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Be ye holy, for I am holy. 1 PET. i. 16.
IN speaking to this attribute, I shall,
I. Inquire what we are to understand by the holi ness of God.
II. Endeavour to shew, that this perfection be longs to God.
I. What we are to understand by the holiness of God. There is some difficulty in fixing the proper notion of it ; for though there be no property more frequently attributed to God, in Scripture, than this of holiness, yet there is none of all God s attributes, which divines have spoken more sparingly of, than this.
The general notion of holiness is, that it is a sepa
ration from a common and ordinary, to a peculiar and excellent use. And this notion of holiness is applicable either to things or persons. To things : thus the vessels of the tabernacle, and the vestments of the priests, were said to be holy, because they were separated from common use, and appropriated to the peculiar and excellent use of the service of God. Holiness of persons is twofold; either rela tive and external, which signifies the peculiar rela tion of a person to God ; such were called IE/OEIC, priests, or holy men : or else habitual and inhe rent ; such is the holiness of good men, and it is a separation from moral imperfection, that is, from sin
and impurity : and this is called o<yiori?cj and the primary notion of it is negative, and signifies the absence and remotion of sin. And this appears in those explications which the Scripture gives of it.
Thus it is explained by opposition to sin and im purity ; (2 Cor. vii. 1.) " Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness ;" where holiness is opposed to all filthiness. Sometimes, by the negation of sin and defilement : so we find holy, and without blame, put together; (Eph. i. 4.) "Holy, and without blemish ;" (Eph. v. 27.) " Holy, harmless, and undefiled;" (Heb.vii.26.) It is true, indeed, this negative notion doth imply something that is positive; it doth not only signify the absence of sin, but a contrariety to it : we can not conceive the absence of sin without the presence of grace; as, take away crookedness from a thing, and it immediately becomes straight. Whenever we are made holy, every lust and corruption in us is supplanted by the contrary grace.
Now this habitual holiness of persons, which con sists in a separation from sin, is a conformity to the holiness of God ; and by this we may come to un derstand what holiness in God is : and it signifies the peculiar eminency of the Divine nature, where by it is separated and removed at an infinite dis tance from moral imperfection, and that which we
call sin ; that is, there is no such thing as malice, or envy, or hatred, or revenge, or impatience, or cru elty, or tyranny, or injustice, or falsehood, or un faithfulness, in God ; or if there be any other thing that signifies sin, and vice, and moral imperfection, holiness signifies that the Divine nature is at an in finite distance from all these, and possessed of the contrary perfections.
Therefore, all those texts that remove moral im perfection from God, and declare the repugnancy of it to the Divine nature, do set forth the holiness of God : (Jam. i. 13.) " God cannot be tempted with evil." (Job viii.3.) " Doth God pervert judgment, or doth the Almighty pervert justice?" (Job xxxiv. 10. 12.) " Far be it from God that he should do wickedness, and from the Almighty that he should commit iniquity. Yea, surely God will not do wickedly, neither will the Almighty pervert judg ment." (Rom. ix. 14.) " Is there unrighteousness
with God? God forbid." (Zech. iii. 5.) " The just Lord is in the midst thereof, he will not do iniquity." And so falsehood, and unfaithfulness, and incon stancy. (Deut. xxxii. 4.) " A God of truth, and without iniquity." (1 Sam. xv. 29.) " The Strength of Israel will not lie." (Tit. i. 2.) " In hope of eter nal life, which God, that cannot lie, hath promised." (Heb. vi. 18.) " That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie." Therefore, you shall find, that holiness is joined with all the moral perfections of the Divine nature, or put for them : (Hos. xi. 9.) " I am the Holy One in the midst of thee;" that is, the merciful One. (Psal. cxlv. 17.) " The Lord is righteous in all his ways, and holy in all his works." (Rom. vii. 12.) " The commandment is holy, and just, and good." (Rev. iii. 7.) " These things saith he that is holy, he that is true." (Rev. vi. 10.) " How long, O Lord, holy and true?" (Psal. cv. 42.) " He remembered his holy promise;" holy, that is, in respect of the faith fulness of it. (Isa. Iv. 3.) " The sure mercies of David," ra otria, " the holy mercies of David," which will not fail.
So that the holiness of God, is not a particular,
but an universal perfection, and runs through all the moral perfections of the Divine nature ; it is the beauty of the Divine nature, and the perfection of all his other perfections : take away this, and you bring an universal stain and blemish upon the Di vine nature; without holiness, power would be op pression ; and wisdom, subtilty ; and sovereignty, tyranny; and goodness, malice and envy ; and jus tice, cruelty; and mercy, foolish pity; and truth, falsehood. And, therefore, the Scripture speaks of this, as God s highest excellency and perfection. God is said to be " glorious in holiness :" (Exod. xv. 11.) Holiness is called God s throne: (Psal. xlvii. 8.) " He sitteth upon the throne of his holiness." This is that which makes heaven : (Isa. Ixiii. 15.) it is called, " the habitation of his holiness, and of his glory ;" as if this were the very nature of God, and the sum of his perfections. The knowledge of God, is called, " the knowledge of the Holy One." (Prov. ix. 10.) To be made " partakers of a Divine
nature," and to be made " partakers of God s holi ness," are equivalent expressions ; (2 Pet. i. 4. Heb. xii. 10.) And, because there is no perfection of God greater, therefore he is represented as swear ing by this; (Psal. Ix. 6.) " God haib spoken in his holiness." (Psal. Ixxxix. 35.) " Once have I sworn by my holiness." The angels and glorified spirits they sum up the perfections of God in this ; (Isa. vi. 3.) "And one cried unto another, and said, Holy holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory." (Rev.iv. 8.) " And they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come." There is no attribute of God so often repeated as this ; in some copies it is nine times.
