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  • BOOK 4.


    CHAPTER 1.

    THE NATURE OF SANCTIFICATION AND GOSPEL HOLINESS EXPLAINED. Regeneration the way whereby the Spirit forms living members for the mystical body of Christ — Carried on by sanctification — Thessalonians 5:23 opened — God the only author of our sanctification and holiness, and that as the God of peace — - Sanctification described — A diligent inquiry into the nature whereof, with that of holiness, proved necessary — Sanctification twofold: 1. By external dedication; 2. By internal purification — Holiness peculiar to the gospel and its truth — Not discernible to the eye of carnal reason — Hardly understood by believers themselves — It passeth over into eternity — Hath in it a present glory — Is all that God requireth of us, and in what sense — Promised unto us — How we are to improve the command for holiness.

    IN the regeneration or conversion of God’s elect, the nature and manner whereof we have before described, consists the second part of the work of the Holy Spirit, in order unto the completing and perfecting of the new creation. As in the former he prepared a natural body for the Son of God, wherein he was to obey and suffer according to his will, so by this latter he prepares him a mystical body, or members spiritually living, by uniting them unto him who is their head and their life, Colossians 3:4. “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ,” 1 Corinthians 12:12.

    Nor doth he leave this work in that beginning of it whereof we have treated, but unto him also it belongs to continue it, to preserve it, and to carry it on to perfection; and this he doth in our sanctification, whose nature and effects we are in the next place to inquire into.

    Our apostle, in his First Epistle to the Thessalonians, chapter 5., having closely compiled a great number of weighty, particular, evangelical duties, and annexed sundry motives and enforcements unto them, closeth all his holy prescriptions with a fervent prayer for them: Verse 23, “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and let your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ;” — or, as I had rather read the words, “And God himself, even the God of peace, sanctify you throughout, that your whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless.” The reason hereof is, because all the graces and duties which he had enjoined them did belong unto their sanctification, which, though their own duty, was not absolutely in their own power, but was a work of God in them and upon them. Therefore, that they might be able thereunto, and might actually comply with his commands, he prays that God would thus sanctify them throughout. That this shall be accomplished in them and for them, he gives them assurance from the faithfulness (and consequently power and unchangeableness, which are included therein) of him who had undertaken to effect it: Verse 24, “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.” Now, whereas this assurance did not arise nor was taken from anything that was peculiar unto them, but merely from the consideration of the faithfulness of God himself, it is equal with respect unto all that are effectually called. They shall all infallibly be sanctified throughout, and preserved blameless to the coming of Jesus Christ. This, therefore, being the great privilege of believers, and their eternal safety absolutely depending thereon, it requires our utmost diligence to search into the nature and necessity of it; which may be done from this and the like places of Scripture.

    And in this place, — 1. The author of our sanctification, who only is so, is asserted to be “God.” He is the eternal spring and only fountain of all holiness; there is nothing of it in any creature but what is directly and immediately from him; there was not in our first creation. He made us in his own image. And to suppose that we can now sanctify or make ourselves holy is proudly to renounce and cast off our principal dependence upon him. We may as wisely and rationally contend that we have not our being and our lives from God, as that we have not our holiness from him, when we have any.

    Hereunto are the proud opinions of educing a holiness out of the principles of nature to be reduced. I know all men will pretend that holiness is from God; it was never denied by Pelagius himself: but many, with him, would have it to be from God in a way of nature, and not in a way of especial grace. It is this latter way which we plead for; — and what is from ourselves, or educed by any means out of our natural abilities, is not of God in that way; for God, as the author of grace, and the best of corrupted nature are opposed, as we shall see farther afterward. 2. And, therefore, is he that is the author of our sanctification so emphatically here expressed: AujtoGod himself.” If he doth it not, none other can do it; it is no otherwise to be wrought nor effected. There is no other way whereby it may be brought about, nor doth it fall under the power or efficacy of any means absolutely whatever, but it must be wrought by God himself. He doth it of himself, from his own grace; by himself, or his own power; for himself, or his own glory. 3.

    And that, under this especial consideration, as he is the “God of peace.”

    This title is ascribed unto God only by our apostle, and by him frequently, Romans 15:33, 16:20; 2 Corinthians 13:11; Philippians 4:9; Hebrews 13:20. Were it unto our present purpose to discourse concerning the general nature of peace, I might show how it is comprehensive of all order, rest, and blessedness, and all that is in them.

    On this account the enclosure of it in this title unto God, as its only possessor and author, belongs to the glory of his sovereign diadem.

    Everything that is contrary unto it is evil, and of the evil one; yea, all that is evil is so, because of its contrariety unto peace. Well, therefore, may God be styled “The God of peace.” But these things I may not here stay to explain, although the words are so comprehensive and expressive of the whole work of sanctification, and that holiness which is the effect thereof, as that I shall choose to found my whole discourse concerning this subject upon them. That which offers itself unto our present design from this expression is the peculiar respect unto the work of our sanctification which lies in this especial property of God. Wherefore is he said to sanctify us as the God of peace! 1. Because it is a fruit and effect of that peace with himself which he hath made and prepared for us by Jesus Christ; for he was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, destroying the enmity which entered by sin, and laying the foundation of eternal peace. From hence it is that he will sanctify us, or make us holy; without a respect whereunto he would no more do so than he will sanctify again the angels that have sinned, for whom there is no peace made nor atonement. 2. God, by the sanctification of our natures and persons, preserves that peace with himself in its exercise which he made and procured by the mediation of Christ, without which it could not be kept or continued; for in the duties and fruits thereof consist all those actings towards God which a state of reconciliation, peace, and friendship, do require. It is holiness that keeps up a sense of peace with God, and prevents those spiritual breaches which the remainders of our enmity would occasion. Hence God, as the author of our peace, is the author of our holiness. God, even God himself, the God of peace, doth sanctify us. How this is done immediately by the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of love and peace, and wherein the nature of this work doth consist, are the things which must afterward be more fully declared. And he is here said to sanctify us ojlotelei~v , that is, “universally and completely,” carrying on the work until it comes to perfection; for two things are intended in that expression: — First, That our whole nature is the subject of this work, and not any one faculty or part of it. Second, That as the work itself is sincere and universal, communicating all parts of real holiness unto our whole nature, so it is carried on to completeness and perfection. Both these, in the ensuing words, the apostle expresseth as the end and design of his prayer for them, and the effect of the work of grace which he prayed for: for, first, The subject of this sanctification he makes to be our whole natures, which he distributes unto our entire spirits, souls, and bodies; and, second, The end of the whole is, the preservation of us blameless in the peace of God unto the coming of Christ; — which will both of them be, immediately, more fully spoken unto. Wherefore, — Sanctification, as here described, is the immediate work of God by his Spirit upon our whole nature, proceeding from the peace made for us by Jesus Christ, whereby, being changed into his likeness, we are kept entirely in peace with God, and are preserved unblamable, or in a state of gracious acceptation with him, according to the terms of the covenant, unto the end.

    The nature of this work, and its effect, which is our holiness, with the necessity of them both, we must on many accounts, with our utmost diligence, inquire and search into. This both the importance of the truth itself, and the opposition that is made unto it, render necessary. Besides, whereas we are in the declaration of the especial operations of the Holy Ghost, although he be not so denominated originally from this peculiar work, as though he should be called “holy” merely because he is the author of holiness in all that are made partakers of it, which we have before disproved, yet there is a general consent, in words at least, among all who are called Christians, that this is his immediate and proper work, or that he is the only sanctifier of all them that do believe; — and this I shall take as yet for granted, although some among us, who not only pretend high to the preaching of holiness (whatever be their practice), but reproach others as weakening the necessity of it, do talk at such a rate as if in the holiness which they pleaded for he had nothing to do in a peculiar manner; for it is no news to meet with quaint and gilded discourses about holiness, intermixed with scoffing reflections on the work of the Holy Ghost therein. This work, therefore, of his, we are in an especial manner to attend unto, unless we would be found among the number of such as those who own themselves, and teach their children, that “the Holy Ghost sanctifies all the elect of God,” and yet not only despise the work of holiness in themselves, but deride those who plead an interest therein as an effect of the sanctification of the Spirit; for such fruits of secret atheism doth the world abound withal. But our principal duty in this world is, to know aright what it is to be holy, and so to be indeed.

    One thing we must premise to clear our ensuing discourse from ambiguity; and this is, that there is mention in the Scripture of a twofold sanctification, and consequently of a twofold holiness. The first is common unto persons and things, consisting in the peculiar dedication, consecration, or separation of them unto the service of God by his own appointment, whereby they become holy. Thus the priests and Levites of old, the ark, the altar, the tabernacle, and the temple, were sanctified and made holy; and indeed in all holiness whatever, there is a peculiar dedication and separation unto God. But in the sense mentioned, this was solitary and alone. No more belonged unto it but this sacred separation, nor was there any other effect of this sanctification. But, secondly, there is another kind of sanctification and holiness, wherein this separation to God is not the first thing done or intended, but a consequent and effect thereof. This is real and internal, by the communicating of a principle of holiness unto our natures, attended with its exercise in acts and duties of holy obedience unto God. This is that which, in the first place, we inquire after; and how far believers are therein and thereby peculiarly separated and dedicated unto God shall be afterward declared. And unto what we have to deliver concerning it we shall make way by the ensuing observations: — 1. This whole matter of sanctification and holiness is peculiarly joined with and limited unto the doctrine, truth, and grace of the gospel; for holiness is nothing but the implanting, writing, and realizing of the gospel in our souls. Hence it is termed Osio>thv th~v ajlhqei>av , Ephesians 4:24, — “The holiness of truth;” which the truth of the gospel ingenerates, and which consists in a conformity thereunto. And the gospel itself is ‘ Alh>qeia kat eujse>beian , Titus 1:1, — “The truth which is according unto godliness;” which declares that godliness and holiness which God requireth. The prayer, also, of our Savior for our sanctification is conformed thereunto: John 17:17, “Sanctify them in” (or by) “thy truth: thy word is truth.” And he sanctified himself for us to be a sacrifice, that “we might be sanctified in the truth.” This alone is that truth which makes us free, John 8:32, — that is, from sin and the law, unto righteousness in holiness. It belongs neither to nature nor the law, so as to proceed from them or to be effected by them. Nature is wholly corrupted and contrary unto it. The “law,” indeed, for certain ends, “was given by Moses,” but all “grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” There neither is, nor ever was, in the world, nor ever shall be, the least dram of holiness, but what, flowing from Jesus Christ, is communicated by the Spirit, according to the truth and promise of the gospel. There may be something like it as to its outward acts and effects (at least some of them), something that may wear its livery in the world, that is but the fruit of men’s own endeavors in compliance with their convictions; but holiness it is not, nor of the same kind or nature with it. And this men are very apt to deceive themselves withal. It is the design of corrupted reason to debase all the glorious mysteries of the gospel, and all the concernments of them. There is nothing in the whole mystery of godliness, from the highest crown of it, which is the person of Christ, “God manifested in the flesh,” unto the lowest and nearest effect of this grace, but it labors to deprave, dishonor, and debase. The Lord Christ, it would have in his whole person to be but a mere man, in his obedience and suffering to be but an example, in his doctrine to be confined unto the capacity and comprehension of carnal reason, and the holiness which he communicates by the sanctification of his Spirit to be but that moral virtue which is common among men as the fruit of their own endeavors.

    Herein some will acknowledge that men are guided and directed to a great advantage by the doctrine of the gospel, and thereunto excited by motions of the Holy Ghost himself, put forth in the dispensation of that truth; but anything else in it more excellent, more mysterious, they will not allow.

    But these low and carnal imaginations are exceedingly unworthy of the grace of Christ, the glory of the gospel, the mystery of the recovery of our nature, and healing of the wound it received by the entrance of sin, with the whole design of God in our restoration unto a state of communion with himself. Moral virtue is, indeed, the best thing amongst men that is of them. It far exceeds in worth, use, and satisfaction, all that the honors, powers, profits, and pleasures of the world can extend unto. And it is admirable to consider what instructions are given concerning it, what expressions are made of its excellency, what encomiums of its use and beauty, by learned contemplative men among the heathen; the wisest of whom did acknowledge that there was yet something in it which they could only admire, and not comprehend. And very eminent instances of the practice of it were given in the lives and conversations of some of them; and as the examples of their righteousness, moderation, temperance, equanimity, in all conditions, rise up at present unto the shame and reproach of many that are called Christians, so they will be called over at the last day as an aggravation of their condemnation. But to suppose that this moral virtue, whatever it be really in its own nature, or however advanced in the imaginations of men, is that holiness of truth which believers receive by the Spirit of Christ, is to debase it, to overthrow it, and to drive the souls of men from seeking an interest in it. And hence it is that some, pretending highly a friendship and respect unto it, do yet hate, despise, and reproach what is really so, pleasing themselves with the empty name or withered carcass of virtue, every way inferior, as interpreted in their practice, to the righteousness of heathens. And this, in the first place, should stir up our diligence in our inquiries after its true and real nature, that we deceive not ourselves with a false appearance of it, and that unto our ruin. 2. It is our duty to inquire into the nature of evangelical holiness, as it is a fruit or effect in us of the Spirit of sanctification, because it is abstruse and mysterious, and (be it spoken with the good leave of some, or whether they will or no) undiscernible unto the eye of carnal reason. We may say of it in some sense as Job of wisdom: “Whence cometh wisdom? and where is the place of understanding? seeing it is hid from the eyes of all living, and kept close from the fowls of heaven. Destruction and death say, We have heard the fame thereof with our ears. God understandeth the way thereof, and he knoweth the place thereof. And unto man he said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding,” chapter 28:20-23, 28. This is that wisdom whose ways, residence, and paths, are so hidden from the natural reason and understandings of men. No man, I say, by his mere sight and conduct, can know and understand aright the true nature of evangelical holiness; and it is, therefore, no wonder if the doctrine of it be despised by many as an enthusiastical fancy. It is of the things of the Spirit of God, yea, it is the principal effect of all his operations in us and towards us; and these “things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God,” 1 Corinthians 2:11.

    It is by him alone that we are enabled to “know the things that are freely given to us of God,” verse 12, as this is, if ever we receive any thing of him in this world, or shall do so to eternity. “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him;” the comprehension of these things is not the work of any of our natural faculties, but “God reveals them unto us by his Spirit,” verses 9, 10. Hence it often falls out, as it did in the Jews and Pharisees of old, that those who are most zealous and industrious for and after a legal righteousness, walking in a strict attendance unto duties proportionable unto light and convictions, pretending to be it, and bearing some resemblance of it, are the most fierce and implacable enemies of true evangelical holiness. They know it not, and therefore hate it; they have embraced something else in its place and stead, and therefore despise and persecute it; as it befalls them who embrace error for truth in any kind. 3. Believers themselves are ofttimes much unacquainted with it, either as to their apprehension of its true nature, causes, and effects, or, at least, as to their own interest and concernment therein. As we know not of ourselves the things that are wrought in us of the Spirit of God, so we seldom attend as we ought unto his instructing of us in them. It may seem strange, indeed, that whereas all believers are sanctified and made holy, they should not understand or apprehend what is wrought in them and for them, and what abideth with them; but, alas! how little do we know of ourselves, of what we are, and whence are our powers and faculties, even in things natural! Do we know how the members of the body are fashioned in the womb? We are apt to be seeking after and giving reasons for all things, and to describe the progress of the production of our natures from first to last, so as if not to satisfy ourselves, yet to please and amuse others; for “vain man would be wise, though he be born like the wild ass’s colt.” The best issues of our consideration hereof is that of the psalmist: “Thou, O LORD, hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well. My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them,” <19D913> Psalm 139:13-16.

    By diligent consideration of these things we may obtain a firm foundation to stand on, in a holy admiration of the infinite wisdom and goodness of that sovereign Architect who hath raised this fabric unto his own glory; and what we farther attempt is vanity and curiosity. How little do we know of these souls of ours! and all that we do so is by their powers and operations, which are consequential unto their being. Now, these things are our own naturally, — they dwell and abide with us; they are we, and we are they, and nothing else; yet is it no easy thing for us to have a reflex and intimate acquaintance with them. And is it strange if we should be much in the dark unto this new nature, this new creature, which comes from above, from God in heaven, wherewith our natural reason hath no acquaintance?

    It is new, it is wonderful, it is a work supernatural, and is known only by supernatural revelation.

    Besides, there are other things which pretend to be this gospel holiness and are not, whereby unspeakable multitudes are deluded and deceived.

    With some, any reformation of life and abstinence from flagitious sins, with the performance of the common duties of religion, is all which they suppose is required unto this head of their duty. Others contend with violence to substitute moral virtues, — by which they know not themselves what they intend, — in the room thereof. And there is a work of the law which, in the fruits of it, internal and external, in the works of righteousness and duties, is hardly, and not but by spiritual light and measures, to be distinguished from it. This also adds to the difficulty of understanding it aright, and should to our diligent inquiry into it. 4. We must also consider that holiness is not confined to this life, but passeth over into eternity and glory. Death hath no power over it to destroy it or divest us of it; for, — (1.) Its acts , indeed, are transient, but its fruits abide forever in their reward. They who “die in the Lord rest from their labors, and their works do follow them,” Revelation 14:13. “God is not unrighteous to forget their labor of love,” Hebrews 6:10. There is not any effect or fruit of holiness, not the least, not the giving of a cup of cold water to a disciple of Christ in the name of a disciple, but it shall be had in everlasting remembrance, and abide forever in its eternal reward. Nothing shall be lost, but all the fragments of it shall be gathered up and kept safe forever.

    Everything else, how specious soever it be in this world, shall be burnt up and consumed, as hay and stubble; when the least, the meanest, the most secret fruit of holiness, shall be gathered as gold and silver, durable substance, into God’s treasury, and become a part of the riches of the inheritance of the saints in glory. Let no soul fear the loss of any labor, in any of the duties of holiness, in the most secret contest against sin, for inward purity, for outward fruitfulness; in the mortification of sin, resistance of temptations, improvement of grace; in patience, moderation, self-denial, contentment; — all that you do know, and what you do not know, shall be revived, called over, and abide eternally in your reward. Our Father, who now “seeth in secret,” will one day reward openly; and the more we abound in these things, the more will God be glorified in the recompense of reward. But this is not all, nor that which I intend. (2.) It abides forever, and passeth over into glory in its principle or nature.

    The love wherewith we now adhere to God, and by which we act the obedience of faith towards the saints, faileth not; it ends not when glory comes on, but is a part of it, 1 Corinthians 13:8. It is true, some gifts shall be done away, as useless in a state of perfection and glory, as the apostle there discourseth; and some graces shall cease, as to some especial acts and peculiar exercise, as faith and hope, so far as they respect things unseen and future; — but all those graces whereby holiness is constituted, and wherein it doth consist, for the substance of them, as they contain the image of God, as by them we are united and do adhere unto God in Christ, shall in their present nature, improved into perfection, abide forever. In our knowledge of them, therefore, have we our principal insight into our eternal condition in glory; and this is, as a firm foundation of consolation, so a part of our chiefest joy in this world. Is it not a matter of unspeakable joy and refreshment, that these poor bodies we carry about us, after they have been made a prey unto death, dust, worms, and corruption, shall be raised and restored to life and immortality, freed from pain, sickness, weakness, weariness, and vested with those qualities, in conformity to Christ’s glorious body, which yet we understand not? It is so, also, that these souls, which now animate and rule in us, shall be delivered from all their darkness, ignorance, vanity, instability, and alienation from things spiritual and heavenly. But this is not all. Those poor low graces, which now live and are acting in us, shall be continued, preserved, purified, and perfected; but in their nature be the same as now they are, as our souls and bodies shall be. That love whereby we now adhere to God as our chiefest good; that faith whereby we are united to Christ, our everlasting head; that delight in any of the ways or ordinances of God wherein he is enjoyed, according as he hath promised his presence in them; that love and goodwill which we have for all those in whom is the Spirit, and on whom is the image of Christ; with the entire principle of spiritual life and holiness, which is now begun in any of us, — shall be all purified, enhanced, perfected, and pass into glory. That very holiness which we here attain, those inclinations and dispositions, those frames of mind, those powers and abilities in obedience and adherence unto God, which here contend with the weight of their own weakness and imperfection, and with the opposition that is continually made against them by the body of death that is utterly to be abolished, shall be gloriously perfected into immutable habits, unchangeably acting our souls in the enjoyment of God. And this also manifesteth of how much concernment it is unto us to be acquainted with the doctrine of it, and of how much more to be really interested in it.

    Yea, — 5. There is spiritual and heavenly glory in it in this world. From hence is the church, the “King’s daughter,” said to be “all glorious within,” Psalm 45:13. Her inward adorning with the graces of the Spirit, making her beautiful in holiness, is called “glory;” and is so. So also the progress and increase of believers herein is called by our apostle their being “changed from glory to glory,” 2 Corinthians 3:18, — from one degree of glorious grace unto another. As this, next unto the comeliness of the righteousness of Christ, put upon us by the free grace of God, is our only beauty in his sight, so it is such as hath a real spiritual glory in it. It is the first-fruits of heaven. And as the apostle argueth concerning the Jews, that if the “first-fruits” were holy, then is the whole lump holy, so may we on the other side, if the whole “weight,” as he calls it, and fullness of our future enjoyment be glory, then are the first-fruits in their measure so also.

    There is in this holiness, as we shall see farther afterward, a ray of eternal light, a principle of eternal life, and the entire nature of that love whereby we shall eternally adhere unto God. The divine nature, the new immortal creature, the life of God, the life of Christ, are all comprised in it. It represents unto God the glory of his own image renewed in us; and unto the Lord Christ the fruits of his Spirit and effect of his mediation, wherein he sees of the travail of his soul, and is satisfied. There is, therefore, nothing more to be abhorred than those carnal, low, and unworthy thoughts which some men vent of this glorious work of the Holy Spirit, who would have it wholly to consist in a legal righteousness or moral virtue. 6. This is that which God indispensably requireth of us. The full prosecution of this consideration we must put off unto our arguments for the necessity of it, which will ensue in their proper place. At present I shall show that not only God requireth holiness indispensably in all believers, but also that this is all which he requireth of them or expecteth from them; for it compriseth the whole duty of man. And this surely rendereth it needful for us both to know what it is, and diligently to apply ourselves unto the obtaining an assured participation of it; for what servant who hath any sense of his relation and duty, if he be satisfied that his master requireth but one thing of him, will not endeavor an acquaintance with it and the performance of it? Some, indeed, say that their holiness (such as it is) is the chief or only design of the gospel. If they intend that it is the first, principal design of God in and by the gospel, and that not only as to the preceptive part of it, but also as unto its doctrinal and promissory parts, whence it is principally and emphatically denominated, it is a fond imagination. God’s great and first design, in and by the gospel, is eternally to glorify himself, his wisdom, goodness, love, grace, righteousness, and holiness, by Jesus Christ, Ephesians 1:5,6. And in order to this his great and supreme end, he hath designed the gospel; and designs by the gospel (which gives the gospel its design), — (1.) To reveal that love and grace of his unto lost sinners, with the way of its communication through the mediation of his Son incarnate, as the only means whereby he will be glorified and whereby they may be saved, Acts 26:18. (2.) To prevail with men, in and by the dispensation of its truth, and encouragement of its promises, to renounce their sins and all other expectations of relief or satisfaction, and to betake themselves by faith unto that way of life and salvation which is therein declared unto them, 2 Corinthians 5:18-21; Colossians 1:25-28. (3.) To be the means and instrument of conveying over unto them, and giving them a title unto and a right in, that grace and mercy, that life and righteousness, which is revealed and tendered unto them thereby, Mark 16:16. (4.) To be the way and means of communicating the Spirit of Christ with grace and strength unto the elect, enabling them to believe and receive the atonement, Galatians 3:2. (5.) Hereby to give them union with Christ as their spiritual and mystical head; as also to fix their hearts and souls in their choicest actings, in their faith, trust, confidence, and love, immediately on the Son of God, as incarnate, and their mediator, John 14:1. Wherefore, the first and principal end of the gospel towards us is, to invite and encourage lost sinners unto the faith and approbation of the way of grace, life, and salvation, by Jesus Christ; without a compliance wherewith, in the first place, the gospel hath no more to do with sinners, but leaves them to justice, the law, and themselves. But now, upon a supposition of these things, and of our giving glory to God by faith in them, the whole that God requireth of us in the gospel in a way of duty is, that we should be holy, and abide in the use of those means whereby holiness may be attained and improved in us; for if he require any other thing of us, it must be on one of these four accounts: — (1.) To make atonement for our sins; or, (2.) To be our righteousness before him; or, (3.) To merit life and salvation by; or, (4.) To supererogate in the behalf of others. No other end can be thought of, besides what are the true ends of holiness, whereon God should require anything of us; and all the false religion that is in the world leans on a supposition that God doth require somewhat of us with respect unto these ends.

    But, — (1.) He requires nothing of us (which we had all the reason in the world to expect that he would) to make atonement or satisfaction for our sins, that might compensate the injuries we have done him by our apostasy and rebellion; for whereas we had multiplied sins against him, lived in an enmity and opposition to him, and had contracted insupportable and immeasurable debts upon our own souls, terms of peace being now proposed, who could think but that the first thing required of us would be, that we should make some kind of satisfaction to divine justice for all our enormous and heinous provocations? yea, who is there that indeed doth naturally think otherwise? So he apprehended who was contriving a way in his own mind how he might come to an agreement with God: Micah 6:6,7, “Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old? Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

    This, or something of this nature, seems to be but a very reasonable inquiry for a guilty self-condemned sinner, when first he entertains thoughts of an agreement with the holy sin-avenging God. And this was the foundation of all that cruel and expensive superstition that the world was in bondage unto for so many ages. Mankind generally thought that the principal thing which was required of them in religion was to atone and pacify the wrath of the divine Power, and to make a compensation for what had been done against him. Hence were their sacrifices of hecatombs of beasts, of mankind, of their children, and of themselves, as I have elsewhere declared. And the same principle is still deep rooted in the minds of convinced sinners: and many an abbey, monastery, college, and almshouse hath it founded; for in the fruits of this superstition, the priests, which set it on work, always shared deeply. But quite otherwise; in the gospel there is declared and tendered unto sinners an absolute free pardon of all their sins, without any satisfaction or compensation made or to be made on their part, that is, by themselves, — namely, on the account of the atonement made for them by Jesus Christ. And all attempts or endeavors after works or duties of obedience in any respect satisfactory to God for sin or meritorious of pardon do subvert and overthrow the whole gospel. See 2 Corinthians 5:18-21. Wherefore, in answer to the inquiry before mentioned, the reply in the prophet is, that God looks for none of these things, and that all such contrivances were wholly vain: “He hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?” Micah 6:8; which last expression compriseth the whole of our covenant obedience, Genesis 17:1, as the two former are eminent instances of it in particular. (2.) He requireth nothing of us in a way of righteousness for our justification for the future. That this also he would have done we might have justly expected; for a righteousness we must have, or we cannot be accepted with him. And here, also, many are at a loss, and resolve that it is a thing fond and inconvenient to think of peace with God without some righteousness of their own, on the account whereof they may be justified before him; and rather than they will forego that apprehension, they will let go all other thoughts of peace and acceptance. “Being ignorant of the righteousness of God, they go about to establish their own righteousness, and do not submit themselves unto the righteousness of God;” nor will they acquiesce in it “that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,” as Romans 10:4. But so it is, that God requireth not this of us in the gospel; for we are “justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus,” chapter 3:24.

    And we do “therefore conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law,” verse 28. So chapter 8:3, 4. Neither is there any mention in the whole gospel of God’s requiring a righteousness in us upon the account whereof we should be justified before him, or in his sight; for the justification by works mentioned in James consists in the evidencing and declaration of our faith by them. (3.) God requireth not anything of us whereby we should purchase or merit for ourselves life and salvation: for “by grace are we saved through faith; not of works, lest any man should boast,” Ephesians 2:8,9.

    God doth save us neither by nor for the” works of righteousness which we have done,” but “according to his mercy,” Titus 3:5: so that although, on the one side, the “wages of sin is death,” there being a proportion in justice between sin and punishment, yet there is none between our obedience and our salvation; and therefore “eternal life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” Romans 6:23.

    God, therefore, requires nothing at our hands under this notion or consideration, nor is it possible that in our condition any such thing should be required of us; for whatever we can do is due beforehand on other accounts, and so can have no prospect to merit what is to come. Who can merit by doing his duty? Our Savior doth so plainly prove the contrary as none can farther doubt of it than of his truth and authority, Luke 17:10.

    Nor can we do anything that is acceptable to him but what is wrought in us by his grace; and this overthrows the whole nature of merit, which requires that that be every way our own whereby we would deserve somewhat else at the hands of another, and not his more than ours. Neither is there any proportion between our duties and the reward of the eternal enjoyment of God; for besides that they are all weak, imperfect, and tainted with sin, so that no one of them is able to make good its own station for any end or purpose, in the strictness of divine justice, they altogether come infinitely short of the desert of an eternal reward by any rule of divine justice. And if any say “That this merit of our works depends not on, nor is measured by, strict justice, but wholly by the gracious condescension of God, who hath appointed and promised so to reward them,” I answer, in the first place, That this perfectly overthrows the whole nature of merit; for the nature of merit consists entirely and absolutely in this, that “to him that worketh, is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt,” Romans 4:4.

    And these two are contrary and inconsistent; for what is “by grace is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace;” and what is “of works is no more of grace, otherwise work is no morework,” chapter 11:6. And those who go about to found a merit of ours in the grace of God do endeavor to unite and reconcile those things which God hath everlastingly separated and opposed. And I say, secondly, That although God doth freely, graciously, and bountifully reward our duties of obedience, and upon the account of his covenant and promise he is said to be, and he is, righteous in his so doing, yet he everywhere declares that what he so doth is an act of mere grace in himself, that hath not respect unto anything but only the interposition and mediation of Jesus Christ. In this sense God in the gospel requireth of us nothing at all. (4.) Much less doth he require of any that they should do such things as, being no way necessary unto that obedience which themselves personally owe unto him, may yet by their supererogation therein redound to the advantage and benefit of others. This monstrous fiction, which hath outdone all the Pharisaism of the Jews, we are engaged for to the church of Rome, as a pretense given to the piety, or rather covering of the impiety, of their votaries. But seeing, on the one hand, that they are themselves who pretend to these works but flesh, and so cannot on their own account be “justified in the sight of God,” so it is extreme pride and cursed selfconfidence for them to undertake to help others by the merit of those works whose worth they stand not in need of, concerning which it will be one day said unto them, “Who hath required these things at your hands?”

    But now, whereas God requireth none of these things of us, nothing with respect unto any of these ends, such is the perverseness of our minds by nature, that many think that God requireth nothing else of us, or nothing of us but with respect unto one or other of these ends; nor can they in their hearts conceive why they should perform any one duty towards God unless it be with some kind of regard unto these things. If they may do anything whereby they may make some recompense for their sins that are past, at least in their own minds and consciences, if anything whereby they may procure an acceptance with God, and the approbation of their state and condition, they have something which, as they suppose, may quicken and animate their endeavors. Without these considerations, holy obedience is unto them a thing lifeless and useless. Others will labor and take pains, both in ways of outward mortification and profuse munificence in any way of superstitious charity, whilst they are persuaded, or can persuade themselves, that they shall merit eternal life and salvation thereby, without much being beholden to the grace of God in Christ Jesus.

    Yea, all that hath the face or pretense of religion in the Papacy consists in a supposition that all which God requireth of us, he doth it with respect unto these ends of atonement, justification, merit, and supererogation.

    Hereunto do they apply all that remains of the ordinances of God amongst them, and all their own inventions are managed with the same design. But by these things is the gospel and the faith of our Lord Jesus Christ made of none effect. Herein, then, I say, lies the express opposition that is between the “wisdom of God” in the mystery of the gospel and the fro>nhma th~v sarko>v , — the “wisdom of the flesh,” or our carnal reason.

    God, in his dealing with us by the gospel, takes upon his own grace and wisdom the providing of an atonement for our sins, a righteousness whereby we may be justified before him, and the collation of eternal life upon us; all in and by him who of God is “made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption.” But withal he indispensably requires of us holiness and universal obedience, for the ends that shall be declared afterward. This way, thinks the wisdom of the flesh, or carnal reason, is mere “foolishness;” as our apostle testifies, Corinthians 1:18, 23. But such a foolishness it is as is “wiser than men,” verse 25, — that is, a way so excellent and full of divine wisdom that men are not able to comprehend it. Wherefore, in opposition hereunto, carnal reason concludes that either what God requires of us is to be done with respect unto the ends mentioned, some or other or all of them, or that it is no great matter whether it be done or no. Neither can it discern of what use our holiness or obedience unto God should be if it serve not unto some of these purposes; for the necessity of conformity to God, of the renovation of his image in us, before we are brought unto the enjoyment of him in glory, the authority of his commands, the reverence of his wisdom, appointing the way of holiness and obedience as the means of expressing our thankfulness, glorifying him in the world, and of coming to eternal life, it hath no regard unto. But the first true saving light that shines by the gospel from Jesus Christ into our souls begins to undeceive us in this matter. And there is no greater evidence of our receiving an evangelical baptism, or of being baptized into the spirit of the gospel, than the clear compliance of our minds with the wisdom of God herein. When we find such constraining motives unto holiness upon us as will not allow the least subducting of our souls from a universal attendance unto it, purely on the ends of the gospel, without respect unto those now discarded, it is an evidence that the wisdom of God hath prevailed against that of the flesh in our minds.

    Wherefore holiness, with the fruits of it, with respect unto their proper ends, which shall afterward be declared, is all that God requireth of us.

    And this he declares in the tenor of the covenant with Abraham, Genesis 17:1, “I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect;” — “This is that, and this is all, that I require of thee, namely, thy holy obedience; for all other things wherein thou art concerned, I take them all upon my own almighty power or all-sufficiency:” as he says elsewhere, that the “whole of man is to fear God and keep his commandments.” And the consideration hereof, taken singly and by itself, is sufficient, with all that have any regard unto God or their own eternal welfare, to convince them of what importance these things are unto them. 7. But neither yet are we left in this matter merely under the authority of God’s command, with an expectation of our compliance with it from our own ability and power: God, moreover, hath promised to sanctify us, or to work this holiness in us, the consideration whereof will give us yet a nearer prospect into its nature. He that requires it of us knows that we have it not of ourselves. When we were in our best condition by nature, in the state of original holiness, vested with the image of God, we preserved it not; and is it likely that now, in the state of lapsed and depraved nature, it is in our own power to restore ourselves, to re-introduce the image of God into our souls, and that in a far more eminent manner than it was at first created by God? What needed all that contrivance of infinite wisdom and grace for the reparation of our nature by Jesus Christ, if holiness, wherein it doth consist, be in our own power, and educed out of the natural faculties of our souls? There can no more fond imagination befall the minds of men than that defiled nature is able to cleanse itself, or depraved nature to rectify itself, or that we, who have lost that image of God which he created in us and with us, should create it again in ourselves by our own endeavors. Wherefore, when God commandeth and requireth us to be holy, he commands us to be that which by nature and of ourselves we are not; and not only so, but that which we have not of ourselves a power to attain unto. Whatever, therefore, is absolutely in our own power is not of that holiness which God requireth of us; for what we can do ourselves, there is neither necessity nor reason why God should promise to work in us by his grace. And to say that what God so promiseth to work, he will not work or effect indeed, but only persuade and prevail with us to do it, is, through the pride of unbelief, to defy the truth and grace of God, and with the spoils of them to adorn our own righteousness and power. Now, God hath multiplied his promises to this purpose, so that we shall need to call over only some of them in way of instance: Jeremiah 31:33, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people.”

    Chapter 32:39, 40, “I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever; and I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me.” Ezekiel 36:26,27, “A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

    Verse 25, “I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean; from all your filthiness will I cleanse you.” Verse 29, “I will also save you from all your uncleannesses.” The whole of our sanctification and holiness is comprised in these promises. To be cleansed from the defilements of sin, whatever they be, to have a heart inclined, disposed, enabled, to fear the Lord always, and to walk in all his ways and statutes accordingly, with an internal habitual conformity of the whole soul unto the law of God, is to be sanctified or to be holy. And all this God promiseth directly to work in us and to accomplish himself. In the faith of these promises, and for the fulfilling of them, the apostle prayeth for the Thessalonians, as we observed at our entrance, that “the God of peace himself would sanctify them throughout,” whereby “their whole spirits, souls, and bodies, might be preserved blameless to the coming of Jesus Christ.” And hence is evident what we before observed, that what is absolutely in our own power is not of the nature of, nor doth necessarily belong unto, holiness, whatever it be. The best of the intellectual or moral habits of our minds, which are but the natural improvement and exercise of our faculties, neither are nor can be our holiness; nor do the best of our moral duties, as merely and only so, belong thereunto. By these moral habits and duties we understand the powers, faculties, or abilities of our souls, exercised with respect and in obedience unto the commands of God, as excited, persuaded, and guided by outward motives, rules, arguments, and considerations. Plainly, all the power we have of ourselves to obey the law of God, and all that we do in the pursuit and exercise of that power, upon any reasons, motives, or considerations whatever, — which may all be resolved into fear of punishment and hope of reward, with some present satisfaction of mind, on the account of ease in conscience within or outward reputation, whether in abstinence from sin or the performance of duties, — are intended hereby, and are not that holiness which we inquire after. And the reason is plain, even because those things are not wrought in us by the power of the especial grace of God, in the pursuit of the especial promise of the covenant, as all true holiness is. If any shall say that they are so wrought in us, they do expressly change the nature of them: for thereby those powers would be no more natural, but supernatural; and those duties would be no more merely moral, but evangelical and spiritual; — which is to grant all we contend for. Wherefore, that which men call “moral virtue” is so far from being the whole of internal grace or holiness, that if it be no more than so, it belongs not at all unto it, as not being effected in us by the especial grace of God, according to the tenor and promise of the covenant.

    And we may here divert a little, to consider what ought to be the frame of our minds in the pursuit of holiness with respect unto these things, — namely, what regard we ought to have unto the command on the one hand, and to the promise on the other, — to our own duty, and to the grace of God. Some would separate these things, as inconsistent. A command they suppose leaves no room for a promise, at least not such a promise as wherein God should take on himself to work in us what the command requires of us; and a promise they think takes off all the influencing authority of the command. “If holiness be our duty, there is no room for grace in this matter; and if it be an effect of grace, there is no place for duty. ” But all these arguings are a fruit of the wisdom of the flesh before mentioned, and we have before disproved them. The “wisdom that is from above” teacheth us other things. It is true, our works and grace are opposed in the matter of justification, as utterly inconsistent; if it be of works it is not of grace, and if it be of grace it is not of works, as our apostle argues, Romans 11:6. [But] our duty and God’s grace are nowhere opposed in the matter of sanctification, yea, the one doth absolutely suppose the other. Neither can we perform our duty herein without the grace of God; nor doth God give us this grace unto any other end but that we may rightly perform our duty. He that shall deny either that God commands us to be holy in a way of duty, or promiseth to work holiness in us in a way of grace, may with as much modesty reject the whole Bible. Both these, therefore, we are to have a due regard unto, if we intend to be holy. And, (1.) Our regard unto the command consisteth in three things, — [1.] That we get our consciences always affected with the authority of it, as it is the command of God. This must afterward be enlarged on. Where this is not, there is no holiness. Our holiness is our obedience; and the formal nature of obedience ariseth from its respect unto the authority of the command. [2.] That we see and understand the reasonableness, the equity, the advantage of the command. Our service is a reasonable service; the ways of God are equal, and in the keeping of his commands there is great reward. If we judge not thus, if we rest not herein, and are thence filled with indignation against everything within us or without us that opposeth it or riseth up against it, whatever we do in compliance with it in a way of duty, we are not holy. [3.] That hereon we love and delight in it, because it is holy, just, and good; because the things it requires are upright, equal, easy, and pleasant to the new nature, without any regard to the false ends before discovered.

    And, (2.) We have a due regard unto the promise to the same end, [1.] When, we walk in a constant sense of our own inability to comply with the command in any one instance from any power in ourselves; for we have no sufficiency of ourselves, our sufficiency is of God. As for him who is otherwise minded, his heart is lifted up. [2.] When we adore that grace which hath provided help and relief for us.

    Seeing without the grace promised we could never have attained unto the least part or degree of holiness, and seeing we could never deserve the least dram of that grace, how ought we to adore and continually praise that infinite bounty which hath freely provided us of this supply! [3.] When we act faith in prayer and expectation on the promise for supplies of grace enabling us unto holy obedience. And, [4.] When we have especial regard thereunto with respect unto especial temptations and particular duties. When on all such occasions we satisfy not ourselves with a respect unto the promise in general, but exercise faith in particular on it for aid and assistance, then do we regard it in a due manner. 8. To come yet nearer unto our principal design, I say it is the Holy Ghost who is the immediate peculiar sanctifier of all believers, and the author of all holiness in them. I suppose I need not insist upon the confirmation of this assertion in general. I have proved before that he is the immediate dispenser of all divine grace, or the immediate operator of all divine gracious effects in us, whereof this is the chief. Besides, it is such an avowed and owned principle among all that are called Christians, — namely, that the Holy Ghost is the sanctifier of all God’s elect, — that as it is not questioned, so it need not in general be farther proved. Those who are less experienced in these things may consult Psalm 51:10-12; Ezekiel 11:19, 36:25-27; Romans 8:9-14; 1 Corinthians 6:11; 1 Peter 1:2; Isaiah 4:4, 44:3, 4; Titus 3:4,5. But it is the nature and manner of his work herein, with the effect produced thereby, that we are to inquire into; for as this belongs unto our general design of declaring the nature, power, and efficacy of all the gracious divine operations of the Holy Spirit, so it will give us an acquaintance in particular with that work and the fruits of it, wherein we are so highly concerned.

    CHAPTER 2.

    SANCTIFICATION A PROGRESSIVE WORK. Sanctification described, with the nature of the work of the Holy Spirit therein; which is progressive — The way and means whereby holiness is increased in believers, especially by faith and love, whose exercise is required in all duties of obedience; as also those graces whose exercise is occasional — The growth of holiness expressed in an allusion unto that of plants, with an insensible progress — Renders grace therein to be greatly admired; and is discerned in the answerableness of the work of the Spirit in sanctification and supplication — Objections against the progressive nature of holiness removed. HAVING passed through the consideration of the general concernments of the work of sanctification, I shall, in the next place, give a description of it, and then explain it more particularly in its principal parts. And this I shall do, but under this express caution, that I do not hope nor design at once to represent the life, glory, and beauty of it, or to comprise all things that eminently belong unto it; only I shall set up some way-marks that may guide us in our progress or future inquiry into the nature and glory of it.

    And so I say that, — Sanctification is an immediate work of the Spirit of God on the souls of believers, purifying and cleansing of their natures from the pollution and uncleanness of sin, renewing in them the image of God, and thereby enabling them, from a spiritual and habitual principle of grace, to yield obedience unto God, according unto the tenor and terms of the new covenant, by virtue of the life and death of Jesus Christ.

    Or more briefly: — It is the universal renovation of our natures by the Holy Spirit into the image of God, through Jesus Christ.

    Hence it follows that our holiness, which is the fruit and effect of this work, the work as terminated in us, as it compriseth the renewed principle or image of God wrought in us, so it consists in a holy obedience unto God by Jesus Christ, according to the terms of the covenant of grace, from the principle of a renewed nature. Our apostle expresseth the whole more briefly yet, — namely, He that is in Christ Jesus is a new creature, Corinthians 5:17; for herein he expresseth both the renovation of our natures, the endowment of them with a new spiritual principle of life and operation, with actings towards God suitable thereunto. I shall take up the first general description of it, and in the consideration of its parts give some account of the nature of the work and its effects, and then shall distinctly prove and confirm the true nature of it, wherein it is opposed or called into question. 1. It is, as was before proved, and is by all confessed, the work in us of the Spirit of God. It is the renovation of the Holy Ghost whereby we are saved. And a real, internal, powerful, physical work it is, as we have proved before abundantly, and shall afterward more fully confirm. He doth not make us holy only by persuading us so to be. He doth not only require us to be holy, propose unto us motives unto holiness, give us convictions of its necessity, and thereby excite us unto the pursuit and attainment of it, though this he doth also by the word and ministration thereof. It is too high an impudency for anyone to pretend an owning of the gospel, and yet to deny a work of the Holy Ghost in our sanctification; and, therefore, both the old and new Pelagians did and do avow a work of his herein. But what is it that really they ascribe unto him? Merely the exciting our own abilities, aiding and assisting us in and unto the exercise of our own native power; which, when all is done, leaves the work to be our own and not his, and to us must the glory and praise of it be ascribed. But we have already sufficiently proved that the things thus promised of God and so effected are really wrought by the exceeding greatness of the power of the Spirit of God; and this will yet afterward be made more particularly to appear. 2. This work of sanctification differs from that of regeneration, as on other accounts, so especially on that of the manner of their being wrought. The work of regeneration is instantaneous, consisting in one single creating act.

    Hence it is not capable of degrees in any subject. No one is more or less regenerate than another; everyone in the world is absolutely so, or not so, and that equally, although there are degrees in their state on other reasons.

    But this work of sanctification is progressive, and admits of degrees. One may be more sanctified and more holy than another, who is yet truly sanctified and truly holy. It is begun at once, and carried on gradually. But this observation being of great importance, and such as, if rightly weighed, will contribute much light unto the nature of the whole work of sanctification and holiness, I shall divert in this chapter unto such an explanation and confirmation of it as may give an understanding and furtherance herein.

    An increase and growth in sanctification or holiness is frequently in the Scripture enjoined us, and frequently promised unto us. So speaks the apostle Peter in a way of command, 2 Peter 3:17,18, “Fall not,” be not cast down, “from your own steadfastness; but grow,” or increase, “in grace.” It is not enough that we decay not in our spiritual condition, that we be not diverted and carried off from a steady course in obedience by the power of temptations; but an endeavor after an improvement, an increase, a thriving in grace, that is, in holiness, is required of us. And a compliance with this command is that which our apostle so commendeth in the Thessalonians, 2 Epist. 1:3, — namely, the exceeding growth of their faith, and abounding of their love; that is, the thriving and increase of those graces in them, — that which is called “increasing with the increase of God,” Colossians 2:19, or the increase in holiness which God requires, accepts, approves, by supplies of spiritual strength from Jesus Christ our head, as it is there expressed.

    The work of holiness, in its beginning, is but like seed cast into the earth, — namely, the seed of God, whereby we are born again. And it is known how seed that is cast into the earth doth grow and increase. Being variously cherished and nourished, it is in its nature to take root and to spring up, bringing forth fruit. So is it with the principle of grace and holiness. It is small at first, but being received in good and honest hearts, made so by the Spirit of God, and there nourished and cherished, it takes root and brings forth fruit. And both these, even the first planting and the increase of it, are equally from God by his Spirit. “He that begins this good work doth also perform it until the day of Jesus Christ,” Philippians 1:6. And this he doth two ways: — First, By increasing and strengthening those graces of holiness which we have received and been engaged in the exercise of. There are some graces whose exercise doth not depend on any outward occasions; but they are, and that in their actual exercise, absolutely necessary unto the least degree of the life of God: such are faith and love. No man doth, no man can, live to God, but in the exercise of these graces. Whatever duties towards God men may perform, if they are not enlivened by faith and love, they belong not unto that spiritual life whereby we live to God. And these graces are capable of degrees, and so of increase; for so we read expressly of little faith and great faith, weak and strong faith, both true and the same in the substance, but differing in degrees. So also is there fervent love, and that which comparatively is but cold. These graces, therefore, in carrying on the work of sanctification, are gradually increased. So the disciples prayed our Savior that he would increase their faith, Luke 17:5; — that is, add unto its light, confirm it in its assent, multiply its acts, and make it strong against its assaults, that it might work more effectually in difficult duties of obedience; which they had an especial regard unto, as is evident from the context, for they pray for this increase of faith upon the occasion of our Savior’s enjoining frequent forgiveness of offending brethren, — a duty not at all easy nor pleasing to flesh and blood. And the apostle prays for the Ephesians, that they may be “rooted and grounded in love,” chapter 3:17; that is, that by the increase and strengthening of their love, they may be more established in all the duties of it. See 1 Thessalonians 3:12,13.

    These graces being the springs and spirit of our holiness, in the increase of them in us the work of sanctification is carried on and universal holiness increased. And this is done by the Holy Spirit several ways: — First, By exciting them unto frequent actings. Frequency of acts doth naturally increase and strengthen the habits whence they proceed; and in these spiritual habits of faith and love it is so, moreover, by God’s appointment. They grow and thrive in and by their exercise, Hosea 6:3.

    The want thereof is the principal means of their decay. And there are two ways whereby the Holy Spirit excites the graces of faith and love unto frequent acts: — (1.) He doth it morally, by proposing their objects suitably and seasonably unto them. This he doth by his ordinances of worship, especially the preaching of the word. God in Christ, the promises of the covenant, and other proper objects of our faith and love, being proposed unto us, these graces are drawn out unto their exercise. And this is one principal advantage which we have by attendance on the dispensation of the word in a due manner, — namely, that by presenting those spiritual truths which are the object of our faith unto our minds, and those spiritual good things which are the object of our love unto our affections, both these graces are drawn forth into frequent actual exercise. And we are greatly mistaken if we suppose we have no benefit by the word beyond what we retain in our memories, though we should labor for that also. Our chief advantage lies in the excitation which is thereby given unto our faith and love to their proper exercise; and hereby are these graces kept alive, which without this would decay and wither. Herein doth the Holy Spirit “take the things of Christ, and show them unto us,” John 16:14,15. He represents them unto us in the preaching of the word as the proper objects of our faith and love, and so brings to remembrance the things spoken by Christ, chapter 14:26; that is, in the dispensation of the word, he minds us of the gracious words and truths of Christ, proposing them to our faith and love. And herein lies the secret profiting and thriving of believers under the preaching of the gospel; which, it may be, they are not sensible of themselves. By this means are many thousands of acts of faith and love drawn forth, whereby these graces are exercised and strengthened; and consequently holiness is increased: and the word, by the actings of faith being mixed with it, as Hebrews 4:2, increaseth it by its incorporation. (2.) The Spirit doth it really and internally. He dwelleth in believers, preserving in them the root and principle of all their grace by his own immediate power. Hence all graces in their exercise are called “The fruits of the Spirit,” Galatians 5:22,23. He brings them forth from the stock that he hath planted in the heart. And we cannot act any one grace without his effectual operation therein: “God worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure,” Philippians 2:13; — that is, there is no part of our wills singly and separately from him in obedience but it is the operation of the Spirit of God in us, so far as it is spiritual and holy. He is the immediate author of every good or gracious acting in us; for “in us, that is, in our flesh” (and of ourselves we are but flesh), “there dwelleth no good.” Wherefore, the Spirit of God dwelling in believers doth effectually excite and stir up their graces unto frequent exercise and actings, whereby they are increased and strengthened. And there is nothing in the whole course of our walking before God that we ought to be more careful about than that we grieve not, that we provoke not, this good and holy Spirit, whereon he should withhold his gracious aids and assistances from us. This, therefore, is the first way whereby the work of sanctification is gradually carried on, by the Holy Ghost exciting our graces unto frequent actings, whereby they are increased and strengthened. Secondly, He doth it by supplying believers with experiences of the truth, and reality, and excellency, of the things that are believed. Experience is the food of all grace, which it grows and thrives upon. Every taste that faith obtains of divine love and grace, or how gracious the Lord is, adds to its measure and stature. Two things, therefore, must briefly be declared: — (1.) That the experience of the reality, excellency, power, and efficacy of the things that are believed, is an effectual means of increasing faith and love; (2.) That it is the Holy Ghost which gives us this experience. (1.) For the first, God himself expostulates with the church how its faith came to be so weak, when it had so great experience of him, or of his power and faithfulness: Isaiah 40:27,28, “Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard? How, then, sayest thou that God hath forsaken thee?”

    And our apostle affirms that the consolations which he had experimentally received from God enabled him unto the discharge of his duty towards others in trouble, 2 Corinthians 1:4; for herein we prove, or do really approve of, as being satisfied in, “the good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God,” Romans 12:2. And this is that which the apostle prayeth for in the behalf of the Colossians, chapter 2:2. I may say that he who knoweth not how faith is encouraged and strengthened by especial experiences of the reality, power, and spiritual efficacy on the soul of the things believed, never was made partaker of any of them. How often doth David encourage his own faith and [that of] others from his former experiences! which were pleaded also by our Lord Jesus Christ to the same purpose, in his great distress, Psalm 22:9,10. (2.) That it is the Holy Ghost who giveth us all our spiritual experiences needs no other consideration to evince but only this, that in them consists all our consolation. His work and office it is to administer consolation unto believers, as being the only Comforter of the church. Now, he administereth comfort no other way but by giving unto the minds and souls of believers a spiritual, sensible experience of the reality and power of the things we do believe. He doth not comfort us by words, but by things. Other means of spiritual consolation I know none; and I am sure this never fails. Give unto a soul an experience, a taste, of the love and grace of God in Christ Jesus, and be its condition what it will, it cannot refuse to be comforted. And hereby doth he “shed abroad the love of God in our hearts,” Romans 5:5, whereby all graces are cherished and increased. Thirdly, He doth it by working immediately an actual increase of these graces in us. I have showed that these are capable of improvement, and of an addition of degrees unto them. Now, they are originally the immediate work and product of the Spirit of God in us, as hath been abundantly evinced. And as he first works and creates them, so he increaseth them.

    Hereby they that are “feeble become as David,” Zechariah 12:8; that is, those whose graces were weak, whose faith was infirm, and whose love was languid, shall, by the supplies of the Spirit, and the increase given by him unto them, become strong and vigorous. To this purpose are promises multiplied in the Scripture; which in our constant supplications we principally respect. This is that which the schoolmen, after Austin, call “Gratiam corroborantem;” that is, the working of the Holy Spirit in the increasing and strengthening of grace received. See Ephesians 3:16,17; Colossians 1:10,11; Isaiah 40:29. And this is the principal cause and means of the gradual increase of holiness in us, or the carrying on of the work of sanctification, <19D808> Psalm 138:8.

    Secondly, There are graces whose exercise is more occasional, and not always actually necessary as unto the life of God; that is, it is not necessary that they be always in actual exercise, as faith and love are to be.

