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about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil: for God was with him.” This is the honour put on him, to bear these offices, signified by his names Messias aud Christ, i. e. anointed. And as he is Christ, all that are his are Christians, anointed with the same Spirit, Psal. xlv. 7, having part with him in his offices.
1st, Christ is a prophet: and all that are his, have part with him in his prophetical office, are prophets too, Psal. cv. 15. They are let into the knowledge of the things of God by the Spirit. Hence the apostle saith, 1 John ii. 20, 27, “But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things. But 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, and is truth and is no lie: and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.” They are on the secret of heaven: For (Psal. xxv. 14,)“ the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him : and he will shew them his coven ant," Matt. xi. 25. And they teach them to others too, though they cannot make them effectual. Hence David saith, Psal. li. 13, “I will teach transgressors thy ways, and sinners shall be converted unto thee.” Not only ministers, but every true Christian has this office; the former in a public, the latter in a private captivity, Philip. ii. 15, 16.
But the unholy have no part with him in his prophetical office.
(1.) They are not illuminated by the Spirit of holiness, savingly to know the things of God, 1 Cor. ii. 12, 14. They may be taught by men, but are not taught of God: they may know the literal sense of the words of the gospel; but the things thereof in their suitableness to the divine perfections and sinner's case, are are hid from them, Matt. xi. 25. They never get into the secret of religion.
(2.) Neither do they by the Spirit of holiness enlighten the world. Being dark themselves, they darken the world by their ungodly, profane, or formal lives. Most of them see no tie on them to be their brother's keeper. Such as teach others the things of God, do it by a gift, for their own glory; not by the Spirit, out of love to Christ and his glory. So they have no part with him in his prophetical office.
2dly, He is a Priest : and all his have part with him in that venerable office. They are priests too, 1 Pet. ii. 9, a royal priesthood : Rev. i. 6, priests unto God. They are consecrated to God to serve him in his spiritual temple, in their robes of Christ's imputed righteousness and inherent holiness. They offer sacrifices of thanksgiving unto God, which are accepted of God through Christ, their only altar.
They offer to him themselves, Rom. xii. 1, their service to him in acts of worship and duty, Heb. xiii. 15; Acts x. 4, and in suffering or bearing the cross, Philip. ii. 17; 2 Tim. iv. 6.
But the unholy have no part with Christ in his priestly office.
(1.) They are not of the line, not descended from our great High Priest, as born of his Spirit. They were never truly consecrated, or made holy persons; they are destitute of imputed and implanted righteousness : they are wholly polluted and defiled, as being of the world lying in wickedness: so if they pretend to the spiritual priesthood, they will be, as polluted, put from it.
(2.) They do not, nor cannot offer acceptable sacrifices to God. They never offer themselves to God as a sacrifice, but to the world and their lusts. If they offer prayers or other services to him, they never offer them on the right altar, Christ. Hence they, and all they do, even their best things, are an abomination, Prov. xxviii. 9.
Lastly, Christ is a King : and all his have part with him in that honourable office. They are kings too, Rev. i. 6, “Kings unto God.” They have the right of dominion over their spiritual enemies, the role of their own spirits governing themselves by the laws of Christ, and the lordship of the world, Rom. iv. 13; and they are beirs of the kingdom of heaven. They do not yet peaceably possess their kingdom; the rebels and their open enemies are making constant wars against them; but they do overcome, and are “ more than conquerors, through him that loved them,” 1 John iv. 4; Rom. viii. 37.
But the unholy have no part with Christ in his kingly office.
They are servants and slaves to sin and Satan, Rom. vi. 16. They are under the power of Satan, Acts xxvi. 18; led captive at his will, 2 Tim. ii. 26. They have no gracious management of their own spirits, Prov. xxv. 28. They are the servants of corruption ; they can neither think nor do any service acceptable to God.
I shut up all with some practical inferences.
INFERENCE 1. Holiness is absolutely necessary to happiness : for (Heb. xii. 14,)“ without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” Ye may be either poor or rich, sick or whole, and yet be happy. But if be not holy, ye are miserable ; for ye have no part with Christ, And, Acts iv. 12, “ There is no salvation in any other : for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.” It is astonishing to think, how easy many that hear the gospel are about holiness; they are in no concern whether they be holy or not. They would not have people to take them for saints;
nay, holy people are a jest with them. There is no accounting for this any other way but that holiness is rare in the world, and they have no mind to be singular, nor to distinguish themselves from “the world lying in wickeduess."
But consider these four things.
1. God is holy. The God that made you is holy by necessity of nature; he is so holy that he cannot be but holy. If God is necessarily holy, he cannot but hate unholiness; because he cannot but love his own image, and hate what is contrary to his nature: therefore he cannot but hate your unholiness, and for it hate you who are unholy. And what we hate as contrary to our nature, we seek to destroy. Now, consider the misery of being objects of God's hatred and aversion, and what makes you so; and ye will see the necessity of your being holy, 1 Pet. i. 16, “Be ye holy,” saith the Lord, “ for I am holy.”
2. Christ our Saviour is holy. As he is God, he is "the holy One of Israel ;" as he is man, he is “that holy thing,” Luke i. 35. Jesus is called “the holy One;" the very devils owned him to be so, Mark i. 24. The very end of his being Jesus, was to make men holy, Matth. i. 21, “ Thou shalt call his name Jesus : for he shall save his people from their sins.” He came to destroy the works of the devil, he died to redeem sinners from their sins, Tit. ii. 14. What part then can ye possibly imagine yourselves to have in him, while ye continue unholy?
