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ject to take this liberty in the fair and calm Tweather of prosperity, God doth often wisely and mercifully cause rough blasts of affliction to arise upon them," to make them gather their loose garments nearer to them, and gird them closer.t il v16117110 bado 264085 10 ingly | Let us then remember our way and where we are, and keep our garments girt up, for we walk amidst thorns and briers which, if we let them down, will entangle and stop us, and possibly tear our garments. We walk through a world where there is much mire of sinful pollutions, and "therefore it cannot but defile them; and the crowd we are among will be ready to tread on them, yea, our own feet may be entangled in them, and so make us stumble and possibly fall. Our only safe way is to gird up our affections wholly. * And we may also learn by the foregoing doctrine, that this is the place of our trial and conflict, but the place of our rest is above. We must here have our loins girt; but when we come there, we may wear our long white robes at their full length without disturbance, and without danger of defilement, for no unclean thing is there, yea, the streets of that new Jerusalem are paved with pure gold. To him then, who hath prepared that city for us, let us ever give praise. Ver. 14. As obedient children, not fashioning your
selves according to the former lusts in your
ignorante; 15. But as he which hath called you is 'holy, so
be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16. Because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am
THY word is a lamp unto my feet, says David,' and a light unto my paths; not only comfortable, as light - is to the eyes, but withal directive, as a lamp to the feet. Thus the apostle doth not only furnish consolation against distress, but exhorts and directs his brethren in the way of holiness, without which, the apprehension and feeling of those comforts cannot subsist.
This is no other than a clearer and fuller expression, and further pressing of that sobriety and spirituality of mind and life, which be jointly exhorted unto, with that duty of perfect hope, as inseparably connected with it. If you would enjoy this bope, be not conformed to the lusts of your former ignorance, but be holy. There is no doctrine in the world either so pleasant or so pure as that of Christianity: it is matchless both in sweetness and holiness. The faith and hope of a Christian bave in them an abiding precious balm of comfort ; but this is never to be so lavished away, as to be poured into the puddle of an impure conscience: no, that were to lose it unwortbily. Every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure, 1 John iii, 3. Here we are commanded to be holy as God is holy. Faith first purifies the heart, empties it of tbe love of sin, and then fills it with the consolation of Christ and the hope of glory.
+ It is a foolish ungrounded fear, and such as argués inexperience of the nature and workings of divine grace, to imagine that the assured hope of salvation will beget un holiness and presumptuous boldness in sin, and that Therefore the doctrine of that assurance is a doctrine of licentiousness. Our apostle, we see, is not so sbarp, sighted as these inen thiok themselves. He apprehends no such matter, but indeed supposes the contrary as udquestionable. He takes not assured bope and boliness as enemies, but joins them as nearest friends. They are mutually strengthened and increased each by the other. The more assurance of salvation, the more holiness, the more delight in it and study of it, as the only way to that end. And as labor is most pleasant when we are made surest it shall not be lost, nothing doth make the soul so nimble and active in obedience as this oil of gladness, this assured hope of glory. Again, the more holiness there is in the soul, the clearer always is this assurance; as we see the face of the heavens best, when there are fewest clouds. The greatest affliction doth pot damp this bope so much as the smallest sin ;. yea, it may be the more lively and sensible to the soul by affliction; but by sin it always
suffers loss, as the experience of all Christians does certainly teach thew.
The apostle exhorts to obedience, and enforceth it by a most persuasive reason. His exhortation is, I. negative, Not fashioning yourselves ; II. positive, Be ye holy.
1. The negative part of the exhortation. Thal from wbicb he would remove and separate them, is lusts. This is in scripture the usual nanie of all the irregular and sinful desires of the heart, both the polluted habits of them and their corrupt streams, both as they exist within and as they outwardly vent themselves in the lives of men. The Apostle St. John, 1 John ii, 17, calls them the lust of the world; and, ver. 15, love of the world; and then, ver. 16, he branches them into these three, which are, indeed the base anti-trinity that the world worships -The lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life.