    With respect unto these, holiness is increased by the addition of one to another, until we are brought on several occasions to the practice and exercise of them all; for the addition of the new exercise of any grace belongs unto the gradual carrying on of the work of sanctification. And hereunto all things that befall us in this world, all our circumstances, are laid in a subserviency by the wisdom of God. All our relations, all our afflictions, all our temptations, all our mercies, all our enjoyments, all occurrences, are suited to a continual adding of the exercise of one grace to another, wherein holiness is increased. And if we make not use of them to that purpose, we miss of all the benefit and advantage we might have of them, and disappoint, what lies in us, the design of divine love and wisdom in them. This is given us in charge, 2 Peter 1:5-7: “Besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly-kindness; and to brotherly-kindness charity.”

    The end why this injunction is given us is, that we may “escape the corruption that is in the world through lust,” verse 4; that is, have all our corruptions thoroughly subdued, and our souls thoroughly sanctified. To this end are the promises given us, and a divine, spiritual nature is bestowed upon us. But will that suffice, or is there no more required of us unto that end? “Yes,” saith the apostle; “this great work will not be effected unless you use your utmost diligence, and endeavor to add the exercise of all the graces of the Spirit one to another, as occasion shall require.” There is a method in this concatenation of graces from first to last, and an especial reason for each particular, or why the apostle requires that such a grace should be added unto such an one in the order laid down; which at present I shall not inquire into. But, in general, he intends that every grace is to be exercised according to its proper season and especial occasion. Hereby, also, is the work of sanctification gradually carried on, and holiness increased. And this addition of one grace unto another, with the progress of holiness thereby, is also from the Holy Ghost. And three ways there are whereby he accomplisheth his work herein: — 1. By ordering things so towards us, and bringing of us into such conditions as wherein the exercise of these graces shall be required and necessary. All the afflictions and trials which he bringeth the church into have no other end or design. So the apostle James expresseth it, chapter 1:2-4: “My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations; knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.”

    These temptations are trials upon afflictions, troubles, persecutions, and the like; but take them in any other sense, it is the same unto our purpose.

    These are all guided unto us by Christ and his Spirit; for it is he who rebukes and chastens us. But what is his end therein? It is that faith may be exercised and patience employed, and one grace added unto another, that they may carry us on towards perfection. So he bringeth us into that condition as wherein we shall assuredly miscarry if we add not the exercise of one grace unto another. 2. In this state of things he effectually minds us of our duty, and what graces ought to be put upon their exercise. We may dispute whether it be better to act faith, or to despond; to add patience under the continuance of our trials, or to trust unto ourselves, and irregularly to seek after deliverance or divert unto other satisfactions. Then doth he cause us to “hear a word behind us, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when we turn to the right hand, and when we turn to the left,” Isaiah 30:21.

    When we are at a loss, and know not what to do, and are ready, it may be, to consult with flesh and blood, and to divert to irregular courses, he speaks effectually to us, saying, “No; that is not your way, but this is it,” — namely, to act faith, patience, submission to God, adding one grace to another, binding our hearts thereby to our duty. 3. He actually excites and sets all needful graces at work in the way and manner before spoken unto.

    This, then, is to be fixed, that all this increase of holiness is immediately the work of the Holy Ghost, who therein gradually carries on his design of sanctifying us throughout, in our whole spirits, souls, and bodies. There is in our regeneration and habitual grace received a nature bestowed on us capable of growth and increase, and that is all; if it be left unto itself, it will not thrive, it will decay and die. The actual supplies of the Spirit are the waterings that are the immediate cause of its increase. It wholly depends on continual influences from God. He cherisheth and improves the work he hath begun with new and fresh supplies of grace every moment: Isaiah 27:3, “I the LORD will water it every moment.” And it is the Spirit which is this water, as the Scripture everywhere declares. God the Father takes on him the care of this matter; “he watcheth over his vineyard to keep it.” The Lord Christ is the head, fountain, and treasure of all actual supplies; and the Spirit is the efficient cause, communicating them unto us from him. From hence it is that any grace in us is kept alive one moment, that it is ever acted in one single duty, that ever it receives the least measure of increase or strengthening. With respect unto all these it is that our apostle saith, “Nevertheless, I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me,” Galatians 2:20. Spiritual life and living by it, in all the acts of it, are immediately from Christ.

    I concern not myself much how moral virtue, that is no more, is preserved and sustained in the minds and lives of men, though I am not ignorant of the precepts, directions, and instructions, which are given unto that end by some of old and some of late. But for grace and holiness, we have infallible assurance that the being, life, continuance, and all the actings of it, in any of the sons of men, depend merely and only upon their relation unto that spring and fountain of all grace which is in Christ, and the continual supplies of it by the Holy Spirit, whose work it is to communicate them, Colossians 3:3; John 15:5; Colossians 2:19.

    There is no man who hath any grace that is true and saving, that hath any seed, any beginning of sanctification or holiness, but the Holy Spirit, by his watchful care over it, and supplies of it, is able to preserve it, to extricate it from difficulties, to free it from opposition, and to increase it unto its full measure and perfection. Wherefore, “let the hands that hang down be lifted up, and the feeble knees be strengthened.” We have to do with him who “will not quench the smoking flax nor break the bruised reed.” And, on the other side, there is none who hath received grace in such a measure, nor hath so confirmed it by constant, uninterrupted exercise, as that he can preserve it one moment, or act it in any one instance or duty, without the continual supplies of new actual grace and help from him who worketh in us to will and to do; for saith our Lord Christ unto his apostles, and in them to all believers, the best and strongest of them, “Without me ye can do nothing,” John 15:5. And they who of themselves can do nothing, — that is, in a way of living unto God, — cannot of themselves preserve grace, act it, and increase it; which are the greatest things we do or are wrought in us in this world. Wherefore God hath, in infinite wisdom, so ordered the dispensation of his love and grace unto believers, that all of them living upon the continual supplies of his Spirit, none may have cause, on the one hand, to faint or despond, nor occasion, on the other, unto self-confidence or elation of mind; that so “no flesh may glory in itself, but he that glorieth may glory in the Lord.” And, therefore, as he greatly encourageth the weak, the fearful, the faint, the disconsolate and dejected, and that by the engagement of all the holy properties of his nature in and unto their assistance, Isaiah 35:3-6, 40:27-31; so he warns them who suppose themselves strong, steadfast, and immovable, “not to be high-minded, but to fear,” Romans 11:20, because the whole issue of things depends on his sovereign supplies of grace. And seeing he hath promised in the covenant to continue faithfully these supplies unto us, there is ground of faith given unto all, and occasion of presumption administered unto none.

    But it will be said, “That if not only the beginning of grace, sanctification, and holiness be from God, but the carrying of it on and the increase of it also be from him, and not only so in general, but if all the actings of grace, and every act of it, be an immediate effect of the Holy Spirit, then what need is there that we should take any pains in this thing ourselves, or use our own endeavors to grow in grace or holiness, as we are commanded? If God work all himself in us, and if without his effectual operation in us we can do nothing, there is no place left for our diligence, duty, or obedience. ” Ans. 1. This objection we must expect to meet withal at every turn. Men will not believe there is a consistency between God’s effectual grace and our diligent obedience; that is, they will not believe what is plainly, clearly, distinctly revealed in the Scripture, and which is suited unto the experience of all that truly believe, because they cannot, it may be, comprehend it within the compass of carnal reason. 2. Let the apostle answer this objection for this once: 2 Peter 1:3, “His divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

    If all things that pertain unto life and godliness, — among which, doubtless, is the preservation and increase of grace, — be given unto us by the power of God, if from him we receive that divine nature by virtue whereof our corruptions are subdued, then, I pray, what need is there of any endeavors of our own? The whole work of sanctification is wrought in us, it seems, and that by the power of God; we, therefore, may let it alone, and leave it unto him whose it is, whilst we are negligent, secure, and at ease. “Nay,” saith the apostle; “this is not the use which the grace of God is to be put unto. The consideration of it is, or ought to be, the principal motive and encouragement unto all diligence for the increase of holiness in us.” For so he adds immediately, verse 5, Kai< aujto< tou~to de> , — “But also for this cause,” or, because of the gracious operations of the divine power in us, “giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue,” as before.

    These objectors and this apostle were very diversely minded in these matters; what they make an insuperable discouragement unto diligence in obedience, that he makes the greatest motive and encouragement thereunto. 3. I say, from this consideration it will unavoidably follow that we ought continually to wait and depend on God for supplies of his Spirit and grace, without which we can do nothing. That God is more the author, by his grace, of the good we do than we ourselves (“Not I, but the grace of God which was with me”); that we ought to be careful that by our negligences and sins we provoke not the Holy Spirit to withhold his aids and assistances, and so to leave us to ourselves, in which condition we can do nothing that is spiritually good; — these things, I say, will unavoidably follow on the doctrine before declared; and if anyone be offended at them, it is not in our power to render them relief.

    I shall close the discourse on this subject with some considerations of that similitude by which the Scripture so frequently represents the gradual improvement of grace and holiness; and this is the growth of trees and plants: Hosea 14:5,6, “I will be as the dew unto Israel: he shall grow as the lily, and cast forth his roots as Lebanon. His branches shall spread, and his beauty shall be as the olive-tree, and his smell as Lebanon.” Isaiah 44:3,4, “I will pour water on him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water-courses.”

    And so in other places very many. And we may know that this similitude is singularly instructive, or it would not have been so frequently made use of to this purpose. Some few instances tending to administer light in this matter I shall briefly reflect upon: — 1. These trees and plants have the principle of their growth in themselves.

    They do not grow immediately from external adventitious aid and furtherance; they grow from their own seminal virtue and radical moisture.

    It is no otherwise in the progress of sanctification and holiness. It hath a root, a seed, a principle of growth and increase, in the soul of him that is sanctified. All grace is immortal seed, and contains in it a living, growing principle. That which hath not in itself a life and power of growth is not grace; and therefore what duties soever any men do perform, whereunto they are either guided by natural light, or which they are urged unto by convictions from the word, if they proceed not from a principle of spiritual life in the heart, they are no fruits of holiness nor do belong thereunto. The water of grace which is from Christ is a “well of water springing up into everlasting life,” in them on whom it is bestowed, John 4:14. It is, therefore, the nature of holiness to thrive and grow, as it is of trees or plants, that have their seminal virtue in themselves after their kind. 2. A tree or plant must be watered from above, or it will not thrive and grow by virtue of its own seminal power. If a drought cometh, it will wither or decay. Wherefore, where God mentioneth this growth, he ascribes it unto his watering. “I will be as the dew,” and “I will pour water,” is the especial cause of it. It is so in this carrying on of holiness.

    There is a nature received capable of increase and growth; but if it be left unto itself, it will not thrive, it will decay and die. Wherefore God is unto it as the dew, and pours water on it by the actual supplies of the Spirit, as we have showed before. 3. The growth of trees and plants is secret and imperceptible, nor is discerned but in the effects and consequences of it. The most watchful eye can discern little of its motion. “Crescit occulto velut arbor aevo.” It is no otherwise in the progress of holiness. It is not immediately discernible, either by themselves in whom it is, or by others that make observation of it. It lies only under the eye of him by whom it is wrought; only by the fruits and effects of it is it made manifest. And some, indeed, especially in some seasons, do plainly and evidently thrive and grow, springing up like the willows by the water-courses. Though their growth in itself is indiscernible, yet it is plain they have grown. Such we ought all to be. The growth of some, I say, is manifest on every trial, on every occasion; their profiting is visible to all. And as some say that the growth of plants is not by a constant insensible progress, but they increase by sudden gusts and motions, which may sometimes be discerned in the openings of buds and flowers, so the growth of believers consists principally in some intense vigorous actings of grace on great occasions, as of faith, love, humility, self-denial, bounty; and he who hath not some experience of such actings of grace in especial instances can have little evidence of his growth. Again, there are trees and plants that have the principle of life and growth in them but yet are so withering and unthrifty that you can only discern them to be alive. And so it is with too many believers. They are all “trees planted in the garden of God;” some thrive, some decay for a season, but the growth of the best is secret.

    From what hath been proved it is evident that the work of sanctification is a progressive work, that holiness is gradually carried on in us by it towards perfection. It is neither wrought nor completed at once in us, as is regeneration, nor doth it cease under any attainments or in any condition of life, but is thriving and carried on. A river continually fed by a living fountain may as soon end its streams before it come to the ocean, as a stop be put to the course and progress of grace before it issue in glory; for “the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day,” Proverbs 4:18.

    So is their path wherein they are led and conducted by the Holy Spirit, even as the morning light; which after it once appears, though it may be sometimes clouded, yet faileth not until it arrive unto its perfection. And as the wisdom, patience, faithfulness, and power, which the Holy Spirit of God exerciseth herein are unutterable, so are they constantly admired by all that are interested in them: so are they by the psalmist, Psalm 66:8,9, 31:19. Who is there who hath made any diligent observation of his own heart and ways, and what have been the workings of the grace of God in him and towards him, to bring him unto the stature and measure whereunto he is arrived, that doth not admire the watchful care and powerful workings of the Spirit of God therein? The principle of our holiness as in us is weak and infirm, because it is in us; in some to so low a degree as is ofttimes unto themselves imperceptible. This he preserves and cherisheth, that it shall not be overpowered by corruptions and temptations. Among all the glorious works of God, next unto that of redemption by Jesus Christ, my soul doth most admire this of the Spirit in preserving the seed and principle of holiness in us, as a spark of living fire in the midst of the ocean, against all corruptions and temptations wherewith it is impugned. Many breaches are made in and upon our course of obedience by the incursions of actual sins; these he cures and makes up, healing our backslidings and repairing our decays. And he acts the grace we have received by constant fresh supplies. He wants much of the comfort and joy of a spiritual life who doth not diligently observe the ways and means whereby it is preserved and promoted; and it is no small part of our sin and folly when we are negligent herein.

    All believers are, no doubt, in some measure convinced hereof, not only from the testimonies given unto it in the Scripture, but also from their own experience; and there is nothing in themselves which they may more distinctly learn it from than the nature and course of their prayers, with the workings of their hearts, minds, and affections in them. Let profane persons deride it whilst they please, it is the Spirit of God, as a Spirit of grace, that enables believers to pray and make intercession according to the mind of God; and herein, as he is the Spirit of supplications, he copieth out and expresseth what he worketh in them as the Spirit of sanctification.

    In teaching us to pray, he teacheth us what and how he worketh in us; and if we wisely consider his working in our hearts by prayer, we may understand much of his working upon our hearts by grace. It is said that “he who searcheth the hearts,” that is, God himself, “knoweth the mind of the Spirit,” in the intercessions he maketh in us, Romans 8:27. There are secret powerful operations of the Spirit in prayer that are discernible only to the great Searcher of hearts. But we also ought to inquire and observe, so far as we may, what he leads us unto and guides us about; which is plainly his work in us. I do not think that the Spirit worketh supplications in us by an immediate, supernatural, divine afflatus, so as he inspired the prophets of old, who ofttimes understood not the things uttered by themselves, but inquired afterward diligently into them; but I do say (let the proud carnal world despise it whilst they please, and at their peril) that the Spirit of God doth graciously, in the prayers of believers, carry out and act their souls and minds in desires and requests, which, for the matter of them, are far above their natural contrivances and invention. And he who hath not experience hereof is a greater stranger unto these things than will at length be unto his advantage. By a diligent observance hereof we may know of what kind and nature the work of the Holy Ghost in us is, and how it is carried on. For how in general doth the Holy Spirit teach us and enable us to pray? It is by these three things: — 1. By giving us a spiritual insight into the promises of God and the grace of the covenant, whereby we know what to ask upon a spiritual view of the mercy and grace that God hath prepared for us. 2. By acquainting us with and giving us an experience of our wants, with a deep sense of them, such as we cannot bear without relief. 3. By creating and stirring up desires in the new creature for its own preservation, increase, and improvement. And in answer unto these things consisteth his whole work of sanctification in us; for it is his effectual communication unto us of the grace and mercy prepared in the promises of the covenant through Jesus Christ. Hereby doth he supply our spiritual wants, and set the new creature in life and vigor. So are our prayers an extract and copy of the work of the Holy Spirit in us, given us by himself.

    And, therefore, by whomsoever he is despised as a Spirit of supplication, he is so as a Spirit of sanctification also. Now, consider what it is that in your prayers you most labor about? Is it not that the body, the power, the whole interest, of sin in you may be weakened, subdued, and at length destroyed? Is it not that all the graces of the Spirit may be renewed daily, increased and strengthened, so as that you may be more ready and prepared for all duties of obedience? And what is all this for, but that holiness may be gradually progressive in your souls, that it may be carried on by new supplies and additions of grace, until it come to perfection?

    It will be said, perhaps, by some, that they find neither in themselves nor others, by the best of their observation, that the work of sanctification is constantly progressive, or that holiness doth so grow and thrive wherever it is in sincerity: for as for themselves, they have found grace more vigorous, active, and flourishing, in former days than of late; the streams of it were fresher and stronger at the spring of conversion than since they find them to be in their course. Hence are those complaints among many of their leanness, their weakness, their deadness, their barrenness. Nor were many of the saints in the Scripture without such complaints. And many may cry, “Oh that it were with us as in our former days, in the days of our youth!” Complaints of this nature do everywhere abound, and some are ready to conclude, upon this consideration, that either sincere holiness is not so growing and progressive as is pretended, or that, indeed, they have no interest therein. Yea, the like may be said upon a diligent observation of others, churches and single professors. What evidence do they give that the work of holiness is thriving in them? doth it not appear rather to be retrograde and under a constant decay?

    I shall so far consider and remove this objection as that the truth which we have asserted suffer not from it, and so be left as an empty notion; nor yet those be altogether discouraged who come not up unto a full compliance with it. And this I shall do in the ensuing rules and observations. 1. It is one thing what grace or holiness is suited unto in its own nature, and what is the ordinary or regular way of the procedure of the Spirit in the work of sanctification, according to the tenor of the covenant of grace; another, what may occasionally fall out by indisposition and irregularity, or any other obstructing interposition in them in whom the work is wrought. Under the first consideration, the work is thriving and progressive; in the latter, the rule is liable to sundry exceptions. A child that hath a principle of life, a good natural constitution, and suitable food, will grow and thrive; but that which hath obstructions from within, or distempers and diseases, or falls and bruises, may be weak and thriftless.

    When we are regenerated, we are as newborn babes, and ordinarily, if we have the sincere milk of the word, we shall grow thereby. But if we ourselves give way to temptations, corruptions, negligences, conformity to the world, is it any wonder if we are lifeless and thriftless? It suffices to confirm the truth of what we have asserted, that everyone in whom is a principle of spiritual life, who is born of God, in whom the work of sanctification is begun, if it be not gradually carried on in him, if he thrive not in grace and holiness, if he go not from strength to strength, it is ordinarily from his own sinful negligence and indulgence unto carnal lusts, or love of this present world. Considering the time we have had and the means we have enjoyed, what grown, what flourishing plants, in faith, love, purity, self-denial, and universal conformity to Christ, might many of us have been, who now are weak, withering, fruitless, and sapless, scarce to be distinguished from the thorns and briers of the world! It is time for us rather to be casting off every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us, to be by all means stirring up ourselves unto a vigorous recovery of our first faith and love, with an abundant growth in them, than to be complaining that the work of holiness doth not go on, and that before our wounds become incurable. 2. It is one thing to have holiness really thriving in any soul, another for that soul to know it and to be satisfied in it; and these things may be separated: whereof there are many reasons. But before I name them, I must premise one necessary observation, and that is, — Whereas this rule is proposed for the relief of such as are at a loss about their condition, and know not whether holiness be thriving in them or no, those have no concernment herein who may at any time, if they please, give themselves an account how matters go with them, and on what grounds: for if men do indulge unto any predominant lust, if they live in the neglect of any known duty or in the practice of any way of deceit, if they suffer the world to devour the choicest increase of their souls, and formality to eat out the spirit, vigor, and life of holy duties, or any of these in a remarkable manner, I have nothing to offer unto them to manifest that holiness may thrive in them although they discern it not; for undoubtedly it doth not do so, nor are they to entertain any hopes but that whilst they abide in such a condition it will decay more and more. Such are to be awaked with violence, like men falling into a deadly lethargy, to be snatched as brands out of the fire, to be warned to recover their first faith and love, to repent and do their first works, lest their end should be darkness and sorrow forevermore. But as unto those who walk with God humbly and in sincerity, there may be sundry reasons given whence it is that holiness may be thriving in them, and yet not be discerned by them so to be. And, therefore, though holiness be wrought within ourselves, and only there, yet there may be seasons wherein sincere, humble believers may be obliged to believe the increase and growth of it in them when they perceive it not, so as to be sensible of it; for, — (1.) It being the subject of so many gospel promises, it is a proper object of faith, or a thing that is to be believed. The promises are God’s explanations of the grace of the covenant, both as to its nature and the manner of its operation; and they do not abound in any concernment of it more than this, that those who are partakers of it shall thrive and grow thereby. With what limitations they are bounded, and what is required on our part that we may have them fulfilled towards us, shall be afterward declared. But their accomplishment depends on God’s faithfulness, and not on our sense of it. Where, therefore, we do not openly lay an obstruction against it, as in the case now mentioned, we may, we ought to believe that they are fulfilled towards us, although we are not continually sensible thereof. And, (2.) It is our duty to grow and thrive in holiness; and what God requires of us, we are to believe that he will help us in, and doth so, whatever be our present sense and apprehension. And he who on these grounds can believe the growth of holiness in himself, though he have no sensible experience thereof, is, in my judgment, in as good, and perhaps a more safe, condition than he who, through the vigorous working of spiritual affections, is most sensible thereof: for it is certain that such an one doth not by any willful neglect, or indulgence unto any sin, obstruct the growth of holiness, for he that doth so cannot believe that it doth thrive in him or is carried on, whatever his presumptions may be; and the life of faith, whereof this is a part, is every way a safe life. Besides, such a person is not in that danger of a vain elation of mind and carelessness thereon, as others may be; for wherein we live by faith, and not at all by sense, we shall be humble and fear always. Such an one not finding in himself the evidence of what he most desires, will be continually careful that he drive it not farther from him. But the reasons of this difficulty are: — [1.] The work itself, as hath been before declared at large, is secret and mysterious; and, therefore (as in some), I hope in many, there is the reality and essence of holiness, who yet can find nothing of it in themselves, nor perhaps anyone else, but only Jesus Christ, who is of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord, so it may in the same secret manner thrive as to its degrees in them who yet perceive it not. There is not anything in our whole course that we ought to be more awake unto than a diligent observation of the progress and decays of grace; for as the knowledge of them is of the same importance unto us with that of our duties and comforts, so they are very hardly and difficultly to be discerned, nor will be so truly for our good and advantage, without our utmost diligence and spiritual wisdom in their observation. Hence, as we before observed, it is compared in the Scripture frequently unto the growth of plants and trees, Hosea 14:5,6; Isaiah 44:3,4. Now, we know that in those of them which are the most thrifty and flourishing, though we may perceive they are grown, yet we cannot discern their growing. And the apostle tells us, that as the “outward man perisheth, so the inward man is renewed day by day,” 2 Corinthians 4:16.

    The perishing of the outward man is by those natural decays whereby it continually tends unto death and dissolution; and we know, many of us, how hardly these insensible decays are discerned, unless some great and violent disease befall us. We rather know that we are enfeebled and weakened by age and infirmities than perceive when or how. So is the inward man renewed in grace. It is by such secret ways and means as that its growth and decay are hardly to be apprehended. And yet he who is negligent in this inquiry walks at all peradventures with God, — knows not whereabout he is in his way, whether he be nearer or farther off from his journey’s end than he was before. Write that man a fruitless and a thriftless Christian who calls not himself to an account about his increases and decays in grace. David knew this work to be of so great importance as that he would not trust to himself and ordinary assistances for the discharge of it, but earnestly calls on God to undertake it for him and to acquaint him with it, <19D923> Psalm 139:23,24. [2.] There may some perplexing temptations befall the mind of a believer, or some corruption take advantage to break loose for a season, it may be for a long season, which may much gall the soul with its suggestions, and so trouble, disturb, and unquiet it, as that it shall not be able to make a right judgment of its grace and progress in holiness. A ship may be so tossed in a storm at sea as that the most skillful mariners may not be able to discern whether they make any way in their intended course and voyage, whilst they are carried on with success and speed. In such cases, grace in its exercise is principally engaged in an opposition unto its enemy, which it hath to conflict withal, and so its thriving other ways is not discernible. If it should be inquired how we may discern when grace is exercised and thrives in opposition unto corruptions and temptations, I say, that as great winds and storms do sometimes contribute to the fruitbearing of trees and plants, so do corruptions and temptations unto the fruitfulness of grace and holiness. The wind comes with violence on the tree, ruffles its boughs, it may be breaks some of them, beats off its buds, loosens and shakes its roots, and threatens to cast the whole to the ground; but by this means the earth is opened and loosed about it, and the tree gets its roots deeper into the earth, whereby it receives more and fresh nourishment, which renders it fruitful, though it bring not forth fruit visibly, it may be, till a good while after. In the assaults of temptations and corruptions the soul is woefully ruffled and disordered, — its leaves of profession are much blasted, and its beginnings of fruit-bearing much broken and retarded; but, in the meantime, it secretly and invisibly casts out its roots of humility, self-abasement, [and] mourning, in a hidden and continual laboring of faith and love after that grace, whereby holiness doth really increase, and way is made for future visible fruitfulness: for, — [3.] God, who in infinite wisdom manageth the new creature or whole life of grace by his Spirit, doth so turn the streams of it, and so renew and change the especial kinds of its operations, as that we cannot easily trace his paths therein, and may, therefore, be often at a loss about it, as not knowing well what he is doing with us. For instance, it may be the work of grace and holiness hath greatly put forth and evidenced itself in the affections, which are renewed by it. Hence persons have great experience of readiness unto, and delight and cheerfulness in, holy duties, especially those of immediate intercourse with God; for the affections are quick and vigorous, for the most part, in the youth of profession, and the operations of them being sensible unto them in whom they are, and their fruits visible, they make persons seem always fresh and green in the ways of holiness.

    But it may be, after awhile, it seems good to the sovereign Disposer of this affair to turn, as it were, the streams of grace and holiness into another channel. He sees that the exercise of humility, godly sorrow, fear, diligent conflicting with temptations, that, it may be, strike at the very root of faith and love, are more needful for them. He will, therefore, so order his dispensations towards them, by afflictions, temptations, occasions of life in the world, as that they shall have new work to do, and all the grace they have be turned into a new exercise. Hereon, it may be, they find not that sensible vigor in their spiritual affections, nor that delight in spiritual duties, which they have done formerly. This makes them sometimes ready to conclude that grace is decayed in them, that the springs of holiness are drying up, and they know neither where nor what they are. But yet, it may be, the real work of sanctification is still thriving and effectually carried on in them. 3. It is acknowledged that there may be, that there are in many, great decays in grace and holiness; that the work of sanctification goeth back in them, and that, it may be, universally and for a long season. Many actings of grace are lost in such persons, and the things that remain are ready to die. This the Scripture abundantly testifieth unto and giveth us instances of. How often doth God charge his people with backsliding, barrenness, decays in faith and love! And the experience of the days wherein we live sufficiently confirm the truth of it. Are there not open and visible decays in many as to the whole spirit, all the duties and fruits, of holiness?

    Cannot the best among us contribute somewhat to the evidence hereof from our own experience? What shall we say, then? is there no sincere holiness where such decays are found? God forbid. But we must inquire the reasons whence this comes to pass, seeing this is contrary to the gradual progress of holiness in them that are sanctified, which we have asserted. And I answer two things unto it: — (1.) That these decays are occasional and preternatural as to the true nature and constitution of the new creature, and a disturbance of the ordinary work of grace. They are diseases in our spiritual state, which it is not to be measured by. Are you dead and cold in duties, backward in good works, careless of your heart and thoughts, addicted to the world? — these things belong not to the state of sanctification, but are enemies unto it, sicknesses and diseases in the spiritual constitution of the persons in whom they are. (2.) Although our sanctification and growth in holiness be a work of the Holy Spirit, as the efficient cause thereof, yet is it our own work also in a way of duty. He hath prescribed unto us what shall be our part, what he expects from us and requireth of us, that the work may be regularly carried on unto perfection, as was before declared. And there are two sorts of things which if we attend not unto in a due manner, the orderly progress of it will be obstructed and retarded; for, — [1.] The power and growth of any lust or corruption, and a compliance from it with temptations, which is inseparable from the prevalency of any sin in us, lies directly against this progress. If we allow or approve of any such thing in us; if we indulge unto any actings of sin, especially when known and grown frequent, in any one kind; if we neglect the use of the best means for the constant mortification of sin, which every enlightened soul understands to be necessary thereunto, — there is, and will be increased, a universal decay in holiness, and not only in that particular corruption which is so spared and indulged. A disease in any one of the vitals, or principal parts of the body, weakens not only the part wherein it is, but the whole body itself, and vitiates the whole constitution by a sympathy of parts; and any particular lust indulged unto vitiates the whole spiritual health, and weakens the soul in all duties of obedience. [2.] There are some things required of us to this end, that holiness may thrive and be carried on in us. Such are, the constant use of all ordinances and means appointed unto that end, a due observance of commanded duties in their season, with a readiness for the exercise of every especial grace in its proper circumstances. Now, if we neglect these things, if we walk at all peradventures with God, attending neither to means nor duties, nor the exercise of grace, as we should, we are not to wonder if we find ourselves decaying, yea, ready to die. Doth any man wonder to see a person formerly of a sound constitution grown weak and sickly, if he openly neglect all means of health, and contract all sorts of diseases by his intemperance? Is it strange that a nation should be sick and faint at heart, that grey hairs should be sprinkled upon it, that it should be poor and decaying, whilst consuming lusts, with a strange neglect of all invigorating means, do prevail in it? No more is it that a professing people should decay in holy obedience whilst they abide in the neglect expressed.

    Having vindicated this assertion, I shall yet add a little farther improvement of it; and, if the work of holiness be such a progressive, thriving work in its own nature; if the design of the Holy Ghost, in the use of means, be to carry it on in us, and increase it more and more unto a perfect measure; then is our diligence still to be continued to the same end and purpose: for hereon depend our growth and thriving. It is required of us that we give all diligence unto the increase of grace, 2 Peter 1:5-7, and that we abound therein, 2 Corinthians 8:7, “abounding in all diligence;” and not only so, but that we “show the same diligence unto the end,” Hebrews 6:11. Whatever diligence you have used in the attaining or improving of holiness, abide in it unto the end, or we cast ourselves under decays and endanger our souls. If we slack or give over as to our duty, the work of sanctification will not be carried on in a way of grace. And this is required of us, this is expected from us, that our whole lives be spent in a course of diligent compliance with the progressive work of grace in us.

    There are three grounds on which men do or may neglect this duty, whereon the life of their obedience and all their comforts do depend: — (1.) A presumption or groundless persuasion that they are already perfect.

    This some pretend unto in a proud and foolish conceit, destructive of the whole nature and duty of evangelical holiness or obedience; for this, on our part, consists in our willing compliance with the work of grace, gradually carried on unto the measure appointed unto us. If this be already attained, there is an end of all evangelical obedience, and men return again to the law unto their ruin. See Philippians 3:12-14. It is an excellent description of the nature of our obedience which the apostle gives us in that place. All absolute perfection in this life is rejected as unattainable. The end proposed is blessedness and glory, with the eternal enjoyment of God; and the way whereby we press towards it, which compriseth the whole of our obedience, is by continual, uninterrupted following after, pressing, reaching out, — a constant progress, in and by our utmost diligence. (2.) A foolish supposition that, being interested in a state of grace, we need not now be so solicitous about exact holiness and obedience in all things as we were formerly, whilst our minds hung in suspense about our condition. But so much as anyone hath this apprehension or persuasion prevailing in him or influencing of him, so much hath he cause deeply to question whether he have yet anything of grace or holiness or no; for this persuasion is not of Him who hath called us. There is not a more effectual engine in the hand of Satan either to keep us off from holiness or to stifle it when it is attained, nor can any thoughts arise in the hearts of men more opposite to the nature of grace; for which cause the apostle rejects it with detestation, Romans 6:1,2. (3.) Weariness and despondencies, arising from oppositions. Some find so much difficulty in and opposition to the work of holiness and its progress from the power of corruptions, temptations, and the occasions of life in this world, that they are ready to faint and give over this diligence in duties and contending against sin. But the Scripture doth so abound with encouragements unto this sort of persons as that we need not to insist thereon.

    CHAPTER 3.

    BELIEVERS THE ONLY OBJECT OF SANCTIFICATION, AND SUBJECT OF GOSPEL HOLINESS. Believers the only subject of the work of sanctification — How men come to believe, if believers alone receive the Spirit of sanctification — The principal ends for which the Spirit is promised, with their order in their accomplishment — Rules to be observed in praying for the Spirit of God, and his operations therein — That believers only are sanctified or holy proved and confirmed — Mistakes about holiness, both notional and practical, discovered — The proper subject of holiness in believers. THAT which we are next to inquire into is, the personal subject of this work of sanctification, or who, and of what sort, those persons are that are made holy. Now, these are all and only believers. All who unfeignedly believe in God through Jesus Christ are sanctified, and no others. Unto them is evangelical holiness confined. It is for them and them only that our Savior prays for this mercy, grace, or privilege: John 17:17, “Sanctify them by thy truth.” And concerning them he affirms, “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also may be sanctified through the truth,” verse 19. And whereas, in the verses foregoing, he had immediate respect unto his apostles and present disciples, that we may know that neither his prayer nor his grace is confined or limited unto them, he adds, “Neither pray I for these alone,” — that is, in this manner, and for these ends, — “but for them also which shall believe on me through their word,” verse 20. It was, therefore, the prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ that all believers should be sanctified; and so also was it his promise: chapter 7:38, 39, “He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this spake he of the Spirit, which they that believe on him should receive.” And it is with respect principally unto this work of sanctification that he is compared unto flowing and living water, as hath been declared before. It is for believers, the “church that is in God the Father and in the Lord Jesus Christ,” — that is, by faith, — 1 Thessalonians 1:1, that our apostle prays that “the God of peace would sanctify them throughout,” chapter 5:23.

    But before we proceed to a farther confirmation of this assertion, an objection of some importance is to be removed out of our way: for on this supposition, that the Spirit of sanctification is given only unto believers, it may be inquired how men come so to be; for if we have not the Spirit until after we do believe, then is faith itself of ourselves. And this is that which some plead for, — namely, “That the gift of the Holy Ghost, unto all ends and purposes for which he is promised, is consequential unto faith, with the profession and obedience thereof, being, as it were, its reward.” See Crell. de Spir. Sanc., cap. 5. To this purpose it is pleaded, “That the apostle Peter encourageth men unto faith and repentance with the promise that thereon they should ‘receive the gift of the Holy Ghost,’ Acts 2:38; and so is that also of our Savior, John 14:17, that ‘the world,’ — that is, unbelievers, — ‘cannot receive the Spirit of truth:’ so that our faith and obedience are required as a necessary qualification unto the receiving of the Holy Ghost; and if they are so absolutely, then are they of ourselves, and not wrought in us by the grace of God;” — which is express Pelagianism. Ans. I could dwell long on this inquiry concerning the especial subject of the Holy Spirit, seeing the right understanding of many places of Scripture doth depend thereon; but because I have much work yet before me, I will reduce what I have to offer on this head into as narrow a compass as possibly I may. In answer, therefore, to this objection, I say, — 1. That the Holy Spirit is said to be promised and received with respect unto the ends which he is promised for, and the effects which he worketh when he is received; for although he be himself but one, “the one and the self-same Spirit,” and he himself is promised, given forth, and received, as we have declared, yet he hath many and diverse operations. And as his operations are divers, or [of] several sorts and kinds, so our receiving of him, as to the manner of it, is divers also, and suited unto the ends of his communications unto us. Thus, in some sense he is promised unto and received by believers; in another he is promised and received to make men so, or to make them believe. In the first way there may be some activity of faith in a way of duty, whereas in the latter we are passive, and receive him only in a way of grace. 2. The chief and principal ends for which the Holy Spirit is promised and received may be reduced to these four heads: — (1.) Regeneration; (2.) Sanctification; (3.) Consolation; (4.) Edification.

    There are, indeed, very many distinct operations and distributions of the Spirit, as I have in part already discovered, and shall yet farther go over them in particular instances; but they may be reduced unto these general heads, or at least they will suffice to exemplify the different manner and ends of the receiving of the Spirit. And this is the plain order and method of these things, as the Scripture both plainly and plentifully testifies: — (1.) He is promised and received as to the work of regeneration unto the elect; (2.) As to the work of sanctification unto the regenerate; (3.) As to the work of consolation unto the sanctified; and, (4.) As unto gifts for edification unto professors, according to his sovereign will and pleasure. (1.) He is promised unto the elect, and received by them as to his work of regeneration. That this is his work in us wholly and entirely I have proved before at large. Hereunto the qualifications of faith and obedience are no way required as previously necessary in us. In order of nature, our receiving of the Spirit is antecedent to the very seed and principle of faith in us, as the cause is to the effect, seeing it is wrought in us by him alone; and the promises concerning the communication of the Spirit unto this end have been before explained and vindicated. Hereby doth the Holy Ghost prepare a habitation for himself, and make way for all the following work which he hath to do in us and towards us, unto the glory of God, and the perfecting of our salvation, or the making of us “meet for the inheritance of the saints in light,” Colossians 1:12. (2.) He is promised and received as a Spirit of sanctification unto and by them that are regenerate, — that is, unto believers, — and only unto them.

    This will be fully confirmed immediately. And this puts an issue to the principal difficulty of the foregoing objection. It is no way inconsistent that faith should be required previously unto the receiving of the Spirit as a Spirit of sanctification, though it be not so as he is the author of regeneration. The same Spirit first worketh faith in us, and then preserveth it when it is wrought. On]y, to clear the manner of it, we may observe, — First, That sanctification may be considered two ways: — First, As to the original and essential work of it, which consists in the preservation of the principle of spiritual life and holiness communicated unto us in our regeneration. Secondly, As to those renewed actual operations whereby it is carried on, and is gradually progressive, as hath been declared. Secondly, Faith also, or believing, may be considered in this matter two ways: — First, As to its original communication, infusion, or creation in the soul; for it is the gift or work of God. In this respect, — that is, as to the seed, principle, and habit of it, — it is wrought in us, as all other grace is, in regeneration. Secondly, As to its actings in us, or as unto actual believing, or the exercise of faith and the fruits of it, in a constant profession and holy obedience. Sanctification in the first sense respects faith also in the first; that is, the preservation of the seed, principle, grace, habit of faith in us, belongs unto the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit; and so believers only are sanctified. And in the latter sense it respects faith in the latter also; that is, the progress of the work of sanctification in us is accompanied with the actings and exercise of faith. But both ways faith is a necessary qualification in and unto them that are sanctified. Believers, therefore, are the adequate subject of the work of sanctification; which is all that at present is under our consideration. (3.) The Spirit is also promised as a comforter, or a Spirit of consolation.

    In this sense, or for this end and work, he is not promised unto them that are regenerate merely as such; for many may be regenerate who are not capable of consolation, nor do need it, as infants, who may be, and are, many of them, sanctified from the womb. Nor is he so promised unto them that are believers absolutely, who have the grace or habit of faith wrought in them; for so many have who are not yet exercised nor brought into that condition wherein spiritual consolations are either proper or needful unto them. The Spirit is promised as a comforter unto believers, as engaged in the profession of the gospel, and meeting with conflicts inward and outward on the account thereof. The first promise of the Holy Ghost as a comforter was made to the disciples, when their hearts were filled with sorrow on the departure of Christ; and this is the measure of all others, John 16:6,7. And this is evident both from the nature of the thing itself, and from all the promises which are given concerning him to this end and purpose. And it will be wholly in vain at any time to apply spiritual consolations unto any other sort of persons. All men who have any interest in Christian religion, when they fall into troubles and distresses, be they of what sort they will, are ready to inquire after the things that may relieve and refresh them. And whereas there are many things in the word suited unto the relief and consolation of the distressed, they are apt to apply them unto themselves; and others also are ready to comply with them in the same charitable office, as they suppose. But no true spiritual consolation was ever administered by the word unto any but exercised believers, however the minds of men may be for the present a little relieved, and their affections refreshed, by the things that are spoken unto them out of the word: for the word is the instrument of the Holy Ghost, nor hath it any efficacy but as he is pleased to use it and apply it; and he useth it unto this end, and unto no other, as being promised as a Spirit of consolation, only to sanctified believers. And, therefore, when persons fall under spiritual convictions and trouble of mind or conscience upon the account of sin and guilt, it is not our first work to tender consolation unto them, whereby many in that condition are deluded, but to lead them on to believing, that, “being justified by faith, they may have peace with God;” which is their proper relief. And in that state God is abundantly willing that they should receive “strong consolation,” even as many as “flee for refuge to the hope that is set before them.” (4.) The Spirit of God is promised and received as to gifts for the edification of the church. This is that which is intended, Acts 2:38,39.

    And his whole work herein we shall consider in its proper place. The rule and measure of the communication of the Spirit for regeneration is election; the rule and measure of the communication of the Spirit for sanctification is regeneration; and the rule and measure of his communication as a Spirit of consolation is sanctification, with the afflictions, temptations, and troubles of them that are sanctified. What, then, is the rule and measure of his communication as a Spirit of edification? I answer, Profession of the truth of the gospel and its worship, with a call unto the benefiting of others, 1 Corinthians 12:7. And here two rules must be observed: — [1.] That he carries not his gifts for edification out of the pale of the church, or profession of the truth and worship of the gospel. [2.] That he useth a sovereign and not a certain rule in this communication, 1 Corinthians 12:11, so as that he is not wanting unto any true professors, in proportion to their calls and opportunities.

    Secondly, Whereas the Spirit of sanctification is promised only unto them that are regenerate and do believe, may we, in our prayers and supplications for him, plead these qualifications as arguments and motives for the farther communications of him unto us? Ans . 1. We cannot properly plead any qualification in ourselves, as though God were obliged, with respect unto them, to give a man increase of grace ex congruo , much less ex condigno. When we have done all, we are unprofitable servants. As we begin, so we must proceed with God, merely on the account of sovereign grace. 2. We may plead the faithfulness and righteousness of God as engaged in his promises. We ought to pray that he would “not forsake the work of his own hands;” that “he who hath begun the good work in us would perfect it until the day of Jesus Christ;” that with respect unto his covenant and promises he would preserve that new creature, that divine nature, which he hath formed and implanted in us. 3. Upon a sense of the weakness of any grace, we may humbly profess our sincerity therein, and pray for its increase. So cried the poor man with tears, “Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief,” Mark 9:24. And the apostles in their prayer, “Lord, increase our faith,” Luke 17:5, owned the faith they had, and prayed for its increase by fresh supplies of the Holy Spirit.

    Again, Thirdly, May believers in trouble pray for the Spirit of consolation with respect unto their troubles, it being unto such that he is promised?

    Ans. 1. They may do so directly, and ought so to do; yea, when they do it not it is a sign they turn aside unto broken cisterns, that will yield them no relief. 2. Troubles are of two sorts, — spiritual and temporal. Spiritual troubles are so either, (1.) Subjectively, such as are all inward darknesses, and distresses on the account of sin; or, (2.) Objectively, such as are all persecutions for the name of Christ and the gospel. It is principally with respect unto these that the Spirit is promised as a comforter, and with regard unto them are we principally to pray for him as so promised. 3. In those outward troubles which are common unto believers with other men, as the death of relations, loss of estate or liberty, they may and ought to pray for the Spirit as a comforter, that the consolations of God, administered by him, may outbalance their outward troubles, and keep up their hearts unto other duties.

    Fourthly, May all sincere professors of the gospel pray for the Spirit with respect unto his gifts for the edification of others, seeing unto such he is promised for that end? Ans. 1. They may do so, but with the ensuing limitations: — (1.) They must do it with express submission to the sovereignty of the Spirit himself, who “divideth to every man as he will.” (2.) With respect unto that station and condition wherein they are placed in the church by the providence and call of God. Private persons have no warrant to pray for ministerial gifts, such as should carry them out of their stations, without a divine direction going before them. (3.) That their end be good and right, to use them in their respective places unto edification. So ought parents and masters of families, and all members of churches, to pray for those gifts of the Spirit whereby they may fill up the duties of their places and relations.

    From the consideration of this order of the dispensation of the Spirit we may be directed how to pray for him, which we are both commanded and encouraged to do, Luke 11:13: for we are to pray for him with respect unto those ends and effects for which he is promised; and these are those which are before expressed, with all those particular instances which may be reduced unto them. We might, therefore, hence give direction in some inquiries, which, indeed, deserve a larger discussion if our present design would admit of it. One only I shall instance in: — May a person who is yet unregenerate pray for the Spirit of regeneration to effect that work in him; for whereas, as such, he is promised only unto the elect , such a person, not knowing his election , seems to have no foundation to make such a request upon?

    Ans. 1. Election is no qualification on our part, which we may consider or plead in our supplications, but only the secret purpose on the part of God of what himself will do, and is known unto us only by its effects. 2. Persons convinced of sin and of a state of sin may and ought to pray that God, by the effectual communication of his Spirit unto them, would deliver them from that condition. This is one way whereby we “flee from the wrath to come.” 3. The especial object of their supplications herein is sovereign grace, goodness, and mercy, as declared in and by Jesus Christ. Such persons cannot, indeed, plead any especial promise as made unto them; but they may plead for the grace and mercy declared in the promises, as indefinitely proposed unto sinners. It may be they can proceed no farther in their expectations but unto that of the prophet, “Who knoweth if God will come and give a blessing?” Joel 2:14, yet is this a sufficient ground and encouragement to keep them waiting at the “throne of grace.” So Paul, after he had received his vision from heaven, continued in great distress of mind, praying until he received the Holy Ghost, Acts 9:11,17. 4. Persons under such convictions have really sometimes the seeds of regeneration communicated unto them; and then, as they ought so they will continue in their supplications for the increase and manifestation of it.

    It is evident that by these observations the foregoing objection is utterly removed out of the way, and that no disadvantage ariseth unto the doctrine of the free and effectual grace of God by confining this work of sanctification and holiness unto believers only. None are sanctified, none are made holy, but those who truly and savingly believe in God through Jesus Christ; which I shall now farther confirm: — 1. “Without faith it is impossible to please God,” Hebrews 11:6. The faith discoursed of by the apostle is that whereby the fathers “received the promises, walked with God, and obtained the inheritance,” — the faith of Abraham; that is, true, saving, justifying faith. This faith constitutes all them in whom it is true believers, and without it it is impossible to please God. Now, holiness, wherever it is, pleaseth God; and therefore without faith it is impossible we should have any interest in it. “This is the will of God, even our sanctification,” 1 Thessalonians 4:3; and walking therein we please God, verse 7. All that pleaseth God in us is our holiness, or some part of it, and it principally consists in an opposition unto all that displeaseth him. That which he commands pleaseth him, and that which he forbids displeaseth him; and our holiness consists in a compliance with the one and an opposition unto the other. Wherefore, that any others but believers should have anything which really belongs unto this holiness, the apostle declares it to be impossible. Some would except against this sense of the words from the ensuing reason which the apostle gives of his assertion, which contains the nature of the faith intended: “For he that cometh unto God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him;” for “this is that,” they say, “which the light of nature directs unto, and therefore there is no other faith necessarily required that a man may please God, but only that which is included in the right use and exercise of natural reason.” But this exception will no way evade the force of this testimony; for the apostle discourseth concerning such a coming unto God, and such a belief in him, as is guided, directed, and ingenerated in us, by the promises which it rests upon and is resolved into. Now these promises, all and every one of them, include Jesus Christ, with a respect unto him and his grace; and, therefore, the faith intended is that which is in God through Christ, as revealed and exhibited in the promises, and this coming unto God is a fruit and effect thereof, 2. Our Lord Jesus Christ affirms that men are sanctified by the faith that is in him: Acts 26:18, “That they may receive forgiveness of sins, and an inheritance among them that are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

    If there were any other way or means whereby men might be sanctified or made holy, he would not have confined it unto the “faith that is in him;” at least, there is no other way to attain that holiness which may bring them unto the heavenly inheritance, or make them meet for it, Colossians 1:12, which alone we inquire after. And, indeed, there can be no greater contempt cast on the Lord Jesus, and on the duty of believing in him, whereunto he makes this one of his principal motives, than to imagine that without faith in him anyone can be made holy. 3. Faith is the instrumental cause of our sanctification; so that where it is not, no holiness can be wrought in us. “God purifieth our hearts by faith,” Acts 15:9, and not otherwise; and where the heart is not purified, there is no holiness. All the duties in the world will not denominate him holy whose heart is not purified; nor will any such duties be holy themselves, seeing unto the unclean all things are unclean. All the obedience that is accepted with God is the “obedience of faith,” Romans 1:5; thence it springs, and therewith is it animated. So is it expressed, 1 Peter 1:20-22, “You who by Christ do believe in God, and have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit.” It is from faith in God through Jesus Christ, acting itself in obedience unto the gospel, that we purify or cleanse our souls; which is our sanctification. See Colossians 2:12-14, 3:7-11. 4. All grace is originally intrusted in and with Jesus Christ. The image of God being lost in Adam, whatever was prepared or is used for the renovation of it in our natures and persons, wherein gospel holiness doth consist, was to be treasured up in him as the second Adam, by whom many are to be made alive who died in the first. It pleased the Father that “in him should all fullness dwell,” — as the fullness of the Godhead, in and for his own divine personal subsistence, so the fullness of all grace for supplies unto us, that “of his fullness we might receive grace for grace.”

    He is made the head unto the whole new creation, not only of power and rule, but of life and influence. God hath given him for a “covenant to the people,” and communicates nothing that belongs properly to the covenant of grace, as our sanctification and holiness do, unto any, but in and through him. And we receive nothing by him but by virtue of relation unto him, or especial interest in him, or union with him. Where there is an especial communication, there must be an especial relation whereon it doth depend and whence it doth proceed; as the relation of the members unto the head is the cause and means why vital spirits are thence derived unto them. We must be in Christ as the branch is in the vine, or we can derive nothing from him: John 15:4, “As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me.”

    Whatever any way belongeth unto holiness is our fruit, and nothing else is fruit but what belongeth thereunto. Now this our Savior affirms that we can bring forth nothing of, unless we are in him and do abide in him. Now, our being in Christ and abiding in him is by faith, without which we can derive nothing from him, and consequently never be partakers of holiness in the least degree. But these things must be afterward spoken unto more at large. It is, therefore, undeniably evident that believers only are sanctified and holy; all others are unclean, nor is anything they do holy, or so esteemed of God.

    And the due consideration hereof discovers many pernicious mistakes that are about this matter, both notional and practical; for, — 1. There are some who would carry holiness beyond the bounds of an especial relation unto Christ, or would carry that relation beyond the only bond of it, which is faith; for they would have it to be no more than moral honesty or virtue, and so cannot with any modesty deny it unto those heathens who endeavored after them according to the light of nature. And what need, then, is there of Jesus Christ? I can and do commend moral virtues and honesty as much as any man ought to do, and am sure enough there is no grace where they are not; yet to make anything to be our holiness that is not derived from Jesus Christ, I know not what I do more abhor. An imagination hereof dethrones Christ from his glory, and overthrows the whole gospel. But we have a sort of men who plead that heathens may be eternally saved, so large and indulgent is their charity, and in the meantime endeavor, by all means possible, to destroy, temporally at least, all those Christians who stoop not to a compliance with all their imaginations. 2. Others there are who proceed much farther, and yet do but deceive themselves in the issue. Notions they have of good and evil by the light of nature, Romans 2:14,15. As they come with men into the world, and grow up with them as they come to the exercise of their reason, so they are not stifled without offering violence to the principles of nature by the power of sin; as it comes to pass in many, Ephesians 4:19; Timothy 4:2; Romans 1:31. These notions, therefore, are in many improved in process of time by convictions from the law, and great effects are produced hereby; for when the soul is once effectually convinced of sin, righteousness, and judgment, it cannot but endeavor after a deliverance from the one and an attainment of the other, that so it may be well with it at the last day. And here lie the springs or foundations of all the moral differences that we see amongst mankind. Some give themselves up unto all abominations, lasciviousness, uncleanness, drunkenness, frauds, oppressions, blasphemies, persecutions, as having no bounds fixed unto their lusts but what are given them by their own impotency or dread of human laws. Others endeavor to be sober, temperate, just, honest and upright in their dealings, with a sedulous performance of religious duties.

    This difference ariseth from the different power and efficacy of legal convictions upon the minds of men. And these convictions are in many variously improved, according to the light they receive in the means of knowledge which they do enjoy, or the errors and superstitions which they are misguided unto; for on this latter account do they grow up in some into penances, vows, uncommanded abstinences, and various selfmacerations, with other painful and costly duties. Where the light they receive is, in the general, according unto truth, there it will engage men into reformation of life, a multiplication of duties, abstinence from sin, profession, zeal, and a cordial engagement into one way or other in religion. Such persons may have good hopes themselves that they are holy; they may appear to the world so to be, and be accepted in the church of God as such; and yet really be utter strangers from true gospel holiness. And the reason is, because they have missed it in the foundation; and not having, in the first place, obtained an interest in Christ, have built their house on the sand, whence it will fall in the time of trouble. If it be said that all those who come up unto the duties mentioned are to be esteemed believers, if therewith they make profession of the true faith of the gospel, I willingly grant it; but if it be said that necessarily they are so indeed, and in the sight of God, and therefore are also sanctified and holy, I must say the contrary[; it] is expressly denied in the gospel, and especial instances given thereof.

    Wherefore let them wisely consider these things who have any conviction of the necessity of holiness. It may be they have done much in the pursuit of it, and have labored in the duties that materially belong unto it. Many things they have done, and many things forborne, upon the account of it, and still continue so to do. It may be they think that for all the world they would not be found among the number of unholy persons at the last day.

    This may be the condition of some, perhaps of many, who are yet but young, and but newly engaged into these ways upon their convictions. It may be so with them who for many days and years have been so following after a righteousness in a way of duty. But yet they meet with these two evils in their way: — 1. That duties of obedience seldom or never prove more easy , familiar, or pleasant unto them than they did at first, but rather are more grievous and burdensome everyday. 2. That they never come up unto a satisfaction in what they do, but still find that there is somewhat wanting. These make all they do burdensome and unpleasant unto them, which at length will betray them into backsliding and apostasy. But yet there is somewhat worse behind; all they have done, or are ever able to do, on the bottom upon which they stand, will come to no account, but perish with them at the great day.

