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    OF COMMUNION WITH THE SON JESUS CHRIST CHAPTER -Of the fellowship which the saints have with Jesus Christ the Son of God — That they have such a fellowship proved, 1 Corinthians 1:9; Revelation 3:20; <200201>Song of Solomon 2:1-7 opened; also <200901>Proverbs 9:1-5.

    Of that distinct communion which we have with the person of the Father we have treated in the foregoing chapters; we now proceed to the consideration of that which we have with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

    Now the fellowship we have with the second person, is with him as Mediator, — in that office whereunto, by dispensation, he submitted himself for our sakes; being “made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons,” Galatians 4:4,5. And herein I shall do these two things: — I. Declare that we have such fellowship with the Son of God.

    II. Show wherein that fellowship or communion does consist: — I. For the first, I shall only produce some few places of Scripture to confirm it, that it is so: — 1 Corinthians 1:9, “God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.”

    This is that whereunto all the saints are called, and wherein, by the faithfulness of God, they shall be preserved, even fellowship with Jesus Christ our Lord. We are called of God the Father, as the Father, in pursuit of his love, to communion with the Son, as our Lord. Revelation 3:20, “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.”

    Certainly this is fellowship, or I know not what is. Christ will sup with believers: he refreshes himself with his own graces in them, by his Spirit bestowed on them. The Lord Christ is exceedingly delighted in tasting of the sweet fruits of the Spirit in the saints. Hence is that prayer of the spouse that she may have something for his entertainment when he comes to her, Song of Solomon 4:16, “Awake, O north wind; and come, thou south; blow upon my garden, that the spices thereof may flow out. Let my Beloved come into his garden, and eat his pleasant fruits.”

    The souls of the saints are the garden of Jesus Christ, the good ground, Hebrews 6:7; — a garden for delight; he rejoices in them; “his delights are with the sons of men,” Proverbs 8:31; and he “rejoices over them,” Zephaniah 3:17; — and a garden for fruit, yea, pleasant fruit; so he describes it, Song of Solomon 4:12-14, “A garden inclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed. Thy plants are an orchard of pomegranates, with pleasant fruits; camphire, with spikenard, spikenard and saffron; calamus and cinnamon, with all trees of frankincense; myrrh and aloes, with all chief spices.”

    Whatever is sweet and delicious for taste, whatever savory and odoriferous, whatever is useful and medicinal, is in this garden. There is all manner of spiritual refreshments, of all kinds whatever, in the souls of the saints, for the Lord Jesus. On this account is the spouse so earnest in the prayer mentioned for an increase of these things, that her Beloved may sup with her, as he has promised. “Awake, O north wind,” etc.; — “O that the breathing and workings of the Spirit of all grace might stir up all his gifts and graces in me, that the Lord Jesus, the beloved of my soul, may have meet and acceptable entertainment from me.” God complains of want of fruit in his vineyard, Isaiah 5:2; Hosea 10:1. Want of good food for Christ’s entertainment is that the spouse feared, and labors to prevent. A barren heart is not fit to receive him. And the delight he takes in the fruit of the Spirit is unspeakable. This he expresses at large, Song of Solomon 5:1, “I am come,” saith he; “I have eaten, I am refreshed.” He calls it µydig;m] yriP] , “The fruit of his sweetnesses;” or most pleasant to him.

    Moreover, as Christ sups with his saints, so he has promised they shall sup with him, to complete that fellowship they have with him. Christ provides for their entertainment in a most eminent manner. There are beasts killed, and wine is mingled, and a table furnished, Proverbs 9:2.

    He calls the spiritual dainties that he has for them a “feast,” a “wedding,” “a feast of fat things, wine on the lees,” etc. The fatted calf is killed for their entertainment. Such is the communion, and such is the mutual entertainment of Christ and his saints in that communion. Song of Solomon 2:1-7, “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys. As the lily among thorns, so is my love among the daughters. As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste,” etc.

    In the two first verses you have the description that Christ gives, first of himself, then of his church. Of himself, verse l; that is, what he is to his spouse: “I am the rose of Sharon, and the lily of the valleys.” The Lords Christ is, in the Scripture, compared to all things of eminency in the whole creation. He is in the heavens the sun, and the bright morning star: as the lion among the beasts, the lion of the tribe of Judah. Among the flowers of the field, here he is the rose and the lily. The two eminencies of flowers, sweetness of savor and beauty of color, are divided between these. The rose for sweetness, and the lily for beauty (“Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these”), have the pre-eminence. Farther, he is “the rose of Sharon,” a fruitful plain, where the choicest herds were fed, Chronicles 27:29; so eminent, that it is promised to the church that there shall be given unto her the excellency of Sharon, Isaiah 35:2. This fruitful place, doubtless, brought forth the most precious roses. Christ, in the savor of his love, and in his righteousness (which is as the garment wherein Jacob received his blessing, giving forth a smell as the smell of a pleasant field, Genesis 27:27), is as this excellent rose, to draw and allure the hearts of his saints unto him. As God smelled a sweet savor from the blood of his atonement, Ephesians 5:2; so from the graces wherewith for them he is anointed, his saints receive a refreshing, cherishing savor, Song of Solomon 1:3. A sweet savor expresses that which is acceptable and delightful, Genesis 8:21. He is also “the lily of the valleys;” that of all flowers is the most eminent in beauty, Matthew 6:29. Most desirable is he, for the comeliness and perfection of his person; incomparably fairer than the children of men: of which afterward. He, then, being thus unto them (abundantly satiating all their spiritual senses) their refreshment, their ornament, their delight, their glory; in the next verse he tells us what they are to him: “As the lily among thorns, so is my beloved among the daughters.” That Christ and his church are likened unto and termed the same thing (as here the lily), is, as from their union by the indwelling of the same Spirit, so from that conformity and likeness that is between them, and whereunto the saints are appointed. Now she is a lily, very beautiful unto Christ; “as the lily among thorns:” — 1. By the way of eminency; as the lily excelleth the thorns, so do the saints all others whatever, in the eye of Christ. Let comparison be made, so will it be found to be. And, — 2. By the way of trial; the residue of the world being “pricking briers and grieving thorns to the house of Israel,” Ezekiel 28:94. “The best of them is as a brier, the most upright is sharper than a thorn hedge,” Micah 7:4.

    And thus are they among the daughters, — even the most eminent collections of the most improved professors, that are no more but so.

    There cannot be in any greater comparison, a greater exaltation of the excellency of any thing. So, then, is Christ to them indeed, verse l; so are they in his esteem, and indeed, verse 2. How he is in their esteem and indeed, we have, verse 3. “As the apple-tree among the trees of the wood, so is my Beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste.” To carry on this intercourse, the spouse begins to speak her thoughts of, and to show her delight in, the Lord Christ; and as he compares her to the lily among the thorns, so she him to the apple-tree among the trees of the wood. And she adds this reason of it, even because he has the two eminent things of trees, which the residue of them have not: — 1. Fruit for food; 2. Shade for refreshment.

    Of the one she eateth, under the other she resteth; both with great delight.

    All other sons, either angels, the sons of God by creation, Job 1:6, 38:7, or the sons of Adam, — the best of his offspring, the leaders of those companies which, verse 2, are called daughters, or sons of the old creation, the top branches of all its desirable things, — are to an hungry, weary soul (such alone seek for shade and fruit) but as the fruitless, leafless trees of the forest, which will yield them neither food nor refreshment. “In Christ,” saith she, “there is fruit, fruit sweet to the taste; yea, ‘his flesh is meat indeed, and his blood is drink indeed,’” John 6:55. “Moreover, he has brought forth that everlasting righteousness which will abundantly satisfy any hungry soul, after it has gone to many a barren tree for food, and has found none. Besides, he aboundeth in precious and pleasant graces, whereof I may eat; yea, he calls me to do so, and that abundantly.” These are the fruits that Christ beareth. They speak of a tree that bringeth forth all things needful for life, in food and raiment. Christ is that tree of life, which has brought forth all things that are needful unto life eternal. In him is that righteousness which we hunger after; — in him is that water of life, which whoso drinketh of shall thirst no more. Oh, how sweet are the fruits of Christ’s mediation to the faith of his saints! He that can find no relief in mercy, pardon, grace, acceptation with God, holiness, sanctification, etc., is an utter stranger to these things (wine on the lees) that are prepared for believers. Also, he has shades for refreshment and shelter; — shelter from wrath without, and refreshment because of weariness from within. The first use of the shade is to keep us from the heat of the sun, as did Jonah’s gourd. When the heat of wrath is ready to scorch the soul, Christ, interposing, bears it all. Under the shadow of his wings we sit down constantly, quietly, safely, putting our trust in him; and all this with great delight. Yea, who can express the joy of a soul safe shadowed from wrath under the covert of the righteousness of the Lord Jesus! There is also refreshment in a shade from weariness. He is “as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land,” Isaiah 32:2. From the power of corruptions, trouble of temptations, distress of persecutions, there is in him quiet, rest, and repose, Matthew 11:27,28.

    Having thus mutually described each other, and so made it manifest that they cannot but be delighted in fellowship and communion, in the next verses that communion of theirs is at large set forth and described. I shall briefly observe four things therein: — (1.) Sweetness. (2.) Delight. (3.) Safety. (4.) Comfort. (1.) Sweetness: “He brought me to the banqueting-house,” or “house of wine.” It is all set forth under expressions of the greatest sweetness and most delicious refreshment, — flagons, apples, wine, etc. “HE entertains me,” saith the spouse, “as some great personage.” Great personages, at great entertainments, are had into the banqueting-house, — the house of wine and dainties. These are the preparations of grace and mercy, — love, kindness, supplies revealed in the gospel, declared in the assemblies of the saints, exhibited by the Spirit. This “love is better than wine,” Song of Solomon 1:2; it is “not meat and drink, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.” Gospel dainties are sweet refreshments; whether these houses of wine be the Scriptures, the gospel, or the ordinances dispensed in the assemblies of the saints, or any eminent and signal manifestations of special love (as banqueting is not every day’s work, nor used at ordinary entertainments), it is all one. Wine, that cheereth the heart of man, that makes him forget his misery, Proverbs 31:6,7, that gives him a cheerful look and countenance, Genesis 49:12, is it at which is promised. The grace exhibited by Christ in his ordinances is refreshing, strengthening, comforting, and full of sweetness to the souls of the saints.

    Woe be to such full souls as loathe these honey-combs! But thus Christ makes all his assemblies to love banqueting-houses; and there he gives his saints entertainment. (2.) Delight. The spouse is quite ravished with the sweetness of this entertainment, finding love, and care, and kindness, bestowed by Christ in the assemblies of the saints. Hence she cries out, verse 5, “Stay me with flagons, comfort me with apples; for I am sick of love.” Upon the discovery of the excellency and sweetness of Christ in the banqueting-house, the soul is instantly overpowered, and cries out to be made partaker of the fullness of it. She is “sick of love:” not (as some suppose) fainting for want of a sense of love, under the apprehension of wrath; but made sick and faint, even overcome, with the mighty acting of that divine affection, after she had once tasted of the sweetness of Christ in the banqueting-house. Her desire deferred, makes her heart sick; therefore she cries, “Stay me,” etc.; — “I have seen a glimpse of the ‘King in his beauty,’ — tasted of the fruit of his righteousness; my soul melteth in longing after him. Oh! support and sustain my spirit with his presence in his ordinances, — those ‘flagons and apples of his banqueting-house,’ — or I shall quite sink and faint! Oh, what hast thou done, blessed Jesus! I have seen thee, and my soul is become as the chariots of Ammi-nadib. Let me have something from thee to support me, or I die.” When a person is fainting on any occasion, these two things are to be done: — strength is to be used to support him, that he sink not to the ground; and comfortable things are to be applied, to refresh his spirits. These two the soul, overpowered and fainting with the force of its own love, (raised by a sense of Christ’s,) prayeth for. It would have strengthening grace to support it in that condition, that it may be able to attend its duty; and consolations of the Holy Ghost, to content, revive, and satiate it, until it come to a full enjoyment of Christ. And thus sweetly and with delight is this communion carried on. (3.) Safety: “His banner over me was love,” verse 4. The banner is an emblem of safety and protection, — a sign of the presence of an host.