II. I shall endeavour to prove, that this perfection belongs to God,
First, From the light of nature. The philoso
phers, in all their discourses of God, agree in this, that whatever sounds like vice and imperfection, is to be separated from the Divine nature; which is to acknowledge his holiness. Plato, speaking of our likeness to God, saith, O/ioiWc 8e &KUIOV Kal oaiov
fjitTa (ppovnaEtog yevsaOai. (Dan. IV. 9.) King Nebu-
chadnezzar calls God by this title, " I know that the spirit of the holy Gods is in thee." In a word, whatever hath been produced to prove any of God s moral perfections, proves his holiness.
Secondly, From Scripture. There is no title more frequently given to God, in Scripture, and so often ingeminated, as this of his holiness. He is called holiness itself; (Isa. Ixiii. 15.) where heaven is called " the habitation of his holiness ;" that is, of God. His name is said to be holy ; (Luke i. 49.) " And holy is his name." He is called " the Holy One;" (Isa. xl. 25.) "The Holy One of Israel;" (Isa. xli. 20.) " The Holy One of Jacob;" (Isa. xxix. 23.) He is said to be " holy in all his works and promises;" (Psal. cv. 42.) "In all his ways and
works;" (Psal. cxlv. 17.) This title is given to each of the three persons in the blessed Trinity; to God the Father, in innumerable places : to God the Son, (Dan. ix. 24.) " to anoint the most Holy." The devil cannot deny him this title ; (Luke iv. 34.) " I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God." And the Spirit of God hath this title constantly given it, " the Holy Ghost," or " the Holy Spirit," or " the Spirit of holiness." The Scripture attributes this perfection in a peculiar manner to God ; (1 Sam. ii. 2.) " There is none holy
as the Lord." (Rev. xv. 4.) " For thou only art holy." Holiness is a communicable perfection ; but no creature can partake of it in such a manner and degree as the Divine nature possesseth it. God is eternally holy, the fountain of holiness; the crea tures are derivatively and by participation holy. God is eminently and transcendently so ; the crea tures, in a finite degree. God is immutably so,
it is impossible it should be otherwise; but no creature is out of an absolute possibility of sin. In this sense it is said, (Job iv. 18.) that " He putteth no trust in his servants, and his angels he chargeth with folly." And, (chap. xv. 15.) " He putteth no trust in his saints ; yea, the heavens are not clean in his sight." From all which I shall draw these inferences :
1. If holiness be a perfection of the Divine na ture, and a property of God ; if, in the notion of God, there be included an everlasting separation and distance from moral imperfection, and eternal repugnance to sin and iniquity ; from hence we may infer, that there is an intrinsical good and evil in things ; and the reasons and respects of moral good and evil do not depend upon any mutable, and in constant, and arbitrary principle, but are fixed and immutable, eternal and indispensable. Therefore, they do not seem to me to speak so safely, who make the Divine will, precisely and abstractedly considered, the rule of moral good and evil ; as if there were nothing good or evil in its own nature, antecedently to the will of God, but that all things
are therefore good or evil because God wills them to be so : for if this were so, goodness, and righteous ness, and truth, arid faithfulness, would not be es sential, and necessary, and immutable properties
of the Divine nature, but accidental, and arbitrary, and uncertain, and mutable ; which is to suppose that God, if he pleased, might be otherwise than good, and just, and true. For if these depend merely upon the will of God, and be not necessary or essential properties of the Divine nature, then the contrary of these, malice, and envy, and unrigh teousness, and falsehood, do not imply any essential repugnancy to the Divine nature; which is plainly contrary to what the Scripture tells us, that " God cannot be tempted with evil;" that " it is impossible he should lie ;" that he cannot be unrighteous.
If any man say that God hath now declared him self to be just, and good, and faithful, and now he cannot be otherwise, because " he is a God of truth, and he changeth not;" this is to grant the thing:
for this supposeth the veracity and immutability of God to be essential and necessary perfections of the Divine nature; and why not justice and goodness as well ? I say, it supposeth veracity and immuta bility to be essential perfections, and not to depend upon the will of God ; that is, that God cannot will to be otherwise than true and unchangeable: for if he could, what assurance can we possibly have, but that when he declares himself to be good and just, he is, or may be otherwise?
But I need not insist upon this, which seems to be so very clear, and to carry its own evidence along with it. I will only use this argument to prove it, and so leave it. No being can will its own nature, and essential perfections; that is, choose whether it will be thus, or otherwise ; for that were to suppose it to be before it is, and before it hath a being to de liberate about its own nature. Therefore, if this be the nature of God (which I think nobody will
deny), to be good, and just, and true, and neces sarily to be what he is ; then goodness, and justice, and truth, do not depend upon the will of God, but there are such things, such notions, antecedently to any act of the Divine will. And this does no ways prejudice the liberty of God ; for this is the highest perfection, to be necessarily good, and just, and true ; and a liberty or possibility to be otherwise, is impotency and imperfection. For liberty no where speaks perfection, but where the things and actions about which it is conversant are indifferent; in all other things it is the highest perfection not to be free and indifferent; but immutable, and fixed, and necessarily bound up by the eternal laws of good ness, and justice, and truth, so that it shall not be possible to swerve from them ; and this is the per fection of the Divine nature, which we call his holi ness.
2. If holiness be the chief excellency and per fection of the Divine nature, this shews us what account we are to make of sin, and wickedness, and vice. We may judge of every privation by the
habit, for they bear an exact proportion one to another. Light and darkness are opposed, as habit and privation ; if light be pleasant and comfortable, then darkness is dismal and horrid. And so holi ness and sin are opposed : if holiness be the highest perfection of any nature, then sin is the grand im perfection, and the lowest debasement of any being; because it is the most opposite to that, and at the farthest distance from that, which is the first excel lency and perfection.
