RPM, Volume 18, Number 26, June 19 to June 25, 2016

Sermons on John 17

Sermon XXVI

By Thomas Manton

Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.�"John 17:17.

Here is Christ's second request for his disciples.

1. The request itself, sanctify them.

2. The manner how it is to be accomplished, through thy truth.

3. The reason why it is to be so accomplished, thy word is truth.

The main points are the influence of truth upon sanctification, and that the word is the public record and register of this truth.

Now I shall make some entrance upon the verse.

First, The request; and here�"(1.) What he prayeth for; (2.) To whom; (3.) For whom.

First, What he prayeth for, sanctification.

1. Observe, Our chief aim in prayer for ourselves and others should be to be sanctified. Christ prayeth for sanctification.

[1.] What it is to be sanctified. To sanctify is�"(1.) To consecrate or set apart for some holy use; (2.) To cleanse or purify; (3.) To adorn with gifts of grace.

Some prefer the first acceptation, and apply it particularly to the apostolical calling. 'Sanctify them.' that is, separate them, and set them apart for the work of an apostle. So Christ was sanctified, that is, set apart for the work of redemption. But it is not sanctify them for thy truth, but in or by thy truth, \~en\~ \~th\~ alhyeia\~; and therefore this scripture hath a more general respect and signification. However, in the work of holiness, all the senses may be token in; for whoever are sanctified are set apart, cleansed, and adorned with grace.

(1.) Set apart by God and by themselves. By God, both in time and before time. Before time they are set apart by God's decree, to be a holy seed to himself in and by Christ; separated from the [Pg. 412] perishing world, to be vessels of honour, as the reprobate are called vessels of wrath and dishonour; set apart by God's election, chosen to be holy: Eph. i. 4, 'According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love.' But then in time they are regenerated, and so actually set apart. Sanctification is an actual election. By election they are distinguished from others in God himself, so by regeneration and sanctification they are distinguished from others in themselves, separated and set apart from the perishing world, to act for God, to seek the things that may make for his glory: James i. 18, 'Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures.' The first-fruits were the Lord's portion. Or else by the consent of their own vows: Rom. xii. 1, 'I beseech you that you present yourselves a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, that is your reasonable service.' They have dedicated and devoted themselves to God. God calleth for it when he saith,' My son, give me thy heart.' God will have his own right established by the creatures' consent; it is a necessary fruit of grace.

(2.) Purged by degrees, and made free from sin; this is to be sanctified, to be purged from the corruption of sin and the world. We are not only accounted holy, but we are made holy, and that cannot be till we are purged, because we come into the world polluted with the stain of sin: 1 Cor. vi. 11,' Such were some of you; but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, m the name· of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.' There is a stain and an uncleanness sticketh to our natures and defileth all our actions; we need to be purged.

(3.) Endowed with God's image and likeness; not only cleansed from sin, but adorned with grace; as the priests under the law were not only washed, but adorned with gorgeous apparel. To be sanctified is more than to be purified, because it noteth not only the expulsion of sin, but the infusion of grace: 2 Tim. ii. 12, 'If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet fur the master's use, and prepared unto every good work.' Besides purging, Sanctification addeth somewhat more; they are not only purged from the filthiness of sin, but prepared by the infusion of grace for every good work, made holy as God is holy.

[2.] Why we should chiefly mind it in prayer?

(1.) Because of the excellency of it. It is God's glory, angels' glory, saints' glory. God's glory: Exod. xv. 11, 'God is glorious in holiness.' Angels' glory, who are called Matt. xxv. 31, 'Holy angels.' And the saints' glory: Eph. v. 26, 27, 'That he might sanctify them 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 might be holy, and without blemish.' The church's honour lieth not in pomp and outward ornament, but in holiness.

