SECT. VIII. Treateth of the Nature of Converting Grace, under the Notion of VVashing, or Sanctifying.
To undeceive Men that think, Though they live Wickedly, yet they shall dye Happily. And how it comes to pass that men are so prone to Deceive themselves.
1 COR. 6. 11.
THE first words of the Text cause us to look back to the Verses before it. The Apostle in the beginning of the Chap∣ter, reproveth a sinfull and unwarrantable practice a∣mong the Corinthians of going to Law one with another. Not that it is absolutely a sinne to demand our right before a Magistrate; as the Anabaptists would inset from hence; for then the Apostle would not have permitted them to use such judicial decisions among themselvs, to which he directs them; but the grounds of this prohibition are, partly because they impleaded one another before Heathen Magistrates; and so Christianity was made a reproach; partly they wanted a preparation of mind to suffer wrong, rather than sinfully con∣test in inferior matters; partly because they did wrong, and were full of injurious carriages, and that to their brethren: from which wickednesse he deterreth them by that thireatning; Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdome of heaven? and to confirm this the more, he layeth down a more generall propo∣sition, enumerating severall kinds of sinnes; and least they should think their Chri∣stian Page 364 faith would save them, though they had wicked lives, he adviseth them, not to erre, or, be not deceived, either by false Teachers, broaching such Doctrines, or by their own corrupt hearts, suggesting such false delusions: He doth also dehort them from such wickednesse, because that was their course of life formerly, while uncon∣verted, but now they are washed and sanctified. Before I come to the main scope I intend out of these words, (which is to explain the nature of converting grace, under the notion of Washing and Sanctifying,) let me consider that Phrase, verse 9. Be not deceived, and the beginning of this verse 11. And such were some of you. For the former, although it was as plain as the Sun-shine at Noon-day, that all who live in grosse sins should be damned, yet there were Corinthians who deceived their own souls, thinking they might be saved, although they lived in all prophane∣nesse. Therefore to prevent this the Apostle saith, Be not deceived. C〈…〉 useth such a Preface, Luke 21. 8. and Paul, Gal. 6. 7. James also 1. 16. when they are to speak that thing, which unknown, or unobserved, would bring a man much evill; and truely there cannot be a greater cause to prefix such an Antidote than in this matter of the Text: For how notoriously universall is this contagious and infecti∣ous Principle, that the profession of the truth of Christ, and a generall formall in∣vocation upon his Name will bring a man to heaven, though his life be nothing but a preparation for hell. Learned men say, that Simon Magus taught this Doctrine, That a bare profession of faith, without a reformation of mens lives, is enough to salvation: whether this be mens Doctrine, or opinion, I know not; to be sure, its too much their practice; and it may justly be thought, as Austin did, that one main reason, why James doth so much prefer good works, and a godly life, informing that faith alone without these did not justifie was, because some corrupted and perverted these places in Pauls Epistles, where he sets up faith as the onely instru∣ment of justification.
Obs. That men are very prone generally to deceive themselves in this, that though*they live wickedly, yet they shall dye happily, and be saved gloriously. Though they have lived enemies and adversaries to God, yet they think to have the Kingdome of glory, as children and heirs of God. O monstrous folly and madnesse to ima∣gine such things! But what is more frequently acted in the whole world than this? Is not prophanenesse and impiety as common among us as dirt in the high-way, or weeds in Summer; yet which one of these men, that live in such wayes, doth not promise himself heaven? So that if we could remove this pillar, that so many lean upon, I see no obstruction, or impediment in their way to salvation. If our hearers were driven out of this refuge, and were convinced; this is but a delusi∣on, and it will doe them no good, how many would come to us as they did to John Baptist, What shall we doe to be saved?
For the further pressing of this point, it is worth the consideration What are those causes that make men of great impieties thus foolishly perswaded; and first, Non-attendance to the Scripture; not observing the threatnings and curses so peremptorily delivered there against all ungodliness. Men judge of their salvation, * and have hopes according to the principles of the world, and humane perswasi∣ons: They think God like themselves, as the Psalmist saith, Psal. 50. They do not go to be informed out of the Word, how it will be with them at the latter end. Oh know then, though thy own heart, and though all the men in the world should ac∣quit thee, yet that is nothing, as long as the Word bindeth thee fast in those chains of condemnation. Thou therefore that livest in all grosse prophanenesse, promi∣sing thy self heaven and happinesse, look into the Scripture and tremble, take the Bible and read, see if that doe not make it as impossible for thee a prophane man, abiding so without Repentance and Reformation, to be saved, as it is for fire to be without heat, or the Sun without light: Who would think, that thou who rea∣dest and hearest so much every day, should be thus deceived? Know ye not, saith the Apostle, that the unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdome of heaven? Know ye not! Is there any such a Babe, or an Infant in Christianity that is not acquainted Page 365 with this? Come then and hear the Conclusion of all, let the Scripture at last put the period to thy vain hopes: unlesse thou hast a new Bible, or new Scriptures, there can be no incouragement; for this which we read to you, & out of which we preach to you every day, makes it one main busines thereof to perswade the wicked it shall goe ill with him. Oh then say, Here is no hope for me such a sinner, here is no incouragement till I become another man. They are the bewitchings, and deceitfulnesse of my own ignorant corrupt heart, that telleth me of other things.
Secondly, Therefore are many deceived in this plain point; because though they*acknowledge damnation in the general to sinners, yet they never make particular appli∣cation to themselves; they doe not say, This threatning, this curse belongs to me. God gave the Commandements in the singular number, Thou shalt do no Murther, Thou shalt not commit Adultery; to teach every man to reflect upon himself, and say, Thou dost thus; and thou dost thus. The Prophet complaineth, No wicked*man said, What have I done? Jer. 8. 6. Hence are those commands, To com∣mune with our own hearts, and be still, To search and try our wayes. It would make a man wonder, and say, How can this be? A man will acknowledge a Drunkard cannot inherit the Kingdome of heaven, and yet that man will be drunk; and so of all other sins. Now how came the general and the particular to be thus oppo∣sites? meerly because men came not to particular conviction; they doe not make home-application; they say not, Is not this I Lord? Even godly men have been senselesse of grievous sinnes, as David of Murder and Adultery, till Nathan saith, Thou art the man. Oh let thy Conscience take Nathans language, and say, Thou art the man. The Scripture speaks to me, the Minister preacheth to me, as if there were no other sinne in the world: But this undoeth you, you goe on in foul and ungodly ways, not so much as thinking what you are, not minding you are such and such a sinner. To reflect upon your own selvs is a peculiar effect of reason, beasts can∣not do it; and the more thou art sensible this way, the more reason thou hast in thee. Be not then as the Swine that never reflects upon her self; thinking I am a Swine, I love to wallow in the Mire, I am no Sheep. As that Beast can never have such thoughts, so be not thou as brutish, never to consider, How plain is my wickednesse? it cannot be hid from my eyes, I love not, or delight not in that which is good.
Thirdly, Therefore are men deceived, because they represent Gods mercy and grace in such an universal and unlimited way, that they bound it not to faith and repentance,*and a godly life. God indeed is an Ocean of mercy, an inexhausted Fountain of all grace and goodnesse. When we have thought the highest we can, yet stil there is more mercy in him than we can comprehend: but to whom is all this? who may plead this, and claim this in prayer? Even the humble, the broken and con∣trite heart. David may well cry out, Have mercy according to the multitude of mer∣cies, Psal. 51. 1. because his heart is wounded, and bones are broken through Gods displeasure at sinne. If therefore thou wilt comfort thy self with Gods mercy, and with his grace, be such a qualified Subject as that requireth, lye like that man of Jericho, not onely half dead, but half damned in thy own sense, and then the good Samaritane will poure Oyl into thy wounds. Doth God any where proclaim pardon and forgiveness to the unhumbled sinner? Doth Christ say, Come to me ye jolly and merry sinners, who never felt sinne a burden. No, but all the mercy he speaks, it is to those, who being burdened with sinne, desire nothing more than to throw away that load. Do not then as the Bee is sometimes drowned in Honey, so thou drown thy self in the sweet apprehensions of Gods mercies, with∣out Gods wayes. As a Beast might not touch the Mountain, so neither may a foul wretched sinner come near the promise to lay hold on it. Why might not the Divels and damned in hell comfort themselves with this, That God is merciful, he is full of pity, and therefore will not let us lye alwayes roaring in these eternall flames? Oh you would say, this would be a vain mad thing, because God hath de∣creed Page 366 otherwise, And is it not thus also in our case? God is mercifull, but he hath decreed otherwise, then that thou who lovest and livest in sinnes, shouldst ever be refreshed with this mercy. The damned in hell may have it as soon as thou wilfully abiding in thy wickednesse; onely God may give thee Repentance, and so fit thee for mercy, which he will not doe for Divels.
Fourthly, That wherein they wilfully deceive themselves, is also about Christ, the Mediator and Saviour. This they build upon; Christ came to save sinners, he is a * Mediator to make up our peace. Now they make no question, but this being true, they are sure to be saved: Thus they build upon a good foundation, hay and stub∣ble; for Christ is not a Saviour to any, but those who receive him also as a Lord and a King, and so proffer subjection to all his lawes: He is not onely a Jesus, a Saviour, but he is also a Lord and a King, and he never communicates his benefits, where he doth not bestow his graces. It's true he came to save sinners, he dyed for this end, but he also dyed to ransome us from our lusts, and to make us a peo∣ple zealous of good works, Tit. 2. 14. The grace of God (which is that of the Go∣spel in Christ) hath appeared, teaching us to deny all ungodlinesse: So then as Christs body was not laid any where but in a new Sepulcher, whereno man else lay; so Christ the Mediator is not received into every mans heart, but where no lust, or other grosse sinne is suffered to abide: If Christ be a Saviour to thee from hell hereafter, he is also a Saviour from present lusts and transgressions; and indeed this is the greatest salvation of all, by how much the evill of sinne is above the e∣vill of the greatest punishment. Therefore the truly godly, and such as indeed have propriety in Christ, they look upon this as the principall and chief end of our redemption by Christ, to have our active evils subdued, rather than our passive. They thank God for sending Christ into the world, to take away proud hearts, earthly hearts, disobedient lives. In this they rejoyce, that there is vertue and effi∣cacy in Christs death, to kill those burdensome lusts and sinnes which they lye un∣der. Know therefore, that if Christ purpose to doe you any good hereafter, he will do some to thee in this life. It's as great a mercy, and thou needest it as much, that he should deliver thee from those present evill wayes thou walkest in, as if thou wert in hell flames to be saved from them: And never did Dives more impor∣tunately desire a drop of Water in Hell to cool his scorched Tongue, than thou oughtest for the present to desire the bloud of Christ, and the Spirit of God, which is like Water, to extinguish that immoderate thirst and desire after sinne.
