Of the Grace of God sanctifying a Sinner.
1 COR. 6. 11.
THe Apostle (as you heard) is now describing what the Corinthians are by the grace of God; which is threefold, Washing (and that is dispatched;) Sanctifying, and that is the work now in hand. As for Illyricus his opini∣on, that takes these three things for the same, making them onely words Synonymous, there is no colour for it; come we therefore to handle the nature of this gracious work of God, and the word hath many and several acceptions, in the Scripture, which are necessary to be known.
The first and ordinary use of the word, is for the external celebrating and ac∣knowledging*the Name and Ordinances of God as holy: Thus we pray, Sanctified be thy name; and very often we are commanded To sanctifie the Lord; which is then done, when we do with all holy fear and reverence make mention of him, and acknowledge his Majesty; the contrary whereunto, is to defile, to pollute and to blaspheme his holy name.
Secondly, To Sanctifie, is often used in Scripture, for the separating any thing from prophane and common use, as holy unto God: Thus all the vessels in the Tem∣ple were sanctified, and the Priests were sanctified; and in this sense Christ saith, He sanctified himself, viz. He prepared himself to be an expiatory Sacrifice for * our sins.
Thirdly, There are some who say the word to Sanctifie, is as much as to justifie, and to make holy and righteous through Christs Righteousness; and therefore they speak of an imputative Sanctification (which is the same with Justification) and is really inherent, but inchoate in this life. Thus they say Sanctification is taken for Justification, frequently in the Epistle to the Hebrews, Heb. 10. By which will we are sanstified; and Heb. 3. Christ that he might sanctifie his people, suffered Page 381 without the gate; and thus Christ is said To be made unto us, Wisdom and Sanctifi∣cation; But this sense of the word is not so generally acknowledged.
Fourthly, To sanctifie, is sometimes used for the preparing and designing of any to some great work and exploit; so Isa. 13. The Medes are said to be sanctified, for the destruction of Babylon: I have commanded my sanctified ones; yea, in the Scripture commonly the judgements of God upon the wicked, by way of war and slaughter, are compared to Sacrifices, and so those that are instruments to execute them, in that sense are sanctified; yea, it signifieth to prepare or endea∣vor any thing, Jer. 6. Sanctifie a war, Mich. 3. If they do not give in their mouth, they prepare a war.
Fifthly, The word is sometimes used antiphrastically, for the clear contrary, to sanctifie, is then as much as to pollute, and to be unclean; thus Exod. 19. Lev.. 8. Those that did after an unclean maner draw nigh to holy things, they are said to be sanctified, that is, unclean: And thus whores in the Hebrew are called Holy, that is, polluted and vile; and thus Sacrum among the Latihs is used.
Sixthly, There is a passive Sanctification, or a Work of God, whereby he changeth us, and maketh us of unholy, holy; and this is the grace intended in the Text: I pray God ye be sanctified throughout, 1 Thess. ult. 1 Pet. 1. 1. Through the Sanctifi∣cation of the Spirit to obedience.
Seventhly, There is an active Sanctification, whereby in the progress of holiness, we daily purifie our selves, growing more and more holy, 2 Cor. 7. 7. 1 John 3. He that hath this hope purifyeth or sanctifieth himself, as God is holy: These two latter senses of the word, may be here chiefly intended.
That those who are renewed by the Grace of God, they are sanctified ones; they are*made holy, and purified from the filth and dross that was in them.
Let us first observe how the several senses of the word Sanctified, formerly related, is aptly applicable to them: And *
First, They are Segregated from the world; They are chosen from that pro∣phane and common course of life they lived in before; that as the Vessels were taken from all common use, and applied onely to sacred actions, to the Sa∣crifices, and other Offerings: Thus God by grace, doth take men, who before were under the power of Satan, at the command of every lust, they were vile, unclean, fit for no holy imployments; now they are separated from those for∣mer evils: Thus true Religion is that which keeps a man unspotted from the world, James 1. 27. Thou dost touch this pitch, and art not defiled; thou art in this Babylonian furnace, and hast not thy garments signed: This is to be a true and a good separatist, when by the heart and affections, a man forsaketh the ways of the world; though he be in the world, yet he is not of the world; for the world lying in wickedness, godliness cannot be but singularity and pre∣ciseness, in respect of the multitude; therefore thou art not in the number of these sanctified ones, nay thou canst not say, thou art of the true Religion or hast any true Religion at all, till thou keepest thy self clean and unblameable from all the gross and foul wickedness, that the world usually commits.