3. The body of Christ is holy; they that belong to him, the company of the saved, Eph. v. 25, 26. The devil is the god of this world; his subjects are the world lying in wickedness. Out of them Christ raises his kingdom, and his subjects are all holy, Gal. iv. 4; Rev. xix. 14. It is their distinguishing badge from those that belong to Satan, that agrees to them all, and to them only, 2 Tim. ii. 19. So that if ye are not holy, ye belong not to Christ, but to Satan.
4. Heaven is holy; it is a holy state, a holy place, where no unholy thing can enter, Rev. xxi. 27. As to the dogs and swine, their place will be without, Rev. xxi. 15, that is, the unholy, who " with the dog to the vomit, and with the sow that was washed to the wallowing in the mire,” shall be cast out from the supper of the saints in glory into outer darkness, Matth. viii. 12.
INFERENCE 2. There is no true holiness, but in communion with Christ. Men may have a shew and semblance of holiness, without union and communion with Christ. But real holiness acceptable to God, no man attains but in Christ, being sanctified only with his blood, by his Spirit, through faith; made new creatures after his
image, by participation of the all-fulness of grace in him, as at large declared, 1 Cor. i. 2 ; Eph. ii. 10; 1 Pet. i. 2; Acts xxvi. 18. And therefore holiness is quite another thing, than,
1. Common civility. A man may be civil, not rude, but courteous, discreet, and obliging in his conversation; and yet be a stranger to holiness. This was the case of the young man, of whom, .“ when Jesus saw that he answered discreetly, he said unto him, Thou art not far from the kingdom of God," Mark xii. 34. There are some rude persons that bear the devil's mark on their foreheads, who behave themselves neither according to the rules of grace nor good manners : some professors that affect and pride themselves in rudeness, regarding no body, nor their offence, but only to please themselves. Such would do well to consider, whether that be consistent with real holiness or not. The reason of the doubt, is the second great command of the law, “ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” Howbeit, civility is not holiness, though a part of the matter of it.
2. Morality, whether we understand by it common honesty in dealings in the world; or a conformity to the letter of the law, which makes a blameless outward conversation, and goes under the name of moral virtue, but has no relation to Christ and his Spirit. Men may have all this, and not be holy; as had the Pharisee, Luke xviii. 11, who "stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican." This was also the case of Paul, Phil. iii. 6, “ Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless." These fruits are in many like the apples of Sodom, which are fair to look at, but when handled fall to ashes.
3. A form of godliness, 2 Tim. iii. 5. There may be the going the round of the external duties of religion, where there is no holiness : for these may be done by them that are without Christ, Luke xviii. 12; Matt. v. 20; Is. lviii. 2, 3; though many place all their religion in these things, as if they pray, communicate, &c. to be concerned no more to be holy.
All these differ from true holiness,
1st, In the original and spring of them. True holiness springs from union with Christ, the Spirit applying the blood of Christ to the soul, received by faith, improving the word, sacraments, and afflictions. The Spirit is the efficient cause, the blood the meritorious cause, and faith the instrumental cause of true sanctification. But these others have a far lower rise. They are the effect of good education and breeding; of unsanctified consideration
of their own circumstances and worldly interest, that oblige many to take up themselves, and live regularly; .of fear and hope; of respect to credit and reputation; and in some, of legal convictions.
2dly, In the subject of them. Holiness diffuseth itself through the whole man, inward and outward, 2 Cor. v. 17; 1 Thess. v. 23. These are mere plasterings of the outward man, while enmity against God, ranicour against serious godliness, and reigning power of lasts in the heart, do remain in their native force, and the old man bears full sway within; as appears in the Pharisees. They make a new life, but they leave the old nature unhealed, unrenewed.
3dly, In the extent of them. True holiness extends to all the Lord commands and forbids, Psal. cxix. 6; for the whole law is written in the heart, Heb. viii. 10; and so they are holy in all manner of conversation. These never take in more than some shreds of the law; such men never set themselves to conform to it in its spirituality. They quite neglect many of the duties thereof; they consider them not, or they contemn thew : for they have no mind to take more of them, than makes for their purpose.
Lastly, In the nature and kind of them. True holiness is a cluster of the fruits of the Spirit, Gal. v. 22, “Love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance." They are acts of moral discipline, which have self-love in an anrenewed heart, not the love of God in a renewed heart, for their principle. The reason of them is not the will of God; for reasons of their own they do so, but not because God commands it. They do not their works in faith of the promise of assistance from heaven, nor of acceptance for Christ's sake; but out of their own stock, little valuing whether they be accepted or no; or if they do, looking for acceptance on their intrinsic worth. Their end is not the glory of God, and to express their gratitude; but as they come from self, so they are swallowed up in self.
INFERENCE 3. Vain are the pretences of the unholy to part with Christ; for no unwashed sinner has part with the holy Jesus. They do but deceive themselves in their pretending thereto; and the deceit will out on them to their eternal confusion, if they see it not timely. Here consider,
1. Who are unwashed sinners; and, 2. The state of unwashed sinners, as having no part with Christ. 1. Consider who are unwashed sinners. In the general,
1st, Those who have not yet escaped the pollutions of the world in the outward man, but in the course of their lives are conform to the world lying in wickedness, Psal. xxiv. 3, 4; Gal. v. 19-21.