(2.) Because God aimeth at it in all his dispensations. Election: Eph. i. 4,' According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy, and without blame before him in love;' 2 Thee, ii. 14, 'God hath from the beginning chosen you, through Sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth.' God [Pg. 413] chooseth us that we may be of a choice spirit. As when Esther was chosen out among the virgins, then she was decked with ornaments, so when we are chosen by God we are beautified with holiness. Redemption: Eph. v. 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.' His promises: 2 Peter i. 4, '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' His providences: Heb. xii. 10, 'They verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure, but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Earthly parents correct their children out of mere passion, but he to renew our affections, to sanctify us for himself, that the husk may fly off. He bestows blessings to encourage us in holiness: 1 Tim. vi. 17, 18, 'Charge them that are rich in this world that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy; that they do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to distribute, willing to communicate;' that your riches may be instruments of piety, not occasions to the flesh. It is our corruption to turn all things to a carnal use. His ordinances: 'That he might sanctify them by the washing of water, through the word.' Eph. v. 26. This is God's aim, and it should be ours.

Use. Is to teach us what to seek for ourselves and others; not temporal felicity so much as sanctification; not deliverance from afflictions, nor outward blessings, so much as the sanctified use of them. This is to pray for one another out of the communion of the Spirit, and for ourselves out of a principle of the divine nature. Temporal blessings are only to be desired in order to spiritual ends. Nature is allowed to speak, but grace must be heard first: Mat. vi. 33, 'Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and the righteousness thereof, and all these things shall be added unto you.' These are for overplus.

2. Observe from the matter, he had prayed for conservation from evil, now for sanctification. It is not enough to keep from evil, but we must be holy, and do good: Ps. xxxiv. 14, 'Depart from evil, and do good;' Isa. i. 16, 17,' Cease to do evil, learn to do well.' God hateth evil and delighteth in good; as we must hate what God hateth, so we must love what God loveth. Eadem vette et nolle. I durst not sin, God hateth it; I durst not omit this duty, God loveth it. Our obedience must carry a proportion with the divine mercy; not only be positive but privative. Divine mercy spareth and saveth: 'God is a sun and a shield.' Ps. lxxxiv. 11. Therefore we must not 'walk in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in the seat of the scornful;' but our delight must be 'in the law of the Lord, and in his law must we meditate day and night,' Ps. i. 1, 2. We must have communion with Christ in all his acts, in his death and resurrection. He mortifieth sin and quickeneth the heart: Rom. vi. 11, 'Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God, through Jesus Christ our Lord.' The same divine answer that killeth the old man quickeneth the new. In the word, which is the rule, there are precepts and restraints; therefore we are not only to escape from sin, but there must be a delight in communion [Pg. 414] with God; there most he an eschewing what God forbiddeth, and a practising what God commandeth. Thus are we obliged from our approver, our principles, our encouragements, our rule.

Use. Let it press us not to rest in abstaining from sin. Men are not vicious, but they are not sanctified. The pharisees' religion ran, upon negatives.

1. Both are alike contrary to the new nature.

2. Both are alike disserviceable to the work of grace.

3. Both are hated by God.

1. Both are contrary to the new nature; it hateth evil and loveth good. There is a putting off and a putting on: Eph. iv. 22, 'That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.' It is indeed a question where the trial of a Christian lieth most sensibly, in mortification or vivification? in a hatred of sin or in the practice-of duty? It may be alleged that our nature doth more easily close-with precepts than prohibitions. We are many times content to do-much; if the law require this or that, we yield and consent to it; but to be limited and debarred of our delights, this is most distasteful. Men that love sin cannot endure restraints: Oh! that there were no-bonds! And therefore, to meet with man's corruption, the decalogue consists more of prohibitions than precepts; the fourth and fifth commandments are only positive. But then, on the other side, it may be alleged that many that live a civil life, and do no man wrong, have no care of communion with God, and that sins trouble the conscience more than want of grace. Natural conscience doth not use to smite for spiritual defects. Sins work an actual distemper and disturbance to reason. It is the new nature that maketh conscience of duties, and of obeying God's precepts, therefore the new nature is here most tried;, but yet both must be regarded.