    Would we prevent all these fatal evils? would we engage in a real, thriving, everlasting holiness? — let our first business be to secure a relation unto Jesus Christ, without which nothing of it will ever be attained.

    To close this discourse, I shall only from it obviate a putid calumny cast by the Papists, Quakers, and others of the same confederacy, against the grace of God, upon the doctrine of the free justification of a sinner, through the imputation of the righteousness of Christ: for with a shameless impudence they clamor on all by whom it is asserted, as those who maintain salvation to be attainable through a mere external imputation of righteousness; whilst those so saved are “unclean and unholy,” as the Quakers, or “negligent of the duties of righteousness and obedience,” as the Papists and others, slanderously report: for the frontless impudence of this calumny is sufficiently evident from hence, that as we assert sanctification and holiness to be peculiar only unto believing, justified persons, — that is, that faith and holiness are inseparable, habitually or actually, or in both regards, — so, in like manner, that all such persons are infallibly sanctified and made holy.

    All believers, and only believers, being sanctified and made holy, what it is that is sanctified in them, or what is the proper seat and subject of this work, is, in the next place, to be declared; for it is not a mere external denomination, as things were called “holy” under the Old Testament, nor any transient act, nor any series or course of actions, that we plead about, but that which hath, as a real being and existence, so a constant abiding or residence in us. Hence, he that is holy is always so, whether he be in the actual exercise of the duties of holiness or no, though an omission of any of them in their proper season is contrary unto and an impeachment of holiness, as to its degrees. Now, this subject of sanctification is the entire nature or whole person of a believer. It is not any one faculty of the soul or affection of the mind or part of the body that is sanctified, but the whole soul and body, or the entire nature, of every believing person. And hereby is the work of sanctification really distinguished from any other mere common work which may represent it, or pretend unto it; for all such works are partial. Either they are in the mind only by light and notions of truth, or on the affections only in zeal and devotion, or on the mind and conscience in the convictions of sin and duty; but farther they proceed not. But true holiness consists in the renovation of our whole persons; which must be demonstrated. 1. That our entire nature was originally created in the image of God I have proved before, and it is by all acknowledged. Our whole souls, in the rectitude of all their faculties and powers, in order unto the life of God and his enjoyment, did bear his image. Nor was it confined unto the soul only; the body also, not as to its shape, figure, or natural use, but as an essential part of our nature, was interested in the image of God by a participation of original righteousness. Hence the whole person was a meet principle for the communication of this image of God unto others, by the means of natural propagation, which is an act of the entire person; for a person created and abiding in the image of God, begetting another in his own image and likeness, had, by virtue of the covenant of creation, begotten him in the image of God also, — that is, had communicated unto him a nature upright and pure. 2. By the entrance of sin, this image of God, so far as it was our righteousness and holiness before him, was utterly defaced and lost. This also I have sufficiently evidenced before. It did not depart from any one power, part, or faculty of our souls, but from our whole nature.

    Accordingly, the Scripture describes, — (1.) The depravation of our nature distinctly, in all the powers of it. In particular, the corruption that ensued on our minds, wills, and affections, upon the loss of the image of God, I have before declared and vindicated.

    And, — (2.) In reference unto the first actings of all these faculties, in things moral and spiritual, the Scripture adds, that “all the thoughts and imaginations of our hearts are evil, and that continually,” Genesis 6:5. All the original first actings of the powers of our souls, in or about things rational and moral, are always evil; for “an evil tree cannot bring forth good fruit.” That which is lame and distorted can act nothing that is straight and regular.

    Hence, — (3.) All the outward actions of persons in this state and condition are evil, unfruitful works of darkness. And not only so, but, (4.) The Scripture, in the description of the effects of this depravation of our nature, calls in the body and the members of it unto a partnership in all this obliquity and sin: the “members” of the body are “servants unto uncleanness and iniquity,” Romans 6:19. And the engagement of them all in the course and actings of depraved nature is particularly declared by our apostle out of the psalmist, Romans 3:12-15, “They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulcher; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: their feet are swift to shed blood,” in all ways of evil.

    This being the state of our whole nature in its depravation, our sanctification, wherein alone its reparation in this life doth consist, must equally respect the whole. Some suppose that it is our affections only, in their deliverance from corrupt lusts and prejudices, with their direction unto heavenly objects, that are the subject of this work; for “the mind, or rational, intellectual power of the soul, is in itself,” they say, “pure, noble, untainted, and needs no other aid but to be delivered from the prejudices and obstructions of its operations, which are cast upon it by the engagements and inclinations of corrupt affections, and a vicious course of conversation in the world, received by uninterrupted tradition from our fathers, from whence it is not able to extricate or deliver itself without the aid of grace.” But they have placed their instance very unhappily; for, among all the things that belong unto our nature, there is not anyone which the Scripture so chargeth this depravation of it upon as the mind. This, in particular, is said to be “fleshly,” to be “enmity against God,” to be filled with “vanity, folly, and blindness,” as we have at large before evinced. Nor is there anything concerning which the work of sanctification and renovation is so expressly affirmed as it is concerning the mind. It is declared by the “renovation of our mind,” Romans 12:2; or “being renewed in the spirit of our mind,” Ephesians 4:23; that we “put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge,” Colossians 3:10; with other expressions of the like nature. It is therefore our entire nature that is the subject of evangelical holiness; for to manifest in particulars: — 1. Hence it is called the new man: Ephesians 4:24, “Put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and holiness.”

    As the principle of sin and corrupted nature in us is called “The old man,” for no other reason but that it possesseth all the active powers of the whole man, so that he neither doth nor can do anything but what is influenced thereby; so this principle of holiness in us, the renovation of our natures, is called “The new man,” because it possesseth the whole person with respect unto its proper operations and ends. And it extends itself as large as the old man, or the depravation of our natures, which takes in the whole person, soul and body, with all their faculties and powers. 2. The heart, in the Scripture, is taken for the whole soul, and all the faculties of it, as they are one common principle of all moral operations, as I have proved before; whatever, therefore, is wrought in and upon the heart, under this consideration, is wrought upon the whole soul. Now, this is not only said to be affected with this work of sanctification, or to have holiness wrought in it, but the principal description that is given us of this work consists in this, that therein and thereby a “new heart” is given unto us, or created in us, as it is expressed in the promise of the covenant. This, therefore, can be nothing but the possessing of all the powers and faculties of our souls with a new principle of holiness and obedience unto God. 3. There is especial mention made of the effecting of this work on our souls and bodies, with their powers and faculties distinctly. This I have already proved in the declaration of the work of our regeneration, or conversion to God; which is only preserved, cherished, improved, and carried on to its proper end, in our sanctification. The nature, also, of that spiritual light which is communicated unto our minds, of life unto our wills, of love unto our affections, hath been declared. Therefore doth it follow thence unavoidably, that the whole person is the subject of this work, and that holiness hath its residence in the whole soul entirely. 4. We need go no farther for the proof hereof than unto that prayer of the apostle for the Thessalonians which we insisted on at the beginning of this discourse: 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “The God of peace himself sanctify you oJlotelei~v , throughout,” — that is, “in your whole natures or persons, in all that you are and do, that you may not in this or that part, but be every whit clean and holy throughout.” And to make this the more evident, that we may know what it is which he prays may be sanctified, and thereby preserved blameless to the coming of Christ, he distributes our whole nature into the two essential parts of soul and body. And in the former he considereth two things: — (1.) The spirit; (2.) The soul, peculiarly so called.

    And this distinction frequently occurs in the Scripture; wherein that by the “spirit” the mind or intellectual faculty is understood, and by the “soul” the affections, is generally acknowledged, and may evidently be proved. These, therefore, the apostle prays may be sanctified and preserved holy throughout and entirely, and that by the infusion of a habit of holiness into them, with its preservation and improvement; whereof more afterward. But this is not all. Our bodies are an essential part of our natures, and by their union with our souls are we constituted individual persons. Now, we are the principles of all our operations as we are persons; every moral act we do is the act of the whole person. The body, therefore, is concerned in the good and evil of it. It became a subject of the depravation of our nature by concomitancy and participation, and is considered as one entire principle with the soul of communicating original defilement from parents unto children. Besides, it is now subject, in that corruption of its constitution which it is fallen under as a punishment of sin, unto many disorderly motions, that are incentives and provocations unto sin. Hence sin is said to “reign in our mortal bodies,” and our “members to be servants unto unrighteousness,” Romans 6:12,19.

    Moreover, by its participation in the defilement and punishment of sin, the body is disposed and made obnoxious unto corruption and destruction; for death entered by sin, and no otherwise. On all these accounts, therefore, it is necessary, on the other hand, that the body should be interested in this work and privilege of sanctification and holiness; and so it is, — (1.) By participation: for it is our persons that are sanctified and made holy (“Sanctify them throughout”); and although our souls are the first proper subject of the infused habit or principle of holiness, yet our bodies, as essential parts of our natures, are partakers thereof. (2.) By a peculiar influence of the grace of God upon them also, as far as they have any influence into moral operations; for the apostle tells us that “our bodies are members of Christ,” 1 Corinthians 6:15, and so, consequently, have influences of grace from him as our head. (3.) In the work of sanctification the Holy Ghost comes and dwells in us; and hereon “our bodies are the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in us;” and “the temple of God is holy,” 1 Corinthians 3:16,17, — although, I confess, this rather belongs unto the holiness of peculiar dedication unto God, whereof we shall treat afterward. And, [1.] Hereby are the parts and members of the body made instruments and “servants to righteousness unto holiness,” Romans 6:19, — do become meet and fit for to be used in the acts and duties of holiness, as being made clean and sanctified unto God. [2.] Hereby are they disposed and prepared unto a blessed resurrection at the last day; which shall be wrought by the Spirit of Christ, which dwelt in them and sanctified them in this life, Romans 8:10,11; Philippians 3:20,21; 2 Corinthians 4:14,16,17.

    Our whole persons, therefore, and in them our whole natures, are the subject of this work, and true holiness invests the whole of it. Now, whether this universal investiture of our nature, in all the faculties and powers of it, by a new principle of holiness and obedience unto God, whereby it is renewed into his image, do belong unto that moral virtue which some so plead for as to substitute it in the room of gospel holiness, they may do well to consider who are the patrons of that cause; for if it do not, then doth not itself belong unto that holiness which the gospel teacheth, requireth, promiseth, and communicates, whatever else it be.

    And, moreover, it is practically worthy consideration that men deceive not themselves with a partial work in conviction only, or change of the affections also, instead of this evangelical sanctification. It is often and truly spoken unto, how men may have their minds enlightened, their affections wrought upon, and their lives much changed, and yet come short of real holiness. The best trial of this work is by its universality with respect unto its subject. If anything remain unsanctified in us, sin may there set up its throne and maintain its sovereignty. But where this work is true and real, however weak and imperfect it may be as unto its degrees, yet it possesseth the whole person, and leaveth not the least hold unto sin, wherein it doth not continually combat and conflict with it. There is saving light in the mind, and life in the will, and love in the affections, and grace in the conscience, suited to its nature; there is nothing in us whereunto the power of holiness doth not reach according to its measure. Men may, therefore, if they please, deceive themselves by taking up with some notions in their minds, some devotions in their affections, or some good and virtuous deeds in their conversations, but holiness doth not consist therein.

    And, lastly, men may hence see how vainly they excuse themselves in their sins, their passions, intemperances, and the like disorders of mind, from their constitutions and inclinations; for true sanctification reacheth unto the body also. It is true, grace doth not so change the natural constitution as to make him that was sickly to be healthy and strong, nor so as to make him who was melancholy to be sanguine, or the like; it altereth not the course of the blood, and the animal spirits, with the impressions they make on our minds. But consider these things morally, and as the whole person is a principle of spiritual and moral operations, and so it doth work such change and alteration on the whole person as to cure morally sinful distempers, as of passion, elation of mind, and intemperances, which men were before more than ordinarily inclined unto by their tempers and constitutions; yea, from the efficacy of it upon our whole persons, in the curing of such habitual inordinate and sinful distempers, lies the principal discovery of its truth and reality. Let no men, therefore, pretend that grace and holiness do not change men’s constitutions, thereby to excuse and palliate their disorderly passions before men, and to keep themselves from being humbled for them before God; for although it do not so naturally and physically, yet it doth so morally, so that the constitution itself shall be no more such a fomes and incentive unto disorderly passions as it hath been. If grace hath not cured that passion, pride, causeless anger, inveterate wrath, intemperance, which men’s constitutions peculiarly incline unto, I know not, for my part, what it hath done, nor what a number of outward duties do signify. The Spirit and grace of Christ cause “the wolf to dwell with the lamb, and the leopard to lie down with the kid,” Isaiah 11:6. It will change the most wild and savage nature into meekness, gentleness, and kindness; examples whereof have been multiplied in the world.

    CHAPTER 4.

    THE DEFILEMENT OF SIN, WHEREIN IT CONSISTS, WITH ITS PURIFICATION. Purification the first proper notion of sanctification — Institution of baptism confirming the same apprehension — A spiritual defilement and pollution in sin — The nature of that defilement, or wherein it doth consist — Depravations of nature and acts with respect unto God’s holiness, how and why called “filth” and “pollution” — Twofold pravity and defilement of sin — Its aggravations — We cannot purge it of ourselves, nor could it be done by the law, nor by any ways invented by men for that end. THESE things being premised, we proceed to the consideration of sanctification itself, in a farther explication of the description before given; and the first thing we ascribe unto the Spirit of God herein, which constitutes the first part of it, is the purifying and cleansing of our nature from the pollution of sin. Purification is the first proper notion of internal real sanctification; and although, in order of time, it doth not precede the other acts and parts of this work, yet in order of nature it is first proposed and apprehended. To be unclean absolutely and to be holy are universally opposed. Not to be purged from sin is an expression of an unholy person, as to be cleansed is of him that is holy. And this purification, or the effecting of this work of cleansing, is ascribed unto all the causes and means of sanctification; as, — 1. Unto the Spirit, who is the principal efficient of the whole. Not that sanctification consists wholly herein, but firstly and necessarily it is required thereunto, Proverbs 30:12; Ezekiel 36:25, “I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” That this sprinkling of clean water upon us is the communication of the Spirit unto us for the end designed, I have before evinced. It hath also been declared wherefore he is called “water,” or compared thereunto. And the 27th verse shows expressly that it is the Spirit of God which is intended: “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes.” And that which he is thus in the first place promised for is the cleansing of us from the pollution of sin; which, in order of nature, is preposed unto his enabling us to walk in God’s statutes, or to yield holy obedience unto him.

    To the same purpose, among many others, is that promise, Isaiah 4:4, “When the Lord shall have washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and shall have purged the blood of Jerusalem from the midst thereof by the Spirit of judgment, and by the Spirit of burning.”

    Upon what ground the Spirit is compared to fire, and thence here called a “Spirit of burning,” hath been also declared. In brief, fire and water were the means whereby all things were purified and cleansed typically in the law, Numbers 31:23; and the Holy Spirit being the principal efficient cause of all spiritual cleansing is compared to them both (by which his work was signified), and called by their names. See Malachi 3:2,3. And “judgment” is frequently taken for holiness. “The Spirit of judgment,” therefore, and the “Spirit of burning,” is the Spirit of sanctification and purification. And he is here promised for the sanctification of the elect of God. And how shall he effect this work? He shall do it, in the first place, by “washing away their filth and purging away their blood;” — that is, all their spiritual, sinful defilements. 2. The application of the death and blood of Christ unto our souls, for our sanctification, by the Holy Ghost, is said to be for our cleansing and purging: Ephesians 5:25,26, “Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word.” He “gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” Titus 2:14. “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin,” 1 John 1:7. “He loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,” Revelation 1:5. “The blood of Christ purgeth our conscience from dead works to serve the living God,” Hebrews 9:14. Respect, I acknowledge, in some of these places, may be had unto the expiation of the guilt of sin by the blood of Christ as offered in sacrifice, for so “by himself he purged our sins,” chapter 1:3; but as they all suppose a defilement in sin, so the most of them respect its cleansing by the application of the virtue of the blood of Christ unto our souls and consciences in our sanctification. And, — 3. Moreover, where sanctification is enjoined us as our duty, it is prescribed under this notion of cleansing ourselves from sin: “Wash you, make you clean,” Isaiah 1:16. “O Jerusalem, wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved,” Jeremiah 4:14. “Having therefore these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God,” 2 Corinthians 7:1. “Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself,” 1 John 3:3; <19B909> Psalm 119:9; 2 Timothy 2:21. And the like expressions of this duty occur in other places. 4. Answerable unto these promises and precepts, and in confirmation of them, we have the institution of the ordinance of baptism, the outward way and means of our initiation into the Lord Christ and the profession of the gospel, the great representation of the inward “washing of regeneration,” Titus 3:5. Now this baptism, in the first place, expresseth the outward “putting away of the filth of the flesh,” by external washing with material water, 1 Peter 3:21. And that which answers hereunto can be nothing but the inward purifying of our souls and consciences by the grace of the Spirit of God; that is, saith our apostle, the “putting off the body of the sins of the flesh,” Colossians 2:11, which contains the whole defilement and corruption of sin: and this also was typed out unto us by all the legal purifications of old. Wherefore, we shall do three things in the explication of this first branch of our sanctification: — 1. Show that there is a spiritual pollution and defilement in sin; 2. Declare what it is, or wherein it doth consist; and, 3. Manifest how it is removed or washed away, and believers made holy thereby.

    For theFIRST, it needs not much to be insisted on. Our minds and their conceptions are in these things to be regulated by divine revelation and expressions. And in the whole representation made unto us in the Scripture of the nature of sin, of our concernment therein, of the respect of God towards us on the account thereof, of the way and means whereby we may be delivered from it, there is nothing so much inculcated as its being filthy, abominable, full of defilement and pollution; which is set forth both in plain expressions and various similitudes. On the account hereof is it said to be “abhorred of God, the abominable thing which his soul hateth, which he cannot behold, which he cannot but hate and detest;” and it is compared to “blood, wounds, sores, leprosy, scum, loathsome diseases.” With respect hereunto is it so frequently declared that we must be “washed, purged, purified, cleansed,” as in the testimonies before cited, before we can be accepted with him or be brought to the enjoyment of him. And the work of the Spirit of Christ in the application of his blood unto us for the taking away of sin is compared to the effects of “fire, water, soap, nitre,” everything that hath a purifying, cleansing faculty in it.

    These things so frequently occur in the Scripture, and testimonies concerning them are so multiplied, that it is altogether needless to produce particular instances. This is evident and undeniable, that the Scripture, which regulates our conceptions about spiritual things, expressly declares all sin to be “uncleanness,” and every sinner to be “defiled” thereby, and all unsanctified persons to be “wholly unclean;” and how far these expressions are metaphorical, or wherein the metaphor doth consist, must be afterward declared.

    Besides, there is no notion of sin and holiness whereof believers have a more sensible, spiritual experience; for although they may not or do not comprehend the metaphysical notion or nature of this pollution and defilement of sin, yet they are sensible of the effects it produceth in their minds and consciences. They find that in sin which is attended with shame and self-abhorrency, and requires deep abasement of soul. They discern in it, or in themselves on the account of it, an unsuitableness unto the holiness of God, and an unfitness thereon for communion with him.

    Nothing do they more earnestly labor after in their prayers and supplications than a cleansing from it by the blood of Christ, nor are any promises more precious unto them than those which express their purification and purging from it; for these are they which, next unto their interest in the atonement made by the sacrifice of Christ, give them boldness in their approaches unto God. So our apostle fully expresseth it, Hebrews 10:19-22: “Having therefore boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; and having an high priest over the house of God; let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.”

    The foundation of all our confidence in our access unto God, the right and title we have to approach unto him, is laid in the blood of Christ, the sacrifice he offered, the atonement he made, and the remission of sins which he obtained thereby: which effect of it he declares, verse 19, “Having boldness by the blood of Jesus.” The way of our access is by pleading an interest in his death and suffering, whereby an admission and acceptance is consecrated for us: Verse 20, “By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated.” And our encouragement to make use of this foundation and to engage in this way is taken from his discharge of the office of a high priest in our behalf: ‘“Having an high priest over the house of God, let us draw near.”

    But besides all this, when we come to an actual address unto God, that we may make use of the boldness given us in the full assurance of faith, it is moreover required that “our hearts be sprinkled, and our bodies washed;” — that is, that our whole persons be purified from the defilement of sin by the sanctification of the Spirit. And this experience of believers we cannot only oppose unto and plead against the stupidity of such persons by whom these things are derided, but conclude from it that those who are unacquainted with it, in some degree of sincerity, are wholly uninterested in that evangelical holiness which we inquire after. We need not, therefore, farther labor in the confirmation of that concerning which the testimonies of Scripture are so multiplied, and whereof we have such undoubted experience. SECONDLY, The nature of this defilement of sin must be inquired into. 1. By some it is reckoned unto guilt; for whereas the inseparable effects of guilt are shame and fear , whereby it immediately evidenced itself in our first parents, and shame, in particular, is from this filth of sin, it may be esteemed an adjunct thereof. Hence sin was said to be “purged by sacrifices” when its guilt was expiated; and Christ is said to “purge our sins by himself,” — that is, when he offered himself a sacrifice for us, Hebrews 1:3. And therefore it is granted, that so far as the filth of sin was taken away, not by actual purification, but by legal expiation, it is sin with its guilt that was intended. But the Scripture, as we have showed, intendeth more hereby, even such an internal, inherent defilement as is taken away by real actual sanctification, and no otherwise. 2. There are some especial sins which have a peculiar pollution and defilement attending them, and which thereon are usually called “uncleanness” in a peculiar manner. The ground hereof is in that of the apostle, 1 Corinthians 6:18: “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.”

    All sins of that nature have a peculiar defilement and filth accompanying them. And holiness is sometimes mentioned in an opposition unto this especial pollution, 1 Thessalonians 4:3. But yet this is not that which we inquire after, although it be included in it as one especial kind of it.

    That which we now consider always inseparably attends every sin as sin, as an adjunct or effect of it. It is the uncleanness of all sin, and not the sin of uncleanness, which we intend; and for the discovery of its proper nature we may observe, — (1.) That the pollution of sin is that property of it whereby it is directly opposed unto the holiness of God, and which God expresseth his holiness to be contrary unto. Hence he is said to be “of purer eyes than to behold evil, or to look on iniquity,” Habbakuk 1:13. It is a thing vile and loathsome unto the eyes of his holiness, Psalm 5:4-6. So, speaking concerning it, he useth that pathetical dehortation, “Oh, do not this abominable thing that I hate,” Jeremiah 44:4. And with respect unto his own holiness it is that he sets it forth by the names of all things which are vile, filthy, loathsome, offensive, — everything that is abominable. It is so to him, as he is infinitely pure and holy in his own nature. And that consideration which ingenerates shame and self-abhorrency on the account of the defilement of sin is taken peculiarly from the holiness of God.

    Hence it is that persons are so often said to “blush,” to be “ashamed,” to be “filled with confusion of face,” to be “vile,” to be “abased in their own sight,” under a sense and apprehension of this filth of sin. (2.) The holiness of God is the infinite, absolute perfection and rectitude of his nature, as the eternal original cause and pattern of truth, uprightness, and rectitude in all. And this holiness doth God exert, as in all he doth, naturally and necessarily, so particularly in his law; which is therefore good, holy, and perfect, because it represents the holiness of God, which is impressed on it. God might not have made any creature nor given a law, which are free acts of his will; but on supposition he would do so, it was absolutely necessary from his own nature that this law of his should be holy. And, therefore, whatever is contrary unto or different from the law of God is so unto and from the holiness of God himself. Hence it follows, — (3.) That this defilement and pollution of sin is that pravity, disorder, and shameful crookedness that is in it, with respect unto the holiness of God as expressed in the law.

    Sin is either original or actual. Original sin is the habitual inconformity of our natures unto the holiness of God expressed in the law of creation.

    Actual sin is our inconformity to God and his holiness expressed in the particular commands of the law. The nature of all sin, therefore, consists in its enmity, its inconformity to the rule. Now, this rule, which is the law, may be considered two ways, which give a twofold respect, or inseparable consequent or adjunct, unto every sin: — [1.] As it expresseth the authority of God in its precepts and sanction.

    Hence guilt inseparably follows every sin, which is the respect it induceth on the sinner unto the law, upon the account of the authority of the Lawgiver. The act of sin passeth away, but this guilt abideth on the person, and must do so, until the law be satisfied, and the sinner thereon absolved. This naturally produceth fear, which is the first expression of a sense of guilt. So Adam expressed it upon his sin: “I heard thy voice, and I was afraid,” Genesis 3:10. [2.] The law may be considered as it expresseth the holiness of God and his truth; which it was necessary, from the nature of God, that it should do. Hence there is in sin a peculiar inconformity to the holiness of God; which is the “macula,” the “spot,” “stain,” and “filth” of it; which are inseparable from it whilst God is holy, unless it be purged and done away, as we shall show. And this is inseparably attended with shame; which is the expression of a sense of this filth of sin. So Adam upon his sin had his eyes open to see his nakedness, and was filled with shame. This is the order of these things: — God, who is the object of our obedience and sin, is considered as the supreme lawgiver. On his law he hath impressed his authority and his holiness. Sin, with respect unto his authority, is attended with guilt; and this, in the conscience of the sinner, produceth fear: as it respects the holiness of God, it is attended with filth or uncleanness; and this produceth shame. And the ultimate effects of it are, on the first account, “poena sensus;” on the other, “poena damni.” This, therefore, is the spot, the stain, the pollution of sin, which is purged in our sanctification, — the perverse disorder and shameful crookedness that is in sin with respect unto the holiness of God.

    And herein there is a real filthiness, but spiritual, which is compared with and opposed unto things materially and carnally so. “Not that which goeth into a man,” meat of any sort, “defileth him,” saith our Savior, “but that which cometh out of the heart,” — that is, spiritually, with respect unto God, his law and holiness. And as men are taught the guilt of sin by their own fear, which is the inseparable adjunct of it, so are they taught the filth of sin by their own shame, which unavoidably attends it. To instruct us herein is one end of the law and the gospel; for in the renovation of the law, which was added to the promise “because of transgressions,” Galatians 3:19, and in the institutions annexed unto it, God designed to instruct us farther in them both, with the ways whereby we may be freed from them. In the doctrine of the law, with the sanction and curse of it, and the institution of sacrifices to make atonement for sin, God declared the nature of guilt and its remedy. By the same law, and by the institution of sundry ordinances for purification and cleansing, as also by determining sundry ceremonial defilements, he makes known the nature of this filth and its remedy. To what end were so many meats and drinks, so many diseases and natural distempers, so many external fortuitous accidents, as touching the dead, and the like, made religiously unclean by the law? It was to no other but to teach us the nature of the spiritual defilement of sin. And to the same end, together with a demonstration of the relief and remedy thereof, were the ordinances of purification instituted; which, as they were outward and carnal, purged those uncleannesses, as they also were outward and carnal, made so by the law. But internal and spiritual things were taught and prefigured hereby, yea, wrought and effected, by virtue of their typical relation to Christ, as the apostle teacheth: Hebrews 9:13,14, “If the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?” And hence the whole work of sanctification is expressed by “opening a fountain for sin and for uncleanness;” that is, the purging of them away, Zechariah 13:1. So is it in the gospel, where the blood of Christ is said to “purge” our sins with respect to guilt, and to “wash” our souls with respect to filth. Yea, so inseparable is this filth from sin, and shame from filth, that wherever abides a sense of sin, there is a sense of this filth with shame. The very heathen, who had only the workings of their minds and consciences for their guide, were never able to quit themselves from a sense of this pollution of sin; and thence proceeded all those ways of lustration, purgation, and cleansing, by washings, sacrifices, and mysterious ceremonious observances, which they had invented. It remains, therefore, only that we inquire a little into the reasons and causes why this pravity of sin and discrepancy from the holiness of God is such a defilement of our natures, and so inseparably attended with shame; for without the consideration hereof we can never understand the true nature of sanctification and holiness. And it will, also, then yet farther appear how openly they betray their prodigious ignorance of these things who pretend that all grace consists in the practice of moral virtues. And we may to this purpose observe, — 1. That the spiritual beauty and comeliness of the soul consists in its conformity unto God. Grace gives beauty. Hence it is said of the Lord Christ that he is “fairer,” or more beautiful, “than the children of men,” and that because “grace was poured into his lips,” Psalm 45:2. And when the church is furnished or adorned with his graces, he affirms her to be “fair and comely,” Song of Solomon 1:5, 6:4, 7:6. Christ by washing of it takes away its “spots and wrinkles,” rendering it beautiful, — that is, “holy and without blemish,” Ephesians 5:27. And this beauty originally consisted in the image of God in us, which contained the whole order, harmony, and symmetry of our natures, in all their faculties and actions, with respect unto God and our utmost end. That, therefore, which is contrary hereunto, as is all and every sin, hath a deformity in it, or brings spots, stains, and wrinkles on the soul. There is in sin all that is contrary to spiritual beauty and comeliness, to inward order and glory; and this is the filth and pollution of it. 2. Holiness and conformity to God is the honor of our souls. It is that alone which makes them truly noble; for all honor consists in an accession unto him who is the only spring and absolute possessor of all that is so, in whom alone is originally and perfectly all being and substance. Now, this we have alone by holiness, or that image of God wherein we are created.

    Whatever is contrary hereunto is base, vile, and unworthy. This is sin; which is, therefore, the only base thing in nature. Hence it is said of some great sinners that they had “debased themselves to hell,” Isaiah 57:9.

    This belongs to the pollution of sin, — that it is base, vile, unworthy, dishonoring the soul, filling it with shame in itself and contempt from God; and there are no persons, who are not absolutely hardened, but are in their own minds and consciences sensible of this baseness of sin, as they are also of the deformity that is in it. When men’s eyes are opened to see their nakedness, how vile and base they have made themselves by sin, they will have a sense of this pollution not easily to be expressed. And from hence it is that sin hath the properties and effects of uncleanness in the sight of God and in the conscience of the sinner: — God abhors, loathes it, accounts it an abominable thing, as that which is directly contrary to his holiness, which, as impressed on the law, is the rule of purity, integrity, spiritual beauty, and honor; and in the conscience of the sinner it is attended with shame, as a thing deformed, loathsome, vile, base, and dishonorable. See Jeremiah 2:26.

    In all in whom it is, I say, unless they are blind and obdurate, it fills them with shame. I speak not of such as are little or not at all spiritually sensible of sin or any of its properties, who fear not because of its guilt, nor are disquieted by its power, nor acquainted with its fomes or disposition to evil, and so not ashamed of its filth; much less of such as are given over to work all uncleanness with delight and greediness, wallowing in the pollution of it, like the sow in the mire, who not only do the things which God abhorreth, but also have pleasure in them that do them; but those I intend who have the least real conviction of the nature and tendency of sin, who are all, in one degree or other, ashamed of it as a filthy thing. And a casting off of outward shame, that is so from its object, or shame with respect unto the conscience and judgment of human kind, — as those do who “proclaim their sins as Sodom, and hide them not,” — is the highest aggravation of sinning and contempt of God; and the casting out of inward shame, with respect unto the divine omniscience, is the highest evidence of a reprobate mind. But in all others, who have more light and spiritual sense, it produceth shame and self-abhorrency, which hath always a respect unto the holiness of God; as Job 42:5,6. They see that in sin which is so vile, base, and filthy, and which renders them so, that, like unto men under a loathsome disease, they are not able to bear the sight of their own sores, Psalm 38:5. God detesteth, abhorreth, and turneth from sin as a loathsome thing, and man is filled with shame for it; it is, therefore, filthy. Yea, no tongue can express the sense which a believing soul hath of the uncleanness of sin with respect unto the holiness of God. And this may suffice to give a little prospect into the nature of this defilement of sin, which the Scripture so abundantly insisteth on, and which all believers are so sensible of.

    This pravity or spiritual disorder with respect unto the holiness of God, which is the shameful defilement of sin, is twofold: — 1. That which is habitual in all the faculties of our souls by nature, as they are the principle of our spiritual and moral operations. They are all shamefully and loathsomely depraved, out of order, and no way correspondent unto the holiness of God. Hence by nature we are wholly unclean; — who can bring a clean thing out of that which is unclean? And this uncleanness is graphically expressed under the similitude of a wretched, polluted infant, Ezekiel 16:3-5. 2. That which is actual in all the actings of our faculties as so defiled, and as far as they are so defiled; for, — (1.) Be any sin of what nature it will, there is a pollution attending it.

    Hence the apostle adviseth us to “cleanse ourselves from all pollutions of the flesh and spirit,” 2 Corinthians 7:1. The sins that are internal and spiritual, as pride, self-love, covetousness, unbelief, have a pollution attending them, as well as those which are fleshly and sensual. (2.) So far as anything of this pravity or disorder mixeth itself with the best of our duties, it renders both us and them unclean: Isaiah 64:6, “We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.”

    This uncleanness as it is habitual, respecting our natural defilement, is equal in and unto every one that is born into the world; we are by nature all alike polluted, and that to the utmost of what our nature is capable. But with respect unto actual sins it is not so; for in them it hath various degrees and aggravations, even as many as sin itself hath: — 1. The greater the sin is from its nature or circumstances, the greater is the defilement wherewith it is attended. Hence there is no sin expressed under such terms of filthiness and abhorrence as idolatry, which is the greatest of sins. See Ezekiel 16:36,37. Or, 2. There is an aggravation of it when the whole person is defiled, as it is in the case of fornication, before instanced in. 3. It is heightened by a continuance in sin, whereby an addition is made to its pollution every day, and which is called “wallowing in the mire,” 2 Peter 2:22.

    I have in this whole discourse but touched upon this consideration of sin, which the Scripture so frequently mentions and inculcates; for as all the first insitutions of divine worship recorded therein had some respect hereunto, so the last rejection of obstinate sinners mentioned in it is, “He which is filthy,” or unclean, “let him be filthy still,” Revelation 22:11.

    Neither is there any notion of sin, whereby God would convey an apprehension of its nature and an abhorrency thereof unto our minds and consciences, so frequently insisted on as is this of its pollution. And in order to our use of it unto the discovery of the nature of holiness, we may yet observe these three [five?] things: — 1. Where this uncleanness abideth unpurged, there neither is nor can be any true holiness at all, Ephesians 4:22-24; for it is universally opposed unto it, — it is our unholiness. Where, therefore, it is absolute, and purified in no measure or degree, there is no work of sanctification, no holiness so much as begun; for in the purging hereof it makes its entrance upon the soul, and its effect therein is the first beginning of holiness in us.

    I acknowledge that it is not in any at once absolutely and perfectly taken away in this world; for the work of purging it is a continued act, commensurate unto the whole work of our sanctification: and, therefore, they who are truly sanctified and holy are yet deeply sensible of the remainder of it in themselves, do greatly bewail it, and earnestly endeavor after the removal of it. But there is an initial, real, sincere, and (as to all the faculties of the soul) universal purging of it, which belongs to the nature and essence of holiness, begun and carried on, though not absolutely perfected, in this life. And men who pretend unto a grace and holiness that should consist in moral virtue only, without a supposition of and respect unto the purification of this pollution of sin, do but deceive their own souls and others, so far as any are forsaken of God to give credit unto them. The virtues of men not purged from the uncleanness of their natures are an abomination to the Lord, Titus 1:15. 2. Unless this uncleanness of sin be purged and washed away, we can never come unto the enjoyment of God: “Nothing that defileth shall in any wise enter into the new Jerusalem,” Revelation 21:27. To suppose that an unpurified sinner can be brought unto the blessed enjoyment of God, is to overthrow both the law and the gospel, and to say that Christ died in vain. It is, therefore, of the same importance with the everlasting salvation of our souls to have them purged from sin. 3. We are not able of ourselves, without the especial aid, assistance, and operation of the Spirit of God, in any measure or degree to free ourselves from this pollution, neither that which is natural and habitual nor that which is actual. It is true, it is frequently prescribed unto us as our duty, — we are commanded to “wash ourselves,” to “cleanse ourselves from sin,” to “purge ourselves” from all our iniquities, and the like, frequently; but to suppose that whatever God requireth of us that we have power of ourselves to do, is to make the cross and grace of Jesus Christ of none effect. Our duty is our duty, constituted unalterably by the law of God, whether we have power to perform it or no, seeing we had so at our first obligation by and unto the law, which God is not obliged to bend unto a conformity to our warpings, nor to suit unto our sinful weaknesses.

    Whatever, therefore, God worketh in us in a way of grace, he prescribeth unto us in a way of duty, and that because although he do it in us, yet he also doth it by us, so as that the same work is an act of his Spirit and of our wills as acted thereby. Of ourselves, therefore, we are not able, by any endeavors of our own, nor ways of our own finding out, to cleanse ourselves from the defilement of sin. “If I be wicked,” saith Job, “why then labor I in vain? If I wash myself with snow water, and make my hands never so clean, yet shalt thou plunge me in the ditch, and mine own clothes shall make me to be abhorred,” chapter 9:29-31.

    There may be ways and means used whereby an appearance of washing and cleansing may be made; but when things come to be tried in the sight of God, all will be found filthy and unclean. In vain, saith the prophet, shalt thou take to thyself soap and much nitre, thou shalt not be purged, Jeremiah 2:22. The most probable means of cleansing, and the most effectual in our judgment, however multiplied, shall fail in this case. Some speak much of “washing away their sins by the tears of repentance;” but repentance as prescribed in the Scripture is of another nature, and assigned unto another end. And for men’s tears in this matter, they are but “soap and nitre,” which, howsoever multiplied, will not produce the effect intended; and therefore doth God, in places of Scripture innumerable, take this to himself as the immediate effect of his Spirit and grace, — namely, to “cleanse us from our sins and our iniquities.” 4. The institutions of the law for this end, to purge uncleanness, could not of themselves reach thereunto. They did, indeed, purify the unclean legally, and sanctified persons as to the “purifying of the flesh,” Hebrews 9:13, so that they should not on their account be separated from their privileges in the congregation and the worship of God; but of themselves they could go no farther, chapter <581001> 10:1-4, only they did typify and signify that whereby sin was really cleansed. But the real stain is too deep to be taken away by any outward ordinances or institutions; and therefore God, as it were, rejecting them all, promiseth to open another fountain to that purpose, Zechariah 13:1. Wherefore, — 5. There is a great emptiness and vanity in all those aids and reliefs which the papal church hath invented in this case. Sensible they are of the spot and stain that accompanies sin, of its pollution and defilement, which none can avoid whose consciences are not utterly hardened and blinded; but they are ignorant of the true and only means and remedy thereof. And, therefore, as in the work of justification, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and going about to establish their own righteousness, they submit not themselves to the righteousness of God, as the apostle spake of their predecessors; so in the work of sanctification, being ignorant of the ways of the working of the Spirit of grace and efficacy of the blood of Christ, they go about to set up their own imaginations, and submit not themselves unto a compliance with the grace of God. Thus, in the first place, they would (at least the most of them would) have the whole uncleanness of our natures to be washed away by baptism, “virtute operis operati.” The ordinance being administered, without any more to do, or any previous qualifications of the person, internal or external, the filth of original sin is washed away; though it fell not out so with Simon Magus, who, notwithstanding he was baptized by Philip the evangelist, and that upon his visible profession and confession, yet continued “in the gall of bitterness and bond of iniquity,” and was therefore certainly not cleansed from his sins. But there is a cleansing in profession and signification, and there is a cleansing in the reality of sanctification. The former doth accompany baptism when it is rightly administered. With respect hereunto are men said to be “purged from their old sins,” — that is, to have made a profession, and have had a fair representation thereof in being made partakers of the outward sign of it, — 2 Peter 1:9; as also to escape the “pollutions of the world” and the “lusts of the flesh,” chapter 2:18, 20. But all this may be, and yet sin not be really purged; for not only the “outward washing of regeneration” in the pledge of it, but the “internal renovation of the Holy Ghost,” is required thereunto, Titus 3:5. But having thus shifted themselves of the filth of original sin, as easily as a man may put off his clothes when they are foul, they have found out many ways whereby the ensuing defilements that attend actual sins may be purged or done away. There is the sprinkling of holy water, confession to a priest, penances, in fasting and some other abstinences, that are supposed to be of wonderful virtue to this end and purpose. And I do acknowledge that the one art of confession is really the greatest invention to accommodate the inclinations of all flesh that ever this world was acquainted withal: for as nothing is so suited unto all the carnal interests of the priests, be they what they will, nor so secures them a veneration in the midst of their looseness and worthless conversation; so for the people, who, for the most part, have other business to do than long to trouble themselves about their sins, or find it uneasy to be conversant about their guilt and the consequences of it in their minds, it is such an expedite course of absolute exoneration, that they may be free for other sins or businesses, to deposit them wholly and safely with a priest, that nothing equal unto it could ever have been invented; — for the real way of dealing with God by Jesus Christ in these things, with endeavors of a participation in the sanctifying, cleansing work of the Holy Ghost, is long, and very irksome to flesh and blood, besides that it is intricate and foolish unto natural darkness and unbelief. But yet it so falls out that, after all these inventions, they can come to no perfect rest or satisfaction in their own minds. They cannot but find by experience that their sores sometimes break forth through all these sorry coverings, unto their annoyance; and their defilements yet fill them with shame, as well as the guilt of sin doth with fear. Wherefore they betake themselves to their sheet-anchor in this storm, — in the relief which they have provided in another world, when, let men find themselves never so much mistaken, they cannot complain of their disappointments. This is in their purgatory, whereunto they must trust at last for the cancelling of all their odd scores, and purging away that filth of sin which they have been unwilling to part withal in this world. But as this whole business of purgatory is a groundless fable, an invention set up in competition with and opposition unto the sanctification of the Spirit and cleansing virtue of the blood of Christ, as a matter of unspeakably more profit and secular advantage unto those who have its management committed unto them; so it is as great an encouragement unto unholiness and a continuance in sin for those who believe it, and at the same time love the pleasures of sin (which are the generality of their church), as ever was or can be found out or made use of: for, to come with a plain, downright dissuasure from holiness and encouragement unto sin is a design that would absolutely defeat itself, nor is capable of making impression on them who retain the notion of a difference between good and evil; but this side-wind, that at once pretends to relieve men from the filth of sin, and keeps them from the only ways and means whereby it may be cleansed, insensibly leads them into a quiet pursuit of their lusts, under an expectation of relief when all is past and done. Wherefore, setting aside such vain imaginations, we may inquire into the true causes and ways of our purification from the uncleanness of sin described, wherein the first part of our sanctification and the foundation of our holiness doth consist.

    CHAPTER 5.

    THE FILTH OF SIN PURGED BY THE SPIRIT AND BLOOD OF CHRIST. Purification of the filth of sin the first part of sanctification — How it is effected — The work of the Spirit therein — Efficacy of the blood of Christ to that purpose — The blood of his sacrifice intended — How that blood cleanseth sin — Application unto it, and application of it by the Spirit — Wherein that application consists — Faith the instrumental cause of our purification, with the use of afflictions to the same purpose — Necessity of a due consideration of the pollution of sin — Considerations of the pollution and purification of sin practically improved — Various directions for a due application unto the blood of Christ for cleansing — Sundry degrees of shamelessness in sinning — Directions for the cleansing of sin continued — Thankfulness for the cleansing of sin, with other uses of the same consideration — Union with Christ, how consistent with the remainders of sin — From all that, differences between evangelical holiness and the old nature asserted. THIRDLY, THE purging of the souls of them that believe from the defilements of sin is, in the Scripture, assigned unto several causes of different kinds; for the Holy Spirit, the blood of Christ, faith, and afflictions, are all said to cleanse us from our sins, but in several ways, and with distinct kinds of efficacy. The Holy Spirit is said to do it as the principal efficient cause; the blood of Christ as the meritorious procuring cause; faith and affliction as the instrumental causes, — the one direct and internal, the other external and occasional.

    I. That we are purged and purified from sin by the Spirit of God communicated unto us hath been before in general confirmed by many testimonies of the holy Scriptures. And we may gather, also, from what hath been spoken, wherein this work of his doth consist; for, — 1. Whereas the spring and fountain of all the pollution of sin lies in the depravation of the faculties of our natures, which ensued on the loss of the image of God, he renews them again by his grace, Titus 3:5. Our want of due answering unto the holiness of God, as represented in the law, and exemplified in our hearts originally, is a principal part and universal cause of our whole pollution and defilement by sin; for when our eyes are opened to discern it, this is that which in the first place filleth us with shame and self-abhorrency, and that which makes us so unacceptable, yea, so loathsome to God. Who is there who considereth aright the vanity, darkness, and ignorance of his mind, the perverseness and stubbornness of his will, with the disorder, irregularity, and distemper of his affections, with respect unto things spiritual and heavenly, who is not ashamed of, who doth not abhor himself? This is that which hath given our nature its leprosy, and defiled it throughout. And I shall crave leave to say, that he who hath no experience of spiritual shame and self-abhorrency, upon the account of this inconformity of his nature and the faculties of his soul unto the holiness of God, is a great stranger unto this whole work of sanctification. Who is there that can recount the unsteadiness of his mind in holy meditation, his low and unbecoming conceptions of God’s excellencies, his proneness to foolish imaginations and vanities that profit not, his aversation to spirituality in duty and fixedness in communion with God, his proneness to things sensual and evil, all arising from the spiritual irregularity of our natural faculties, but, if ever he had any due apprehensions of divine purity and holiness, is sensible of his own vileness and baseness, and is ofttimes deeply affected with shame thereon?

    Now, this whole evil frame is cured by the effectual working of the Holy Ghost in the rectifying and renovation of our natures. He giveth a new understanding, a new heart, new affections, renewing the whole soul into the image of God, Ephesians 4:23,24; Colossians 3:10. The way whereby he doth this hath been before so fully declared, in our opening of the doctrine of regeneration, that it need not be here repeated. Indeed, our original cleansing is therein, where mention is made of the “washing of regeneration,” Titus 3:5. Therein is the image of God restored unto our souls. But we consider the same work now as it is the cause of our holiness. Look, then, how far our minds, our hearts, our affections, are renewed by the Holy Ghost, so far are we cleansed from our spiritual habitual pollution. Would we be cleansed from our sins, — that which is so frequently promised that we shall be, and so frequently prescribed as our duty to be, and without which we neither have nor can have anything of true holiness in us, — we must labor after and endeavor to grow in this renovation of our natures by the Holy Ghost. The more we have of saving light in our minds, of heavenly love in our wills and affections, of a constant readiness unto obedience in our hearts, the more pure are we, the more cleansed from the pollution of sin. The old principle of corrupted nature is unclean and defiling, shameful and loathsome; the new creature, the principle of grace implanted in the whole soul by the Holy Ghost, is pure and purifying, clean and holy. 2. The Holy Ghost doth purify and cleanse us by strengthening our souls by his grace unto all holy duties and against all actual sins. It is by actual sins that our natural and habitual pollution is increased. Hereby some make themselves base and vile as hell. But this also is prevented by the gracious actings of the Spirit. Having given us a principle of purity and holiness, he so acts it in duties of obedience and in opposition unto sin as that he preserves the soul free from defilements, or pure and holy, according to the tenor of the new covenant; that is, in such measure and to such a degree as universal sincerity doth require. But it may be yet said that indeed hereby he makes us pure, and prevents many future defilements, yet how is the soul freed from those it hath contracted before this work upon it, or those which it may and doth unavoidably afterward fall into; for as there is no man that doeth good and sinneth not, so there is none who is not more or less defiled with sin whilst he is in the body here in this world? The apostle answereth this objection or inquiry, 1 John 1:7-9, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” But if sin be in us we are defiled, and how shall we be cleansed? “God is just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” But how may this be done, by what means may it be accomplished? “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

    II. It is, therefore, the blood of Christ, in the second place, which is the meritorious procuring, and so the effective cause, that immediately purgeth us from our sins, by an especial application of it unto our souls by the Holy Ghost. And there is not any truth belonging unto the mystery of the gospel which is more plainly and evidently asserted, as hath in part been made to appear before: “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin,” 1 John 1:7; “He hath washed us from our sins in his own blood,” Revelation 1:5; “The blood of Christ purgeth our conscience from dead works, that we may serve the living God,” Hebrews 9:14; “He gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it,” Ephesians 5:25,26; to “purify to himself a peculiar people,” Titus 2:14. Besides, whatever is spoken in the whole Scripture concerning purifying the unclean, the leprous, the defiled, by sacrifices or other instruments of the Old Testament, it is all instructive in and directive unto the purifying nature of the blood of Christ, from whence alone these institutions had their efficacy; and the virtue of it is promised under that notion, Zechariah 13:1. And this the faith and experience of all believers doth confirm; for they are no imaginations of their own, but what, being built on the truth and promises of God, yield sensible spiritual relief and refreshment unto their souls. This they believe, this they pray for, and find the fruits and effects of it in themselves. It may be some of them do not, it may be few of them do, comprehend distinctly the way whereby and the manner how the blood of Christ, so long since shed and offered, should cleanse them now from their sins; but the thing itself they do believe as it is revealed, and find the use of it in all wherein they have to do with God. And I must say (let profane and ignorant persons, whilst they please, deride what they understand not, nor are able to disprove) that the Holy Spirit of God, which leadeth believers into all truth, and enableth them to pray according to the mind and will of God, doth guide them, in and by the working and experience of faith, to pray for those things the depths of whose mysteries they cannot comprehend. And he who well studieth the things which he is taught of the Spirit to ask of God, will find a door opened into much spiritual wisdom and knowledge; for (let the world rage on) in those prayers which believers are taught and enabled unto by the Holy Ghost helping of them as a Spirit of supplication, there are two things inexpressible: — First, The inward laboring and spiritual working of the sanctified heart and affections towards God; wherein consist those “groanings that cannot be uttered,” Romans 8:26. God alone sees, and knows, and understands the fervent workings of the new creature, when acted by the Holy Ghost in supplications; and so it is added in the next words, verse 27, “And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth” ti> to< fro>nhma tou~ Pneu>matov , “what is the meaning of the Spirit,” what it favors and inclines unto. It is not any distinct or separate acting of the Spirit by himself that is intended, but what and how he works in the hearts of believers as he is a Spirit of grace and supplication; and this is known only unto him who is the Searcher of hearts, and as he is so. And he knoweth what is the bent, frame, inclination, and acting of the inward man in prayer, from the power of the Spirit; which they themselves in whom they are wrought do not fathom or reach the depth of. This he doth in the subject of prayer, the hearts and minds of believers; the effects of his operation in them are inexpressible. Secondly, As to the object of prayer, or things prayed for, he doth in and by the word so represent and exhibit the truth, reality, subsistence, power, and efficacy of spiritual, mysterious things, unto the faith and affections of believers, that they have a real and experimental sense of, do mix faith with, and are affected by, those things now made nigh, now realized unto them, which, it may be, they are not able doctrinally and distinctly to explain in their proper notions. And thus do we ofttimes see men low and weak in their notional apprehension of things, yet in their prayers led into communion with God in the highest and holiest mysteries of his grace, having an experience of the life and power of the things themselves in their own hearts and souls; and hereby do their faith, love, affiance, and adherence unto God, act and exercise themselves. So is it with them in this matter of the actual present purifying of the pollutions of sin by the blood of Jesus Christ, the way whereof we shall now briefly inquire into: — 1. Therefore, by the blood of Christ herein is intended the blood of his sacrifice, with the power, virtue, and efficacy thereof. And the blood of a sacrifice fell under a double consideration: — (1.) As it was offered unto God to make atonement and reconciliation; (2.) As it was sprinkled on other things for their purging and sanctification.

    Part of the blood in every propitiatory sacrifice was still to be sprinkled round about the altar, Leviticus 1:11; and in the great sacrifice of expiation, some of the blood of the bullock was to be sprinkled before the mercy-seat seven times, chapter 16:14. This our apostle fully expresseth in a great and signal instance: Hebrews 9:19,20,22, “When Moses had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament which God hath enjoined unto you... And almost all things are by the law purged with blood.” Wherefore, the blood of Christ, as it was the blood of his sacrifice, hath these two effects, and falls under this double consideration: — (1.) As he offered himself by the eternal Spirit unto God to make atonement for sin, and procure eternal redemption; (2.) As it is sprinkled by the same Spirit on the consciences of believers, to purge them from dead works, as Hebrews 19:12-14. And hence it is called, with respect unto our sanctification, “The blood of sprinkling,” chapter 12:24; for we have the “sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience through the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ,” 1 Peter 1:2. 2. The blood of Christ in his sacrifice is still always and continually in the same condition, of the same force and efficacy, as it was in that hour wherein it was shed. The blood of other sacrifices was always to be used immediately upon its effusion; for if it were cold and congealed it was of no use to be offered or to be sprinkled. Blood was appointed to make atonement, as the life or animal spirits were in it, Leviticus 17:11. But the blood of the sacrifice of Christ is always hot and warm, having the same spirits of life and sanctification still moving in it. Hence the way of approach which we have to God thereby is said to be zw~sa kai< pro>sfatov , Hebrews 10:20, — always living, and yet always as newly slain. Everyone, therefore, who at any time hath an especial actual interest in the blood of Christ, as sacrificed, hath as real a purification from the defilement of sin as he had typically who stood by the priest and had blood or water sprinkled on him; for the Holy Ghost diligently declares that whatever was done legally, carnally, or typically, by any of the sacrifices of old at any time, as to the expiation or purification of sin, that was all done really and spiritually by that one sacrifice, — that is, the offering and sprinkling of the blood of Christ, — and abideth to be so done continually. To this purpose is the substance of our apostle’s discourse in the ninth and tenth chapters of the Epistle to the Hebrews. And they had various sorts of sacrifices, wherein to this end the blood of them was sprinkled, they being propitiatory in their offering; as, — (1.) There was the dymiT; , or continual burnt-offering of a lamb or kid for the whole congregation, morning and evening, whose blood was sprinkled as at other times. And hereby the habitual purification of the congregation, that they might be holy to the Lord, and their cleansing from the daily incursions of secret and unknown sins, was signified and carried on. (2.) On the Sabbath-day this juge sacrificium was doubled morning and evening, denoting a peculiar and abounding communication of mercy and purging grace, through the administration of instituted ordinances, on that day. (3.) There was the great annual sacrifice at the feast of expiation, when, by the sacrifice of the sin-offering and the scape-goat, the whole congregation were purged from all their known and great sins, and recovered into a state of legal holiness; and other stated sacrifices there were. (4.) There were occasional sacrifices for everyone, according as he found his condition to require; for those who were clean one day, yea, one hour, might by some miscarriage or surprisal be unclean the next. But there was a way continually ready for any man’s purification, by his bringing his offering unto that purpose. Now, the blood of Christ must continually, and upon all occasions, answer unto all these, and accomplish spiritually what they did legally effect and typically represent. This our apostle asserts and proves, Hebrews 9:9-14. Thereby is the gradual carrying on of our sanctification habitually effected, which was signified by the continual daily sacrifice. From thence is especial cleansing virtue communicated unto us by the ordinances of the gospel, as is expressly affirmed, Ephesians 5:25,26, denoted by the doubling of the daily sacrifice on the Sabbath. By it are we purged from all our sins whatever, great or small, as was typified in the great sacrifice on the day of expiation.

