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ings, particularly by himself; dispositions which ensure them peace of mind, self-approbation, and the consciousness of being excellent and lovely. To a mind thus purified and exalted, he unites a body, spiritual, incorruptible, glorious, and immortal, the proper tenement of so noble an inhabitant. Thus formed and perfected, he removes them to his heavenly kingdom, and there places them in circumstances and amid companions of such a nature, as to enable them to improve in knowledge, excellence, honour, and happiness for ever.
AND THE VERY GOD OF PEACE SANCTIFY YOU WHOLLY.
HAVING considered, in the preceding Discourse, the nature, reality, importance, and consequences of adoption, I shall now proceed to the next subject of inquiry, in a theological system; viz. sanctification. That this is a consequence of regeneration, is too obvious to every one who reads his Bible, to be questioned.
The word 'sanctify,' used in the text, and elsewhere in the Scriptures abundantly, is employed to denote two things, which are commonly and properly made distinct objects of consideration in moral science: the act of regenerating man, or making him holy in the first instance; and the combination of all successive acts of a similar nature, by which man is improved in holiness through life. It is scarcely necessary to be observed, that the latter of these subjects will now be the theme of investigation.
The text is a prayer of St. Paul, for the sanctification of the Thessalonian Christians. As he prays, that they may be wholly sanctified, it is evident that they were sanctified in part only at their regeneration; and at the time also in which this
prayer was uttered. It is further evident, that they were to be sanctified in a still greater degree; because this event is prayed for by the apostle, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. The reality of this work is thus completely evident from the text; and is indeed so generally acknowledged by Christians, that it would be superfluous to attempt a proof of it at the present time. I shall therefore proceed directly to the consideration of this subject under the following heads :
I. The agent,
II. The instruments,
III. The process, of sanctification.
I. The agent in our sanctification is the Spirit of God. This truth is amply declared in the Scriptures. God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through the sanctification of the Spirit,' 2 Thess. ii. 13. Elect,' says St. Peter, according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, 1 Pet. 1, 2. 'But ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified, in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God,' 1 Cor. vi. 14.
The most extensive and complete account, however, which is given us of this subject in the Scriptures, is contained in the eighth chapter of the epistle to the Romans. Here Christians are said not to walk after the flesh, but after the Spirit-to be under the law of the Spirit of life-to be after the Spirit: to mind the things of the Spirit to be spiritually minded, and thus to possess life and peace to have the Spirit dwelling in them to be led by the Spirit, which to them becomes the Spirit of adoption; that is, the Spirit, by which they are children of God, and cry unto him, Abba, Father-to have the witness of the Spirit:-to have the first fruits of the Spirit to have the assistance of the Spirit in their prayers'— and, universally, to be under his guidance, and influence, through the whole Christian life.
The same agency indeed, like that which was exerted in the creation of the world, and like the divine agency generally considered, is attributed to the Godhead universally, to the Father, and to the Son. The text is an example of the first of these forms of ascription. The very God of peace sanctify
you wholly.' Of the second we have an instance in the beginning of the Epistle of St. Jude. Jude the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father, and preserved in Jesus Christ, and called.' Of the last of these forms of ascription we have a specimen in 1 Cor. i. 30, Jesus Christ, who unto us, of God, is become wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:' and another in Heb. ii. 11, For both he that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified, are all of one: wherefore he is not ashamed to call them brethren.'
The reason, why this work is thus differently ascribed, is, that it is considered in the Holy Scriptures in different manners, and with relation to different objects.
By the Father we are sanctified, as we are chosen by him unto sanctification; as by his good pleasure and free grace the atonement of Christ and the sanctifying agency of the Spirit exist. By the Son we are sanctified, as his death is the only means by which we ever become holy, and by which the Spirit came into the world, for the benevolent purpose of making us holy. By the Spirit we are sanctified as the immediate agent in applying to us the blessings of Christ's redemption, particularly, in renewing and purifying our hearts and lives.
Thus, although this work is immediately performed by the Spirit, as the proper agent, yet we are truly, though more remotely, said to be sanctified by the Father, by the Son and by the Godhead universally considered.
The manner in which this work is performed in the mind of man, must, like other questions concerning the agency of intelligent beings, remain in a great measure concealed from such minds as ours. My observations concerning it will therefore be very few. In my own view, the work of sanctification, so far as the Agent is concerned, is no other than a repetition of the same agency by which we are regenerated. Our regeneration, according to my own apprehensions, is accomplished, as I mentioned at large in a former Discourse, by the communication to our minds of a new relish for divine things. Our sanctification, as distinguished from it, consists supremely in enhancing this relish; in rendering it more intense, more uniform, more vigorous, and universally more operative. The communication of this relish or disposition makes us holy at
first, or in our regeneration; subsequent communications of the same nature render us more and more holy afterwards. As the effect in both cases is the same, it cannot be reasonably doubted that the cause is the same; nor that it operates in the same manner. If this disposition is in the mind, the source of holy volitions and virtuous conduct, the stronger, the more prevalent, it is at any succeeding period, the more virtuous will be the life.
II. The instruments of our sanctification are generally the word and providence of God.
The word of God is the means of our sanctification in all cases in which it contributes to render us better, whether it be read, heard, or remembered; whether it be pondered with love, reverence, wonder, and delight; or whether, with similar affections, it be faithfully obeyed; whether its instructions and impressions be communicated to us directly, or through the medium of divine ordinances, or the conversation, or the communion, or the example, of our fellow-christians. In all these cases, the thing which is seen, which is illustrated, which is exemplified, which is in any manner brought home to the heart, and thus rendered the means of improving us in virtue, is no other than the word of God; however numerous, or however diversified the modes are in which it is presented to the mind.
As the word of God is loved by a regenerated mind, it is easily discernible that its influence on such a mind will be very different from that which existed in the preceding state, commonly termed the state of nature.
Particularly: The Scriptures will be more frequently and extensively read. A book which we love is often taken up, is often perused and dwelt upon with pleasure. Such a book therefore will be much more thoroughly studied and extensively understood, than one which is disrelished. It is also now more highly reverenced, and for this reason will be more read, and better known.
Its instructions and precepts at the same time coincide with the great scheme of moral conduct formed by the mind, as its only general directory; harmonizing with its views, affections, aims, and determinations. They are therefore welcomed as means of light, as objects of complacency, as sanctions of