This should rectify our judgment and esteem of things and persons. We admire and esteem riches, and power, and greatness ; and we scorn and con-
temn poverty, and weakness, and meanness ; yea, grace and holiness, if it be in the company of these. We are apt to reverence and value the great, and the rich, and the mighty of this world, though they be wicked, and to despise the poor man s wisdom
and holiness; but we make a false judgment of things and persons. There is nothing that can be a foundation of respect, that ought to command our reverence and esteem, but real worth, and excel lency, and perfection ; and according to the degrees of this, we ought to bestow our respect, and raise our esteem. What St. James saith of respect of persons, I may apply in this case : (James ii. 4.) " Are ye not then partial yourselves, and become judges of evil thoughts ?" We are extremely par tial ; we make a false judgment, and reason ill con cerning things, when we admire gilded vices, and weakness exalted to high places; I mean, ungodly rich men, and ungodly great men ; for wicked men are properly ungodly, unlike to God ; and when we contemn poor, and mean, and afflicted holiness and piety. Were but our eyes open, and our judg ment clear and unprejudiced, we should see a beauty and resplendency in goodness ; even when it is under the greatest disadvantage, when it is clothed with rags, and sits upon a dunghill, it would shine through all these mists, and we should see a native light and beauty in it. through the darkness of a poor and low condition : and we
should see wickedness to be a most vile and ab ject thing, when it appears in all its gallantry and bravery ; we should look upon the poor righteous man, as " more excellent than his neighbour ;" and the profane gallant, as the offscouring of the earth. We should value a man that does justice, and loves
mercy, and speaks the truth to his neighbour ; we should esteem any one more upon the account of any one of these simple qualities, than we would another man destitute of these, upon the account of a hundred titles of honour, and ten thousand acres of land. A wicked and unholy man, he is a vile person, who deserves to be contemned ; and a holy man, he is the right honourable ; (Psal. xv. 4.) " In whose eyes a vile person is contemned ; but he honoureth them that fear the Lord." The vile person is opposed to him that fears the Lord. He that is bold to affront God, and sin against him, is the base and ignoble person. God himself, who
is possessed of all excellency and perfection, and therefore knows best how to judge of these, he tells us how we should value ourselves and others ; (Jer. ix. 23, 24.) " Let not the wise man glory in his wis dom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches : but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord, which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteous ness in the earth ; for in these things I delight, saith 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 wick edness 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 intrinsic value, rather than for the image and picture of worth which the world hath stamped upon them.
3. If holiness be the chief excellency and perfec tion 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 sin, 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 vast difference, as sin, and holiness ; to call good evil, and evil good ; that sin which is the vilest thing in the world, should be esteemed and cherished, accounted a piece of gallantry, and reck oned amongst the excellences 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 persecuted; that that which is the glory of heaven, and the most radiant perfec tion of the Divine nature, should be matter of scorn and contempt ; as the apostle speaks in another case, " Behold, ye clespisers, and wonder, and pe rish !" Do ye think the holy and just God will put up these affronts and indignities? Ye do not only despise men, but ye despise God also : you
cannot contemn that which God accounts his glory, without reviling the Divine nature, and offering despite to God himself: the malice reacheth heaven, and is levelled against God, whenever ye slight holiness.
4. If God be a holy God, and hath such a repug nancy in his nature to sin, then this is matter of terror to wicked men. The holy God cannot but hate sin, and be an enemy to wickedness ; and the hatred 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 lasting, than of the hatred of a weak mortal man. 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 ex tend themselves to all eternity ; for who knoweth the power of his anger? Who can tell the ut most of what Omnipotent Justice can do to sin ners ? " 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. Those words, " My soul shall have no pleasure in him," signify great misery, and ex press a dreadful curse; but it is a more positive expression of misery, for God to hate us ; that sig nifies ruin and destruction to the utmost ; (Psal. v. 4.) " Thou art not a God that hath pleasure in wickedness, neither shall evil dwell with thee." This is a ^ctWcc, and expresseth less than is in tended. God is far from being of an indifferent negative temper towards sin and wickedness; there fore the Psalmist adds, " Thou hatest all the work ers of iniquity ;" and then, in the next verse, to shew what is the effect of God s hatred, " Thou shalt destroy them that speak leasing." Therefore, sinner, fear and tremble at the thoughts of God s
5. Imitate the holiness of God : this is the in ference here in the text, " Be ye holy, for 1 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 true, and faith ful ; for I am so. Therefore religion is called " the knowledge of the Holy One," (Prov. ix. 10. and chap. xxx. 3.) And our imitation of God, is ex pressed by our " putting on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holi ness," (Eph. iv. 24.) Seeing then this is the chief excellency and perfection of God, and the sum 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 habitu ally 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 enlarge upon this, be cause I have pressed the imitation of these par ticular perfections, goodness, patience, justice, truth, and faithfulness, upon other texts. I shall only mention two arguments to excite and quicken our desires and endeavour after holiness.
1. Holiness is an imitation of the highest excel lency and perfection. Holiness, I told you, signifies a separation from sin and vice, and all moral imper fection, and consequently, doth comprehend and take in all the moral perfections of the Divine na ture, the goodness, and mercy, and patience, and justice, and veracity, and faithfulness of God ; now these are the very beauty arid glory of the Di vine nature. The first thing that we attribute to God, next to his being, is his goodness, and those other attributes, which have a necessary connexion with it ; for his greatness and majesty is nothing else but the glory which results from his united per fections, especially from his goodness, and those perfections which are akin to it. Separate from
God those 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 impossible a thing, as can be imagined : so that if we have any sparks of am bition in us, we cannot but aspire after holiness, which is so great an excellency and perfection of God himself. There is a vulgar prejudice against holiness, as if it were a poor, mean thing, and below a great and generous spirit ; whereas holiness is the only true greatness of mind, the most genuine no bility, and the highest gallantry of spirit : and how ever it be despised by men, it is of a heavenly ex traction, and Divine original. Holiness is the first 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 entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, with out partiality, and without hypocrisy."
