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by His grace," and because such a reliance is a denial of the efficacy of Christ's merits, and subverts the glorious scheme of redemption by His blood.
Like St. Paul, let us utterly disclaim our best services as a ground of dependence for salvation, and confide in the superlative merits of Immanuel. "Yea, doubtless, I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith dd " Thus clothed with the beautiful garments of Christ's salvation, our guilt and defects will be concealed, and we shall appear faultless before God, with exceeding great joy.
1 Thess. v. 23. And the very God of Peace sanctify you wholly and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
ALTHOUGH justification and sanctification are inseparably connected, yet are they, nevertheless, distinct blessings of the Gospel covenant; and there is, in some respects, a material difference between them, which may be thus explained. Justification is that merciful act of God which relates to the pardon and acquittal of a sinner, whereby he is exempted from
punishment, accounted righteous, and a title is given him to inherit eternal life. Sanctification is a constant work of grace on the heart; which so alters the quality of a man's dispositions, habits, and actions, as to terminate in a thorough renovation of the mind and change of life. Justification is, through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, by faith. Sanctification is a state of holiness wrought within us. The one precedes, as a cause: the other follows, as a proper effect. The former deprives sin of its condemning power: the latter, of its reigning influence. Justification is complete at once; but sanctification progressively increases, till it is perfected, in the heavenly world, in our glorification.
1. Sanctification occupies a conspicuous place in the economy of our redemption, and is the grand design and end of salvation by Christ. In the purification of our corrupt nature, and our renewal to a state of primeval holiness, whereby we become fit to hold communion with the Lord, the very essence of this grace consists. Hence sanctification may be called a work of God upon the soul; by which they, who are justified, are renewed after his Divine image; and are thereby qualified to perform his will, and to participate his glory, through endless ages. How invaluably great is this celestial gift! It beautifies and ennobles the sou; makes it "an habitation of God, through the Spirit";" and is the beginning of a state of felicity, which never ends, but is continually augmenting through all eternity.
2. Sanctification is immediately effected, by the operation of the Holy Ghost. On this account, he is styled "the Spirit of Holiness bb;" because he im
* Col. iii. 10.
aa Ephes. ii. 22.
Rom. i. 4.
plants devout affections, excites good desires and purposes, and, by his special assistance, enables us to bring the same to a successful issue..
In accomplishing so important a work as to bring a sinner to approve and pursue a righteous course of life, and to hate and forsake iniquity, he uses instituted means. At one time, the forcible application of Scripture to the mind is made the medium of communicating the benefit. "Sanctify them through thy truth! Thy word is truth"." At another, the efficacy of a vital faith in Jesus is employed, by the Holy Spirit, for the purpose. "He opens the eyes of his people, turns them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me
And, sometimes, the powerful application of Christ's sacrifice to the mind in a spiritual manner, is made the instrumental cause of our purification. "For 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, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the Living God !"
Whether sanctification be ascribed instrumentally to faith, or to the efficacy of Christ's death, or to the energy of the word of the Gospel, in each case we must regard the ever-blessed Spirit as that Almighty Agent whose express office is "to sanctify all the elect people of God." To Him must our prayers be offered, for his renewing grace, if we desire to have the depravity of our evil nature corrected and subdued, and that sanctity of heart produced Heb. ix. 13, 14.
© John xvii. 17.
. Acts xxvi. 18.
in us which is indispensably necessary to our temporal and eternal welfare; for the unalterable decree of heaven is gone forth," that without holiness no man shall see the Lord."
Hence, holiness and happiness are convertible terms: when the former exists and flourishes in the soul, the latter, also, will be found there, in some degree; just as good health is the almost certain consequence of food and exercise, and of a welltempered constitution.
3. Sanctification is not effected at once, but is a gradual and progressive work: it has its commence. ment, progress, and consummation.
At the time of our conversion from sin and ignorance, to the knowledge of God and the practice of Christian virtues, sanctification is in its incipient state it advances, as the soul is more confirmed in love to God: and it will be completed at the Resurrection, "when Christ will transform the vile corruptible bodies of his saints, and fashion them after the similitude of his own glorious body ":" and then, being established in holiness beyond the possibility of ever falling away, they will resemble God, in their attachment to righteousness, and in an invincible hatred to iniquity.
The sanctification of the soul has, however, in the present imperfect state, to encounter difficulties in every stage of its advancement. Happily, God, who imparts sanctifying grace to the souls of his people, in order to prevent the extinction of the Divine life, maintains and cherishes it incessantly; he fans the feeble, and sometimes almost expiring, spark, into a flame of light," which shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Notwithstanding the obstacles h Prov. iv. 18.
f Heb. xii. 14.
Phil. iii. 21.
which hinder the growth of a believer in those things which are well pleasing to the Lord; notwithstanding the deep corruption of his heart, and the temptations of the world, the flesh, and the devil; he can clearly trace, on a review of the past, compared with his present state, a visible improvement in the whole temper and bias of his mind: he can discern in himself a sensible increase of light and knowledge and grace: he finds himself better acquainted with the character of God, and with religious truths; he understands more of the desperate wickedness of his heart, his irresolution and weakness; and sees more distinctly his need of constant assistance from an allgracious Saviour. These are real and satisfactory marks of sanctification, begun, and in a state of advancement; which, if fostered by a simple dependence on Divine aid, in our efforts to obtain heavenly dispositions, will assuredly terminate in a fitness for the enjoyment of Christ's kingdom, for which the sanctified mind has an undoubted qualification. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
4. Different degrees of sanctification are attained by the disciples of Jesus, in the Church militant on earth. Though none of them, perhaps, arrive at so great a measure of perfection as they might attain to, by a more conscientious use of means; yet some are found to make a greater and more solid proficiency in knowledge and holiness than others. Owing to the weakness of their faith, the strength of those corrupt tempers with which they have to contend, and the severe pressure of bodily or mental infirmities, some Christians, who are nevertheless sincerely desirous to glorify God, make but small advances in way of righteousness. Contenting themselves with a partial victory over the sins which beset them,