Fifthly, Men doe so easily deceive themselves, because they put too much worth and efficacy in the Sacraments, and externall profession of the true Religion. In being a * Protestant, in participation of the Sacraments, they think there is so much piety and Religion, that though their lives be foul and noysome, yet they hope for sal∣vation. This was a great delusion of old in the Jewes; what controversies had the Prophets, and expostulations with them in this matter! The Jewes they pretended their new Moons, their Sabbaths, their Sacrifices, and would not be driven from this refuge: But say the Prophets, W•sh ye, make ye clean, Isaiah 1. execute judge∣ment and justice, let every wicked man forsake his evill way. Otherwise the Prophet declareth, that God hatteh their solemn Assemblies. The Apostle James would not have used so many Arguments to prove that faith without the godly effects of it could not justifie, if so be men had not been too prone to suck in this Principle; and as I told you not long since, This Opinion was so generally and universally re∣ceived (viz. That if a man did believe Orthodoxly, though he lived wickedly) in Austins time, That he did with fear and modesty oppose it. But observe our Sa∣viours ground of his refusall of all those who enjoy many priviledges, yet live ungodly; Depart from me ye workers of iniquity, Mat. 7. Because they were wor∣kers of iniquity, therefore God rejects them. Hence the Scripture complains of those, who have the form and professions of the faith of Christ, but in works they deny him, Tit. 1. 16. Thou abhorrest the Socinian and other Hereticks, because by Page 367 their opinions they deny Christ to be God; but thou by thy ungodly actions dost also deny his God-head. Thou abhorrest the Atheist, who saith, There is no God: yet all the wickednesse thou committest doth really say, There is no God: Therefore what doe we regard thy words, and thy Sacraments, or thy profession, when we see thy deeds? Make thy life clean, wash thy foul conversation, and then make thy re∣ligious approaches to God. If I regard iniquity in my heart (saith David) the Lord will not hear my prayer. The cry of thy sinnes will be above the cry of thy prayers; know then, as every tree is tryed by its fruit, so thy actions discern what thou art. Make never so many zealous prayers, come never so frequently to Church, yet if in the week day God findes Oathes, Drunkennesse, Prophanenesse in thy life; this is a reall denying of him.
Sixtly, Therefore they delude themselves in this weighty businesse, because they under∣stand*not the nature of faith and trusting in God. Come unto the vilest of men, when deaths stroak is upon them, when the fear of that surrounds them, even then though full of their sinnes, yet will say, They trust in Christ Jesus, they believe in him. But oh thou ignorant man; what is it to believe, and to trust in him? Is it not out of the sense of the bitterness of sin, and a deliberate forsaking of it, obedientially re∣signing up our selves to Christs commands, and therewith relying on Christ the Me∣diator, is not this to believe? Doth not the same faith, which with one hand recei∣veth Christ, with another purifie the soul, and carry it out to all the fruits of righ∣teousness: presumption indeed that is easie; to lay hold upon Christ for pardon, with an hand ful of wickedness this is ordinary: but to trust in him according to Scripture direction, and that order which God hath inviolably prescribed men, that is rare. Faith therefore is the gift of God, and it is wrought by his Spirit in us; we can no more close with Christ, in a true Scripture-manner, as a Saviour, or the Promises revealed by God, than we can joyn with him as a Law-giver, or obey his Precepts. If therefore thou understoodst the Nature of trusting in God, and what it is to believe, thou wouldst not so easily perswade thy self thou dost trust in him, when thy Conscience tells thee of thy manifold sinnes. Hence the godly have found it so difficult to believe: they have been almost over-whelmed with doubts and fears; though Christ hath held out the Scepter of grace to them, yet they have even fain∣ted through fear and shame, when they came into his presence. How frequently doth David call upon his soul, to trust in God, and w•it on him? Psal. 42. 5. Where∣as this carnal presumption findes no opposition at all. Consider of all these grounds which doe so often delude thee, and they may doe thee infinite good.
Use of Admonition, To call your selves to a strict account; consider how your*Christian faith and unchristian practises can stand together, how your Religion and your conversation can accord: The one is Honey, the other is Gall, the one is Light, the other is Darknesse. How is it possible you should fall into such palpable and ab∣surd contradictions. O deceive not your selves any longer, think not it will be well as long as those sins are unrepented, and unreformed. Be not deceived, saith the A∣postle to all such, when you have to doe with men; if they professe much kindnesse and observance of you, yet in all their actions they work you all the despight and mischief they can. Doe ye not call them Hypocrites, and say, Quid verba? What are words; when I see your deeds to the contrary? Doth not God from heaven say the same things to you; To what purpose is your hearing, and praying, your pro∣fession of love to me, when all your deeds savor of hatred and rebellion against me? Now to quicken thee against this self delusion and self destruction, con∣sider;
First, That God will not be mocked; for so saith the Apostle, Be not deceived, God will not be mocked, Gal. 6. 7. All thy Religion, all thy holy duties, without a sancti∣fication of thy life, is but a meer mockery of God; for what can be a greater mockery than this, to cry out of thy sinnes here, and to commit them when thou comest home? To say here, Lord set thy will be done, even as Angels in heaven do it, and then at home to obey it no more than Devils in Hell, Oh consider, this is Page 368 mocking of God, and of this sinne thou hast been guilty many years. Was not that plain mockery of Christ, when they called him King in scorn, and yet at the same time crucified him. No lesse is it here, when thou drawest nigh to God, as if thou worshippedst him, as if thou wouldst love and obey him, and afterwards live to his great dishonour.
Secondly, Consider, that what a man doth in his actions, is in some sense a more re∣all demonstration of a man then any words or professions. He is the greatest and most reall enemy to God, whose life is so, let his outward profession be what it can be. Therefore God at the great day of judgement will proceed according to the works of men. The Lord heretofore complained of those that drawed nigh to him with their lips, Isa. 29. 13. but their hearts were far from him; and that did appear by their lives. Dost thou think the words of prayer will help thee, when the acti∣ons of sinne are ready to damn thee? Wherein can you more really shew what you are, than by your constant life and conversation? O more blind than Moles or Bats, that see not themselves for the present the fire-brands of Hell. What can hide this from thy Conscience? Is it not too plain, that thy life is the fruit, thy duties are but leaves and blossoms. Doth not the Husbandman cut down that tree for burning which beareth not fruit, though many leaves.
Thirdly, As it is mockery of God, so its plain, grosse, and palpable hypocrisie. Pro∣phane men are apt to censure those who live more strictly, and accurately than themselves as Hypocrites, not considering in the mean while, that heaven and earth cannot but take notice of their Hypocrisie: for what is more palpable than this, in thy words and Christian Religion to acknowledge Christ a Lord and King, but in all thy actions to rebell against him: On the Sabbath day to come and outward∣ly to be wail thy sins; and the very next day, or hour, to commit those very sinnes again. How can you so soon forget what you were about? How is it that you so quickly crosse your prayers and holy duties? May not Heathens and Pagans deride you, when they see your ungodly lives? May not they say, Loe, there is a Christian who worshippeth Christ, that commands him not to swear, but he will doe it all the day long? loe, there is a Christian, whom Christ commands, that their hearts should not be over-charged with Drunkennesse and the cares of this world, but they will do the clean contrary: What do you think God hath forgot∣ten your Religious approaches and ingagements, because you have forgotten them?
Fourthly, Remember thou canst not alwayes live in this fools paradise. Thou canst not alwayes be in this fond dream of happinesse and felicity; but God at last will bring thee to the touch-stone, and thy reward shall be according as thou art. Thus he that doth wickedly may for a while account himself happy; yet this will quickly melt, when death comes, when the day of judgement comes, then it will be fully discovered, that those sinnes and heaven can no more stand together, than light and darknesse. Then God will tell you, Depart you workers of iniquity; there is a great gulf between mercy and you. Oh then reflect upon thy self and say, Why doe I all this? I live thus against Gods Law, and yet please my self with thoughts of peace and happinesse, how can it be? you must have another way to heaven, then ever the Bible hath yet discovered.
Use a.d of Instruction, That nothing in all the Christian Religion, if duely considered, doth at all incourage to any sinne. If any thing might imbolden a man, it might be thought the mercy and goodnesse of God, the freenesse and fulnesse of Grace: but as for the former, There is forgivenesse with thee, that thou maist be feared, saith the Psalmist, Psal. 130. 4. and as for the latter, with what holy indig∣nation doth the Apostle argue against those that from the freenesse of grace, would argue a liberty to sinne, as if the plenty of the one would incourage to multiply the other, Rom. 6. 1. If then every thing in the Bible, if every thing in the true Christian Religion, be thus an antidote against sinne, a preservative from it, How incurably wicked must they needs be, that by those holy motives are yet not made Page 369 holy: From which principle in Religion, art thou emboldened to thy lusts and sins? from what duty or Ordinance doest thou gather comfort in thy wicked∣ness? If all these things are hand-writings against thy sins, why doest thou not tremble to commit them?
That Gods Grace of Conversion, is sometimes vouch∣safed to the worst of men.
1 COR. 6. 11.
WE are now to consider a second kinde of Argument, the Apostle useth to dehort them from all gross wickedness, and that is the admira∣ble and wonderful change that is now made upon them by convert∣ing Grace: They are not Swine any more, but sheep, and therefore must not wallow in the mire and filth of sin as formerly: So that the scope of the Apostle is, to compare their former black and foul life, with the present glorious light they are now translated into. And such were some of you. He had reckoned up beasts rather then men, monsters rather then men of reason; and yet, Such were some of you. He saith 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Some of you, to shew, that every one of them had not all those filthy sores: Every one was not guilty of all the enumerated sins (ex∣cept idolatry, which all were guilty of) unless in the seed and root, which is original corruption; but it is to be understood distributively, some were for∣nicators, some effeminate, some drunkards, some extortioners. Corinth was wicked, even to a proverbial speech, It seemed an hospital of diseased sick men, in respect of their moralities. And further, the Apostle saith in the neuter gender, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, not such persons, but such sins, emphatically demon∣strating their wickedness, that they were not so much Peccatores, as ipsa peccata, sinners, as the very sins themselves: We may then stand and behold the wonder∣ful work of Grace, that raiseth children up to Abraham out of stones; that maketh Blackamores to change their skins. The Corinthians, while Idolaters, changed the image of God, into the likeness of an Ox, or any other beast; but now God changeth these who were become like bruit beasts, into the image of the holy and pure God.
That the grace of God converting, is sometimes vouchsafed even to the worst and*vilest of men. God many times takes the most crooked trees, and makes them pillars in his Temple; the most rugged and unpolished stones, and pollisheth them for his building; even as Christ while he was upon the earth, for the most part cured those diseases which were desperate, that no art, nor no Physicians could cure: So many times, the grace of God changeth those who are hope∣less men, upon whom no art can do any good, upon whom spiritual Physicians for a great while have lost all their labor. This is much prophesied of as the fruit of the Gospel, that the savage, cruel and poysonous natures of wicked men, shall be strangely taken away, Isa. 35. 5, 6, 7. The eyes of the blinde shall Page 370 be opened, &c. No Lyon shall be there, &c. Isa. 55. 11. 13. Instead of the bryar shall come up the mirt le tree.