The soul of man unconverted, is no other than a den of impure lusts, wherein dwell pride, uncleanness, avarice, malice, &c. Were a man's eyes opened, he would as much abbor to remain with himself in that condition, as to dwell in a house full of snakes and serpents. And the first part of conversion is at once to rid the soul of these poisome inhabitants; for there is no one found naturally free from them. Thus the apostle here expresses of the believers to whom he wrote, that these lusts were theirs before, in their ignorance.
There is a truth implied in this expression, that all sin arises from some kind of ignorance, or, at least, from present inadvertence and inconsideration, turning away the mind from the light. And therefore the works of sin are all called works of darkness ; for were the true visage of sin seen by a full light, undressed and unpainted, it were impossible, while it so appeared, that any one soul could be in love with it; it would rather fly it, as hideous and abominable. · But because the soul unrenewed is all darkness, therefore it is all lust and love of sin; there is no order in it, because no light. As 'at the first in the world, confusion and darkness went together and darkness was upon the face of the deep, so it is in the soul; the more ignorance, the more abundance of lusts.
That light, which frees the soul and rescues it from the very kingdom of darkuess, must be somewhat beyond that which nature can attain to. All the light of philoso phy, natural and moral, is not sufficient, yea, the very knowledge of the law, severed from Christ, serves pot SO to enlighten and renew the soul, as to free it from the darkness or ignorance here spoken of; for our Apostle writes to Jews who knew the law and were instructed in it before their conversion, yet he calls those times, whereiu Christ was unknown to them, the times of their ignorance. Though the stars shine never so bright, and the moon with them in its full, yet they do not all together make it day; still it is night till the sun appear. Therefore Zacharias says of Christ, The day-spring from on high hath visited us, to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace.
A natural man may attain to very much acquired knowledge of the doctrine of Christ, and may discourse excellently of it, and yet still his soul be in the chains of dark. ness, fast locked up under the ignorance here mentioned, and so he may be still of a carnal mind, in subjection to these lasts of ignorance.
The saving light of faith, is a beam of the Sun of Rightcousness himself, that he sends into the soul, by which he makes it discern his incomparable beauties, and by that sight alienates it from all those lusts and desires, which do then appear to be what indeed they are, vileness and filthiness itself; making the soul wonder at itself, how it could love such base trash so long, and fully re, solve now on the choice of Jesus Christ, the chief among ten thousands, yea, the fairest of the children of men, for that he is withal the only begotten Son of God, the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person. The soul once acquainted with him cag with disdain, turn off all the base solicitations and impors tunities of sin, and command them away that formerly had command over it, though they plead former familia, rities and the interest they once had in the heart before
, it was enlightened and renewed. He can well tell them, after his sight of Christ, that it is true, while he knew no
better pleasures than they were, he thought them lovely and pleasing, but that one glance of the face of Jesus Christ hath turned them all into extreme blackness and deformity ; that so soon as ever Christ appeared to him, they straightway lost all their credit and esteem in his heart, and have lost it for ever ; they need never look to recover it any
And it is by this that the apostle enforceth this dehortation. It is true, the lusts and van-. ities that are in request in the world, were once so with you, but it was when you were blind; they were the lusts of your ignorance ; but now, you know how ill they will suit with the light of that gospel which you profess, and that inward light of faith which is in the souls of such as be really believers. Therefore, seeing you have renounced them, keep them still at that distance. Not only never admit them more to lodge within you—that surely you cannot do--but do not so much as for custom sake, and in compliance with the world about you, outwardly conform yourselves to any of them, or make semblance to partake of them : as St. Paul says, Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them ; reprove them by your carriage, and let the light of your holy lives discover their foulness.
2. We have the positive part of the apostle's exhortation, Be ye holy. This includes the former, the renouncing of the lusts and pollutions of the world, both in heart and life; and adds to it further the filling of their room with the beautifying graces of the Spirit of God, and the exercise of those graces in their whole conversation both in private and abroad, in conversing with themselves and conversing with others in a constant even course, still like themselves and like him who bath called them : for it is a most unseemly and unpleasant thing, to see a man's life full of ups and downs, one step like a Christian and another like a worlding : it cannot but both pain bimself and mar the edification of others.
But as he which hath called you is holy. Consider whose you are, and you cannot deny that it becomes you to be holy. Consider your near relation to the holy God. This is expressed two ways, namely, As children, and, As he which hath called you, which is all one as if he had Div. No. V.