2. Holiness is an essential and principal ingredi ent of happiness. Holiness is a state of peace and tranquillity, and the very frame and temper of hap piness ; 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 in justice, or unfaithfulness, it would be liable to vex ation 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 crea tures could be happy, as brute beasts are in their degree, by enjoying their depraved appetites, and
following the dictates of sense and fancy, God would not have bound us up to a law and rule, but have left us, as he hath done unreasonable creatures,
to satisfy our lusts and appetites, without check and control : 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 in their very natures, that they can never be wholly defaced, without the ruin of their beings; and therefore it is impossible that such creatures should be happy otherwise, than by com plying with these notions, and obeying the natural dictates and suggestions 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 displeased with themselves for what they have done. So the apostle tells us, (Rom. i.) that even the most degenerate heathens had consciences, which did accuse or excuse them, ac cording as they obeyed, or did contrary to the dic tates of natural light. God, therefore, who knows our frame, hath so 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 con science; whereas, if we do contrary to it, we shall always be at discord with ourselves, and in a per
petual disquiet of mind : for nothing can do contrary to the law of its being, that is, to its own nature, without displeasure and reluctancy; the conse quence of which, in moral actions, is guilt; which is nothing else but the trouble and disquiet which ariseth in one s mind, from consciousness of having done something that contradicts the perfective prin ciple of his being; that is, something which did not
VOL. VI. 2 N
became him, and which, being what he is, that is a reasonable creature, he ought not to do.
So that in all reasonable creatures there is a cer tain kind of temper and disposition that is necessary and essential to happiness, and that is holiness ; which, as it is the perfection, so it is the great felici ty of the Divine nature : and, on the contrary, this is one chief part of the misery of those wicked and ac
cursed spirits the devils, and of unholy men, that they are of a temper contrary to God, they are en vious, 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 disposition of our spirits ; and till that be cured, which can only be done by holiness, it is as impos sible for a wicked man to be happy and contented in himself, as it is for a sick man 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 contented, than heaps of gold, and concerts of music,, and a well-spread table, and a rich bed r would contribute to a man s ease in the paroxysms of a fever, or in a violent fit of the stone. If a sen sual, or covetous, or ambitious man were in heaven, he would be like the rich man in hell, he would be tormented with a continual thirst, and burnt up in the flames of his own ardent desires, and would not meet with the least drop of suitable pleasure and delight to quench and allay the heat : the reason is, because such a man hath that within him which torments him, and he cannot be at ease till that be removed. Sin is the violent, and unnatural, and
uneasy state of our soul ; every wicked man s spirit is out of order, and till the man be put into a right frame by holiness, he will be perpetually disquieteclj.
and can have no rest within himself. The prophet fitly describes the condition of such a person : (Isa. Ivii. 20, 21.) " But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast forth mire and dirt : there is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." So long as a man is unholy, so long as filthiness and corruption abound in his heart, they will be restlessly working, like w r ine which is in a perpetual motion and agitation, till it have purged itself of its dregs and foulness. Nothing is more tur bulent and unquiet than the spirit of a wicked man ; it is like the sea, when it roars and rages through the strength of contrary winds ; it is the scene of furious lusts, and wild passions, which as they are contrary to holiness, so they maintain perpetual con tests and feuds among themselves.
All sin separates us from God, who is the foun dation of our happiness. Our limited nature, and the narrowness of our beings, will not permit us to be happy in ourselves : it is peculiar to God to be his own happiness ; but man, because he is finite, and therefore cannot be self-sufficient, is carried forth by an innate desire of happiness, to seek his felicity in God. So that there is in the nature of man a spring of restless motion, which, with great impatience, forceth him out of himself, and tosses him to and fro, till he comes to rest, in something that is self-sufficient. Our souls, when they are separated from God, like the unclean spirit in the gospel, when it was " cast out, wander up and down in dry and desert places, seeking rest, but finding none." Were the whole world calm about a man, and did it not make the least attempt upon him, were he free from the fears of Divine vengeance, yet he could not be satisfied with himself; there is
something within him that would not let him be at rest, but would tear him from his own foundation and consistency ; so that when we are once broken off from God, the sense of inward want doth stimu late and force us to seek our contentment elsewhere. So that nothing but holiness, which re-unites us to God, and restores our souls to their primitive and original state, can make us happy, and give peace and rest to our souls : and this is the constant voice and language of Scripture, and the tenour of the Bible; " Acquaint now thyself with him, and be at peace," (Job xxii. 21.) "Light is sown for the righ teous, and gladness for the upright in heart," (PsaL xcvii. 11.) "The work of righteousness shall be peace ; and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever," (Isa. xxxii. 17.)
Seeing then holiness is so high a perfection, and so great a happiness, let these arguments prevail with us to aspire after this temper, that " as He who hath called us is holy, so we may be holy in all!
manner of conversation ; because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy."
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THE HOLINESS OF GOD.
BY J. COGSWELL, D. D
ISAIAH VI. 1—3.
" In the year that King Uzzlah died, I saw also the Lord sittmg upon a throne high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple.
" Above it stood the Seraphims : each one had six wings ; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly.
" And one cried to another and said. Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory."
