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And that we thould find continual matter ot rejoicing in the testimony of a good and tender conscience. He means, lastly, that our Pallions and Appetites should be so regulated and inflamed with divine love, that a “ peace, palling understanding, may keep our hearts and minds thro' Christ Jesus,” and we may “ dwell in love, and in God, and God in us." Thus shall we be able to adopt the following language, very expressive of the full assurance of hope :
“ 'Tis done at lait, the great deciding part, “ The world's subdued, and thou hait all my heart: “ It triumphs in the change, and fixes here, “ Nor does another separation fear ; “ No various scenes to come, no change of place, “ Shall thy lov’d image from my foul efface ; “Nor length, nor breadth, nor distant height above,
“ Nor depth below, shall part me from thy love." And all this, that " whether we eat or drink, or whatever we do, we may do all to the glory of God; that whatever we do in word or deed, we may “ do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, give ing thanks to God, even the Father, thro’ him.”.
3. And now, shall not this blefling be ours? Can we hear of this renovation of our fallen nature, of this health and good conftitution of soul, and not long to poffefs it? Surely this sanctification, fo excellent in itself, and so beneficial in its effects, must appear in the eyes of all that are enlightened, to be far more desirable than the most valuable of those earthly vanities, which so universally engage the attention, and engross the afa fections of mankind ! Surely one cannot even transiently behold this divine perfection and beauty without emotion, and cannot attentively consider it without being overcome with desire, and made (as it were) fick of love! How lovely is this
image of God, this divine nature! How honourable and happy to be clothed with it! To have all our sins forgiven, and our consciences sprinkled from guilt! To have all our diseases healed, and our souls restored to perfect soundness! To have our life redeemed from eternal destruction, and our heads crowned with loving-kindness and tender mercies! To have God's approbation on earth, and to hear him say in that day, “ Well done!”. O what equals this ?
- " And shall the victor now “ Boast the proud laurels on his painied brow ? “ Religion! Oh thou Cherub! heavenly bright, “ Oh joys unmix'd and fathoinless delight! “ Thou, thou art all!”.
4. As to the way in which this holiness is oba tained, I must beg leave to make that a distinct head of discourse, having enlarged so much on the points already treated. In the mean time, let us: carefully consider what hath been advanced ; let us mark, learn, and inwardly digest it; and let us lift up our hearts unto God in earnest prayer for his blefling upon it! Thus Thall we become more and more acquainted with its excellency and necessity. Our desires after it will be maintained! and encreased, and we shall even “ hunger and thirst after righteousness.” And then we shall not only be prepared to receive benefit by what may hereafter be said, but shall be in the high way to have our desires accompliihed, for “ blessed are: they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled.”'
The Way of attaining Sanctification.
1 THESS. V. 23, 24.
** May the very God of Peace fan&tify you
wholly: and I pray God your whole spirit, and foul, and body, be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Chrift. Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it."
AVING considered the nature and ex
tent of San&tification, I proceed now, fecondly, as was proposed, to shew how it may be obtained
1. With regard to this, I must observe, eft, We cannot produce this change in ourfelves by any wisdom or power of our own. This will be readily allowed by all who attentively consider what has been already advanced on the nature of Sanctification. For it appears by the account given above, that previous, at least to some meafure of sanctification, and while in our natural ftate, we are devoid of all wisdom and power to do any manner of thing that is good. And this is confirmed by our Lord, who faith, ** Without me ye can do nothing.
Now if we can do nothing without him, how can we do
this, so great, so wonderful a work? Can the blind reitore himself to fight ? Can the dead raise himself up? Can the dead in sin quicken his own soul ? Alas! he does not even know that he is dead, but sleeps on still and takes his reft ; and if he did know, he has no ability to perform what is so supernatural. What then must be done in this case ? Where shall we find relief ?
St. Paul tells us, “ Our sufficiency is of God;" and again, “ God worketh in us to will and to do of his good pleasure.” Hence it is, that in the words of our text, he directs his prayer unto God for this bluffing, “ May the very God of peace, arlos δ. ο Θεος της ειρήνης :
It should rather be rendered, "May the God of Peace himself fanétify you, It is his peculiar work: Only “ he who commanded light to shine out of darkness,” can “Thine into our hearts;" only he who created the world, and brought order out of confufion, can new-create our souls. We must acknowledge o his workmanship,” if we are “created in Christ Jesus unto good works."
2. I observe, 2dly, God works this change in us, by communicating to us his holy Spirit in his various graces.
As a Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation, he dispells the darkness of our minds, and makes us “ light in the Lord.” As a Spirit of Holiness, he fubdues our Wills, and raises our Affections to God and Heaven. As a Comforter, he removes our guilty fears, scatters our doubts, and sprinkles our consciences from dead works, that we may ferve the living God. He composes. the tumult of our breasts, gives us “ joy thro' believing," and fills us with strong confolation. He is the “ earnest of our future in. heritance in our hearts,” and it is by him we are 4 sealed to the day of redemption.” Hence it is.