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and into a spiritual lively fruitful frame. He is forward to aggravate the sins of others, and oft-times severe enough in censuring them: but he is a very gentle censurer of himself; and a patient man with his own corruptions, and puts the best construction upon all that is his own. He hath much labour per haps in shaping his opinions, but little for the humbling and sanctifying his heart, by the power of the truth.
6. And as the difference lieth thus constantly in the heart, so it is usually manifested by the tongue. The sound convert is most desirous to discourse of those great and saving truths, which his very heart hath taken in, and which he bath found to be the seed of God for his regeneration, and the instruments of that holy and happy change that is made upon him: he feeleth most savour, and life, in these great and most necessary points. Read John xvii. 3. 1 Cor. xv. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. 1 Cor. ii. 2. Phil. iii. 8, 9, 10, 11. 1 Tim. jii. 16, Acts, xxxvi, 22, 23. In these scriptures you may find what points, they were that the greatest saints did study and live upon. But the opir nionist is most forward to discourse of mere opinions, and to feed upon the air of notions, and controversies of lesser moment.
A serious Christian, even when he is necessitated to speak of lower controverted points, yet doth it in a spiritual manner, as one that more savoureth higher truths, and makes a holy and heavenly life his end, even in these lower matters; and deals about such controversies in a practical manner, and in order to the growth of holiness.
Lastly, true, converts are stedfast, but opinionists are usually mutable and unconstant. The sound convert receiveth the greatest truths, and receives the goodness as well as the truth; and takes it not only into the head, but into the heart, and giveth it deep rooting: he closeth with God as his own felicity, and with Christ as his only refuge and redeemer, and with heaven as the sure everlasting glory, to which the
world is but a mole-hill or a dungeon. No wonder then if this man be stedfast, and immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
To which end I further desire you, 1. To consider, that it is a higher inatter that Christ came into the world for, than to change men's bave opinions; and it is a higher matter that the gospel is intended for, and that ministers are sent to you: for it is more than a corruption of men's opinions, that sin hath brought upon you; and therefore it is a deeper disease that must be cured. The work of Christ by his gospel, is no less than to fetch you off all that which flesh and blood accounts: your happiness, and to unite you to þunself, and make you holy, as God is holy, and to give you a new, nature, and make you as the dwellers or citizens of heaven, while you walk on earth. And these are greater matters than the changing of a party, or opinion. The Holy Spirit himself must dwell in you, and work in you, and employ your soul and life for God, that you may study him, and love him, and live to him here, and live with him for ever. Do, but think well of the ends and meaning of the Gospel, and how much greater matters it drives at; and then you will see that there is no taking up with any opinionative religion.
And now I have given you directions in the most great and necessary business in the world: they are such as I received of God, and, faithfully practised, will put your salvation, past all hazard. But what they have done, or what they will do, I cannot tell; but must leave the issue to God and you. It's pity eternal glory should be lost for want of yielding to so holy, andi sweet, and reasonable a course. It is lamentable to observe, what ignorant, base, unworthy, thoughts, the most have of the very office of the Holy Ghosty who is the sanctifier of all that God will save. The very name of regeneration and sanctification is not understood by some, and is but matter of derision
y should bere to God ado; I cannot wha
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to others; and the most think that it is another kind of matter than indeed it is. To be baptized, and come to church, and to say some cold and heartless prayers, and to forbear some gross disgraceful sins, is all the sanctification that most are acquainted with; (and all have not this.) And thus they debase the work of the Holy Ghost. If a prince have built a sumptuous palace, and you will show men a swine-sty, and say, There is the palace that the prince hath been so long a building; were not this to abuse him by contempt? Remember what it is to believe in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: and remember that you were baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. And do you not yet know why? nor know the meaning of your baptismal covenant? It is not only to believe that there are three persons in the Trinity, but to consent to the relations and duty to thein, in respect to their several relations and work. If the Father had not created you, how could you have been men? The Lord of nature must be acknowledged as the end and governor of nature, and