The death of Uzziah, who was fifty-two years king of Judah, was not in itself an event of much importance, only as it determined the year when the prophet Isaiah had the remarkable vision, which the text in part describes. Till he became a leper he was an able statesman, a mighty warrior, and a renowned sovereign. As long as he sought the Lord, God made him to prosper. But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction. Because he transgressed against the Lord his God, and went into the temple of the Lord to
burn incense, which none but the priests were allowed to perform, he became a leper, and continued to be thus punished till the day of his death.
Though the worship of the true God during the reign of Uzziah was outwardly maintained, yet it was greatly corrupted by the idolatrous practices which were tolerated. The wickedness of the professed friends of God provoked Him to anger against them. To prepare the prophet Isaiah, whom he sent to instruct and reprove them, to meet the opposition to which he would be exposed, and the cruel persecution he would
36 Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1 — 3.
suffer, God was pleased to make him more perfectly acquainted with his holy character and purposes concerning the people, among whom he was called to labor. In like manner our Divine Lord and Master, not long before his crucifixion, knowing what treatment his disciples would receive from this wicked world, thus addressed them: "If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own ; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. Remember the word
that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his master. If they have persecuted me they will also persecute you ; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. All these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me." (John xv. 18 — 21.)
The vision Isaiah had of the holiness of God, was suited to prepare him for the very difficult work assigned him. It deeply affected him, and gave him the most abasing view of himself. Thus he expressed his feelings : " Then said I, Wo is me ! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips ; for mine eyes have seen the King, the Lord of Hosts."
The person whom Isaiah saw seated on a throne high and lifted up, is the Son of God, our mediatorial King. Of this we have proof in the 12th chapter of the Gospel of John. The Evangelist, after noticing the miracles of Christ, and the unbelief of the Jews, adds: -'These things said Esaias, when he saw His glory and spake of him." (John xii. 40.)
The throne, "high and lifted up," on which the prophet saw the Son of God sitting, may intimate that the work of Redemption is a more glorious exhibition than the work of creation, of
Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3. 37
the holy character of God. The former was, doubtless, that on which the mind of our Divine Lord was fixed.
The Son of God appeared in the temple, which had been greatly polluted, to consecrate it anew. During his ministry on the earth, he drove from his Father's house those that sold oxen and sheep and doves, and the changers of money.
"Above the throne stood the Seraphims." These are supposed to be the highest order of angels. They dwell near the throne of God, and never cease to worship him with all their powers. They are ministering spirits to Christ and to his church. The work of redemption is that which interests them deepl)^, and into which they desire to look.
"Each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face." This may intimate that they were unable to bear a full view of the dazzling splendor of the glory of the holiness of God shining in the face of his beloved and only begotten Son. God would not permit Moses, distinguished as he was for piety, to behold his face. He said to him, " Thou canst not see my face ; for there shall no man see me and live." In mercy, God makes only such revelations of his perfections to men as they
are able to bear.
"With twain each of the Seraphims covered his feet." This may intimate that the highest order of angels feel that their very best services are unworthy of the notice of Him who is infinitely holy. The more distinguished any christian is for piety, the less he thinks of what he has done for Him who gave his life to redeem him. Well might the Seraphim view the greatest work they ever performed, of small importance compared with what the Son of God undertook and has accomplished for our redemption. When their thoughts were directed to God, their knowledge compared with his, appeared
38 Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3.
to be but ignorance — their wisdom but folly — their strength but weakness, and their holiness but an obscure reflection of the holiness of their Creator. How circumscribed must be the views of all finite beings, even the most intelligent, and how limited the range of their noblest thoughts ! "jFor my thoughts are not your thoughts, saith the Lord, neither are your ways my ways. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts."
'' With twain each of the Seraphims did fly." This may signify their readiness to obey the commands of God, and the celerity with which they executed them. The greater the advancement of any christian in holiness, the more ready he is to do the will of God, however difficult the duty he is called to perform, and the more rapid and energetic his movements in the accomplishment of the object of his pursuit.
This view of the Seraphim is a beautiful representation of the humility and obedience of holy angels in heaven. It may, however, be observed, the humility of holy angels is in some respects difl'erent from that of christians. The former cannot be conscious of guilt, and consequently cannot repent and experience brokenness of spirit and contrition of heart. They never feel forgiving love, but when they behold the glory of the holiness of God, they have a deep sense of their unworthiness of his notice. "The heavens are not clean in his sight and his angels he chargeth with folly." The infidel may be convinced that he is infinitely inferior to God in knowledge, wisdom and power ; but may be unwilling to confess his guilt, or to look to Christ for pardon. Ignorant of the holiness of God, he has no sense of his vileness.
While the thoughts of the Seraphims were fixed on him
Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3. 39
whom they saw sitting on a throne high and lifted up, and also, doubtless, on the plan and work of Redemption, they cried one to another, and said, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts, the whole earth is full of his glory."
No discourse was delivered by any one of them — no hymn was sung, but the single word "^oZy" seemed to comprehend and express their thoughts of the glory of God's holiness, as it shone in the face of Him that sat upon the throne high and lifted up. Whether the pronouncing of the word "holy " three times by the Seraphims be any evidence of their adoration of three persons in the ever blessed Trinity, we cannot certainly determine. That they had a knowledge of a plurality of persons in the Godhead cannot be questioned. " The secret of the Lord is with them that fear Him." God appeared to them to be holy in all the revelations he had made of himself, in his works of creation, providence and redemption. The moral law is a transcript of his character as made known to our first parents before their apostasy. This law is holy, just and good. The law of faith is a transcript of the Divine character, as made known to man after his apostasy. This cannot be understood without a knowledge of the doctrine of the Trinity.
