Spiritual refining: or A treatise of grace and assurance Wherein are handled, the doctrine of assurance. The use of signs in self-examination. How true graces may be distinguished from counterfeit. Several true signs of grace, and many false ones. The nature of grace under divers Scripture notions or titles, as regeneration, the new-creature, the heart of flesh, vocation, sanctification, &c. Many chief questions (occasionally) controverted between the orthodox and the Arminians. As also many cases of conscience. Tending to comfort and confirm saints. Undeceive and convert sinners. Being CXX sermons preached and now published by Anthony Burgess sometime fellow of Emanuel Colledge in Cambridge, and now pastor of the church of Sutton-Coldfield in Warwickshire.
Burgess, Anthony, d. 1664.


Signes and Characters of Sanctified ones.

1 COR. 6. 11.
But ye are Sanctified, &c.

IN what sense a godly man is sanctified, hath already been declared. Now let us consider the symptomes or properties of sanctification, which will be as so many testimonies or evidences, whereby we may come to be assured that we are sanctified.

It is true, such is the self-love, and self-flattery in every man, that he is quickly perswaded that he is one to whom this priviledge doth belong. When therefore it shall be discussed, Who are they that are thus qualified; It will appear so diffi∣cult and rare a thing, that every one may be astonished and cry out, Who then can*be saved? We were indeed in our Baptisme Dedicated, and Consecrated to God, and so had a kind of sanctification. There is also an external sancti∣fication, vouchsafed to all those who are under the outward Admini∣stration of the Ordinances, in which sense Believers and their children are Page  386 called Holy, 1 Cor. 7. in opposition to Heathens, and unbelievers: but this is not the sanctification in the Text, nor that to which the promise of glory doth belong.

Let us therefore consider the signs by which we come to know who are truely sanctified.

And first, They who are so, have the spirit of God effectually, and powerfully*dwelling in them. That as wicked men have the Divel filling their hearts, and he reigneth in them, whereby they are carried out to all wickednesse, with delight and boldnesse: Thus those that are sanctified are full of the Holy Ghost, being partakers of his operations, and so are thereby fitted for all holinesse. Hence it is called the spirit of sanctification, and the holy spirit, because where the spirit of God dwelleth, there it sanctifieth, and makes holy. Alas the greatest part of Christians are destitute of Gods Spirit; yea, they have scarce heard whether there be an holy Spirit or not: And thereupon they have nothing but customarinesse, formality, and education, which do act them in all religious duties. But as in wor∣king of Miracles, no humane strength or power could enable them thereunto; they were onely done by power from the Holy Ghost; So neither to love God, to be∣lieve in him, to mortifie sin, can be done by the sole strength of free-will: but it must be the Spirit of God changing and new-moulding the heart. Oh then consi∣der this, all you who go in a round, pray and hear, and hear and pray, in a generall customary way: The spirit of God is not in these; which yet is like the soul to the body: like fire to the sacrifice: like windes to the ship; Our duties and hearts are but Cisterns, that is the Fountain. There is never a Duty accepted, if the spirit of God be not working therein, Rom. 8. The spirit helpeth our infirmi∣ties, and God heareth the voyce of his own spirit. Till therefore thou art made partaker of Gods spirit, all thy external righteousnesse and holinesse is but a sha∣dow and no substance. It is an image or picture, no real life at all. Oh then, How far are prophane, dissolute men from this Grace of sanctification? Doth the holy spirit of God dwell in thee? Doth not the unclean spirit rather live in thee, whose heart and life is made like a very hell? Is it the holy Spirit of God that inciteth thee to curse, to swear, to lusts? Oh blasphemy to think, or say so. Let then all ungodly, and foul wretches be ashamed and confounded within themselves. It was the Divel that desired to enter into swine: The Spirit of God appeared in an innocent and harmlesse Dove: Some men are so far from having the Spirit of sanctification, that they mock and deride at it, yea maliciously oppose it; but these are reserved to a dreadful judgement.

Secondly, Those that are sanctified, have a ready and willing obedience to the truth and commands of God: Therefore it is called Sanctification of the Spirit to Obedi∣ence, 1 Pet. 1. 2. It is impossible to have Sanctification, and not to have a chear∣full and willing obedience to all those duties that are required of us. Doth God say to the proud, Be humbled, if sanctified, he obeyeth imediately? Doth God say to the prophane, Be sober and heavenly; when sanctified he yeilds immediately; insomuch that all those hearers who live in visible disobedience to the word of God preached, they have no evidence of their sanctification: Obedience is better then sa∣crifice. God looks to that more then praying, hearing, or coming to the Ordi∣nances: Dost thou say as Christ? Lo, I come to do thy will, O God, thy Law is writ∣ten within my heart. Thus David being sanctified, professeth his ready and wil∣ling obedience unto God: And Paul also, Lord, What wilt thou have me to do? Act. 9. 6. He gives his heart up to God like a blank, let God set down what he plea∣seth: As fire doth melt the toughest Iron, and makes it in any frame you would have it, Thus the spirit of sanctification doth melt and affect the soul, that it be∣comes cheerfully obedient in duties of the greatest self-denial, and contrariety to flesh and blood. Oh then think not within thy self, I hear thus much, I come to Church thus often; but what obedience is there in thy life? That crowneth all thy duties; that is the glory of all religion. The Israelites that profered thousands Page  387 of Lambs, yea the children of their body were not so acceptable, as if they had done justly, and walked humbly with God: Obedience is a necessary fruit of sancti∣fication.

Thirdly, Those that are sanctified delight in the use of all those means and excerci∣ses*which encrease sanctification. The Godly are described by hungring, and thir∣sting, and seeking, and so they can never have enough of holinesse: Now the prea∣ching of the word is one principal instrument of sanctification, Sanctifie them by thy truth, thy word is truth, John 17. It is an argument thou hast not this sanctifi∣cation upon thy affections, when thou hast no high esteem, or price of the holy Or∣dinances; when this hony-combe is loathsom to thy stomack, full of filthy Lusts. The Godly are to call the Sabbaths, a delight: and the word is aggravated under all manner of excellencies by Davids gracious heart; and for this end, because it hath spiritual and savory effects: So then if thou wouldest know the evidences of thy sanctification, and judge thereby, Examine how thou art affected to the means of grace? Do they become welcome and precious to thee? Dost thou cry out like those in the transfiguration, It is good to be here? Is it as meat and drink unto thee? Then thou mayst comfortably rejoyce in this, That God hath given thee a sanctified heart, to love the word of God, and the means of Grace, and that because of the powerful operations thereby, cannot be but by a spirit graciously wrought upon.

Fourthly, Those that are sanctified, are diligent in preparing and fitting themselves for the holy duties they are conversant in. Thus to sanctifie, was to set a man apart * for the spiritual imployment he was called unto. And herein is a great discovery of the Truth of Grace seen; when men do not overly, and customarily perform ho∣ly Duties, but they do Hoc agere, as the Priests cryed out in the Heathens sacrifice. Thus it is a duty to serve the Lord without distraction: 1 Cor 7. and hence are those expressions, Watch to pray, Mark 13. 33. take heed how you hear: Mark 4. 24. Be swift to hear, laying aside all superfluity of naughtinesse, James 1. 21. To pray with all thy heart, with all thy minde, with all thy soul, this is the fruit of sanctification, How many need this truth to be powerfully pressed upon them. I speak not of prophane and ungodly men, who quite lay aside the performance of any holy duties; they pray not at all, they hear not at all, or very seldome: but of those who take upon them the profession of religion; that hear and repeat Sermons, that have family Duties constantly: Alas it is not the doing of these; it is not the bare performance of these that argue thy sanctification: But dost thou watch unto these duties? dost thou take heed to thy self in the doing of them? Are they not discharged as a Task, as a burthen thou knowest thou art obliged unto? This is to be feared, That when God cometh to examine your religious duties, they will be found but so many em∣pty formalities, Duties neither coming from the life of Grace, nor yet stirring up and encreasing that life. Oh this is to be considered, That all holy duties are to come from spiritual life, and to stir up spiritual life; whereas the deadnesse, the dulnesse, the barrennesse of all thy private and publick duties, are a great testi∣monie at least to thy defect in sanctification. Say then to thy soul, Awake thou that sleepest: What? Did David pray thus? Did Daniell pray thus? Did Jonah in the whales belly pray thus? Be afraid that thou art onely Luke-warm, that thou hast no true zeal, and so God will spue thee out of his mouth, as he threatens, Rev. 3. 16. Perswade your selves that your heartlesse, customary, lazy performances, are great sinnes against God, have a contempt of his Majesty upon them: and for which God doth threaten to take away the means of Grace, as from some of the Churches of Asia. Oh then say to thy self, How can this earthly, cold, lazy heart of mine stand with sanctification? How can I say I have the love of God, and Christ in me, which is like fire, and do things thus coldly? Dwell upon this sign, meditate much upon it; for how easily and readily doth negligence, and lazinesse creep into all your performances; insomuch that our duties are therefore so ineffectuall, and Page  388 unprofitable, because they are not animated, and enlivened with the power of god∣linesse.