Let us observe the grounds, why the grade of Conversion is sometimes vouchsafed to these incurable men, in all humane apprehensions, such as Manasseth, Paul, Mary Magdalen, with many others: And
First, It is to demanstrate the power of the word of God, animated and inlivened*by the spirit, above all H•mane Eloquence, or Moral Philosophy; wherein men have much labored to make men better; but those endeavors did prove like the washing of a brick, which did not cleanse, but more defile. The Scripture doth often take notice of this peculiar effect of Gods word, that by it We are sorewarned from sin, Psal. 19. the simple receive understanding, Psal 119. By it we are be go〈…〉 again, 1 Pet: 1. That is the sword which entereth into the secret thoughts and imaginations of mens hearts, That captivateth and beateth down all the strong holds of sin and Satan, and dispossesseth Satan out of his strongest Castles: Now this fiery vertue of the word preached, is never more manifested, then when it meets with such moyst, green wood, such indisposed materials, as gross, prophane men are. The Apostle calls the word preached, The power of God to salvation, 1 Cor. 1. when the G•ecians, men of parts and learning, judged it foolishness; and the same Apostle saith, He came not in the intising words of hu∣mane eloquence, lest the power of Christ should be obsoured, 1. Corinthians 2. 4. When therefore by the simple, plain and pure demonstration of Divine truths, and of Gods Word, you see the hearts and consciences of flagitious men awakened; you see them changed into holy, godly, heavenly men, of pro∣phane, foul and ungodly. What glorious praite doth hereby redound to the word preached? This is like Davids little stone, slung into the head of great Goliah. If men of wisdom, eloquence, ingenuity, and excellent Morality, if these onely were the men converted? it would quickly be thought that it was some excellency in them, rather then the power of Gods word without; but in these gross livers it cannot be attributed to any thing in the world, but the word preached: Despise not therefore the plain and powerful preaching of Gods word; for that is the mustard seed, which though little in quantity, is in operation mighty: You see twelve men indued with ability to preach this, did quickly leaven this whole world.
Secondly, God makes his grace to come to such great sinners sometimes, that his*tender mercies and compassions may be made the more illustrious: As it was Christs pitty to cure that cripple, that lay thirty years by the pools side, and had no man to help him; so these sinners that are bound in stronger chains then others, whom the Devil detaineth in surer chains then others, its a greater act of pitty and grace to rescue them: Thus Paul being sensible of himself, as the greatest of all sinners, how passionately doth he break out to admire the mercy and grace of God to him: So that when we see a wretched obstinate sinner, who careth for nothing, feareth nothing, is not able to pitty himself, converted and inlightned by the grace of God; here are tender bowels, God pittieth him more then man doth himself. As Hierom said of the poor dumb man that cannot speak or beg for an alms, Maxime rogat, dum non potest rogare, The more un∣able he is to speak, the more he doth speak, moving compassion and pitty. Thus a wicked man, who is indeed dumb spiritually, cannot speak, cannot pray, cannot utter any one word in his behalf, is thereby an object of pitty with God, because so miserable: If then you ask, Why are such mens eyes opened? why do such men understand what they did not? Christ in mercy hath said un∣to them, Arise and walk.
Thirdly, Grace converts sometimes notorious sinners, to confound the pride and swelling thoughts of self-righteous men. There are a generation of men, whose ways*are clean in their own eyes, Prov. 16. 1. men who justifie themselves, blessing God they are not like other men; now when the grace of God comes and worketh Page 371 upon the most profligate sinners, leaving others to their own pride and conceited righteousness, hereby they are confounded and ashamed: Thus it was discovered by our Saviour, he tells the Pharisees, That the publicans and harlots should go into the kingdom of heaven before them; and, He came not to call such righteous as they were, but sinners to repentance; Mat. 9. 13. There are none commonly further off true grace, then those who please themselves with the conceit of their own goodness and righteousness. The emptiest ear of corn growes up highest, and holds its head above others; but those who have true grace, are deeply sensi∣ble of their own insufficiency and imperfections; their righteousness, is to be∣wail their own unrighteousness: It falls out therefore, that there is sometimes more hope of a gross sinner, then a civilized Pharisee; for the one is sooner convinced, his conscience is easier awakened; but the other being already false∣ly perswaded of his own worth, can hardly be changed: Ille morbus vix est sanabilis qui sanitatem imitatur, That disease which is like health, is hardly cured; and thus a man living a life like godliness, when it is not so indeed, is seldom truly reformed.
Fourthly, God will have some of the worst of men sometimes converted, that the Ministers of God, who are sometimes cast upon such a people, might not sow without*hope, nor preach without hope: Even a wilderness may become a pleasant river, even a Mary Magdalene, a Publican, may be converted by preaching; What then may not the Ministers of God expect? though their soul (as David saith) lyeth down among Lyons: We may not always say, Wo be to us, because we live in the tents of Kedar, for God may make that like Jerusalem. A place where nothing but bryars and thorns came up, may be made a pleasant garden: Christ told his Disciples, He sent them like sheep amongst wolves, Mat. 10. 16. and yet these sheep made many wolves sheep like themselves: Though therefore we catch no∣thing, when we cast our nets; yea, though we catch scorpions instead of fishes, yet these scorpions may be made fishes: With God all things are possible, saith our Savior, Mat. 19. 26. speaking of this very thing, to convert men, which is to make a Camel go through the eye of a needle: Though therefore humane reason may tell a man, there is no success to be expected, no good to be done, because a peo∣ple so and so vicious; yet we must not regard the dead womb, but the power of God: Its he that opens the barren womb, and makes those that were fruitless to bring forth.
Fifthly, Therefore God will have some of these Beelzebub sinners converted, that so grace may be acknowledged to be a real, manifest, powerful work, and that in the*eyes of all the world: Men are prone to judge godliness, nothing but the Melan∣choly, and the tender constitution of some mens bodies, or their black imagina∣tions or fancies which arise within; but now when such, who have been so long, so continual in evil and ungodly ways, they shall love and delight in what they once loathed: This makes godliness a palpable visible thing: When Paul a blasphemer, a cursed opposer of the ways of Christ, is converted, and sets up that which he once pulled down, this makes all men see Gods Grace is not a notion, but a real lively work upon a man. That as the whole world won∣dered, when they saw Christ work such palpable miracles, making the blinde to see, the deaf to hear, the dead torise, they concluded he was God; here could be no imposture or deceit, the things were so manifest: Thus when God calls some wicked men, and makes them forsake all the pleasures and profits, leave the custom receipt immediately, deny their parents, friends, and all that might work upon natural affections; all the prophane and carnal company to whom their souls was once glewed; this must make every man say, Here is more then no∣tions, here is a real fire. The Poets taught much of Circe's cup, which turned men into beasts, but here is a change of beasts into men, yea into Angels; and we may say, This work of the Lord is marvellous in our eyes.
Of incouragement to the spiritual husbandman, though he sow even upon the hardest*Page 372rocks, and preach to beasts rather then men; For who knoweth but that God may turn a noysom dunghil, into a mine of gold. That of our Saviours should be wings to us in our race, With God all things are possible; and that of God, I will take away the heart of stone, and give an heart of flesh: Oh that we might say of all wicked men, that which the Apostle speaketh here in the Text, And such*were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified: God will not have any wicked man despair in himself, that he is so wicked that God cannot or will not ever give him a better heart; nor yet the minister to despair, though there be no visible hopes of ever doing good upon such unworthy men. Onely you may have this objection in your hearts:
Why do we not see God working thus as wonderfully to the change of men, * as he hath done heretofore? there the Corinthians, the Ephesians, and other Heathens, wallowing in Idolatry, and all moral vices, yet found the word of God assimilating them to its own nature; it made men leave their corrupt and defiled natures, and come to imbrace that which formerly was so contrary to them: But now we see no such things done, no not among Christians; in those days an Heathen Adulterer, an Heathen a Drunkard, became washed and cleansed by the word; but now a Christian thus polluted, notwithstanding his Christianity, and the word frequently preached unto him, doth not reform and make him leave his former impieties.
To this the answer may be, That wicked men living in their sins, under the daily*exercise of the word, quickly provoke a spiritual censure and judgement to be inflict∣ed upon them; by which means, as the clay under the Sun, they become more obdurate; wonder not then, if as miracles, so this wonderful work of conver∣sion ceaseth (at least its not so frequent) for rebellion and unfruitfulness under the means of grace, enjoyed so long a time, hath deserved this: but I added (not so frequently) because even to this day in several places, God still goeth out with this Omnipotent power upon some few, some firebrands there are pul∣led out of the fire, some Tygers are made Lambs, although this is very rare in comparison of what hath been formerly; not but that Gods arm is as strong, and the word we preach as powerful, but as it is said of one place, Christ could do no miracles there, because of their unbelief, Mat. 6. 6. He conld not (that is) he would not, because he saw their unbelief made them so wretched a people; so it is here, our ministery can do no good, our preaching cannot convert; not that mens lusts are stronger then Gods grace, but because they put such bol•s and bars, such obstructions in the way of grace, that thereby God will not make it ef∣fectual to them. O then be afraid, if thou, though still before this fire of the word, yet art always cold and chill, feeling no spiritual heat at all.
In the next place, let us observe from the words of opposition, And such were some of you, but ye are washed: They are not the same they were once.
That where converting grace is vouchsafed to a man, it makes a great change, he is not the man he was once.*
We may say of every regenerate man, Such wicked men you were once, pro∣phane as others, negligent as others, senseless of sin and Gods wrath as others, but now this dark night is turned into a glorious day. The Prophet spake of some, Amos 6. 12. That they turned righteousness into hemlock and wormwood: That was a wicked turning, but this turneth hemlock into righteousness. The Pro∣phet complained of Jerusalem, fallen from her mercies, That her gold was become dross, and her wine water, Lam. 4. but here is the contrary, dross is become gold, and water wine. Ego non sum ego, said an unclean person once converted, to the whore that sollicited him to the same courses still: So do thou say to all thy former wickedness, catching hold on thee as Josephs mistress did on him; I am not I, I have not the same judgement, the same affections, the same desires that once I had, and therefore cannot imbrace what I once so dearly loved. The exact handling of this point will be, when we come to those Texts that call it Page 373 conversion, or a change, or a turning to God; then the term from which, and the term to which, may more largely be considered: Onely I shall now give you some qualities of this turning, and change from our evil ways, truly to stir you up immediately to the practise thereof. We see God hath wrought many changings and turnings of things in our days: O how happy, if in all these, we might see this spiritual change, men formerly prophane, now holy; men here∣tofore guilty of notorious sins, now as exemplary and zealous of what is godly.
And first, Therefore this change is a necessary one: It must be said of every one * that would be saved, Such an one thou once wast, but now thou art sanctified. Even the man who hath always lived civilly and unblameably, that hath no gross sin to be turned from, yet he hath the soul-uncleanness, and the heart-•eprosie up∣on him, from which he must be washed; so that this turning from what once we were, is indispensibly necessary in yong and old, in rich and poor, either inwardly or outwardly: Consider of this therefore, you whose Motto is, Sem∣per idem; though that be a glory in a good thing, yet for a man to be always the same he was from the womb, is certain and irrecoverable death; When then will you bethink your selves? when shall the time be, that thou wilt become another man? think not that flesh and blood can inherit the Kingdom of hea∣ven: This undoeth many, that as they never dream of a change, which death will one day make upon them, so they never desire a change, that Grace in this present life should work on them: Therefore as Job said of the change by death, He would every day wait till his change came, Job 14. 14. (as some expound it:) do thou say of this change by grace, I will every day pray, hear, read, meditate, mourn and roar out before God all the day long, till this spiritual change come.
Scondly, Its a rational change: Its the highest act of reason, for a man to * become another man: For seeing the Scripture, which cannot lye, informeth us both of original and actual pollution, whereby we become no more qualified for heaven, then Toades to be made Angels: This being granted, its the great∣est reason in the world, that thou shouldst immediately arise, and go out from thy own self; For how wilt thou, who art but stubble and dry wood, be able to indure this consuming fire of Gods wrath? Again, its rational, because its for the better: Though men do not love to change, yet when its for the bet∣ter, then they are glad; How do men thus change, in all their outward affairs? but herein turning from sinto grace, we transcendently have the advantage; we change corruption for glory, coals for gold, lust and sin, for the enjoyment of God, and communion with him: So that if men would set judgement on work, and consider what that is they were once; and what that is to which God now cal∣leth them, they would make no delay, but rise up and be doing. Again, its the greatest reason thus to change, because we our selves are subject to a total change by death: We cannot always live and abound in our pleasures, and our jollities, but death will at last come and make a wonderful change: Oh there∣fore be changed spiritually, before thou art changed corporally; the time will come, when it will be said of thee, Thou livedst in such advantages, in such comforts, but now thou art not, death hath swallowed up all thy temporal joy, and life it self: Oh let it be for the present said, Thou didst live once in such wickedness, in such impieties, but now all is altered: I beseech you as pilgrims, abstain from the lusts of the flesh, 1 Pet. 2. 11. Remember you are pilgrims and tra∣vellers, you have no abiding place in this world.
