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fection, and therefore knows beft how to judge of there, he tells us how we should value ourselves and others ; Jer. ix. 23, 24. Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might ; let nor the rich man glory in his riches : But let him that glorieth, glory in this

, that he un. derstandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righe teousness in the earth ; for in these things I delight, faith the Lord. To know these divine qualities and perfections, signifies here, to understand them so as to imitate them. I do not speak this, to bring down the value of any that are advanced in this world, or to lessen the respect which is due to them ; I would have nothing undervalued, but wickedness and vice; and I would have those who have store of worldly advantages to recommend them, to add religion to their riches, and holiness to their honour, that they may be current for their intrinsick value, rather than for the image and picture of worth which the world hath ftamped upon them.

3. If holiness be the chief excellency and perfection of the divine nature, then what an absurd and unreasonable thing is it

, to scorn and despise holi'ness, to mock and deride men under this very title!

The world is much blinded, that they do not see the great evil of fin, and the beauty and excellency of holiness : but that men should be so infatuated, as to change the nature of things, and to mistake things of so valt difference, as sin, and holiness ; to call good evil, and evil good ; that fin, which is the vilest thing in the world, should be esteemed and cherished, accounted a piece of gallantry, and reckoned amongst the excellencies and accomplishments of human nature ; and holiness, which is so great a perfection, should be a name of hatred and disgrace, to be contemned and perfecuted that that which is the glory of heaven, and the most radiant perfection of the divine nature, hould be matter of scorn and contempt; as the Apostle speaks in another case, Behold, ge despisers, and wonder, and peris! Do ye think the holy and just God will put up these affronts and

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indignities? Ye do not only despise men, but ye despise God also. You cannot contemn that which God accounts bis glory, without reviling the divine nature, and offering despite to God himself: The malice reacheth heaven, and is levelled against God, henever ye Night holiness.

4. If God be a holy God, and hath such a repugnancy in his nature to fin, then this is matter of terror to wicked men. The holy God cannot but hare fin, and be an enemy to wickedness ; and the harred of God is terrible. We dread the hatred of a great man ; because where hatred is backed with power, the effects of it are terrible : but the hatred of the almighty and eternal God, is much more dreadful because the effects of it are greater,

and more latting, than of the hatred of a weak mortal

We know the utmost they can do; they can but kill the body; after that, they have no more that they can do. They cannot hurt our souls; they cannot follow us beyond the grave, and pursue us into another world: but the effects of God's hatred and displeasure, are mighty and lasting, they extend themselves to all eternity; for who knoweth the power of his anger ? Who can tell the utmost of what omnipotent justice can do to sinners! It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God; because he that lives for ever, can punish for ever.

We are miserable, if God do not love us.

These words, My foul shall have no pleasure in him, signify great misery, and express a dreadful curse : but it is a more positive expression of misery, for God to hate us ; that signifies ruin and destruction to the utmost; Psal. v. 4. Thou art not a God that hath pleafure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with thee. This is a usiwois, and expresseth less than is intended. God is far from being of an indifferent negative temper towards

sin and wickedness; therefore the pfalmift adds, Thou hateft all the workers of iniquity; and then, in the next verse, to shew what is the effect of God's hatred, Thou shalt deftroy them that Speak leasing. Therefore, finner, fear and tremble at the thoughts of God's holiness. Vol. VI.


5. Imi. 5. Imitate the holiness of God: This is the inference here in the text, Be ge holy, for I am holy. Holiness, in one word, contains all the imitable perfections of God: And when it is said, Be ye holy; it is as much as if he had said, Be ye good, and patient, and merciful, and crue, and faithful; for I am fo. Therefore religion is called the knowledge of the holy One, Prov. ix. 10. and chap. xxx. 3. And our imitation of God is expressed by our putting on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness, Eph. iv. 24. Seeing then this is the chief excellency and perfection of God, and the fum of all the perfections which we are to imitate, and wherein we are to endeavour to be like God, let us conform ourselves to the holy God; endeavour to be habitually holy, which is our conformity to the nature of God; and actually holy, which is our conformity to the will of God. I will not en. large upon this, because I have prefled the imitation of these particular perfections, goodness, parience, justice, truth, and faithfulness, upou other, texts. I fall only mention two arguments, to excite and quicken our delires and endeavour, after holiness.