    And unto him have we continual recourse upon all occasions of our spiritual defilements whatever. So was his blood, as to its purifying virtue, to answer and accomplish all legal institutions. Especially it doth so that of the “ashes of the red heifer,” Numbers 19, which was a standing ordinance, whereby everyone who was any way defiled might immediately be cleansed; and he who would not make application thereunto was to be cut off from the people, verse 20. And it is no otherwise with respect unto the blood of Christ in our spiritual defilements; thence it is called “a fountain opened for sin and uncleanness,” Zechariah 13:1. And he who neglects to make application thereunto shall perish in his uncleanness, and that eternally.

    Farther to clear this whole matter, two things are to be inquired into: — (1.) How the blood of Christ doth thus cleanse us from our sins, or what it is that is done thereby. (2.) How we come to be made partakers of the benefit thereof, or come to be interested therein. (1.) As to the first, it must be observed, what hath been declared before, that the uncleanness we treat of is not physical or corporeal, but moral and spiritual only. It is the inconformity of sin unto the holiness of God, as represented in the law, whence it is loathsome to God, and attended with shame in us. Now, wherever there is an interest obtained in the purifying virtue of the blood of Christ, it doth (by the will, law, and appointment of God) do these two things: — [1.] It takes away all loathsomeness in the sight of God, not from sin in the abstract, but from the sinner, so that he shall be as one absolutely washed and purified before him. See Isaiah 1:16-18; Psalm 51:7; Ephesians 5:25-27. [2.] It taketh away shame out of the conscience, and gives the soul boldness in the presence of God, Hebrews 10:19-22. When these things are done then is sin purged, and our souls are cleansed. (2.) It may be inquired how we are to apply ourselves unto the blood of Christ for our purification, or how we may come continually to partake of the virtue of it, as it is sprinkled unto that purpose. Now, because what we do herein is wrought in us by the Spirit of God, my principal design being to declare his work in our sanctification, I shall at once declare both his work and our duty in the following instances: — [1.] It is he who discovereth unto us, and spiritually convinceth us of, the pollution of sin, and of our defilement thereby. Something, indeed, of this kind will be wrought by the power of natural conscience, awakened and excited by ordinary outward means of conviction; for wherever there is a sense of guilt, there will be some kind of sense of filth, as fear and shame are inseparable. But this sense alone will never guide us to the blood of Christ for cleansing. Such a sight and conviction of it as may fill us with self-abhorrency and abasement, as may cause us to loathe ourselves for the abomination that is in it, is required of us; and this is the work of the Holy Ghost, belonging to that peculiar conviction of sin which is from him alone, John 16:8. I mean that self-abhorrency, shame, and confusion of face, with respect unto the filth of sin, which is so often mentioned in the Scripture as a gracious duty; as nothing is a higher aggravation of sin than for men to carry themselves with a carnal boldness with God and in his worship, whilst they are unpurged from their defilements. In a sense hereof the publican stood afar off, as one ashamed and destitute of any confidence for a nearer approach. So the holy men of old professed to God that they blushed, and were ashamed to lift up their faces unto him.

    Without this preparation, whereby we come to know the plague of our own hearts, the infection of our leprosy, the defilement of our souls, we shall never make application unto the blood of Christ for cleansing in a due manner. This, therefore, in the first place, is required of us as the first part of our duty and first work of the Holy Ghost herein. [2.] The Holy Ghost proposeth, declareth, and presents unto us the only true remedy, the only means of purification. “When Ephraim saw his sickness, and Judah his wound, then went Ephraim to the Assyrian, and sent to king Jareb: yet could he not heal you, nor cure you of your wound,” Hosea 5:13.

    When men begin to discern their defilements, they are apt to think of many ways for their purging. What false ways have been invented to this purpose hath been before declared. And everyone is ready to find out a way of his own; everyone will apply his own soap and his own nitre.

    Though the only fountain for cleansing be nigh unto us, yet we cannot see it until the Holy Ghost open our eyes, as he did the eyes of Hagar; he it is who shows it unto us and leads us unto it. This is an eminent part of his office and work. The principal end of his sending, and consequently of his whole work, was to glorify the Son; as the end and work of the Son was to glorify the Father. And the great way whereby he glorifieth Christ is by showing such things unto us, John 16:14. And without his discovery we can know nothing of Christ, nor of the things of Christ; for he is not sent in vain, to show us the things that we can see of ourselves. And what is more so of Christ than his blood, and its efficacy for the purging of our sins? We never, therefore, discern it spiritually and in a due manner but by him. To have a true spiritual sense of the defilement of sin, and a gracious view of the cleansing virtue of the blood of Christ, is an eminent effect of the Spirit of grace. Something like it there may be in the workings of an awakened natural conscience, with some beams of outward gospel light falling on it; but there is nothing in it of the work of the Spirit. This, therefore, secondly, we must endeavor after, if we intend to be cleansed by the blood of Christ. [3.] It is he who worketh faith in us, whereby we are actually interested in the purifying virtue of the blood of Christ. By faith we receive Christ himself, and by faith do we receive all the benefits of his mediation, — that is, as they are tendered unto us in the promises of God. He is our propitiation through faith in his blood as offered; and he is our sanctification through faith in his blood as sprinkled. And particular acting of faith on the blood of Christ for the cleansing of the soul from sin is required of us. A renewed conscience is sensible of a pollution in every sin, and is not freed from the shame of it without a particular application unto the blood of Christ. It comes by faith to the fountain set open for sin and uncleanness, as the sick man to the pool of healing waters, and waiteth for a season to be cleansed in it. So David, on the defilement he had contracted by his great sins, addresseth himself unto God with that prayer, “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow,” Psalm 51:7.

    He alludeth unto the purging of the leprous persons, the ordinance whereof is instituted, Leviticus 14:2-7, or to that more general institution for the purification of all legal uncleanness by the water of separation, made of the ashes of the red heifer, Numbers 19:4-6, which our apostle hath respect unto, Hebrews 9:13,14; for both these purifications were made by the sprinkling of blood or water with hyssop.

    It is plain, I say, that he alludeth unto these institutions; but it is as plain they are not the things which he intendeth: for there was not in the law any purging by hyssop for persons guilty of such sins as he lay under; and therefore he professeth, in the close of the psalm, that “sacrifice and burnt-offering God would not accept” in his case, Psalm 51:16. It was, therefore, that which was signified by those institutions which he made his application unto, — namely, really to the blood of Christ, by which he might be “justified from all things, from which he could not be justified by the law of Moses,” Acts 13:39; and so likewise purified. In like manner do all believers make an actual application unto the blood of Christ for the purging away of their sins; which until it is done they have a “conscience of sins,” — that is, condemning them for sin, and filling them with shame and fear, Hebrews 10:1-3.

    And this actual application by faith unto the blood of Christ for cleansing, the mystery whereof is scorned by many as a thing fanatical and unintelligible, consists in these four things: — 1st . A spiritual view and due consideration of the blood of Christ in his sacrifice, as proposed in the promises of the gospel for our cleansing and purification. “Look unto me,” saith he, “and be ye saved,” Isaiah 45:22; which respects the whole work of our salvation, and all the means thereof.

    Our way of coming unto our interest therein is by looking to him, — namely, as he is proposed unto us in the promise of the gospel: for as the serpent was lifted up by Moses in the wilderness, so was he in his sacrifice on the cross lifted up, John 3:14; and so in the gospel is he represented unto us, Galatians 3:1. And the means whereby they were healed in the wilderness was by looking unto the serpent that was lifted up. Herein, then, doth faith first act itself, by a spiritual view and due consideration of the blood of Christ, as proposed unto us in the gospel for the only means of our purification; and the more we abide in this contemplation, the more effectual will our success be in our application thereto. 2dly. Faith actually relieth on his blood for the real effecting of that great work and end for which it is proposed unto us; for God sets him forth as to be a propitiation through faith in his blood as offered, Romans 3:25, so to be our sanctification through faith in his blood as sprinkled. And the establishing of this especial faith in our souls is that which the apostle aims at in his excellent reasoning, Hebrews 9:13,14; and his conclusion unto that purpose is so evident, that he encourageth us thereon to draw nigh in the full assurance of faith, chapter 10:22. 3dly . Faith worketh herein by fervent prayer, as it doth in its whole address unto God with respect unto his promises; because for all these things God will be sought unto by the house of Israel. By this means the soul brings itself nigh unto its own mercy. And this we are directed unto, Hebrews 4:15,16. 4thly. An acquiescency in the truth and faithfulness of God for cleansing by the blood of Christ, whence we are freed from discouraging, perplexing shame, and have boldness in the presence of God. [4.] The Holy Ghost actually communicates the cleansing, purifying virtue of the blood of Christ unto our souls and consciences, whereby we are freed from shame, and have boldness towards God; for the whole work of the application of the benefits of the mediation of Christ unto believers is his properly.

    And these are the things which believers aim at and intend in all their fervent supplications for the purifying and cleansing of their souls by the sprinkling and washing of the blood of Christ, the faith and persuasion whereof give them peace and holy boldness in the presence of God, without which they can have nothing but shame and confusion of face in a sense of their own pollutions.

    How the blood of Christ was the meritorious cause of our purification as it was offered, in that thereby he procured for us eternal redemption, with all that was conducing or needful thereunto, and how thereby he expiated our sins, belongs not unto this place to declare. Nor shall I insist upon the more mysterious way of communicating cleansing virtue unto us from the blood of Christ, by virtue of our union with him. What hath been spoken may suffice to give a little insight into that influence which the blood of Christ hath into this first part of our sanctification and holiness. And as for those who affirm that it no otherwise cleanseth us from our sins, but only because we, believing his doctrine, confirmed by his death and resurrection, do amend our lives, turning from sin unto righteousness and holiness, they renounce the mystery of the gospel, and all the proper efficacy of the blood of Christ.

    III. Faith is the instrumental cause of our purification: “Purifying their hearts by faith,” Acts 15:9. The two unfailing evidences of sincere faith are, that within it purifieth the heart, and without it worketh by love.

    These are the touch-stones whereon faith may, yea, ought to be tried. We “purify our souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit,” 1 Peter 1:22; that is, by believing, which is our original obedience unto the truth. And hereby are our souls purified. “Unbelievers” and “unclean” are the same, Titus 1:15; for they have nothing in them whereby they might be instrumentally cleansed. And we are purified by faith; because, — 1. Faith itself is the principal grace whereby our nature is restored unto the image of God, and so freed from our original defilement, Colossians 3:10; 1 John 3:3. 2. It is by faith on our part whereby we receive the purifying virtue and influences of the blood of Christ; whereof we have before discoursed.

    Faith is the grace whereby we constantly adhere and cleave unto Christ, Deuteronomy 4:4; Joshua 23:8; Acts 11:22. And if the woman who touched his garment in faith obtained virtue from him to heal her issue of blood, shall not those who cleave unto him continually derive virtue from him for the healing of their spiritual defilements? 3. It is by the working of faith principally whereby those lusts and corruptions which are defiling are mortified, subdued, and gradually wrought out of our minds. All actual defilements spring from the remainders of defiling lusts, and their depraved workings in us, Hebrews 12:15; James 1:14. How faith worketh to the correcting and subduing of them, by deriving supplies of the Spirit and grace to that end from Jesus Christ, as being the means of our abiding in them, whereon alone those supplies do depend, John 15:3-5, as also by the acting of all other graces which are contrary to the polluting lusts of the flesh and destructive of them, is usually declared, and we must not too far enlarge on these things. 4. Faith takes in all the motives which are proposed unto us to stir us up unto our utmost endeavors and diligence, in the use o£ all means and ways, for the preventing of the defilements of sin, and for the cleansing of our minds and consciences from the relics of dead works. And these motives, which are great and many, may be reduced unto two heads: — (1.) A participation of the excellent promises of God at the present. The consideration hereof brings a singular enforcement on the souls of believers to endeavor after universal purity and holiness, 2 Corinthians 7:1. And, (2.) The future enjoyment of God in glory, whereunto we cannot attain without being purified from sin,1 John 3:2,3. Now, these motives, which are the springs of our duty in this matter, are received and made efficacious by faith only.

    IV. Purging from sin is likewise in the Scripture ascribed unto afflictions of all sorts. Hence they are called God’s “furnace,” and his “fining-pot,” Isaiah 31:9, 48:10, whereby he taketh away the dross and filth of the vessels of his house. They are also called “fire” that trieth the ways and works of men, consuming their hay and stubble, and purifying their gold and silver, 1 Corinthians 3:12,13. And this they do through an efficacy unto these ends communicated unto them in the design and by the Spirit of God; for by and in the cross of Christ they were cut off from the curse of the first covenant, whereunto all evil and trouble did belong, and implanted into the covenant of grace. The tree of the cross being cast into the waters of affliction hath rendered them wholesome and medicinal. And as, the Lord Christ being the head of the covenant, all the afflictions and persecutions that befall his members are originally his, Isaiah 63:9, Acts 9:5, Colossians 1:24; so they all tend to work us unto a conformity unto him in purity and holiness. And they work towards this blessed end of purifying the soul several ways; for, — 1. They have in them some tokens of God’s displeasure against sin, which those who are exercised by them are led by the consideration of unto a fresh view of the vileness of it; for although afflictions are an effect of love, yet it is of love mixed with care to obviate and prevent distempers.

    Whatever they are else, they are always chastisements; and correction respects faults. And it is our safest course, in every affliction, to lodge the adequate cause of it in our own deserts, as the woman did, 1 Kings 17:18; and as God directs, Psalm 89:30-32, Lamentations 3:33. And this is one difference between his chastisements and those of the fathers of our flesh, that he doth it “not for his pleasure,” Hebrews 12:9,10. Now, a view of sin under suffering makes men loathe and abhor themselves for it, and to be ashamed of it; and this is the first step towards our purifying of ourselves by any ways appointed for it. Self-pleasing in sin is the highest degree of our pollution; and when we loathe ourselves for it, we are put into the way at least of seeking after a remedy. 2. Afflictions take off the beauty and allurements of all created good things and their comforts, by which the affections are solicited to commit folly and lewdness with them; that is, to embrace and cleave unto them inordinately, whence many defilements do ensue, Galatians 6:14. This God designs them for, even to wither all the flowerings of this world in the minds of men, by discovering their emptiness, vanity, and insufficiency to give relief. This intercepts the disorderly intercourse which is apt to be between them and our affections, whereby our minds are polluted; for there is a pollution attending the least inordinate actings of our minds and affections towards objects either in their own nature sinful, or such as may be rendered so by an excess in us towards them, whilst we are under the command of loving the Lord our God with all our minds, souls, and strength, and that always. 3. Afflictions take off the edge and put a deadness on those affections whereby the corrupt lusts of the mind and flesh, which are the spring and cause of all our defilements, do act themselves. They curb those vigorous and brisk affections which were always ready pressed for the service of lust, and which sometimes carry the soul into the pursuit of sin, like the horse into the battle, with madness and fury. They are no more such prepared channels for the fomes of concupiscence to empty itself into the conversation, nor such vehicles for the spirits of corrupted lusts and inclinations. God, I say, by afflictions brings a kind of death unto the world and the pleasures of it upon the desires and affections of the soul, which render them unserviceable unto the remainder of defiling lusts and corruptions. This in some, indeed, endures but for a season, as when, in sickness, wants, fears, distresses, losses, sorrows, there is a great appearance of mortification, when yet the strength of sin and the vigor of carnal affections do speedily revive upon the least outward relief. But with believers it is not so, but by all their chastisements they are really more and more delivered from the pollution of sin, and made partakers of God’s holiness, 2 Corinthians 4:16-18. 4. God doth by them excite, stir up, and draw forth all the graces of the Spirit into a constant, diligent, and vigorous exercise; and therein the work of cleansing the soul from the pollution of sin is carried on. A time of affliction is the especial season for the peculiar exercise of all grace, for the soul can then no otherwise support or relieve itself; for it is cut short or taken off from other comforts and reliefs, every sweet thing being made bitter unto it. It must, therefore, live not only by faith, and love, and delight in God, but in some sense upon them; for if in their exercise supportment and comfort be not obtained, we can have none. Therefore doth such a soul find it necessary to be constantly abounding in the exercise of grace, that it may in any measure be able to support itself under its troubles or sufferings. Again, there is no other way whereby a man may have a sanctified use of afflictions, or a good issue out of them, but by the assiduous exercise of grace. This God calls for, this he designs, and without it afflictions have no other end but to make men miserable; and they will either have no deliverance from them, or such an one as shall tend to their farther misery and ruin.

    And so have we taken a view of the first part of our sanctification and holiness; which I have the more largely insisted on, because the consideration of it is utterly neglected by them who frame us a holiness to consist only in the practice of moral virtue. And I do not know but what hath been delivered may be looked on as fanatical and enthusiastical; yet is there no other reason why it should be so, but only because it is taken from the Scripture. Neither doth that so much insist on any consideration of sin and sanctification, as this of the pollution of the one and the purifying of it by the other. And to whom the wisdom and words of the Holy Ghost are displeasing, we cannot in these things give any satisfaction; and yet I could easily demonstrate that they were well known to the ancient writers of the church; and, for the substance of them, were discerned and discussed by the schoolmen, in their manner. But where men hate the practice of holiness, it is to no purpose to teach them the nature of it.

    But we may not pass over these things without some reflections upon ourselves, and some consideration of our concernment in them. And, first, hence we may take a view of our own state and condition by nature. It is useful for us all to be looking back into it, and it is necessary for them who are under it to be fully acquainted with it. Therein are we wholly defiled, polluted, and every way unclean. There is a spiritual leprosy spread all over our natures, which renders us loathsome to God, and puts us in a state of separation from him. They who were legally unclean were separated from the congregation, and therein from all the pledges of God’s gracious presence, Numbers 5:2. It is so virtually with all them who are spiritually defiled, under that pollution which is natural and universal; they are abhorred of God and separated from him, which was signified thereby. And the reason why so many laws, with so great severity and exactness, were given about the cleansing of a leprous person, and the judgment to be made thereon, was only to declare the certainty of the judgment of God, that no unclean person should approach unto him. Thus is it with all by nature; and whatever they do of themselves to be quit of it, it doth but hide and not cleanse it. Adam cured neither his nakedness nor the shame of it by his fig-leaves. Some have no other covering of their natural filth but outward ornaments of the flesh; which increase it, and indeed rather proclaim it than hide it. The greatest filth in the world is covered with the greatest bravery. See Isaiah 3:16-24. Whatever we do ourselves in answer unto our convictions is a covering, not a cleansing; and if we die in this condition, unwashed, uncleansed, unpurified, it is utterly impossible that ever we should be admitted into the blessed presence of the holy God, Revelation 21:27. Let no man deceive you, then, with vain words. It is not the doing of a few good works, it is not an outward profession of religion, that will give you an access with boldness and joy unto God. Shame will cover you when it will be too late. Unless you are washed by the Spirit of God and in the blood of Christ from the pollutions of your natures, you shall not inherit the kingdom of God, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11. Yea, you will be a horrid spectacle unto saints and angels, yea, to yourselves, unto one another, when the shame of your nakedness shall be made to appear, Isaiah 66:24. If, therefore, you would not perish, and that eternally; if you would not perish as base, defiled creatures, an abhorring unto all flesh, then when your pride, and your wealth, and your beauty, and your ornaments, and your duties, will stand you in no stead, — look out betimes after that only way of purifying and cleansing your souls which God hath ordained. But if you love your defilements; if you are proud of your pollutions; if you satisfy yourselves with your outward ornaments, whether moral, of gifts, duties, profession, conversation, or natural, of body, wealth, apparel, gold, and silver, — there is no remedy, you must perish forever, and that under the consideration of the basest and vilest part of the creation.

    Seeing this is the condition of all by nature, if anyone now shall inquire and ask what they shall do, what course they shall take, that they may be cleansed according to the will of God, in answer hereunto I shall endeavor to direct defiled sinners, by sundry steps and degrees, in the way unto the cleansing fountain. There is a “fountain set open for sin and uncleanness,” Zechariah 13:1. But it falleth out with many, as the wise man speaketh, “The labor of the foolish wearieth every one of them, because he knoweth not how to go to the city,” Ecclesiastes 10:15. Men weary themselves and pine away under their pollutions, because they cannot find the way; they know not how to go to the cleansing fountain. I shall, therefore, direct them from first to last, according to the best skill I have: — 1. Labor after an acquaintance with it, to know it in its nature and effects.

    Although the Scripture so abounds in the assertion and declaration of it, as we have showed, and believers find a sense of it in their experience, yet men in common take little notice of it. Somewhat they are affected with the guilt of sin, but little or not at all with its filth. So they can escape the righteousness of God, which they have provoked, they regard not their unanswerableness unto his holiness, whereby they are polluted. How few, indeed, do inquire into the pravity of their natures, that vileness which is come upon them by the loss of the image of God, or do take themselves to be much concerned therein! How few do consider aright that fomes and filthy spring which is continually bubbling up crooked, perverse, defiled imaginations in their hearts, and influencing their affections unto the lewdness of depraved concupiscence! Who meditates upon the holiness of God in a due manner, so as to ponder what we ourselves ought to be, how holy, how upright, how clean, if we intend to please him or enjoy him?

    With what appearances, what outsides of things, are most men satisfied! yea, how do they please themselves in the shades of their own darkness and ignorance of these things, when yet an unacquaintedness with this pollution of sin is unavoidably ruinous unto their souls! See the danger of it, Revelation 3:16-18. Those who would be cleansed from it must first know it; and although we cannot do so aright without some convincing light of the Spirit of God, yet are there duties required of us in order thereunto; as, — (1.) To search the Scripture, and to consider seriously what it declareth concerning the condition of our nature after the loss of the image of God.

    Doth it not declare that it is shamefully naked, destitute of all beauty and comeliness, wholly polluted and defiled? And what is said of that nature which is common unto all is said of everyone who is partaker of it. Every one is “gone aside,” everyone is become “altogether filthy,” or stinking, Psalm 53:3. This is the glass wherein every man ought to contemplate himself, and not in foolish, flattering reflections from his own proud imaginations; and he that will not hence learn his natural deformity shall live polluted and die accursed. (2.) He who hath received the testimony of the Scripture concerning his corrupted and polluted estate, if he will be at the pains to try and examine himself by the reasons and causes that are assigned thereof, will have a farther view of it. When men read, hear, or are instructed in what the Scripture teacheth concerning the defilement of sin, and give some assent to what is spoken, without an examination of their own state in particular, or bringing their souls unto that standard and measure, they will have very little advantage thereby. Multitudes learn that they are polluted by nature, which they cannot gainsay; but yet really find no such thing in themselves.

    But when men will bring their own souls to the glass of the perfect law, and consider how it is with them in respect of that image of God wherein they were at first created, what manner of persons they ought to be with respect unto the holiness of God, and what they are, — how vain are their imaginations, how disorderly are their affections, how perverse all the actings of their minds, — they will be ready to say, with the leprous man, “Unclean, unclean.” But they are but few who will take the pains to search their own wounds, it being a matter of smart and trouble to corrupt and carnal affections. Yet, (3.) Prayer for light and direction herein is required of all as a duty. For a man to know himself was of old esteemed the highest attainment of human wisdom. Some men will not so much as inquire into themselves, and some men dare not, and some neglect the doing of it from spiritual sloth, and other deceitful imaginations; but he that would ever be purged from his sins must thus far make bold with himself, and dare to be thus far wise.

    And in the use of the means before prescribed, considering his own darkness and the treacheries of his heart, he is to pray fervently that God by his Spirit would guide and assist him in his search after the pravity and defilement of his nature. Without this he will never make any great or useful discoveries. And yet the discerning hereof is the first evidence that a man hath received the least ray of supernatural light. The light of a natural conscience will convince men of, and reprove them for, actual sins as to their guilt, Romans 2:14,15; but the mere light of nature is dark and confused about its own confusion. Some of the old philosophers discerned, in general, that our nature was disordered, and complained thereof; but as the principal reason of their complaints was because it would not throughout serve the ends of their ambition, so of the causes and nature of it, with respect unto God and our eternal condition, they knew nothing of it at all. Nor is it discerned but by a supernatural light, proceeding immediately from the Spirit of God. If any, therefore, have a heart or wisdom to know their own pollution by sin, — without which they know nothing of themselves unto any purpose, — let them pray for that directing light of the Spirit of God, without which they can never attain to any useful knowledge of it. 2. Those who would indeed be purged from the pollution of sin must endeavor to be affected with it, suitably to the discovery which they have made of it. And as the proper effect of the guilt of sin is fear, so the proper effect of the filth of sin is shame. No man who hath read the Scriptures can be ignorant how frequently God calls on men to be ashamed and confounded in themselves for the pollutions and uncleannesses of their sin. So is it expressed in answer unto what he requires: “O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift up my face to thee, my God, for our iniquities are increased over our head,” Ezra 9:6. And by another prophet: “We lie down in our shame, and our confusion covereth us: for we have sinned against the LORD our God,” Jeremiah 3:25.

    And many other such expressions are there of this affection of the mind with respect unto the pollution of sin. But we must observe that there is a twofold shame with respect unto it: — (1.) That which is legal, or the product of a mere legal conviction of sin.

    Such was that in Adam, immediately after his fall; and such is that which God so frequently calls open and profligate sinners unto, — a shame accompanied with dread and terror, and from which the sinner hath no relief, unless in such sorry evasions as our first parents made use of. And, (2.) There is a shame which is evangelical, arising from a mixed apprehension of the vileness of sin and the riches of God’s grace in the pardon and purifying of it; for although this latter gives relief against all terrifying, discouraging effects of shame, yet it increaseth those which tend to genuine self-abasement and abhorrency. And this God still requires to abide in us, as that which tends to the advancement of his grace in our hearts. This is fully expressed by the prophet Ezekiel, chapter 16:60- 63, “I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant. Then thou shalt remember thy ways, and be ashamed. And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the LORD: that thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord GOD.”

    There is a shame and confusion of face for sin that is a consequent, yea, an effect of God’s renewing his covenant, and thereby giving in the full pardon of sin, as being pacified. And the apostle asks the Romans what fruit they had in those things whereof they were now ashamed, chapter 6:21. Now, after the pardon of them they were yet ashamed, from the consideration of their filth and vileness. But it is shame in the first sense that I here intend, as antecedent unto the first purification of our natures.

    This may be thought to be in all men; but it is plainly otherwise, and men are not at all ashamed of their sins, which they manifest in various degrees: for, — (1.) Many are senseless and stupid. No instruction, nothing that befalls them, will fix any real shame upon them. Of some particular facts they may be ashamed, but for anything in their natures, they slight and despise it. If they can but preserve themselves from the known guilt of such sins as are punishable amongst men, as to all other things they are secure. This is the condition of the generality of men living in sin in this world. They have no inward shame for anything between God and their souls, especially not for the pravity and defilement of their natures, no, although they hear the doctrine of it never so frequently. What may outwardly befall them that is shameful, they are concerned in; but for their internal pollutions between God and their souls, they know none. (2.) Some have a boldness and confidence in their condition, as that which is well and pure enough: “There is a generation that are pure in their own eyes, yet are they not washed from their filthiness,” Proverbs 30:12.

    Although they were never sprinkled with the pure water of the covenant, or cleansed by the Holy Spirit; although their consciences were never purged from dead works by the blood of Christ, nor their hearts purified by faith, and so are no way “washed from their filthiness;” yet do they please themselves in their condition as “pure in their own eyes,” and have not the least sense of any defilement. Such a generation were the Pharisees of old, who esteemed themselves as clean as their hands and cups, that they were continually washing, though within they were filled with all manner of defilements, Isaiah 65:4,5. And this generation is such as indeed despise all that is spoken about the pollution of sin and its purification, and deride it as enthusiastical, or a fulsome metaphor not to be understood. (3.) Others proceed farther, and are so far from taking shame to themselves for what they are, or what they do, as that they openly boast of and glory in the most shameful sins that human nature can contract the guilt of. “They proclaim their sins,” saith the prophet, “like Sodom,” where all the people consented together in the perpetration of unnatural lusts. They are not at all ashamed, but glory in the things which, because they do not here, will hereafter fill them with confusion of face, Jeremiah 6:15, 8:12. And where once sin gets this confidence, wherein it completes a conquest over the law, the inbred light of nature, the convictions of the Spirit, and in a word God himself, then is it ripe for judgment. And yet is there a higher degree of shamelessness in sin; for, — (4.) Some content not themselves with boasting in their own sins, but also they approve and delight in all those who give up themselves unto the like outrage in sinning with themselves. This the apostle expresseth as the highest degree of shameless sinning: Romans 1:32, “Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.”

    When open profligate sinners do, as it were, make themselves up into societies, encouraging and approving one another in their abominable courses, so that no company pleaseth them bat such as have obtained an impudence in sinning, then is the greatest defiance given unto the holiness and righteousness of God.

    Now, such as these will never seek after cleansing; for why should they do so who are sensible of no spiritual pollution, nor have the least touch of shame with respect thereunto? It is necessary, therefore, unto the duty of purifying our souls that we be affected with shame for the spiritual defilements which our nature, under the loss of the image of God, is even rolled in; and where this is not, it will be but lost labor that is spent in the invitation of men to the cleansing fountain. 3. Let persons so affected be fully satisfied that they can never cleanse or purify themselves by any endeavors that are merely their own, or by any means of their own finding out. According unto men’s convictions of the defilements of sin, so have and always will their endeavors be after purification, Hosea 5:13. And, indeed, it is the duty of believers to purify themselves more and more, in the exercise of all purifying graces, and the use of all means appointed of God for that purpose, <470701> Corinthians 7:1; and their neglect thereof is the highest disadvantage, Psalm 38:5. But men in the state of nature, concerning whom we now treat, are no way able to cleanse their natures or purge themselves. He only who can restore, repair, and renew their natures unto the likeness of God, can cleanse them. But here many fall into mistakes; for when, by reason of their convictions, they can no longer satisfy and please themselves in the pollution of sin, they go about by vain attempts of their own to “purify their souls,” Hosea 5:13; Jeremiah 2:22; Job 9:30,31. Their own sorrow and repentance, and tears of contrition, and that sorry amendment of life they can attain unto, shall do this work for them; and every especial defiling act, or every renewed sense of it, shall have an especial act of duty for its cleansing! But though these things are good in themselves, yet there is required more wisdom to the right stating of them, as to their causes, respects, ends, and use, than they are furnished withal.

    Hence are they so frequently abused and turned into an effectual means not only of keeping men off and at a distance from Christ, but also from a due and acceptable performance of the very duties themselves pretended unto: for legal sorrow or repentance, or mere legal convictions, being trusted unto, will infallibly keep the soul from coming up unto that evangelical repentance which alone God accepts; and mere reformation of life rested in proves opposite to endeavors for the renovation of our natures. But let these duties be performed, however, in what manner you please, they are utterly insufficient of themselves to cleanse our natural defilements; nor will any seek duly for that which alone is effectual unto this purpose until they are fully convinced hereof. Let, therefore, sinners hear and know, whether they will or will not believe it, that as by nature they are wholly defiled and polluted with those abominations of sin which render them loathsome in the sight of God, so they have no power by any endeavors or duties of their own to cleanse themselves; but by all they do to this end, they do but farther plunge themselves into the ditch, and increase their own defilements. Yet are all those duties necessary in their proper place and unto their proper end. 4. It is, therefore, their duty to acquaint themselves with that only remedy in this case, that only means of cleansing, which God hath appointed, and which he makes effectual. One great end of the revelation of the will of God, from the foundation of the world, of his institutions and ordinances of worship, was, to direct the souls and consciences of men in and unto the way of their cleansing; which as it argues his infinite love and care, so the great importance of the matter itself. And one principal means which Satan from the beginning made use of to keep men in their apostasy from God, and to encourage them therein, was, by supplying them with innumerable ways of purification, suited to the imaginations of their dark, unbelieving, and superstitious minds. And in like manner, when he designed to draw men off from Christ and the gospel under the Papacy, he did it principally by the suggestion of such present and future purgatories of sin as might comply with their lusts and ignorance. Of so great importance is it, therefore, to be acquainted with the only true and real way and means hereof! And there are two considerations that are suited to excite the diligence of sinners in this inquiry: (1.) The weight that is laid on this matter by God himself. (2.) The difficulty of attaining an acquaintance with it. And, — (1.) As hath been observed, anyone by considering, [1.] The legal institutions of old will see what weight God lays hereon. No sacrifice had any respect unto sin but there was somewhat peculiar in it that was for its cleansing; and there were sundry ceremonious ordinances which had no other end but only to purify from uncleannesses. [2.] Among all the promises of the Old Testament concerning the establishment of the new covenant and the grace thereof, which are many and precious, there are none more eminent than those which concern our cleansing from sin by the administration of the Spirit, through the blood of Christ; some of them have been mentioned before; — which also farther manifests the care that God hath taken for our instruction herein. [3.] There is nothing more pressed on us, nothing more frequently proposed unto us, in the gospel, than the necessity of our purification, and the only way of effecting it. If, therefore, either instructions, or promises, or precepts, or all concurring, may evidence the importance of a duty, then is this manifested to partake therein. And those who will prefer the guidance of carnal reason and vain tradition before these heavenly directions shall live in their ignorance and die in their sins. (2.) The difficulty of attaining an acquaintance with it is to be duly considered. It is a part of the “mystery of the gospel,” and such a part as is among those which the wisdom of the world or carnal reason esteemeth “foolishness.” It is not easily admitted or received, that we can no otherwise be cleansed from our sins but by the sprinkling of that blood which was shed so long ago; yet this and no other way doth the Scripture propose unto us. To fancy that there is any cleansing from sin but by the blood of Christ is to overthrow the gospel. The doctrine hereof are persons, therefore, obliged to inquire after and come to the knowledge of, that, being satisfied with its truth, and that this is the only way of cleansing [from] sin, appointed and blessed by God himself, their minds may be exercised about it, and so be taken off from resting on those vain medicines and remedies, which (having nothing else to fix upon) their own hearts and others’ blind devotions would suggest unto them. 5. But now the great inquiry is, How a sinful, defiled soul may come to have an interest in, or be partaker of, the purifying virtue and efficacy of the blood of Christ?

    Ans. 1. The purifying virtue and force of the blood of Christ, with the administration of the Spirit for its application to make it effectual unto our souls and consciences, is proposed and exhibited unto us in the promises of the covenant, 2 Peter 1:4. This all the instances (which need not be recited) before produced do testify unto. 2. The only way to be made partaker of the good things presented in the promises is by faith. So Abraham is said to have “received the promises,” Hebrews 11:17; and so are we also, and to receive Christ himself. Now, this is not from their being proposed unto us, but from our believing of that which is proposed, as it is expressed of Abraham, Romans 4:19-21, 10:6-9. The whole use, benefit, and advantage of the promises depend absolutely on our mixing them with faith; as the apostle declares, Hebrews 4:2. Where they are “mixed with faith,” there they profit us, — there we really receive the thing promised.

    Where they are not so mixed, they are of no use, but to aggravate our sins and unbelief. I know that by some men the whole nature and work of faith is derided; they say, “It is nothing but a strong fixing of the imagination upon what is said.” However, we know that if a man promise us anything seriously and solemnly which is absolutely in his power, we trust unto his word, or believe him, considering his wisdom, honesty, and ability. This, we know, is not a mere fixing of the imagination, but it is a real and useful confidence or trust. And whereas God hath given unto us great and precious promises, and that under several confirmations, especially that of his oath and covenant, if we do really believe their accomplishment, and that it shall be unto us according to his word, upon the account of his veracity, divine power, righteousness, and holiness, why shall this be esteemed, “a fanatical fixing of the imagination?” If it be so, it was so in Abraham, our example, Romans 4:19-21. But this blasphemous figment, designed to the overthrow of the way of life and salvation by Jesus Christ, shall be elsewhere more fully examined. God, as was said, gives unto us great and precious promises, that by them we might be made partakers of the divine nature. These promises he requireth us to receive, and to mix them with faith, — that is, trusting to and resting on his divine power and veracity, ascribing unto him thereby the glory of them, to believe that the things promised unto us shall be accomplished; which is the means, by God’s appointment, whereby we shall be really made partakers of them. Such was the faith of Abraham, so celebrated by our apostle; and such was all the true and saving faith that ever was in the world from the foundation of it. Wherefore, 3. This is the only way and means to obtain an interest in the cleansing virtue of the blood of Christ. God hath given this power and efficacy unto it by the covenant. In the promise of the gospel it is proposed and tendered unto us. Faith in that promise is that alone which gives us an interest in it, makes us partakers of it, and renders it actually effectual unto us; whereby we are really cleansed from sin. 4. There are two things which concur unto the efficacy of faith to this purpose: — (1.) The excellency of the grace or duty itself. Despise their ignorance who tell you this is but a deceitful fixing of the imagination; for they know not what they say. When men come to the real practice of this duty, they will find what it is to discard all other ways and pretences of cleansing; what it is sincerely and really to give unto God, against all difficulties and oppositions, the glory of his power, faithfulness, goodness, and grace; what it is to approve of the wisdom and love of God in finding out this way for us, and the infiniteness of his grace in providing it when we were lost and under the curse, and to be filled with a holy admiration of him on that account; — all which belong unto the faith mentioned, neither is it nor can it be acted in a due manner without them. And when you understand these things, you will not think it so strange that God should appoint this way of believing only as the means to interest us in the purifying virtue of the blood of Christ. (2.) Hereby are we, as hath been shown, united unto Christ, from whom alone is our cleansing. He that declares another way must make another gospel. 6. Faith, in this case, will act itself in and by fervent prayer. When David had, by sin, brought himself into that condition wherein he stood in need of a new universal purification, how earnest is he in his supplications that God would again “purge and cleanse him!” Psalm 51. And when any soul is really coming over to the way of God for his washing in the blood of Christ, he will not be more earnest and fervent in any supplication than in this. And herein and hereby doth Christ communicate of the purging efficacy of his blood unto us.

    And these things may, in some measure, suffice for the direction and guidance of those who are yet wholly under the pollution of corrupted nature, how they may proceed to get themselves cleansed according to the mind of God. Not that this order or method is prescribed unto any; only, these are the heads of those things which, in one degree or other, are wrought in the souls of them whom Christ will and doth cleanse from their sins.

    Secondly, Instruction, also, may be hence taken for them concerning whom our apostle says, “Such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God,” 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; — such as are freed from the general pollution of nature “by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost,” Titus 3:5; — those, I mean, who have been made partakers of that cleansing, purifying work of the Holy Ghost which we have described. Several duties are incumbent on them with respect hereunto; as, — 1. Continual self-abasement, in the remembrance of that woeful defiled state and condition from whence they have been delivered. This consideration is one of them which principally doth influence the minds of believers unto humility, and hideth pride from them; for what should creatures of such a base and defiled extraction have to boast of in themselves? It is usual, I confess, for vile men of the most contemptible beginnings, when they are greatly exalted in the world, to outgo others in pride and elation of mind, as they are behind them in the advantages of birth and education. But this is esteemed a vile thing amongst men, though it is but one potsherd of the earth boasting itself against another. But when believers shall consider what was their vile and polluted estate with respect unto God, when first he had regard unto them, it will cause them to walk humbly in a deep sense of it, or I am sure it ought so to do. God calls his people to self-abasement, not only from what they are, but from what they were and whence they came. So he ordained that confession to be made by him that offered the first-fruits of his fields and possessions, “A Syrian ready to perish was my father;” or, “A Syrian” (that is, Laban) “was ready to destroy my father, a poor, helpless man, that went from one country to another for bread. How is it of sovereign mercy that I am now in this state and condition of plenty and peace!” Deuteronomy 26:1-5 And, in particular, God wonderfully binds upon them the sense of that defiled natural extraction whereof we speak, Ezekiel 16:3-5. And when David, upon his great sin and his repentance, took in all humbling, selfabasing considerations, here he fixeth the head of them: Psalm 51:5, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.”

    His original natural defilement was that which, in the first place, influenced him unto self-abasement. So our apostle frequently calls the saints to a remembrance of their former condition before they were purged, Ephesians 2:11-13; 1 Corinthians 6:9-11; and therewith are the minds of all true believers greatly affected and greatly humbled. When they consider what was their natural state and condition, — universally leprous and polluted, — with what remainders of it do still abide, it casts them on the earth, and causeth them to lay their mouths in the dust. Hence proceed their great and deep humiliations of themselves, and confessions of their own vileness in their prayers and supplications. Considering the holiness of God, with whom they have to do, unto whom they do approach, they are no way able to express what low thoughts and apprehensions they have of themselves. Even God himself doth teach them to use figurative expressions whereby to declare their own vileness by nature; which abound in the Scripture. It is true, all declarations hereof, in prayer and confession of sin, are derided and scorned by some, who seem to understand nothing of these things, yea, to glory that they do not.

    Whatever is spoken to express, as they are able, the deep sense any have of their natural defilement, with the remainder of it, their shame and selfabasement with respect unto the holiness of God, is reputed either as false and hypocritical, or that it containeth such things as for which men ought to be hanged. Such prodigious impudence in proclaiming a senselessness of the holiness of God and of the vileness of sin have we lived to see and hear of! But when we have to deal with God, who puts no trust in his servants, and chargeth his angels with folly, what shall we say? What lowliness becomes them “who dwell in houses of clay, whose foundation is in the dust, and who are crushed before the moth!” 2. That initial deliverance which believers have from their original pollution of sin is a matter and cause of everlasting thankfulness. When our Lord Jesus Christ cleansed the ten lepers, he manifests how much it was their duty to return unto him with their thankful acknowledgment, though nine of them failed therein, Luke 17:17. And when of old anyone was cleansed from a carnal defilement, there was an offering enjoined him, to testify his gratitude. And, indeed, the consideration hereof is that which in an eminent manner influenceth the minds of believers in all their grateful ascriptions of glory, honor, and praise to Jesus Christ. “Unto him,” say they, “that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever,” Revelation 1:5,6. And there are three things which concur to this duty: — (1.) A due valuation of the causes and means of our purification, — namely, the sprinkling of the blood of Christ in the sanctification of the Spirit. As these alone have effected this great work, so they alone were able so to do. Had we not been washed in the blood of Christ, we must have lived and died in our pollutions, and have lain under them to eternity; for the fire of hell will never purge the defilements of sin, much less will the fictitious fire of purgatory cleanse any from them. How ought we then to prize, value, and admire, both the virtue or efficacy of the blood of Christ, and the love from whence it was given for us and is applied unto us! And because this valuation and admiration are acts of faith, the very work itself, also, of cleansing our souls is carried on by them; for by the exercise of faith do we continually derive virtue from Christ to this purpose, as the woman did by touching of his garment for the stopping of her issue of blood. (2.) Inward joy and satisfaction in our freedom from that shame which deprived us of all boldness and confidence in God. This internal joy belongs unto the duty of thankfulness; for therein is God glorified when we are graciously sensible of the effects of his love and kindness towards us. Every grace then glorifies God, and expresseth our thankfulness for his love, when a soul finds itself really affected with a sense of its being washed from all its loathsome defilements in the blood of Christ, and, being thereby freed from discouraging, oppressing shame, to have filial boldness in the presence of God. (3.) Acknowledgment in a way of actual praise.

    Again; we have declared not only that there is in our natural frame and spiritual constitution a discrepancy to the holiness of God, and consequently a universal defilement, but that there is, from its pravity and disorder, a pollution attending every actual sin, whether internal of the heart and mind only, or external in sin perpetrated, averse to holiness, and contrary to the carrying on of the work of sanctification in us. And sundry things believers, whose concernment alone this is, may learn from hence also; as, — 1. How they ought to watch against sin and all the motions of it, though never so secret. They all of them defile the conscience. And it is an evidence of a gracious soul, to be watchful against sin on this account.

    Convictions will make men wary where they are prevalent, by continual representations of the danger and punishment of sin; and these are an allowable motive to believers themselves to abstain from it in all known instances. The consideration of the terror of the Lord, the use of the threatenings both of the law and gospel, declare this to be our duty.

    Neither let any say that this is servile fear; that denomination is taken from the frame of our minds, and not from the object feared. When men so fear as thereon to be discouraged, and to incline unto a relinquishment of God, duty, and hope, that fear is servile, whatever be the object of it. And that fear which keeps from sin, and excites the soul to cleave more firmly to God, be the object of it what it will, is no servile fear, but a holy fear or due reverence unto God and his word. But this is the most genuinely gracious fear of sin, when we dread the defilement of it, and that contrariety which is in it to the holiness of God. This is a natural fruit of faith and love. And this consideration should always greatly possess our minds; — and the truth is, if it do not so, there is no assured preservative against sin; for together with an apprehension of that spiritual pollution wherewith sin is accompanied, thoughts of the holiness of God, of the care and concernment of the sanctifying Spirit, and of the blood of Christ, will continually abide in our minds, which are all efficaciously preservative against sin. I think that there is no more forcible argument unto watchfulness against all sin, unto believers, in the whole book of God, than that which is managed by our apostle, with especial respect unto one kind of sin, but may in proportion be extended unto all, 1 Corinthians 3:16,17, 6:15-19. Moreover, where this is not, where the soul hath no respect to the defilement of sin, but only considers how it may shift with the guilt of it, innumerable things will interpose, partly arising from the abuse of grace, partly from carnal hopes and foolish resolutions for after-times, as will set it at liberty from that watchful diligence in universal obedience which is required of us. The truth is, I do not believe that anyone that is awed only with respect to the guilt of sin and its consequents doth keep up a firm integrity with regard to inward and outward actings of his heart and life in all things. But where the fear of the Lord and of sin is influenced by a deep apprehension of the holiness of the one, and the pollution that inseparably attends the other, there is the soul kept always upon its best guard and defense. 2. How we ought to walk humbly before the Lord all our days.

    Notwithstanding our utmost watchfulness and diligence against sin, there is yet “no man that liveth and sinneth not.” Those who pretend unto a perfection here, as they manifest themselves to be utterly ignorant of God and themselves, and despise the blood of Christ, so for the most part they are left visibly and in the sight of men to confute their own pride and folly.

    But to what purpose is it to hide ourselves from ourselves, when we have to do with God? God knows, and our own souls know, that more or less we are defiled in all that we do. The best of our works and duties, brought into the presence of the holiness of God, are but as filthy rags; and man, even every man, of himself “drinketh in iniquity like water.” Our own clothes are ready to defile us everyday. Who can express the motions of lusts that are in the flesh; the irregular actings of affections, in their inordinate risings up to their objects; the folly of the imaginations of our hearts and minds, which, as far as they are not principled by grace, are only evil, and that continually; with the vanity of our words, yea, with a mixture of much corrupt communications; all which are defiling, and have defilements attending of them? I confess I know not that my heart and soul abhors any eruption of the diabolical pride of man like that whereby they reproach and scoff at the deepest humiliations and self-abasements which poor sinners can attain unto in their prayers, confessions, and supplications. Alas! that our nature should be capable of such a contempt of the holiness of God, such an ignorance of the infinite distance that is between him and us, and be so senseless of our own vileness, and of the abominable filth and pollution that is in every sin, as not to tremble at the despising of the lowest abasements of poor sinners before the holy God! “Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith,” Habbakuk 2:4. 3. How we ought continually to endeavor after the wasting of sin in the root and principle of it. There is a root of sin in us, which springs up and defiles us. “Every man is tempted” (that is, chiefly and principally) “of his own lust, and seduced;” and then “when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin.” It is “the flesh that lusteth against the Spirit,” and which bringeth forth corrupted and corrupting, polluted and polluting fruits. This principle of sin, of aversation from God, of inclination unto things sensual and present, however wounded, weakened, dethroned, impaired, yet still abides in all believers; and it is the foundation, the spring, the root, the next cause of all sin in us, which tempts, enticeth, draws aside, conceives, and brings forth. And this hath in us all more or less degrees of strength, power, and activity, according as it is more or less mortified by grace and the application of the virtue of the death of Christ unto our souls; and according to its strength and power, so it abounds in bringing forth the defiled acts of sin. Whilst this retains any considerable power in us, it is to no purpose to set ourselves merely to watch against the eruptions of actual sins in the frames of our hearts, in the thoughts of our minds, or outward actions. If we would preserve ourselves from multiplying our defilements, if we would continually be perfecting the work of holiness in the fear of the Lord, it is this we must set ourselves against. The tree must be made good if we expect good fruit; and the evil root must be digged up, or evil fruit will be brought forth; — that is, our main design should be, to crucify and destroy the body of the sins of the flesh that is in us, the remainders of the flesh or indwelling sin, by the ways and means which shall afterward be declared. 4. Hence also is manifest the necessity there is of continual applications to Jesus Christ for cleansing virtue from his Spirit, and the sprinkling of his blood on our consciences, in the efficacy of it, to purge them from dead works. We defile ourselves everyday, and if we go not every day to the “fountain that is open for sin and for uncleanness,” we shall quickly be all over leprous. Our consciences will be filled with dead works, so that we shall no way be able to serve the living God, unless they are daily purged out. How this is done hath been at large before declared. When a soul, filled with self-abasement under a sense of its own defilements, applies itself unto Christ by faith for cleansing, and that constantly and continually, with a fervency answering its sense and convictions, it is in its way and proper course. I am persuaded no true believer in the world is a stranger unto this duty; and the more anyone abounds therein, the more genuine is his faith evidenced to be, and the more humble is his walk before the Lord.

    But it may justly be inquired, after all that we have discoursed upon this subject concerning the defilement of sin, how, if it be so, believers can be united unto Jesus Christ, or be members of that mystical body whereof he is the head, or obtain fellowship with him; for whereas he is absolutely pure, holy, and perfect, how can he have union or communion with them who are in anything defiled? There is no fellowship between righteousness and unrighteousness, no communion between light and darkness, and what can there be between Christ and those that are defiled with sin? and because he is “holy, harmless, and undefiled,” he is said to be “separate from sinners.”

    Many things must be returned unto this objection, all concurring to take away the seeming difficulty that is in it; as, — 1. It must be granted that where men are wholly under the power of their original defilement, they neither have nor can have either union or communion with Christ. With respect unto such persons the rules before mentioned are universally true and certain. There is no more communion between them and Jesus Christ than is between light and darkness, as the apostle speaks expressly, 1 John 1:6. Whatever profession they may make of his name, whatever expectations they may unduly raise from him in their own minds, he will say unto them at the last day, “Depart from me, I never knew you.” No person, therefore, whatever, who hath not been made partaker of the washing of regeneration and the renovation of the Holy Ghost, can possibly have any union with Christ. I do not speak this as though our purifying were in order of time and nature antecedent unto our union with Christ, for indeed it is an effect thereof; but it is such an effect as immediately and inseparably accompanieth it, so that where the one is not, there is not the other. The act whereby he unites us unto himself is the same with that whereby he cleanseth our natures. 2. Whatever our defilements are or may be, he is not defiled by them. They adhere only unto a capable subject, which Christ is not. He was capable to have the guilt of our sins imputed to him, but not the filth of one sin adhering to him. A member of a body may have a putrefied sore; the head may be troubled at it and grieved with it, yet is not defiled by it.

    Wherefore, where there is a radical, original cleansing by the Spirit of regeneration and holiness, whereby anyone is meet for union and communion with Christ, however he may be affected with our partial pollutions, he is not defiled by them. He is able swmpaqh~sai , “compati, condolere;” he suffers with us in his compassion; — but he is not liable summolu>nesqai , to be defiled with us or for us. The visible mystical body of Christ may be defiled by corrupt members, Hebrews 12:15; but the mystical body cannot be so, much less the head. 3. The design of Christ, when he takes believers into union with himself, is to purge and cleanse them absolutely and perfectly; and therefore the present remainders of some defilements are not absolutely inconsistent with that union. “He gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish,” Ephesians 5:25-27. This he aims at, and this he will, in his own way and in his own time, perfectly accomplish. But it is not done at once; it is a progressive work, that hath many degrees. God did never sanctify any soul at once, unless by death. The body must die by reason of sin. Every believer is truly and really sanctified at once, but none is perfectly sanctified at once.

    It is not, therefore, necessary unto union that we should be completely sanctified, though it is that we should be truly sanctified. Complete sanctification is a necessary effect of union in its proper time and season.

    See John 15:1-5. 4. Where the work of sanctification and spiritual cleansing is really begun in any, there the whole person is, and is thence denominated, holy. As, therefore, Christ the head is holy, so are all the members holy according to their measure; for although there may be defilements adhering unto their actions, yet their persons are sanctified: so that no unholy person hath any communion with Christ, no member of his body is unholy, — that is, absolutely so, in such a state as thence to be denominated unholy. 5. Our union with Christ is immediately in and by the new creature in us, by the divine nature which is from the Spirit of holiness, and is pure and holy. Hereunto and hereby doth the Lord Christ communicate himself unto our souls and consciences, and hereby have we all our intercourse with him. Other adherences that have any defilement in them, and consequently are opposite unto this union, he daily worketh out by virtue hereof, Romans 8:10. The whole body of Christ, therefore, and all that belongs unto it, is holy, though those who are members of this body are in themselves ofttimes polluted, but not in anything which belongs to their union. The apostle describeth the twofold nature or principle that is in believers, the new nature by grace and the old of sin, as a double person, Romans 7:19,20; and it is the former, the renewed (and not the latter, which he calls “I” also, but corrects as it were that expression, calling it “sin which dwelleth in him”), that is the subject of the union with Christ, the other being to be destroyed. 6. Where the means of purification are duly used, no defilement ensues, on any sin that believers fall into, which doth or can totally obstruct communion with God in Christ, according to the tenor of the covenant.