    Persons belonging to an army do encamp under their banner in security. So did the children of Israel in the wilderness; every tribe kept their camps under their own standard. It is also a token of success and victory, Psalm 20:5. Christ has a banner for his saints; and that is love. All their protection is from his love; and they shall have all the protection his love can give them. This safeguards them from hell, death, — all their enemies.

    Whatever presses on them, it must pass through the banner of the love of the Lord Jesus. They have, then, great spiritual safety; which is another ornament or excellency of their communion with him. (4.) Supportment and consolation, verse 6, “His left hand is under my head, and his right hand does embrace me.” Christ here has the posture of a most tender friend towards any one in sickness and sadness. The soul faints with love, — spiritual longings after the enjoyment of his presence; and Christ comes in with his embraces. He nourisheth and cherisheth his church, Ephesians 5:29; Isaiah 63:9. Now, “the hand under the head,” is supportment, sustaining grace, in pressures and difficulties; and “the hand that does embrace,” the hand upon the heart, is joy and consolation; — in both, Christ rejoicing, as the “bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride,” Isaiah 62:5. Now, thus to lie in the arms of Christ’s love, under a perpetual influence of supportment and refreshment, is certainly to hold communion with him. And hereupon, verse 7, the spouse is most earnest for the continuance of his fellowship, charging all so to demean themselves, that her Beloved be not disquieted, or provoked to depart.

    In brief, this whole book is taken up in the description of the communion that is between the Lord Christ and his saints; and therefore, it is very needless to take from thence any more particular instances thereof I shall only add that of Proverbs 9:1-5, “Wisdom has builded her house, she has hewn out her seven pillars; she has killed her beasts; she has mingled her wine; she has also furnished her table. She has sent forth her maidens: she crieth upon the highest places of the city, Whose is simple, let him turn in hither: as for him that wanteth understanding, she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine which I have mingled.”

    The Lord Christ, the eternal Wisdom of the Father, and who of God is made unto us wisdom, erects a spiritual house, wherein he makes provision for the entertainment of those guests whom he so freely invites.

    His church is the house which he has built on a perfect number of pillars, that it might have a stable foundation: his slain beasts and mingled wine, wherewith his table is furnished, are those spiritual fat things of the gospel, which he has prepared for those that come in upon his invitation.

    Surely, to eat of this bread, and drink of this wine, which he has so graciously prepared, is to hold fellowship with him; for in what ways or things is there nearer communion than in such?

    I might farther evince this truth, by a consideration of all the relations wherein Christ and his saints do stand; which necessarily require that there be a communion between them, if we do suppose they are faithful in those relations: but this is commonly treated on, and something will be spoken to it in one signal instance afterward.

    CHAPTER -What it is wherein we have peculiar fellowship with the Lord Christ — This is in grace — This proved, John 1:14,16,17; Corinthians 13:14; 2 Thessalonians 3:17,18 — Grace of various acceptations — Personal grace in Christ proposed to consideration — The grace of Christ as Mediator intended, Psalm 45:2 — Song of Solomon 5:10, Christ, how white and ruddy — His fitness to save, from the grace of union — His fullness to save — His suitableness to endear — These considerations improved.

    II. Having manifested that the saints hold peculiar fellowship with the Lord Jesus, it neatly follows that we show wherein it is that they have this peculiar communion with him.

    Now, this is in GRACE. This is everywhere ascribed to him by the way of eminency. John 1:14, “He dwelt among us, full of grace and truth;” grace in the truth and substance of it. All that went before was but typical and in representation; in the truth and substance it comes only by Christ. “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,” verse 17; “and of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace,” verse l6; — that is, we have communion with him in grace; we receive from him all manner of grace whatever; and therein have we fellowship with him.

