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hatred of what he abhors and forbids; simple belief of his testimony, reliance on his promises, and regard to his authority and glory, if genuine, accords to the spiritual precept of the law, and is so far holy. A transgressor, if renewed to a right spirit, and encouraged to hope for mercy, would plead guilty, apply for pardon, and approve of the most humbling and self-denying way of reconciliation, which the glory of his offended God required.
Sanctifying and sanctification, as these words relate to our present subject, denote the renewal of an unholy creature to a right spirit; and are applicable to every stage of this renovation, from its commencement in regeneration, to its completion in glory.-But no measure of sanctification can possibly form any part of a sinner's justifying righteousness: because while it is imperfect, that imperfection needs forgiveness; and when perfected, it can make no atonement for past sins, nor can it merit eternal life,-It however, distinguishes a living faith from that which is dead and worthless; it forms our meetness for heaven; enables us to glorify and prepares us to rejoice in God; and it is a distinct part of our free salvation, no less valuable than justification itself;—as distinct as a gratuitous cure of the jail-fever would be from the pardon of a felony, and the grant of an inheritance. If then the opinion, that saving faith is holy, even in its first and feeble actings,
could countenance self-righteous confidence; more complete sanctification must have proportionably a still stronger tendency to it. Yet this is not supposed by the persons in question : for they see, that justification and sanctification, in the advanced christian, are perfectly distinct: how is it then, they do not recollect, ,that they are distinct at the first, as well as at the last? Or if they allow it, how can they but perceive that their objections in this respect are perfectly unfounded ?
Saving Faith the effect of Regeneration.
He holy nature of saving faith may be inferred from the consideration, that it is the gift of God, and wrought in the heart by the Holy Spirit. To this it
indeed be objected, that many gifts are conferred by the same divine Agent, which are allowed to have nothing essentially holy in their nature. It should, however, be observed, that in those things which inseparably accompany salvation, the Holy Spirit directly acts upon the dispositions and affections of the heart, stamps his own image, and communicates his own holy nature to the soul, by permanently operating on all its faculties, as an in-dwelling source of life, light, purity, and felicity; whereas in imparting spiritual gifts, or miraculous powers, he only works upon natural principles, or enables a man occasionally to perform supernatural actions, without any abiding union or assimilation. Balaam, Judas, and many who in Christ's name prophecied, , cast out devils, and wrought miracles, continued all the while covetous, ambitious, malig
want, or sensual workers of iniquity: but no man ever truly believed in Christ, while his heart continued the willing slave of any lust.--As these gifts and powers are not holy in their nature, or even in their effects; so neither are they connected with salvation, by any indissoluble bond: but faith in Christ is more explicitly and frequently in Scripture connected with eternal salvation, than any other exercise of the heart or soul whatever. If it therefore be not holy in its own nature; it is an exception to the general rule: for no other fruit, or gift, or operation, of the Holy Spirit, that invariably accompanies salvation, can be mentioned, which is not indisputably holy in its essential nature.
As unbelief springs from the slove of darkness “rather than light;” because the deeds of the unbeliever are evil: so faith must arise from the love of light rather than darkness, because of an incipient disposition to keep God's commandments, “ He that doeth truth cometh to the light, that “his deeds may be made manifest that they are
wrought in God,” When the evil heart of unbelief is removed, and the sinner has " received " the love of the truth;" then“ with the heart he ** believeth unto righteousness.'
But in proportion as the doctrines of the gospel are proposed to the minds of proud and carnal men, with convincing energy; they excite the greater measure of scorn, rage, and enmity, The overbearing evi
dence, with which the hated light is poured in upon the reluctant understanding, disturbs the conscience, affronts the self-complacency of the heart, and calls forth into vigorous opposition those evil propensities which before lay dormant. This was the effect of our Lord's discourses and those of his apostles, on the unbelieving priests, scribes, and Pharisees. Undeniable miracles, unanswerable arguments, decisive scriptural proofs, pointed warnings and rebukes, and the clear light of divine truth, connected with the meekness of wisdom and holy love, served but to excite the more determined resistance from their ambition, avarice, envy, and resentment: and when they were completely baffled, and could say nothing against either the miracles or the doctrine, they were enraged even to madness.
When a partial view of divine truth gains the assent of the understanding, without a disposition of heart congenial to the grand scope of christianity; such professors are formed, as our Lord decribes under the similitude of the stony-ground: and their fallacious confidence, selfish joy, and temporary faith, while “ they have no root in “themselves, but in time of temptation fall away," are exemplified by facts on every side.---The seed too sown on thorny ground represents another very common way, in which a carnal heart “ holds " the truth in unrighteousness,” by a dead faith, an unwarrantable confidence, and an awful mis