Oldalképek
PDF
ePub

new out of God's fashioning, or that with the law of God written in his heart, or that with the holiness of God, of which it was a ray shining into the soul, or that image of God with itself in Christ the second Adam; and, every way, holiness in its nature consists in a conformity and commensuration to the most beautiful things.

Thirdly, If we consider some of the chief properties of holiness, we shall find it, in that regard likewise, very beautiful. First, Rectitude and uprightness, sincerity and simplicity of heart : “God made man upright, but they have found out many inventions d;" that is, have sought up and down, through many turnings and by-ways, to satisfy crooked affections. It was David's prayer, “Make thy way straight before my face e;" and it is the apostle's instruction, “ Make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame, be turned out of the way f." True holiness is a plain and an even thing, without falsehood, guile, perverseness of spirit, deceitfulness of heart, or starting aside. It hath one end, one rule, one way, one heart; whereas hypocrites are, in the Scripture, called “ double-minded men ?,” because they pretend to God, and follow the world :--And “ crooked men ",” like the swelling of a wall, whose parts are not perpendicular, nor level to their foundation. Now rectitude, sincerity, and singleness of heart, is ever, both in the eyes of God and man, a beautiful thing

Secondly, Harmony and uniformity within itself. The philosopher saith of a just man, that “he is like a die,”— which is every way even and like itself; turn it how you will, it falls upon an equal bottom. And so holiness keeps the heart like itself in all conditions. As a watch, though altogether it may be tossed up and down with the agitation of him that carrieth it about him; yet that motion doth no way perturb the frame, or disorder the workings of the spring and wheels within: so though the man may be many ways tempted and disquieted, yet the frame of his heart, the order of his affections, the government of the spirit within him, is not thereby stopped, but holdeth on in the same tenor. We know, in the body, if any part do exceed the due proportion, it destroys the beauty and acceptableness of the rest. Symmetry and fitness of the parts unto one another, is that which commends a body. Now holiness consisteth in this proportion ; there is in it an expléela,' an exactness of obedience, an equal respect unto all God's commandments, a hatred of every false way, a universal work upon the whole spirit, soul and body,-a supply made unto every joint,-a measure dispensed unto every part; not a grace due unto Christian integrity, which is not, in some proportion, fashioned in a man. Christ hath no monsters begotten by his spiritual seed : for monsters are ever caused, either by an excess, or by a defect of seed: in one case, nature, being over-charged, is forced to labour that which remains, and will not be laid aside, into some superfluous members; and, in the other, for want of materials to leave her work unfinished, and destitute of some necessary parts. But now first, we are to note, that a man can have no superfluity of grace; we can never have too much of that, the fulness whereof we should labour to get; and for the other danger, we know Christ hath a residue of spirit to supply any defect, and to make up whatsoever is away for the fashioning of Christ in us: so then holiness fashioneth the whole man. He that leaves any ove faculty of his soul neglected, or any one part of the service or law of God disobeyed (I speak of a total and constant neglect), is undoubtedly a hypocrite, and disobeys all. As David with a little stone slew Goliah, because his forehead was open; so can our enemy easily deal with us, if he observe any faculty naked and neglected. The actual and total breach of any one commandment, (total I mean, when the whole heart doth it, though haply it execute not all the obliquity which the compass of the sin admits) is an implicit, habitual, interpretative, and condi. tional breach of all; his soul stands alike disaffected to the holiness of every commandment; and he would undoubtedly adventure on the breach of this, if such exigencies and conditions as misguided him in the other, should thereunto as strongly induce him. He that hath done any one of these abominations, hath done all these abominations in God's account. There being then in a Christian man a suitable

f Heb.

d Eccles. vii. 29. Jer. xxxi. 22. Isai, lvii. 10. xii. 13. Jam. i.&. h Deut. xxxii. 5.

e Psal. v. 8.
i Isai. xxx, 12, 13.

k James ii. 10, 11.

| Ezek. xviii, 10, 13.

life and vigour of holiness in every part, and a mutual conspiring of them all in the same ways and ends, there must needs likewise be therein an excellent beauty.

Thirdly, Growth and farther progress in these proportions : for it is not only uprightness and symmetry of parts, which causeth perfect beauty and comeliness, but stature likewise. Now holiness is a thriving and growing thing. The Spirit is seed, and the Word is rain, and the Father is a husbandman, and therefore the life of Christ is an abounding life. The rivers of the Spirit of grace spring up into eternity." As Christ hath no monsters, so neither hath he any dwarfs in his mystical body; but all his grow up unto the pitch of perfection, which it becometh them to have in him, even “ unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” The meaning of the apostle is, that Christ is not always an infant in us as when he is first formed; but that he doth' grandescere in sanctis, as Musculus well expresseth it, that he groweth up still unto the stature of a man: for wheresoever there is faith and holiness, there is ever ingenerated an appetite for augmentation ; faith is of a growing, and charity of an abounding nature P. By the Word of truth, as by incorruptible seed' we were begotten; and, by the same Word, as by the sap and milk, are we nourished, and grow up thereby S. This affection holiness ever works, as it did in the disciples; “Lord, increase our faith*;” and in David, “ Strengthen, O God, that which thou hast wrought for us u.”