    So likewise in that apostolical benediction, wherein the communication of spiritual blessings from the several persons unto the saints is so exactly distinguished; it is grace that is ascribed to our Lord Jesus Christ, Corinthians 13:14, “The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.”

    Yea, Paul is so delighted with this, that he makes it his motto, and the token whereby he would have his epistles known, 2 Thessalonians 3:17,18, “The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.”

    Yea, he makes these two, “Grace be with you,” and, “The Lord Jesus be with you,” to be equivalent expressions; for whereas he affirmed the one to be the token in all his epistles, yet sometimes he useth the one only, sometimes the other of these, and sometimes puts them both together.

    This, then, is that which we are peculiarly to eye in the Lord Jesus, to receive it from him, even grace, gospel-grace, revealed in or exhibited by the gospel. He is the head-stone in the building of the temple of God, to whom “Grace, grace,” is to be cried, Zechariah 4:7.

    Grace is a word of various acceptations. In its most eminent significations it may be referred unto one of these three heads: — 1. Grace of personal presence and comeliness. So we say, “A graceful and comely person,” either from himself or his ornaments. This in Christ (upon the matter) is the subject of near one-half of the book of Canticles; it is also mentioned, Psalm 45:2, “Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into thy lips.” And unto this first head, in respect of Christ, do I refer also that acceptation of grace which, in respect of us, I fix in the third place. Those inconceivable gifts and fruits of the Spirit which were bestowed on him, and brought forth in him, concur to his personal excellency; as will afterward appear. 2. Grace of free favor and acceptance. “By this grace we are saved;” that is, the free favor and gracious acceptation of God in Christ. In this sense is it used in that frequent expression, “If I have found grace in thy sight;” that is, if I be freely and favorably accepted before thee. So he “giveth grace” (that is, favor) “unto the humble,” James 4:6; Genesis 39:21, 41:37; Acts 7:10; 1 Samuel 2:26; 2 Kings 25:27, etc. 3. The fruits of the Spirit, sanctifying and renewing our natures, enabling unto good, and preventing from evil, are so termed. Thus the Lord tells Paul, “his grace was sufficient for him;” that is, the assistance against temptation which he afforded him, Colossians 3:16; 2 Corinthians 8:6,7; Hebrews 12:28.

    These two latter, as relating unto Christ in respect of us who receive them, I call purchased grace, being indeed purchased by him for us; and our communion with him therein is termed a “fellowship in his sufferings, and the power of his resurrection,” Philippians 3:10. 1. Let us begin with the first, which I call personal grace; and concerning that do these two things: — (1.) Show what it is, and wherein it consisteth; I mean the personal grace of Christ. And, — (2.) Declare how the saints hold immediate communion with him therein. (1.) To the handling of the first, I shall only premise this observation: — It is Christ as mediator of whom we speak; and therefore, by the “grace of his person,” I understand not, — [1.] The glorious excellencies of his Deity considered in itself, abstracting from the office which for us, as God and man, he undertook. [2.] Nor the outward appearance of his human nature, neither when he conversed here on earth, bearing our infirmities (whereof, by reason of the charge that was laid upon him, the prophet gives quite another character, Isaiah 52:14), concerning which some of the ancients were very poetical in their expressions; nor yet as now exalted in glory; — a vain imagination whereof makes many bear a false, a corrupted respect unto Christ, even upon carnal apprehensions of the mighty exaltation of the human nature; which is but “to know Christ after the flesh,” 2 Corinthians 5:16, a mischief much improved by the abomination of foolish imagery. But this is that which I intend, — the graces of the person of Christ as he is vested with the office of mediation, this spiritual eminency, comeliness, and beauty, as appointed and anointed by the Father unto the great work of bringing home all his elect unto his bosom.