    There were many things under the Old Testament that did typically and legally defile men that were liable unto them; but for all of them were provided typical and legal purifications, which sanctified them as to the purifying of the flesh. Now, no man was absolutely cut off or separated from the people of God for his being so defiled; but he that, being defiled, did not take care that he might be purified according to the law, he was to be cut off from among the people. It is in like manner in things spiritual and evangelical. There are many sins whereby believers are defiled; but there is a way of cleansing still open unto them. And it is not merely the incidence of a defilement, but the neglect of purification, that is inconsistent with their state and interest in Christ. The rule of communion with God, and consequently of union with Christ, in its exercise, is expressed by David, Psalm 19:12,13, “Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret sins.

    Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me: then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression.”

    The design of the psalmist is, to be preserved in such a state and condition as wherein he may be upright before God. To be upright before God is that which God requireth of us in the covenant, that we may be accepted with him and enjoy the promises thereof, Genesis 17:1. He that is so will be free from that great transgression, or that abundance of sin which is inconsistent with the covenant love and favor of God. And hereunto three things are required: — (1.) A constant, humble acknowledgment of sin: “Who can understand his errors?” (2.) Daily cleansing from those defilements which the least and most secret sins are accompanied withal: “Cleanse thou me from secret sins.” And, — (3.) A preservation from “presumptuous sins,” or willful sins committed with a high hand. Where these things are, there a man is upright, and hath the covenant-ground of his communion with God; and whilst believers are preserved within these bounds, though they are defiled by sin, yet is there not anything therein inconsistent with their union with Christ. 7. Our blessed Head is not only pure and holy , but he is also gracious and merciful , and will not presently cut off a member of his body because it is sick or hath a sore upon it. He is himself passed through his course of temptations, and is now above the reach of them all. Doth he, therefore, reject and despise those that are tempted, that labor and suffer under their temptations? It is quite otherwise, so that, on the account of his own present state, his compassions do exceedingly abound towards all his that are tempted. It is no otherwise with him as to their sins and defilements.

    These he himself was absolutely free from in all his temptations and sufferings, but we are not; and he is so far from casting us away on that account, while we endeavor after purification, as that it draweth out his compassions towards us. In brief, he doth not unite us to himself because we are perfect, but that in his own way and time he may make us so; not because we are clean, but that he may cleanse us: for it is the blood of Jesus Christ, with whom we have fellowship, that cleanseth us from all our sins.

    Lastly, To wind up this discourse, there is hence sufficiently evidenced a comprehensive difference between a spiritual life unto God by evangelical holiness, and a life of moral virtue, though pretended unto God also. Unto the first, the original and continual purification of our nature and persons by the Spirit of God and blood of Christ is indispensably required. Where this work is not, there neither is nor can be anything of that holiness which the gospel prescribes, and which we inquire after. Unless the purification and cleansing of sin belong necessarily unto the holiness of the new covenant, all that God hath taught us concerning it in the Old Testament and the New, by his institution of legal purifying ordinances; by his promises to wash, purify, and cleanse us; by his precepts to get ourselves cleansed by the means of our purification, namely, his Spirit and the blood of Christ; by his instructions and directions of us to make use of those means of our cleansing; by his declarations that believers are so washed and cleansed from all the defilements of their sins, — are things fanatical, enthusiastic notions, and unintelligible dreams. Until men can rise up to a confidence enabling them to own such horrible blasphemies, I desire to know whether these things are required unto their morality? If they shall say they are so, they give us a new notion of morality, never yet heard of in the world; and we must expect until they have farther cleared it, there being little or no signification in the great swelling words of vanity which have hitherto been lavished about it. But if they do not belong thereunto, — as it is most certain the most improved moralists, that are only so, whether in notion or practice, have no regard unto them, — then is their life of moral virtue (were it as real in them as it is with notorious vanity pretended) cast out from all consideration in a serious disquisition after evangelical holiness. And what hath been spoken may suffice to give us some light into the nature of this first act of our sanctification by the Spirit, which consists in the cleansing of our souls and consciences from the pollutions of sin, both original and actual.

    CHAPTER 6.

    THE POSITIVE WORK OF THE SPIRIT IN THE SANCTIFICATION OF BELIEVERS. Differences in the acts of sanctification as to order — The manner of the communication of holiness by the Spirit — The rule and measure whereof is the revealed will of God, as the rule of its acceptance is the covenant of grace — The nature of holiness as inward — Righteousness habitual and actual — False notions of holiness removed — The nature of a spiritual habit — Applied unto holiness, with its rules and limitations — Proved and confirmed — Illustrated and practically improved — The properties of holiness as a spiritual habit declared — 1. Spiritual dispositions unto suitable acts; how expressed in the Scripture; with their effects — Contrary dispositions unto sin and holiness how consistent — 2.

    Power; the nature thereof; or what power is required in believers unto holy obedience; with its properties and effects in readiness and facility — Objections thereunto answered, and an inquiry on these principles after true holiness in ourselves directed — Gospel grace distinct from morality, and all other habits of the mind; proved by many arguments, especially its relation unto the mediation of Christ — The principal difference between evangelical holiness and all other habits of the mind, proved by the manner and way of its communication from the person of Christ as the head of the church, and the peculiar efficiency of the Spirit therein — Moral honesty not gospel holiness. THE distinction we make between the acts of the Holy Ghost in the work of sanctification concerneth more the order of teaching and instruction than any order of precedency that is between the acts themselves; for that which we have passed through concerning the cleansing of our natures and persons doth not, in order of time, go before those other acts which leave a real and positive effect upon the soul, which we now enter upon the description of, nor absolutely in order of nature: yea, much of the means whereby the Holy Ghost purifieth us consisteth in this other work of his which now lies before us; only we thus distinguish them and cast them into this order, as the Scripture also doth, for the guidance of our understanding in them, and furtherance of our apprehension of them.

    We, therefore, now proceed unto that part of the work of the Holy Spirit whereby he communicates the great, permanent, positive effect of holiness unto the souls of believers, and whereby he guides and assists them in all the acts, works, and duties of holiness whatever; without which what we do is not so, nor doth any way belong thereunto. And this part of his work we shall reduce unto two heads, which we shall first propose, and afterward clear and vindicate.

    And our first assertion is, That in the sanctification of believers, the Holy Ghost doth work in them, in their whole souls, their minds, wills, and affections, a gracious, supernatural habit, principle, and disposition of living unto God; wherein the substance or essence, the life and being, of holiness doth consist. This is that spirit which is born of the Spirit, that new creature, that new and divine nature which is wrought in them, and whereof they are made partakers. Herein consists that image of God whereunto our natures are repaired by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, whereby we are made conformable unto God, firmly and steadfastly adhering unto him through faith and love. That there is such a divine principle, such a gracious, supernatural habit, wrought in all them that are born again, hath been fully proved in our assertion and description of the work of regeneration. It is, therefore, acknowledged that the first supernatural infusion or communication of this principle of spiritual light and life, preparing, fitting, and enabling all the faculties of our souls unto the duties of holiness, according to the mind of God, doth belong unto the work of our first conversion. But the preservation, cherishing, and increase of it belong unto our sanctification, both its infusion and preservation being necessarily required unto holiness. Hereby is the tree made good, that the fruit of it may be good, and without which it will not so be. This is our new nature; which ariseth not from precedent actions of holiness, but is the root of them all. Habits acquired by a multitude of acts, whether in things moral or artificial, are not a new nature, nor can be so called, but a readiness for acting from use and custom. But this nature is from God, its parent; it is that in us which is born of God. And it is common unto or the same in all believers, as to its kind and being, though not as to degrees and exercise. It is that which we cannot learn, which cannot be taught us but by God only, as he teaches other creatures in whom he planteth a natural instinct. The beauty and glory hereof, as it is absolutely inexpressible, so have we spoken somewhat to it before. Conformity to God, likeness to Christ, compliance with the Holy Spirit, interest in the family of God, fellowship with angels, separation from darkness and the world, do all consist herein.

    Secondly, The matter of our holiness consists in our actual obedience unto God, according to the tenor of the covenant of grace; for God promiseth to write his law in our hearts, that we may fear him and walk in his statutes.

    And concerning this, in general, we may observe two things: — 1. That there is a certain fixed rule and measure of this obedience, in a conformity and answerableness whereunto it doth consist. This is the revealed will of God in the Scripture, Micah 6:8. God’s will, I say, as revealed unto us in the word, is the rule of our obedience. A rule it must have, which nothing else can pretend to be. The secret will or hidden purposes of God are not the rule of our obedience, Deuteronomy 29:29, much less are our own imaginations, inclinations, or reason so; neither doth anything, though never so specious, which we do in compliance with them, or by their direction, belong thereunto, Colossians 2:18-23. But the word of God is the adequate rule of all holy obedience: — (1.) It is so materially. All that is commanded in that word belongs unto our obedience, and nothing else doth so. Hence are we so strictly required neither to add unto it nor to diminish or take anything from it, Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Joshua 1:7; Proverbs 30:6; Revelation 22:18,19. (2.) It is so formally; that is, we are not only to do what is commanded, all that is commanded, and nothing else, but whatever we do, we are to do it because it is commanded, or it is no part of our obedience or holiness, Deuteronomy 6:24,25, 29:29; <19B909> Psalm 119:9. I know there is an inbred light of nature as yet remaining in us, which gives great direction as to moral good and evil, commanding the one and forbidding the other, Romans 2:14,15; but this light, however it may be made subservient and subordinate thereunto, is not the rule of gospel holiness as such, nor any part of it. The law which God by his grace writes in our hearts answers unto the law that is written in the word that is given unto us; and as the first is the only principle, so the latter is the only rule, of our evangelical obedience. For this end hath God promised that his Spirit and his word shall always accompany one another, the one to quicken our souls, and the other to guide our lives, Isaiah 59:21. And the word of God may be considered as our rule in a threefold respect: — (1.) As it requires the image of God in us. The habitual rectitude of our nature with respect unto God and our living to him is enjoined us in the word, yea, and wrought in us thereby. The whole renovation of our nature, the whole principle of holiness before described, is nothing but the word changed into grace in our hearts; for we are born again by the incorruptible seed of the word of God. The Spirit worketh nothing in us but what the word first requireth of us. It is, therefore, the rule of the inward principle of spiritual life; and the growth thereof is nothing but its increase in conformity to that word. (2.) With respect unto all the actual frames, designs, and purposes of the heart. All the internal actings of our minds, all the volitions of the will, all the motions of our affections, are to be regulated by that word which requires us to love the Lord our God with all our minds, all our souls, and all our strength. Hereby is their regularity or irregularity to be tried. All that holiness which is in them consists in their conformity to the revealed will of God. (3.) With respect unto all our outward actions and duties, private and public, of piety, of righteousness, towards ourselves or others, Titus 2:12. This is the rule of our holiness. So far as what we are and what we do answer thereunto, so far are we holy, and no farther. Whatever acts of devotion or duties of morality may be performed without respect hereunto belong not to our sanctification. 2. As there is a rule of our performance of this obedience, so there is a rule of the acceptance of our obedience with God; and this is the tenor of the new covenant, Genesis 17:1. What answers hereunto is accepted, and what doth not so is rejected, both as to the universality of the whole and the sincerity that accompanies each particular duty in it. And these two things, universality and sincerity, answer now, as to some certain ends, the legal perfection at first required of us. In the estate of original righteousness, the rule of our acceptance with God in our obedience was the law and covenant of works; and this required that it should be absolutely perfect in parts and degrees, without the least intermixture of sin with our good, or interposition of it in the least instance, which was inconsistent with that covenant. But now, although we are renewed again by grace into the image of God really and truly (yet not absolutely nor perfectly, but only in part), we have yet remaining in us a contrary principle of ignorance and sin, which we must always conflict withal, Galatians 5:16,17: wherefore God in the covenant of grace is pleased to accept of that holy obedience which is universal as to all parts, in all known instances of duty, and sincere as to the manner of their performance. What in particular is required hereunto is not our present work to declare; I only aim to fix in general the rule of the acceptance of this holy obedience. Now, the reason hereof is not that a lower and more imperfect kind of righteousness, holiness, and obedience, will answer all the ends of God and his glory now under the new covenant, than would have done so under the old. Nothing can be imagined more distant from the truth, or more dishonorable to the gospel, or that seems to have a nearer approach unto the making of Christ the minister of sin; for what would he be else, if he had procured that God would accept of a weak, imperfect obedience, accompanied with many failings, infirmities, and sins, being in nothing complete, in the room and stead of that which was complete, perfect, and absolutely sinless, which he first required of us? Yea, God having determined to exalt and glorify the holy properties of his nature in a more eminent and glorious manner under the new covenant than the old, for which cause and end alone it is so exalted and preferred above it, it was necessary that there should be a righteousness and obedience required therein far more complete, eminent, and glorious than that required in the other. But the reason of this difference lies solely herein, that our evangelical obedience, which is accepted with God, according to the tenor of the new covenant, doth not hold the same place which our obedience should have had under the covenant of works; for therein it should have been our righteousness absolutely before God, that whereby we should have been justified in his sight, even the works of the law, and for which, in a due proportion of justice, we should have been eternally rewarded.

    But this place is now filled up by the righteousness and obedience of Christ, our mediator; which, being the obedience of the Son of God, is far more eminent and glorious, or tends more to the manifestation of the properties of God’s nature, and therein to the exaltation of his glory, than all that we should have done had we abode steadfast in the covenant of works. “Whereunto, then,” it may be some will say, “serves our holiness and obedience, and what is the necessity of them?” I must defer the answering of this inquiry unto its proper place, where I shall prove at large the necessity of this holiness, and demonstrate it from its proper principles and ends. In the meantime I say only, in general, that as God requireth it of us, so he hath appointed it as the only means whereby we may express our subjection to him, our dependence on him, our fruitfulness and thankfulness; the only way of our communion and intercourse with him, of using and improving the effects of his love, the benefits of the mediation of Christ, whereby we may glorify him in this world; and the only orderly way whereby we may be made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light: which is sufficient, in general, to manifest both its necessity and its use. These things being, then, in general premised, I shall comprise what I have farther to offer in the declaration and vindication of gospel sanctification and holiness in the two ensuing assertions: — I. There is wrought and preserved in the minds and souls of all believers, by the Spirit of God, a supernatural principle or habit of grace and holiness, whereby they are made meet for and enabled to live unto God, and perform that obedience which he requireth and accepteth through Christ in the covenant of grace; essentially or specifically distinct from all natural habits, intellectual and moral, however or by what means soever acquired or improved.

    II. There is an immediate work or effectual operation of the Holy Spirit by his grace required unto every act of holy obedience, whether internal only in faith and love, or external also; that is, unto all the holy actings of our understandings, wills, and affections, and unto all duties of obedience in our walking before God.

    I. The first of these assertions I affirm not only to be true, but of so great weight and importance that our hope of life and salvation depends thereon; and it is the second great principle constituting our Christian profession.

    And there are four things that are to be confirmed concerning it: — 1. That there is such a habit or principle supernatural infused or created in believers by the Holy Ghost, and always abiding in them. 2. That, according to the nature of all habits, it inclines and disposeth the mind, will, and affections, unto acts of holiness suitable unto its own nature, and with regard unto its proper end, and to make us meet to live unto God. 3. [That] it doth not only incline and dispose the mind, but gives it power, and enables it to live unto God in all holy obedience. 4. That it differs specifically from all other habits, intellectual or moral, that by any means we may acquire or attain, or spiritual gifts that may be conferred on any persons whatever.

    In the handling of these things, I shall manifest the difference that is between a spiritual, supernatural life of evangelical holiness and a course of moral virtue; which some, to the rejection of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, do endeavor to substitute in the room thereof. Such a spiritual, heavenly, supernatural life, so denominated from its nature, causes, acts, and ends, we must be partakers of in this world, if ever we mind to attain eternal life in another.

    And herein we shall take what view we are able of the nature, glory, and beauty of holiness; and [I] do confess it is but little of them which I can comprehend. It is a matter, indeed, often spoken unto; but the essence and true nature of it are much hidden from the eyes of all living men. The sense of what the Scripture proposeth, what I believe, and what I desire an experience of, that I shall endeavor to declare. But as we are not in this life perfect in the duties of holiness, no more are we in the knowledge of its nature.

    First, therefore, I say, it is a gracious, supernatural habit, or a principle of spiritual life. And with respect hereunto I shall briefly do these three things: — 1. Show what I mean by such a habit . 2. Prove that there is such a habit required unto holiness, yea, that the nature of holiness consists therein. 3. Declare in general the properties of it. 1. Our first inquiry is after the essence and form of holiness, that from which anyone is truly and really made and denominated holy; or what is the formal reason of that holiness which our nature is partaker of in this world. This must be something peculiar, something excellent and sacred, as that which constitutes the great and only difference that is between mankind, on their own part, in the sight of God, with respect unto eternity. Everyone that hath this holiness pleaseth God, is accepted with him, and shall come to the enjoyment of him; and everyone that hath it not is rejected of him, here and hereafter.

    And this holiness, in the first place, doth not consist in any single acts of obedience unto God, though good in their own nature, and acceptable unto him; for such acts may be performed, yea, many of them, by unholy persons, with examples whereof the Scripture aboundeth. Cain’s sacrifice and Ahab’s repentance were signal single acts of obedience materially, yet no acts of holiness formally, nor did either make or denominate them holy.

    And our apostle tells us that men may “give all their goods to feed the poor, and their bodies to be burned, and yet be nothing,” 1 Corinthians 13:3; yet in single acts who can go farther? Such fruits may spring from seed that hath no root. Single acts may evidence holiness, as Abraham’s obedience in sacrificing his son, but they constitute none holy; nor will a series, a course, a multiplication of acts and duties of obedience either constitute or denominate anyone so, Isaiah 1:11-15. All the duties, a series and multiplication whereof are there rejected for want of holiness, were good in themselves, and appointed of God. Nor doth it consist in an habitual disposition of mind unto any outward duties of piety, devotion, or obedience, however obtained or acquired. Such habits there are, both intellectual and moral. Intellectual habits are arts and sciences. When men, by custom, usage, and frequent acts in the exercise of any science, art, or mystery, do get a ready facility in and unto all the parts and duties of it, they have an intellectual habit therein. It is so in things moral, as to virtues and vices. There are some seeds and sparks of moral virtue remaining in the ruins of depraved nature, as of justice, temperance, fortitude, and the like. Hence God calls on profligate sinners to remember and “show themselves men,” or not to act contrary to the principles and light of nature, which are inseparable from us as we are men, Isaiah 46:8. These principles may be so excited in the exercise of natural light, and improved by education, instruction, and example, until persons, by an assiduous, diligent performance of the acts and duties of them, may attain such a readiness unto them and facility in them as is not by any outward means easily changed or diverted; and this is a moral habit. In like manner, in the duties of piety and religion, in acts of outward obedience unto God, men by the same means may so accustom themselves unto them as to have an habitual disposition unto their exercise. I doubt not but that it is so unto a high degree with many superstitious persons. But in all these things the acts do still precede the habits of the same nature and kind, which are produced by them and not otherwise. But this holiness is such a habit or principle as is antecedent unto all acts of the same kind, as we shall prove.

    There never was by any, nor ever can be, any act or duty of true holiness performed, where there was not in order of nature antecedently a habit of holiness in the persons by whom they were performed. Many acts and duties, for the substance of them good and approvable, may be performed without it, but no one that hath the proper form and nature of holiness can be so. And the reason is, because every act of true holiness must have something supernatural in it, from an internal renewed principle of grace; and that which hath not so, be it otherwise what it will, is no act or duty of true holiness.

    And I call this principle of holiness a habit, not as though it were absolutely of the same kind with acquired habits, and would in all things answer to our conceptions and descriptions of them; but we only call it so because, in its effects and manner of operation, it agreeth in sundry things with acquired intellectual or moral habits. But it hath much more conformity unto a natural, unchangeable instinct than unto any acquired habit. Wherefore God chargeth it on men, that in their obedience unto him they did not answer that instinct which is in other creatures towards their lords and benefactors, Isaiah 1:3, and which they cordially observe, Jeremiah 8:7. But herein God “teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven,” Job 35:11.

    This, therefore, is that which I intend, — a virtue, a power, a principle of spiritual life and grace, wrought, created, infused into our souls, and inlaid in all the faculties of them, constantly abiding and unchangeably residing in them, which is antecedent unto, and the next cause of, all acts of true holiness whatever. And this is that, as was said, wherein the nature of holiness doth consist, and from which, in those that are adult, the actual discharge of all duties and works of holiness is inseparable. This abideth always in and with all that are sanctified, whence they are always holy, and not only so when they are actually exercised in the duties of holiness.

    Hereby are they prepared, disposed, and enabled unto all duties of obedience, as we shall show immediately; and by the influence hereof into their acts and duties do they become holy, and no otherwise.

    For the farther explanation of it, I shall only add three things: — (1.) That this habit or principle, thus wrought and abiding in us, doth not, if I may so say, firm its own station, or abide and continue in us by its own natural efficacy, in adhering unto the faculties of our souls. Habits that are acquired by many actions have a natural efficacy to preserve themselves, until some opposition that is too hard for them prevail against them; which is frequently (though not easily) done. But this is preserved in us by the constant powerful actings and influence of the Holy Ghost.

    He which works it in us doth also preserve it in us. And the reason hereof is, because the spring of it is in our head, Christ Jesus, it being only an emanation of virtue and power from him unto us by the Holy Ghost. If this be not actually and always continued, whatever is in us would die and wither of itself. See Ephesians 4:15,16; Colossians 3:3; John 4:14.

    It is in us as the fructifying sap is in a branch of the vine or olive. It is there really and formally, and is the next cause of the fruit-bearing of the branch: but it doth not live and abide by itself, but by a continual emanation and communication from the root; let that be intercepted, and it quickly withers. So is it with this principle in us, with respect unto its root, Christ Jesus. (2.) Though this principle or habit of holiness be of the same kind or nature in all believers, in all that are sanctified, yet there are in them very distinct degrees of it. In some it is more strong, lively, vigorous, and flourishing; in others, more weak, feeble, and inactive; and this in so great variety and on so many occasions as cannot here be spoken unto. (3.) That although this habit and principle is not acquired by any or many acts of duty or obedience, yet is it, in a way of duty, preserved, increased, strengthened, and improved thereby. God hath appointed that we should live in the exercise of it; and in and by the multiplication of its acts and duties is it kept alive and stirred up, without which it will be weakened and decay. 2. This being what I intend as to the substance of it, we must, in the next place, show that there is such a spiritual habit or principle of spiritual life wrought in believers, wherein their holiness doth consist. Some few testimonies of many shall suffice as to its present confirmation.

    The work of it is expressed, Deuteronomy 30:6, “The LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.”

    The end of holiness is, that we may “live;” and the principal work of holiness is to “love the LORD our God with all our heart and soul;” and this is the effect of God’s “circumcising our hearts,” without which it will not be. Every act of love and fear, and consequently every duty of holiness whatever, is consequential unto God’s circumcising of our hearts.

    But it should seem that this work of God is “only a removal of hinderances,” and doth not express the collation of the principle which we assert. I answer, that although it were easy to demonstrate that this work of circumcising our hearts cannot be effected without an implantation of the principle pleaded for in them, yet it shall suffice at present to evince from hence that this effectual work of God upon our hearts is antecedently necessary unto all acts of holiness in us. But herewithal God writes his law in our hearts: Jeremiah 31:33, “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts.” The habit or principle which we have described is nothing but a transcript of the law of God implanted and abiding in our hearts, whereby we comply with and answer unto the whole will of God therein. This is holiness in the habit and principle of it. This is more fully expressed, Ezekiel 36:26,27, “A new heart will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

    The whole of all that actual obedience and all those duties of holiness which God requireth of us is contained in these expressions, “Ye shall walk in my statutes, and keep my judgments to do them.” Antecedent hereunto, and as the principle and cause thereof, God gives a “new heart” and a “new spirit.” This new heart is a heart with the law of God written in it, as before mentioned; and this new spirit is the habitual inclination of that heart unto the life of God, or all duties of obedience. And herein the whole of what we have asserted is confirmed, — namely, that antecedently unto all duties and acts of holiness whatever, and as the next cause of them, there is by the Holy Ghost a new spiritual principle or habit of grace communicated unto us and abiding in us, from whence we are made and denominated holy.

    It is yet more expressly revealed and declared in the New Testament, John 3:6. There is a work of the Spirit of God upon us in our regeneration; we are “born again of the Spirit.” And there is the product of this work of the Spirit of God in us, that which is born in this new birth, and that is “spirit” also. It is something existing in us, that is of a spiritual nature and spiritual efficacy. It is something abiding in us, acting in a continual opposition against the flesh or sin, as Galatians 5:17, and unto all duties of obedience unto God. And until this spirit is formed in us, — that is, our whole souls have a furnishment of spiritual power and ability, — we cannot perform any one act that is spiritually good, nor any one act of vital obedience. This spirit, or spiritual nature, which is born of the Spirit, by which alone we are enabled to live to God, is that habit of grace or principle of holiness which we intend. And so also is it called a new creature: “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature,” 2 Corinthians 5:17. It is something that, by an almighty creating act of the power of God by his Spirit, hath the nature of a living creature, produced in the souls of all that are in Christ Jesus. And as it is called the “new creature,” so it is also a “divine nature,” 2 Peter 1:4; and a nature is the principle of all operations. And this is what we plead for: The Spirit of God createth a new nature in us, which is the principle and next cause of all acts of the life of God. Where this is not, whatever else there may be, there is no evangelical holiness. This is that whereby we are enabled to live unto God, to fear him, to walk in his ways, and to yield obedience according to his mind and will. See Ephesians 4:23,24; Colossians 3:10. This the Scripture plentifully testifieth unto; but withal I must add, that as to the proper nature or essence of it, no mind can apprehend it, no tongue can express it, none can perfectly understand its glory. Some few things may be added to illustrate it. (1.) This is that whereby we have union with Jesus Christ, the head of the church. Originally and efficiently the Holy Spirit dwelling in him and us is the cause of this union; but formally this new principle of grace is so. It is that whereby we become “members of his flesh and of his bones,” Ephesians 5:30. As Eve was of Adam, — she was one with him, because she had the same nature with him, and that derived from him, which the apostle alludeth unto, — so are we of him, partakers of the same divine nature with him. Thus he that is “joined unto the Lord is one spirit,” 1 Corinthians 6:17; that is, of one and the same spiritual nature with him, Hebrews 2:11,14. How excellent is this grace, which gives us our interest in and continuity unto the body of Christ, and to his person as our head! It is the same grace, in the kind thereof, which is in the holy nature of Christ, and renders us one with him. (2.) Our likeness and conformity unto God consists herein; for it is the reparation of his image in us, Ephesians 4:23,24; Colossians 3:10.

    Something, I hope, I apprehend concerning this image of God in believers, and of their likeness unto him, how great a privilege it is, what honor, safety, and security depend thereon, what duties are required of us on the account thereof; but perfectly to conceive or express the nature and glory of it we cannot attain unto, but should learn to adore the grace whence it doth proceed and is bestowed on us, to admire the love of Christ and the efficacy of his mediation, whereby it is renewed in us; — but the thing itself is ineffable. (3.) It is our life, our spiritual life, whereby we live to God. Life is the foundation and sum of all excellencies; without this we are dead in trespasses and sins; and how we are quickened by the Holy Ghost hath been declared. But this is the internal principle of life, whence all vital acts in the life of God do proceed. And whereas we know not well what is the true form and essence of life natural, only we find it, discern it, and judge of it by its effects, much less do we know the form and essence of life spiritual, which is far more excellent and glorious. This is that life which is “hid with Christ in God,” Colossians 3:3; in which words the apostle draws a veil over it, as knowing that we are unable steadfastly to behold its glory and beauty.

    But before I proceed unto a farther description of this principle of holiness in its effects, as before laid down, it may not be amiss practically to call over these general considerations of its nature; and our own concernment in this truth, which is no empty notion, will be therein declared. And, — First, We may learn hence not to satisfy ourselves, or not to rest, in any acts or duties of obedience, in any good works, how good and useful soever in themselves, or howsoever multiplied by us, unless there be a vital principle of holiness in our hearts. A few honest actions, a few useful duties, do satisfy some persons that they are as holy as they should be, or as they need to be; and some men’s religion hath consisted in the multiplying of outward duties, that they might be meritorious for themselves and others. But God expressly rejecteth not only such duties, but the greatest multitude of them, and their most frequent reiteration, if the heart be not antecedently purified and sanctified, if it be not possessed with the principle of grace and holiness insisted on, Isaiah 1:11-15. Such acts and duties may be the effects of other causes, the fruits of other principles. Mere legal convictions will produce them, and put men upon a course of them. Fears, afflictions, terrors of conscience, dictates of reason, improved by education and confirmed by custom, will direct, yea, compel men unto their observance. But all is lost, men do but labor in the fire about them, if the soul be not prepared with this spiritual principle of habitual holiness, wrought in it immediately by the Holy Ghost. Yet we must here observe these two things: — (1.) That so far as these duties, be they of morality or religion, of piety or divine worship, are good in themselves, they ought to be approved, and men encouraged in them. There are sundry ways whereby the best duties may be abused and misapplied, as when men rest in them, as if they were meritorious, or the matter of their justification before God; for this, as is known, is an effectual means to divert the souls of sinners from faith in Christ for life and salvation, Romans 9:31,32, 10:3, 4. And there are reasons and causes that render them unacceptable before God, with respect unto the persons by whom they are performed; as when they are not done in faith, for which Cain’s sacrifice was rejected; and when the heart is not previously sanctified and prepared with a spiritual principle of obedience. But yet on neither of these grounds or pretences can we or ought we to condemn or undervalue the duties themselves, which are good in their own nature, nor take off men from the performance of them; yea, it were greatly to be desired that we could see more of the fruits of moral virtues and duties of religious piety among unsanctified persons than we do. The world is not in a condition to spare the good acts of bad men. But this we may do, and as we are called we ought to do: When men are engaged in a course of duties and good works, on principles that will not abide and endure the trial, or for ends that will spoil and corrupt all they do, we may tell them (as our Savior did the young man, who gave that great account of his diligence in all legal duties), “One thing is yet wanting unto you;” — “You want faith, or you want Christ, or you want a spiritual principle of evangelical holiness, without which all you do will be lost, and come to no account at the last day.” The due assertion of grace never was nor ever can be an obstruction unto any duty of obedience.

    Indeed, when any will give up themselves unto those works or actings, under the name of duties and obedience unto God, which, although they may make a specious show and appearance in the world, yet are evil in themselves, or such as God requireth not of men, we may speak against them, deny them, and take men off from them. So persecution hath been looked on as a good work, men supposing they did God good service when they slew the disciples of Christ; and men giving their goods unto “pious uses,” as they were called (indeed, impious abuses), to have others pray for their souls and expiate their sins, when they were gone out of this world. These and the like other innumerable pretended duties may be judged, condemned, exploded, without the least fear of deterring men from obedience. (2.) That wherever there is this principle of holiness in the heart in those that are adult, there will be the fruits and effects of it in the life, in all duties of righteousness, godliness, and holiness; for the main work and end of this principle is, to enable us to comply with that “grace of God which teacheth us to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world,” Titus 2:11,12.

    That which we press for is the great direction of our Savior, “Make the tree good, and the fruit will be so also.” And there can be no more vile and sordid hypocrisy than for any to pretend unto inward, habitual sanctification, whilst their lives are barren in the fruits of righteousness and duties of obedience. Wherever this root is, there it will assuredly bear fruit. Secondly, It will appear from hence whence it is that men propose and steer such various courses with respect unto holiness. All men who profess themselves to be Christians are agreed, in words at least, that holiness is absolutely necessary unto them that would be saved by Jesus Christ. To deny it is all one as openly to renounce the gospel. But when they should come to the practice of it, some take one false way, some another, and some actually despise and reject it. Now, all this ariseth from ignorance of the true nature of evangelical holiness on the one hand, and love of sin on the other. There is nothing wherein we are spiritually and eternally concerned that is more frequently insisted on than is the true nature of sanctification and holiness. But the thing itself, as hath been declared, is deep and mysterious, not to be understood without the aid of spiritual light in our minds. Hence some would have moral virtue to be holiness, which, as they suppose, they can understand by their own reason and practice in their own strength; and I heartily wish that we could see more of the fruits of it from them. But real moral virtue will hardly be abused into an opposition unto grace; the pretense of it will be so easily, and is so everyday. Some, on the other hand, place all holiness in superstitious devotions, in the strict observance of religious duties, which men, and not God, have appointed; and there is no end of their multiplication of them, nor measure of the strictness of some in them. The reason why men give up themselves unto such soul-deceiving imaginations is, their ignorance and hatred of that only true, real principle of evangelical holiness of which we have discoursed; for what the world knoweth not in these things it always hateth. And they cannot discern it clearly, or in its own light and evidence; for it must be spiritually discerned. This the natural man cannot do; and in that false light of corrupted reason wherein they discern and judge it, they esteem it foolishness or fancy, Corinthians 2:14. There is not a more foolish and fanatical thing in the world, with many, than that internal, habitual holiness which we are in the consideration of; and hence are they led to despise and to hate it. But here the love of sin secretly takes place, and influenceth their minds. This universal change of the soul in all its principles of operation into the image and likeness of God, tending to the extirpation of all sins and vicious habits, is that which men fear and abhor. This makes them take up with morality and superstitious devotion, — anything that will pacify a natural conscience, and please themselves or others with a reputation of religion.

    It is, therefore, highly incumbent on all that would not willfully deceive their own souls unto their eternal ruin to inquire diligently into the true nature of evangelical holiness; and, above all, to take care that they miss it not in the foundation, in the true root and principle of it, wherein a mistake will be pernicious. Thirdly, It is, moreover, evident from hence that it is a greater matter to be truly and really holy than most persons are aware of. We may learn eminently how great and excellent a work this of sanctification and holiness is from the causes of it. How emphatically doth our apostle ascribe it unto God, even the Father: 1 Thessalonians 5:23, “Even the God of peace himself sanctify you.” It is so great a work as that it cannot be wrought by any but the God of peace himself. What is the immediate work of the Spirit therein, what the influence of the mediation and blood of Christ into it, hath been already in part declared, and we have yet much more to add in our account of it. And these things do sufficiently manifest how great, how excellent and glorious a work it is; for it doth not become divine and infinite wisdom to engage the immediate power and efficacy of such glorious causes and means for the producing of any ordinary or common effect. It must be somewhat, as of great importance unto the glory of God, so of an eminent nature in itself. And that little entrance which we have made into an inquiry after its nature manifests how great and excellent it is. Let us not, therefore, deceive ourselves with the shadows and appearances of things in a few duties of piety or righteousness; no, nor yet with many of them, if we find not this great work at least begun in us. It is sad to see what trifling there is in these things amongst men. None, indeed, is contented to be without a religion, and very few are willing to admit it in its power. Fourthly, Have we received this principle of holiness and of spiritual life by the gracious operation of the Holy Ghost? — there are, among many others, three duties incumbent on us, whereof we ought to be as careful as of our souls. And the first is, carefully and diligently by all means to cherish and preserve it in our hearts. This sacred depositum of the new creature, of the divine nature, is intrusted with us to take care of, to cherish and improve. If we willingly, or through our neglect, suffer it to be wounded by temptations, weakened by corruptions, or not exercised in all known duties of obedience, our guilt is great, and our trouble will not be small. And then, secondly, it is equally incumbent on us to evince and manifest it by its fruits, in the mortification of corrupt lusts and affections, in all duties of holiness, righteousness, charity, and piety, in the world: for that God may be glorified hereby is one of the ends why he endues our natures with it; and without these visible fruits, we expose our entire profession of holiness to reproach. And in like manner is it required that we be thankful for what we have received. 3. As this principle of inherent grace or holiness hath the nature of a habit, so also hath it the properties thereof. And the first property of a habit is, that it inclines and disposeth the subject wherein it is unto acts of its own kind, or suitable unto it. It is directed unto a certain end, and inclines unto acts or actions which tend thereunto, and that with evenness and constancy. Yea, moral habits are nothing but strong and firm dispositions and inclinations unto moral acts and duties of their own kind, as righteousness, or temperance, or meekness. Such a disposition and inclination, therefore, there must be in this new spiritual nature, or principle of holiness, which we have described, wherewith the souls of believers are inlaid and furnished by the Holy Ghost in their sanctification; for, — (1.) It hath a certain end, to enable us whereunto it is bestowed on us.

    Although it be a great work in itself, that wherein the renovation of the image of God in us doth consist, yet is it not wrought in any but with respect unto a farther end in this world; and this end is, that we may live to God. We are made like unto God, that we may live unto God. By the depravation of our natures we are “alienated from this life of God,” this divine, spiritual life, Ephesians 4:18; we like it not, but we have an aversation unto it. Yea, we are under the power of a death that is universally opposed unto that life; for “to be carnally minded is death,” Romans 8:6, — that is, it is so with respect unto the life of God, and all the acts that belong thereunto. And this life of God hath two parts: — [1.] The outward duties of it; [2.] The inward frame and actings of it.

    For the first, persons under the power of corrupted nature may perform them, and do so; but without delight, constancy, or permanency. The language of that principle whereby they are acted is, “Behold, what a weariness is it!” Malachi 1:13; and such hypocrites will not pray always. But as to the second, or the internal actings of faith and love, whereby all outward duties shall be quickened and animated, they are utter strangers unto them, utterly alienated from them. With respect unto this life of God, a life of spiritual obedience unto God, are our natures thus spiritually renewed, or furnished with this spiritual habit and principle of grace. It is wrought in us, that by virtue thereof we may “live to God:” without which we cannot do so in any one single act or duty whatever; for “they that are in the flesh cannot please God,” Romans 8:8. Wherefore, the first property and inseparable adjunct of it is, that it inclineth and disposeth the soul wherein it is unto all acts and duties that belong to the life of God, or unto all the duties of holy obedience, so that it shall attend unto them, not from conviction or external impression only, but from an internal genuine principle, so inclining and disposing it thereunto. And these things may be illustrated by what is contrary unto them: There is in the state of nature a “carnal mind,” which is the principle of all moral and spiritual operations in them in whom it is; and this carnal mind hath an enmity, or is “enmity against God,” — “it is not subject unto the law of God, neither indeed can be,” Romans 8:7; that is, the bent and inclination of it lies directly against spiritual things, or the mind and will of God in all things which concern a life of obedience unto himself. Now, as this principle of holiness is that which is introduced into our souls in opposition unto, and to the exclusion of, the carnal mind; so this disposition and inclination of it is opposite and contrary unto the enmity of the carnal mind, as tending always unto actions spiritually good, according to the mind of God. (2.) This disposition of heart and soul, which I place as the first property or effect of the principle of holiness, before declared and explained, is in the Scripture called fear, love, delight, and by the names of such other affections as express a constant regard and inclination unto their objects: for these things do not denote the principle of holiness itself, which is seated in the mind, or understanding and will, whereas they are the names of affections only; but they signify the first way whereby that principle doth act itself, in a holy inclination of the heart unto spiritual obedience.

    So when the people of Israel had engaged themselves by solemn covenant to hear and do whatsoever God commanded, God adds concerning it, “O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me, and keep all my commandments always!” Deuteronomy 5:29; that is, that the bent and inclination of their hearts were always unto obedience. It is that which is intended in the promise of the covenant: Jeremiah 32:39, “I will give them one heart, that they may fear me;” which is the same with the “new spirit,” Ezekiel 11:19. The new heart, as hath been declared, is the new nature, the new creature, the new, spiritual, supernatural principle of holiness. The first effect, the first fruit hereof is, the fear of God always, or a new spiritual bent and inclination of soul unto all the will and commands of God. And this new spirit, this fear of God, is still expressed as the inseparable consequent of the new heart, or the writing of the law of God in our hearts, which are the same. So it is called, “fearing the LORD and his goodness,” Hosea 3:5. In like manner it is expressed by “love;” which is the inclination of the soul unto all acts of obedience unto God and communion with him with delight and complacency. It is a regard unto God and his will, with a reverence due unto his nature, and a delight in him suited unto that covenant-relation wherein he stands unto us. (3.) It is, moreover, expressed by being spiritually minded: “To be spiritually minded is life and peace,” Romans 8:6; — that is, the bent and inclination of the mind unto spiritual things is that whereby we live to God and enjoy peace with him; it is “life and peace.” By nature we savor only the things of the flesh, and “mind earthly things,” Philippians 3:19; our minds or hearts are set upon them, disposed towards them, ready for all things that lead us to the enjoyment of them and satisfaction in them.

    But hereby we mind the things that are above, or set our affections on them, Colossians 3:1,2. By virtue hereof David professeth that his “soul followed hard after God,” Psalm 63:8, or inclined earnestly unto all those ways whereby he might live unto him, and come unto the enjoyment of him; like the earnestness which is in him who is in the pursuit of something continually in his eye, as our apostle expresseth it, Philippians 3:13,14. By the apostle Peter it is compared unto that natural inclination which is in those that are hungry unto food: 1 Peter 2:2, “As new-born babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby;” which is a constant unalterable inclination.

    This, therefore, is that which I intend: — Every nature hath its disposition unto actings suitable unto it. The principle of holiness is such a nature, a new or divine nature; wherever it is, it constantly inclines the soul unto duties and acts of holiness, it produceth a constant disposition unto them.

    And as by the principle itself the contrary principle of sin and flesh is impaired and subdued, so by this gracious disposition the inclination unto sin which is in us is weakened, impaired, and gradually taken away.

    Wherefore, wherever this holiness is, it doth dispose or incline the whole soul unto acts and duties of holiness; and that, — (1.) Universally, or impartially; (2.) Constantly, or evenly; (3.) Permanently, unto the end. And where these things are not, no multiplication of duties will either make or denominate any person holy. (1.) There is no duty of holiness whatever, but there is a disposition in a sanctified heart unto it. There is a respect unto all God’s commands. Some of them may be more contrary unto our natural inclinations than others, some more cross unto our present secular interests, some attended with more difficulties and disadvantages than others, and some may be rendered very hazardous by the circumstances of times and seasons; but, however, if there be a gracious principle in our hearts, it will equally incline and dispose us unto every one of them in its proper place and season. And the reason hereof is, because it being a new nature, it equally inclines unto all that belongs unto it, as all acts of holy obedience do; for every nature hath an equal propensity unto all its natural operations, in their times and seasons. Hence our Savior tried the rich young man, who gave an account of his duties and righteousness, with one that lay close unto his secular interests and worldly satisfactions. This immediately carried him off, and evidenced that all he had done besides was not from an internal principle of spiritual life. Any other principle or cause of duties and obedience will, upon solicitations, give way unto an habitual reserve of one thing or other that is contrary thereunto. It will admit either of the omission of some duties, or of the commission of some sin, or of the retaining of some lust.

    So Naaman, who vowed obedience, upon his conviction of the power of the God of Israel, would, nevertheless, upon the solicitation of his worldly interest, have a reserve to bow in the house of Rimmon. So omission of duties that are dangerous in a way of profession, or the reserve of some corrupt affections, love of the world, pride of life, will be admitted upon any other principle of obedience, and that habitually; for even those who have this real spiritual principle of holiness may be surprised into actual omission of duties, commission of sins, and a temporary indulgence unto corrupt affections. But habitually they cannot be so. An habitual reserve for anything that is sinful or morally evil is eternally inconsistent with this principle of holiness. Light and darkness, fire and water, may as soon be reconciled in one. And hereby is it distinguished from all other principles, reasons, or causes, whereon men may perform any duties of obedience towards God. (2.) It thus disposeth the heart unto duties of holiness constantly and evenly. He in whom it is feareth always, or is in the fear of the Lord all the day long. In all instances, on all occasions, it equally disposeth the mind unto acts of holy obedience. It is true that the actings of grace which proceed from it are in us sometimes more intense and vigorous than at other times. It is so, also, that we are ourselves sometimes more watchful and diligently intent on all occasions of acting grace, whether in solemn duties, or in our general course, or on particular occasions, than we are at some other times. Moreover, there are especial seasons wherein we meet with greater difficulties and obstructions from our lusts and temptations than ordinary, whereby this holy disposition is intercepted and impeded.

    But notwithstanding all these things, which are contrary unto it and obstructive of its operations, in itself and its own nature it doth constantly and evenly incline the soul, at all times and on all occasions, unto duties of holiness. Whatever falls out otherwise is accidental unto it. This disposition is like a stream that ariseth equally from a living fountain, as our Savior expresseth it: John 4:14, “A well of water springing up into everlasting life.” As this stream passeth on in its course, it may meet with oppositions that may either stop it or divert it for a season; but its waters still press forward continually. Hereby doth the soul set God always before it, and walk continually as in his sight. Men may perform duties of obedience unto God, yea, many of them, yea, be engaged into a constant course of them, as to their outward performance, on other grounds, from other principles, and by virtue of other motives; but whatever they are, they are not a new nature in and unto the soul, and so do not dispose men constantly and evenly unto what they lead unto. Sometimes their impressions on the mind are strong and violent, there is no withstanding of them, but the duties they require must instantly be complied withal. So is it when convictions are excited by dangers or afflictions, strong desires, or the like. And again, they leave the soul unto its own formality and course, without the least impression from them towards any duties whatever.

    There is no cause, or principle, or reason of obedience, besides this one insisted on, that will evenly and constantly incline unto the acts of it. Men proceeding only upon the power of convictions are like those at sea, who sometimes meet with storms or vehement winds which fit them for their course, and would seem immediately to drive them, as it were, with violence into their port or harbor, but quickly after they have an utter calm, no breath of air stirs to help them forward; and then, it may be, after awhile another gust of wind befalls them, which they again suppose will despatch their voyage, but that also quickly fails them. Where this principle is, persons have a natural current, which carries them on quickly, evenly, and constantly; and although they may sometimes meet with storms, tempests, and cross winds, yet the stream, the current, which is natural, at length worketh its way, and holds on its course through all external occasional impediments. (3.) It is also permanent herein, and abideth forever. It will never cease inclining and disposing the whole soul unto acts and duties of obedience, until it come unto the end of them all in the enjoyment of God. It is “living water,” and whosoever drinketh of it shall never thirst anymore, that is, with a total indigence of supplies of grace, but it is “a well of water springing up into everlasting life,” John 4:14. It springs up, and that as always, without intermission, because it is living water, from which vital acts are inseparable, so permanently, without ceasing, it springs up into everlasting life, and faileth not until those in whom it is are safely lodged in the enjoyment of it. This is expressly promised in the covenant, “I will put my fear in their hearts, and they shall not depart from me,” Jeremiah 32:40.

    They shall never do so in whom is this fear, which is permanent and endless. It is true, that it is our duty, with all care and diligence, in the use of all means, to preserve, cherish, and improve both the principle itself and its actings in these holy dispositions; we are to “show all diligence unto the full assurance of hope unto the end,” Hebrews 6:11; and in the use of means and the exercise of grace is it that it is infallibly kept and preserved, Isaiah 40:31; — and it is also true, that sometimes, in some persons, upon the fierce interposition of temptations, with the violent and deceitful working of lusts, the principle itself may seem for a season to be utterly stifled, and this property of it to be destroyed, as it seems to have been with David under his sad fall and decay; — yet such is the nature of it that it is immortal, everlasting, and which shall never absolutely die; such is the relation of it unto the covenant-faithfulness of God and mediation of Christ, as that it shall never utterly cease or be extinguished.

    It abideth, disposing and inclining the heart unto all duties of holy obedience, unto the grave; yea, ordinarily, and where its genuine work and tendency is not interrupted by cursed negligence or love of the world, it thrives and grows continually unto the end. Hence, some are not only fruitful, but fat and flourishing in their old age; and as the outward man decayeth, so in them the inward man is daily renewed in strength and power. But as unto all other principles of obedience whatever, as it is in their own nature to decay and wither, all their actings growing insensibly weaker and less efficacious, so, for the most part, either the increase of carnal wisdom, or the love of the world, or some powerful temptation, at one time or other, puts an utter end unto them, and they are of no use at all. Hence there is not a more secure generation of sinners in the world than those who have been acted by the power of conviction unto a course of obedience in the performance of many duties; and those of them who fall not openly to profaneness, or lasciviousness, or neglect of all duties of religion, do continue in their course from what they have been habituated unto, finding it compliant with their present circumstances and conditions in the world, as also having been preserved from such ways and practices as are inconsistent with their present course by the power of their former convictions. But the power of these principles, of conviction, education, impressions from afflictions, dangers, fears, all in one, die before men; and, if their eyes were open, they might see the end of them.

    In this manner, therefore, doth the new, divine nature that is in believers dispose and incline them, impartially, evenly, and permanently, unto all acts and duties of holy obedience.

    One thing yet remains to be cleared, that there may be no mistake in this matter; and this is, that in those who are thus constantly inclined and disposed unto all the acts of a heavenly, spiritual life, there are yet remaining contrary dispositions and inclinations also.

    There are yet in them inclinations and dispositions to sin, proceeding from the remainders of a contrary habitual principle. This the Scripture calls the “flesh,” “lust,” the “sin that dwelleth in us,” the “body of death;” being what yet remaineth in believers of that vicious, corrupted depravation of our nature, which came upon us by the loss of the image of God, disposing the whole soul unto all that is evil. This yet continueth in them, inclining them unto evil and all that is so, according to the power and efficacy that is remaining unto it in various degrees. Sundry things are here observable; as, — (1.) This is that which is singular in this life of God: There are in the same mind, will, and affections, namely, of a person regenerate, contrary habits and inclinations, continually opposing one another, and acting adversely about the same objects and ends. And this is not from any jarrings or disorder between the distinct faculties of the soul itself, — as in natural men there are adverse actings between their wills and affections on the one hand, bent unto sin, and the light of their minds and consciences on the other, prohibiting the committing of sin and condemning its commission, which disorder is discernible in the light of nature, and is sufficiently canvassed by the old philosophers, — but these contrary habits, inclinations, and actings, are in the same faculties. (2.) As this cannot be apprehended but by virtue of a previous conviction and acknowledgment both of the total corruption of our nature by the fall and the initial renovation of it by Jesus Christ, wherein these contrary habits and dispositions do consist; so it cannot be denied without an open rejecting of the gospel, and contradiction to the experience of all that do believe or know anything of what it is to live to God. We intend no more but what the apostle so plainly asserts, Galatians 5:17, “The flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh;” that is, in the mind, will, and affections of believers: “and these are contrary the one to the other;” they are contrary principles, attended with contrary inclinations and actings: “so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.” (3.) There cannot be contrary habits, merely natural or moral, in the same subject, with respect unto the same object, at the same time, at least they cannot be so in any high degree, so as to incline and act contrary one to another with urgency or efficacy: for violent inclinations unto sin, and a conscience fiercely condemning for sin, whereby sinners are sometimes torn and even distracted, are not contrary habits in the same subject; only conscience brings in from without the judgment of God against what the will and affections are bent upon.

    But it is, as was said, otherwise in the contrary principles or habits of spirit and flesh, of grace and sin, with their adverse inclinations and actings; only they cannot be in the highest degree at the same time, nor be actually prevalent or predominant in the same instances, — that is, sin and grace cannot bear rule in the same heart at the same time, so as that it should be equally under the conduct of them both. Nor can they have in the same soul contrary inclinations equally efficacious; for then would they absolutely obstruct all sorts of operations whatever. Nor have they the same influence into particular actions, so as that they should not be justly denominated from one of them, either gracious or sinful. But by nature the vicious, depraved habit of sin, or the flesh, is wholly predominant and universally prevalent, constantly disposing and inclining the soul to sin. Hence “all the imaginations of men’s hearts are evil, and that continually,” and “they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

    There dwelleth no good thing in them, nor can they do anything that is good; and the flesh is able generally to subdue the rebellions of light, convictions, and conscience, against it. But upon the introduction of the new principle of grace and holiness in our sanctification, this habit of sin is weakened, impaired, and so disenabled as that it cannot nor shall incline unto sin with that constancy and prevalency as formerly, nor press unto it ordinarily with the same urgency and violence. Hence in the Scripture it is said to be dethroned by grace, so as that it shall not reign or lord it over us, by hurrying us into the pursuit of its uncontrollable inclinations, Romans 6:12. Concerning these things the reader may consult my treatises of the “Remainder of Indwelling Sin,” and the “Mortification of Sin in Believers.” f137 But so it is that this flesh, this principle of sin, however it may be dethroned, corrected, impaired, and disabled, yet is it never wholly and absolutely dispossessed and cast out of the soul in this life. There it will remain, and there it will work, seduce, and tempt, more or less, according as its remaining strength and advantages are. By reason hereof, and the opposition that hence ariseth against it, the principle of grace and holiness cannot, nor doth perfectly and absolutely, incline the heart and soul unto the life of God and the acts thereof, so as that they in whom it is should be sensible of no opposition made thereunto, or of no contrary motions and inclinations unto sin; for the flesh will lust against the spirit, as well as the spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary. This is the analogy that is between these two states: In the state of nature, the principle of sin, or the flesh, is predominant and bears rule in the soul; but there is a light remaining in the mind, and a judgment in the conscience, which, being heightened with instructions and convictions, do continually oppose it, and condemn sin both before and after its commission. In them that are regenerate, it is the principle of grace and holiness that is predominant and beareth rule; but there is in them still a principle of lust and sin, which rebels against the rule of grace, much in the proportion that light and convictions rebel against the rule of sin in the unregenerate: for as they hinder men from doing many evils which their ruling principle of sin strongly inclines them unto, and put them on many duties that it likes not, so do these on the other side in them that are regenerate; they hinder them from doing many good things which their ruling principle inclines unto, and carry them into many evils which it doth abhor.

