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whom he communicated the Divine influences and the breath of a nobler life; Seth and Enoch, Noah and Abraham, Job and Bildad, and these were the special repositories of the Divine grace, and prophets of righteousness to glorify God in themselves, and in their sermons unto others. But this was like enclosing of the sun; he that shuts him in, shuts him out; and God, who was, and is an infinite goodness, would not be circumscribed, and limited to a narrow circle: goodness is his nature, and infinite is his measure, and communication of that goodness is the motion of that eternal being: God, therefore, breaks forth as out of a cloud, and picks out a whole nation; the sons of Israel became his family, and that soon swelled into a nation, and that nation multiplied, till it became too big for their country, and by a necessary dispersion went, and did much good, and gained some servants to God out of other parts of mankind. But God was pleased to cast lots once more, and was like the sun already risen upon the earth, who spreads his rays to all the corners of the habitable world, that all that will open their eyes and draw their curtains, may see and rejoice in his light. Here God resolved to call all the world; he sent into the high ways and hedges, to the corners of the Gentiles, and the highways of the Jews, all might come that would; for 'the sound of the Gospel went out into all lands:' and God chose all that came, but all would not; and those that did, he gathered into a fold, marked them with his own mark, sent his son to be the great Shepherd and Bishop of their souls;' and they became a peculiar people unto God,' 'a little flock,' 'a new election.'
And here is the first separation and singularity of the Gospel; all that hear the voice of Christ's first call, all that profess themselves his disciples, all that take his signature, they and their children are the church, an 'Exxanoia, called out from the rest of the world, the elect' and the chosen of God.'
Now these being thus chosen out, culled and picked from the evil generations of the world, he separates them from others, to gather them to himself; he separates them and sanctifies them to become holy; to come out, not of the companies so much, as from the evil manners of the world: God chooses them unto holiness, they are τεταγμένοι εἰς ζωὴν αἰώνιον, 'put in the right order to eternal life.'
All Christians are holy unto the Lord, and therefore must not be unholy in their conversation; for nothing that is unholy shall come near to God: that is the first great line of our duty: but God intends it further: all Christians must not be only holy, but eminently holy. For 'John indeed baptized with water;' but that is but a dull and inactive element, and moves by no principle, but by being ponderous; Christ 'baptizes with the Holy Ghost and with fire,' and God hates lukewarmness; and when he chooses to him a peculiar people, he adds, they must be "zealous of good works."
But in this affair there are many steps and great degrees of progression. 1. All God's people must be delivered from all sin; for as Christ came wholly to destroy the works of the devil,' so he intends also to present his church as a pure virgin unto Christ;” ἄσπιλον, ἀπρόσκοπον, εἰλικρινῆ, “ without scandal, without hypocrisy," "without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing :" for to be quit from sin, that is, from all affection to it, is supposed in the Christian's life: 'denying ungodliness and worldly lusts,' and 'being cleansed from all filthiness of flesh and spirit,' and 'having escaped from all corruption that is in the world through lust;' this is not so much commanded as supposed: without this, nothing can be done, nothing can be hoped this is but the foundation of the Christian, who is intended to be a habitation of God,'' a member of Christ,' ' a temple of the holy Spirit of God:' the building follows.
2. All Christians must acquire all the graces of the holy Spirit of God; St. Peter gives the catalogue; "faith, and virtue, and knowledge, and temperance, and patience, and godliness, and brotherly kindness, and charity":" and that you may see what is the spirit of a Christian, what an activity and brisk principle is required to the acquisition of these things; the apostle gives this precept, that for the acquiring these things,' we should give,' nãσav σпoudǹv, 'all diligence;' no lazy worker is a good Christian, he must be diligent; and not every diligence, nor every degree of good diligence; but it must be all, omnem omnino diligentiam,' 'give all diligence.'
3. There is yet another degree to be added hereto : it is not enough for a Christian to be free from corruption, and to have these graces; and therefore to be diligent, very diligent to obtain them; but they must be in us, and abound","
N. B. they must be in us; these graces and this righteousness must be inherent; it is not enough for us that Christ had them for us; for it is true, if he had not had them, we should never have received those, or any thing else that is good but he had them, that we might have them, and follow his steps who knew no sin, and fulfilled all righteousness. They "must be in us," saith St. Peter; and not only so, they must also abound in us; that is the end of Christ's death; that is the fruit of his Spirit: they must be plentiful, like a full vintage, or like Euphrates in the time of ripe fruits; they must swell over the banks: for when they are but in gradu virtutis,' 'in the lowest step of sincerity,' they may fall from the tree like unripe fruit, and be fit for nothing but for prodigals and swine; they must be in their season and period, great and excellent, and eminent; they must take up all our faculties, fill up all our time, spend all our powers, satisfy the will, and be adequate to all the powers of our choice; that is, as St. Peter adds, they must be so, that we “make our calling and election sure;" so as that we shall never any more depart from God: well, thus far, you see how severe and sacred a thing it is to be a Christian.