2. Both are alike disserviceable to the work of grace. It is another question whether we are more hardened by sins of omission or by sins of commission? For sins of commission, it may be alleged that they stun the conscience, like a great blow on the head, and cast grace into a swoon. David's adultery put all out of order: 2 Sam. xii. 14, 'Howbeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies-of the Lord to blaspheme, the child which is born of thee shall surely die.' He lay in a spiritual swoon till the child was born. But then on the other side, neglect of duty depriveth us of the influences of grace, and hardens us insensibly. An instrument, though never so well in tune, yet if you let it alone, it will soon be out of order, worse than if a string were broken. After some great and sudden fall into sin, there may be a recovery, as in David's case, but it is hard to recover out of long neglects; therefore sins of omission are more dangerous than sins of commission. And if your communion with God be not constant, the heart contracts rust. A key that is seldom turned is rusted in the lock; by neglect and omission of God and duties the heart is wonderfully hardened and estranged from God. Gifts and graces languish and perish in idleness: 2 John 8, 'Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought.' [Pg. 415] Standing pools are apt to putrify; and sins increase as well as unfitness for duties, the motions of the Spirit are quenched.

3. Both are odious to God. It is a question whether God hateth most the careless sluggish person or the outwardly vicious. A barren tree cumbereth the ground, and is rooted out, as well as the bramble. It is not enough that a servant do his master no hurt, but he must do-his work. A husbandman is not contented that his land does not bear him briars and thorns, but it must yield him good grain. It is not enough to say, I am no swearer, no drunkard. What communion have you with God? What motions and feelings of the power of holiness? Want of grace depriveth a man of happiness. As you would not be damned in hell, so you should get evidences for heaven. Negative righteousness in abstinence from sin the brutes and inanimate creatures have; it is improper and lame. Omission of good duties is a more general means of destruction than commission of evil; but then commission of evil is ever accompanied with omission of good, but omission of good is not always accompanied with commission of evil. He that doth evil dishonoureth God more, but he that omitteth good disadvantageth himself more. Sin is more odious than want of grace in itself; yet want of grace, considering our advantages, may provoke God as much as commission of sin. Secondly, To whom he prays: 'Holy Father, sanctify them.' Observe, it is God must sanctify us; we cannot ourselves, and means will not without God.

1. We cannot ourselves. We could defile ourselves, but we cannot cleanse ourselves; as little children defile themselves, but the nurse must make them clean. A sheep can wander of itself, but it is brought home upon the shepherd's shoulders. Domine, errare per me potui, redire non potui. God, that gave us his image at first, must again stamp it on the soul. Who, can repair nature depraved but the author of nature? When a watch is out of order we send it to the workman: Eph. ii. 10, 'We are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, that we might walk therein;' Lev. xxi. 8, 'I the Lord that sanctify thee am holy.' It is God's prerogative.

2. The means cannot without God. It is by the truth, but God is the principal cause. Sanctification is ascribed to many causes. To God the Father, as he decreeth it: Jude 1, 'To them that are sanctified by God the Father.' To the Son, as he merited it: Eph. v. 25, 26, 'He gave himself for the church, that he might sanctify and cleanse it.' To the Holy Ghost, as he effects it: 2 Thes. ii. 13,' God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit.' To faith, as it receiveth the grace of God: Acts xv. 9, 'Purifying their hearts by faith.' To the word, as the instrument of begetting it: John xv. 3, 'Now ye are clean, through the word which I have spoken unto you;' it is the external means, but all efficacy is of God, and grace is his creature; else what should be the reason why the same word, preached by the same minister, worketh on some and hardeneth others, at least it amendeth them not? Lydia alone is converted, because the Lord 'opened her heart,' Acts xvi. 14. Man's will doth not put the difference, but God's grace.

Use. It presseth us [Pg. 416]

1. To wait and look for it from God. A plant thriveth better by the dew of heaven than when watered by the hand. We may say as Peter, Acts iii. 12, 'Why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power and holiness we had made this man to walk?' 'Am I in the place of God?' saith Jacob to Rachel, Gen. xxx. 2. When you look only to the teacher's gifts, you lose the divine operation; it may fill your heads with fancies and notions but not your hearts with grace.

2. To praise the Lord when it is accomplished: 1 Cor. iii. 5, 'What is Paul, or what is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye have believed?' as if children should thank the servants for what they have. Grace maketh us more in debt; you have received it from him, not from yourselves:' Not I, but the grace of God in me;' 'Thy pound hath gained ten pounds.' If you have any holiness, any good work, it is not of yourselves, but of God Every act, every degree of holiness, is from God.

Thirdly, For whom he prayeth, the apostles.