Fithly, Those that are sanctified, are clean and purged from those vicious, and foul*noisome lusts that they were once plunged into; and thus washed and sanctified are joyn∣ed together. The Leper was not a sanctified person in the Law, because he was un∣clean, 2 Tim. 2. 21. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessll unto honour, sanctified and meet for his Masters use. If he purge himself from these (that is) from all unclean waies of iniquity, then he is sanctified. Con∣sider therefore how unspotted art thou kept from the wickednesse of the world? How clean art thou from thy former defilements? Are not the same blots, and bloaches upon thy life as formerly? Are there not the same monstrous deformities as before? How canst thou hold up thy face? Why art thou not confounded within thee, to think how unclean and bruitish thou art? Be not then any more wallowing in thy mire and filthinesse. It is time at last to make thy selfe pure.

Sixthly, Those that are sanctified they are (as it followeth in that Text) meet for*their Masters use, sit for any spiritual employment, prepared unto every good work. Oh this is a blessed estate when thou art fit to be employed for any service by God. As Esay, when he had a coal from the Altar that touched him, then he was sanctified, and the uncleannesse of his lips was taken away. Thou art not fit to be a Magistrate, a Minister, a Master, a Father, a Servant, till sanctified for this use. There must be a particular moothing, and fitting of thee for every particular relation, for every good Dutie, else thou canst not serve God thereby. It is the greatest honour that we creatures are capable off, that we may be used as instruments for his glory. Now men may be either passive instruments, or active instruments under him; Passive instruments I call, all such as are raised up by God to do his work; but they have no aim or spiritual inclinations to serve God therein. Thus Cyrus, and Ne∣buchadnezzar, they are called Gods servants, but their hearts were not sanctified for God in this work. Again there are active instruments, and such are those who in the Text are made meet for their masters use, they have humility, and an holy fear of God. They eye him, and look up to him; and in this sense Moses, Joshua, David, and many others were sanctified. If therefore God call thee to any ser∣vice, if God put thee into any relation, though never so mean, know thou canst not go through that relation in a gracious manner, unlesse sanctified thereunto, and made meet for it. Be not a blunt and unserviceable instrument in Gods hand.

Seventhly, Those that are sanctified, are not cast down with inordinate and sinfull fears, because of all the troubles and persecutions that may fall upon them in doing*their duties. The work of sanctification is accompanied with much opposition, per∣secution, and many difficulties: Now herein is the excellency of this seen, that a man is not discouraged for all this; he feareth to offend God by any sin, or neglect of his duty, more then any external misery. Sanctifie the Lord your God, and let him be your fear, 1 Pet. 3. 15. Be not afraid of what terrour and troubles the world can raise against you for godlinesse sake; but sanctifie God, and let him be your fear: That is, have holy, high, reverent, and great thoughts of God; look upon his name, his power, his authority, as greater then any mans. It is sanctification onely that will make a man encounter with all oppositions, that will make a man fear God onely: for that puts an awfull esteem into us of his great Name.

Eightly, Those that are sanctified, by this their sanctification are made spiritual*Priests, offering up spiritual sacrifices unto God. Not that they may take upon them the publick office of preaching, and administring sacraments, but because they have sacrifices in a spiritual manner to be offered up unto God: Especially that place is much to be urged, Rom. 12. 1. Offer up your bodies as a reasonable sacrifice unto Page  389 the Lord. In the Old Testament they did after a corporall manner slay and kill Beasts, offering them to God: But now we are in a spiritual manner to crucifie and mortifie the flesh, with the affections and lusts thereof. If then thou art sanctified, all thy inordinate passions, and affections of anger, love, and joy, are circumcised. As the sacrifice of one kinde was to be wholly burnt unto God, no part to remain, so art thou wholly to be resigned unto God, and all that is thine is to be given up unto him, that so no love may be in thee, but of God, and in reference to him; and thus of all other passions. Oh then if thou finde sin, and uncircumcised affecti∣ons, and motions in thee, be afraid, for the spirit of sanctification is not to be recei∣ved in vain; where that rules and raigneth, there will be a daily killing of those un∣ruly Lusts.

Ninthly, Those that are sanctified, they have also the priviledge of Justification,*and Adoption, whereby they are enabled to come with boldnesse to the throne of Grace. The spirit of God, which is the sanctifier, is also the comforter, and it doth comfort by the fruits of Sanctification, Hence Rom. 8. The Apostle describeth those to have the spirit, who walk not after the flesh, nor fulfil the lusts thereof. So that the more thou aboundest in sanctification, thou doest also come nearer to consolation; not but that the most holy and sanctified ones of God, may sometimes for gracious ends in Gods dispensations, be barren of all comfort, and destitute of joy. But because joy and comfort is promised to the daily exercise of Sanctification, the righteous and the godly they are called upon to rejoyce, as being the onely and pro∣per subjects to whom this consolation doth belong. Therefore by wicked and unsa∣vory words and actions, we are said to grieve the spirit of God, Eph. 4. 30. and no wonder, if when we grieve that, that it grieveth us, or leaveth us to be grieved, and vexed by the Prince of darknesse.