accordingly obeyed. And this is to believe, and be baptized in the name of God the Father. If the Son had not redeemed you, you had been as the devils were, forsaken and given over to despair. The purchaser, procurer, and author of grace, of pardon, and salvation, must be acknowledged to be such, himself and his salvation accordingly accepted, and his terms submitted to. And this is to believe in the name of the Son; and in baptism we make profession hereof. And certainly the work of the Holy Ghost is as necessary to your salvation. Without the sanctifying work of the Spirit, you could never be delivered from sin and Satan, nor restored to God's image, and consequently could never be the members of Christ, nor have any saving benefit by his sufferings. Would you not think him unworthy to live, that would reproach the Father's work of nature, and say, that the whole creation is but some poor contemptible work? And would you not think him unworthy the name of a Christian, that had contemptible thoughts of the
Son's redemption, as if we could be saved as well without a Saviour, or as if it were but some poor and trivial commodity that Christ had purchased us? I know you would confess the misery of that man, that believed no better in the Father and the Son. And how comes it to pass that you think not of your own misery, that believe no better in the Holy Ghost? Do you not debase the sanctifying office of the Holy Spirit, when you show us your knowledge, and parts, and outward duties, and civility, and tell us that these are the work of sanctification : what is sanctification but such a thing as this? Why, holiness is a new life and spirit in us; and these that you talk of are but as a few flowers that are stuck upon a corpse, to keep it awhile from stinking among men, till death convey it. to a burial in hell. O sirs, sanctification is another kind of matter than the forsaking of some of your fouler vices, and speaking well of a godly life. It is not the patching up of the old man, but the creating of a new man. I will give you warning therefore from God, that you think not basely of the work of the Holy Ghost; and that you think no more to be saved without the sanctifying work of the Spirit, than without the redeeming work of the Son, or creation, governinent, or love of the Father. Sanctification must turn the very bent and stream of heart and life to God, to Christ, to heaven: it must mortify carnal self and the world to you: it must 'make you a people devoted, consecrated, and resigned up to God, with all that you have: it must make all sin odious to you, and make God the love and desire of your souls; so that it must give you a new heart, a new end, a new master, a new law, and a new conversation. This is that noble heavenly work which the holy Ghost hath vouchsafed to make the business of his office: to slight and despise this, is to slight ard despise the Holy Ghost, and not to believe in him: to be without this work, is to be without the Holy Ghost: and if any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his.(o) The holy catholic
(0) Rom. viii. 9.
church is composed of all through the world that have this work upon them, and therefore it is called holy. The communion of saints, is the blessed vital fellowship of the sanctified ones: for these only is the resurrection unto blessedness, and the life everlasting with the Lord of life; for all others is the resurrection of condemnation, and the everlasting punishment.
But if the other two articles of our faith have been so denied by the blind, it is less wonder if this be so. Some heretics denied God to be the Creator of the world: and because they saw so much evil in the world, they said it was made by devils or evil angels, (who indeed made the sin, but not the world.) So dealt the Jews by the Son, and the second article of our faith. The sacrifice of bulls and goats, and such beasts, was all the sacrifice for sin that they believed in. And thus deal the multitude of the ungodly by the Spirit. Indeed they know not themselves sufficiently to know the need and worth of sanctification. They are too whole to value the skill and care of Christ or the Holy Ghost. The insensibility of spiritual death and misery, and thinking too lightly of original corruption, and too well of our depraved nature, is both the cause of many of the heresies of the learned, and of the common contempt of Christ, and the Spirit, and recovering grace, in all the untegenerate. For it is not possible that men should have any deeper sense of the need or worth of the remedy, than they have of the greatness of their sin and misery.
O sirs, did we not come upon this great disadvántage to you, that we speak to dead mer, that have 10deed a natural life, which doth bot take pleasure in their spiritual death; how confidently should we ex. pect to prevail with you all! But while you think Fightly of your disease, we can expect no better but that you think as lightly of Christ and holiness, and all the means that tend to your recovery; and think of the new man, as the poets fabled of the Promethean race, that it grows out of the earth (of your own pool sorry purposes and performances) like ordinary plants: