« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
and the permanent hear the word Such is
that we are prone
A certain woman--said unto him, Blessed is the woms that bare thee, and the paps which thou haft fucked But he said, Yea, rather, blefed are they that hear the word of God, and keep it.
2. It is a real union. Such is our weakness in our prefent state, so much are we inimersed in sin, that we are prone to form in our fancy an image of every thing proposed to us; and as to whatsoever is denied us, we are apt to fufpect it to be buc a fiction, or what has no reality. But nothing is more real, than what is fpiritual; as ap. proaching nearest to the nature of Him who is the fountain of all reality, namely, God himself. We do not see with our eyes the union betwixt our own soul and body; neither can we represent it to ourselves truly, by imagination, as we 'do sensible things: yet the reality of it is not to be doubted, Faith is no fancy, but the substance of things hoped for, Heb: xi. Neither is the union thereby made betwixt Christ and believers, imaginary, but most real: for we are ! members of his body, of his flejb, urd of his bones, Eph. v. 30. ... 3. It is a most close and intimate union. Believers, regenerate persons, who fiducioully credit him, and rely on him, have put on Christ, Gal. iii. 27. If that be not enough, he is in them, John xvii. 23. formed in them, as the child in the mother's belly, Gal. iv. 19. He is the foundation, I Cor. iii. 11. They are the lively stones built upon him, 1 Pet. ii. 5. He is the Head, and they the body, Eph. i. 22, 23. Nay, he liveth in them, as their very souls in their bodies, Gal. ii. 30: And, what is more than all this, they are one in the Father, and the Son, as the Father is in Chrift, and Christ in the Father, John xvii. 21. That they all may be one, as thou the Father art in me, and I in thee, they also may be one in us.
4. Though it is not a mere legal union, yet it is an union sustained in law. Chrift as the cautioner, the Christians as the principal debtors, are one, in the eye of the law. When the elect had run themselves, with the rest of mankind, in debt to the justice of God; Christ became surety for them, and paid the debt. When they believe on him, they are united to him in a spiritual marriage-union; which takes effect fo far, that what he did and suffered for them, is reckoned in law, as if they liad done and suffered for themselves. Hence they are said to be crucified with Jesus, Gal. ii. 20. Buried with him, Col. ii 12. Yea, raised up together, (namely, with Christ) and made to fit together in heavenly places in Christ Jefus, Eph. ii. 6. In which places, saints on earth, of whom the Apostle there speaks, cannot be said to be sitting, but in the way of law-reckoning.
ŚIt is an indissoluble union: Once in Christ, ever in him. Having taken up his habitation in the heart, he never removes. None can untie this happy knot. Who will diffolve this union? Will he himself o it? No, he will not; we have his word for it: I will not turn away from tbem, Jer. xxxii. 40. But perhaps the [inner will do this mischief for himself; no, he shall not, They Mall not depart from me, faith their. God, ibid. Can devils do it? No, inless they be stronger
withe for the man in a spid Tuffere chemfelvered with
than Christ, and his Father too: Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand, faith our Lord, John X. 28. And none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hund, ver. 39. But, what say you of death, which parts husband and wife; yea, separates the soul from the body Will not death do it? No; the Apostle, Rom. viii. 38, 39. is per- in suaded that neither death, (as terrible is it is) nor life, (as desirable as it is) nor devils, those evil angels, nor the devil's persecuting agents, tho' they be principalities or powers on earth; nor evil things present, already lying on us, nor evil things to come on us; ror the height of worldly felicity, nor depth of worldly misery ; nor any other creature, good or ill, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. As death separated Christ's foul from his body, but could not separate either his soul or body from his divine nature; fo, tho' the saints thould be separated from their nearest relacions in the world, and from all their earthly enjoyments; yea, thro' their souls should be separate from their bodies, and their bodies separate in iz thousand pieces, their bones scattered, as when one cuticth or cleaveth wood: yet foul and body, and every piece of the body, the fñiallest dust of it shall remain 'united to the Lord Chrift: for even in death, they sleep in Jesus; 1 Thess. iv. 14 And, ne kepeth all their hones, Psal. xxxiv. 20. Union with Christ, is the grace wherein we stand, firin and stable, as muunt Zion, which cannot be removed. . - Loftly, It is a mysterious union. The gospel is à do&rine of mysteries. It discovers to us the substantial union of the three Persons
in one Godhead, John v 7. These three are one : the hypoftatical į union of the divine and human natures, in the person of the Lord
Jesus Chrift, 1 Tim iii. 16. God was manifeft in the flesh: and the mystical union, betwixt Christ and believers, this is a great mystery also, Eph. V. 32. O what mysteries are here! the bead in heaven, the members on earth, yet really united! Christ in the believer, living in him, walking in him: and the believer dwelling in God, putting on the Lord Jefus, eating his flesh, and drinking his blood? this makes the saints a mystery to the world ; yea, a mystery to themselves.