1. That were already holy: John xiii. 10, 'Ye are clean;' and in the verse immediately preceding, 'They are not of the world;' yet now,' Sanctify them,' let their hearts be more heavenly, and their lives more pure every day.

Observe, those that are sanctified need to be sanctified more and more: Rev. xxii. 11, 'He that is righteous, let him be righteous still; he that is holy, let him be holy still.'

[1.] Our inward sanctification must increase, because of the weakness of present grace and the relics of corruption: 2 Cor. iv. 16, 'Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day.' It is not a work to be done at once: 1 Thes. v. 23, 'And the very God of peace sanctify yon wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit, soul and body, be preserved blameless unto the corn-log of our Lord Jesus Christ' It is perfect in parts at first; the new creature doth not come out maimed; but not in degrees: there is need of more sanctification in spirit, in soul, in body; the kingdom of heaven increaseth by degrees.

[2.] Our outward man must be cleansed day by day, because of new defilements: John xiii. 10, 'He that is washed needeth not but to wash his feet, but is clean every whit' It is an allusion to a man coming from the bath; his feet contract soil in the passage. Your persons are sanctified by the Spirit; but when you are never so holy, there are new defilements.

Use 1. Be not satisfied with any present degrees of grace. There is a holy covetousness: 'I count not myself to have attained,' Phil, iii 14. Christ is so full that we cannot receive all at once.

2. It is a strange conceit in any to think they may be too good. When we begin to be unwilling to grow better, we begin to wax worse; it is a good degree of grace to know our defects.

3. Therefore let us use means to persist in holiness, to increase in holiness, especially prayer, which is the breath which God hath appointed to keep in the name.

Again, For the persons once more: they were to preach the word; are a preparative, he prayeth for sanctification. [Pg. 417]

Observe, holiness is a good preparative to the ministry, and they are inwardly consecrated by the Spirit sanctifying them.

[1.] That they may have experience of the truth of the doctrine upon their own hearts. The apostles were to preach the truth to others; now saith he, 'Sanctify them through thy truth.' 'I believed, and therefore have I spoken,' Ps. cxvi. 10. We speak best when we speak by experience. This is the right way of getting sermons by heart. We are God's witnesses; now we should have sound experience: 1 John i. 1, 'That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled of the word of life; that which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you.' Ezekiel was first to eat the roll, Ezek. iii. 1-3; not only to see it, and to hear it, but to eat it. Ministers must first eat themselves, then feed others. We are not to speak by hearsay, to deliver God's message as a mere narration, but out of a deep impression on the heart. What cometh from the heart and from experience is quick and lively.

[2.] For the honour of God. Carnal ministers bring a reproach upon the ordinances: 1 Sam. ii. 17, 'The sin of the young men was very great before the Lord, for men abhorred the offering of the Lord.' Who will take meat out of a leprous hand?

[3.] To answer the types of the law. Aaron and his sons were sanctified for the Levitical priesthood, Exod. xxix. 4; to be washed with blood and oil, to be washed in the great laver, sprinkled with blood, anointed with oil, which denotes remission of sins, regeneration, the gifts of the Spirit: 1 John v. 8, 'There are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, the water, and the blood.' Every office should have a solemn consecration.

Use 1. Ministers should look to their inward call. They that are designed to serve God in a special manner must look after special purity. It breedeth atheism, when we do not live up to our doctrine. People will say they must say something for their living.

2. Let people look to their choice of ministers. There is a great deal of difference between an eloquent and an experienced pastor.