These properties being thus opened, let us consider the grounds and reasons why * we should so much presse after, and desire this priviledge.

And first, To the sanctified person, God makes all things sanctified. Oh noble and unspeakable priviledge; to the clean, all things become clean, Rom. 8. all things work together for the good of those that love God, and that is an effect of Sancti∣fication: What will win us and move us, if not this advantage? All things shall be Sanctified to thee, i. e. All things shall make thee holy; mercies, afflictions, comforts, and crosses. Thus as the Temple did Sanctifie the gold, and every thing brought therein; so this Sanctified person by Gods grace, hath every thing Sanctified, health and sicknesse, straights and libertie, life and death. Now that is the utmost mercy in a mercy, to have, it Sanctified; it is the highest thing to be desired: Thou canst wish and expect no more then this, then that the condition thou art in, the provi∣dences of God which befall thee, may be Sanctified; yet this thou art sure of, who art first Sanctified thy self. This advantage is indeed spiritual, and therefore remote from earthly and worldly men, who so they have mercies, never care or pray for the sanctification of them.

Secondly, Those that are sanctified, are the onely fit and welcome persons that may*come into Gods presence. Thus in the Old Testament, they were to Sanctifie them∣selves when they were to draw nigh unto God: And that Typical legal Sanctification, did instruct concerning our Moral Sanctification. Those that draw nigh to an holy God, in any holy duty, ought themselves to be made holy. What hast thou to do to take my words in thy mouth, and hatest to be reformed, said God? Psal. 50. Again, I hate your new Moons, and your solemn feasts, saith God to unsanctified persons, Esa. 1. Remember therefore that thou art no prepared, or fitted man to approach near unto God: there is no gracious invitation of thee till thou hast thus been sanctified. Stand aloof off: holy duties are for holy persons: holy men must draw nigh to an holy God: if God bid thee depart from him here, under a dispensation of Grace, How much more wilt thou hear that terrible Depart, at the day of judgement?

Thirdly, Therefore endeavour after sanctification, because that only answers really*Page  390to the name and title the Scripture giveth all believers, all that are baptised. They are called Saints, to the Saints at Corinth: The Saints salute you. I know many contro∣versies are about this compellation; I touch not on them now, onely this is certain, the Title of a Saint bindes thee to real Sanctification. To be called rich, and yet poor, is but a mockery: To be accounted well, and yet sick, is but a reall misery: And thus it is here: To be be called holy, and yet wicked; to be stiled a Saint, and yet a Beast, or a Divel, Oh how should it shame and amaze thee? Say then, My Christianly, my Baptisme, my Religion doth oblige me to this Sancti∣fication. I have onely a Title, if I have not true holinesse. So that all you who live in grosse ignorance, and scandalous waies, What shall I term you? How shall I name you? Art thou fit to be called a Believer, a Saint? Yet I speak not this, as if the Scripture called none Saints, or holy, but such as had internall Sanctifi∣cation.

Fourthly, Be therefore stirred up to this, because this is better then all knowledge, parts and abilities. Oh that men who look at religion, would minde this more. * This is the will of God, your sanctification, follow after holinesse or Sanctification, without which no man can see God. Thou thinkest it a great matter to be able to repeat Sermons, to dispute in matters of religion: Oh but it is better to speak five words from a principle of Sanctification, then five thousand from parts and intelle∣ctual abilities only. Oh then say, if I pray, I preach, I dispute, I repeat, and have not Sanctification; I am but a tinckling cymbal that makes a pleasant noise to others, but it self is not affected therewith.

Use of Exhortation, still to be moved and pressed hereunto. Oh the comfort and glory of being in the number of those that are Sanctified: I may add one mo∣tive * more, this is the onely evidence of your Election, of Justification, of right to eternal glory. Here a man must begin; If I be sanctified, then I am elected, then I am justified. How then can you have any comfort? How is it that you are not full of fears and troubles, that finde no tokens of sanctification upon you, but the clean contrary. Sanctification, it is the end of all our preaching, and of your hearing; and therefore every thing hath been in vain to you till this be ac∣complished. Do not then rejoyce any more that thy riches have encreased; that outward mercies have abounded; but still look to this, Art thou sanctified? Yet after you have heard Sermon after Sermon, How prone are you to go home the same men? Not neighbour to say to neighbour, How may we do that we may be Sanctified.