Thirdly, Its a profitable change: What profit have you of those things, whereof*you now are ashamed, Rom. 6. 1. Alas, thy sins are no ways profitable to thee, for all the curses of God both temporal and spiritual do accompany them; but godliness is profitable for all things: Though it would not profit a man, to gain the whole world, and lose his own soul, yet it would exceedingly profit a man, to Page 374 gain his soul, though he lost all the world: Though he said, Miserum est illud verbum fuisse, yet here, Faelix & beatum verbum est fuisse: Its a blessed and happy word, to say, Such an ungodly man once, but now not at all; such an one that scorned and despised the ways of God, but now he loveth and rejoyceth in them; even as the Prodigals Father rejoyced over his re∣penting son, He was dead, but now is alive; he was lost, but now is found: Thus mayest thou, with joy and thanksgiving, say, I was lost, but grace hath found me; I was dead, but grace hath inlivened me.
Fourthly, Its an honorable change: For those that honor God, God will honor, 1 Sam. 2. 30. As those that serve base and vile lusts, the Lord giveth them * upto contempt and scorn before others. Its true, in the eyes of the world, to set upon this change, its many times object of disdain, To leave thy lusts, thy wantonness, thy pride, thy jolly companions, and to betake thy self to a more accurate and exact way of godliness, makes a man the drunkards song, Psal. 69. 12. as David complained he was: But as David was then more honorable, when he danced so Religiously before the Ark, then when he conquered and subdued so many Philistims, although Michal despised him and scorned him at her very heart: Thus it is here, since thou hast for∣saken thy sinnes, feared an oath, been constant in Private and Family Prayer, zealously sanctifying Gods Sabbaths, which he hath commanded: Since this (I say) thou art become truly honorable, and art born of God.
Use of Exhortation, To raise and awaken your selves out of your former im∣pieties:* Oh that once we might say, You were dead, but now are made a∣live: Oh that at last we might say this Text, Such and such hainous offen∣ders some of you have been; but now ye are washed, now ye are sanctified through the blood of Christ. Call thy self to an account, say, Oh my soul, doest thou minde to be thus always? Are there no purposes or resolutions to become another man? Why doth not he that used to swear, swear no more? Why doth not he that used to be lustful, be lustful no more? Let him that stole (saith the Apostle) steal no more, Ephes. 4. 28. Oh that God would make this blessed change in your lives! What should hinder it? Can your sinnes be better then GOD to you? Can your lusts be more then Heaven to you?
Of the washing and cleansing of a Sinner.
1 COR. 6. 11.
WE have already considered the Corinthians, according to what they were by their own voluntary corruption, Let us now take notice of them, as what they are by grace. They were black and uncomely of themselves, but sanctified and made beautifull by the grace of God. Now this grace of God vouchsafed unto them is expressed in three particulars, Ye are Washed, Ye are San∣ctified, Ye are Justified. Some make this difference between them, That the first priviledge, Ye are washed, is a general comprehending both Sanctification and Justifi∣cation; as if the Apostle had first expressed himself in the general, and then distributed this general into two famous branches thereof: and indeed washing or cleansing is sometimes used for the taking away of the guilt of sin, and then it is the same with justification; as when David prayeth God would wash him & make him clean, Psa. 51. and somtimes its used for the cleansing from the filth and power of sin, in which sense its the same with sanctification: and in this respect, Isaiah 1. God cals upon Jerusalem to wash her, and to make her clean: This may well be received: But I 〈◊〉 goe with other Expositors, that make the Apostle use a gradation, naming those priviledges in the order God bestowed them upon them: and the first is Washing, that is Regeneration; the Type whereof and Seal is Baptism; which was the first thing done to them, when received into the Church: so that the mea∣ning is; But ye are spirituallly washed and cleansed from the filth and dominion of these sins, a Seal whereof was your Baptism.
Then the second degree is Sanctified, which is a further grace of God, not only regenerating, but making us holy unto the Lord, and causing us to walk as those that are set apart for God, from all common and prophane use. Lastly, they are Justified. Now although it be seriously disputed, whether Justification or Sancti∣fication goe before one another; and generally it is asserted, that in priority of na∣ture a man is justified before he be sanctified, though they be both together in time; yet withall they acknowledge, that according to our sense and feeling, and the Method we must take for comfort, we apprehend our Sanctification before our Justification; and no man may perswade himself, that he is justified, who doth not discover in himself the fruits of Sanctification. The one is the fruit, the other is the tree: so that the Apostle may very well put sanctification first, because to our sense and apprehension it is so. As for that interpretation of Papists and others, that make justified, to be the obtaining of a further degree of righteousnesse, and increasing in holinesse, we reject as erroneous. Now this threefold mercy is am∣plified by the meritorious cause, In the Name of the Lord Jesus. That is by Jesus Christ known and beleeved on; as also by the efficient cause, the Spirit of our God, which is therefore called the holy Spirit, as being in an appropriated manner, the Page 376 Author of our Sanctification. Thus the Text is opened. I begin with the first, Ye are washed; and observe,
That Regeneration, or the renewing of sinners is a washing or cleansing of them. Sin * hath two things in it, Filthand Pollution, and so Sanctification cureth it; guilt and merit of condemnation, so justification taketh it away. We are upon the first work of grace, that which takes away the noisomnes, and pollution of sin, with the do∣minion and power of it, which is here called Washing and Sanctifying. The Corin∣thians like Swine had been wallowing in their Mire, and grace did not onely wash their out-sides, but their in-sides, their very natures away, and make them sheep. Thus God speaketh of a clear Fountain he will set open for Judah and Jerusalem to wash in. Zach. 13. 1. For the discovery of this point, consider,
First, That the Title of Regeneration, under the notion of washing, doth suppose that sinne is of a defiling polluting nature, making the persons unclean and loathsome,*where it is. Its therefore compared to Spots, Deut. 32. 5. and Blemishes, Ephes. 5. 27, to Mire, to Vomit, 2 Pet. 2. 22. Such names doth the Scripture give sinne: to teach men, How they should look upon themselves, when sinners? Ezek. 16. you have there the Prophet excellently describing every mans naturall condition, by an infant new born, tumbling in its bloud, not washed, or cleansed. Men make sin the matter of their boast, and their glory; but it is indeed matter of shame and loathing. Thou art ashamed of thy rags, and thy spotted garments: But oh what blushing should be at thy wicked and ungodly actions. Thou shouldest sit down like a Iob upon his Dung-hill, abhorring thy self; like a Lazarus full of sores; like an unclean Leaper, crying out, Thou art unclean, unclean. The Scrip∣ture speaking of wicked men, saith, They are become filthy and abhominable in their doings, Psalme 14. and it calls them Vile persons, Psal. 15. 4. Whatsoever esteem and glory ungodly men may have in this world, yet they are with God vile persons, and therefore called by the name of such Beasts as are odious to men. Whereas on the contrary, Grace is the life, the beauty, the honour and glory of a man, com∣pared to excellent and precious ornaments.
Secondly, This apprehension that sinne makes men unclean and defiled, hath been*so ingraven in the hearts of all men by nature, that therefore they have used super∣stitiously many externall bodily washings: as if that would take away their polluti∣on, and make them more acceptable to God. Thus the Heathens used to wash themselves, before they entred into their Temples, to sacrifice to their Gods, and they had water pots, or stones of water stood at the entrance into the Temple, wherein thy purified themselves; confessing hereby, that sin made them so beastly and unclean, that they were no wayes fit or decent to perform any Religious acti∣on: and thus the Iewes they brought in many superstitious Washings: When they came from Market, when they had been about any imployment, they would come home and wash themselves, yea they wash'd their Beds, their Pots, their Di¦shes, Mark 7. 4 l•st they should get any defilement. Thus Pilate did wash his hands, to denote thereby his Innocency; and Tertullian speaks of the superstiti∣on of some Christians in his dayes, That they would never goe to prayer, till they had washed themselves. Now our Saviours Doctrine is a good Antidote to all such superstitious thoughts: Not that which goeth into a man doth defile him, but that which comes out. Its not a bodily filthinesse, or uncleannesse, but a soul-filthinesse, which is so displeasing to God. The Papists they attribute much to * their Holy-water, as if the sprinkling of that would cleanse away the stone of the soul, but this is the peculiar effect of Christs bloud onely.
Thirdly, That we might be fully convinced of our native filthinesse, and the nature of Gods Spirit in renewing us, God appointed externall Ordinances and Rites of bo∣dily*washing, hereby to make us understand spirituall things. Thus in the Old Te∣stament, God commanded severall washings of the body: The Priest was to wash himself before he sacrificed; and severall other cleansings there were; by all which God did inform them of their vilenesse and loathsomnesse; as also there∣by Page 377 to look to Christs bloud, of which these were Types: As the Apostle argueth at large to the Hebrews. In the New Testament also, although the externall Rites are but few in number, which Christ appointed under the Gospell, his Church being now out of her Infancy, and so more inabled to discern spirituall things of themselves. Yet one of the two Sacraments, viz. Baptism, God hath appointed for this end, to signifie our naturall pollution, and the renewing operation of Gods Spirit: Thus Baptizing is as much as Washing. All that are made Christs Disciples he would have washed, to shew that they had noysomnesse upon them; and that the Spirit of God must cleanse their souls. John 3. 5. Unlesse a man be born of Water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdome of heaven; He doth not speak of Baptism there; for Christ had not at that time appointed Bap∣tism (though Iohn Baptized) and to be sure it was not appointed then univer∣sally to all Nations, as appeareth by the Commission afterwards; Goe, Baptize all Nations. This is confessed by Bellarmine himself: I rather therefore take wa∣ter for the Spirit of God, as afterwards it is compared to fire; so that the sense is, Unlesse a Man be born of the Spirit of God, which is like water, cleansing, healing, quenching, Sanctifying, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. But though this place carry it not, yet many other places speak of this Baptism, and the sig∣nification thereof: so that the foulnesse of sinne, and the nature of Regeneration is excellently decyphered by the Sacrament of Baptism. Doe not thou then rest in thy Baptism, doe not presume upon that; for unlesse thereby thou art taught to loath thy self for sinne: unlesse thou art washed from filthy sinnes and lustfull wayes, this washing is no more to thee, than the washing of a Blackamoor, which leaves him as deformed as he was. Oh that Baptized men, washed men should yet be so foul and noisome in their lives, unclean bodies, foul tongues, earthly hearts; all these defile.
Consider that place, Hebr. 10. 22. where the Apostle sheweth the duty, and the priviledge of of the people of God; they may come with boldnesse unto God, he hath held out the Scepter of Grace to invite them. But who are those whom God will thus honour?