Secondly, We now come to the means or manner how Christ's request is is to be accomplished, 'by thy truth,' \~en\~ \~th\~ \~alhyeia\~. It may be rendered in thy truth, or by thy truth, or through thy truth; as ver. 19, \~en\~ \~alhyeia\~, without an article, 'that they may be sanctified through the truth;' or, as in the margin, 'truly sanctified;' but we better render it 'by the truth;' there is an article \~th\~, not in truth, but in the truth; and it is presently added, 'Thy word is truth.' So that it noteth not the kind of their sanctification, but the instrument and means. Now these words 'by thy truth' may be understood either of God's faithfulness or his revealed will, both which are called the truth. Of God's faithfulness, as ver. 11, \~thrhson\~ \~en\~ \~onomati\~ \~sou\~; So here, \~agiason\~ \~en\~ \~th\~ \~alhyeia\~, as 'keep them by thy power:' so sanctify them by, or according to thy truth and faithfulness. But this exposition, though plausible, yet is not so proper, because it is presently added, 'Thy word is truth,' By truth, then, is meant, not his faithfulness, but his revealed will. Now God hath revealed his will by the light of nature, or by the light of his word. That will of God which [Pg. 418] is revealed by the light of nature is called truth; so the Gentiles are charged, Rom. i. 18, with 'holding the truth in unrighteousness,' \~to\~ gnwston\~; 'that which may be known of God,' ver. 19, is called truth. How came the Gentiles by the truth, who are strangers to the covenant of promise? The apostle answereth, much of God was known to them. But this truth that is here spoken of is the will of God made known in his word, or the knowledge of things necessary to salvation, concerning God and his worship, first delivered by the prophets, afterwards explained by Christ himself to the apostles, and by them consigned to the church. Now the truths delivered in the word may be referred to two heads�"law and gospel. The distinction in Christ's-time was law and prophets. In this place Christ chiefly intendeth the gospel; the truth which they were sent to preach to others, Christ would nave them to have an experience of it themselves. And it is notable that in many places of scripture the gospel is called the truth, not only in opposition to human writings, but also with respect to the law and other parts of scripture, because it is truth by way of eminency, as we call the plague the sickness, as being the chief of the kind.

Before I come to the observations I must clear up the latter part of the text,' Thy word is truth.' Why is this added? I answer�" Either by way of explication, or by way of argument and reason.

1. By way of explication. Christ would pray intelligibly; some might ask, as Pilate did, 'What is truth?' John xviii. 38. Christ answereth, 'Thy word is truth.' The word is the authentic and public record of the church; the truth whereby we are sanctified is nowhere else to be found; all pretended truths are hereby to be examined.

2. Or else by way of argument and reason why Christ would have-them to be sanctified by the truth, that they might have a saving experience of the power of it, and so the better preach it to others; then we know the truth of the word, when it sanctifieth.

This premised, I come to the point

Doct. That God sanctifieth by his truth. I shall open the point in these proposition:

1. God's way of working is by light; and in infusing grace he beginneth with the understanding. He dealeth with man as a rational creature; and therefore not only teacheth, but draweth and sanctifieth the heart by enlightening the mind. As the rising of the sun doth not only dispel darkness but mists and vapours, so doth a saving light not only dispel ignorance but lusts. This way is spiritual life begun: Eph. v. 14, 'Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.' A man would have thought the apostle should rather have said, And Christ, shall give thee life, than 'give thee light.' It is the apostle's word; \~apofwsei\~ \~soi\~, he shall shine upon thee, rather than \~zwpoihsei\~, he shall' quicken thee. But light is enough; the power of grace breaketh in upon the soul by the light of the gospel; as it is said of the natural life, John i. 4, 'In him was life, and the life was the light of men.' Reason and understanding are the fountain of life to men, so is spiritual reason and spiritual understanding to the soul. If the mind of a man were once spiritual, enlightened, and possessed of the ways of God, the heart could not utterly reject, them. [Pg. 419]

There is a notional illumination, that, like a winter sun, shineth but warmeth not, leaveth no comfort and profit upon the heart. But a spiritual light is always effectual; for though the will and the judgment are distinct faculties, and the will is averse as the understanding is blind, yet God doth never soundly and thoroughly convince the judgment, but he moveth and inclineth the will. If we know things as we ought to know, 'as the truth is in Jesus,' Eph. iv. 21, the heart must needs close with the ways of God; for the will of man is not brutish, but reasonable, and acteth reasonably. Answerably to the discovery of good or ill in the understanding, there is a prosecution or aversation in the will. Therefore a thorough conviction of judgment must be the ground of grace in the heart; for God worketh in us, not only by a powerful and real efficacy, but agreeably to an intelligent nature, by teaching, persuading, counselling: nothing can be wrought in this moral way unless light and knowledge go before.