This law is holy and just and merciful, as well as good. There can be no doubt that the Seraphims had a correct understanding of the revelations which God had made of his gracious purposes concerning perishing men. These revelations became more full and particular, till the christian church was firmly established in the world.
The holiness of God is that perfection of His character, on which the Seraphims delighted to dwell. This seemed to be the all-absorbing subject of their meditations. This very important and sublime subject we ought to understand. For "without holiness no man shall see the Lord."
40 Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3.
This is the subject to which your attention is now directed. It may be observed,
1. Freedom from moral evil, a common definition of the holiness of God, is by no means a satisfactory view of this perfection.
Freedom from moral evil may be predicated of beings not capable of sinning. There can be no moral evil in any of the
lower orders of animals. They are not subjects of the moral government of God. They have no discernment of the difference between good and evil in a moral sense.
That God was as holy as he is now before he created any of the subjects of his moral government, and consequently before moral evil existed, is evident from the consideration of his immutability. It may here be added, destitute of holiness is not a satisfactory view of human depravity. To be destitute of that holiness which God requires of men, is not necessarily to be depraved. The lower orders of animals are not depraved, though destitute of that holiness which is essential to the christian character. It is true, the subjects of God's moral government, who are destitute of holiness, are depraved, and totally depraved.
2. The holiness of God does not consist merely in his hatred of sin.
God does indeed hate sin, and looks upon all transgressions of his moral law with abhorrence. Hatred of sin where it exists and is known, is essential to holiness of character, and the greater the advancement of any in holiness, the greater is their hatred of sin. God, who is infinitely holy, looks upon all sin with infinite abhorrence. But the holiness of God was clearly manifested in heaven before the apostasy of the angels
that sinned, and consequently before he could exercise hatred
Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3. 41
of sin. This holiness did not depend for its existence or manifestation on the transgression of his law.
3. It appears to be a very common opinion that the holiness of God has respect only to the subjects of his moral government. That they hold the highest place in his thoughts and affections, is readily admitted. Man is constituted the lord of this lower world. "He was made but little lower than the angels, and crowned with glory and honor." The government of the world has always had respect to his moral conduct. The history of the Jews affords abundant proofs of the correctness of this observation. The course of Divine providence •corresponds with their conduct. When faithful in the performance of religious duties, they were prosperous ; but when they departed from God he visited them with his judgments. Many are the works of God in which moral beings appear to have no immediate interest, and which have no moral character. The moral kingdom of God embraces but a small portion of his creatures, and occupies but a small space in his vast empire. But the government of God is universal in
extent, and everlasting in duration. " Not a sparrow falleth to the ground without him, and the very hairs of our head are all numbered." This holiness extends to all his works.
4. The holiness of God is essential to his nature and character. " This," observes a distinguished divine, " is the blessedness and nobleness of his nature ; it renders him glorious in himself, and glorious to his creatures, that understand anything of this lovely perfection. The holiness of God is his glory and crown." *' Who is like unto thee," sang Moses and the children of Israel, when they had crossed the Red Sea, ¦" glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders." (Ex. XV. n.)
42 Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3.
The end which God had in view in the creation of the world, and which he has in view in its government, corresponds with his holy nature and eternal purposes. For aught we know, he may have created as many worlds as there are stars, which in a clear night twinkle in the heavens. These worlds may be inhabited by innumerable moral beings, inferior or superior to us. And the administration of the Divine government in this province of his vast empire may have an
influence upon the inhabitants of all other worlds. Should this government, the United States, manifest partiality toward any one of States, it would not be respected by the other States. The end which God has ever had in view is the glory of his holiness. Their honor is the highest object which the great men of this world seek. To obtain it they submit to great privations and hardships. They prefer death to its loss. The following passage gives us a scripture view of the end God had in view in the creation of the world, and which he has in view in the administration of his government.
"And the four beasts (or living creatures) had each of them six wings about him, and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying Holy, holy, holy. Lord God Almight}^ who was and is, and is to come. And when those beasts (or living creatures) give glory and honor and thanks to Him that sat on the throne, who liveth forever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship Him that liveth forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, "Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power ; for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created." (Rev. iv. 8 — 10.) The happiness of his creatures could not be the end God had in view when
Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3. 43
none of them existed. Nor could his own happiness be the end ; for that could not be increased. Those who are most like God, serve him because they love him. When filled with all the fullness of God, or full of the Holy Ghost, they forgot themselves and their own happiness. Their only desire is to do the will of God. Those who are influenced in the performance of duty only by a fear of future misery or a hope of future happiness, are not holy, and cannot be christians.
5. A knowledge of himself helps the christian to obtain a correct knowledge of God's holiness.
Now, we know that every one whose feelings are strong, whether holy or unholy, is desirous of an opportunity for the expression of them, whether the expression increase his happiness or not. The apostle Paul, in view of the severe trials to which his fidelity exposed him, said, " Woe is me, if I preach not the Gospel." It was not a regard to present or future happiness that moved him, but the Holy Spirit operating in his heart. There was a time when the prophet Jeremiah determined to keep silence, because every one mocked him and treated him with contempt. " I am in derision daily," he said, " every one mocketh me. Then I said I will not make mention
of him, nor speak any more in His name; but his' word was in my heart as a burning fire shut up in my bones, and I was weary with forbearing and I could not stay." Such is the human mind, that the exercise of its powers is necessary to its continued existence. It is the law of holiness which gives them proper direction, and which subjects them to proper discipline. A pure spirit cannot but be active.
