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We will pass from the doctrine of the new birth into that of sanctification ;—the regeneration of the soul being the seed of a peculiar spiritual existence, answerable to the meaning of this word. But in the first place we must form a right understanding of the different ways in which the word Sanctify is used ; for this will enable us to obtain more comprehensive views of the work of the Spirit, in the subjects of Christ's kingdom.
To sanctify, in one essential meaning, is to set apart for holy purposes ; accordingly it is said that the Lord did sanctify the seventh day. Gen. ii. 3. So of the Jewish tabernacle, that it was sanctified, Exodus xxix. 44. And of all vessels or instruments used in the service of the Lord, this act is said to have passed; they were hallowed, or “ holy vessels,” being consecrated to religious ends. And to
use them for other purposes was to profane the property of the sanctuary of God.
In this sense our Lord speaks of his own consecration to covenant purposes. He was set apart, “ Behold mine elect in whom my soul delighteth,” &c. Isaiah xlii. 1. “ For their sakes I sanctify myself.” John xvii. 19. “ The blood of the covenant wherewith He was sanctified.” Heb. x. 29. Thus our Lord, though in himself holy, and needing no regeneration, for he was "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,”—" the prince of this world having nothing in him," was in the sense of consecration to office, set apart or sanctified, and thus was he, God's “ Holy One," and the saint's “ Holy One.”
The redeemed members of the mystical body are likewise sanctified, in this sense of consecration from all eternity. As we have before shown, they are set apart for holy purposes, according to the words, 1 Peter i. 2, “ Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience.” And the Divine purposes are elsewhere proclaimed as in action to set apart the heirs of glory, the body of Christ being thus addressed, “ To them that are sanctified by God the Father, and pre
served in Christ Jesus, and called," Jude 1. And individuals are described as sanctified from the womb; or, as in the case of Jeremiah, “ Before I formed thee I knew thee, and before thou camest forth from the womb I sanctified thee.” Jeremiah i. 5. Here it is evident that the everlasting intention of Jehovah to have a people, and the determining purpose of Jehovah in the selection of his people are intended. And to be thus sanctified is the same as the being chosen of God unto salvation. 2 Thess. ii. 13.
But when inquiring more especially into sanctification, as a doctrine that respects the believer's life, our view of this Divine purpose becomes more practical, and adapts itself to the condition and experience of man, as a creature recovered from rebellious alienation by regeneration, and made possessor of a new principle of holiness, to be developed in a progressing course of active devotion to God. “ Ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered unto you :-being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.” Rom. vi. 17, 18. And thus again the new life of One who has experienced the Spirit's inward work is stated in
1 Cor. vi. 11, “And such were some of you, but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified.”
The sanctification of such persons is very comprehensive, it embraces the whole man, and is in the first place of an internal nature. The affections are consecrated, and the heart being yielded to the Lord, becomes his throne whereon he sits, and whereon he rules. It is thus that the bosom of the saint becomes a temple, or hallowed dwelling for the Lord, wherein holy offerings and spiritual sacrifices are perpetually brought before him-a history of experience existing, in that region known only to the believer and his indwelling Lord. The words of the apostle are descriptive of this Christian experience; “ Sanctify the Lord God in your hearts.” The energizing Spirit empowers the believer to yield obedience to the injunction, and the covenant God is set apart, hallowed, lodged within, as the treasure, the joy, the life of the soul. The possession thus hallowed is used to sacred ends, and yielding an inexhaustible communication of strength and peace, is a satisfying portion. We may readily conclude that such inward dedication is accompanied with increasing enjoyments ; “ for the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his
covenant;' precious hidden pledges of love are interchanged, the voice of the Lord is “ Thou shalt be for me, and I will be for thee.” Hosea iii. 3. And the response of the devoted heart is, “Whom have I in heaven but thee, and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee.” This internal sanctity will invariably follow the work of new creation by the Holy Ghost; for the purpose of God is to bring back man to his proper happiness, consisting of joy in the Lord. The soul is thus replaced in the original privilege of the creature, “ delighting himself in his God.”
The visible consecration follows, consisting of two things, viz. separation from the ungodly, and peculiarity in the nature of this separation. The divine requirement is positive in respect of separation from evil. “Come out from among them, touch not the unclean thing; abstain from the appearance of evil; have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness.” Such preceptive words are not hard to be understood, nor difficult to be obeyed, when the affections are right with God, for sanctification is a work pure, impartial, universal in its influence and aim; the tendency of the new life is all holy, breathing most freely in an atmosphere that is congenial