    Now, in this respect the Scripture describes him as exceeding excellent, comely, and desirable, — far above comparison with the chiefest, choicest created good, or any endearment imaginable. Psalm 45:2, “Thou art fairer than the children of men: grace is poured into thy lips” He is, beyond comparison, more beautiful and gracious than any here below, — t;ypiy;p]y; , the word is doubled, to increase its significance, and to exalt its subject beyond all comparison. açn ynbm pyd[ ajyçm ablm °rpwç , says the Chaldee paraphrase: “Thy fairness, O king Messiah, is more excellent than the sons of men.” “Pulcher admodum prae filiis hominum;” — exceeding desirable. Inward beauty and glory is here expressed by that of outward shape, form, and appearance; because that was so much esteemed in those who were to rule or govern. Isaiah 4:2, the prophet, terming of him “The branch of the Lord,” and “The fruit of the earth,” affirms that he shall be “beautiful and glorious, excellent and comely;” “for in him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily,” Colossians 2:9. Song of Solomon 5:9, the spouse is inquired of as to this very thing, even concerning the personal excellencies of the Lord Christ, her beloved: “What is thy Beloved” (say the daughters of Jerusalem) “more than another beloved, O thou fairest among women? what is thy Beloved more than another beloved?” and she returns this answer, verse 10, “My Beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand;” and so proceedeth to a particular description of him by his excellencies to the end of the chapter, and there concludeth that “he is altogether lovely,” verse 16; whereof at large afterward. Particularly, he is here affirmed to be “white and ruddy;” a due mixture of which colors composes the most beautiful complexion. 1st . He is white in the glory of his Deity, and ruddy in the preciousness of his humanity. “His teeth are white with milk, and his eyes are red with wine,” Genesis 49:12.

    Whiteness (if I may so say) is the complexion of glory. In that appearance of the Most High, the “Ancient of days,” Daniel 7:9, it is said, “His garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool;” — and of Christ in his transfiguration, when he had on him a mighty luster of the Deity, “His face did shine as the sun, and his raiment was white as the light,” Matthew 17:2; \\which, in the phrase of another evangelist, is, “White as snow, so as no fuller on earth can white them,” Mark 9:3. It was a divine, heavenly, surpassing glory that was upon him, Revelation 1:14. Hence the angels and glorified saints, that always behold him, and are fully translated into the image of the same glory, are still said to be in white robes. His whiteness is his Deity, and the glory thereof. And on this account the Chaldee paraphrase ascribes this whole passage unto God. “They say,” saith he, “to the house of Israel, ‘Who is the God whom thou wilt serve?’” etc. Then began the congregation of Israel to declare the praises of the Ruler of the world, and said, ‘I will serve that God who is clothed in a garment white as snow, the splendor of the glory of whose countenance is as fire.” He is also ruddy in the beauty of his humanity. Man was called Adam, from the red earth whereof he was made. The word here used points him out as the second Adam, partaker of flesh and blood, because the children also partook of the same, Hebrews 2:14. The beauty and comeliness of the Lord Jesus in the union of both these in one person, shall afterward be declared. 2ndly . He is white in the beauty of his innocence and holiness, and ruddy in the blood of his oblation. Whiteness is the badge of innocence and holiness. It is said of the Nazarites, for their typical holiness, “They were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk,” Lamentations 4:7. And the prophet shows us that scarlet, red, and crimson, are the colors of sin and guilt; whiteness of innocence, Isaiah 1:18. Our Beloved was “a Lamb without blemish and without spot,” 1 Peter 1:19. “He did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth,” 1 Peter 2:22. He was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” Hebrews 7:26; as afterward will appear. And yet he who was so white in his innocence, was made ruddy in his own blood; and that two ways: — Naturally, in the pouring out of his blood, his precious blood, in that agony of his soul when thick drops of blood trickled to the ground, Luke 22:44; as also when the whips and thorns, nails and spears, poured it out abundantly: “There came forth blood and water,” John 19:34. He was ruddy by being drenched all over in his own blood. And morally, by the imputation of sin, whose color is red and crimson. “God made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin,” 2 Corinthians 5:21. He who was white, became ruddy for our sakes, pouring out his blood an oblation for sin. This also renders him graceful: by his whiteness he fulfilled the law; by his redness he satisfied justice. “This is our Beloved, O ye daughters of Jerusalem.” 3rdly . His endearing excellency in the administration of his kingdom is hereby also expressed. He is white in love and mercy unto his own; red with justice and revenge towards his enemies, Isaiah 63:3; Revelation 19:13.