God is a spirit, and the most active in the universe. This must be evident to every one who contemplates his vast works and the extent of his government. Who can have any
44 Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3.
adequate conception of the exercise of the powers of Him whose government extends to all worlds, to all the vast bodies that roll through the heavens, to the different orders of angels, holy and unholy, to the hundreds of millions of the human race, and to all other of his creatures, animate and inanimate ? His knowledge and wisdom and power are every moment required for their preservation. Should he for a moment leave them to depend on themselves, they would cease to be. The man, we know, who possesses great physical power, delights to exercise it. So also the man of uncommon powers
of mind loves to display them, and the man of great wealth is pleased to do some great thing, or to give some proof of his munificence. Now, as all the attributes of God are infinite, it is His pleasure to exercise or display them. As holiness in the christian gives a right direction to all his purposes, feelings and actions, and makes them harmonize with the wall of God, of whom and through whom, and to whom are all things, so holiness in God makes all his purposes, revelations and works of creation, providence and redemption, correspond with the vast plan which he is executing, and the accomplishment of whose ultimate object, is infinitely distant. It is the holiness of God which gives excellency to his character, and it is the holiness of the redeemed which delights Him. The purposes of God correspond with His holy nature, and the method adopted for the accomplishment of them is holy. The will of God, as made known in the volume of revelation, is the only standard by which we may determine whether we are holy or not, and whether we may hope for heaven or not. The following appears to be a proper view of the holiness of God:
6. The holiness of God does not appear to be a distinct attribute, like knowledge, wisdom, power or goodness. It seems to
Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3. 45
have reference to all his attributes, and to result from their harmonious operation, directed to the accomplishment of that noble and glorious object which he ever has in view. It may be considered a universal law, which subjects all things to the Divine will. By this law, the nature of God, his attributes, his revelations, all his works, and the administration of his universal government, all have reference to his ultimate end, his own glory. Though God is self-moved, such is his nature that all his acts are holy. The law of holiness is the law of a great sovereign, and a great empire. By this law all the disorders and evils in the world will be overruled for good.
7. The holiness of God appears more gloriously in the work of redemption than in the work of creation.
Man, the lord of this lower world, was created holy ; the law he was required to observe is holy and just and good. Its penalty for disobedience, is everlasting death. When God punished the angels that sinned, he made a glorious display of his] justice, which is one manifestation of his holiness. Justice demanded the punishment of man, when guilty of disobedience. Had God treated him as he treated the angels, it would have been another display of his justice. It would have been the punishment of dependent beings, creatures, servants.
They might have reasoned, as servants often do, and from a knowledge of facts. If God had a Son, they might say, much more dear to him, yea, infinitely more dear to him than any of his creatures, he would spare him, and not punish him as he does us, if a transgressor of his law, much less, if innocent, and if he should offer to become a substitute for us. The very offer of his Son would be such an expression of his love, that God would accept it as he did the consent of the patriarch
46 Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3.
Abraham, to sacrifice his son Isaac. Now when God made known his purposes of grace concerning fallen man, to maintain his authority among the angels, who were not indifferent spectators of transactions doubtless known to them — both to the holy and happy, and the unholy and miserable — it seemed to be necessary that they should see consistency in the administration of the Divine government. As God made a revelation of his mercy, which is a brighter view of his character than was made by the law by which sinning angels were punished, or the law by which apostate man was condemned ; it was necessary to be, and appear to be, consistent in the administration of his government, that he should make a more glorious exhibition than before made, of his justice or holiness.
Otherwise, how could holy angels see the justice of God in the condemnation of their former companions, or the latter his justice in their punishment? The revelation of the forgiving love of God to fallen man, must have occasioned in the minds of holy angels, perplexity, and have encouraged rebellion, had they not seen justice fully satisfied by the interposition and death of the Son of God. The offer of the Son of God, infinitely more dear to him than any or all his creatures, to endure the penalty of the Divine law in the room of all disposed to trust in him, gave a more glorious view of the justice and holiness of God, than had before been given to holy or unholy angels. The holiness of God strikingly appears in every part of the plan and work of redemption. In the sufferings and death of the second person of the Trinity, we see how much God hates sin and loves holiness. " Where," observes an eminent divine, "did sin ever appear so irreconcilable to God? Where did God ever break out so furiously against iniquity? The Father would have the most excellent person, the next in
Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3. 47
order to himself, and equal to him in all the glorious perfections of his nature, die on a disgraceful cross, and be exposed to the flames of Divine wrath, rather than sin should live, and
his holiness remain forever disparaged by the violations of his law."
The Son of God is the brightness of his Father's glory, and the express image of his person. But man was originally created in the image of God. The image of God in man was only a representation of the character of God, as revealed to him before his apostasy, in the moral law. But Christ is the image of God in a higher sense. He corresponds with the law of faith, and with all the revelations God has made of himself, both in the law and in the Gospel.
The work of redemption is the great work of God on which his mind is fixed, and on which all holy beings will forever dwell with increasing delight.
When God first made a revelation of his forgiving love, holy angels must have been filled with wonder, as they had seen some of their number on account of their sin, banished from heaven, and reserved in chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day ; it was natural for them to expect that apostate man would in like manner be punished. They could see no way by which God could be just, keep his word and maintain his authority, and pardon transgressors of his holy law. They could not know that God had a Son without a revelation. When, therefore, they understood that God had
a Son, and that he was willing to take the sinner's place, and to die in his stead, they were filled with delight and rapture. They clearly saw how the holiness of God could more gloriously appear in the justification of all who believe in Jesus, than in their punishment. The angels that sinned, and who
48 Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3.
are suffering the wrath of God, cannot bring any charge against him of inconsistency, or accuse him of punishing them without sufficient cause. As much greater, more excellent and more dignified as the second Adam is than the first, so much more gloriously the holiness of God appears in the death of the former, than it could appear in the death of the latter and his posterity. Christianity has not diminished our obligation to obey the moral laws, but has strengthened its authority, and given it lustre. The church of God, redeemed by the blood of Christ, is a holy church. " But ye are a chosen generation," said Peter to the saints whom he addressed, " a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should show forth the praises of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvellous light." (1 Pet. ii. 9.) " Know ye not," said the apostle Paul to the church of Corinth, " that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ? If
any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy ; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are."