SECONDLY, I come now more particularly to speak of this union with, and ingrafting into Jesus Christ. And, (1.) I shall consider the natural steck, which the branches are taken out of (2.) The fupernatural stock, they are ingrafted into. (3.) What branches are cut off the old stock, and put into the new. (4.) How it is done. And, Lastly, The benefits flowing from this union and ingrafting. of the natural and supernatural Stocks, and the Branches, taken out of
the former, and ingrafted into the latter. I. Let us take a view of the stock, which the branches are taken out of. The two Adams, that is Adam and CHRIST, are the two stocks: for the scripture speaks of these two, as if there had never been more men in the ... Id than they, I Cor. xv. 45. The first man
Adam wis ma:le a living foul, the last Adam was made a quickning Spirit. Ver. 47. The fi.lt man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven. And the reason is, there were never any, that were not branches of one of these two; all men being either in the one stock or in the other; for in these two forts all mankind stands divided: Ver. 48. As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: und as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. The nrít Adam then is the natural stock: on this stock are the branches found growing at first; which are afterwards cut off, and ingrafted into Christ." As for the fallen angels, as they had no relation to the first Adarn, so they have none to second.
There are four things to be remembered here, (1.) That all mankind (the man Christ excepted) are naturally branches of the first Adam, Rom. v. 12. By one man fin entered into the world, and death hy lin: andi fo dçath paffedtipon all men. · (2.) The bond which knit us into the natural frock, was the covenant of works. Adam being our natura root, was made the moral root also; bearing all his porterity as representing them in the covenant of works. For, by one man's Giftsbedicnce many were made finners, Rom. v. 19. Now, there behoved to be a peculiar relation betwixt that one man and the many, as a foundation for imputing his sia to them. This relation did not arise from the mere natural bond betwixt him and us, as a father to his children; for fo we are related to our immediate parents, whose fins are not thereupon imputed to us as Adam's sin is. It behoved then to arise from a moral bond betwixt Adam' and us; the bond of a covenane, which could be no other than the covenant of works, wherein we were united to him as branches to a stock. Hence Jesus Christ, though a son of Adam, Luke iii 23, 33. was none of these branches; for seeing he came net of Adam, in virtue of the blessing of marriage, which was given before the fall, (Gen. i 28. Be fruitful and multiply, &c.) but in virtue of a special promise made after the fall, (Gen. ii, 15. The jeed of the womait muil bruise the fer pent's head.) i Adam could not represent him in a covenant made before his fall. (3.) As it is imposible for a brarich to be in two stocks at once ; so noinan can be, at one and the same time, both in the first and second Adam. (4) Hence it evidently follows, that all who are not ingrafted in Jesus Christ, are yet brarches of the old stock; and so partake of the nature of the fame. Now, as to the first Adam, our natural Itock: Consider,
First, What a fiock he vias originally. He was a vine of the Lord's planting, a choice vine, a noble vine, wholly a right feed. There was a consultation of the Trinity,at the planting of this vine, Gen.i. 26. Let us mukiman in our own image, after our own liken-fs. There was no rotienness at the heart of it. There was sap and juice enough in it, to have rourühed all the branches, to bring forth fruit unto God. My meaning is, A.lam was made able perfecüly to keep the command. ment. of God, which would have procured eternal life tu lainfelf, and
afful change, tbiled, becoine che devil is pri
to all his posterity; for seeing all die by Adam's disobedience; all should have had life, by his obedience, if he had stood. Consider, · Secondly, What that stock now is: ah! most unlike to what it was, when planted by the Author and Fountain of all good. A blast from . hell, and a bite with the venomous teeth of the old serpent, have inadc it a degenerate stock, a dead stock; nay, a killing stock.