1. Holiness is an imitation of the highest excellency and perfection. Holiness, I told you, signifies a separation from fin and vice, and all moral imperfecti. on, and consequently, doth comprehend and take in all the moral perfections of the divine nature, the goodness, and mercy, and patience, and justice, and veracity, and faithfulnels of God; now these are the very beauty and glory of the divine nature. The first thing that we attribute to God, next to his being, is his goodness, and those other attributes which have a neceffary connexion with it ; for his greatness and majesty is nothing else but the glory which results from his united perfections, especially from his goodness, and those perfections which are a-kin to it. Separate from God these perfections, which holiness includes in it, and what would be left but an omnipotent evil, an eternal being, infinitely knowing, and infinitely able to do mischief? Which is as plain and notorious a contradiction, and as impollible


a thing as can be imagined: so that if we have

any fparks of ambition in us, we cannot but aspire after holiness, which is so great an excellency, and per. fection of God himself. There is a vulgar preju. dice against holiness,, as if it were a poor, mean thing, and below a great and generous spirit; where

, as holiness is the only true greatness of mind, the most genuine nobility, and the highest gallantry of {pirit; and however it be despised by men, it is of a heavenly extraction, and divine original. Holiness is the firit part of the character of the wisdom that is from above, Jam. iii. 17. The wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

2. Holiness is an essential and principal ingredient of happiness. Holiness is a state of peace and tranquillity, and the very frame and temper of happiness; and without it, the divine nature, as it would be imperfect, so it would be miserable. If the divine nature were capable of envy, or malice, or hatred, or revenge, or impatience, or cruelty, or injustice, or unfaithfulness, it would be liable to vexation and discontent, than which nothing can be a greater

disturbance of happiness: so that holiness is necessary to our felicity and contentment; not only to the happiness of the next life, but to our present peace and contentment. If reasonable creatures could be happy, as brute beasts are in their degree, by enjoying their depraved appetites, and following the diEtates of sense and fancy, God would not have bound us up to a law and rule, but had lefę us, as he hath done unreasonable creatures, to satisfy our lufts and appetites, without check and controul: but angels and men, which are reasonable creatures, have the notions of good and evil, of right and wrong, of comeliness and filthiness, so woven and twisted into their very natures, that they can never be wholly de. faced, without the ruin of their beings; and therefore it is impossible that such creatures should be happy otherwise, than by complying with these notions, and obeying the natural dictates and sugge

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stions of their minds; which if they neglect, and go against, they will naturally feel remorse and torment in their own spirits; their minds will be uneasy and unquiet, and they will be inwardly grieved and difpleased with themselves for what they have done. So the Apostle tells us, Rom. i. that even the most degenerate Heathen had consciences, which did accule or excuse them, according, as they obeyed, or did contrary to the di&tates of natural light. God therefore, who knows our frame, hath to adapted his law to us, which is the rule of holiness, that if we live up to it, we shall avoid the unspeakable torment of a guilty conscience; whereas, if we do contrary to it, we shall always be at discord with ourselves, and in a perpetual difquiet of mind : for nothing can do contrary to the law of its being, that is, to its own nature, without displeasure and relu&ancy; the consequence of which, in moral actions, is guilt; which is nothing else but the trouble and disquiet which ariserh in one's mind, froin a consciousness of having done something that contradies the perfe&tive principle of his being, that is, something which did not become him, and which, being what he is, that is, a reasonable creature, he' ought

So that in all reasonable creatures there is a certain kind of temper and disposition that is necessary and effential to happiness, and that is holiness; which, as it it is the perfection, fo it is the great felicity of the divine nature : And, on the contrary, this is one chief part of the misery of those wicked, and accursed fpirits the devils, and of unholy men, that they are of a temper contrary to God, they are envious and malicious, and wicked; that is, of such a temper as is naturally a torment and disquiet to itself: And here the foundation of hell is laid in the evil dispositions of our fpirits ; and till that be cured, which can only be done by holiness, it is as impossible for a wicked man to be happy and contented in himfelf, as it is for a sick inan to be at ease; and the external presence of God, and a local heaven, would signify no more to make a wicked man' happy and

not to do.


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