Secondly, The godly are sanctified, because they are not onely separated from * their former prophaneness, but they are also Dedicated and Consecrated unto God, they are made his, and are peculiarly applyed unto him; in which sense the godly are called A Royal Priesthood, 1 Pet. 2. 9. and, The First fruits, James 1. 18. thus they are said to be none of their own, Phil. 4. The godly hath God set apart for himself (saith the Psalmist;) so then, to be sanctified, is to be given up wholly unto the Lord as his, no more a mans own, no more the worlds, no more sins: Therefore all the sins of a godly man, have a kinde of Sacriledge in them, they take their souls and bodies, which were consecrated unto God, and apply them to prophane and the Devils use: Thus the Apostle argueth, Shall I take the Temple of the Holy Ghost, and make it one with an whore? 2 Cor. 6. In this manner, Page 382 all the sins of the godly are to be aggravated, Sin not with thy eyes, with thy hands, with thy body, thou makest the Temple of God an Hell, thou art guilty of high Sacriledge.
Thirdly, To be sanctified you heard, was to be prepared and fitted for any great work and imployment; Thus also the people of God are created and pre∣pared*for every good work: All the actions of grace are supernatural, far above humane power, they are Divine works, and therefore must have power from above to enable them thereunto. To leave thy sins, thou must be sanctified thereunto; to pray aright, to hear the word of God in a soul-saving maner, there must be a sanctification of thy heart; especially this is used for execu∣ting Justice upon the enemies of God and his glory: This is Gods Sacrifice, and thus every particular Christian, he hath many Sacrifices, for the offering of which he needeth this Sanctification. A broken and contrite heart, that is a sacrifice, Psal. 51. good works are a sacrifice, prayer is a sacrifice. Now as in the Old Testament they were peculiarly consecrated and fitted thereunto; thus also in the New Testament, none can subdue sin, approach nigh unto God in any holy way, that is not first sanctified by his spirit, 2 Tim. 2. 21. Sanctified and meet for the Masters use. As the Medes were sanctified to destroy the Babylonions, so must thou be to kill thy lusts, to mortifie thy sins: Though you are not now to kill beasts, to destroy them unto God, yet ye have beastly lusts, which you are to mortifie continually; Pride, Covetousness, Prophaneness, these are beastly lusts, which thou art sanctified to destroy.
Fourthly, To be sanctified, in the Scripture sense, Is to be made fit and lawful*for its proper use: Thus some expound that place, The unbelieving wife is sancti∣fied through the believing husband, 1 Cor. 7. that is, made fit and lawful for con∣jugal relation, though that is not all the meaning; but we have another place, where every thing is said to be sanctified by the word of God and prayer, 1 Tim. 4. 5. viz. All our Meats, Drinks, lawful •mployments, they are sanctified by prayer: The curse that is upon all the creatures is removed away, and thy meat is made fit to nourish thee, thy cloathes to warm thee, &c.
In this sense Divines speak of a civil right, and a sanctified right to the crea∣tures: * Wicked men have a civil, lawful right to the goods, to the posses∣sions they enjoy, and possess them with a good conscience, but they want the sanctified right of them; i. e. they have not the grace of God in their heart, whereby they might improve them in a godly maner, to the glory and honor of God; It being impossible without faith to please God: Oh then bewail thy condition! while thou art unsanctified, thou art not fit to eat, to drink, to be a possessor of any estate, any honor, any goods; not but that a wicked man is true owner of what he is, but he hath not a sanctified use of them, he doth not eat or drink to the glory of God, his estate and wealth he knoweth not how to improve for blessed and heavenly ends.
