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2. I might say much to the commendation of the Father of the family. He is the most honourable, loving, and helpful, and rich father, the wisest father, and he is an immortal father. His children shall never be fatherless; let all the world leave them, they shall have a father to take them up. And while they are under minority, they shall have the best attendants. The elder brother of the family is fairer than the sons of men; and he is of our nature, and will own us as of his flesh and of his bones, Eph. v. 30. And the most loving to his adopted brethren; he died for them while they were yet in the devil's family. And he can do all with his father, having the entire management of the house of heaven, John v. 22. He is a most compassionate and merciful High Priest. The Spirit of the family is a noble spirit, that will spirit you for the greatest achievements; a holy and sanctifying Spirit, that will make the vilest heart holy; a quickening Spirit, an enlightening Spirit. And all the children partake of this Spirit.
3. Ye shall have glorious privileges here; and, among the rest, establishment and perseverance in the family, John viii. 35. Come once in, and ye shall never be cast out.
4. Lastly, The full possession of your eternal inheritance in heaven, Matth. xxv. 34. He will give the kingdom to all his children, sons and daughters. Your elder brother will give you to sit on his throne.
Come out from among them, then, unto Jesus Christ, and so be entered into God's family by adoption. Seemeth it a small thing to you to be children of the house of heaven, to have God for your
Father, and ye to be his sons and daughters. Believe this offer of the gospel, therefore, made to you, O children of the house of hell, and close with the offer of adoption into God's family, and receive the seal of it in the sacrament. I beseech you to accept it, nay, I charge you to come out from among them this day, and enter into God's family through Jesus Christ, under the pain of God's eternal displeasure. What ails you at it; the language of the hearts of many will be
1. They do not like the laws of the house. They think it would be what would take away their liberty, and pent them up to intolerable bondage. Ans. No; Satan's service is slavery, and the worst of slavery. If ye continue in it, your chains will be ever on yon ; the chains of your lusts are rattling about you now, 2 Tim. ii. 20. and the chains of wrath will be rattling about you through eternity, Matth. xxii. 13. But those of God's family enjoy true liberty, John viii. 36. And their liberty shall be enlarged afterward, and be very glorious, Rom. viii. 21.
2. They like not the society of the house. They think it is but the peevish silly part of mankind, the scum of the world, that trouble themselves with these things. Ans. No; they are the excellent in the ear Prov. xii. 26. David, a king, thought them so, Psal. xvi. 3. Why do ye despise them, but because they are of another spirit than the spirit of the devil's family? Remember, that not many wise men after the flesh are called,' &c. 1 Cor. i. 26, 27, 28. But I assure you the main quarrel and the ground of this is, ye like not the Father of the family, and therefore not those that bear his image, 1 John. v. 1. However, remember, that the day will come when you will say, O that my soul were in their soul's stead! 'Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his.
3. Lastly, They do not believe any such thing, as that God will make men his sons and daughters. Ans. Then ye do not believe God's word in the text, John i. 12. Christ's death and sufferings must lose their end, Gal. iv. 4, 5. But ye will be cured of that, if not before, yet at their receiving their inheritance as children, Matth. xxv. 34. when unbelievers get their doom.
But there may be some that would fain believe it, and that with application too, that they might come away and partake of it. But Satan and their hearts muster up objections against it; such as,
1. Was it ever heard, that there was an adoption where the party adopting was not childless? Ans. Gods ways are not man's ways. It is free grace only, and not need, that puts the heavenly Father to adopt any of his creatures.—Yet there is a suitableness in it to the divine wisdom. God's family suffered a vast diminution by the spiritual death of children, and thus it is made
up again. 2. Bat how is it consistent with the honour of the adopter to take men as children into his family? Ans. This is provided for by the incarnation of the Son; man's nature is thereby nobilitated. The Son of God became the Son of man, that so the sons of men might become the sons of God, in a consistency with God's honour.
3. But I am afraid God will never take me into his family. Ans. Wherefore, if ye come in by the door, through Jesus Christ? The greatness of your former sins will not hinder it, Isa. i. 18. the multitude of them, 1 John i. 7. your backslidings neither, Jer. iii. 22. though ye have been the worst of sinners, 1 Cor. vi. 9, 10, 11. In ye must be, or ye perish.
4. But Satan plies me at a terrible rate, so that I think I will never get away out from among them. Ans. When tho devil apprehends his time short, he has great wrath.— When tho children of
Israel were nearest their deliverance, Pharaoh made their bondage hardest. Be resolute, like the lepers of old.
5. Lastly, But I fear I will never be able to carry suitably to the character of one of the heavenly family. Ans. Take Christ for sanctification, put your heart and life in his hand this day, for purifying and managing it, Eph. v. 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.' Believe the promises of sanctification; look on them as sealed by the sacrament, and conscientiously use the means of holiness.