2. It must be a true, and not a false light. Truth sanctifieth, and error defileth: Titus i. 1, 'According to the acknowledgment of the truth that is after godliness.' Bight thoughts of God and his ways preserve an awe in the heart, which both restraineth and reneweth. \~Ta\~, \~drya\~ \~dogmata\~ \~peri\~ \~Yeou\~ \~legomena\~ \~agiazei\~ \~thn\~ \~quchn\~, saith Chrysostom. It is truth that cleanseth the heart; error leaveth a stain and defilement The understanding and the will are like the head and stomach; a corrupt heart blindeth the mind, and a blind mind corrupts the heart; they mutually vitiate one another: as in a ruinous house, the upper room being uncovered, lets down the rain to founder the supporters below, and the rottenness of the supporters below weakeneth all above. Erroneous persons are generally represented in scripture as vain and sensual: Jude 8, 'These filthy dreamers defile the flesh.' First there is dreaming, and then defilement; error maketh way for looseness, and a vain mind for vile affections. Partly by God's just judgment: some opinions seem to be remote, and lie far enough from practice, yet the persons that profess them are generally loose. Nay, some errors seem to encourage strictness, as doctrines concerning the power of nature, and the merit of good actions; but we find it is otherwise. Duty is best pressed upon God's terms: Phil, ii. 12, 13, 'Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of his own good pleasure.' By the judgment of God, such are of loosest life. God will have his glory kept unstained. Idolatry is expressed by whoredom; bodily uncleanness ends in spiritual:' Hosea iv. 12, 13, 'My people ask counsel of their stocks, and their staff declareth unto them; for the spirit of whoredoms have caused them to err, and they go a-whoring from under their God. They sacrifice upon the tops of the mountains, and burn incense upon the hills, under oaks, and poplars and elms, because the shadow thereof is good. Therefore your daughters shall commit whoredoms, and your spouses shall commit adultery.' So Rom. i. 23, 24, 'They changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and [Pg. 420] creeping things. Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleannees, through the lusts of their own hearts to dishonour their own bodies between themselves.' Partly by a natural efficacy; the spirit is embased by error, and all false principles have a secret and pestilential influence on the life and practice. We lose a sense and care of piety, if we have not a right apprehension of God's essence and will; a frame of truth keepeth an awe. Therefore, where there is so much truth as to sanctify, vet because it is mingled with falsehood, there is no such reverence of God, no such strictness. Unbelief is the mother of sin; misbelief is the nurse of it In error there is a sinful confederacy between the rational and the sensual part, and so carnal affections are gratified with carnal doctrines.

3. Every true light will not serve the turn, but it must be the light of the word. God hath reserved this honour of sanctifying the heart to the doctrine of the scriptures, to evidence their divine original: James i. 18, 'Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.' The great change that is wrought in the heart of man is by the word. A moral lecture may make a man change his life, but the word of God roaketh a man change his heart, as Xenocrates' moral lectures made Pollemo leave his vicious and sensual course of life; but regeneration is only found in the school of Christ: 'He hath begotten us by the word of truth.' And the ordinance of preaching the word is consecrated to this purpose: Eph. v. 26,' That he might sanctify them by the washing of water through the word.' There are other occasional helps, but this is the instituted means. God will work no other way in his ordinary and revealed course, and will accept no other obedience and sanctification but by the word. Holiness, or that piety which is proper and genuine, is wrought by a divine truth, otherwise it is superstition, not godliness; civility, not holiness of conversation. Though men have never so good an inclination, yet because they have not a divine revelation for their warrant, it is but a bastard religion, superstition, or framing a strictness of our own, accompanied with opposition against the truth. The word and Spirit are in conjunction: Isa. lix. 21, 'My Spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth,' &c. These act in conjunction, and it is for the honour of the scriptures that God hath annexed them: 1 Thes. v. 19, 20, 'Quench not the Spirit; despise not prophesying.' Preaching of the word and pouring out of the Spirit go together.