Fifthly, To sanctifie, is to acknowledge and use all things that belong to God, after an holy, reverent and heavenly maner: Thus the people of God are often exhort∣ed *To sanctifie God in their hearts, Isa. 8. 13. and so they are commanded To sancti∣fie or keep holy his Sabbaths, Isa. 29. 23. so that herein is a true sanctified person dis∣covered, when he doth with all holy fear and reverence approach near unto God in his Ordinances: Thus a godly man is described by this property, He feareth an oath, Eccles 92. because an oath is a sacred appeal unto God, as the witness of our actions, and because his majesty is so great and glorious, that we are unworthy to take his name into our mouthes; therefore he is said To fear an oath, he trembleth to swear. O how far are those then from Sanctifica∣tion, who prophanely and passionately belch out their oathes, and without any reverence, yea in madness and fury, make mention of God in their Oathes. If thou weit sanctified, thou wouldest acknowledge the Name, Person, Nature, Attributes and Ordinances of God Sacred and Holy, and so wouldst after a seri∣ous, Page 383 humble and holy manner use them, and make mention of them: So that the swearer and the curser, howsoever he may mitigate his sin, that he didit in his passion, and he doth not think of it, yet he can never pretend to Sanctificati∣on; for where that is, it doth rule the heart with such an holy and reverential awe of Gods Majesty, that he never makes mention of him, but with Religious and trembling affections. Its admirable what the Heathens have been in this very point of swearing, how unwilling to do it, though in a lawful thing, and all because of a devout apprehension they had of that Sacred Majesty to whom they did appeal in their oathes. O then, what shame and confusion should this be to Christians; there is scarce any old man, or yong man, any rich man, or poor man, but given to this detestable sin of swearing, for which a man may pro∣perly be called prophane, be cause he hath low, despicable and irreverent thoughts of God. Another duty of a godly man sanctified, is to keep holy his Sabbaths, as you read in many places; so that the loose, careless and contemptuous despising of it, is an argument of an unsanctified heart: The godly make it their delight, and they keep a spiritual Sabbath from their sins, and by this means, their souls enter into an holy rest that day: But the ungodly man, he judgeth these days a burthen, a trouble, he longs to have them over, that he may to the world, or his lusts again: Try then thy Sanctification, by thy holy esteem and prize of thy holy duties, which are for the encrease of godliness, and promoting of that: When thou comest to pray, to hear, to keep his Sabbaths, with thy thoughts full of the world, the love thereof, or delight therein, thou art no ways pre∣pared to sanctifie God.
Lastly, To sanctifie, is to have all the faculties and powers of the soul, re∣newed by holy principles within, and thereby carried out to do those things * which are holy, and after an holy manner: And thus all those that are regene∣rated are wrought upon, their understandings are made holy, their wills holy, their love an holy love, their grief and fear holy: This is the chief mercy, above all Riches, Honors and Greatness; without this Sanctification, every man, though alive, is dead; though rich, is poor; though happy, is miserable. And for the better discovery of it, consider:
First, the efficient cause to which this is peculiarly appropriated; and that is, *The Holy Spirit of God, called, The Holy Spirit, Ephes. 1. 13. Rom. 1. 4. 2 Thess. 2. 13. and, The Spirit of Sanctification, because peculiarly appropriated to him to work this in us: So that if thou desirest this Sanctification, fain thou wouldst have a sanctified heart, and sanctified affections; O it troubles thee that thou art not acted by such holy principles; lift up thy eyes to heaven, pray that God would vouchsafe this holy spirit to thee, which will work like fire, consuming that dross of corruption in thee. No wonder, if under much preaching, many judgements of God, people remain prophane and loose, dissolute in their sins, for neither Minister or Angels, can infuse this holy foundation into them. its the proper work of Gods Spirit: Take heed therefore of grieving or resisting this spirit, and that you do, when ye live in sins against conviction against the plain declaration of Gods word; when that informeth, directeth judgeth and condemneth thee, yet thou wilt go on, and be obstinate in thy sins: This is the sad case of many thousands, who thereby chase away the spirit of Sancti∣fication from them. Now that God is more willing to bestow his spirit, upon those that ask him in a right manner, then any father is able, or willing to give any necessary good thing to his childe, appeareth Mat. 7. If ye being wicked know how to give good things, how much rather will your Father in heaven, give his spirit to those that ask him: O then say, This is the necessary thing, this is to be sought for in the first place. *
Secondly, The instrument of this Sanctification, the means whereby God will work it, is the Word: Thus our Saviour prayeth, That God would sanctifie his Disciples by his truth, his word was truth, John 17. There is no ordinary means Page 384 for the obtaining of this, but by the word: This is the Chariot of the Spirit, here we must expect its workings. As it had beed a vain thing in Naaman, to expect the cleansing of his leprosie in anywater but in Jordan, so it is as foolish and absurd to expect sanctification by any humane rites & inventions of men, a number of which are introduced in popery. Now as Gods spirit onely efficiently sanctifieth, and not humane power or freewill; so the Divine truths of God are instituted Mediums for this glorious effect, and no other superstitious designments made by men: Oh then, if ever thou wouldst be sanctified, be a diligent hearer of the word, hear in season and out of season, as we are commanded to preach: Come to this fountain often to be washed in, throw thy self frequently in this fire, to get thy dross out. The effects of Gods word are admirable, especially in this point, to sanctifie thee, to make thee have holy affections, and holy principles, and holy ends and aims in all thou doest. As those that are much in the Sun, they cannot but be much coloured by it; so those that are in read∣ing often, in hearing often, in praying often, they will finde such an holy change upon them, such admirable effects on their lives, that there will be as much wonder at them, as there were of those who were dead and rotting in their graves, yet raised by the mighty power of Christ: As therefore there is no hope of that tree that is near no waters side, that groweth in a barren wil∣derness; so there is no hopes of ever being sanctified from those who seldom or never come to hear the word, or if they do, its out of formality, custom, and with so much dulness, sleepiness and distractions, that their very outward de∣portment manifests much contempt and irreverence towards God? Do these men come to be sanctified? do such come with this grand expectation, Of unholy to be made holy?