    But this belongs unto the principle of holiness inseparably and necessarily, that it inclineth and disposeth the soul wherein it is universally unto all acts of holy obedience. And these inclinations are predominant unto any other, and keep the soul pointed to holiness continually; this belongs unto its nature. And where there is a cessation or interruption in these inclinations, it is from the prevailing reaction of the principle of sin, it may be advantaged by outward temptations and incentives, which a holy soul will constantly contend against. Where this is not, there is no holiness. The performance of duties, whether of religious worship or of morality, how frequently, sedulously, and usefully soever, will denominate no man holy, unless his whole soul be disposed and possessed with prevalent inclinations unto all that is spiritually good, from the principle of the image of God renewed in him. Outward duties, of what sort soever, may be multiplied upon light and conviction, when they spring from no root of grace in the heart; and that which so riseth up will quickly wither, Matthew 13:20,21. And this free, genuine, unforced inclination of the mind and soul, evenly and universally, unto all that is spiritually good, unto all acts and duties of holiness, with an inward laboring to break through and to be quit of all opposition, is the first fruit and most pregnant evidence of the renovation of our natures by the Holy Ghost.

    It may be inquired, whence it is (if the habit or inherent principle of holiness do so constantly incline the soul unto all duties of holiness and obedience) that David prays that God would incline his heart unto his testimonies, <19B936> Psalm 119:36; for it should seem from hence to be a new act of grace that is required thereunto, and that it doth not spring from the habit mentioned, which was then eminent in the psalmist.

    Ans. 1. I shall show afterward that, notwithstanding all the power and efficacy of habitual grace, yet there is required a new act of the Holy Spirit by his grace unto its actual exercise in particular instances. 2. God inclines our hearts to duties and obedience principally by strengthening, increasing, and exciting the grace we have received, and which is inherent in us; but we neither have nor ever shall have, in this world, such a stock of spiritual strength as to do anything as we ought without renewed cooperations of grace. 3. There is power accompanying this habit of grace, as well as propensity or inclinations. It doth not merely dispose the soul to holy obedience, but enables it unto the acts and duties of it. Our living unto God, our walking in his ways and statutes, keeping his judgments, — which things express our whole actual obedience, — are the effects of the new heart that is given unto us, whereby we are enabled unto them, Ezekiel 36:26,27. But this must be somewhat farther and distinctly declared; and, — (1.) I shall show that there is such a power of holy obedience in all that have the principle of holiness wrought in them by the sanctification of the Holy Spirit, which is inseparable from it; and, (2.) Show what that power is, or wherein it doth consist.

    That by nature we have no power unto or for anything that is spiritually good, or to any acts or duties of evangelical holiness, hath been sufficiently proved before: “When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly,” Romans 5:6. Until we are made partakers of the benefits of the death of Christ, in and by his sanctifying grace, as we are “ungodly,” so we are “without strength,” or have no power to live to God.

    But, as was said, this hath been formerly fully and largely confirmed, in our declaration of the impotency of our nature by reason of its death in sin, and so need not here to be farther insisted on. (1.) The present assertion which we are to prove is, That there is, in and by the grace of regeneration and sanctification, a power and ability given unto us of living unto God, or performing all the duties of acceptable obedience. This is the first act of that spiritual habit, arising out of it and inseparable from it. It is called “strength” or “power:” Isaiah 40:31, “They that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength;” that is, for and unto obedience, or walking with God without weariness. Strength they have, and in their walking with God it is renewed or increased. By the same grace are we “strengthened with all might, according to the glorious power of God,” Colossians 1:11; or, “strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man,” Ephesians 3:16; whereby “we can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth us,” Philippians 4:13. In our calling or conversion to God, “all things are given unto” us by his “divine power” which “pertain unto life and godliness,” 2 Peter 1:3, — everything that is needful to enable us unto a holy life. The habit and principle of grace that is wrought in believers gives them new power and spiritual strength unto all duties of obedience. The water of the Spirit therein is not only a “well of water” abiding in them, but it “springeth up into everlasting life,” John 4:14, or enables us continually to such gracious actings as have a tendency thereunto. There is a sufficiency in the grace of God bestowed on them that believe, to enable them unto the obedience required of them, — so God told our apostle, when he was ready to faint under his temptation, that “his grace was sufficient for him,” 2 Corinthians 12:9, — or there is a power in all that are sanctified, whereby they are able to yield all holy obedience unto God. They are alive unto God, alive to righteousness and holiness. They have a principle of spiritual life; and where there is life, there is power in its kind and for its end. Whence there is in our sanctification not only a principle or inherent habit of grace bestowed on us, whereby we really and habitually, as to state and condition, differ from all unregenerate persons whatever, but there belongs moreover thereunto an active power, or an ability for and unto spiritual, holy obedience; which none are partakers of but those who are so sanctified. And unto this power there is a respect in all the commands or precepts of obedience that belong to the new covenant. The commands of each covenant respect the power given in and by it. Whatever God required or doth require of any, by virtue of the old covenant or the precepts thereof, it was on the account of and proportionate unto the strength given under and by that covenant. And that we have lost that strength by the entrance of sin exempts us not from the authority of the command; and thence it is that we are righteously obliged to do what we have no power to perform. So also the command of God under the new covenant, as to all that obedience which he requireth of us, respects that power which is given and communicated unto us thereby; and this is that power which belongs unto the new creature, the habit and principle of grace and holiness, which, as we have proved, is wrought by the Holy Ghost in all believers. (2.) We may, therefore, inquire into the nature of this spiritual power, what it is, and wherein it doth consist. Now, this cannot be clearly understood without a due consideration of that impotency unto all spiritual good which is in us by nature, which it cures and takes away.

    This we have before at large declared, and thither the reader is referred.

    When we know what it is to be without power or strength in spiritual things, we may thence learn what it is to have them. To this purpose we may consider that there are three things or faculties in our souls which are the subject of all power or impotency in spiritual things, — namely, our understandings, wills, and affections. That our spiritual impotency ariseth from their depravation hath been proved before; and what power we have for holy, spiritual obedience, it must consist in some especial ability, communicated distinctly unto all these faculties. And our inquiry therefore is, what is this power in the mind, what in the will, and what in the affections. And, — [1.] This power in the mind consists in a spiritual light and ability to discern spiritual things in a spiritual manner; which men in the state of nature are utterly devoid of, 1 Corinthians 2:13,14. The Holy Spirit, in the first communication of the principle of spiritual life and holiness, “shines in our hearts, to give us the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” 2 Corinthians 4:6; yea, this strengthening of the mind by saving illumination is the most eminent act of our sanctification. Without this there is a veil with fear and bondage upon us, [so] that we cannot see in spiritual things. But “where the Spirit of the Lord is,” where he comes with his sanctifying grace, “there is liberty;” and thereby “we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory,” 2 Corinthians 3:17,18. See Ephesians 1:17,18.

    Wherefore, all sanctified believers have an ability and power, in the renewed mind and understanding, to see, know, discern, and receive, spiritual things, the mysteries of the gospel, the mind of Christ, in a due and spiritual manner. It is true, they have not all of them this power and ability in the same degree; but every one of them hath a sufficiency of it, so as to discern what concerns themselves and their duties necessarily.

    Some of them seem, indeed, to be very low in knowledge, and, in comparison of others, very ignorant; for there are different degrees in these things, Ephesians 4:7. And some of them are kept in that condition by their own negligence and sloth; they do not use as they ought nor improve those means of growing in grace and in the knowledge of Jesus Christ which God prescribes unto them; as Hebrews 6:1-6. But everyone who is truly sanctified, and who thereby hath received the least degree of saving grace, hath light enough to understand the spiritual things of the gospel in a spiritual manner. When the mysteries of the gospel are preached unto believers, some of them may be so declared as that those of meaner capacities and abilities may not be able to comprehend aright the doctrine of them, — which yet is necessary to be so proposed, for the edification of those who are more grown in knowledge, — nevertheless there is not any, the meanest of them, but hath a spiritual insight into the things themselves intended, so far as they are necessary unto their faith and obedience in the condition wherein they are. This the Scripture gives such abundant testimony unto as to render it unquestionable; for “we have received the Spirit which is of God, that we may know the things that are freely given to us of God,” 1 Corinthians 2:12.

    By virtue of what we have received, we know or discern spiritual things; so we “know the mind of Christ,” verse 16. This is the substance of that double testimony,1 John 2:20,27. This abiding unction is no other but that habitual inherent grace which we plead for; and by it, as it is a holy light in our mind, we “know all things,” it is the understanding that is given us to “know him that is true,” chapter 5:20. Only it is their duty continually to endeavor the improvement and enlargement of the light they have, in the daily exercise of the spiritual power they have received, and in the use of means, Hebrews 5:14. [2.] This power in the will consists in its liberty, freedom, and ability to consent unto, choose, and embrace, spiritual things. Believers have free will unto that which is spiritually good; for they are freed from that bondage and slavery unto sin which they were under in the state of nature.

    Whatever some dispute concerning the nature of free-will, that it consists in an indifferency unto good or evil, one thing or another, with a power of applying itself unto all its operations, whatever their objects be, as the Scripture knoweth nothing of it, so it is that which we cannot have; and if we could, it would be no advantage at all unto us, yea, we had much better be without it. Have it, indeed, we cannot; for a supposition of it includes a rejection of all our dependence on God, making all the springs of our actions to be absolutely and formally in ourselves. Neither, considering the prejudices, temptations, and corruptions that we are possessed and exercised with, would such a flexibility of will be of any use or advantage unto us, but would rather certainly give us up to the power of sin and Satan. All that the Scripture knows about free-will is, that in the state of nature, antecedent unto the converting, sanctifying work of the Spirit, all men whatever are in bondage unto sin, and that in all the faculties of their souls. They are “sold under sin;” are “not subject unto the law of God, neither indeed can be;” — can neither think, nor will, nor do, nor desire, nor love anything that is spiritually good, according to the mind of God.

    But as unto what is evil, perverse, unclean, that they are free and open unto, — ready for, prone, and inclined, and every way able to do. On the other side, in those who are renewed by the Holy Ghost and sanctified, it acknowledgeth and teacheth a freedom of will, not in an indifferency and flexibility unto good and evil, but in a power and ability to like, love, choose, and cleave unto God and his will in all things. The will is now freed from its bondage unto sin, and, being enlarged by light and love, willeth and chooseth freely the things of God, having received spiritual power and ability so to do. It is the truth, — that is, faith in the gospel, the doctrine of the truth, — which is the means of this freedom; the “truth that makes us free,” John 8:32. And it is the Son of God by his Spirit who is the principal efficient cause of it: for “if the Son make us free, then are we free indeed,” verse 36; and otherwise we are not, whatever we pretend. And this freedom unto spiritual good we have not of ourselves in the state of nature; for if we have, then are we free indeed, and there would be no need that the Son should make us free.

    The difference, therefore, about free-will is reduced unto these heads: — 1st. Whether there be a power in man indifferently to determine himself his choice and all his actings, to this or that, good or evil, one thing or another, independently of the will, power, and providence of God, and his disposal of all future events? This, indeed, we deny, as that which is inconsistent with the prescience, authority, decrees, and dominion of God, and as that which would prove certainly ruinous and destructive to ourselves. 2dly. Whether there be in men unregenerate, not renewed by the Holy Ghost, a freedom, power, and ability unto that which is spiritually good, or to believe and obey according to the mind and will of God? This also we deny, as that which is contrary to innumerable testimonies of Scripture, and absolutely destructive of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. 3dly. Whether the freedom of will that is in believers do consist in an indifferency and freedom from any determination only, with a power equally ready for good or evil, according as the will shall determine itself? or whether it consist in a gracious freedom and ability to choose, will, and do that which is spiritually good, in opposition to the bondage and slavery unto sin wherein we were before detained? This last is that liberty and power of the will which we assert, with the Scripture, in persons that are sanctified. And a liberty this is every way consistent with all the operations of God, as the sovereign first cause of all things; every way compliant with and an effect of the special grace of God, and the operations of the Holy Ghost; a liberty whereby our obedience and salvation are secured, in answer to the promises of the covenant. And who that understands himself would change this real, useful, gracious free-will, given by Jesus Christ the Son of God, when he makes us free, and an effect of God’s writing his law in our hearts, to cause us to walk in his statutes, — that property of the new heart whereby it is able to consent unto, choose, and embrace freely, the things of God, — for that fictitious, imaginary freedom, yea, for (if it were real) an indifferency unto all things, and an equal power unto everything, whether it be good or evil? I say, then, that by the habit of grace and holiness infused into us by the Spirit of sanctification, the will is freed, enlarged, and enabled to answer the commands of God for obedience, according to the tenor of the new covenant. This is that freedom, this is that power of the will, which the Scripture reveals and regards and which by all the promises and precepts of it we are obliged to use and exercise, and no other. [3.] The affections, which naturally are the principal servants and instruments of sin, are hereby engaged unto God, Deuteronomy 30:6.

    And from what hath been thus far discoursed, the sense of our former assertion is evident, as also the nature of the principle of holiness insisted on. The Holy Ghost in our sanctification doth work, effect, and create in us a new, holy, spiritual, vital principle of grace, residing in all the faculties of our souls, according as their especial nature is capable thereof, after the manner of a permanent and prevalent habit, which he cherisheth, preserveth, increaseth, and strengtheneth continually, by effectual supplies of grace from Jesus Christ, disposing, inclining, and enabling the whole soul unto all ways, acts, and duties of holiness, whereby we live to God, opposing, resisting, and finally conquering, whatever is opposite and contrary thereunto. This belongs essentially unto evangelical holiness, yea, herein doth the nature of it formally and radically consist. This is that from whence believers are denominated holy, and without which none are so, nor can be so called.

    The properties of this power are readiness and facility. Wherever it is, it renders the soul ready unto all duties of holy obedience, and renders all duties of holy obedience easy unto the soul. (1.) It gives readiness by removing and taking away all those encumbrances which the mind is apt to be clogged with and hindered by from sin, the world, spiritual sloth, and unbelief. This is that which we are exhorted unto in a way of duty, Hebrews 12:1; Luke 12:35; 1 Peter 1:13, 4:1; Ephesians 6:14. Herein is the spirit ready, though the flesh be weak, Mark 14:38. And those encumbrances which give an unreadiness unto obedience to God may be considered two ways: — [1.] As they are in their full power and efficacy in persons unregenerate, whence they are “unto every good work reprobate,” Titus 1:16. Hence proceed all those prevalent tergiversations against a compliance with the will of God and their own convictions which bear sway in such persons. “Yet a little slumber, a little sleep, a little folding of the hands to sleep,” Proverbs 6:10. By these do men so often put off the calls of God, and perniciously procrastinate from time to time a full compliance with their convictions. And whatever particular duties such persons do perform, yet are their hearts and minds never prepared or ready for them, but the encumbrances mentioned do influence them into spiritual disorders in all that they do. [2.] These principles of sloth and unreadiness do ofttimes partially influence the minds of believers themselves unto great indispositions unto spiritual duties. So the spouse states her case, Song of Solomon 5:2, 3.

    By reason of her circumstances in the world, she had an unreadiness for that converse and communion with Christ which she was called unto. And it is so not unfrequently with the best of men in this world. A spiritual unreadiness unto holy duties, arising from the power of sloth or the occasions of life, is no small part of their sin and trouble. Both these are removed by this spiritual power of the principle of life and holiness in believers. The total prevailing power of them, such as is in persons unregenerate, is broken by the first infusion of it into the soul, wherein it gives an habitual fitness and preparation of heart unto all duties of obedience unto God. And by various degrees it freeth believers from the remainders of the encumbrances which they have yet to conflict with. And this it doth three ways; as, — 1st. It weakeneth and taketh off the bent of the soul from earthly things, so as they shall not possess the mind as formerly, Colossians 3:2. How it doth this was declared before. And when this is done, the mind is greatly eased of its burden, and some way ready unto its duty. 2dly. It gives an insight into the beauty, the excellency, and glory of holiness, and all duties of obedience. This they see nothing of who, being unsanctified, are under the power of their natural darkness. They can see no beauty in holiness, no form nor comeliness why it should be desired; and it is no wonder if they are unfree to the duties of it, which they are but as it were compelled unto. But the spiritual light wherewith this principle of grace is accompanied discovers an excellency in holiness and the duties of it, and in the communion with God which we have thereby, so as greatly to incline the mind unto them and prepare it for them. 3dly. It causeth the affections to cleave and adhere unto them with delight. “How do I love thy law!” saith David; “my delight is in thy statutes; they are sweeter unto me than the honey-comb.” Where these three things concur, — where the mind is freed from the powerful influences of carnal lusts and love of this world; where the beauty and excellency of holiness and the duties of obedience lie clear in the eyes of the soul; and where the affections cleave unto spiritual things as commanded, — then will be that readiness in obedience which we inquire after. (2.) It gives facility or easiness in the performance of all duties of obedience. Whatever men do from a habit, they do with some kind of easiness. That is easy to them which they are accustomed unto, though hard and difficult in itself. And what is done from nature is done with facility. And the principle of grace, as we have showed, is a new nature, an infused habit with respect unto the life of God, or all duties of holy obedience. I grant there will be opposition unto them even in the mind and heart itself, from sin, and Satan, and temptations of all sorts; yea, and they may sometimes arise so high as either to defeat our purposes and intentions unto duties, or to clog us in them, to take off our chariotwheels, and to make us drive heavily; but still it is in the nature of the principle of holiness to make the whole course of obedience and all the duties of it easy unto us, and to give us a facility in their performance: for, — [1.] It introduceth a suitableness between our minds and the duties we are to perform. By it is the law written in our hearts; that is, there is an answerableness in them unto all that the law of God requires. In the state of nature, the great things of the law of God are a strange thing unto us, Hosea 8:12; there is an enmity in our minds against them, Romans 8:7; there is no suitableness between our minds and them; — but this is taken away by the principle of grace. Thereby do the mind and duty answer one another, as the eye and a lightsome body. Hence the “commands of Christ are not grievous” unto them in whom it is, 1 John 5:3. They do not appear to contain anything uncouth, unreasonable, burdensome, or any way unsuited to that new nature whereby the soul is influenced and acted. Hence “all the ways of wisdom are” unto believers, as they are in themselves, “pleasantness, and all her paths are peace,” Proverbs 3:17.

    The great notion of some in these days is about the suitableness of Christian religion unto reason; and to make good their assertion in the principal mysteries of it, because reason will not come to them, they bring them by violence unto their reason. But it is with respect unto this renewed principle that there is a suitableness in any of the things of God unto our minds and affections. [2.] It keeps up the heart or whole person unto a frequency of all holy acts and duties; and frequency gives facility in every kind. It puts the soul upon reiterated actings of faith and love, or renewed holy thoughts and meditations. It is a spring that is continually bubbling up in them, on the frequent repetition of the daily duties of prayer, reading, holy discourse; as on closing with all opportunities and occasions of mercy, benignity, charity, and bounty amongst men. Hereby is the heart so accustomed unto the yoke of the Lord, and made so conversant in his ways, that it is natural and easy to it to bear them and to be engaged in them. And it will be found by experience that the more intermissions of duties of any sort we fall under, the more difficulty we shall find in the performance of them. [3.] It engageth the assistance of Christ and his Spirit. It is the divine nature, the new creature, which the Lord Christ careth for; in and by its actings in all duties of obedience doth its life consist; therein, also, is it strengthened and improved. For this cause doth the Lord Christ continually come in by the supplies of his Spirit unto its assistance. And when the strength of Christ is engaged, then and there is his yoke easy and his burden light.

    Some, perhaps, will say that they find not this facility or easiness in the course of obedience and in the duties of it. They meet with secret unwillingnesses in themselves, and great oppositions on other accounts; whence they are apt to be faint and weary, yea, are almost ready to give over. It is hard to them to pray continually, and not to faint; to stand in their watch night and day against the inroads of their spiritual adversaries; to keep themselves from the insinuations of the world, and up unto those sacrifices of charity and bounty that are so well-pleasing to God. Many weights and burdens are upon them in their course, many difficulties press them, and they are ready to be beset round about every moment.

    Wherefore they think that the principle of grace and holiness doth not give the facility and easiness mentioned, or that they were never made partakers of it.

    I answer, — 1st . Let these persons examine themselves, and duly consider whence those obstructions and difficulties they complain of do arise. If they are from the inward inclinations of their souls, and unwillingness to bear the yoke of Christ, only they are kept up unto it by their convictions, which they cannot cast off, then is their condition to be bewailed. But if themselves are sensible and convinced that they arise from principles which, as far as they are within them, they hate and abhor, and long to be freed from, and, as they are from without, are such as they look on as enemies unto them, and do watch against them, then what they complain of is no more but what, in one degree or other, all that believe have experience of. And if their impediments do arise from what they know themselves to be opposite unto them, and [to] that principle whereby they are acted, then, notwithstanding this objection, it may be in the nature of the principle of holiness to give facility in all the duties of it. 2dly. Let inquiry be made whether they have been constant and assiduous in the performance of all those duties which they now complain that they find so much difficulty in. The principle of grace and holiness gives facility in all duties of obedience, but in the proper way and order. It first gives constancy and assiduity, and then easiness. If men comply not with its guidance and inclination in the former, it is in vain for them to expect the latter. If we are not constant in all acts of obedience, none of them will ever be easy unto us. Let not those who can omit proper and due seasons of meditation, prayer, hearing, charity, moderation in all things, patience, meekness, and the like, at their pleasure, on the least occasions, excuses, or diversions, ever think or hope to have the ways of obedience smooth, its paths pleasant, or its duties easy. Let him never think to attain any readiness, delight, or facility in any art or science, who is always beginning at it, touching upon it sometimes. As this is the way in all sorts of things, natural and spiritual, to be always learning, and never to come to the knowledge of the truth; so, in the practice of holy obedience, if men are, as it were, always beginning, one while performing, another intermitting the duties of it, fearing or being unwilling to engage into a constant, equal, assiduous discharge of them, they will be always striving, but never come unto any readiness or facility in them. 3dly. The difficulty and burdensomeness complained of may proceed from the interposition of perplexing temptations, which weary, disquiet, and distract the mind. This may be, and frequently is so; and yet our assertion is not impeached. We only say, that set aside extraordinary occasions and sinful neglects, this principle of grace and holiness doth give that suitableness to the mind unto all duties of obedience, that constancy in them, that love unto them, as make them both easy and pleasant.

    By these things we may inquire after the habit or principle of holiness in our own minds, that we be not deceived by anything that falsely pretendeth thereunto; as, — First, Let us take heed that we deceive not ourselves, as though it would suffice unto gospel holiness that we have occasionally good purposes of leaving sin and living unto God, then when something urgeth upon us more than ordinary, with the effects which such purposes will produce.

    Afflictions, sicknesses, troubles, sense of great guilt, fear of death, and the like, do usually produce this frame; and although it is most remote from any pretense unto evangelical obedience, yet I could not but give a caution against it, because it is that whereby the generality of men in the world do delude themselves into eternal ruin. It is rare to find any that are so stubbornly profligate, but at one time or another they project and design, yea, promise and engage unto, a change of their course and amendment of their lives, doing sundry things, it may be, in the pursuit of those designs and purposes; for they will thereon abstain from their old sins, with whose haunt they are much perplexed, and betake themselves unto the performance of those duties from whence they expect most relief unto their consciences, and whose neglect doth most reflect upon them.

    Especially will they do so when the hand of God is upon them in afflictions and dangers, Psalm 78:34-37. And this produceth in them that kind of goodness which God says “is like the morning cloud or the early dew,” — things that make a fair appearance of something, but immediately vanish away, Hosea 6:4. Certainly there need not much pains to convince any man how unspeakably this comes short of that evangelical holiness which is a fruit of the sanctification of the Spirit. It hath neither the root of it nor any fruit that doth so much as resemble it.

    But it is to be lamented that such multitudes of rational creatures, living under the means of light and grace, should so vainly and woefully delude their own souls. That which they aim at and intend is, to have that in them whereby they may be accepted with God. Now, not to insist on what will absolutely frustrate all the designs of such persons, — namely, their want of faith in Christ, and an interest in his righteousness thereby, which they are regardless of, — all that they project and design is as far beneath that holiness which God requireth of them, and which they think hereby to obtain, as the earth is beneath the heavens. All that they do in this kind is utterly lost; it will never be either a righteousness unto them or a holiness in them. But this deceit is frequently rebuked. God only by his grace can remove and take it away from the minds of men.

    Secondly, And we may learn hence not to be imposed on by gifts, though never so useful, with a plausible profession thereon. These things go a great way in the world, and many deceive both themselves and others by them. Gifts are from the Holy Ghost in an especial manner, and therefore greatly to be esteemed. They are also frequently useful in and unto the church; for “the manifestation of the Spirit is given unto men to profit withal.” And they put men on such duties as have a great show and appearance of holiness. By the help of them alone may men pray, and preach, and maintain spiritual communication among them with whom they do converse. And as circumstances may be ordered, they put sundry persons on a frequent performance of these duties, and so keep them up to an eminency in profession. But yet, when all is done, they are not holiness; nor are the duties performed in the strength of them alone duties of evangelical obedience, accepted of God in them by whom they are performed; and they may be where there is nothing of holiness at all. They are, indeed, not only consistent with holiness, but subservient unto it, and exceeding promoters of it, in souls that are really gracious; but they may be alone, without grace, and then are they apt to deceive the mind with a pretense of being and doing what they are not nor do. Let them be called to an account by the nature and properties of that habit and principle of grace which is in all true holiness, as before explained, and it will quickly appear how short they come thereof: for as their subject, where they have their residence, is the mind only, and not the will or affections, any farther but as they are influenced or restrained by light, so they do not renew or change the mind itself, so as to transform it into the image of God; neither do they give the soul a general inclination unto all acts and duties of obedience, but only a readiness for that duty which their exercise doth peculiarly consist in. Wherefore they answer no one property of true holiness; and we have not seldom seen discoveries made thereof.

    Least of all can morality, or a course of moral duties, when it is alone, maintain any pretense hereunto. We have had attempts to prove that there is no specifical difference between common and saving grace, but that they are both of the same kind, differing only in degrees. But some, as though this ground were already gained, and needed no more contending about, do add, without any consideration of these “petty distinctions of common and saving grace, ” that “morality is grace and grace is morality, and nothing else.” To be a gracious, holy man, according to the gospel, and to be a moral man, is all one with them; and as yet it is not declared whether there be any difference between evangelical holiness and philosophical morality. Wherefore I shall proceed to the fourth thing proposed, — 4. And this is farther to prove that this habit or gracious principle of holiness is specifically distinct from all other habits of the mind whatever, whether intellectual or moral, connate or acquired, as also from all that common grace and the effects of it whereof any persons not really sanctified may be made partakers.

    The truth of this assertion is, indeed, sufficiently evident from the description we have given of this spiritual habit, its nature and properties; but whereas there are also other respects giving farther confirmation of the same truth, I shall call over the most important of them, after some few things have been premised: as, — (1.) A habit, of what sort soever it be, qualifies the subject wherein it is, so that it may be denominated from it, and makes the actions proceeding from it to be suited unto it or to be of the same nature with it. As Aristotle says, “Virtue is a habit which maketh him that hath it good or virtuous, and his actions good.” Now, all moral habits are seated in the will.

    Intellectual habits are not immediately effective of good or evil, but as the will is influenced by them. These habits do incline, dispose, and enable the will to act according to their nature. And in all the acts of our wills, and so all external works which proceed from them, two things are considered: — first, The act itself, or the work done; and, secondly, The end for which it is done. And both these things are respected by the habit itself, though not immediately, yet by virtue of its acts. It is, moreover, necessary and natural that every act of the will, every work of a man, be for a certain end.

    Two things, therefore, are to be considered in all our obedience: — first, The duty itself we do; and, secondly, The end for which we do it. If any habit, therefore, do not incline and dispose the will unto the proper end of duty, as well as unto the duty itself, it is not of that kind from whence true gospel obedience doth proceed; for the end of every act of gospel obedience, — which is the glory of God in Jesus Christ, — is essential unto it. Let us, then, take all the habits of moral virtue, and we shall find that however they may incline and dispose the will unto such acts of virtue as materially are duties of obedience, yet they do it not with respect unto this end. If it be said that such moral habits do so incline the will unto duties of obedience with respect unto this end, then is there no need of the grace of Jesus Christ or the gospel to enable men to live unto God according to the tenor of the covenant of grace; which some seem to aim at. (2.) Whereas it is the end that gives all our duties their special nature, this is twofold: — [1.] The next; and, [2.] The ultimate; — or it is particular or universal. And these may be different in the same action. As a man may give alms to the poor, his next particular end may be to relieve and cherish them; this end is good, and so far the work or duty itself is good also. But the ultimate and general end of this action may be self, merit, reputation, praise, compensation for sin committed, and not the glory of God in Christ; which vitiates the whole. Now, moral habits, acquired by endeavors answerable unto our light and convictions, or the dictates of enlightened reason, with resolutions and perseverance, may incline and dispose the will unto actions and works that for the substance of them are duties, and are capable of having particular ends that are good; but a want of respect unto the general end allows them not to be any part of gospel obedience. And this is applicable unto all moral habits and duties whatever. But the difference asserted is farther manifested, — (1.) From the especial fountain and spring of holiness, which constitutes its nature of another kind than any common grace or morality can pretend unto; and this is electing love, or God’s purpose of election: Ephesians 1:4, “He hath chosen us in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love.” God chooseth us from eternity that we should be holy; that is, with a design and purpose to make us so. He sets some men apart in his eternal purpose, as those unto whom he will communicate holiness. It is, therefore, an especial work of God, in the pursuit of an especial and eternal purpose. This gives it its especial nature, and makes it, as was said, of another kind than any effect of common grace whatever. That is holiness which God works in men by his Spirit because he hath chosen them, and nothing else is so; for he “chooseth us unto salvation through sanctification of the Spirit,” 2 Thessalonians 2:13.

    Salvation is the end that God aimeth at in his choosing of us, in subordination unto his own glory; which is, and must be, the ultimate end of all his purposes and decrees, or of all the free acts of his wisdom and love. The means which he hath ordained whereby we shall be brought unto this salvation, so designed in his eternal purpose, is the “sanctification of the Spirit.” Gospel holiness, therefore, is the effect of that sanctification of the Spirit, which God hath designed as the especial way and means on their part of bringing the elect unto salvation; and his choosing of them is the cause and reason why he doth so sanctify them by his Spirit. And where our sanctification is comprised under our vocation, because therein and thereby we are sanctified, by the sanctifying principle of holiness communicated unto us, it is not only reckoned as an effect and consequent of our predestination, but is so conjoined thereunto as to declare that none others are partakers of it but those that are predestinate, Romans 8:29,30.

    And this consideration is of itself sufficient to evince that this holiness whereof we treat differs essentially from all other habits of the mind and actions proceeding from them, as having an especial nature of its own.

    Whatever there may be in any men of virtue and piety, or whatever their endeavors may be, in ways of honesty and duty towards God and men, if the power and principle of it in them be not a fruit of electing love, of the Spirit of sanctification, given of God for this certain end, that we may attain the salvation whereunto we are chosen, it belongeth not unto this holiness. Wherefore, the apostle Peter, giving us in charge to use “all diligence,” whereby we may make “our calling and election sure,” — that is, unto our souls, and in our own minds, — prescribes as the means of it the exercise and increase of those graces which are its proper effects, Peter 1:5-7, 10. And the reason why we see so many glorious professions of faith and obedience utterly to fail as we do, is because the faith so professed was not “the faith of God’s elect,” Titus 1:1; and the obedience of it was not the fruit of that Spirit of sanctification which God gives to man to make his purpose of election infallibly effectual, that so the “purpose of God which is according to election might stand,” Romans 9:11, and “the election,” or those elected, might obtain the grace and glory designed for them, chapter 11:5, 7. And it is an evidence of much spiritual sloth in us, or that which is worse, namely, that our graces and obedience are not genuine and of the true heavenly race, if we endeavor not to satisfy ourselves that they are real effects of electing love.

    If anyone shall inquire, how we may know whether the graces of holiness, which we hope are in us, and the duties that proceed from them, are fruits and effects of election, seeing such only are genuine and durable, I answer, it may be done three ways: — [1.] By their growth and increase. This in ordinary cases, setting aside the seasons of prevalent temptations and desertions, is the best evidence hereof. Waters that proceed from a living fountain increase in their progress, because of the continual supplies which they have from their spring, when those which have only occasional beginnings, from showers of rain or the like, do continually decay until they are dried up. The graces that come from this eternal spring have continual supplies from it, so that, if they meet with no violent obstructions (as they may do sometimes for a season), they do constantly increase and thrive. And, therefore, no man can secure his spiritual comforts one moment under a sensible decay of grace; for such a decay is a very sufficient reason why he should call the truth of all his grace into question. Where the Spirit of sanctification is, as given in pursuit of the purpose of election, it is “a well of water springing up into everlasting life,” John 4:14. The quietness and satisfaction of professors under a decay of grace is a soul-ruining security, and hath nothing in it of spiritual peace. [2.] We may discern it when we are much stirred up unto diligent acting and exercise of grace, out of a sense of that electing love from whence all grace doth proceed. It is the nature of that grace that is the fruit of election greatly to affect the heart and mind with a sense of the love that is therein: so the apostle says expressly that one grace exciteth and stirreth up another, from a sense of the love of God, which sets them all on work, Romans 5:2-5. So God is said to “draw us with loving-kindness,” because “he hath loved us with an everlasting love,” Jeremiah 31:3; that is, he gives us such a sense of his everlasting love as thereby to draw us after him in faith and obedience. Those principles of duties in us which are excited only by fear, awe, hope, and the jealous observances of an awakened conscience, will scarce at any time evince this heavenly extract unto a spiritual understanding. That grace which proceeds from especial love will carry along with it a holy quickening sense of it, and thereby be excited unto its due exercise. And we do what we can to famish and starve our graces, when we do not endeavor their supplies by faith on that spring of divine love from whence they proceed. [3.] Seeing we are chosen in Christ, and predestinated to be like unto him, those graces of holiness have the most evident and legible characters of electing love upon them which are most effectual in working us unto a conformity to him. That grace is certainly from an eternal spring which makes us like unto Jesus Christ. Of this sort are meekness, humility, selfdenial, contempt of the world, readiness to pass by wrongs, to forgive enemies, to love and do good unto all; which indeed are despised by the most, and duly regarded but by few. But I return. (2.) The especial procuring cause of this holiness is the mediation of Christ. We are not, in this matter, concerned in anything, let men call it what they please, virtue, or godliness, or holiness, that hath not an especial relation unto the Lord Christ and his mediation. Evangelical holiness is purchased for us by him, according to the tenor of the everlasting covenant, is promised unto us on his account, actually impetrated for us by his intercession, and communicated unto us by his Spirit. And hereby we do not only cast off all the moral virtues of the heathens from having the least concernment herein, but all the principles and duties of persons professing Christianity, who are not really and actually implanted into Christ, for he it is who “of God is made unto us sanctification,” 1 Corinthians 1:30; and this he is on several accounts, the heads whereof may be called over: — [1.] He is made unto us of God sanctification with respect unto his sacerdotal office, because we are purified, purged, washed, and cleansed from our sins by his blood, in the oblation of it, and the application of it unto our souls, as hath been at large declared, Ephesians 5:25-27; Titus 2:14; 1 John 1:7; Hebrews 9:14. All that we have taught before concerning the purification of our minds and consciences by the blood of Christ is peculiar unto gospel holiness, and distinguisheth it essentially from all common grace or moral virtues. And they do but deceive themselves who rest in a multitude of duties, it may be animated much with zeal, and set off with a profession of the most rigid mortification, whose hearts and consciences are not thus purged by the blood of Christ. [2.] Because he prevails for the actual sanctification of our natures, in the communication of holiness unto us, by his intercession. His prayer, John 17:17, is the blessed spring of our holiness: “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.” There is not anything of this grace wrought in us, bestowed on us, communicated unto us, preserved in us, but what is so in answer unto and compliance with the intercession of Christ. From his prayer for us is holiness begun in us: “Sanctify them,” saith he, “by thy truth.” Thence it is kept alive and preserved in us: “I have,” saith he to Peter, “prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not.” And through his intercession are we saved to the uttermost. Nothing belongs to this holiness but what, in the actual communication of it, is a peculiar fruit of Christ’s intercession; what is not so, what men may be made partakers of upon any more general account, belongs not thereunto. And if we really design holiness, or intend to be holy, it is our duty constantly to improve the intercession of Christ for the increase of it; and this we may do by especial applications to him for that purpose. So the apostles prayed him to “increase their faith,” Luke 17:5; and we may do so for the increase of our holiness. But the nature of this application unto Christ for the increase of holiness, by virtue of his intercession, is duly to be considered.

    We are not to pray unto him that he would intercede for us that we may be sanctified; for as he needs not our minding for the discharge of his office, so he intercedes not orally in heaven at all, and always doth so virtually, by his appearance in the presence of God, with the virtue of his oblation or sacrifice. But whereas the Lord Christ gives out no supplies of grace unto us but what he receiveth from the Father for that end by virtue of his intercession, we apply ourselves unto him under that consideration, — namely, as he who, upon his intercession with God for us, hath all stores of grace to give us supplies from. [3.] He is so, because the rule and measure of holiness unto us, the instrument of working it in us, is his word and doctrine, which he taught the church as the great prophet of it: “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” The inbred dictates of the light and law of nature, in their greatest purity, are not the rule or measure of this holiness; much less are those rules and maxims which men deduce, partly right and partly wrong, from them of any such use. Nor is the written law itself so. It is the rule of original holiness, but not the adequate rule of that holiness whereunto we are restored by Christ. Neither are both these in conjunction, — the dictates of nature and the law written, — the instruments of working holiness in us. But it is the doctrine of the gospel which is the adequate rule and immediate instrument of it. My meaning is, that the word, the gospel, the doctrine of Christ, in the preceptive part of it, is so the rule of all our obedience and holiness as that all which it requireth belongeth thereunto, and nothing else but what it requireth doth so; and the formal reason of our holiness consists in conformity thereunto, under this consideration, that it is the word and doctrine of Christ.

    Nothing belongeth unto holiness materially but what the gospel requireth; and nothing is so in us formally but what we do because the gospel requireth it. And it is the instrument of it, because God maketh use of it alone as an external means for the communicating of it unto us, or the ingenerating of it in us. Principles of natural light, with the guidance of an awakened conscience, do direct unto, and exact the performance of, many material duties of obedience; the written law requireth of us all duties of original obedience; and God doth use these things variously for the preparing of our souls unto a right receiving of the gospel: but there are some graces, some duties, belonging unto evangelical holiness, which the law knows nothing of; such are the mortification of sin, godly sorrow, daily cleansing of our hearts and minds; — not to mention the more sublime and spiritual acts of communion with God by Christ, with all that faith and love which are required in us towards him; for although these things may be contained in the law radically, as it requires universal obedience unto God, yet are they not so formally. And it is not used as the means to beget faith and holiness in us; this is the effect of the gospel only. Hence it is said to be “the power of God unto salvation,” Romans 1:16, or that whereby God puts forth the greatness of his power unto that purpose; — “the word of his grace, which is able to build us up, and to give us an inheritance among all them which are sanctified,” Acts 20:32.

    It is that by whose preaching faith cometh, Romans 10:17; and by the hearing whereof we receive the Spirit, Galatians 3:2. It is that whereby we are begotten in Christ Jesus, 1 Corinthians 4:15; James 1:18; Peter 1:23-25. And all that is required of us, in the way of external obedience, is but that our conversation be such as becometh the gospel.

    And this is a proper touchstone for our holiness, to try whether it be genuine, and of the right kind or no. If it be, it is nothing but the seed of the gospel quickened in our hearts, and bearing fruit in our lives. It is the delivery up of our souls into the mould of the doctrine of it, so as that our minds and the word should answer one another, as face doth unto face in water. And we may know whether it be so with us or no two ways; for, — 1st . If it be so, none of the commands of the gospel will be grievous unto us, but easy and pleasant. A principle suited unto them all, inclining unto them all, connatural unto them, as proceeding from them, being implanted in our minds and hearts, it renders the commands themselves so suited unto us, so useful, and the matter of them so desirable, that obedience is made pleasant thereby. Hence is that satisfaction of mind, with rest and joy, which believers have in gospel duties, yea, the most difficult of them; with that trouble and sorrow which ensue upon their neglect, omission, or their being deprived of opportunities for them. But in the strictest course of duties that proceedeth from any other principle, the precepts of the gospel, or at least some of them, on account of their spirituality or simplicity, are either esteemed grievous or despised. 2dly . None of the truths of the gospel will seem strange unto us. This makes up the evidence of a genuine principle of gospel holiness, when the commands of it are not grievous, nor the truths of it strange or uncouth.

    The mind so prepared receives every truth, as the eye doth every increase of light, naturally and pleasantly, until it come unto its proper measure.

    There is a measure of light which is suited unto our visive faculty; what exceeds it dazzles and amazes, rather than enlightens, but every degree of light which tends unto it is connatural and pleasant to the eye. So is it with the sanctified mind and spiritual truth. There is a measure of light issuing from spiritual truths that our minds are capable of: what is beyond this measure belongs to glory, and the gazing after it will rather dazzle than enlighten us; and such is the issue of overstrained speculations when the mind endeavors an excess as to its measure. But all light from truth which tends to the filling up of that measure is pleasant and natural to the sanctified mind. It sees wisdom, glory, beauty, and usefulness, in the most spiritual, sublime, and mysterious truths that are revealed in and by the word, laboring more and more to comprehend them, because of their excellency. For want hereof, we know how the truths of the gospel are by many despised, reproached, scorned, as those which are no less foolishness unto them to be believed than the precepts of it are grievous to be obeyed. [4.] He is so as he is the exemplary cause of our holiness. The design of God in working grace and holiness in us is, that “we may be conformed unto the image of his Son, that he may be the firstborn among many brethren,” Romans 8:29; and our design in the attaining of it is, first that we may be like him, and then that we may express or “show forth the virtues of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light,” unto his glory and honor, 1 Peter 2:9. To this end is he proposed, in the purity of his natures, the holiness of his person, the glory of his graces, the innocency and usefulness of his conversation in the world, as the great idea and exemplar, which in all things we ought to conform ourselves unto. And as the nature of evangelical holiness consists herein, — namely, in a universal conformity unto him as he is the image of the invisible God, — so the proposal of his example unto us is an effectual means of ingenerating and increasing it in us.

    It is by all confessed that examples are most effectual ways of instruction, and, if seasonably proposed, do secretly solicit the mind unto imitation, and almost unavoidably incline it thereunto. But when unto this power which examples have naturally and morally to instruct and affect our minds, things are peculiarly designed and instituted of God to be our examples, he requiring of us that from them we should learn both what to do and what to avoid, their force and efficacy is increased. This the apostle instructs us in at large, 1 Corinthians 10:6-11. Now, both these concur in the example of holiness that is given us in the person of Christ; for, — 1st. He is not only in himself, morally considered, the most perfect, absolute, glorious pattern of all grace, holiness, virtue, obedience, to be chosen and preferred above all others, but he only is so; there is no other complete example of it. As for those examples of heroical virtue or stoical apathy which are boasted of among the heathens, it were an easy matter to find such flaws and tumors in them as would render them not only uncomely, but deformed and monstrous. And in the lives of the best of the saints there is declared what we ought expressly to avoid, as well as what we ought to follow; and in some things we are left at a loss whether it be safe to conform unto them or no, seeing we are to be followers of none any farther than they were so of Jesus Christ, and wherein they were so; neither, in what they were or did, were they absolutely our rule and example in itself, but only so far as therein they were conformable unto Christ: and the best of their graces, the highest of their attainments, and the most perfect of their duties, have their spots and imperfections; so that although they should have exceeded what we can attain unto, and are therefore meet to be proposed unto our imitation, yet do they come short of what we aim at, which is to be holy as God is holy. But in this our great exemplar, as there was never the least shadow of variableness from the perfection of holiness (for “he did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth,” yea, “in him was light, and no darkness at all”), so were all his graces, all his actings of them, all his duties, so absolute and complete, as that we ought to aim no higher, nor to propose any other pattern unto ourselves. And who is it that, aiming at any excellency, would not design the most absolute and perfect example? This, therefore, is to be found as unto holiness in Christ, and in him alone. And, 2dly. He is appointed of God for this purpose. One end why God sent his Son to take our nature upon him, and to converse in the world therein, was, that he might set us an example in our own nature, in one who was like unto us in all things, sin only excepted, of that renovation of his image in us, of that return unto him from sin and apostasy, of that holy obedience which he requireth of us. Such an example was needful, that we might never be at a loss about the will of God in his commands, having a glorious representation of it before our eyes; and this could be given us no otherwise but in our own nature. The angelical nature was not suited to set us an example of holiness and obedience, especially as to the exercise of such graces as we principally stand in need of in this world; for what examples could angels set unto us in themselves of patience in afflictions, of quietness in sufferings, seeing their nature is incapable of such things?

    Neither could we have had an example that was perfect and complete in our own nature, but only in one who was “holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.” To this end, therefore, among others, did God send his own Son to take our nature on him, and therein to represent unto us the perfect idea of that holiness and obedience which he requireth of us. It is evident, therefore, that these two considerations of an instructive example, that it hath a moral aptitude to incite the mind unto imitation, and that it is instituted of God unto that purpose, are both found eminently in this of Christ.

    But there is yet more in this matter: for, — 1st . As God hath appointed the consideration of Christ as an especial ordinance unto the increase of holiness in us, so his holy obedience, as proposed unto us, hath a peculiar efficacy unto that purpose beyond all other instituted examples; for, — (1st.) We are often called to behold Christ, and to look upon him, or it is promised that we shall do so, Isaiah 45:22; Zechariah 12:10.

    Now, this beholding of Christ, or looking on him, is the consideration of him by faith unto the ends for which he is exhibited, proposed, and set forth of God in the gospel and promises thereof. This, therefore, is an especial ordinance of God, and is by his Spirit made effectual. And these ends are two: — [lst .] Justification; [2dly .] Salvation, or deliverance from sin and punishment. “Look unto me,” saith he, “and be ye saved.”

    This was he on the cross, and is still so in the preaching of the gospel, wherein he is “evidently crucified before our eyes,” Galatians 3:1, lifted up as the brazen serpent in the wilderness, John 3:14,15, that we, looking on him by faith, as “bearing our sins in his own body on the tree,” 1 Peter 2:24, and “receiving the atonement” made thereby, Romans 5:11, may through faith in him be justified from all our sins, and saved from the wrath to come. But this we intend not; for, (2dly.) He is of God proposed unto us in the gospel as the great pattern and exemplar of holiness, so as that, by God’s appointment, our beholding and looking on him, in the way mentioned, is a means of the increase and growth of it in us. So our apostle declares, Corinthians 3:18, “We all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” That which is proposed unto us is, the “glory of God,” or the “glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” chapter 4:6; that is, God gloriously manifesting himself in the person of Christ.. This are we said to “behold with open face.” The veil of types and shadows being taken off and removed, faith doth now clearly and distinctly view and consider Jesus Christ as he is represented unto us in the glass of the gospel; that is, the evidences of the presence of God in him and with him, in his work, purity, and holiness. And the effect hereof is, that we are, through the operation of the Spirit of God, “changed into the same image,” or made holy, and therein like unto him. 2dly. There is peculiar force and efficacy, by the way of motive, in the example of Christ, to incline us unto the imitation of him, that is not to be found in any other example, on any occasion whatever; because, (1st.) Whatever is proposed unto us, in what he was or what he did, as our pattern and example, he was it, and did it, not for his own sake, but out of free and mere love unto us. That pure nature of his, which we ought to be laboring after a conformity unto, 1 John 3:3, and which he will at length bring us unto, Philippians 3:21, he took it upon him, by an infinite condescension, merely out of love unto us, Hebrews 2:14,15; Philippians 2:5-8. And all the actings of grace in him, all the duties of obedience which he performed, all that glorious compliance with the will of God in his sufferings which he manifested, proceed all from his love unto us, John 17:19; Galatians 2:20. These things being in themselves truly honorable and excellent, yea, being only so, the holiness and obedience which God requireth of us consisting in them, and being by the appointment of God proposed unto our imitation in the example of Jesus Christ, how must it needs influence and prevail on gracious souls to endeavor a conformity unto him therein, to be as he was, to do as he did, seeing he was what he was, and did what he did, merely out of love unto us, and for no other end! And, (2dly.) Everything which we are to imitate in Christ is other ways also beneficial unto us; for we are, in its place and way, even saved thereby. By his obedience we are made righteous, Romans 5:19. There is no grace nor duty of Christ which he did perform, but we have the advantage and benefit of it. And this increaseth the efficacy of his example; for who would not strive to obtain those things in himself, of whose being in Christ he hath so great advantage?

    In this regard also, therefore, is the Lord Christ made sanctification unto us, and is the cause of evangelical holiness in us; and certainly we are, the most of us, much to blame that we do not more abound in the use of this means unto the end mentioned. Did we abide more constantly in the beholding or contemplation of the person of Christ, of the glory and beauty of his holiness, as the pattern and great example proposed unto us, we should be more transformed into his image and likeness. But it is so fallen out that many who are called Christians delight to be talking of, and do much admire, the virtuous sayings and actions of the heathen, and are ready to make them the object of their imitation, whilst they have no thoughts of the grace that was in our Lord Jesus Christ, nor do endeavor after conformity thereunto; and the reason is, because the virtue which they seek after and desire is of the same kind with that which was in the heathen, and not that grace and holiness which was in Christ Jesus. And thence also it is that some, who, not out of love unto it, but to decry other important mysteries of the gospel thereby, do place all Christianity in the imitation of Christ, do yet indeed in their practice despise those qualities and duties wherein he principally manifested the glory of his grace. His meekness, patience, self-denial, quietness in bearing reproaches, contempt of the world, zeal for the glory of God, compassion to the souls of men, condescension to the weaknesses of all, they regard not. But there is no greater evidence that whatever we seem to have of anything that is good in us is no part of evangelical holiness, than that it doth not render us conformable to Christ.

    And we should always consider how we ought to act faith on Christ with respect unto this end. Let none be guilty practically of what some are falsely charged withal as to doctrine; — let none divide in the work of faith, and exercise themselves but in the one half of it. To believe in Christ for redemption, for justification, for sanctification, is but one half of the duty of faith; — it respects Christ only as he died and suffered for us, as he made atonement for our sins, peace with God, and reconciliation for us, as his righteousness is imputed unto us unto justification. Unto these ends, indeed, is he firstly and principally proposed unto us in the gospel, and with respect unto them are we exhorted to receive him and to believe in him; but this is not all that is required of us. Christ in the gospel is proposed unto us as our pattern and example of holiness; and as it is a cursed imagination that this was the whole end of his life and death, — namely, to exemplify and confirm the doctrine of holiness which he taught, — so to neglect his so being our example, in considering him by faith to that end, and laboring after conformity to him, is evil and pernicious.

    Wherefore let us be much in the contemplation of what he was, what he did, how in all instances of duties and trials he carried himself, until an image or idea of his perfect holiness is implanted in our minds, and we are made like unto him thereby. [5.] That which principally differenceth evangelical holiness, with respect unto the Lord Christ, from all natural or moral habits or duties, and whereby he is made sanctification unto us, is, that from him, his person as our head, the principle of spiritual life and holiness in believers is derived; and by virtue of their union with him, real supplies of spiritual strength and grace, whereby their holiness is preserved, maintained, and increased, are constantly communicated unto them. On the stating and proof hereof the whole difference about grace and morality doth depend and will issue: for if that which men call morality be so derived from the Lord Christ by virtue of our union with him, it is evangelical grace; if it be not, it is either nothing or somewhat of another nature and kind, for grace it is not, nor holiness neither. And all that I have to prove herein is, that the Lord Jesus Christ is a head of influence, the spring or fountain of spiritual life, unto his church, — wherein I know myself to have the consent of the church of God in all ages; and I shall confine the proof of my assertion unto the ensuing positions, with their confirmation: — 1st. Whatever grace God promiseth unto any, bestoweth on them, or worketh in them, it is all so bestowed and wrought in, by, and through Jesus Christ, as the mediator or middle person between God and them.

    This the very notion and nature of his office of mediator, and his interposition therein between God and us, doth require. To affirm that any good thing, any grace, any virtue, is given unto us, or bestowed on us, or wrought in us by God, and not immediately through Christ; or that we believe in God, yield obedience unto him, or praise with glory, not directly by Christ, — is utterly to overthrow his mediation. Moses, indeed, is called a mediator between God and the people, Galatians 3:19, as he was an internuntius, a messenger to declare the mind of God to them, and to return their answers unto God; but to limit the mediatory work of Christ unto such an interposition only is to leave him but one office, that of a prophet, and to destroy the principal uses and effects of his mediation towards the church. In like manner, because Moses is called lutrwth>v , a savior or redeemer, Acts 7:35, metaphorically, with respect unto his use and employment in that mighty work of the deliverance of the people out of Egypt, some will not allow that the Lord Christ is a redeemer in any other sense, subverting the whole gospel, with the faith and souls of men.

    But, in particular, what there is of this nature in the mediation of Christ, in his being the middle person between God and us, may be declared in the ensuing assertions: — (1st.) God himself is the absolute infinite fountain, the supreme efficient cause, of all grace and holiness; for he alone is originally and essentially holy, as he only is good, and so the first cause of holiness and goodness to others. Hence he is called “The God of all grace,” 1 Peter 5:10; the author, possessor, and bestower of it. “He hath life in himself,” and quickeneth whom he pleaseth, John 5:26; “With him is the fountain of life,” Psalm 36:9; as hath been declared before. This, I suppose, needs no farther confirmation with them who really acknowledge any such thing as grace and holiness. These things, if any, are among those “perfect gifts” which are “from above,” coming down “from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness neither shadow of turning,” James 1:17. (2dly.) God from his own fullness communicates unto his creatures, either by the way of nature or by the way of grace. In our first creation God implanted his image on us, in uprightness and holiness, in and by the making or creation of our nature; and had we continued in that state, the same image of God should have been communicated by natural propagation. But since the fall and entrance of sin, God no more communicates holiness unto any by way of nature or natural propagation: for if he did so, there would be no necessity that everyone who is born must be born again before he enter into the kingdom of God, as our Savior afiirmeth there is, John 3:3, for he might have grace and holiness from his first nativity; nor could it be said of believers that they are “born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” chapter 1:13, for grace might be propagated unto them by those natural means. It was the old Pelagian figment, that what we have by nature we have by grace, because God is the author of nature. So he was as it was pure, but it is our own as it is corrupt; and what we have thereby we have of ourselves, in contradiction to the grace of God. “That which is born of the flesh is flesh;” and we have nothing else by natural propagation. (3dly.) God communicates nothing in a way of grace unto any but in and by the person of Christ, as the mediator and head of the church, John 1:18. In the old creation, all things were made by the eternal Word, the person of the Son, as the Wisdom of God, John 1:3; Colossians 1:16.