ift, It is a degenerate naughty stock. Therefore the Lord God fuid to Adam, in that difinal dav, Where art thou? Gen. iii. 9. In what condition art thou now? How art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a trange vine, unto me? Or, where wast thou? Why not in the place of meeting with me? Why so long a-coming? What meaneth this fearful change, this hiding of thyself from me? Alas! the stock is degenerate, quite spoiled, become altogether naught, and brings forth wild grapes. Converse with the devil is preferred to communion with God. Satan is believed ; and God, who is truth' itself, disbelieved. He who was the friend of God, is now in confpiracy against him. Darkness is come into the room of light: ignorance prevails in the mind, where divine knowledge ihone: the will, foms. time righteous or regular, is now turned rebel against its Loid: and the whole man is in dreadful disorder. " - Before I go further, let me stop and observe, Here is a mirror both for faints and finners. Sinners, stand here and consider, what you are: and saints learn ye, what once ye were. Ye, finners, are branches of a degenerate stock. Fruit you may bear indeed; but now that your vine is the vine of Sodom, your grapes must, of courss, be grapes of gall, Deut. xxxii. 32. The Scripture speaks of two sorts of fruit, which grow on the branches upon the natural stock: and it is plain enough, they are of the nature of their degenerate stock. (1.) The wild grapes of wickedness, Ifa. v. 2. These grow in abundance by influence from hell. Şee Gal. v. 19, 20, 21. At their gates are all manner of these fruits, both new and old. Storms come from heaven to put them back; but they still grow. They are struck àt with the sword of the Spirit, the word of God: conscience gives them many a fecret blow: yet they thrive. (2.) Fruit to themselves, Hof.x. I. What clse are all the unrenewed man's acts of obedience, his refor-' mation, sober deportment, his prayers, and good works? They are all done, chiefly, for himself, nor for the glory of God. These fruits are like the apples of Sodom, fair to look at, but fall to ashes, when handled and tried. Ye think ye have not only the leaves of a profession, but the fruits of a holy practice too ; but, if ye be not broken off from the old stock, and ingrafted in Christ Jesus, God accepis noc, ner regards your fruits.
Here I must take occasion to tell you, there are fire faults will be found in heaven, with your best fruits. (1.) Their bitterness; jour clusters are bilier, Deut. xxxii. 32. There is a spirit of bitternels, wherewith some come before the Lord, in religious duties, living in malice and envy; and which some professors entertain against vihers,
nfluence foile fruits, both new row.
Their vo without hyperform. The it, wh
ou favour of privile, lavour minable, mos ii. i yildon ist
because they out-line them, by holiness of life, or because they are not of their opinion or way. This, wheresoever ic reigns, is a fearful symptom of an unregenerate sate. But, I do not so much mean cbis, as that which is common to all the branches of the old Itock; namely, the leaven of hypocrisy, Luke xii. 1. which rowers and embicters every duty they perform. The wisdom that is full of good fruits, is without hypocrisy, James iij. 17. (2.) Their ill savour. Their works are abominable, for themselves are corrupt, Psal. xiv. J. They all favour of the old stock, not of the new; it is the peculiar priviledge of the saints, that they are unto God a sweet favour of Christ, 2 Cor. ii. 15. The unregenerate man's fruits favour not of Love to Chrift, nor of the blood of Christ, nor of the incense of his intercession, and therefore will never be accepted of in heaven. (3.) Their unripeness. Their grape is an unr ipe grape, Job xv. 33. There is no influence on them from the Sun of Righteousness, to bring them to perfection. They have the shape of fruit, but no more. The matter of duty is in them ; but they want right principles and ends: their works are not wrought in God, John iii. 21. Their prayers drop from their lips, before their hearts be impregnate with the vital sap of the Spirit of supplication : their tears fall from their eyes, ere their hearts be truly softened; their feet turn to new paths, and their way is alcered; while yet their nature is not changed. (4.) Their lightness. · Being weighed in the balances, they are found wanting, Dan. v.27. For evidence whereof, you may observe, they do not humble the soul, but lift it upin pride. The good fruits of holiness bear down the branches they grow upon, making them to falure the ground. i Cor. xv, 10. I laboured more abundanily than they all : yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. But the blasted fruits of unrenewed men's performance, bang lightly on branches towering up to heaven, Judges xvii. 13. Now know I, that the Lord will do me good, seeing I have a Levite to my priest. They look indeed so high, thac God cannot behold them : Wherefore have we fafted, say they, and thou feeft not? Isa. Iviii. 3. The more duties they do, and the better they seen to perform them; the less are they humbled, the more they are lifted up. This disposition of the finner, is the exadt reverse of what is to be found in the saint. To men, who neither are in Christ, nor are solicitous to be found in him, their duties are like windy bladders, wherewith they think to swim ashore to Immanuel's land: but these must needs break, and they consequently fink; because they take not Christ for che lifcer-up of their head, Pfal. iii. 3. Lastly, They are not all manner of pleasant fruits, Cant. vii. 13. Christ, as a King, must be served with variety. Where God makes the heart his garden, he plants it as Solomon did his, with trees of all kinds of fruits, Ecclel.ii. 5. And accordingly it brings forth the fruit of the Spirit in all goodiefs, Eph. v.9. But the ungodly are not so: their obedience is never universal; there is always forpe one thing ar other excepted. In