Thirdly, The Meritorious cause, which procureth this great priviledge at * Gods hand, is Iesus Christ: Thus the Apostle addeth, In the Name of the Lord Iesus; so that one great effect of those Agonies and Sufferings which Christ underwent, was to obtain Sanctification: Christ shed his blood, that he might pur∣chase to himself an holy people, Tit. 3. Oh then, how should this make you highly esteem it! Was it a small or a light thing for which Christ indured all those torments? could we not be sanctified, but by his blood? why then doest thou make no matter of it? where is the man that cryeth out, Oh Christ dyed, and yet I am not sanctified? Christ hath shed his blood, and yet I am not made holy.
Fourthly, Consider the extent of this Sanctification, its universal throwout:*I pray God ye be sanctified throughout, in spirit, soul and body, 1 Thess. 5. 3. The spirit, that is in the choicest and most sublime part of a man, that needeth San∣ctification; even these Heavens are defiled, this Sun hath black and foul spots. Hence we read of Carnal mindes, Corrupt understandings, and therefore we need the Sanctification of them, yea, this must be the first work of Sanctification: its your minde, your judgement, your reason, that is so great an enemy to God; What hinders, but that thou shouldest go out presently, and give thy self up unto all holy obedience? but thy minde, thy judgement is not satisfied, that hath this or that carnal plea; so that of all parts, this eye, this understand∣ing must be light, else all the body will be dark: Oh therefore that God would sanctifie your mindes, your understandings, make them holy, then would your affections and your conversations quickly become changed. Then the next thing to be sanctified, is the soul; that is, the affections and passions, as com∣monly Interpreters think; and indeed, these are like the wheels in the Chariot, like the fire among the Elements; if these be not sanctified, a man is carried up and down lik a ship in the storm, without Pilot or any conduct: And besides, these affections are very unruly and masterful, therefore the sanctification of them is more requisite. Lastly, there is the body, and that also must be san∣ctified; viz. Organically, as it is the instrument of the soul: Thus the tongue, Page 385 the Eyes, the Ears, the Hands, they all are to be Sanctified. A great deal of bodily wickedness there is in the world, and therefore that must be made holy. Therefore Chastity, and freedom from uncleannesse, and whoredome, is in a peculiar manner called Sanctification, 1 Thess. 4. 3. 4. Observe, you who are carried away with unlawfull, lustfull pleasures: Chastity and purity of Body from such loath∣some courses, is called emphatically, Sanctification. So that Fornicators, Adul∣terers, Lustfull, and Lascivious persons, they are in a special manner unsancti∣fied persons; they are no more to be called Godly that live in such sinnes though they should pray, hear, make never such profession of Religion, then darknesse to be esteemed light.
Use, Of Exhortation. Is there such a work of God as sanctification; and is that necessary to every one, then look out and examine diligently whether thou * hast it or no: God hath made thee, and created thee, but hath he sanctified thee? God hath given thee riches, wealth, honour, parts, and learning, but hath he gi∣ven thee Sanctification? Alas the lives of most men, are so prophane, impure, un∣clean, filthy, that you cannot call them Sanctified ones, unlesse in that sense as the Hebrews call whores holy, as I told you. And this is the more to be lamented, because men enjoy the means, and live under the way to sanctification, which is Gods word. Oh that thou who shouldest be a Temple of the Holy Ghost, shouldst be a swine for the divel to enter in: I intreat you to be awakened; if no sanctificati∣on here, no glorification hereafter: Without holinesse no man shall see God. Why? can you rest and be quiet till you get some evidences of Sanctification: be no lon∣ger bruitish, but men, but Christians. Say, O Lord, I desire that at last I may be san∣ctified to thy own self, Oh seperate me from my wonted sinnes, my customary ini∣quities.