Since it is manifest from the view we have taken of the holiness of God, that his very nature, purposes, affections, acts and works are holy ; he must look upon all sin, in any of his creatures, with infinite abhorrence. Man we know was originally created holy, with full power to do the will of God. So long as he continued innocent, God was pleased with him, and loved him. He was the property of God, who created him, and on whom he depended for the continuance of his being. As the holiness of God was manifested in his creation, so his holiness was manifested in his condemnation, and would have
Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3. 49
been manifested in his punishment, had no provision been made for his redemption. As the moral law was written upon the heart of man, when created, so the law of faith or of grace must be written upon the heart of every one who can please God. It may be a question, perhaps it may be thought a curious question, whether man, had he never sinned, could without
some change of nature, have worshiped the three persons in the ever blessed Trinity. It does not appear from the Scriptures, that any revelations of a plurality of persons in the Godhead was made to our first parents before their apostasy. The worship of innocent man must have been very different from the worship of the christian. The humility of the former must have been very different from that of the latter. The former had no consciousness of guilt, could not repent, as he had not sinned — could not believe, as he depended on his own works and not on the works of another for justification, consequently could not present the sacrifice of a broken spirit, a broken and a contrite heart. Now the law of faith or of grace written in the heart of the christian must be different from the law written in the heart of innocent man. — From the treatment the angels who sinned received from their offended Sovereign, we may learn how God views sin, and how he will punish it. They were the creatures of God, were created in His image sustained a nearer relation to Him than children do to their parents, had, for aught we know, faithfully served Him for a long period ; but for transgression of His law, which is holy, just and good, they were banished from heaven, and are now reserved in chains under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. Now, if we overlook for a moment the expression of God's displeasure, it is manifest that so nicely arranged, adjusted and balanced, is the moral kingdom of God, and in
50 Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3.
such perfect harmony was the original structure of the moral powers of His subjects, that the natural consequence of sin was remediless ruin. But how could God manifest consistency of character and support His authority, without an expression of His hatred of sin, corresponding with His infinite holiness? Admitting that God is infinitely holy. His hatred of sin must be infinite ; and how can He express His hatred of sin except by its punishment ? The Scriptures assure us as a matter of fact, that God has banished the angels that sinned, from heaven, and has reserved them in chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day, when they will be punished also for their opposition to his Son, and to the church redeemed by his sufferings and death. How dreadful and certain, then, must be the doom of the impenitent sinner, the wrath of an infinite God resting on him forever ! how groundless all hope of escape ! If the angels that sinned did not escape, how can you, sinner, if you continue impenitent, hope to escape the punishment due to your innumerable transgressions ? Pause, and think of these things. Be alarmed in season.
Christianity has not repealed or modified one precept of the moral law. " Think not," said Christ, " that I am come to
destroy the law or the prophets ; I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law till all is fulfilled." God does not threaten without a fixed determination to execute.
3. The method God has devised and adopted for the justification of the ungodly, gives us the most aflecting view of His hatred of sin, and His determination to punish all who refuse to accept the offer of pardon through faith in His Son. " The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.
Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3. 51
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him." " Forasmuch as ye know," said the apostle Peter, " that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation, received by tradition with your fathers ; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." Had not sin appeared to God a great evil, the tendency of which, if unchecked and counteracted, must subvert and ruin His kingdom, He would not have called forth His dearly beloved Son
from His bosom, and consented to make him a curse for guilty men to effect their redemption. " He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him, and with His stripes we are healed." God could not manifest consistency of character, support his authority, and appear glorious in holiness, in the redemption of any of the human race, without the sufferings and death of one sustaining a nearer relation to Him than any of His creatures. This we can all understand. No parent will punish a beloved son without sufficient cause, much less, if innocent, for the guilty. How can God appear holy to the angels, holy and unholy to the millions and hundreds of millions of the human race, or even to ourselves, should he justify us without full satisfaction for our sins? Justice must be satisfied or we cannot be saved. In ourselves there is no help. God has accepted the offer of His beloved and only begotten Son to be a substitute, and has not spared Him, but has delivered Him for our offences, and raised Him again for our justification. Some, when meditating on the justice and holiness of God, discover nothing amiable in his character, but perceive feelings of opposition awakened. But when their
52 Sermon on Isaiah vi. 1-3.
attention is directed to the sufferings and death of His Son, who knew no sin, and who gave His life to save them from death, they discover the strongest proofs of His tender compassion, and earnest desire of their salvation. The language of the Gospel is, to every one of you, " Come, for all things are ready."
The fact of the death of Christ, as well as the fact of the punishment of the angels that sinned, makes it certain that all unbelievers who persevere in unbelief will perish. Can any of you, my hearers, while contemplating the cross of Christ, indulge any hope that you can, without faith in Him, escape the punishment to which your sins expose you ? Can you believe that God will not be as good as His word ? that He will spare you when He did not spare His only begotten Son, when He stood in the room of sinners? The holiness of God will appear glorious in your condemnation, if not in your salvation.
The time is coming when holiness to the Lord will be upon all his works — upon the gates of that prison where the wicked will suffer His wrath, as well as on the gates of heaven. His holiness will appear glorious in the display of His justice as well as in the display of His mercy. Be persuaded then, my hearers, to be holy as God is holy. If christians, strive to be more holy. If unrenewed, consider this : " Without holiness
no man shall see the Lord." Amen.
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