4. But there are yet three steps more beyond this: God requires of us perseverance; a thrusting all this forward, even unto the end: 'without peace and holiness no man shall see God,' saith the author to the Hebrews; but that is not all; διώκετε εἰρήνην καὶ ἁγιασμὸν, “ follow after peace and holiness with all men," aveu ou," without which;" it is not avεu ns eignvns, "without which peace," but aveu où dixiv, "without which following of peace and holiness;" that is, unless we endure all contradiction of sinners and objections; without following it close and home to the utmost issue, to the end of all righteousness, tending even to comprehension, to consummation, and perfection, no man shall see God; dioxεiv ev àviaoμã, is good and great, "to dwell in holiness;" but that is not enough, it must be dine too, we must still pursue it, and that unto the end: "for he that endureth unto the end, shall be saved."
5. And what more? yes, there is something yet: for besides this extension of duration, there must be intensio graduum:' for 'nondum comprehendimus, nondum perfecti
Heb. xii. 14.
sumus;" "we have not yet comprehended, we are not yet made perfect;" but that must be aimed at: Be ye perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect ;'-be 'ye meek as Christ is; be ye holy as God is holy;'-'pure as your Father in heaven is pure;'-and who can be so? no man can be so in degree, but so in kind; every man must desire, and every man must contend to be, and therefore it is possible, else it had never been required.
6. And now after all this, one thing more is to be done : you must be so for yourselves, and you must be so for others: you must be so as to please God, and you must be so to edify your brethren: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may glorify your Father which is in heaven :" let it be so eminent and conspicuous, that all that see your conversation, and all that come into your congregations, may be convinced, and "falling down and worshipping, may say, of a truth, the Spirit of the Lord is in you." And therefore our blessed Saviour, in his sermon upon the mount, which is the summary of a Christian's life,-at the end of the eight beatitudes, tells all his followers and disciples: 'ye are the salt of the world, ye are the light of the world;' and therefore "the kingdom of heaven," or the Gospel, is compared " to a woman that hid, in three measures of meal,”—the Jews, the Turks, the heathen idolaters,-"her leaven, till all was leavened:" our light must be so shining, our conversation so exemplar, as to draw all the world after us; that they that will not, may be ashamed, and they that will, may be allured by the beauty of the flame. These are the proportions and measures of every Christian; for "from the days of John the Baptist, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force;" that although "John the Baptist was the greatest that ever was born of woman," yet he that "is least in the kingdom of heaven," the meanest of the laity, may be "greater than he." This is a great height: and these things I have premised, not only to describe the duty of all that are here present, even of all Christians whatsoever, that you may not depart without your portion of a blessing; but also as a foundation of the ensuing periods, which I shall address to you, my brethren of the clergy, the fathers of the people; for I speak in a school of the prophets, prophets and prophets' sons; to you who are, or intend to be so.
For God hath made a separation of you even beyond this separation: he hath separated you yet again; he hath put you anew into the crucible; he hath made you to pass through the fire seven times more. For it is true, that the whole community of the people is the church; " Ecclesia sancta est communio sanctorum," " "the holy catholic church is the communion of saints;" but yet, by the voice and consent of all Christendom, you are the church, by way of propriety, and eminency, and singularity; "churchmen,"-that is your appellative all are άvdgès πveuμatinoì, " spiritual men;" all have received the Spirit, and all walk in the Spirit, and ye are all "sealed by the Spirit unto the day of redemption ;" and yet there is a spirituality peculiar to the clergy: "If any man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such a one in the spirit of meekness:" you who are spiritual by office and designation, of a spiritual calling, and spiritual employment; you who have the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, and minister the Spirit of God, you are more eminently spiritual; you have the Spirit in graces and in powers, in sanctification and abilities, in office and in person; the unction from above hath descended upon your heads and upon your hearts; you are nar' itoxǹv' by way of eminency' and prelation, 'spiritual men.' All the people of God were holy;' Korah and his company were in the right so far; but yet Moses and Aaron were more holy, and stood nearer to God. All the people are prophets it is now more than Moses' wish, for the Spirit of Christ hath made them so: "If any man prayeth or prophesieth with his head covered;" or "if any woman prophesieth with her head uncovered," they are dishonoured: but either man or woman may do that work in time and place; for "in the latter days I will pour out of my Spirit, and your daughters shall prophesy :" and yet, God hath appointed in his church prophets above these, to whose Spirit all the other prophets are subject; and as God said to Aaron and Miriam concerning Moses, "to you I am known in a dream or a vision, but to Moses I speak face to face;" so it is in the church; God gives of his Spirit to all men, but you he hath made the ministers of his Spirit: nay, the people have their portion of the keys of the kingdom of heaven, so said St. Paul; "To
d Gal. vi. 1.