First, Such as are washed from an evill Conscience; all those who wash them∣selves from all known evils; who avoid inward sinnes, pride, hypocrisie, earthly * and immoderate affections, Oh thou canst have no boldnesse to pray, or to call on God, whose Conscience tels thee of such defilement and wickednesse thou livest in: And,
Secondly, Their bodies washed with pure water. This is an allusion either to the legal washings, or to Baptism; and implyes, that not onely the soul, but the bo∣dy also must be washed from all its bodily filthiness, as 2 Cor. 7. Let us cleanse our selves from all filthinesse of flesh and Spirit; so that soul-wickedness, and bodily wick∣edness must be washed away,
Fourthly, Therefore the Scripture speaketh of a two fold subject to be washed. First, the heart; thus as in the place mentioned, having your hearts sprinkled * and cleansed from all filthinesse of spirit. This heart-washing is first to be set up∣on, as being the root, principle, and foundation. Thus purifie your hearts, ye double minded, Jam. 4. 8. If the Fountain be not cleansed, all the streams must needs be muddy. Now although most men neglect this Duty, yet this is the main of all. A bad heart is an ill Treasury: out of the heart proceed evill thoughts, and all manner of actuall evill. This point our Saviour pressed much upon the Pharisees, who had cleansed their lives from outward wickednesse, but their in∣wards were full of all foul and noisome lusts: and the necessity of this appeareth, in that God accepteth of no externall religious Duty, no Praying, no Hearing, no Charitie, no Humilitie, except they be first washed in their hearts; There lyeth the greatest filthinesse, though you must take the candle of the Scripture, if you would find out the Dust there, and sweep it away.
The second kind of washing the Scripture speaks of, is the washing of our Page 378 hands, which is the cleansing of us from all actions of Wickednesse; as Inju∣stice, Oppression, Uncleannesse, and all manner of unlawful and sinful do∣ings. * Thus Iames addeth, Cleanse your hands, and Purifie your hearts: He saith, first Cleanse your hands, and then Purifie your hearts. Not that the wash∣ing of the hands is to be done before the washing of the heart; but because our Actions they are most manifest and sensible to the world; and therefore we ought to declare our selves clear in that respect. So then, no man may com∣fort himself, as if Regenerated or renewed, if so be his Actions are •oul and sinfull: If thy hands be not clean, thou maist not take hold of any holy thing. Consider Davids Expression, I will wash my hands in innocency, so will I com∣passe thy Altar, Psal. 26. 2. David will not come to worship God, till he hath washed his hands in innocency. Oh consider this excellent and holy pattern which David hath left for you. Say, I will wash my life, my hands, my eyes, my bo∣die from all its former wickednesse, and so will I pray, so will I goe to hear. Lay aside all superfluity of naughtinesse, saith the Apostle, Jam. 1. 21. He cals sin 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, Sordes, filth and loathsome matter, and then hear the Word of God. As those that made the Garland of Roses and other Flowers, for those that conquered in the Race, they were to have clean and washed hands; so all those who meddle in any holy duty, praying, or hearing, they must have cleansed lives: when God gave the Law, he would have the people of Israel cleanse themselves three dayes before they heard it; and the women who were to come into Ahasuerus his pre∣sence, were severall dayes purifying, and dressing themselves. How much more then, when we come into the presence of an holy God, ought we to cleanse our selves, and to shake off all that which may be displeasing in his eyes.
Fifthly, To be spiritually washed and cleansed there are these things required:*
First, a loathing and abhorring of our selves; looking upon our selves as so many bruitish beasts, and so many abhominable Monsters, fit for nothing but to be cast upon the Dung-hill, because we have lost all our Savour. Thus Job abhorred him∣self in dust and ashes, under the apprehension of Gods glorious Majesty. Ezek. •0. 43. The Promise of grace made to the people of Israel is, That they should remember their wicked doings, wherein they have been defiled, and they should loath themselves in their own sight. We blush, saith Daniel and Ezra, and are ashamed. Thus the P〈…〉can stood aloof oft, as deeply sensible of his uncleanenesse. Oh then, how farre are most men from this washing in the Text; when did they ever loath them∣selves? when were they abominable in their own eyes? when did they humble themselves in the dust, crying out they were noisome Dung-hills, and not men. They could not indure their own selves: The very memory and thoughts of all their wayes were grievous and tedious to them. Till men come thus to be ashamed and confounded in themselves, they cannot be so much as in a preparation to be made clean. Oh tremble then, you who applaud your selves, who love and please your selves in your wicked wayes, like the Horse-Beetle, that delights to live in the Dung; like Vermine, that love to be in Muck-hils. Oh why are ye not ashamed that God should see you, that good Angels and men should behold you. It will ne∣ver be well with thee, nor wilt thou ever be put into any hopes of salvation, till thou beginnest to be odious in thy own eyes, till thou canst not abide and indurethy self.
Secondly, To be washed, is required godly sorrow, and morning for sinne. David washed his Bed with tears, and so he did his soul also. Not that our tears or sor∣row * can wash away the guilt of sin. No, there can be no remission without bloud, Heb 9. 22. and the bloud of Christ; but they may in some sense wash the filth and defilements of sinne away. Therefore there is Gods washing, which the Scrip∣ture speaks much of, and that is the remission of the guilt of sinne; and there is our washing, which is the godly, sorrow and mourning for the iniquities we have committed: so then if thou wouldst be a man washed from thy sinfull pollu∣tions, consider, That thy head must be like a fountain of tears, thy eyes must be 〈◊〉 the Pool of Bethesda in this sense, that thy filthinesse may be washed away. Page 379 How then canst thou perswade thy self, that thou hast received this priviledge, when thy heart was never melted for thy sins: Godly sorrow is wholly a strange thing to thee, thou dost not know what it means. Alas! those suddain exclamati∣ons, The Lord forgive me, God pardon me, I should not have said so, or done so: This is not the godly sorrow commanded in the Scripture; why then dost thou lie with thy filth and unclean abominations upon thee? why dost thou not mourn and lament over thy wretched condition? What hast thou tears for the losse of wife, children, goods and estate, but none for the losse of God? Tears in thy eyes are better Jewels than those on thy ears.
Thirdly, To be washed, there is also required a spirituall pain and trouble of the*soul. For this washing of a sinner, is like the washing of pu•rified old sores which cannot but administer great grief and aches, as when the •ailor washed Peters sores: Therefore David expresseth his Repentance by broken bones, Psalme 51. which declareth the holy pain and trouble of soul he had within him, because of his iniquities. Hence it is also called pricking and wounding at heart. Go to therefore you sinners, who live heart-whole, and heart-sound, as you call it, you never have any pangs, any travail of soul for your iniquities, you never are in labour or pain; know, that you are not washed from your impieties: why dost thou not take up the Prophet Micah's expression, Mich. 1. 8. I will wail and houl, I will go stript and naked, I will make a mourning like the Dragons, and wailing like the Owls, because of the anguish of mind, and trouble of soul upon me for my iniquities. Never think it will be well, till those sinnes which have been so sweet and pleasant to thee, be like Gall and Wormwood, biting like a Serpent, and stinging like an Adder. It cannot be, but that these lusts for a season so delightful, will afterwards become like so many devils tormenting thy conscience. Be not afraid to be sick and troubled for sin now, it may be medicinal and helpful now, but it wil be paenal and eternally tor∣turing hereafter.
Fourthly, To be cleansed, there is required a constant and daily applying of those*remedies, which are appointed by God to make us clean; and that is •aith in Christs bloud, and faith receiving the Word of God. The bloud of Christ and the Word of God are both cleansers. Thus Acts 15. Faith is said to purifie the heart; and David prayeth, Psalme 51. That God would wash him with Hyssop, and make him clean, so he should be whiter than Snow: an allusive exposition to the Jewish Cu∣stome of besprinkling the Posts of the door with the bloud of the Sacrifice, which signified the bloud of Christ sprinkled upon the soul, and faith that is like the bunch of Hyssop, which though low and contemptible, yet was instrumental to that glorious effect. Thus also the garments of the Saints are said to be made white in the bloud of the Lamb; though it be red, yet it makes them white: Therefore faith in Christ is mighty in operation to get out all the spots and defilements that are upon our lives.
The other cleansing Instrument is the word of God, cleansing his Church through his Word; and Psalme 119. Wherewith shall a young man make clean his wayes? even by attending to thy Word. A young man most prone to foul and noisome lusts, even he may quickly by the Word be washed and cleansed. Come then often in this Bath, wash thy self often in the waters of the Scripture, and then thou wilt become white and lovely.
Lastly, This washing is a continual work. Though the Apostle saith, They are wa∣shed, in the by-past time; yet because man in his journey to heaven, gets much * soil and filth; therefore he must be washing himself every day, Iohn 13. 9. 10. Peter did not understand that our Saviour taught this, by his action of washing their feet; but when he did, he cryeth out, Not my feet only, but also my hands and head. Now that the most godly themselves doe need a continual washing, appeareth by that: He that is washed, needeth not, save to wash his feet. The meaning of this difficult place seemeth to be, That though they were cleansed by Regeneration, yet in their travel towards heaven, they got filth upon their feet, which they ought Page 380 every day to wash off; so that as thou gettest pollution upon thy soul daily, so thou must cleanse daily: Where then are those deluded persons, who think themselves without sin, that they need no cleansing? even therefore they have the more sin, because they think they have no sin.
Use of Exhortation, To all prophane and ungodly persons, that they would abominate and loath themselves, be in their own eyes as they are in Gods * sight, hated and abhorred. How can you but consider and be afraid un∣der these things: Thy actions, are foul actions; thy life, a noisom life; thy words, loathsom communication: Thou art like a dead carcase, like an open Sepulchre, ful of abomination: Oh that thou canst abide thy self! Thou shouldst be as some miserable wretch, that hath the members of his body rotting a∣way, and yet he liveth, how loathsome is such a man to himself? he cannot indure his own smell: Thus it should be to thee, who livest in thy gross wickedness.
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.
Signes and Characters of Sanctified ones.
1 COR. 6. 11.
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.
The counterfeits of Sanctification. That Devo∣tion, in superstitious Customes, or Gods own Ordi∣nances, or being externally in Covenant with God, do not really sanctifie a man.
1 COR. 6. 11.
YOu have heard the nature and properties of Sanctification: Now let us discuss the counterfeits of it: for there are many things in Christianitie which people do generally trust in, as if they had power to sanctifie them, in the mean while neglecting wholly true and real Sanctification. This point is of great consequenco, if men would diligently attend to it: For as it was generally received among the Jews, that the Temple & Sacrifices did sanctifie them, though their lives were ful of wick∣ednesse: So there is scarce any one Christian, but thinketh his Baptisme, his Chri∣stianity, the Gospel, these do sanctifie him. And as among the Jewes, this princi∣ple ingraffed in their hearts, was that bitter root which made all things else bitter; so it is now among Christians. Let us go over in particular those abused instruments for sanctification.
And first, There are and have been many superstitious humane customes introduced, in the zealous performance of which men, have thought themselves sanctified. These * things have abounded in Popery: Insomuch that all the holinesse almost they cele∣brate and commend, is this external holinesse. Hence their holy images, holy vest∣ments, holy Altars, holy Crosses, holy Water, and a world of such Consecrated things they have, in the devout use whereof they conceive themselves made more holy. The accumulating and heaping of these consecrated sanctities, were brought in partly by an ignorant zeal to imitate the Jewish dispensations, as also a desire to symbolize with Paganish rites: and partly for to satisfie the ambition and avarice of their holy Mother, the Church of Rome: And if we consider the generall igno∣rance and superstitious disposition in most people, It may seem a wonder of won∣ders, that ever such a reformation could be brought in, as should take people off from their accustomed superstitious sanctification. But God calleth things that are not, as if they were: Now although I hope there are few that hear me, but have learnt better then to be addicted to such consecrated holinesse, yet take these antidotes against it.
1. That if the instituted consecrations, and sanctifications in the Old Testament,*and that by God himself, did not upon the meer use of them, or the work done, beget reall, and morall sanctification; much lesse can meer humane institutions, introduced solely by the will of man. Now that it was so in the Old Testament, it is plain. We read of many purifications, and sanctifications; They had holy vessels, the holy Temple, the Priests Garments were holy; yet none of these instituted holi∣nesses did make the priests or people better; though they had holy Oyl poured on Page 392 their bodies, yet if they were not anointed with the graces of Gods Spirit, all was nothing. Though they came to an holy Temple, yet if their bodies were not an holy Temple, this profited them not; and no remission of sin could be obtained by the killing of Sacrifices. If then Gods own Consecrations did not make persons inwardly, and in their lives sanctified, How can we think that holy places, holy Oyl, holy Water, or holy times that have no Ori∣ginall, but from Mans presumption, shall be able to work such effects in us.
2. These can have no such sanctified operation, because not appointed by God; and where there is no Divine institution, we may not expect any Divine operati∣on. *In vain do they worship me, teaching for Doctrines the Traditions of Men, Mat. 15. 9. In vain, Oh what a Thunderbolt is this; Who can perswade the su∣perstitious man, that hath laboured and toiled himself in such ignorant and formall Devotions, that all is but labour in vain? Why might not men appoint Sacraments, and adde more to those two Christ left us, if so be that they could appoint any Usages or Rites, which would work such effects?
3. It argueth a people of a Divine and Noble disposition, when they enquire into*the Originall, and Divine institution of things. Hath God put his stamp and seal upon such a Custome? Is there a Divine superscription upon such a religious Rite? This would be like pulling off the scales from the eyes, and make them weary of Egyptian darknesse. The Hebrews call Idols sometimes by a word that signifieth Terrors and Fears, because the Worshippers of them did excruciate themselves by a thousand of superstitious fears about them. And thus also are all the Traditions of men, perplexing the consciences of men with endless scruples; whereas a true know∣ledge of God out of his word, arising in the heart of a Man, would like the light quickly dispel this darknesse.
4. It is a dangerous thing to depend on these things for sanctification, because they fill the heart with opinions of merit, satisfaction, and compensation made to God.* Hence where these Customes are introduced, there the Doctrine of Merits and Free-will, and of humane satisfactions, are vehemently asserted: Now the main scope of the Scripture is to pull down this pride of mans heart, to em∣ptie him of all righteousnesse and worth; to make him to see Christs fulnesse, and his emptinesse. Oh, How farre was Paul from thinking of any satisfa∣ctions, or Compensations, who admireth that Evangelicall Grace so much vouchsafed unto him a most grievous sinner! The Godly heart cryeth out with the Centurion, he is not worthy Christ should come within his roof.
5. The work of this externall adherent holinesse is very easie. It is no greater * labour or trouble to besprinkle themselves with so much Holy water, to be an∣oynted with so much Oyl. If this were all that Christ required of those that would be saved, hell would be emptie. But to what purpose are consecrated Cros∣ses, and Sannctified Beads, if thy tongue, and eyes, and whole bodie be not also sanctfied. The Papists they give this reason, why so many turned Protestants, be∣cause (say they) Protestantism chalks out an easie way to heaven, it is but Believe, and all will be well: but Popery holds out a more pleasant and sutable way to flesh and blood; for what burthen is there in heaping up many Ceremonious and super∣stitious actions? The mortifying of one sin, the crucifying of one Lust, will be more heart-ache and trouble to flesh and blood, then a thousand such Traditio∣nal services.
Secondly, Well then, it may easily be granted, That such petty ridiculous san∣ctities that are by mens commandments, may be no more then dung, yea, an abomina∣tion unto the Lord. But what shall be thought of those holy Duties which God hath appointed: there is holy praying, holy hearing. These holy ser∣evies which God himself hath Commanded, Doth not the constant, and Page 393 diligent use of these sanctifie a Man? No, these are not barely to be relied * upon.
For 1. These duties do not sanctifie, except thou be first sanctified inwardly. Prayer doth not make thee holy, but an holy prayer proceeds from holiness. These duties do then onely encrease, and adde to our Grace, when they are the exercises and effects of a sanctified life within us. A wicked man who is spiritually dead in his sins, can no more pray after a spiritual gracious manner, then a dead man can speak or breath. Do not then mistake in this businesse: these re∣ligious Duties are called holy, not because they sanctifie every one that appeareth near to God in them; but because God, who is the object of them, and on whom they are terminated, is an holy God, and because they encrease holinesse in those who are endued with a supernatural life.
2. God in the Old Testament doth severely rebuke all those that draw nigh to Him*in those duties he commanded, and yet refuse to be washed from their sins. This is the main scope of all the Prophets in all their Sermons, upbraiding, and complaining that they would approach to him, as if they were his people, in a very solemn man∣ner: They would hear, yet do nothing, Ezek. 33. 32. And thereupon God disdaineth their Duties; God accounts of them no more then as heathens, and the vilest of men: And do we not need such Prophets again, to awaken our people? May not we say? The burthen of the Lord? the burthen of the Lord. To what purpose are those multitude of Duties? Wash ye, and make ye clean, and so will God ac∣cept you. What a ridiculous thing is it to comfort thy self with an holy prayer, as thou thinkest, when thou hast so many unholy words, and unholy actions? will God take notice of thy duties, when thy sins cry so loud in his ears? but we have spoken heretofore of this.
We come to the Third thing intended, And that is the holinesse of the Covenant*under which all passe that outwardly professe God to be their God, and accept of Jesus Christ to be their Lord. This is the highest holinesse next to that of Sanctification, and true Godlinesse: Now because this is a controverted point, and many who confesse an outward Covenant-holinesse that was Typical among the Jews, yet de∣ny any such federal holinesse in the New Testament, and therefore say all the holi∣nesse in the Gospel, is a Moral real holinesse; we must be the more tender what we deliver herein.
And 1. Consider, That God who is the supreme Lord and Governour of all, that*might deal with man onely in an absolute way, as a Lawgiver, man being his Crea∣ture; yet such is his gracious goodnesse, that he enters into a familiar Covenant-way with us. God might have commanded us to do such and such things, but never have entered into a Covenant to promise and engage himself to be thus and thus, and to do thus and thus for us. This Covenaut of Grace is that which the Scri∣pture doth so often speak of and admire; the substance of it being to become our God, and to make us his people. Now what tongue can expresse the priviledge, and great glory of this condition, to own God for our God; so that thereby his wisdome, his power, his goodnesse, all is for our advantage; and we come in all duties unto God, not upon absolute terms, but Covenant terms, and that of Grace: Where by God doth as it were lay aside the glory of his Majesty, and his terrible severe justice and becomes like one of us, condescending to us?
2. This Covenant is dispensed in an external, and visible administration, by*the Word and Sacraments. The preaching of the Gospel is the solemn promulga∣tion of this Covenant, and invitation to enter therein: The Sacraments are seals to ratifie and confirm this holy and sacred agreement. Now because all know not the work of Grace, to whom this Covenant is externally administred, hence ariseth that necessary distinction of an external Covenant, and an internall. The external Covenant is that whereby in an outward visible manner God doth own a people, and they externally professe their owning of him; but yet in Page 392〈1 page duplicate〉Page 393〈1 page duplicate〉Page 394 their hearts and souls they do not stedfastly cleave unto God, and faithfully keep this Covenant in the Conditions thereof. The internal, or inward Covenant, i• that whereby God doth in a Spiritual powerful manner take a people to him, work∣ing in their hearts all those gifts and graces promised in the Covenant, as regene∣ration, remission of sinne, adoption, and the like: And in this sense onely the truely godly are in the Covenant, and they are onely Gods people, and he their God. This distinction of a Covenant into outward and inward, is not a distinction of a Genus into it's Species, so much as a distinction of a thing into the severall administrations and dispensations of it. If Adam had stood firm in that state of integrity, there had not been this distinction of an externall and internall Cove∣nant: for all then would have been godly; and the outward dispensation of Gods love would have been to none, but those that were indeed his. But since the fall, even in Gods own garden, there are weeds as well as flowers, there is Chaff as well as Wheat in his Floor: and therefore some are partakers of the Covenant on∣ly externally, some both externally and internally also.
3. By reason of this externall and visible participation of the Covenant. All * those who live under it, and do not apostatize, or absolutely revolt from it, have a kinde of externall Covenant-holiness, and in opposition to Heathens and Pa∣gans or Apostates may be called holy. This is indeed greatly doubted of by some; but if we consider the Scripture, God doth own a people for his, though not in∣wardly godly, as long as they externally own him, and doe not plainly renounce his Worship and Service. It is true indeed, if we speak of spirituall and gracious Communion with an enjoyment of God, so they are none of his; but we now re∣late to an externall society onely: Thus the Jews, though they were false and hy∣pocrital in their hearts, yea full of many a•ominable •mpieties, yet God owned them as his people, till the conjugall bond at last was wilfully and perfidiously vio∣lated by them. Hence in that they were Circumcised, and solemnly worshipped the true God, God owned them as his people, though he did also at the same time reproove them severely for their sinnes. Hence the Heathens, Ephes. 2. are said to be strangers from the Covenant and common-wealth of Israel; Implying, that all the Israelites by Birth and Education, till they made a manifest revolt, were under the Covenant. Therefore consider what the Apostle saith of all the Jews Rom. 9. 4. Who are Israelites to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glo∣ry, i. e. The Ark and outward testimony of Gods presence, and the Covenants, and Adoption. They were all in Covenant, and so outwardly the sonnes of God; and therefore God by the Propht complaineth that they had taken his sonnes, and his daoghters, which they had brought forth •o him, and offered them up to M•∣loch. Thus you see in the old Testament, that even unregenerate men were in some sense under the Covenant, and so had an externall holinesse; and therefore somtimes they areall called Saints, Deut, 33. 3. in opposition to the world, that was destitute of the knowledge and true worship of God; and some again, that were the chil∣dren of the Kingdome, should yet be cast forth, M•t••. 12. Under the New Te∣stament, that such an external, visible enjoying of the Ordinances doth also bring a kind of external holinesse, which Heathens and Pagans have not is apparent first by that place, 1 Cor.〈◊〉. Else were your children unclean, but now they are holy. What holinesse can this be?
First, it cannot be a civil holinesse, as some would expound it. That is, they are legitimate Children, and not Bastards: for in that sense the children of heathens are holy, i. e. they are not Bastards, because marriages are lawfull and val•d a∣mongst them.
The• secondly, Holinesse cannot be understood of true inherent holinesse, for so all the children of Believing Parents are not holy. How many godly Parents have wicked and ungodly children?
Therefore thirdly, it must be meant of an external Covenant-holinesse, where∣by Believers were in outward manner owned by God, and by that their children Page 395 also had a right to Baptism, and so are not born as Children of Heathens in the outward power of Satan and wrath: For although by nature they are children of wrath, yet being born within the Covenant, they have an holinesse; that is, a right to such Ordinances they are capable of, which the Children of Pagans have not. Thus H•b. 10. 29. the Apostle speaks there of an Apostate who never had true in∣ward grace and sanctification in him; yet he is said to be sanctified by the bloud of the Covenant. How was that? not really and in truth; for then he could never fall into that unpardonable sin: but externally and in respect of the outward in∣joyment of the Gospel, with their profession of obedience thereunto. And hence it is, that the Apostle writing to all Believers, to all Churches which he had plan∣ted, he giveth them the title of Saints: especially we are to take notice of that ex∣pression, 1 Cor. 1. 2. To them that are sanctified, called to be Saints. The Corin∣thians (you know) were many of them taxed for grievous and dangerous crimes, both in Doctrine and manners; yet he stileth them Sanctified, and Saints. As for the exception that some make, he speaks thus in respect of the better part. I grant that to be true in part; yet because the other did not wilfully renounce Christ, they might in some sense be said to be sanctified; for they voluntarily owned that holy profession and name of Christ, though in works they denyed him. Besides, those titles shewed what they ought to be, and what Obligations were on them to walk holily: But this requireth a more large and exact handling. Some reject the Translation called to be Saints; because in the Greek it is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, called Saints, but this is needlesse; for in the first Verse Paul is said to be 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, called an Apostle; which necessarily denoteth his Apostleship to be the end of his Calling; as Saintship is the end of ours.
4. The offer and tendring of this Covenant is not enough to make a people out∣wardly holy, but there must be an outward and visible accepting of it. The Gospel * hath been preached to many people, who yet rejected it; and therefore not taking the Covenant, continued still in their naturall pollution and uncleannesse; and this is necessarily to be pressed upon you: for most Christians know not, or attend not to what they do. There is none of you who are Baptized, and own the title of Christians, but ye have entred into a Covenant with God, you have promised to be his, you have resigned up your selves unto him, as your Lord, whose Laws you will obey. Thus as many as are baptized, are said, To put on Christ Jesus, Gal. 3. 27 That is, their external profession, and Sacramentall obligation, 1 Pet. 3. 21. That Answer of a good Conscience is an allusive expression to Covenants and Contracts which are mutually made between parties. Oh then, that all you who glory in your Baptism and Christianity, and thereby in a kind of holinesse, would remember what those stipulations were? Were not those ingagements to •enounce the devil, to forsake all wicked ways, and to cleave only to him? Because you entred into such an agreement, and made such an external profession, therefore thou art in a sense under the Covenant, and so hast a Covenant-Sanctification. But all this will not avail without true, reall, and practicall holinesse, and amendment of thy life.
First, This holinesse is but titular and nominal; and although it be of some dig∣nity * and priviledge, as it was to the Jewes, to have the Oracles and promises be∣longing to them; Yet it is not advantagious to the chiefest and most necessary good, which is the enjoyment of God, and eternal happinesse. Now as in all other things the name doth not satisfie without the reality, the name of riches without r•ches; the name of health without health; so neither may the name of Sanctification, without the thing it self. Put not then any confidence in this, that thou art under Gods Covenant, thou hast given up thy self to him in Baptism, thou wearest this Badge and Mark; for all this is but a shadow and no substance, till thy affections and conversations be made really holy.
Secondly, This Covenant-holinesse will not serve, because it doth but aggravate*and heighten the wickeanesse of those who being under this bond, yet walk contrary to Page 396 God. God will proceed against thee as a persidious violator of that holy Covenant thou madest with him, for thee who hast thus entred into Covenant with God, and brought all thy Children under this relation, to perform no Covenant-duties; how unpardonable is it? Therefore God doth greatly complain when his people are no better, and walk no more holily, then those that never knew him, or drew nigh to him. Hos. 6. 7. But they like men, have dealt treacherously. Some expound it thus, They like Adam transgressed the Covenant; That as Adam placed in Pa∣radise continued not faithfull to God, so the Israelites brought into a rich and plen∣tifull land, flowing with Milk and Honey, brake those holy bonds they were tyed in to God. But we rather take it as Rivet, They, like men, that is, as if they were none of my people, as if they had never covenanted with me, but were, like the common men of the world, that live without the knowledge of God, so opposite and rebellious are they against me. Oh how truely may this Text be verified of too many Christians: Like men they transgresse Gods Law.
Use of Instruction. How prone men are, though it is very vain, to have hopes in a false counterfeit Sanctification. In Poperie the greatest part of their religion * is placed in holy Images, holy Temples, holy Ceremonies; as if these things did sanctifie them. And although Protestants are generally delivered from this blind∣nesse, yet how do they lean upon external Signs or Badges of holinesse, because they partake of an holy Baptism, have a Covenant-holinesse, which also is commu∣nicated to their Children, how ready to be puffed up with it! Oh but none of these holinesses or sanctifications, is meant in that place. Without Sanctification no man shall see God: And, Be ye holy as I am holy. Attend therefore to that which is true Sanctification, that to which the promise of grace and glorie is made.
Use 2. To rebuke sharply all prophane and ungodly persons, that yet are un∣der the names and Titles of Christians, and sanctified persons, Oh the Justice of * God will fetch thee from these very Altars and condemn thee. How can the pa∣tience of God any longer bear with thee, in the profession of holinesse, (for so thy Christianity is) to be wicked and unholy. Many times hast thou been admonished herein; tremble at it, and know, the seasons and opportunities of getting holinesse will not continue alwayes.
Comfortable Directions to poor Doubting Christi∣ans.
1 COR. 6. 11.
I Shall conclude the work of grace at this time expressed in the Text, under the notion of Sanctification, and that shal be by handling some practical cases which may justly be propounded by a godly sanctified heart, for seeing this is the evidence of our election, and justification. No marvail, if the soul may have doubts to be informed about therein. And,
First, It may be demanded Why, if I perceive those common gifts and abilities which come from the holy Ghost in me; I may not thence conclude the Spirit of * sanctification in me? There were in the Primitive times extraordinary gifts vouch∣safed by the Holy Ghost, according to the promise of old, Ioel 2. Now all these were from the same spirit, as the Apostle witnesseth, 1 Cor. 12. 4. And although those extraordinary works of the Holy Ghost now cease, yet there are many gifts still dispensed unto men, that cannot be called the works of the slesh, but the gifts of Gods Spirit; such as believing for a season, joy in the word preached: illumi∣nation of mind, tasting experimentally the sense of Gods word, in which the A∣postle saith, They are partakers of the Holy Ghost, Heb. 6. May we not then, where we feel these things in our selves, or see them in others, conclude there is the work of sanctification?
To this in the first place I Answer, That amongst men, who judge by outward ap∣pearance,*and cannot try the hearts and reins, which is Gods Soveraignty, these things are much admired, and received for Sanctification. Hence if we see a man have good utterance and gifts in prayer, with affectionate inlargements; if he speak of some joy and sweetnesse he hath in the Ordinances; if he can confer and dispute with some illumination of mind and understanding in religious things; we are apt to take all that glisters thus, for gold: and because others doe put such an esteem upon them; therefore they that have such gifts do easily perswade themselves that they are sanctified also. But these gifts of Gods Spirit are not sanctification. A man may have all those enumerated excellencies, and yet be an unregenerated man. For,
First, You have many instances of those who have had these gifts, and yet no true*members of Christ. As those Hebrews 6. which the Apostle speaks of; and there∣fore though the Apostle had reckoned up those great things, yet he saith, I hope better things of you, and things that accompany salvation. In this number was Iudas, the foolish Virgins, the third kind of hearers, such are compared to Swine washed; though washed, yet Swine still. Oh then think it not such a matter, if because of parts and abilities in prayer, discourse and conference in Religion, thou art eminently admired by others; for these are no sure signe of Sanctification. Here Page 398 may be light, but no oyl; and therefore though it be our saying ordinarily; Such an one is an able Christian; VVhy so? because of gift in Praier, abilitie to speak in divine things; yet that is not so. He is an able Christian, who is strong in the works of Sanctification, who is able in believing, in heavenly mindednesse, in humi∣lity, in uprightnesse and sincerity of heart. If ever the Professors of England nee∣ded any truth, they ought to give diligent heed to this: For how is that which is indeed true godlinesse neglected, and curious Disputes, and needlesse Controversies exalted in the room thereof!
Secondly, These doe not sanctifie; because a man that hath these gifts of the Holy Ghost, is still carnal and unsavoury, improving them wholly to carnall and * corrupt ends. It's commonly objected by Arminians, and others, when we say, That an unregenerate man is wholly flesh, and altogether corrupt: and yet may have many gifts of Gods Spirit: how then can they be wholly corrupt? Are those gifts of God evill? and its answered, The men are altogether corrupt and carnall, though some good gifts of God be in them; for they improve all these to a sinfull end, for self-advantage one way or other; even as they doe the external Gifts of God, Riches, Honour and Glory: so that as by these they are not made holy, but their corruptions are more drawn out by them: So it is here, they are not made holy by these Gifts and inlargements, but rather internall and soul∣corruption is more strengthened thereby, But I have spoken at large, that the com∣mon gifts of Gods Spirit are no evidences of grace.
A second doubt therefore may be, what a true godly man, who is indeed sanctified, should doe, when he findes no evidences of his sanctification. All * the Sermons he heareth preached about it, put him into fear and tremblings of heart: for alas! he goeth home, and looketh in his soul, compareth himself and the symptomes and properties of sanctification together, and O the disproporti∣on he presently discovers! Insomuch that he hath little joy in himself, and none know∣eth but his own soul, what sad temptations, and heavy anxieties of spirit he lyeth under.
To Answer this: First, it cannot be denyed, but that even a sanctified person * may be in great darknesse, and heavy blacknesse of soul, that he cannot but judge himself for the present to be a Reprobate and a Cast away; to be an hypocrite, and all that he had done, in hypocrisie. David sometimes casteth forth despairing words in his Psalms about his condition, as if he had no hopes of God: Heman the Psalmist complains of the terrors of God, that made him even distracted there∣by, Psalme 88. 15. This is no new thing, for a child of light to lye and walk in darknesse; for a child that is heir to a great inheritance, to be in the dark close womb, knowing nothing of it. God hath wise ends in this, both in reference to the persons themselves, that are thus exercised, to humble them, and to keep them low; as also to teach wicked men, that if Godly men be thus scarcely saved, where shall the wicked appear? Although wicked men for the most part suck poison hence; and God maketh this an heavy stumbling-block to them; that they con∣clude the contrary, as if it were godlinesse, and the too much following of Ser∣mons, and the means of Grace, made them so. But oh miserable deluded souls, to fall at such stones, and to harden themselves in wickednesse by that, which should indeed humble them. But to direct the tempted soul in this matter: First he must give up himself to the instruction and information of others, who are godly and wise; for he being in a temptation is not fit to judge, nor can he passe righteous judgement. A man in the dark cannot see his face in the glasse, nor in muddyed and turbulent water. Thou art sick, and we see Physicians themselves, though ne∣ver so wise, will yet hardly venture to be their own Physicians in dangerous disea∣ses, but require the assistance of others; Christ himself had an Angel to help him; The same word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, in the Scripture is both to exhort and comfort, because comfort is not received in a gracious heart, but by frequent and daily exhortati∣ons. Doe not then regard thy own thoughts, and thy own determinations. Its Page 399 said Abraham staggered not through unbelief, Rom. 4. 20. That implyeth, that there are temptations, which doe as it were give a man a great blow in the head, making him dizzy and staggering. Now as a man in such an unex∣pected blow knoweth not what he doth, nor understandeth himself; so nei∣ther doth a Christian in such temptations. Remember therefore thy self in this black condition: Say, I am not wise enough, nor able enough to judge my self.
