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and from their old natural state, principles, and inclinations, that they might obey the Gospel ; and they obey it with the whole foul, thro' the teaching and agency of the same Spirit, that their hearts and consciences may be sprinkled and purged from all sin by the blood of Christ: As the Apostle writes also to the Thessalonians ; God, faith he, from the beginning bath chosen you to salvation, thro' sanstification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth, whereunto be called you by our Gospel.
2. I infer, that God's elect are fanctified in their fouls, regenerated, and made meet for the inberitance with the saints in light, at the time of their being united to Christ, and believing on him ; but in their mortal flesh, which is their bodies, they are not thus fanctified; for these are still left in their natural state, subject to death and corruption : Yet, because they are their bodies whose fouls are purified and united to CHRIST, they are counted holy; as he saith of the Altar, whatsoever touchetb it is boly. And in due time these also shall be changed, made spiritual, and glorious. For which cause every member thereof, even the whole body of a believer is to be employed in the service and work of GOD; in which sense (as I humbly conceive) the Apostle prays that God would fanctify us wholly, even in body, soul, and spirit:
And And thus our bodies are the members of CHRIST, and temple of the Holy Ghost. Therefore the body is not for fornication, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body; that its actions being regulated and governed by the renewed mind thro' the Spirit, they may be holy, peaceable, and temperate in all things; and that this is the will of God, as our Text plainly shews : And again he faith, This is the will of God, even your fan£tification, that ye should cbstain from fornication ; that every one of you should know how to posless his vessel in JanEtification and bonour, not in the lusts of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: For the saving grace of God teacheth us, that denying all ungodliness and worldly lufts, we should live loberly, righteously, and godly in this present world, looking for that blessed hope, and glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ, who gave himfelf for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. Now, Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our fins in his own blood, and bath made us kings and priests unto God, and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever. Amen.
HEBREWS vi. 1.
Let us go on unto perfection.
T he Apostle towards the close of the for
1 mer chapter, sharply reproves these believing Hebrews, for their Mothfulness in following after, negligence in hearing, and dulness in apprehending that great salvation of God, which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord: And because they had spent much time already, and made but little progress in the knowledge of Christ; he now counfels them (leaving the first principles or rudiments of the doctrine of Christ) to advance, and press forward unto a further knowledge of Christ, and practical conformity to his example; to the end that they might be confirmed and established: Yea, he urges and stirs them up to make a continual progress therein ; that being strong in the grace which is in CHRIST Jesus, and abounding in their love one towards another, and towards all men ; they, as Christians, might arrive to their full sta. ture, even to a full asurance of hope unto the end: And hence he faith, Let us go on unto perfection.
The perfection of Christians, is without all difpute a Scripture doctrine, the right knowledge of which is of great importance to the disciples of CHRIST ; especially as there have been so many palpable mistakes and dangerous errors advanced under the name and notion of perfection, that some persons seem to abhor the very name itself, as if there was no such thing: altho' the Scripture very clearly, fully, and particularly speaks of it. I shall therefore attempt, by divine assistance, to explain this much controverted and important doctrine. And, 1 '. ' .
First; I shall endeavour to settle the meaning of the word perfection.
Secondly ; Shew wherein the perfection of a Chriftian doth properly confift.
Thirdly; Point out fome of the principal miltakes and errors concerning ic : And,
: Laftly; Conclude with an application.