    There was no immediate emanation of divine power from the person of the Father, for the production of all or any created beings, but in and by the person of the Son, their wisdom and power being one and the same as acted in him. And the supportation of all things in the course of divine providence is his immediate work also, whence he is said to “uphold all things by the word of his power,” Hebrews 1:3. And so it is in the new creation with respect unto his person as mediator. Therein was he the “image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature, having the pre-eminence in all things; and he is before all things, and by him all things consist,” Colossians 1:15,17,18.

    In the raising of the whole new creation, which is by a new spiritual life and holiness communicated unto all the parts of it, the work is carried on immediately by the person of Christ the mediator; and none hath any share therein but what is received and derived from him. This is plainly asserted, Ephesians 2:10. So the apostle disposeth of this matter: “The head of every man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God,” Corinthians 11:3; which is so in respect of influence as well as of rule. As God doth not immediately govern the church, but in and by the person of Christ, whom he hath given to be head over all things thereunto, so neither doth he administer any grace or holiness unto any but in the same order; for “the head of every man is Christ, and the head of Christ is God.” (4thly.) God doth work real, effectual, sanctifying grace, spiritual strength and holiness, in believers, yea, that grace whereby they are enabled to believe and are made holy, and doth really sanctify them more and more, that they may be preserved “blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” This hath been so fully confirmed in the whole of what hath been discoursed both concerning regeneration and sanctification as that it must not be here again insisted on.

    Wherefore, all this grace, according unto the former assertion, is communicated unto us through and by Christ, and no otherwise. 2dly. Whatever is wrought in believers by the Spirit of Christ, it is in their union to the person of Christ, and by virtue thereof. That the Holy Spirit is the immediate efficient cause of all grace and holiness I have sufficiently proved already, unto them to whom anything in this kind will be sufficient. Now, the end why the Holy Spirit is sent, and consequently of all that he doth as he is so sent, is to glorify Christ; and this he doth by receiving from Christ, and communicating thereof unto others, John 16:13-15. And there are two works of this kind which he hath to do and doth effect: — first, To unite us to Christ; and, secondly, To communicate all grace unto us from Christ, by virtue of that union. (1st.) By him are we united unto Christ; — that is, his person, and not a light within us, as some think; nor the doctrine of the gospel, as others with an equal folly seem to imagine. It is by the doctrine and grace of the gospel that we are united, but it is the person of Christ whereunto we are united; for “he that is joined unto the Lord is one Spirit,” 1 Corinthians 6:17, because by that one Spirit he is joined unto him; for “by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body,” chapter 12:13, — implanted into the body, and united unto the head. And therefore, “if we have not the Spirit of Christ, we are none of his,” Romans 8:9. We are therefore his, — that is, united unto him, — by a participation of his Spirit. And hereby Christ himself is in us; for “Jesus Christ is in us, except we be reprobates,” Corinthians 13:5; — that is, he is in us “by his Spirit that dwelleth in us,” Romans 8:9,11; 1 Corinthians 6:19. It may therefore be inquired, whether we receive the Spirit of the gospel from the person of Christ or no? And this is the inquiry which nothing but the extreme ignorance or impudence of some could render seasonable or tolerable, seeing formerly no Christian ever doubted of it, nor is he so now who doth disbelieve it. It is true, we receive him by the “preaching of the gospel,” Galatians 3:2; but it is no less true that we receive him immediately from the person of Christ. For no other reason is he called so frequently “The Spirit of Christ;” that is, the Spirit which he gives, sends, bestows, or communicates. He receives of the Father the “promise of the Holy Ghost,” and sheddeth him forth, Acts 2:33.

    But it may be said, “That if hereby we are united unto Christ, — namely, by his Spirit, — then we must be holy and obedient before we so receive him, wherein our union doth consist; for certainly Christ doth not unite ungodly and impure sinners unto himself, which would be the greatest dishonor unto him imaginable. We must, therefore, be holy, obedient, and like unto Christ, before we can be united unto him, and so, consequently, before we receive his Spirit, if thereby we are united to him.” Ans . 1. If this be so, then indeed are we not beholden in the least unto the Spirit of Christ that we are holy, and obedient, and like to Christ; for he that hath the Spirit of Christ is united unto him, and he who is united to him hath his Spirit, and none else. Whatever, therefore is in any man of holiness, righteousness, or obedience, antecedent unto union with Christ, is no especial effect of his Spirit. Wherefore in this case we must purify ourselves without any application of the blood of Christ unto our souls, and we must sanctify ourselves without any especial work of the Spirit of God on our nature. Let them that can, satisfy themselves with these things. For my part, I have no esteem or valuation of that holiness, as holiness, which is not the immediate effect of the Spirit of sanctification in us. 2. It is granted that ordinarily the Lord Christ, by the dispensation of his word, by light and convictions thence ensuing, doth prepare the souls of men in some measure for the inhabitation of his Spirit. The way and manner hereof hath been fully before declared. 3. It is denied that, on this supposition, the Lord Christ doth unite impure or ungodly sinners unto himself, so as that they should be so united, and continue impure and ungodly: for in the same instant wherein anyone is united unto Christ, and by the same act whereby he is so united, he is really and habitually purified and sanctified; for where the Spirit of God is, there is liberty, and purity, and holiness.

    All acts and duties of holiness are in order of nature consequential hereunto, but the person is quickened, purified, and sanctified in its union.

    Whereas, therefore, the Spirit of Christ, communicated from him for our union with him, is the cause and author of all grace and evangelical holiness in us, it is evident that we receive it directly from Christ himself; which gives it the difference from all other habits and acts pleaded for. (2dly.) The second work of the Spirit is, to communicate all grace unto us from Christ by virtue of that union. I shall take it for granted, until all that hath been before discoursed about the work of the Holy Spirit in our regeneration and sanctification be disproved, that he is the author of all grace and holiness; and when that is disproved, we may part with our Bibles also, as books which do openly and palpably mislead us. And what he so works in us, he doth it in pursuit of his first communication unto us, whereby we are united unto Christ, even for the edification, preservation, and farther sanctification of the mystical body, making every member of it meet for the “inheritance of the saints in light.” And in those supplies of grace which he so gives, acted by us in all duties of obedience, consists all the holiness which I desire any acquaintance withal or a participation of. (3dly.) There is a mystical, spiritual body, whereof Christ is the head, and his church are the members of it. There is, therefore, a union between them in things spiritual, like unto that which is between the head and members of the body of a man in things natural. And this the Scripture, because of the weight and importance of it, with its singular use unto the faith of believers, doth frequently express. “God hath given him to be the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all,” Ephesians 1:22,23. “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ,” 1 Corinthians 12:12. “Christ is the head, from whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love,” Ephesians 4:15,16.

    And the same apostle speaks again to the same purpose, Colossians 2:19, “Not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.”

    Now, it hath been always granted by all them who acknowledge the divine person of the Son of God, or the union of the human nature unto the divine in his person, that the Lord Jesus is the head of his church, in the double sense of that word; for he is the political head of it in a way of rule and government, and he is the really spiritual head, as unto vital influences of grace, unto all his members. The Romanists, indeed, cast some disturbance on the former, by interposing another immediate, ruling, governing head, between him and the catholic church; yet do they not deny but that the Lord Christ, in his own person, is the absolute, supreme king, head, and ruler of the church. And the latter the Socinians cannot grant; for denying his divine person, it is impossible to conceive how the human nature, subsisting alone by itself, should be such an immense fountain of grace as from whence there should be an emanation of it into all the members of the mystical body. But by all other Christians this hath hitherto been acknowledged; and, therefore, there is nothing belongs unto gospel grace or holiness but what is originally derived from the person of Christ, as he is the head of the church. And this is most evidently expressed in the places before alleged; for, 1 Corinthians 12:12, it is plainly affirmed that it is between Christ and the church as it is between the head and the members of the same natural body. Now, not only the whole body hath guidance and direction in the disposal of itself from the head, but every member in particular hath influences of life actually and strength from thence, without which it can neither act, nor move, nor discharge its place or duty in the body. “So also is Christ,” saith the apostle. Not only hath the whole mystical body of the church guidance and direction from him, in his laws, rules, doctrine, and precepts, but spiritual life and motion also; and so hath every member thereof, — they all receive from him grace for holiness and obedience, without which they would be but withered and dead members in the body. But he hath told us that “because he liveth we shall live also,” John 14:19: for the Father having given him to have “life in himself,” chapter 5:26, whereon “he quickeneth” with spiritual life “whom he will,” verse 21, from that fountain of spiritual life which is in him supplies of the same life are given unto the church; and, therefore, because he liveth we live also, — that is, a spiritual life here, without which we shall never live eternally hereafter.

    And, Ephesians 4:15,16, the relation of believers unto Christ being stated exactly to answer the relation and union of the members of the body unto the head, it is expressly affirmed that as in the natural body there are supplies of nourishment and natural spirits communicated from the head unto the members, by the subserviency of all the parts of the body, designed unto that purpose, to the growth and increase of the whole in every part: so from Christ, the head of the church, which he is in his divine person as God and man, there is a supply of spiritual life, strength, and nourishment, made unto every member of the body, unto its increase, growth, and edification; for “we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones,” chapter 5:30, being made out of him as Eve was out of Adam, yet so continuing in him as to have all our supplies from him; “we in him, and he in us,” as he speaks, John 14:20. And, Colossians 2:19, it is expressly affirmed that from him, the head, there is nourishment ministered unto the body, unto its increase with the increase of God. And what this spiritual nourishment, supplied unto the souls of believers for their increase and growth from Christ their head, can be, but the emanation from his person and communication with them of that grace which is the principle and spring of all holiness and duties of evangelical obedience, none has as yet undertaken to declare; and if any do deny it, they do what lies in them to destroy the life and overthrow the faith of the whole church of God. Yea, upon such a blasphemous imagination, that there could be an intercision for one moment of influences of spiritual life and grace from the person of Christ unto the church, the whole must be supposed to die and perish, and that eternally. (4thly.) The whole of what we assert is plainly and evidently proposed in sundry instructive allusions, which are made use of to this purpose. The principal of them is that both laid down and declared by our Savior himself: John 15:1,4,5, “I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, and ye are the branches: he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me” (or, severed from me, apart from me) “ye can do nothing.” The natural in-being of the vine and branches in each other is known unto all, with the reason of it; and so is the way whereby the in-being of the branches in the vine is the cause and means of their fruit-bearing. It is no otherwise but by the communication and derivation of that succus, — that is, juice and nourishment, — which alone is the preservative of vegetative life, and the next cause of fruitbearing.

    In this juice and nourishment all fruit is virtually, yea, also, as to the first matter and substance of it; in and by the branch it is only formed into its proper kind and perfection. Let anything be done to intercept this communication from the vine unto any branch, and it not only immediately loseth all its fruit-bearing power and virtue, but itself also withereth and dieth away. And there is a mutual acting of the vine and branches in this matter. Unto the vine itself it is natural from its own fullness to communicate nourishment unto the branches, — it doth it from the principle of its nature; and unto the branches it is also natural to draw and derive their nourishment from the vine. “Thus is it,” saith the Lord Christ unto his disciples, “between me and you. ‘I am the vine,’ “ saith he, “ ‘and ye are the branches.’ And there is a mutual in-being between us; I am in you, and ye are in me, by virtue of our union. That now which is expected from you is, that ye bring forth fruit; that is, that ye live in holiness and obedience, unto the glory of God. Unless ye do so ye are no true, real branches in me, whatever outward profession ye may make of your so being.” But how shall this be effected? how shall they be able to bring forth fruit? This can be no otherwise done but by their abiding in Christ, and thereby continually deriving spiritual nourishment, — that is, grace and supplies of holiness, — from him; “for,” saith he, cwrifruit in the branch that was not nourishment from the vine. Nothing is duty, nothing is obedience in believers, but what is grace from Christ communicated unto them. The preparation of all fructifying grace is in Christ, as the fruit of the branches is naturally in the vine. And the Lord Christ doth spiritually and voluntarily communicate of this grace unto all believers, as the vine communicates its juice unto the branches naturally; and it is in the new nature of believers to derive it from him by faith. This being done, it is in them turned into particular duties of holiness and obedience. Therefore, it is evident that there is nothing of evangelical holiness in any one person whatever but what is, in the virtue, power, and grace of it, derived immediately from Jesus Christ, by virtue of relation unto him and union with him; and it may be inquired whether this be so with moral virtue or no. The same is taught by our apostle under the similitude of an olive-tree and its branches, Romans 11:16-24; as also where he is affirmed to be a living stone, and believers to be built on him, as lively stones, into a spiritual house, 1 Peter 2:4,5.

    Particular testimonies do so abound in this case as that I shall only name some few of them: John 1:14,16, He is “full of grace and truth. And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace.” It is of the person of Christ, or the “Word made flesh,” the Son of God incarnate, that the Holy Ghost speaketh. He was made flesh, and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. It is not the fullness of the Deity, as it dwelt in him personally, that is here intended, but that which was in him as he was made flesh, — that is, in his human nature, as inseparably united unto the divine; an allfullness that he received by the good pleasure or voluntary disposal of the Father, Colossians 1:19, and, therefore, belongeth not unto the essential fullness of the Godhead. And as to the nature of this fullness, it is said to consist in “grace and truth,” that is, the perfection of holiness, — and knowledge of the whole mind, counsel, and mystery of the will of God. Of this fullness do we “receive grace for grace,” — all the grace, in every kind, whereof we are made partakers in this world. That this fullness in Christ expresseth the inconceivable fullness of his human nature, by virtue of his indissolute personal union, with all graces in their perfection, wherein he received not the Spirit by measure, John 3:34, is, as I suppose, by all Christians acknowledged; I am sure cannot be denied without the highest impiety and blasphemy. Hence, therefore, the Holy Ghost being witness, do we derive and receive all our grace, everyone according to his measure, Ephesians 4:7. Wherefore, grace is given unto the Lord Christ in an immeasurable perfection by virtue of his personal union, Colossians 2:9; and from him is it derived unto us by the gracious inhabitation of his Spirit in us, 1 Corinthians 6:19, Ephesians 4:7, according unto the degree of participation allotted unto us. This, in the substance of it, is contained in this testimony. There was and is in Jesus Christ a fullness and perfection of all grace; in us of ourselves, or by anything that we have by nature or natural generation, by blood, or the flesh, or the will of man, John 1:13, there is none at all. Whatever we have is received and derived unto us from the fullness of Christ, which is an inexhaustible fountain thereof, by reason of his personal union.

    To the same purpose is he said to be “our life,” and “our life to be hid with him in God,” Colossians 3:3,4. Life is the principle of all power and operation. And the life here intended is that whereby we live to God, the life of grace and holiness; for the actings of it consist in the setting of our affections on heavenly things, and mortifying our members that are on the earth. This life Christ is. He is not so formally; for if he were, then it would not be our life, but his only. He is, therefore, so efficiently, as that he is the immediate cause and author of it, and that as he is now with God in glory. Hence it is said that we live, that is, this life of God, yet so as that we live not of ourselves, but “Christ liveth in us,” Galatians 2:20.

    And he doth no otherwise live in us but by the communication of vital principles and a power for vital acts; that is, grace and holiness from himself unto us. If he be our life, we have nothing that belongs thereunto, — that is, nothing of grace or holiness, — but what is derived unto us from him.

    To conclude, we have all grace and holiness from Christ, or we have it of ourselves. The old Pelagian fiction, that we have them from Christ because we have them by yielding obedience unto his doctrine, makes ourselves the only spring and author of them, and on that account [it was] very justly condemned by the church of old, not only as false, but as blasphemous.

    Whatever, therefore, is not thus derived, thus conveyed unto us, belongs not unto our sanctification or holiness, nor is of the same nature or kind with it. Whatever ability of mind or will may be supposed in us; what application soever of means may be made for the exciting and exercise of that ability; whatever effects, in virtues, duties, all offices of humanity, and honesty, or religious observances, may be produced thereby from them, and wrought by us, — if it be not all derived from Christ as the head and principle of spiritual life unto us, it is a thing of another nature than evangelical holiness. (3.) The immediate efficient cause of all gospel holiness is the Spirit of God. This we have sufficiently proved already. And although many cavils have been raised against the manner of his operation herein, yet none has been so hardy as openly to deny that this is indeed his work; for so to do is, upon the matter, expressly to renounce the gospel. Wherefore, we have in our foregoing discourses at large vindicated the manner of his operations herein, and proved that he doth not educe grace by moral applications unto the natural faculties of our minds, but that he creates grace in us by an immediate efficiency of almighty power. And what is so wrought and produced differeth essentially from any natural or moral habits of our minds, however acquired or improved. (4.) This evangelical holiness is a fruit and effect of the covenant of grace.

    The promises of the covenant unto this purpose we have before, on other occasions, insisted on. In them doth God declare that he will cleanse and purify our natures, that he will write his law in our hearts, put his fear in our inward parts, and cause us to walk in his statutes; in which things our holiness doth consist. Whoever, therefore, hath anything of it, he doth receive it in the accomplishment of these promises of the covenant: for there are not two ways whereby men may become holy, one by the sanctification of the Spirit according to the promise of the covenant, and the other by their own endeavors without it; though indeed Cassianus, with some of the semi-Pelagians, dreamed somewhat to that purpose.

    Wherefore, that which is thus a fruit and effect of the promise of the covenant hath an especial nature of its own, distinct from whatever hath not that relation unto the same covenant. No man can ever be made partaker of any the least degree of that grace or holiness which is promised in the covenant, unless it be by virtue and as a fruit of that covenant; for if they might do so, then were the covenant of God of none effect, for what it seems to promise in a peculiar manner may, on this supposition, be attained without it, which renders it an empty name. (5.) Herein consists the image of God, whereunto we are to be renewed.

    This I have proved before, and shall afterward have occasion to insist upon. Nothing less than the entire renovation of the image of God in our souls will constitute us evangelically holy. No series of obediential actings, no observance of religious duties, no attendance unto actions amongst men as morally virtuous and useful, how exact soever they may be, or how constant soever we may be unto them, will ever render us lovely or holy in the sight of God, unless they all proceed from the renovation of the image of God in us, or that habitual principle of spiritual life and power which renders us conformable unto him.

    From what hath been thus briefly discoursed, we may take a prospect of that horrible mixture of ignorance and impudence wherewith some contend that the practice of moral virtue is all the holiness which is required of us in the gospel, neither understanding what they say nor whereof they do affirm. But yet this they do with so great a confidence as to despise and scoff at anything else which is pleaded to belong thereunto. But this pretense, notwithstanding all the swelling words of vanity wherewith it is set off and vended, will easily be discovered to be weak and frivolous; for, — 1. The name or expression itself is foreign to the Scripture, not once used by the Holy Ghost to denote that obedience which God requireth of us in and according to the covenant of grace. Nor is there any sense of it agreed upon by them who so magisterially impose it on others: yea, there are many express contests about the signification of these words, and what it is that is intended by them, which those who contend about them are not ignorant of; and yet have they not endeavored to reduce the sense they intend unto any expression used concerning the same matter in the gospel.

    But all men must needs submit unto it, that at least the main part, if not the whole of religion, consists in moral virtue, though it be altogether uncertain what they intend by the one or the other! These are they who scarce think anything intelligible when declared in the words of the Scripture, which one hath openly traduced as a “ridiculous jargon.” They like not, they seem to abhor, the speaking of spiritual things in the words which the Holy Ghost teacheth: the only reason whereof is, because they understand not the things themselves; and whilst they are “foolishness” unto any, it is no wonder the terms whereby they are declared seem also so to be. But such as have received the Spirit of Christ, and do know the mind of Christ (which profane scoffers are sufficiently remote from), do best receive the truth and apprehend it, when declared not in “the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which are taught by the Holy Ghost.”

    It is granted to be the wisdom and skill of men farther to explain and declare the truths that are taught in the gospel, by sound and wholesome words of their own; which yet all of them, as to their propriety and significancy, are to be tried and measured by the Scripture itself. But we have a new way of teaching spiritual things, sprung up among some, who, being ignorant of the whole mystery of the gospel, and therefore despising it, would debase all the glorious truths of it, and the declaration made of them, into dry, barren, sapless, philosophical notions and terms, and those the most common, obvious, and vulgar that ever obtained among the heathen of old. “Virtuous living,” they tell us, “is the way to heaven;” but what this virtue is, or what is a life of virtue, they have added as little in the declaration of as any persons that ever made such a noise about them. 2. That ambiguous term moral hath, by usage, obtained a double signification, with respect unto an opposition unto other things, which either are not so or are more than so; for sometimes it is applied unto the worship of God, and so is opposed unto instituted. That religious worship which is prescribed in the decalogue or required by the law of creation is commonly called “moral,” and that in opposition unto those rites and ordinances which are of a superadded, arbitrary institution. Again, it is opposed unto things that are more than merely moral, — namely, spiritual, theological, or divine. So the graces of the Spirit, as faith, love, hope, in all their exercise, whatever they may have of morality in them, or however they may be exercised in and about moral things and duties, yet because of sundry respects wherein they exceed the sphere of morality, are called graces and duties, theological, spiritual, supernatural, evangelical, divine; in opposition unto all such habits of the mind and duties as, being required by the law of nature, and as they are so required, are merely moral. In neither sense can it with any tolerable congruity of speech be said that moral virtue is our holiness, especially the whole of it. But because the duties of holiness have, the most of them, a morality in them, as moral is opposed to instituted, some would have them have nothing also in them, as moral is opposed to supernatural and theological. But that the principle and acts of holiness are of another special nature hath been sufficiently now declared. 3. It is, as was before intimated, somewhat uncertain what the great pleaders for moral virtue do intend by it. Many seem to design no more but that honesty and integrity of life which was found among some of the heathens in their virtuous lives and actions; and, indeed, it were heartily to be wished that we might see more of it amongst some that are called Christians, for many things they did were materially good and useful unto mankind. But let it be supposed to be never so exact, and the course of it most diligently attended unto, I defy it as to its being the holiness required of us in the gospel, according unto the terms of the covenant of grace; and that because it hath none of those qualifications which we have proved essentially to belong thereunto. And I defy all the men in the world to prove that this moral virtue is the sum of our obedience to God, whilst the gospel is owned for a declaration of his will and our duty. It is true, all the duties of this moral virtue are required of us, but in the exercise of every one of them there is more required of us than belongs unto their morality, — as, namely, that they be done in faith and love to God through Jesus Christ; and many things are required of us as necessary parts of our obedience which belong not thereunto at all. 4. Some give us such a description of morality as that “it should be of the same extent with the light and law of nature, or the dictates of it as rectified and declared unto us in the Scripture;” and this, I confess, requires of us the obedience which is due towards God by the law of our creation, and according to the covenant of works materially and formally. But what is this unto evangelical holiness and obedience? Why, it is alleged that “religion before the entrance of sin and under the gospel is one and the same; and therefore there is no difference between the duties of obedience required in the one and the other.” And it is true that they are so far the same as that they have the same Author, the same object, the same end; and so also had the religion under the law, which was, therefore, so far the same with them; but that they are the same as to all the acts of our obedience and the manner of their performance is a vain imagination. Is there no alteration made in religion by the interposition of the person of Christ to be incarnate, and his mediation? no augmentation of the object of faith? no change in the abolishing of the old covenant and the establishment of the new, the covenant between God and man being that which gives the especial form and kind unto religion, the measure and denomination of it? no alteration in the principles, aids, assistances, and whole nature of our obedience unto God? The whole mystery of godliness must be renounced if we intend to give way unto such imaginations. Be it so, then, that this moral virtue and the practice of it do contain and express all that obedience, materially considered, which was required by the law of nature in the covenant of works, yet I deny it to be our holiness or evangelical obedience; and that, as for many other reasons, so principally because it hath not that respect unto Jesus Christ which our sanctification hath. 5. If it be said that by this moral virtue they intend no exclusion of Jesus Christ, but include a respect unto him, I desire only to ask whether they design by it such a habit of mind, and such acts thence proceeding, as have the properties before described, as to their causes, rise, effects, use, and relation unto Christ and the covenant, such as are expressly and plainly in the Scripture assigned unto evangelical holiness? Is this moral virtue that which God hath predestinated or chosen us unto before the foundation of the world? Is it that which he worketh in us in the pursuit of electing love?

    Is it that which gives us a new heart, with the law of God written in it? Is it a principle of spiritual life, disposing, inclining, enabling us to live to God, according to the gospel, produced in us by the effectual operation of the Holy Ghost, not educed out of the natural powers of our own souls by the mere application of external means? Is it that which is purchased and procured for us by Jesus Christ, and the increase whereof in us he continueth to intercede for? Is it the image of God in us, and doth our conformity unto the Lord Christ consist therein? If it be so, if moral virtue answer all these properties and adjuncts of holiness, then the whole contest in this matter is, whether the Holy Spirit or these men be wisest, and know best how to express the things of God rationally and significantly. But if the moral virtue they speak of be unconcerned in these things, if none of them belongs unto it, if it may and doth consist without it, it will appear at length to be no more, as to our acceptance before God, than what one of the greatest moralists in the world complained that he found it when he was dying, — “a mere empty name.” But this fulsome Pelagian figment of a holiness, or evangelical righteousness, whose principle should be natural reason, and whose rule is the law of nature as explained in the Scripture, whose use and end is acceptation with God and justification before him, — whereby those who plead for it, the most of them, seem to understand no more but outward acts of honesty, nor do practice so much, — being absolutely opposite unto and destructive of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, being the mere doctrine of the Quakers, by whom it is better and more intelligibly expressed than by some new patrons of it amongst us, will not, in the examination of it, create any great trouble unto such as look upon the Scripture to be a revelation of the mind of God in these things.

    CHAPTER 7.

    OF THE ACTS AND DUTIES OF HOLINESS. Actual inherent righteousness in duties of holiness and obedience explained — The work of the Holy Spirit with respect thereunto — Distribution of the positive duties of holiness — Internal duties of holiness — External duties and their difference — Effectual operation of the Holy Spirit necessary unto every act of holiness — Dependence on providence with respect unto things natural, and on grace with respect unto things supernatural, compared — Arguments to prove the necessity of actual grace unto every duty of holiness — Contrary designs and expressions of the Scripture and some men about duties of holiness.

    II. THE second part of the work of the Spirit of God in our sanctification respects the acts and duties of holy obedience; for what we have before treated of chiefly concerns the principle of it as habitually resident in our souls, and that both as unto its first infusion into us, as also its preservation and increase in us. But we are not endued with such a principle or power to act it at our pleasure, or as we see good, but God, moreover, “worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.”

    And all these acts and duties of holiness or gospel obedience are of two sorts, or may be referred unto two heads: — First, Such as have the will of God in positive commands for their object, which they respect in duties internal and external, wherein we do what God requireth. Secondly, Such as respect divine prohibitions, which consist in the actings of grace or holiness in an opposition unto or the mortification of sin. And what is the work of the Holy Spirit, what is the aid which he affords us, in both these sorts of duties, must be declared: — 1. The acts and duties of the first sort, respecting positive divine commands, fall under a double distinction; for they are in their own nature either, (1.) Internal only, or, (2.) External also. There may be internal acts of holiness that have no external effects; but no external acts or duties are any part of holiness which are only so and no more: for it is required thereunto that they be quickened and sanctified by internal actings of grace. Two persons may, therefore, at the same time, perform the same commanded duties, and in the same outward manner, yet may it be the duty of evangelical holiness in the one and not in the other; as it was with Cain and Abel, with the other apostles and Judas: for if faith and love be not acted in either of them, what they do is duty but equivocally, properly it is not so. (1.) By the duties of holiness that are internal only, I intend all acts of faith, love, trust, hope, fear, reverence, delight, that have God for their immediate object, but go not forth nor exert themselves in any external duties. And in these doth our spiritual life unto God principally consist; for they are as the first acts of life, which principally evidence the strength or decays of it. And from these we may take the best measure of our spiritual health and interest in holiness; for we may abound in outward duties, and yet our hearts be very much alienated from the life of God: yea, sometimes men may endeavor to make up what is wanting with them by a multitude of outward duties, and so have “a name to live” when they are “dead,” wherein the true nature of hypocrisy and superstition doth consist, Isaiah 1:11-15. But when the internal actings of faith, — fear, trust, and love, — abound and are constant in us, they evidence a vigorous and healthy condition of soul. (2.) Duties that are external, also, are of two sorts, or are distinguished with respect unto their objects and ends; for, — [1.] God himself is the object and end of some of them, as of prayer and praises, whether private or more solemn. And of this nature are all those which are commonly called “duties of the first table;” all such as belong unto the sanctification of the name of God in his worship. [2.] Some respect men of all sorts in their various capacities, and our various relations unto them, or have men for their object, but God for their end. And among these, also, I include those which principally regard ourselves, or our own persons. The whole of what we intend is summarily expressed by our apostle, Titus 2:12.

    Concerning all these acts and duties, whether internal only or external also, whether their proper object be God, ourselves, or other men, so far as they are acts of holiness and are accepted with God, they proceed from a peculiar operation of the Holy Spirit in us. And herein, to make our intention the more evident, we may distinctly observe, — (1.) That there is in the minds, wills, and affections of all believers, a meetness, fitness, readiness, and habitual disposition unto the performance of all acts of obedience towards God, all duties of piety, charity, and righteousness, that are required of them; and hereby are they internally and habitually distinguished from them that are not so. That it is so with them, and whence it comes to be so, we have before declared. This power and disposition is wrought and preserved in them by the Holy Ghost. (2.) No believer can of himself act, — that is, actually exert or exercise, — this principle or power of a spiritual life, in any one instance of any duty, internal or external, towards God or men, so as that it shall be an act of holiness, or a duty accepted with God. He cannot, I say, do so of himself, by virtue of any power habitually inherent in him. We are not in this world intrusted with any such spiritual ability from God, as without farther actual aid and assistance to do anything that is good. Therefore, — (3.) That which at present I design to prove is, That the actual aid, assistance, and internal operation of the Spirit of God is necessary, required, and granted, unto the producing of every holy act of our minds, wills, and affections, in every duty whatever; or, That notwithstanding the power or ability which believers have received in or by habitual grace, they still stand in need of actual grace, in, for, and unto every single gracious, holy act or duty towards God. And this I shall now a little farther explain, and then confirm.

    As it is in our natural lives with respect unto God’s providence, so it is in our spiritual lives with respect unto his grace. He hath in the works of nature endowed us with a vital principle, or an act of the quickening soul upon the body, which is quickened thereby. By virtue hereof we are enabled unto all vital acts, whether natural and necessary or voluntary, according to the constitution of our being, which is intellectual. “God breathed into man the breath of life; and man became a living soul,” Genesis 2:7.

    Giving him a principle of life, he was fitted for and enabled unto all the proper acts of that life; for a principle of life is an ability and disposition unto acts of life. But yet, whosoever is thus made a living soul, whosoever is endued with this principle of life, he is not able originally, without any motion or acting from God as the first cause, or independently of him, to exert or put forth any vital act. That which hath not this principle, as a dead carcass, hath no meetness unto vital actions, nor is capable either of motion or alteration, but as it receives impressions from an outward principle of force or an inward principle of corruption. But he in whom it is hath a fitness, readiness, and habitual power for all vital actions, yet so as without the concurrence of God in his energetical providence, moving and acting of him, he can do nothing; for “in God we live, and move, and have our being,” Acts 17:28. And if anyone could of himself perform an action without any concourse of divine operation, he must himself be absolutely the first and only cause of that action, — that is, the creator of a new being.

    It is so as unto our spiritual life. We are, by the grace of God through Jesus Christ, furnished with a principle of it, in the way and for the ends before described. Hereby are we enabled and disposed to live unto God, in the exercise of spiritually vital acts, or the performance of duties of holiness.

    And he who hath not this principle of spiritual life is spiritually dead, as we have at large before manifested, and can do nothing at all that is spiritually good. He may be moved unto, and, as it were, compelled by the power of convictions, to do many things that are materially so; but that which is on all considerations spiritually good and accepted with God, he can do nothing of. The inquiry is, what believers themselves, who have received this principle of spiritual life and are habitually sanctified, can do as to actual duties by virtue thereof, without a new immediate assistance and working of the Holy Spirit in them; and I say, they can no more do anything that is spiritually good, without the particular concurrence and assistance of the grace of God unto every act thereof, than a man can naturally act, or move, or do anything in an absolute independency of God, his power and providence. And this proportion between the works of God’s providence and of his grace the apostle expresseth, Ephesians 2:10, “We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.”

    God at the beginning made all things by a creating power, producing them out of nothing, and left them not merely to themselves and their own powers when so created, but he upholds, supports, sustains, and preserves them in the principles of their being and operations, acting powerfully in and by them, after their several kinds. Without his supportment of their being, by an actual incessant emanation of divine power, the whole fabric of nature would dissolve into confusion and nothing; and without his influence into and concurrence with their ability for operation by the same power, all things would be dead and deformed, and not one act of nature be exerted. So also is it in this work of the new creation of all things by Jesus Christ. “We are God’s workmanship;” he hath formed and fashioned us for himself, by the renovation of his image in us. Hereby are we fitted for good works and the fruits of righteousness, which he appointed as the way of our living unto him. This new creature, this divine nature in us, he supporteth and preserveth, so as that without his continual influential power, it would perish and come to nothing. But this is not all; he doth moreover act it, and effectually concur to every singular duty, by new supplies of actual grace. So, then, that which we are to prove is, that there is an actual operation of the Holy Ghost in us, necessary unto every act and duty of holiness whatever, without which none either will or can be produced or performed by us; which is the second part of his work in our sanctification. And there are several ways whereby this is confirmed unto us: — [1.] The Scripture declares that we ourselves cannot, in and by ourselves, — that is, by virtue of any strength or power that we have received, — do anything that is spiritually good. So our Savior tells his apostles when they were sanctified believers, and in them all that are so, “Without me ye can do nothing,” John 15:5; — cwriseorsim a me, so “separated from me,” as a branch may be from the vine. If a branch be so separated from the root and body of the vine as that it receives not continual supplies of nourishment from them, if their influence into it be by any means intercepted, it proceeds not in its growth, it brings forth no fruit, but is immediately under decay. It is so, saith our Savior, with believers in respect unto him. Unless they have continual, uninterrupted influences of grace and spiritually vital nourishment from him, they can do nothing. “Without me,” expresseth a denial of all the spiritual aid that we have from Christ. On supposition hereof “we can do nothing,” — that is, by our own power, or by virtue of any habit or principle of grace we have received; for when we have received it, what we can do thereby without farther actual assistance, we can do of ourselves. “Ye can do nothing,” that is, which appertains to fruit-bearing unto God. In things natural and civil we can do somewhat, and in things sinful too much; we need no aid or assistance for any such purpose; — but in fruit-bearing unto God we can do nothing. Now, every act of faith and love, every motion of our minds or affections towards God, is a part of our fruit-bearing; and so, unquestionably, are all external works and duties of holiness and obedience. Wherefore, our Savior himself being judge, believers, who are really sanctified and made partakers of habitual grace, yet cannot of themselves, without new actual aid and assistance of grace from him, do anything that is spiritually good or acceptable with God.

    Our apostle confirmeth the same truth, 2 Corinthians 3:4,5, “And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God.”

    It is a great and eminent grace which he declareth that he was acting, — namely, trust in God through Christ in the discharge of his ministry, and for the blessed success thereof; but he had no sooner expressed it than he seems to be jealous lest he should appear to have assumed something to himself in this work, or the trust he had for its success. This no man was ever more cautious against; and indeed it was incumbent on him so to be, because he was appointed to be the principal minister and preacher of the grace of Jesus Christ. Therefore, I say, he adds a caution against any such apprehensions, and openly renounceth any such power, ability, or sufficiency in himself, as that by virtue thereof he could act so excellent a grace or perform so great a duty: “Not that we are sufficient of ourselves.”

    And in this matter he hath not only, in places innumerable, asserted the necessity and efficacy of grace, with our impotency without it, but in his own instance he hath made such a distinction between what was of himself and what of grace, with such an open disclaimer of any interest of his own in what was spiritually good, distinct from grace, as should be sufficient with all sober persons to determine all differences in this case. See Corinthians 15:10, Galatians 2:20, and this place. I assume no such thing to myself, I ascribe no such thing unto any other, as that I or they should have in ourselves a sufficiency unto any such purpose; for our apostle knew nothing of any sufficiency that needed any other thing to make it effectual. And he doth not exclude such a sufficiency in ourselves with respect unto eminent actings of grace and greater duties, but with respect unto every good thought, or whatever may have a tendency unto any spiritual duty. We cannot conceive, we cannot engage in the beginning of, any duty by our own sufficiency; for it is the beginning of duties which the apostle expresseth by “thinking,” our thoughts and projections being naturally the first thing that belongs unto our actions. And this he doth as it were on purpose to obviate that Pelagian fiction, that the beginning of good was from ourselves, but we had the help of grace to perfect it. “But what then? if we have no such sufficiency, to what purpose should we set about the thinking or doing of anything that is good? Who will be so unwise as to attempt that which he hath no strength to accomplish? And doth not the apostle hereby deny that he himself had performed any holy duties, or acted any grace, or done anything that was good, seeing he had no sufficiency of himself so to do?” To obviate this cavil, he confines this denial of a sufficiency unto “ourselves;” we have it not of ourselves. “But,” saith he, “our sufficiency is of God,” — that is, we have it by actual supplies of grace, necessary unto every duty. And how God communicates this sufficiency, and how we receive it, he declares, Corinthians 9:8, “God is able to make all grace abound toward you; that ye, always having all sufficiency in all things, may abound to every good work.”

    God manifests the abounding of grace towards us when he works an effective sufficiency in us; which he doth so as to enable us to abound in good works or duties of holiness. These are those supplies of grace which God gives us unto all our duties, as he had promised unto him in his own case, chapter 12:9.

    And this is the first demonstration of the truth proposed unto consideration, — namely, the testimonies given in the Scripture that believers themselves cannot of themselves perform any acts or duties of holiness, anything that is spiritually good. Therefore, these things are effects of grace, and must be wrought in us by the Holy Ghost, who is the immediate author of all divine operations. [2.] All actings of grace, all good duties, are actually ascribed unto the operation of the Holy Ghost. The particular testimonies hereunto are so multiplied in the Scripture as that it is not convenient nor indeed possible to call them over distinctly; some of them, in a way of instance, may be insisted on, and reduced unto three heads: — 1st. There are many places wherein we are said to be led, guided, acted by the Spirit, to live in the Spirit, to walk after the Spirit, to do things by the Spirit, that dwelleth in us: for nothing in general can be intended in these expressions but the actings of the Holy Spirit of God upon our souls; in a compliance wherewith, as acting when we are acted by him, our obedience unto God according to the gospel doth consist: Galatians 5:16, “Walk in the Spirit.” To walk in the Spirit is to walk in obedience unto God, according to the supplies of grace which the Holy Ghost administers unto us; for so it is added, that “we shall not then fulfill the lusts of the flesh,” — that is, we shall be kept up unto holy obedience and the avoidance of sin. So are we said to be “led of the Spirit,” verse 18, being acted by him, and not by the vicious, depraved principles of our corrupted nature. Romans 8:4, “Walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” To walk after the flesh is to have the principle of indwelling sin acting itself in us unto the production and perpetration of actual sins. Wherefore, to walk after the Spirit is to have the Spirit acting in us, to the effecting of all gracious acts and duties. And this is given unto us in command, that we neglect not his motions in us, but comply with them in a way of diligence and duty: see verses 14, 15. So are we enjoined to attend unto particular duties through “the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us,” 2 Timothy 1:14; that is, through his assistance, without which we can do nothing. 2dly. As we are said to be led and acted by him, so he is declared to be the author of all gracious actings in us: Galatians 5:22,23, “The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance.”

    All these things are wrought and brought forth in us by the Spirit, for they are his fruits. And not only the habit of them, but all their actings, in all their exercise, are from him. Every act of faith is faith, and every act of love is love, and consequently no act of them is of ourselves, but every one of them is a fruit of the Spirit of God. So in another place he adds a universal affirmative, comprehending all instances of particular graces and their exercise: Ephesians 5:9, “The fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.” Unto these three heads all actings of grace, all duties of obedience, all parts of holiness, may be reduced. And it is through the supplies of the Spirit that he trusteth for a good issue of his obedience, Philippians 1:19. So is it expressly in the promise of the covenant, Ezekiel 36:27, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.”

    This is the whole that God requireth of us, and it is all wrought in us by his Spirit. So also, chapter 11:19, 20; Jeremiah 32:39,40. All the obedience and holiness that God requires of us in the covenant, all duties and actings of grace, are promised to be wrought in us by the Spirit, after we are assured that of ourselves we can do nothing. 3dly. Particular graces and their exercise are assigned unto his acting and working in us: Galatians 5:5, “We through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” The hope of the righteousness of faith is the thing hoped for thereby. All that we look for or expect in this world or hereafter is by the righteousness of faith. Our quiet waiting for this is an especial gospel grace and duty. This we do not of ourselves, but “through the Spirit:” We “worship God in the Spirit,” Philippians 3:3; love the brethren “in the Spirit,” Colossians 1:8; we “purify our souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren,” 1 Peter 1:22. See Ephesians 1:17; Acts 9:31; Romans 5:5, 8:15, 23, 26; Thessalonians 1:6; Romans 14:17, 15:13, 16. Of faith it is said expressly that it is “not of ourselves; it is the gift of God,” Ephesians 2:8. [3.] There are testimonies that are express unto the position as before laid down: Philippians 2:13, “It is God who worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” The things thus wrought are all things that appertain unto our obedience and salvation, as is evident from the connection of the words with verse 12, “Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” Hereunto two things are required: — 1st . Power for such operations, or for all the duties of holiness and obedience that are required of us. That this we are endued withal, that this is wrought in us, bestowed upon us, by the Holy Ghost, hath been before abundantly confirmed. But when this is done for us, is there aught else yet remaining to be done? Yea, 2dly . There is the actual exercise of the grace we have received. How may this be exercised? All the whole work of grace consists in the internal acts of our wills, and external operations in duties suitable thereunto. This, therefore, is incumbent on us, this we are to look unto in ourselves, it is our duty so to do, — namely, to stir up and exercise the grace we have received in and unto its proper operations. But it is so our duty as that of ourselves we cannot perform it. It is God who worketh effectually in us all those gracious acts of our wills, and all holy operations in a way of duty.

    Every act of our wills, so far as it is gracious and holy, is the act of the Spirit of God efficiently; he “worketh in us to will,” or the very act of willing. To say he doth only persuade us, or excite and stir up our wills by his grace, to put forth their own acts, is to say he doth not do what the apostle affirms him to do; for if the gracious actings of our wills be so our own as not to be his, he doth not work in us to will, but only persuadeth us so to do. But the same apostle utterly excludeth this pretense: Corinthians 15:10, “I labored abundantly; yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.” He had a necessity incumbent on him of declaring the great labor he had undergone, and the pains he had taken in “preaching of the gospel;” but yet immediately, lest anyone should apprehend that he ascribed anything to himself, any gracious, holy actings in those labors, he adds his usual epanorthosis, “Not I;” — “Let me not be mistaken; it was not I, by any power of mine, by any thing in me, but it was all wrought in me by the free grace of the Spirit of God.” “Not I, but grace,” is the apostle’s assertion. Suppose now that God by his grace doth no more but aid, assist, and excite the will in its actings, that he doth not effectually work all the gracious actings of our souls in all our duties, the proposition would hold on the other hand, “Not grace, but I,” seeing the principal relation of the effect is unto the next and immediate cause, and thence hath it its denomination. And as he worketh them “to will” in us, so also “to do,” — that is, effectually to perform those duties whereunto the gracious actings of our wills are required.

    And what hath been spoken may suffice to prove that the Holy Spirit, as the author of our sanctification, worketh also in us all gracious acts of faith, love, and obedience, wherein the first part of our actual holiness and righteousness doth consist. And the truth thus confirmed may be farther improved unto our instruction and edification. (1.) It is easily hence discernible how contrary are the designs and expressions of the Scripture and the notions of some men among us. There is not anything that is good in us, nothing that is done well by us in the way of obedience, but the Scripture expressly and frequently assigns it unto the immediate operations of the Holy Spirit in us. It doth so in general as to all gracious actings whatever; and not content therewith, it proposeth every grace and every holy duty, distinctly affirming the Holy Ghost to be the immediate author of them. And when it comes to make mention of us, it positively, indeed, prescribes our duty to us, but as plainly lets us know that we have no power in or from ourselves to perform it. But some men speak, and preach, and write, utterly to another purpose. The freedom, liberty, power and ability of our own wills; the light, guidance, and direction of our own minds or reasons; and from all, our own performance of all the duties of faith and obedience, — are the subjects of their discourses, and that in opposition unto what is ascribed in the Scriptures unto the immediate operations of the Holy Ghost. They are all for grace: “Not I, but grace; not I, but Christ; without him we can do nothing.” These are all for our wills: “Not grace, but our wills do all.” It is not more plainly affirmed in the Scripture that God created heaven and earth, that he sustains and preserves all things by his power, than that he creates grace in the hearts of believers, preserves it, acts it, and makes it effectual, working all our works for us and all our duties in us. But evasions must be found out, — strange, forced, uncouth senses must be put upon plain, frequently-repeated expressions, — to secure the honor of our wills, and to take care that all the good we do may not be assigned to the grace of God. To this purpose distinctions are coined, evasions invented, and such an explanation is given of all divine operations as renders them useless and insignificant. Yea, it is almost grown, if not criminal, yet weak and ridiculous, in the judgment of some, that any should assign those works and operations to the Spirit of God which the Scripture doth, in the very words that the Scripture useth. To lessen the corruption and depravation of our nature by sin; to extol the integrity and power of our reason; to maintain the freedom and ability of our wills in and unto things spiritually good; to resolve the conversion of men unto God into their natural good dispositions, inclinations, and the right use of their reason; to render holiness to be only a probity of life or honesty of conversation, upon rational motives and considerations, — are the things that men are now almost wearied with the repetition of. Scarce a person that hath confidence to commence for reputation in the world, but immediately he furnisheth himself with some new tinkling ornaments for these old Pelagian figments. But whoever shall take an impartial view of the design and constant doctrine of the Scripture in this matter will not be easily carried away with the plausible pretences of men exalting their own wills and abilities, in opposition to the Spirit and grace of God by Jesus Christ. (2.) From what hath been discoursed, a farther discovery is made of the nature of gospel obedience, of all the acts of our souls therein, and of the duties that belong thereunto. It is commonly granted that there is a great difference between the acts and duties that are truly gracious, and those which are called by the same name that are not so, as in any duties of faith, of prayer, of charity. But this difference is supposed generally to be in the adjuncts of those duties, in some properties of them, but not in the kind, nature, or substance of the acts of our minds in them. Nay, it is commonly said that whereas wicked men are said to believe, and do many things gladly in a way of obedience, what they so do is, for the substance of the acts they perform, the same with those of them who are truly regenerated and sanctified; they may differ in their principle and end, but as to their substance or essence they are the same. But there is no small mistake herein. All gracious actings of our minds and souls, whether internal only, in faith, love, or delight, or whether they go out unto external duties required in the gospel, being wrought in us by the immediate efficacy of the Spirit of grace, differ in their kind, in their essence and substance of the acts themselves, from whatever is not so wrought or effected in us; for whatever may be done by anyone, in any acting of common grace or performance of any duty of obedience, being educed out of the power of the natural faculties of men, excited by convictions, as directed and enforced by reasons and exhortations, or assisted by common aids, of what nature soever, they are natural as to their kind, and they have no other substance or being but what is so. But that which is wrought in us by the especial grace of the Holy Ghost, in the way mentioned, is supernatural, as being not educed out of the powers of our natural faculties, but an immediate effect of the almighty supernatural efficacy of the grace of God. And, therefore, the sole reason why God accepts and rewards duties of obedience in them that are sanctified, and regardeth not those which for the outward matter and manner of performance are the same with them (as unto Abel and his offering he had respect, but he had no respect unto Cain and his offering, Genesis 4:4,5), is not taken from the state and condition of the persons that perform them only, though that also has an influence thereinto, but from the nature of the acts and duties themselves also. He never accepts and rejects duties of the same kind absolutely with respect unto the persons that do perform them. The duties themselves are of a different kind. Those which he accepts are supernatural effects of his own Spirit in us, whereon he rewardeth and crowneth the fruits of his own grace; and as for what he rejects, whatever appearance it may have of a compliance with the outward command, it hath nothing in it that is supernaturally gracious, and so is not of the same kind with what he doth accept.

    CHAPTER 8.

    MORTIFICATION OF SIN, THE NATURE AND CAUSES OF IT. Mortification of sin, the second part of sanctification — Frequently prescribed and enjoined as a duty — What the name signifies, with the reason thereof; as also that of crucifying sin — The nature of the mortification of sin explained — Indwelling sin, in its principle, operations, and effects, the object of mortification — Contrariety between sin and grace — Mortification a part-taking with the whole interest of grace against sin — How sin is mortified, and why the subduing of it is so called — Directions for the right discharge of this duty — Nature of it unknown to many — The Holy Spirit the author and cause of mortification in us — The manner of the operation of the Spirit in the mortification of sin — Particular means of the mortification of sin — Duties necessary unto the mortification of sin, directed unto by the Holy Ghost — Mistakes and errors of persons failing in this matter — How spiritual duties are to be managed, that sin may be mortified — Influence of the virtue of the death of Christ, as applied by the Holy Spirit, into the mortification of sin. 2. THERE is yet another part or effect of our sanctification by the Holy Ghost, which consisteth in and is called mortification of sin. As what we have already insisted on concerneth the improvement and practice of the principle of grace, wherewithal believers are endued; so what we now propose concerneth the weakening, impairing, and destroying of the contrary principle of sin , in its root and fruits, in its principle and actings.

    And whereas the Spirit of God is everywhere said to sanctify us, we ourselves are commanded and said constantly to mortify our sins: for sanctification expresseth grace communicated and received in general; mortification, grace as so received, improved, and acted unto a certain end.

    And I shall be brief in the handling of it, because I have formerly published a small discourse on the same subject. And there are two things that I shall speak unto: — First, The nature of the duty itself; Secondly, The manner how it is wrought in us by the Holy Ghost, which I principally intend.

    It is known that this duty is frequently enjoined and prescribed unto us: Colossians 3:5, “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” ‘ En tw~| feu>gein , may be supplied. “‘Mortify your members which are upon the earth,’ — that is, your carnal, earthly affections; avoiding (or ‘by avoiding’) ‘fornication,’” etc.: and so a distinction is made between carnal affections and their fruits. Or, the special sins mentioned are instances of these carnal affections: “Mortify your carnal affections,” — namely, fornication and the like; wherein there is a metonymy of the effect for the cause. And they are called “our members,” — (1.) Because, as the whole principle of sin, and course of sinning which proceedeth from it, is called the “body of sin,” Romans 6:6, or the “body of the sins of the flesh,” Colossians 2:11, with respect thereunto these particular lusts are here called the members of that body, “Mortify your members;” for that he intends not the parts or members of our natural bodies, as though they were to be destroyed, as they seem to imagine who place mortification in outward afflictions and macerations of the body, he adds, ta< ejpi< th~v gh~v , “that are on the earth,” — that is, earthly, carnal, and sensual. (2.) These affections and lusts, the old man, — that is, our depraved nature, — useth naturally and readily, as the body doth its members; and, which adds efficacy unto the allusion, by them it draws the very members of the body into a compliance with it and the service of it, against which we are cautioned by our apostle: Romans 6:12, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies” (that is, our natural bodies), “that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof;” — which exhortation he pursues, verse 19, “As ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness;” which some neglecting, do take “the members of Christ,” — that is, of their own bodies, which are the members of Christ, — and make them the “members of an harlot,” 1 Corinthians 6:15. And many other commands there are to the same purpose, which will afterward occur.

    And concerning this great duty we may consider three things: — (1.) The name of it, whereby it is expressed; (2.) The nature of it, wherein it consists; (3.) The means and way whereby it is effected and wrought. (1.) For the name, it is two ways expressed, and both of them metaphorical: — [1.] By nekrou~n and qanatou~n , which we render “to mortify ourselves.”

