Almighty also he was subjected, without being filled with works on the fears of the human heart, to adoring gratitude and transporting admilead men to keep at a distance from all ration,-I know not how his heart is that is sinful, and to perfect holiness in constituted. If there be one who can the fear of God. He reminds them, that consider sin as causing the Lord of if they forget his statutes and yield to Glory to veil his divine majesty, and temptations, they shall be visited with stoop to the condition of a servant-as stripes and punished with rods; and that awakening the regions of hell against if they draw back he can have no pleasure him, and turning the wells of consolation in them. But of all the principles and into streams of wrath, and the smiles of motives that the Gospel affords for the paternal love into a dark, cold frown, promoting of the sanctification of the heart-without being animated with irreconand life, the love and the grace of the Redeemer appear by far the most conspicuous, and the most influential. If the heart be not operated on by this exhibi- | tion of love that passeth all understanding, to loathe sin and forsake it-to cherish holiness and to desire it—and to sacrifice all that the Lord would have us to do, I know not any consideration likely to operate in melting and subduing that heart. We have nowhere such an exhibition of sin as in the volume before us-nowhere such a satisfying proof of God's hatred of sin, and God's love of holiness. We have nowhere such a proof of God's determination

cileable hatred to sin, the procuring cause of all this, he must have a heart hard fas the adamant, and insensible as that of the devils themselves. And when, in addition to all this, the Christian reflects that his life, and his happiness, and his eternal glory, are procured at this extraordinary price, and could not have been secured by any other means, and that otherwise he must have died eternally, and been eternally miserable,-when he thinks of what Christ did suffer, that he might serve the Lord in holiness and righteousness all the days of his life, that he might not live unto himself, but unto him that died for him,

prayer of his lips, every desire of his soul, must be, that as he is not his own, but bought with a price, he should glorify God in his body, and in his spirit, which are his. And I consider, then, these motives to be of the most stimulating and animating nature. I do indeed admit that all the meltings of divine love, all the threatenings of divine wrath, fall upon the ears of men insensibly, without ever begetting any impression that is of a salutary, or of a sanctifying nature. A deadly stupor, a torpid insensibility, has seized upon them, the effect of Satan's delusion, and sin's benumbing influence; but if there be considerations that can by possibility work on the human heart-if there be motives that can by possibility weigh with the human soul-if every feeling and affection of the mind be not dead and extinguished, and if man will at all attend to them, they must tell on his sensibilities, and must be followed by a regenerating and renewing influence. God has adapted them to the real state and circumstances of human nature; and Christ knows them, and knows their effects; and therefore he says in his prayer to his heavenly Father," Sanctify them through thy truth;" "for faith," saith Paul, "cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God;" and it pleased God by it to save them that believe, "being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."

The last circumstance I would bring under your notice is, that God sanctifieth by the truth, by the examples of holy living that the word of truth exhibits and brings under our notice. It was customary with the ancient philosophers, to have the walls of their schools adorned with the images of the great and illustrious in former times, that, in contemplating them, their disciples might be led to admire their originals, and be stimulated by their exertions and attainments, and led to transcribe the graces by which they were adorned into their own characters. And we have recorded in the pages of inspiration, the lives of several of God's people for the same reason, that we may imitate this cloud of witnesses, who, through faith and patience, have been made heirs of the promises, that we may be induced to follow their ways, and lay aside every besetting sin, and copy that holiness and sanctity of heart by which they were dis

tinguished. There is no part of the Word of God, written aforetime, that was not written for our learning and instruction; and there is no grace, no character delineated in the page of inspiration, that is not designed to be of universal benefit in influencing the sentiments and regulating the conduct. They are held up to our view either for imitation or warningeither as objects we should copy after, or as beacons we should avoid. We find that there is no species of human writing more powerfully fitted, or more peculiarly adapted to interest the affections and affect the heart, than the sketches of life which are occasionally brought under our notice

and sacred biography is powerfully calculated to produce this effect also,-for the picture is drawn by whom? by the finger of God himself. Every feature is correctly and justly delineated; nothing is concealed, nothing is exhibited but what is requisite either to stimulate on the one hand, or to deter on the other; and I conceive that the beauties of holiness, or the deformities of vice, are made more captivating or detestable when exhibited to the view in the lives of the godly, or in the examples of the unrighteous; and in this way are far more apt to make a deep and lasting impression on the mind than any abstract view that can be given of holiness,-than any lessons against sin, and in favour of piety, that could be inculcated. When any grace or virtue is strongly enforced, under the impression that the standard is far too high, and the requirement far too rigid, however the mind may approve, there is an impression of its unattainableness and impracticability; but when the character required of us is actually carried into real life, and that by men of like passions with ourselves

by men who have the same infirmities, and temptations, and difficulties to encounter-by men who have no other resources than we ourselves have,—our fear of failure is thereby dissipated, our confidence gains strength. For what have we to copy after, and what is the object of our ambition? We aim at what is not beyond the reach of others; the footsteps that are attainable we tread; and through the aid of Divine grace, we overcome and are successful. But what is the history of any of the people of God in the volume of inspiration, but the history of God's providential dealings with them-the history of what God effects in them and by them, and the pledge

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