Secondly, Art thou in doubt about thy condition? consider whether there be not some great sin committed, and unrepented of, that doth justly provoke God * to cast thee in this darknesse. This was Davids case after those foul enormities; then he could not tell what to say, or think of himself. This David insinuateth when he prayeth so earnestly for truth in the inward parts, Psalme 51. Wonder not then if such foggy mists raise so great a darknesse, that it obscure the very Sun. Thou desirest impossibilities; thou wouldst have evidence of sanctification, when its evident thou dost not mortifie thy sinnes; Therefore repair that crack in thy building, that leak in thy Ship. David in another Psalme 32. speaketh also that he had no quietnesse in his bones, till he had confessed that sinne which troub∣led him. Doe not then deceive thy own soul; till thou hast put that Dalilah away from thee, never think to enjoy the joy of the Lord, which is thy strength.
Thirdly, It may be thou dostnot distinguish between the presence of Grace, and * the power of it; between weak graces and strong graces. And that which is little, or which is not to thy desire and mind, thou accountest nothing at all. A little infant hath a mans nature in him, as well as he that is grown. As it was in the building of the Temple, they were not to despise the day of small things; so neither is a godly man to contemn or disregard the beginnings, and the small things of grace. Our Saviour would not despise the smoaking Flax, and wilt thou? Take ••ed there∣fore of thinking thou hast no evidences, because they be imperfect and weak: One spark argues fire as well as an whole flame. The child of God while he looketh to the rule, and considereth what he ought to be, never remembers that the conformi∣ty to this rule is more or lesse in those that believe; so then though thou art in the lowest form, yet thou art still in Christs school, and needest to look backward for what hath been done, and fore-warn'd for what remaineth to be done.
Fourthly, remember the evidences thou hast enjoyed formerly. This is a special * way to keep the heart up against all assaults. The time hath been when thou didst walk in the comfortable demonstrations of grace in thy heart and life. The time was, when light did shine into thy breast and thou couldst with much thankfulnesse acknowledge the good things God wrought for thee; let not then the present darknesse obscure all former light; live by the remembrance of what thou hast felt, if thou canst not by any present sense and experience; for if ever thou hast upon good grounds discovered thy self to be in the state of sanctification, thou are still: whatsoever thy present fears may be to the contrary, God is the same, Christ and the promise continue still the same. Think then of those Bottles of tears thou hast filled, and remember it was once day, though now it be night, and it will be day again.
Fifthly, lay down this also for a true and comfortable rule, That if thou canst * not finde such marks of grace, yet if there be earnest desires and strong groans af∣ter these, there is grace begun in thee. These sprouts cannot be, but where sanctifi∣cation is. Hence it is, that those who hunger and thirst after righteousnesse are said to be blessed, because they shall be satisfied, Matth. 5. Though therefore corrup∣tions are potent, they bear thee down, earthly affections, immoderate passions are prevalent over thee; yet because thou pantest and breathest after more grace, this is an argument of spirituall life in thee. Paul that complained of the Law of sinne within him, found also the life of Grace within him; so that as long as thou dost not willingly give up thy self to sin, and obedience to the lusts thereof, here is no Page 400 matter of dejection, but incouragement, Paul and others have in this manner been exercised.
Sixtly, If thou hast no comfort from sanctifying grace, then make the more of justifying grace. God many times hides those works of his in us from our own eyes, * that so we may the more esteem his grace without us. The hungry will prize the Honey-comb, and the sick the Physician. Those that sit in darknesse, they long for light. Thus David, when he was in many sad and spirituall exercises, gets into this Ark, in the midst of those waters that did over-flow. There is a time when God wil put a christian to the life of faith, and make dependance and adherence the grea∣test honour a Christian can bring to him; and this is most eminently seen, when to his own sense and feeling he is a barren Wildernesse; the sense and discovery of grace in us makes much indeed for our comfort; but dependance on the promise and adherence to it, even while we are ready to sink and to be damned, is the grea∣test honour to God.
Seventhly, Consider this also, that as the heart is very deceitfull in a presumptuous man, flattering him upon false grounds to believe in God; so its as deceitfull in a * tempted Christian to make him doubt of all things, fear all things, to regard his sins onely, and not his graces. How prevalent the deceit of heart is in Pharisaical men, is evident to all the world; for how confident and bold are such? When have they any fears or doubts about their condition? When doe they ever say, It may be all this is but a smooth skin, no sound vitals at all? But in a godly man tempted, there his deceit worketh in a contrary way, not taking notice of the great things God hath done for his soul, he believeth, and mourneth for sin, he would not commit any known sin for all the world, yet at the same time cannot see the uprightnesse and sinceritie of his heart: Say then, I have a deceitfull heart in my fears and doubts, as well as presumptions.
Eighthly, Know this also, That it is a great and grievous sinne to deny the works of God in us, to betray the uprightnesse and integrity of our hearts. You see *Iob stands like a strong Oak against all the viosent blasts that are upon him: He is a man outwardly and inwardly afflicted, and that by extraordinary judgements from God, which made his godly friends conclude, that certainly he was an Hy∣pocrite, God did not use to give such extraordinary blowes, but where there were great faults: now see how resolute Iob was in all this, He would not part with his integrity till he dyed, Iob 27. 5. As there is nothing wherein the devill doth more desire to shake thee, than in the integrity and truth of thy grace; so in this thou oughtst to be the more peremptory, and its no presumption; but great unthankful∣ness, not to acknowledge Gods gifts in thee. Besides this is a bearing false witnesse against thy own self, not in matters of goods or life and death, but everlasting peace and comfort.
Ninthly, Though thou sit in never so much darknesse, not knowing what to doe or think, yet humble thy self under Gods hand, give not way to fretting impati∣ence, * entertain no hard thoughts against God and his proceedings: Say, O Lord, if I should never see good day in this world. O Lord, though thou shuttest me up in a prison and dark Dungeon all my life time, that I can never get out, yet I may not expostulate with thee; my heart must not swell or fret; for it is thou (Lord) that dost it. Thus if we would follow Peters Exhortation, To humble our selves under his mighty hand, then he would exalt us, 1 Pet. 5 6. It is indeed very hard to rebuke those roarings of the soul, to quiet those tempests and waves; we see what sad effects they had upon Iob. Into what horrid passions he breaketh out; and when he was reproved for this, (O saith he) if your souls were in my souls stead, you would doe as I doe. Well, the stouter the Adversaries are thou grapplest with, the greater honour it will be to conquer; if it be a Goliah, then David will be more exalted.
Lastly, if thy temptations be thus violent, that as hitherto thou art perswaded thou hadst no grace, yet from this time begin; it is not too late now: If God will Page 401 call thee in at the heat of the day, refuse not to labour in the Vineyard. While thou art fearing and doubting about thy condition, the day is spending, and night is coming on; so that though thou shouldest grant, that all which hath been done by thee, hath been in Hypocrisie, and on false grounds; yet now begin to lay the first stone in a good foundation: Say, O Lord, Let all these fears, all these doubts be sanctified to me, to make a sure work: Qui nil dubitat, nil discit He that doubt∣eth of nothing, will never seek out to learn; and it may be well for thee that God hath shaken thee thus, it may be to make the root stronger; There may be a clearer calm after these boisterous troubles.
This may suffice to comfort those who stand thus suspended from God, and cast * like Absolom from Davids face. What incouragements may be given to that Christian, who findes indeed Sanctification in him, but in a low degree, he is a Babe, a child, not a grown man: now to such an one, no comfort ought to be admini∣stred, so as to make him sit still, that he should have a nil ultra. No, Paul himself, who ran like the Sun swiftly fulfilling his race, Phil. 3. yet forgets what is behind, and makes fast on to what is before: so that to grow in grace is a necessary duty, and we ought to be carryed on to perfection, Heb 6. Yea it many times may give ground of suspition to Gods people, whether they have grace in them, or no; because they are at such a stand: yea not so well, but sometimes in decayes and great dulnesse; so that if the increase of riches add to the desire of them, how much rather should the increase of grace still provoke thee more and more? But yet thou art not without many grounds of hope and comfort.
For first, In that God hath bestowed the least degree of sanctification upon thee, * he hath done more unto thee then if he should give thee all the glory and honour of this world. To be rich in faith, though poor in the world, is better than to be rich in the world and poor in faith. Oh then with what thankfulnesse shouldst thou admire Gods goodnesse to thee? Hath he given thee but this little Mustard-seed of Grace? Hath he but begun this great work in thee? This is happier and more excellent than all the outward advantages of the earth. Its a woeful thing to have our portion in this world. As Ismael had many great gifts, but Isaac had the inheritance; so it may be God gives thee great outward abundance; but as for the spiritual inheritance, that he giveth to others: rejoyce then, and be excee∣ding glad, all you who find but the very first fruits of this happinesse.
Secondly, The promise of justification and pardon is made unto the truth of * Grace, not to the measure and degrees of it: The little hand of a Child, may hold a Pearl, as well as a Giants hand; so that though thou hast not as much grace and godlinesse as a Paul, or a David, yet thou maist as comfortably apply the Covenant of Grace to thy soul, as they did. Its not, he that beleeveth thus much shall be sa∣ved, but he that beleeveth, John 6. 35.
Thirdly, Thou who art weak, yet seest this and be wailest it, hast this advantage, * which a stranger hath not, to walk more humbly, to depend more firmly and strongly upon Christ. Sometimes great Cedars, as David and Peter fall fouly, when lesse shrubs stand still. The more eminent a Christian is, the more danger he is in, of pride, and self-confidence, and thereupon they fall more fouly; but the little child, that is afraid to go, will not let the Mothers hand go, is kept from falling.
Fourthly, The weaker thou art, in some respects God hath the more care and * tender respect over thee. Christ will not quench the smoaking Flax, Mat. 12. 20. The husbandman is most careful of his tenderest plants; Aristotle saith, Nature hath put it into parents to have most love to their youngest and weakest children. Thus God takes those that are weakest, and giveth them more consolations and the greater support.
Fiftly, There is no Christian so weak, but he may some way or other doe God * much service: and this he should comfort himself in, as the greatest honour he is capable off. The Apostle often useth this similitude of a mans body, and sheweth Page 402 how that though one part be more noble than another; yet even the most ignoble hath its proper use, the body knoweth not how to be without it: The eye cannot say to the foot, I have no need of thee; yea, the Apostle exhorts all, That they should esteem of every man better than himself, Rom. 12. Even the meanest Christian doth in some thing or other exceed a stranger.
Use. Be exhorted to this great duty and priviledge of Sanctification. If there be any honour, any happiness, any excellency, it is in this: Thou art not fit for any * holy duty, for any religious approach unto God, without Sanctification. Thy Christianity, and the doctrine of Christ obligeth thee unto it. This is the proper and peculiar benefit that is in Christs Church. There is no holinesse among Heathens, no Sanctification without the Church of God: well, though now thou art a prophane despiser, and it may be an opposer of holinesse, yet one day it will be in request, when Riches, Honour, Greatnesse will do thee no good. Consider, this is the will of God, your Sanctification, 1 Thes. 4. 3. All the commands in Scripture drive to this, they tend to this; If thou art not holy, thou hast no right to happinesse, to have an inheritance among them that are sanctified. Acts 26. 18. Holinesse is pro∣mised under the Gospel to be in a large measure. Zech. 14. 20, 21. Every Vessel shall have Holinesse unto the Lord: An excellent Promise to be improved by us.