Let none be so foolish as to sit down contented without sanctification, but study holiness as ever ye would see heaven. We want a title to heaven, we must get that in justification and adoption: we want a meetness for heaven, and we must get that in sanctification. The sanctified are elected, and shall be glorified, 1 Pet. 1:1, 2, 4. And they that live and die unsanctifled, shall never see heaven, Heb. 12:14. ‘For without holiness no man shall see the Lord.’ Thomas Boston, Works, vol. 1, 661.
[I]t must be some grievous crime, and somewhat which is very offensive to him, that provokes him to sentence them to an eternal banishment from him. Oh how horrid a thing is sin! it brings all evil, Rom. 2:7, 8, and deprives of all good, Isa. 59:2. Its formal nature is a voluntary departure from God’s precepts, Heb. 3:12; Jer. 2:5; and its woeful effect is an eternal total departure from his gracious presence. His partial temporary departure from his own people, who are the objects of his eternal choice and infinite love, ‘which makes them go mourning all the day, and lie roaring all the night, because of their sins,’ speaks much of the evil of sin; but his full everlasting departure from others, which leaves them naked, and stripped of all comfort, and exposed to all misery and mischief, doth more abundantly proclaim its filthiness and loathsomeness. It can be no ordinary cloud or vapour that can obscure the sun at noonday, in all his beauty and brightness, and turn the clear day into a black night; and it can be no little or small thing which provokes the Father of mercy, and God of all grace, to deal so severely with the works of his own hands. The Rev. George Swinnock (Works, vol. 5, p. 285)
“[S]ince none . . . have been altogether exempt from temporal punishments, let us learn to bear them patiently. God did not spare Moses; what wonder if our condition is no better than his? Moreover, in the opinion of men it was a trifling offence, for the sake of which he was so severely chastised; for, carried away by indignation, he had been so irritated against the people that he had attributed less power to God than was due to Him. Now, those errors, into which we fall through thoughtless impetuosity, are more easily pardoned; but hence it is manifest how precious to God is His glory, when He does not suffer it to be obscured with impunity even by inadvertence. At the same time, also, we are taught that nothing is more irrational than to assume to ourselves the judgment respecting sins, and to weigh them in our own balance, when God is their only legitimate assessor.” John Calvin (Commentaries on the Four Last Books of Moses Arranged in the Form of a Harmony, vol. 4, p. 378)
Our Saviour did not promise wealth and honour to his followers, nor did he think it worth his pains of coming and dying, to bestow such gifts upon his children. He made heaven their happiness, and the earth their hell; the cross was their badge here, and the crown their reward hereafter; they seemed not to be a purchase congruous to so great a price of blood. Stephen Charnock (The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock, vol. 1, p. 34)
“[O]bserve how the Scripture sets out the spirits of men after their Idoll gods, in regard of the cost they are willing to bestow upon them. Isa. 46:6. They shall lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the ballance, and hire a goldsmith, and he maketh it a god. They care not what cost they are at to worship their Idols. O what a shame would it be if we should not be willing to part with much of our estates for the true worship of the true God: and though we should lose our estates, yet if we can serve God better, and in a purer way, we should be content; for Idolaters will lavish gold out of the bag upon their Idols. Now there is none like to our God; therefore it is a shame that they should doe more for their gods then we doe for ours. And then what are Idolaters willing to suffer for their gods? 1 Kings 18:28 how did Baals Priests there cut themselves after their manner, with Knives and Lancers, till the blood gushed out, to shew their respect to their Idols! let us then be willing to suffer any thing that God calls us to. And how constant were they to their Idols! therefore sayes God, Jer. 2:10, 11. Consider diligently and see, if there be such a thing: hath a Nation changed their gods which are yet no gods? but my people have changed their glory for that which doth not profit; how ill doth God take this that Idolaters should not change their gods that are infinitely below him, and yet that his people should change their God who is infinitely above them?” Jeremiah Burroughs, The Saints Treasury (London: T. C. for John Wright, 1654), 11.
“Wilt thou presently give a bill of divorce to all other lovers, and keep the bed of thy heart wholly for [Christ]? Shall the evil of sin never more have a good look from thee; but, as Amnon served Tamar, shall the hatred wherewith thou hatest those filthy strumpets—with whom thou hast had cursed dalliances, and committed spiritual fornication—be greater than the love wherewith thou hast loved them? Canst thou pack away the bondwoman and her son, and these things not at all be grievous in thy sight; that thy whole joy and delight may be in, and all that thou art worth preserved for, the true Isaac? Shall this Sun reign alone in the heavens of thy heart without any competitor? As when a dictator was created at Rome, there was a supersedeas to all other authority; so if Christ be exalted in thy soul, there must be a cessation of all other rule and power. Christ will not be a king merely in derision, as the Jews made him; nor as the stump of wood was to the frogs in the fable, whom every lust may securely dance about and provoke.” George Swinnock (Works, vol. 3, p. 464)
“Every good fear endeth in duty; it ariseth from faith, and ends in duty; it stirs up the soul to use all the means to prevent the danger. If Noah had not believed, he had never feared; if he had not feared, he had never prepared an ark. The fear of the wicked ends in irresolution, perplexity, and despair; their terrors differ only in degree and duration from the pains of hell—mere involuntary impressions, whose end is not duty, but despair and torment; but the fear of the godly sets them a-work.” Thomas Manton, The Complete Works of Thomas Manton, vol. 14 (London: James Nisbet & Co., 1973), 196–197.
[I]f we deny God the government of sin in the course of his providence, we must necessarily deny him the government of the world, because there is not an action of any man’s in the world, which is under the government of God, but is either a sinful action or an action mixed with sin. Stephen Charnock, The Complete Works of Stephen Charnock, vol. 1, p. 30
“Sanctification is the work of the Lord, and specially of the Lord when people meet on his day. He gave them ‘sabbaths,’ and they were called holy convocations, because on them the people met, Lev. 23.3. And why did he give them those days? that they might know that he was the Lord, which sanctified them. There is none which can sanctify persons by way of separation or inherent holiness, but the Lord; he assumes this power and privilege to himself; see Lev. 20.8; Ezek. 37.28; and his sanctifying is chiefly when people meet on his day. Then the law was read and opened unto them, Acts 15.21; Neh. 8.8; then did God appear amongst them, and work by the means he appointed for their sanctification. what their carriage was towards him therein, and Psal. 89.7, ‘God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints,’ there he convinces them of their sinfulness and sinful practices; there he beats down their strong holds, and captivates their thoughts to the obedience of his will. What was it [that] made David openly to proclaim it, that ‘a day in God’s courts was better than a thousand?” one sabbath day, wherein he had communion with God, and found him sanctifying his head and heart, was more esteemed of him than a thousand other days: ‘For the Lord,’ saith he, ‘is a sun and shield,’ he enlightens me, he strengthens me, and so separates my darkness and weakness from me, and makes me more holy. Let us, therefore, look unto God alone for sanctification, and wait upon him on his days in the solemn assemblies, and he will sanctify us; those are days of his special presence, power, and blessing.” William Greenhill (An Exposition of the Prophet Ezekiel, pp. 497-498)