4. Every part of the truth worketh not, but only the gospel, which is the truth, \~kat\~ \~exochn\~. The law showeth us our spots, and the gospel cleanseth and washeth them away. The work of the law is preparation, but that which hath a special and direct influence upon sanctification is the gospel: John xv. 3,' Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken to you;' and that was the gospel privilege. This pulleth in the heart to God, that we may be partakers of his grace. Moses brought them to the borders, but Joshua brought them into the land of Canaan. The apostle appealeth to the experience of believers: Gal. iii. 2, 'This only would I learn of you, received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?' Though the Spirit may be received by the preaching of any part of [pg. 421] canonical scripture, yet most usually by the preaching of the gospel. The Lord would give us this sensible and authentic proof of the truth and excellency of the gospel, that we receive the Spirit of regeneration by it, and not by the law. It is the instrument by which God useth to confer the Spirit So 2 Peter i. 4,' To us are given exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we may be made partakers of the divine nature.' What part of the word worketh the heart to a conformity to God, likeneth us in holiness to God? The great and precious promises. It is not by moral strains, nor by terrible threatenings; these have their use in their place; but by the great and precious promises, as God was in the still voice.

5. The gospel worketh not unless it be accompanied with the Spirit. There is a great deal of difference between seeing things in the light of reason, and seeing things in the light of the Spirit Truth represented in the light of reason begets but a human faith, leaveth a weak impression, and hath but a weak operation upon the soul; but things represented in the light of the Spirit worketh quite otherwise; there is not only a notional irradiation, but an experimental feeling; they see another manner of beauty and excellency in Christ, a vanity in worldly delights, which they never saw before. Running water and strong water differ not in colour, but in taste and virtue: John xvi. 13,' When he the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth;' 1 John ii. 27, 'The anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you; and ye need not that any man teach you, but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things.' Most men content themselves with a superficial belief; they have but a human knowledge of divine things, and therefore their souls are not carried out to holiness, love, fear, trust, obedience; they have a cold and naked apprehension: literal knowledge is washy and weak, it worketh not: 1 Peter i. 22, 'Seeing ye have purified your souls, in obeying the truth through the Spirit.'

6. This must not only be represented in the power and demonstration of the Spirit, but received and applied by faith. Sanctification is sometimes ascribed to the gospel, and sometimes to faith, which receiveth the gospel: Acts xv. 9, 'Purifying their hearts by faith.' Our hearts are purified by the word of truth: 1 Peter i. 22, 'Seeing that ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth, through the Spirit.' Here they were purified by faith. The word worketh not without an act on our part as well as on God's: 'The word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it.' Heb. iv. 2; as a plaster worketh not till it be applied to the sore. Nay, the apostle's word implieth more; the word must not only be applied to the soul, but mingled with the soul, \~sugkekraminov\~. As in a medicine, the ingredients must be mixed together to do good; so if we have the word, we must have the Spirit, and we must have faith; mix it altogether, and then it worketh. Faith receiveth the word as a divine and infallible truth, and that begets an awe.

In short, faith working to sanctification, apprehends the love of God, the blood of Christ, the promises, precepts of the word; and by all these it is ever purging and working out corruption. By apprehending the love of God: Gal. v. 6, 'In Christ Jesus neither circumcision [Pg. 422] availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith that worketh by love.' Shall I love that which God hateth? Oh! do not this abominable thing that I hate,' Jer. xliv. 4. Faith represented God pleading thus: Is this thy kindness to thy friend? do I thus requite God for nil his kindness to me in Christ? There is an exasperation against lusts. It maketh use of the blood of Christ: 1 John i. 7, 'The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sins;' Heb. ix. 14, 'How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your consciences from dead works to serve the living God?' That is an excellent purger. In outward purging it is the water and the soap cleanseth, but the hand of the laundress applieth it, and rubbeth the clothes that are washed. Faith apprehendeth the blood of Christ to purge the conscience, it waiteth tor the sanctifying virtue of his blood, and the grace purchased thereby. So faith maketh use of the promises; this giveth faith encouragement to expect glorious rewards. Assistance is purchased, and acceptance is promised: 2 Cor. Vii. 1, 'Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthinem of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God' Then faith constantly maketh use of the precepts and counsels of the word, by which sin is discovered and taxed. When the word is received by faith, there goeth a light with it to see sin after another manner, although a man did not know it before. Faith persuadeth us that the commands of God are just and equal. There is a believing commands, as well as promises; this is a command from God: Ps. cxix. 66, 'Teach me good judgment and knowledge, for I have believed thy commandments.'

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