Fourthly, Besides the rectitude, harmony, and maturity, which is in holiness, there is another property ; which maketh the beauty thereof surpass all other beauty, and that is, indeficiency. The measure of Christ must be the rule of our growth ; but Christ never was overtaken by old age or times of declining, he never saw corruption : so we must proceed from strength to strength, like the sun to the perfect day; but there is no sinking or setting of holiness in the heart. They that are planted in God's house, do still bring forth fruit in their old age *, and are even then fat and flourishing As our outward man decayeth, so our inward man groweth day by day.” Our holiness is a branch of the life of Christ in us, which doth never of itself run into death, and therefore is not apta nata' of itself to decay: for that is nothing but an earnest, inchoation, and assurance of death. “That which waxeth old," saith the apostle, “ is ready to vanish away."

m Joh. x. 10. q Jam, i. 18, 21. a Psal. lxvii. 28.

n Joh. iv. 14.
rl Peter i. 23.
* Psal. xcii. 14.

• Eph. iv. 12, 13.
• 1 Peter ii. 2.

P 2 Thes. i. 3.
Luke xvii. 5.
y Heb. viii, 13.
z Rom. xv. 13. 1 Peter i. 8.

Fifthly and lastly, If we consider the operations of holiness, that likewise will evidence the beauty thereof; for it hath none but gracious and honourable effects. It filleth the soul with joy, comfort, and peace. All joy?, unspeakable, and glorious joy, peace", quietness, assurance, songs, and everlasting joy. It maketh the blind see ", the deaf hear, the lame leap, the dumb sing, the wilderness and parched ground to become springs of water. It entertaineth the soul with feasts of fatted things, and of refined wines, and carrieth it into the banqueting housed unto apples and flagons. It giveth the soul a dear communion with God in Christ, a sight of him, an access unto him, a boldness in his presence, an admission into most holy delights and intimate conferences with him in his bed-chamber, and in his galleries of love. In one word, it gathers the admiration of men, it secures the protection of angels, and (which is argument of more beauty than all the creatures in the world have besides), it attracteth the eye and heart s, the longings and ravishments, the tender compassions and everlasting delights, of the Lord Jesus.

I have insisted on these properties of holiness, which denote inward beauty, because all the graces of the Spirit do beautify inherently. But the word properly signifying decus' or ornatum,' 'outward adorning,'—by a metaphor of rich apparel, expressing the internal excellency of the soul,notes unto us two things more :

First, That the people of Christ are not only sanctified within, but have interest in that unspotted holiness of Christ, wherewith they are clothed as with an ornamenta So the priests of God are said to be clothed with righteousness ",' and we are said to put on Christ:i' and the righteousness of Christ is frequently compared to 'long white robes k,' fit to cover our sins, to hide our nakedness, and to protect our persons from the wrath of God; so that to the eye of his justice we appear, as it were, parts of Christ; as when Jacob wore Esau's garment, he was as Esau to bis Father, and, in that relation, obtained the blessing. God carrieth himself towards us in Christ, as if we ourselves had fulfilled all righteousness, as if there were no ground of contestation with us, or exception against us !! And this is indeed the beauty of holiness :' the model, prototype, and original of all beauty.

a Jsai. xxxii. 17. bIsai. xxxv. 5, 10. c Isai. xxv. 6. d Cant. ii. 4, 5. • Psal. xlv. 16. Cant. i. 4. f Cant. vii, 5. & Psal. xlv. ll. Canc, iv, 9.

Secondly, From the metaphorical allusion (as it is usually understood) it notes unto us likewise, that all the people of Christ are • Priests unto God, to offer up sacrifices TM acceptable unto him by Jesus Christ: they have all the privileges, and the duties of priests". To approach unto God: we have liberty to enter into the holiest ? by the blood of Jesus, to consult and have communion with him, to be his remembrancers; for as his Spirit is his remembrancer unto us," he shall bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.P;" so is he our remembrancer unto God, to put him in mind of his mercy and promises ?, to make mention of him, and to give him no rest." To know, and propagate his truth : this was the office of the priest, to be the keeper of the knowledge , and to teach it unto others : and this knowledge in the gospel doth overflow the earth', and make every man, in a spiritual sense, a priest, an instructor and edifier of his brother. To offer to him such sacrifices as he now delighteth in ;-the sacrifices of thanksgiving *, the sacrifices of a broken and a contrite spirit', the sacrifices of praise ?, confession, good works, and mutual communicating unto one another *; in one word, the sacrificing of a man's whole self, to be consecrated as a kind of first-fruits unto God“, being sanctified by the

b Psal. cxxxii. 9. i Gal. iii. 27. k Rev. iii. 18. iv. 4. vi, 11. vii. 9. I Psal. xxxii. I. m 1 Pet. ii. 5. Isai. lvi. 7. n Rev. i. 6. o Heb. x. 19. P John xiv. 26. 9 Isai. xliii. 26, r Isai. Ixii. 6, 7. Mal. ii. 7 * Isai. xi. 9. u Col. ii. 16. Heb. iii. 13. Jude ver. 20. * Psal. cvii. 22. y Psal. li. 17. 2 Heb. xii, 15, 16, Phil. iv. 18. Rom. xii. 1. Isai. lxvi. 20. c James i. 18. VOL. II.

Y

« ElőzőTovább »