To shut up all, I testify to every one, that they are undone, for ever, if they come not out from among them, and be separate, and touch no unclean thing; and that there is nothing to hinder your entrance into God's family, if ye be content to come out from among them, and to close with Christ. He will receive you, and introduce you into his Father's family, entertain you at his table, and at length carry you to the upper house, where ye shall be for ever with the Lord.
1 Corinthians vi. 11.—But ye are sanctified—by the Spirit of our
In this verse the apostle tells the believing Corinthians.
1. What some of them sometime were, such, viz. as those, ver. 9, 10. 'fornicators, idolators, adulterers, effeminate, abusers of themselves with mankind, thieves, covetous, drunkards, revilers, extortioners;' even the worst and grossest sinners, who therefore could have nothing to move God to sanctify them.
2. What they now all were, viz. the true believers among them; they were 'washed. Though some of them in their natural state were more unclean and vile than others, yet they all needed to be, and accordingly were washed,
(1.) In sanctification, whereby sin itself is gradually carried out of the heart and life, and grace planted therein, and actuated and advanced. This is done by the Spirit of God, who is holy, and makes the elect holy.
2. In justification, whereby the guilt of sin is removed, and the soul clothed with a perfect righteousness. This is done 'in the
name of the Lord Jesus;' i. e. by the merits and blood of Christ, through Christ apprehended by faith. The apostle's order of stating these two will be considered afterwards.
The doctrine of the text is as follows, viz.
Doct. 'All that are effectually called, are freely sanctified by the Spirit of Christ.
In treating of this subject, I shall shew,
I. I will lay before you the general nature of sanctification. It imports three things.
1. Separation, or setting apart to a holy use or service.—Thus the bread and wine in the sacrament are sanctified, and thus Aaron and his sons were sanctified. And thus the sanctification of the Spirit, is the Lord's taking one out of the corrupt mass of mankind lying in wickedness, and setting him apart for himself, Psal. iv. 3. So that holiness is God's mark and seal set on a soul, testifying it to be his in a peculiar manner, Eph. i. 13.
2. Purification, or taking away of pollution. Thus people are called to sanctify themselves. There is a natural impurity and filthiness that every soul naturally is sunk in, 2 Cor. vii. 1. They are loathsome in the sight of God, all over defiled with filthy lusts. Sanctification is the Spirit's cleansing of the soul from its impurities; breaking the reign of sin, working out sin from the heart and life, as the spring doth the mud cast into it.
3. Preparation, whereby a thing or person is made fit for use or service. Thus our food is sanctified by the word and prayer. Naturally we are unfit for God's service; sanctification fits us for it, 2 Tim. ii. 21. What use are we for in the world, if not for God? But the unsanctified soul is not meet for his use: but the Lord loathes them, and their services too, as one would do liquor in a foul vessel.
II. More particularly, I will inquire into the nature of the sanctification of a soul. And let us consider,
1. The kinds of sanctification.
FIRST, I shall consider the kinds of sanctification distinguishable. Sanctification of a soul is twofold.
1. Initial sanctification, which is the implanting of the seeds of grace in the soul at first, and is the same with regeneration, 1 John iii. 9. wherein the Spirit of Christ comes into the man's heart with his graces, and takes possession of him for God. The whole soul is cast into a new mould and frame, and the image of God is drawn anew upon it.
2. Progressive sanctification, whereby that change is carried on more and more, the Spirit holding hand to the begun work, Acts xx. 32. Satan's image is more defaced, and the image of God more perfected in the soul; corruption more weakened, and grace more excited and strengthened. This work lasts through the saint's whole life, and is never perfected till death.
These are one and the same work for substance, though differing in circumstances; and no man has the one, but he has the other too. Initial sanctification goes before justification in the order of nature, as being the principle from which faith doth arise; and this accounts for the apostle's order in the text: but progressive sanctification, i. e. sanctification distinguished from regeneration, follows justification.
SECONDLY, Let us consider the Author of sanctification, whose work it is.
1. Negatively, It is not the sinner himself, nor any other creature, who is the author of it. We can well defile ourselves with all impurity, but cannot cleanse ourselves. We will lie still in our filthiness, till help come from another quarter, Eph. ii. 1. We are bid to cleanse our hands and hearts : but, alas ! the rule of our duty is not the measure of our strength.
2. Positively, It is the work of God; for it needs no less power than was necessary for creating a world, or raising the dead. It is the work of a whole Trinity to sanctify a soul, as lightly as many think of being holy. It is the work of the Father, Jude, ver. i. · Sanctified by God the Father;' of the Son, Eph. v. 26. ' That he (Christ) might sanctify—it;' of the Holy Spirit, 2 Thess. ii. 13. * Through sanctification of the Spirit.' But in a special manner it belongs to the Spirit; as the Father elects, the Son redeems, and the Holy Ghost sanctifies. It is the work of the Spirit of God then. For,
1. In initial sanctification the Spirit acts alone, and the poor sinner is wholly passive, and can do nothing that way. For he is dead in sin, and cannot move out of its dominion. He lies in the grave like the dry bones, which cannot live, nor stand up till they be breathed upon by the Lord himself,