    The first is used, Colossians 3:5, nekrw>sate , which is “mortify,” — that is, extinguish and destroy all that force and vigor of corrupted nature which inclines to earthly, carnal things, opposite unto that spiritual, heavenly life and its actings which we have in and from Christ, as was before declared. Nekro>w is eneco, morte macto, — “to kill,” “to affect with or destroy by death.” But yet this word is used by our apostle not absolutely to destroy and to kill, so as that that which is so mortified or killed should no more have any being, but that it should be rendered useless as unto what its strength and vigor would produce. So he expresseth the effects of it in the passive word, Ouj kateno>hse to< eJautou~ sw~ma h]dh nekekwme>non , Romans 4:19; — “He considered not his own body now dead,” “now mortified.” The body of Abraham was not then absolutely dead, only the natural force and vigor of it was exceedingly abated. And so he seems to mollify this expression, Hebrews 11:12, ‘ Af eJnonou , which we well render, “Of one, and him as good as dead,” tau~ta intimating a respect unto the thing treated of. So that nekrou~n , “to mortify,” signifies a continued act, in taking away the power and force of anything until it come to be nenekrwme>non , “dead,” unto some certain ends or purposes, as we shall see it is in the mortification of sin. Romans 8:13, “If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live,” — qanatou~te , another word to the same purpose. It signifies, as the other doth, “to put to death;” but it is used in the present tense, to denote that it is a work which must be always doing: “If ye do mortify,” — that is, “If ye are always and constantly employed in that work.” And what the apostle here calls taxeiv tou~ sw>matov , “the deeds of the body,” he therein expresseth the effect for the cause metonymically; for he intends thrka sumasi kai< tai~v ejpiqumi>aiv , as he expresseth the same thing, Galatians 5:24, “The flesh with the affections and lusts,” whence all the corrupt deeds wherein the body is instrumental do arise. [2.] The same duty with relation unto the death of Christ, as the meritorious, efficient, and exemplary cause, is expressed by crucifying: Romans 6:6, “Our old man is crucified with him.” Galatians 2:20, “I am crucified with Christ.” Chapter 5:24, “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Chapter 6:14, By the Lord Jesus Christ “the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

    Now, as perhaps there may be something intimated herein of the manner of mortification of sin, which is gradually carried on unto its final destruction, as a man dies on the cross, yet that which is principally intended is the relation of this work and duty to the death of Christ, whence we and our sins are said to be crucified with him, because we and they are so by virtue of his death. And herein do we “always bear about in the body” thkrsin , “the dying of the Lord Jesus,” 2 Corinthians 4:10, representing the manner of it, and expressing its efficacy. (2.) Thus is this duty expressed, whose nature, in the next place, we shall more particularly inquire into, and declare in the ensuing observations: — [1.] Mortification of sin is a duty always incumbent on us in the whole course of our obedience. This the command testifieth, which represents it as an always present duty. When it is no longer a duty to grow in grace, it is so not to mortify sin. No man under heaven can at any time say that he is exempted from this command, nor on any pretense; and he who ceaseth from this duty lets go all endeavors after holiness. And as for those who pretend unto an absolute perfection, they are of all persons living the most impudent, nor do they ever in this matter open their mouths but they give themselves the lie; for, — [2.] This duty being always incumbent on us, argues undeniably the abiding in us of a principle of sin whilst we are in the flesh, which, with its fruits, is that which is to be mortified. This the Scripture calleth the “sin that dwelleth in us,” the “evil that is present with us,” the “law in our members,” “evil concupiscence,” “lust,” the “flesh,” and the like. And thereunto are the properties and actings of folly, deceit, tempting, seducing, rebelling, warring, captivating, ascribed. This is not a place to dispute the truth of this assertion, which cannot, with any reputation of modesty, be denied by any who own the Scripture or pretend to an acquaintance with themselves. But yet, through the craft of Satan, with the pride and darkness of the minds of men, it is so fallen out that the want of a true understanding hereof is the occasion of most of those pernicious errors wherewith the church of God is at present pestered, and which practically keep men off from being seriously troubled for their sins, or seeking out for relief by Jesus Christ. Thus, one hath not feared of late openly to profess that he knows of no deceit or evil in his own heart, though a wiser than he hath informed us that “he that trusteth in his own heart is a fool,” Proverbs 28:26. [3.] Indwelling sin, which is the object of this duty of mortification, falls under a threefold consideration: — 1st. Of its root and principle; 2dly. Of its disposition and operations; 3dly. Of its effects.

    These in the Scripture are frequently distinguished, though mostly under metaphorical expressions. So are they mentioned together distinctly, Romans 6:6, “Our old man is crucified with Christ, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.” 1st. The root or principle of sin, which by nature possesseth all the faculties of the soul, and as a depraved habit inclines unto all that is evil, is the “old man ,” so called in opposition unto the “new man ,” which “after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” 2dly. There is the inclination, actual disposition, and operations of this principle or habit, which is called the body of sin, with the members of it; for under these expressions sin is proposed as in procinctu, in a readiness to act itself, and inclining unto all that is evil. And this also is expressed by “The flesh with the affections and lusts,” Galatians 5:24; “Deceitful lusts,” Ephesians 4:22, “The old man is corrupt, according to the deceitful lusts;” “The wills of the flesh and of the mind,” chapter 2:3. 3dly. There are the effects, fruits, and products of these things, which are actual sins; whereby, as the apostle speaks, we serve sin, as bringing forth the fruits of it: “That henceforth we should not serve sin,Romans 6:6.

    And these fruits are of two sorts: — (1st.) Internal, in the figments and imaginations of the heart; which is the first way whereby the lusts of the old man do act themselves. And, therefore, of those that are under the power or dominion of sin, it is said that “every figment or imagination of their hearts is evil continually,” Genesis 6:5; for they have no other principle whereby they are acted but that of sin, and therefore all the figments of their hearts must be necessarily evil. And with respect hereunto our Savior affirms that all actual sins “proceed out of the heart,” Matthew 15:19, because there is their root, and there are they first formed and framed. (2dly.) External, in actual sins, such as those enumerated by our apostle, Colossians 3:5; Galatians 5:19-21. All these things together make up the complete object of this duty of mortification. The old man, the body of death, with its members, and the works of the flesh, or the habit, operations, and effects of sin, are all of them intended and to be respected herein. [4.] This principle, and its operations and effects, are opposed and directly contrary unto the principle, operations, and fruits of holiness, as wrought in us by the Spirit of God, which we have before described. 1st. They are opposed in their principle; for “the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other,” Galatians 5:17. These are those two adverse principles which maintain such a conflict in the souls of believers whilst they are in this world, and which is so graphically described by our apostle, Romans 7. So the old and new man are opposed and contrary. 2dly. In their actings. The lusting of the flesh and the lusting or desires of the Spirit, walking after the flesh and walking after the Spirit, living after the flesh and living in the Spirit, are opposed also. This is the opposition that is between the body of sin with its members and the life of grace: “Who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” Romans 8:1,4,5. “We are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live,” verses 12, 13. By this “walking after the flesh” I understand not, at least not principally, the committing of actual sins, but a compliance with the principle or habit of sin prevailing in depraved, unsanctified nature, allowing it a predominancy in the heart and affections.

    It is when men are disposed to act according to the inclinations, lustings, motions, wills, and desires of it; or it is to bend that way habitually, in our course and conversation, which the flesh inclines and leads unto. This principle doth not, indeed, equally bring forth actual sins in all, but hath various degrees of its efficacy, as it is advantaged by temptations, controlled by light, or hampered by convictions. Hence all that are under the power of sin are not equally vicious and sinful; but after the flesh goes the bent of the soul and the generality of its actings. To “walk after the Spirit” consists in our being given up to his rule and conduct, or walking according to the dispositions and inclinations of the Spirit, that which is born of the Spirit, — namely, a principle of grace implanted in us by the Holy Ghost; which hath been at large insisted on before. And, 3dly. The external fruits and effects of these two principles are contrary also, as our apostle expressly and at large declares, Galatians 5:19-24; for whereas, in the enumeration of the “works of the flesh,” he reckons up actual sins, as adultery, fornication, and the like, in the account he gives of the “fruits of the Spirit,” he insists on habitual graces, as love, joy, peace.

    He expresseth them both metaphorically. In the former he hath respect unto the vicious habits of those actual sins, and in the latter unto the actual effects and duties of those habitual graces. [5.] There being this universal contrariety, opposition, contending, and warfare, between grace and sin, the Spirit and the flesh, in their inward principles, powers, operations, and outward effects, the work and duty of mortification consists in a constant taking part with grace, in its principle, actings, and fruits, against the principle, actings, and fruits of sin; for the residence of these contrary principles being in, and their actings being by, the same faculties of the soul, as the one is increased, strengthened, and improved, the other must of necessity be weakened and decay. Wherefore, the mortification of sin must consist in these three things: — 1st . The cherishing and improving of the principle of grace and holiness which is implanted in us by the Holy Ghost, by all the ways and means which God hath appointed thereunto; which we have spoken unto before.

    This is that which alone can undermine and ruin the power of sin, without which all attempts to weaken it are vain and fruitless. Let men take never so much pains to mortify, crucify, or subdue their sins, unless they endeavor in the first place to weaken and impair its strength by the increase of grace and growing therein, they will labor in the fire, where their work will be consumed. 2dly. In frequent actings of the principle of grace in all duties, internal and external; for where the inclinations, motions, and actings of the Spirit, in all acts, duties, and fruits of holy obedience, are vigorous, and kept in constant exercise, the contrary motions and actings of the flesh are defeated. 3dly. In a due application of the principle, power, and actings of grace, by way of opposition unto the principle, power, and actings of sin. As the whole of grace is opposed unto the whole of sin, so there is no particular lust whereby sin can act its power, but there is a particular grace ready to make effectual opposition unto it, whereby it is mortified. And in this application of grace, in its actings in opposition unto all the actings of sin, consists the mystery of this great duty of mortification. And where men, being ignorant hereof, have yet fallen under a conviction of the power of sin, and been perplexed therewith, they have found out foolish ways innumerable for its mortification, wickedly opposing external, natural, bodily force and exercise, unto an internal, moral, depraved principle, which is no way concerned therein. But hereof we must treat more afterward under the third head, concerning the manner how this work is to be carried on or this duty performed. [6.] This duty of weakening sin by the growth and improvement of grace, and the opposition which is made unto sin in all its actings thereby, is called mortification, killing, or putting to death, on sundry accounts: — First and principally, from that life which, because of its power, efficacy, and operation, is ascribed unto indwelling sin. The state of the soul by reason of it is a state of death; but whereas power and operations are the proper adjuncts or effects of life, for their sakes life is ascribed unto sin, on whose account sinners are dead. Wherefore this corrupt principle of sin in our depraved nature, having a constant, powerful inclination and working actually towards all evil, it is said metaphorically to live, or to have a life of its own. Therefore is the opposition that is made unto it for its ruin and destruction called mortification or killing, being its deprivation of that strength and efficacy whereby and wherein it is said to live.

    Secondly, It may be so called because of the violence of that contest which the soul is put unto in this duty. All other duties that we are called unto in the course of our obedience may be performed in a more easy, gentle, and plain manner. Though it is our work and duty to conflict with all sorts of temptations, yea, to wrestle with “principalities and powers, and spiritual wickednesses in high places,” yet in this which we have with ourselves, which is wholly within us and from us, there is more of warring, fighting, captivating, wounding, crying out for help and assistance, a deep sense of such a violence as is used in taking away the life of a mortal enemy, than in anything else we are called unto. And, thirdly, the end aimed at in this duty is destruction, as it is of all killing. Sin, as was said, hath a life, and that such a life as whereby it not only lives, but rules and reigns in all that are not born of God. By the entrance of grace into the soul it loseth its dominion, but not its being, — its rule, but not its life. The utter ruin, destruction, and gradual annihilation of all the remainders of this cursed life of sin is our design and aim in this work and duty; which is, therefore, called mortification. The design of this duty, wherever it is in sincerity, is to leave sin neither being, nor life, nor operation.

    And some directions, as our manner is, may be taken from what we have discoursed concerning the nature of this duty, directive of our own practices. And, — First, It is evident, from what hath been discoursed, that it is a work which hath a gradual progress, in the proceed whereof we must continually be exercised; and this respects, in the first place, the principle of sin itself.

    Everyday, and in every duty, an especial eye is to be had unto the abolition and destruction of this principle. It will no otherwise die but by being gradually and constantly weakened; spare it, and it heals its wounds, and recovers strength. Hence many who have attained to a great degree in the mortification of sin do by their negligence suffer it, in some instance or other, so to take head again that they never recover their former state whilst they live.

    And this is the reason why we have so many withering professors among us, decayed in their graces, fruitless in their lives, and every way conformed to the world. There are some, indeed, who, being under the power of that blindness and darkness which is a principal part of the depravation of our nature, do neither see nor discern the inward secret actings and motions of sin, its deceit and restlessness, its mixing itself one way or other in all our duties, with the defilement and guilt wherewith these things are accompanied; who judge that God scarce takes notice of anything but outward actions, and it may be not much of them neither, so as to be displeased with them, unless they are very foul indeed, which yet he is easily entreated to pass by and excuse; who judge this duty superfluous, despising both the confession and mortification of sin, in this root and principle of it. But those who have received most grace and power from above against it are of all others the most sensible of its power and guilt, and of the necessity of applying themselves continually unto its destruction.

    Secondly, With respect unto its inclinations and operations, wherein it variously exerts its power, in all particular instances, we are continually to watch against it and to subdue it. And this concerns us in all that we are and do, — in our duties, in our calling, in our conversation with others, in our retirements, in the frames of our spirits, in our straits, in our mercies, in the use of our enjoyments, in our temptations. If we are negligent unto any occasion, we shall suffer by it. This is our enemy, and this is the war we are engaged in. Every mistake, every neglect, is perilous. And, — Thirdly, The end of this duty, with respect unto us, expressed by the apostle, is, that henceforth we should not serve sin, Romans 6:6; which refers unto the perpetration of actual sins, the bringing forth of the actual fruits of the flesh, internal or external also. In whomsoever the old man is not crucified with Christ, let him think what he will of himself, he is a servant of sin. If he have not received virtue from the death of Christ, if he be not wrought unto a conformity to him therein, whatever else he may do or attain, however he may in anything, in many things, change his course and reform his life, he serves sin, and not God. Our great design ought to be, that we should no longer serve sin; which the apostle in the ensuing verses gives us many reasons for. It is, indeed, the worst service that a rational creature is capable of, and will have the most doleful end. What, therefore, is the only way and means whereby we may attain this end, — namely, that although sin will abide in us, yet that we may not serve it, which will secure us from its danger? This is that mortification of it which we insist upon, and no other. If we expect to be freed from the service of sin by its own giving over to press its dominion upon us, or by any composition with it, or any other way but by being always killing or destroying of it, we do but deceive our own souls.

    And, indeed, it is to be feared that the nature of this duty is not sufficiently understood or not sufficiently considered. Men look upon it as an easy task, and as that which will be carried on with a little diligence and ordinary attendance. But do we think it is for nothing that the Holy Ghost expresseth the duty of opposing sin, and weakening its power by mortification, killing, or putting to death? Is there not somewhat peculiar herein, beyond any other act or duty of our lives? Certainly there is intimated a great contest of sin for the preservation of its life. Everything will do its utmost to preserve its life and being. So will sin do also; and if it be not constantly pursued with diligence and holy violence, it will escape our assaults. Let no man think to kill sin with few, easy, or gentle strokes.

    He who hath once smitten a serpent, if he follow not on his blow until he be slain, may repent that ever he began the quarrel. And so will he who undertakes to deal with sin, and pursues it not constantly to death. Sin will after awhile revive, and the man must die. It is a great and fatal mistake if we suppose this work will admit of any remissness or intermission. Again, the principle to be slain is in ourselves, and so possessed of our faculties as that it is called ourselves. It cannot be killed without a sense of pain and trouble. Hence it is compared to the cutting off of right hands, and the plucking out of right eyes. Lusts that pretend to be useful to the state and condition of men, that are pleasant and satisfactory to the flesh, will not be mortified without such a violence as the whole soul shall be deeply sensible of. And sundry other things might be insisted on to manifest how men deceive themselves, if they suppose this duty of mortification is that which they may carry on in a negligent, careless course and manner. Is there no danger in this warfare? no watchfulness, no diligence required of us? Is it so easy a thing to kill an enemy who hath so many advantages of force and fraud? Wherefore, if we take care of our souls, we are to attend unto this duty with that care, diligence, watchfulness, and earnest contention of spirit, which the nature of it doth require.

    And, moreover, there is no less fatal mistake where we make the object of this duty to be only some particular lusts, or the fruits of them in actual sins, as was before observed. This is the way with many. They will make head against some sins, which on one account or other they find themselves most concerned in; but if they will observe their course, they shall find with how little success they do it. For the most part, sin gets ground upon them, and they continually groan under the power of its victories; and the reason is, because they mistake their business. Contests against particular sins are only to comply with light and convictions.

    Mortification, with a design for holiness, respects the body of sin, the root and all its branches. The first will miscarry, and the latter will be successful. And herein consists the difference between that mortification which men are put upon by convictions from the law, which always proves fruitless, and that wherein we are acted by the spirit of the gospel.

    The first respects only particular sins, as the guilt of them reflects upon conscience; the latter, the whole interest of sin, as opposed to the renovation of the image of God in us. (3.) That which remains farther to be demonstrated is, that the Holy Spirit is the author of this work in us, so that although it is our duty, it is his grace and strength whereby it is performed; as also the manner how it is wrought by him, which is principally intended: — [1.] For the first, we have the truth of it asserted, Romans 8:13, “If ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the flesh.” It is we that are to mortify the deeds of the flesh. It is our duty, but of ourselves we cannot do it; it must be done in or by the Spirit. Whether we take “the Spirit” here for the person of the Holy Ghost, as the context seems to require, or take it for the gracious principle of spiritual life in the renovation of our nature, — not the Spirit himself, but that which is “born of the Spirit,” — it is all one as to our purpose; the work is taken from our own natural power or ability, and resolved into the grace of the Spirit.

    And, that we go no farther for the proof of our assertion, it may suffice to observe, that the confirmation of it is the principal design of the apostle, from the second verse of that chapter unto the end of the thirteenth. That the power and reign of sin, its interest and prevalency in the minds of believers, are weakened, impaired, and finally destroyed (so as that all the pernicious consequences of it shall be avoided) by the Holy Ghost, and that these things could no otherwise be effected, he both affirms and proves at large. In the foregoing chapter, from the seventh verse unto the end, he declares the nature, properties, and efficacy of indwelling sin, as the remainders of it do still abide in believers. And whereas a twofold conclusion might be made from the description he gives of the power and actings of this sin, or a double question arise, unto the great disconsolation of believers, he doth in this chapter remove them both, manifesting that there was no cause for such conclusions or exceptions from anything by him delivered. The first of these is, “That if such, if this be the power and prevalency of indwelling sin, if it so obstruct us in our doing that which is good, and impetuously incline us unto evil, what will become of us in the end, how shall we answer for all the sin and guilt which we have contracted thereby? We must, we shall, therefore, perish under the guilt of it.” And the second conclusion which is apt to arise from the same consideration is, “That seeing the power and prevalency of sin is so great, and that we in ourselves are no way able to make resistance unto it, much less to overcome it, it cannot be but that at length it will absolutely prevail against us, and bring us under its dominion, unto our everlasting ruin.”

    Both these conclusions the apostle obviates in this chapter, or removes them if laid as objections against what he had delivered. And this he doth, — 1st. By a tacit concession that they will both of them be found true towards all who live and die under the law, without an interest in Jesus Christ; for, affirming that “there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” he grants that those who are not so cannot avoid it. Such is the guilt of this sin, and such are the fruits of it, in all in whomsoever it abides, that it makes them obnoxious unto condemnation. But, — 2dly. There is a deliverance from this condemnation and from all liableness thereunto, by free justification in the blood of Christ, Romans 8:1. For those who have an interest in him, and are made partakers thereof, although sin may grieve them, trouble and perplex them, and, by its deceit and violence, cause them to contract much guilt in their surprisals, yet they need not despond or be utterly cast down; there is a stable ground of consolation provided for them, in that “there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” 3dly. That none may abuse this consolation of the gospel to countenance themselves unto a continuance in the service of sin, he gives a limitation of the subjects unto whom it doth belong, — namely, all them, and only them, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, verse 1. As for those who give up themselves unto the conduct of this principle of indwelling sin, who comply with its motions and inclinations, being acted wholly by its power, let them neither flatter nor deceive themselves; there is nothing in Christ nor the gospel to free them from condemnation. It is they only who give up themselves to the conduct of the Spirit of sanctification and holiness that have an interest in this privilege. 4thly. As to the other conclusion, taken from the consideration of the power and prevalency of this principle of sin, he prevents or removes it by a full discovery how and by what means that power of it shall be so broken, its strength abated, its prevalency disappointed, and itself destroyed, as that we need not fear the consequents of it before mentioned, but rather may secure ourselves that we shall be the death thereof, and not that the death of our souls. Now this is, saith he, “by the law” or power “of the Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus,” verse 2. And thereon he proceeds to declare, that it is by the effectual working of this Spirit in us alone that we are enabled to overcome this spiritual adversary.

    This being sufficiently evident, it remaineth only that we declare, — [2.] The way and manner how he produceth this effect of his grace. 1st. The foundation of all mortification of sin is from the inhabitation of the Spirit in us. He dwells in the persons of believers as in his temple, and so he prepares it for himself. Those defilements or pollutions which render the souls of men unmeet habitations for the Spirit of God do all of them consist in sin inherent-and its effects. These, therefore, he will remove and subdue, that he may dwell in us suitably unto his holiness: verse 11, “If the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.” Our “mortal bodies” are our bodies as obnoxious unto death by reason of sin, as verse 10; and the “quickening” of these mortal bodies is their being freed from the principle of sin, or death and its power, by a contrary principle of life and righteousness. It is the freeing of us from being “in the flesh,” that we may be “in the Spirit,” verse 9. And by what means is this effected? It is by “the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead,” verse 11, — that is, of the Father; which also is called the “Spirit of God,” and the “Spirit of Christ,” verse 9, for he is equally the Spirit of the Father and the Son. And he is described by this periphrasis, both because there is a similitude between that work, as to its greatness and power, which God wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead, and what he worketh in believers in their sanctification, Ephesians 1:19,20, and because this work is wrought in us by virtue of the resurrection of Christ. But under what especial consideration doth he effect this work of mortifying sin in us? It is as he dwelleth in us. God doth it “by his Spirit that dwelleth in us,” Romans 8:11. As it is a work of grace, it is said to be wrought by the Spirit; and as it is our duty, we are said to work it “through the Spirit,” verse 13. And let men pretend what they please, if they have not the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them, they have not mortified any sin, but do yet walk after the flesh, and, continuing so to do, shall die.

    Moreover, as this is the only spring of mortification in us as it is a grace, so the consideration of it is the principal motive unto it as it is a duty. So our apostle pressing unto it doth it by this argument: “Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God?” 1 Corinthians 6:19. To which we may add that weighty caution which he gives us to the same purpose: chapter 3:16, 17, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you? If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.”

    Whereas, therefore, in every duty two things are principally considered, — first, The life and spring of it, as it is wrought in us by grace; secondly, The principal reason for it and motive unto it, as it is to be performed in ourselves by the way of duty; both these, as to this matter of mortifications, do center in this inhabitation of the Spirit. For, — (1st.) It is he who mortifies and subdues our corruptions, who quickens us unto life, holiness, and obedience, as he “dwelleth in us,” that he may make and prepare a habitation meet for himself. And, (2dly.) The principal reason and motive which we have to attend unto it with all care and diligence as a duty is, that we may thereby preserve his dwelling-place so as becometh his grace and holiness. And, indeed, whereas (as our Savior tells us) they are things which arise from and come out of the heart that defile us, there is no greater nor more forcible motive to contend against all the defiling actings of sin, which is our mortification, than this, that by the neglect hereof the temple of the Spirit will be defiled, which we are commanded to watch against, under the severe commination of being destroyed for our neglect therein.

    If it be said, that “whereas we do acknowledge that there are still remainders of this sin in us, and they are accompanied with their defilements, how can it be supposed that the Holy Ghost will dwell in us, or in anyone that is not perfectly holy? ” I answer, — (1st.) That the great matter which the Spirit of God considereth in his opposition unto sin, and that of sin to his work, is dominion and rule.

    This the apostle makes evident, Romans 6:12-14. Who or what shall have the principal conduct of the mind and soul (chapter 8:7-9) is the matter in question. Where sin hath the rule, there the Holy Ghost will never dwell. He enters into no soul as his habitation, but at the same instant he dethrones sin, spoils it of its dominion, and takes the rule of the soul into the hand of his own grace. Where he hath effected this work, and brought his adversary into subjection, there he will dwell, though sometimes his habitation be troubled by his subdued enemy. (2dly.) The souls and minds of them who are really sanctified have continually such a sprinkling with the blood of Christ, and are so continually purified by virtue from his sacrifice and oblation, as that they are never unmeet habitations for the Holy Spirit of God. 2dly. The manner of the actual operation of the Spirit of God in effecting this work, or how he mortifies sin, or enables us to mortify it, is to be considered; and an acquaintance herewith dependeth on the knowledge of the sin that is to be mortified, which we have before described. It is the vicious, corrupt habit and inclination unto sin, which is in us by nature, that is the principal object of this duty; or, “the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.” When this is weakened in us as to its power and efficacy, when its strength is abated and its prevalency destroyed, then is this duty in its proper discharge, and mortification carried on in the soul.

    Now, this the Holy Ghost doth, — (1st.) By implanting in our minds and all their faculties a contrary habit and principle, with contrary inclinations, dispositions, and actings, — namely, a principle of spiritual life and holiness, bringing forth the fruits thereof. By means hereof is this work effected; for sin will no otherwise die but by being killed and slain. And whereas this is gradually to be done, it must be by warring and conflict. There must be something in us that is contrary unto it, which, opposing it, conflicting with it, doth insensibly and by degrees (for it dies not at once) work out its ruin and destruction.

    As in a chronical distemper, the disease continually combats and conflicts with the powers of nature, until, having insensibly improved them, it prevails unto its dissolution, so is it in this matter. These adverse principles, with their contrariety, opposition; and conflict, the apostle expressly asserts and describes, as also their contrary fruits and actings, with the issue of the whole, Galatians 5:16-25. The contrary principles are the flesh and Spirit; and their contrary actings are in lusting and warring one against the other: Verse 16, “Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.” Not to fulfill the lusts of the flesh is to mortify it; for it neither will nor can be kept alive if its lusts be not fulfilled. And he gives a fuller account hereof, verse 17, “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other.” If by the “Spirit,” the Spirit of God himself be intended, yet he “lusteth” not in us but by virtue of that spirit which is born of him; that is, the new nature, or holy principle of obedience which he worketh in us.

    And the way of their mutual opposition unto one another the apostle describes at large in the following verses, by instancing in the contrary effects of the one and the other. But the issue of the whole is, verse 24, “They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” They have “crucified” it; that is, fastened it unto that cross where at length it may expire. And this is the way of it, — namely, the actings of the Spirit against it, and the fruits produced thereby. Hence he shuts up his discourse with that exhortation, “If we live in the Spirit, let us walk in the Spirit;” that is, “If we are endowed with this spiritual principle of life, which is to live in the Spirit, then let us act, work, and improve that spiritual principle unto the ruin and mortification of sin.”

    This, therefore, is the first way whereby the Spirit of God mortifieth sin in us; and in a compliance with it, under his conduct, do we regularly carry on this work and duty, — that is, we mortify sin by cherishing the principle of holiness and sanctification in our souls, laboring to increase and strengthen it by growing in grace, and by a constancy and frequency in acting of it in all duties, on all occasions, abounding in the fruits of it.

    Growing, thriving, and improving in universal holiness, is the great way of the mortification of sin. The more vigorous the principle of holiness is in us, the more weak, infirm, and dying will be that of sin. The more frequent and lively are the actings of grace, the feebler and seldomer will be the actings of sin. The more we abound in the “fruits of the Spirit,” the less shall we be concerned in the “works of the flesh.” And we do but deceive ourselves if we think sin will be mortified on any other terms. Men when they are galled in their consciences and disquieted in their minds with any sin or temptation thereunto, wherein their lusts or corruptions are either influenced by Satan, or entangled by objects, occasions, and opportunities, do set themselves ofttimes in good earnest to oppose and subdue it, by all the ways and means they can think upon. But all they do is in vain; and so they find it at last, unto their cost and sorrow. The reason is, because they neglect this course, without which never any one sin was truly mortified in the world, nor ever will so be. The course I intend is that of laboring universally to improve a principle of holiness, not in this or that way, but in all instances of holy obedience. This is that which will ruin sin, and without it nothing else will contribute anything thereunto. Bring a man unto the law, urge him with the purity of its doctrines, the authority of its commands, the severity of its threatenings, the dreadful consequences of its transgression; suppose him convinced hereby of the evil and danger of sin, of the necessity of its mortification and destruction, will he be able hereon to discharge this duty, so as that sin may die and his soul may live?

    The apostle assures us of the contrary, Romans 7:7-9. The whole effect of the application of the law in its power unto indwelling sin is but to irritate, provoke, and increase its guilt. And what other probable way besides this unto this end can anyone fix upon? (2dly.) The Holy Ghost carrieth on this work in us as a grace, and enableth us unto it as our duty, by those actual supplies and assistances of grace which he continually communicates unto us; for the same divine operations, the same supplies of grace, which are necessary unto the positive acts and duties of holiness, are necessary also unto this end, that sin in the actual motions and lustings of it may be mortified. So the apostle issues his long account of the conflict between sin and the soul of a believer, and his complaint thereon, with that good word, “I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” Romans 7:25, — namely, who supplies me with gracious assistance against the power of sin. Temptation is successful only by sin, James 1:14. And it was with respect unto an especial temptation that the Lord Christ gives that answer unto the apostle, “My grace is sufficient for thee,” 2 Corinthians 12:9. It is the actual supply of the Spirit of Christ that doth enable us to withstand our temptations and subdue our corruptions. This is the ejpicorhgi>a tou~ Pneu>matov , Philippians 1:19, — an “additional supply,” as occasion requireth, beyond our constant daily provision; or ca>riv eijv eu]cairon boh>qeian , Hebrews 4:16, — grace given in to help seasonably, upon our cry made for it. Of the nature of these supplies we have discoursed before. I shall now only observe, that in the life of faith and dependence on Christ, the expectation and derivation of these supplies of grace and spiritual strength is one principal part of our duty. These things are not empty notions, as some imagine. If Christ be a head of influence unto us as well as of rule, as the head natural is to the body; if he be our life, if our life be in him, and we have nothing but what we do receive from him; if he give unto us supplies of his Spirit and increases of grace; and if it be our duty by faith to look for all these things from him, and that be the means of receiving them, — which things are all expressly and frequently affirmed in the Scripture; — then is this expectation and derivation of spiritual strength continually from him the way we are to take for the actual mortification of sin. And, therefore, if we would be found in a successful discharge of this duty, it is required of us, — [1st .] That we endeavor diligently, in the whole course of our lives, after these continual supplies of grace, — that is, that we wait for them in all those ways and means whereby they are communicated; for although the Lord Christ giveth them out freely and bountifully, yet our diligence in duty will give the measure of receiving them. If we are negligent in prayer, meditation, reading, hearing of the word, and other ordinances of divine worship, we have no ground to expect any great supplies to this end. And, [2dly. ] That we live and abound in the actual exercise of all those graces which are most directly opposite unto those peculiar lusts or corruptions that we are most exercised withal or obnoxious unto; for sin and grace do try their interest and prevalency in particular instances. If, therefore, any are more than ordinarily subject unto the power of any corruption, — as passion, inordinate affections, love of the world, distrust of God, — unless they be constant in the exercise of those graces which are diametrically opposed unto them, they will continually suffer under the power of sin. (3dly.) It is the Holy Spirit which directs us unto, and helps us in, the performance of those duties, which are appointed of God unto this end, that they may be means of the mortification of sin. Unto the right use of those duties (for such there are), two things are required: — [1st .] That we know them aright in their nature and use, as also that they are appointed of God unto this end; and then, [2dly. ] That we perform them in a due manner. And both these we must have from the Spirit of God. He is given to believers “to lead them into all truth;” he teacheth and instructs them by the word, not only what duties are incumbent on them, but also how to perform them, and with respect unto what ends: — [1st .] It is required that we know them aright, in their nature, use, and ends. For want hereof, or through the neglect of looking after it, all sorts of men have wandered after foolish imaginations about this work, either as to the nature of the work itself, or as to the means whereby it may be effected; for it being a grace and duty of the gospel, thence only is it truly to be learned, and that by the teachings of the Spirit of God. And it may not be amiss to give some instances of the darkness of men’s minds and their mistakes herein.

    First, A general apprehension that somewhat of this nature is necessary, arising from the observation of the disorder of our passions, and the exorbitancy of the lives of most in the world, is suited even to the light of nature, and was from thence variously improved by the philosophers of old. To this purpose did they give many instructions about denying and subduing the disorderly affections of the mind, conquering passions, moderating desires, and the like. But whilst their discoveries of sin rose no higher than the actual disorder they found in the affections and passions of the mind, — whilst they knew nothing of the depravation of the mind itself, and had nothing to oppose unto what they did discover but moral considerations, and those most of them notoriously influenced by vainglory and applause, — they never attained unto anything of the same kind with the due mortification of sin.

    Secondly, We may look into the Papacy, and take a view of the great appearance of this duty which is therein, and we shall find it all disappointed; because they are not led unto nor taught the duties whereby it may be brought about by the Spirit of God. They have, by the light of the Scripture, a far clearer discovery of the nature and power of sin than had the philosophers of old. The commandment, also, being variously brought and applied unto their consciences, they may be, and doubtless are and have been, many of them, made deeply sensible of the actings and tendency of indwelling sin. Hereon ensues a terror of death and eternal judgment. Things being so stated, persons who were not profligate nor had their consciences seared could not refrain from contriving ways and means how sin might be mortified and destroyed. But whereas they had lost a true apprehension of the only way whereby this might be effected, they betook themselves unto innumerable false ones of their own. This was the spring of all the austerities, disciplines, fastings, self-macerations, and the like, which are exercised or in use among them: for although they are now in practice turned mostly to the benefit of the priests, and an indulgence unto sin in the penitents, yet they were invented and set on foot at first with a design to use them as engines for the mortification of sin; and they have a great appearance in the flesh unto that end and purpose. But yet, when all was done, they found by experience that they were insufficient hereunto: sin was not destroyed, nor conscience pacified by them. This made them betake themselves to purgatory. Here they have hopes all will be set right when they are gone out of this world; from whence none could come back to complain of their disappointments. These things are not spoken to condemn even external severities and austerities, in fastings, watchings, and abstinences, in their proper place. Our nature is apt to run into extremes. Because we see the vanity of the Papists in placing mortification of sin in an outward shadow and appearance of it, in that bodily exercise which profiteth not, we are apt to think that all things of that nature are utterly needless, and cannot be subordinate unto spiritual ends. But the truth is, I shall much suspect their internal mortification (pretend what they will) who always pamper the flesh, indulge to their sensual appetite, conform to the world, and lead their lives in idleness and pleasures; yea, it is high time that professors, by joint consent, should retrench that course of life, in fullness of diet, bravery of apparel, expense of time in vain conversation, which many are fallen into. But these outward austerities of themselves, I say, will never effect the end aimed at; for as to the most of them, they being such as God never appointed unto any such end or purpose, but being the fruit of men’s own contrivances and inventions, let them be insisted on and pursued unto the most imaginable extremities, being not blessed of God thereunto, they will not contribute the least towards the mortification of sin. Neither is there either virtue or efficacy in the residue of them, but as they are subordinated unto other spiritual duties. So Hierom gives us an honest instance in himself, telling us that whilst he lived in his horrid wilderness in Judea, and lodged in his cave, his mind would be in the sports and revels at Rome!

    Thirdly, The like may be said of the Quakers amongst ourselves. That which first recommended them was an appearance of mortification; which it may be also some of them really intended, though it is evident they never understood the nature of it: for in the height of their outward appearances, as they came short of the sorry weeds, begging habits, macerated countenances, and severe looks, of many monks in the Roman church, and dervises among the Mohammedans; so they were so far from restraining or mortifying their real inclinations, as that they seemed to excite and provoke themselves to exceed all others in clamors, railings, evil- speakings, reproaches, calumnies, and malicious treating of those who dissented from them, without the least discovery of a heart filled with kindness and benignity unto mankind, or love unto any but themselves; in which frame and state of things sin is as secure from mortification as in the practice of open lusts and debaucheries. But supposing that they made a real industrious attempt for the mortification of sin, what success have they had, what have they attained unto? Some of them have very wisely slipped over the whole work and duty of it into a pleasing dream of perfection; and generally, finding the fruitlessness of their attempt, and that indeed sin will not be mortified by the power of their light within, nor by their resolutions, nor by any of their austere outward appearances, nor peculiar habits or looks, which in this matter are openly pharisaical, they begin to give over their design: for who, among all that pretend to any reverence of God, do more openly indulge themselves unto covetousness, love of the world, emulation, strife, contentions among themselves, severe revenges against others, than they do, — not to mention the filth and uncleanness they begin mutually to charge one another withal? And so will all self-devised ways of mortification end. It is the Spirit of God alone who leads us into the exercise of those duties whereby it may be carried on. [2dly. ] It is required that the duties to be used unto this end be rightly performed, in faith, unto the glory of God. Without this a multiplication of duties is an increase of burden and bondage, and that is all. Now, that we can perform no duty in this way or manner without the especial assistance of the Holy Spirit hath been sufficiently before evinced. And the duties which are appointed of God in an especial manner unto this end are, prayer, meditation, watchfulness, abstinence, wisdom or circumspection with reference unto temptations and their prevalency. Not to go over these duties in particular, nor to show wherein their especial efficacy unto this end and purpose doth consist, I shall only give some general rules concerning the exercising of our souls in them, and some directions for their right performance: — First, All these duties are to be designed and managed with an especial respect unto this end. It will not suffice that we are exercised in them in general, and with regard only unto this general end. We are to apply them unto this particular case, designing in and by them the mortification and ruin of sin, especially when, by its especial actings in us, it discovers itself in a peculiar manner unto us. No man who wisely considereth himself, his state and condition, his occasions and temptations, can be wholly ignorant of his especial corruptions and inclinations, whereby he is ready for halting, as the psalmist speaks. He that is so lives in the dark to himself, and walks at peradventures with God, not knowing how he walketh nor whither he goeth. David probably had respect hereunto when he said, “I have kept the ways of the LORD, and have not wickedly departed from my God. For all his judgments were before me, and I did not put away his statutes from me. I was also upright before him, and I kept myself from mine iniquity,” Psalm 18:21-23.

    He could have done nothing of all this, nor have preserved his integrity in walking with God, had he not known and kept a continual watch upon his own iniquity, or that working of sin in him which most peculiarly inclined and disposed him unto evil. Upon this discovery, we are to apply these duties in a particular manner to the weakening and ruin of the power of sin. As they are all useful and necessary, so the circumstances of our condition will direct us which of them in particular we ought to be most conversant in. Sometimes prayer and meditation claim this place, as when our danger ariseth solely from ourselves, and our own perverse inclinations, disorderly affections, or unruly passions; sometimes watchfulness and abstinence, when sin takes occasion from temptations, concerns, and businesses in the world; sometimes wisdom and circumspection, when the avoidance of temptations and opportunities for sin is in an especial manner required of us. These duties, I say, are to be managed with a peculiar design to oppose, defeat, and destroy the power of sin, into which they have a powerful influence, as designed of God unto that end; for, — Secondly, All these duties, rightly improved, work two ways towards the end designed: first, Morally, and by way of impetration, — namely, of help and assistance; secondly, Really, by an immediate opposition unto sin and its power, whence assimilation unto holiness doth arise: — (First.) These duties work morally and by way of impetration. I shall instance only in one of them, and that is prayer. There are two parts of prayer with respect unto sin and its power: first, Complaints; secondly, Petitions: — [First.] Complaints. So is the title of Psalm 102, “A prayer of the afflicted, when he is overwhelmed, and poureth out his complaint before the LORD.” So David expresseth himself, Psalm 55:2, “Attend unto me, and hear me: I mourn in my complaint, and make a noise.” His prayer was a doleful lamentation. And <19E202> Psalm 142:2, “I poured out my complaint before him; I showed before him my trouble.” This is the first work of prayer with respect unto sin, its power and prevalency. The soul therein pours out its complaints unto God, and showeth before him the trouble it undergoes on the account thereof. And this it doth in an humble acknowledgment of its guilt, crying out of its deceit and violence; for all just and due complaint respecteth that which is grievous, and which is beyond the power of the complainer to relieve himself against. Of this sort there is nothing to be compared with the power of sin, as to believers.

    This therefore is, and ought to be, the principal matter and subject of their complaints in prayer; yea, the very nature of the whole case is such as that the apostle could not give an account of it without great complaints, Romans 7:24. This part of prayer, indeed, is with profligate persons derided and scorned, but it is acceptable with God, and that wherein believers find ease and rest unto their souls; for, let the world scoff while it pleaseth, what is more acceptable unto God than for his children, out of pure love unto him and holiness, out of fervent desires to comply with his mind and will, and thereby to attain conformity unto Jesus Christ, to come with their complaints unto him of the distance they are kept from these things by the captivating power of sin, bewailing their frail condition, and humbly acknowledging all the evils they are liable unto upon the account thereof? Would any man have thought it possible, had not experience convinced him, that so much Luciferian pride and atheism should possess the minds of any who would be esteemed Christians as to scoff at and deride these things? that anyone should ever read the Bible, or once consider what he is, and with whom he hath to do, and be ignorant of this duty? But we have nothing to do with such persons, but to leave them to please themselves whilst they may with these fond and impious imaginations. They will come either in this world (which we hope and pray for), in their repentance, to know their folly, or in another. I say, these complaints of sin, poured out before the Lord, these cryings out of deceit and violence, are acceptable to God, and prevalent with him to give out aid and assistance. He owns believers as his children, and hath the bowels and compassion of a father towards them. Sin he knows to be their greatest enemy, and which fights directly against their souls. Will he, then, despise their complaints, and their bemoaning of themselves before him? will he not avenge them of that enemy, and that speedily? See Jeremiah 31:18-20. Men who think they have no other enemies, none to complain of, but such as oppose them, or obstruct them, or oppress them, in their secular interests, advantages, and concerns, are strangers unto these things. Believers look on sin as their greatest adversary, and know that they suffer more from it than from all the world; suffer them, therefore, to make their complaints of it unto him who pities them, and who will relieve them and avenge them. [Secondly.] Prayer is directly petitions to this purpose. It consists of petitions unto God for supplies of grace to conflict and conquer sin withal. I need not prove this. No man prays as he ought, no man joins in prayer with another who prays as he ought, but these petitions are a part of his prayer. Especially will they be so, and ought they so to be, when the mind is peculiarly engaged in the design of destroying sin.

    And these petitions or requests are, as far as they are gracious and effectual, wrought in us by the Holy Ghost, who therein “maketh intercession for us, according to the will of God;” and hereby doth he carry on this work of the mortification of sin, for his work it is. He makes us to put up prevalent requests unto God for such continual supplies of grace, whereby it may be constantly kept under, and at length destroyed.

    And this is the first way whereby this duty hath an influence into mortification, — namely, morally and by way of impetration. (Secondly.) This duty hath a real efficiency unto the same end. It doth itself (when rightly performed and duly attended unto) mightily prevail unto the weakening and destruction of sin; for in and by fervent prayer, especially when it is designed unto this end, the habit, frame, and inclinations of the soul unto universal holiness, with a detestation of all sin, are increased, cherished, and strengthened. The soul of a believer is never raised unto a higher intension of spirit in the pursuit of, love unto, and delight in holiness, nor is more conformed unto it or cast into the mould of it, than it is in prayer. And frequency in this duty is a principal means to fix and consolidate the mind in the form and likeness of it; and hence do believers ofttimes continue in and come off from prayer above all impressions from sin, as to inclinations and compliances. Would such a frame always continue, how happy were we! But abiding in the duty is the best way of reaching out after it. I say, therefore, that this duty is really efficient of the mortification of sin, because therein all the graces whereby it is opposed and weakened are excited, exercised, and improved unto that end, as also the detestation and abhorrency of sin is increased in us; and where this is not so, there are some secret flaws in the prayers of men, which it will be their wisdom to find out and heal. (4thly.) The Holy Spirit carrieth on this work by applying in an especial manner the death of Christ unto us for that end. And this is another thing which, because the world understandeth not, it doth despise. But yet in whomsoever the death of Christ is not the death of sin, he shall die in his sins. To evidence this truth we may observe, — [1st .] In general, That the death of Christ hath an especial influence into the mortification of sin, without which it will not be mortified. This is plainly enough testified unto in the Scripture. By his cross, — that is, his death on the cross, — “we are crucified unto the world,” Galatians 6:14. “Our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed,” Romans 6:6; that is, sin is mortified in us by virtue of the death of Christ. [2dly. ] In the death of Christ with respect unto sin there may be considered, — First, His oblation of himself; and, Secondly, The application thereof unto us. By the first it is that our sins are expiated as unto their guilt; but from the latter it is that they are actually subdued as to their power; for it is by an interest in, and a participation of the benefits of his death, which we call the application of it unto us. Hereon are we said to be “buried with him” and to “rise with him,” whereof our baptism is a pledge, chapter 6:3, 4; not in an outward representation, as some imagine, of being dipped into the water and taken up again (which were to make one sign the sign of another), but in a powerful participation of the virtue of the death and life of Christ, in a death unto sin and newness of life in holy obedience, which baptism is a pledge of, as it is a token of our initiation and implanting into him. So are we said to be “baptized into his death,” or into the likeness of it, that is, in its power, verse 3. Thirdly, The old man is said to be crucified with Christ, or sin to be mortified by the death of Christ, as was in part before observed, on two accounts: — (First.) Of conformity. Christ is the head, the beginning or idea, of the new creation, the first-born of every creature. Whatever God designeth unto us therein, he first exemplified in Jesus Christ; and we are “predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son,” Romans 8:29. Hereof the apostle gives us an express instance in the resurrection: “Christ the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming,” 1 Corinthians 15:23. It is so in all things; all that is wrought in us, it is in resemblance and conformity unto Christ.

    Particularly, we are by grace “planted in the likeness of his death,” Romans 6:5, being “made conformable unto his death,” Philippians 3:10; and so “dead with Christ,” Colossians 2:20.

    Now, this conformity is not in our natural death, nor in our being put to death as he was; for it is that which we are made partakers of in this life, and that in a way of grace and mercy. But Christ died for sin, for our sin, which was the meritorious procuring cause thereof; and he lived again by the power of God. A likeness and conformity hereunto God will work in all believers. There is by nature a life of sin in them, as hath been declared. This life must be destroyed, sin must die in us; and we thereby become dead unto sin. And as he rose again, so are we to be quickened in and unto newness of life. In this death of sin consists that mortification which we treat about, and without which we cannot be conformed unto Christ in his death, which we are designed unto. And the same Spirit which wrought these things in Christ will, in the pursuit of his design, work that which answers unto them in all his members. (Secondly.) In respect of efficacy. Virtue goeth forth from the death of Christ for the subduing and destruction of sin. It was not designed to be a dead, inactive, passive example, but it is accompanied with a power conforming and changing us into his own likeness. It is the ordinance of God unto that end; which he therefore gives efficacy unto.

    It is by a fellowship or participation in his sufferings that we are “made conformable unto his death,” Philippians 3:10; — this koinwni>a tw~n paqh|ma>twn is an interest in the benefit of his sufferings; we also are made partakers thereof. This makes us conformable to his death, in the death of sin in us. The death of Christ is designed to be the death of sin, let them who are dead in sin deride it whilst they please. If Christ had not died, sin had never died in any sinner unto eternity. Wherefore, that there is a virtue and efficacy in the death of Christ unto this purpose cannot be denied without a renunciation of all the benefits thereof. On the one hand, the Scripture tells us that he is “our life,” our spiritual life, the spring, fountain, and cause of it; we have nothing, therefore, that belongs thereunto but what is derived from him. They cast themselves out of the verge of Christianity who suppose that the Lord Christ is no otherwise our life, or the author of life unto us, but as he hath revealed and taught the way of life unto us; he is our life as he is our head. And it would be a sorry head that should only teach the feet to go, and not communicate strength to the whole body so to do. And that we have real influences of life from Christ I have sufficiently proved before. Unto our spiritual life doth ensue the death of sin; for this, on the other hand, is peculiarly assigned unto his death in the testimonies before produced.

    This, therefore, is by virtue derived from Christ, — that is, in an especial manner from his death, as the Scripture testifies.

    All the inquiry is, How the death of Christ is applied unto us, or, which is the same, How we apply ourselves to the death of Christ for this purpose.

    And I answer, we do it two ways: — [1st .] By faith. The way to derive virtue from Christ is by touching of him.

    So the diseased woman in the gospel touched but the hem of his garment, and virtue went forth from him to stay her bloody issue, Matthew 9:20-22. It was not her touching him outwardly, but her faith, which she acted then and thereby, that derived virtue from him; for so our Savior tells her in his answer, “Daughter, be of good comfort; thy faith hath made thee whole.” But unto what end was this touching of his garment? It was only a pledge and token of the particular application of the healing power of Christ unto her soul, or her faith in him in particular for that end: for at the same time many thronged upon him in a press, so as his disciples marveled he should ask who touched his clothes, Mark 5:30,31; yet was not any of them advantaged but the poor sick woman. A great emblem it is of common profession on the one hand, and especial faith on the other.

    Multitudes press and throng about Christ in a profession of faith and obedience, and in the real performance of many duties, but no virtue goeth forth from Christ to heal them. But when anyone, though poor, though seemingly at a distance, gets but the least touch of him by especial faith, this soul is healed. This is our way with respect unto the mortification of sin. The Scripture assures us that there is virtue and efficacy in the death of Christ unto that end. The means whereby we derive this virtue from him is by touching of him, — that is, by acting faith on him in his death for the death of sin.

    But how will this effect it? how will sin be mortified hereby? I say, How, by what power and virtue, were they healed in the wilderness who looked unto the brazen serpent? was it not because that was an ordinance of God, which by his almighty power he made effectual unto that purpose? The death of Christ being so as to the crucifying of sin, when it is looked on or applied unto by faith, shall not divine virtue and power go forth unto that end? The Scripture and experience of all believers give testimony unto the truth and reality thereof. Besides, faith itself, as acted on the death of Christ, hath a peculiar efficacy unto the subduing of sin: for, “beholding” him thereby “as in a glass, we are changed into the same image,” Corinthians 3:18; and that which we peculiarly behold, we are peculiarly transformed into the likeness of. And, moreover, it is the only means whereby we actually derive from Christ the benefits of our union with him. From thence we have all grace, or there is no such thing in the world; and the communication of it unto us is in and by the actual exercise of faith principally. So it being acted with respect unto his death, we have grace for the killing of sin, and thereby become dead with him, crucified with him, buried with him, as in the testimonies before produced. This is that which we call the application of the death of Christ unto us, or our application of ourselves to the death of Christ for the mortification of sin.

    And they by whom this means thereof is despised or neglected, who are ignorant of it or do blaspheme it, must live under the power of sin, unto what inventions soever they turn themselves for deliverance. According as we abide and abound herein will be our success. Those who are careless and remiss in the exercise of faith, by prayer and meditation, in the way described, will find that sin will keep its ground, and maintain so much power in them as shall issue in their perpetual trouble; and men who are much conversant with the death of Christ, — not in notions and lifeless speculations, not in natural or carnal affections, like those which are raised in weak persons by images and crucifixes, but by holy actings of faith with respect unto what is declared in the Scripture as to its power and efficacy, — will be implanted into the likeness of it, and experience the death of sin in them continually. [2dly .] We do it by love. Christ as crucified is the great object of our love, or should so be; for he is therein unto sinners “altogether lovely.” Hence one of the ancients cried out, ‘ O e]rwv ejmorwtai — “My love is crucified, and why do I stay behind?” In the death of Christ do his love, his grace, his condescension, most gloriously shine forth. We may, therefore, consider three things with respect unto this love: — first, The object of it; secondly, The means of the representation of that object unto our minds and affections; thirdly, The effects of it as to the case in hand.

    First, The object of it is Christ himself, in his unsearchable grace, his unspeakable love, his infinite condescension, his patient suffering, and victorious power, in his death or dying for us. It is not his death absolutely, but himself, as all these graces conspicuously shine forth in his death, which is intended.

    Secondly, And there are various ways whereby this may be represented unto our minds: — (First,) Men may do it unto themselves by their own imaginations.

    They may frame and fancy dolorous things unto themselves about it, which is the way of persons under deep and devout superstitions; but no love in sincerity will ever be ingenerated towards Jesus Christ hereby. (Secondly,) It may be done by others, in pathetical and tragical declarations of the outward part of Christ’s sufferings. Herein some have a great faculty to work upon the natural affections of their auditors; and great passions, accompanied with tears and vows, may be so excited. But, for the most part, there is no more in this work than what the same persons do find in themselves, it may be, in the reading or hearing of a feigned story; for there is a sympathy in natural affections with the things that are their proper objects, though represented by false imaginations. (Thirdly,) It is done in the Papacy, and among some others, by images, in crucifixes and dolorous pictures, whereunto they pay great devotion, with an appearance of ardent affections; but none of these is such a due representation of this object as to ingenerate sincere love towards Christ crucified in any soul. Wherefore, (Fourthly,) This is done effectually only by the gospel, and in the dispensation of it according to the mind of God; for therein is “Jesus Christ evidently crucified before our eyes,” Galatians 3:1. And this it doth by proposing unto our faith the grace, the love, the patience, the condescension, the obedience, the end and design of Christ therein.

    So is Christ eyed by faith as the proper object of sincere love. And being so stated, — Thirdly, The effects of it, as of all true love, are, first, Adherence; secondly, Assimilation : — (First,) Adherence. Love in the Scripture is frequently expressed by this effect; the soul of one did cleave, or was knit, unto another, as that of Jonathan to David, 1 Samuel 18:1. So it produceth a firm adherence unto Christ crucified, that makes a soul to be in some sense always present with Christ on the cross. And hence ensues, (Secondly,) Assimilation or conformity. None treat of the nature or effects of love but they assign this as one of them, that it begets a likeness between the mind loving and the object beloved. And so I am sure it is in this matter. A mind filled with the love of Christ as crucified, and represented in the manner and way before described, will be changed into his image and likeness by the effectual mortification of sin, through a derivation of power and grace from thence for that purpose. (5thly.) The Holy Ghost carrieth on this work by constant discoveries unto and pressing on believers, on the one hand, the true nature and certain end of sin; and, on the other, the beauty, excellency, usefulness, and necessity of holiness, with the concerns of God, Christ, the gospel, and their own souls therein. A rational consideration of these things is all the ground and reason of mortification in the judgment of some men. But we have proved that there are other causes of it also; and now I add, that if we have no consideration of these things but what our own reason is of itself able to suggest unto us, it will never be prevalent unto any sincere or permanent attempt in the mortification of any sin whatever. Let men make the best of their reason they can, in the searching and consideration of the perverse nature and dreadful consequents of sin, of the perfect peace and future blessedness which attendeth the practice of holiness, they will find an obstinacy and stubbornness in their hearts not conquerable by any such reasonings or considerations. That conviction of sin and righteousness which is useful and prevalent unto that end and purpose is wrought in us by the Holy Ghost, John 16:8. Although he makes use of our minds, understandings, reasons, consciences, and the best of our consideration, in this matter, yet if he give not a peculiar efficacy and power unto all, the work will not be effectual. When he is pleased to make use of reasons and motives, taken from the nature and end of sin and holiness, unto the mortification of sin, they shall hold good, and bind the soul unto this duty, against all objections and temptations that would divert it whatever.

    And thus I have briefly, and I confess weakly and obscurely, delineated the work of the Holy Ghost in the sanctification of them that do believe.

    Many things might have been more enlarged and particularly inquired into; what have been discoursed I judge sufficient to my present purpose. And I doubt not but that what hath been argued from plain Scripture and experience is sufficient, as to direct us in the practice of true evangelical holiness, so, with all sober persons, to cast out of all consideration that fulsome product of pride and ignorance, that all gospel holiness consists in the practice of moral virtues.


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