    There are three things in general wherein this personal excellency and grace of the Lord Christ does consist: — (1st.) His fitness to save, from the grace of union, and the proper necessary effects thereof (2ndly.) His fullness to save, from the grace of communion; or the free consequences of the grace of union. (3rdly.) His excellency to endear, from his complete suitableness to all the wants of the souls of men: — (1st.) His fitness to save, — his being “hikanos”, a fit Savior, suited to the work; and this, I say, is from his grace of union. The uniting of the natures of God and man in one person made him fit to be a Savior to the uttermost.

    He lays his hand upon God, by partaking of his nature, Zechariah 13:7; and he lays his hand upon us, by being partaker of our nature, Hebrews 2:14,16, and so becomes a days-man, or umpire between both. By this means he fills up all the distance that was made by sin between God and us; and we who were far off are made nigh in him. Upon this account it was that he had room enough in his breast to receive, and power enough in his spirit to bear, all the wrath that was prepared for us. Sin was infinite only in respect of the object; and punishment was infinite in respect of the subject. This ariseth from his union.

    Union is the conjunction of the two natures of God and man in one person, John 1:14; Isaiah 9:6; Romans 1:3, 9:5. The necessary consequences whereof are, — [1st.] The subsistence of the human nature in the person of the Son of God, having no subsistence of its own, Luke 1:35; 1 Timothy 3:16. [2ndly.] Koinwni>a ijdiwma>twn , that communication of attributes in the person, whereby the properties of either nature are promiscuously spoken of the person of Christ, under what name soever, of God or man, he be spoken of, Acts 20:28, 3:21. [3rdly.] The execution of his office of mediation in his single person, in respect of both natures: wherein is considerable, oJ ejnergw~n , — the agent, Christ himself, God and man. He is the principium quo, ejnerghtiko , — the principle that gives life and efficacy to the whole work; and then, 2ndly, The principium quod, — that which operates, which is both natures distinctly considered. 3dly. The ejne>rgeia , or drastikh< th~v fu>sewv ki>nhsiv , — the effectual working itself of each nature. And, lastly, the ejne>rghma , or apote>lesma , — the effect produced, which ariseth from all, and relates to them all: so resolving the excellency I speak of into his personal union. (2ndly.) His fullness to save, from the grace of communion or the effects of his union, which are free; and consequences of it, which is all the furniture that he received from the Father by the unction of the Spirit, for the work of our salvation: “He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him,” Hebrews 7:25; having all fullness unto this end communicated unto him: “for it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell,” Colossians 1:19; and he received not “the Spirit by measure,” John 3:34. And from this fullness he makes out a suitable supply unto all that are his; “grace for grace,” John 1:16. Had it been given to him by measure, we had exhausted it. (3rdly.) His excellency to endear, from his complete suitableness to all the wants of the souls of men. There is no man whatever, that has any want in reference unto the things of God, but Christ will be unto him that which he wants: I speak of those who are given him of his Father. Is he dead? Christ is life. Is he weak? Christ is the power of God, and the wisdom of God.

    Has he the sense of guilt upon him? Christ is complete righteousness, — “The Lord our Righteousness.” Many poor creatures are sensible of their wants, but know not where their remedy lies. Indeed, whether it be life or light, power or joy, all is wrapped up in him.

    This, then, for the present, may suffice in general to be spoken of the personal grace of the Lord Christ: — He has a fitness to save, having pity and ability, tenderness and power, to carry on that work to the uttermost; and a fullness to save, of redemption and sanctification, of righteousness and the Spirit; and a suitableness to the wants of all our souls: whereby he becomes exceedingly desirable, yea, altogether lovely; as afterward will appear in particular. And as to this, in the first place, the saints have distinct fellowship with the Lord Christ; the manner whereof shall be declared in the ensuing chapter.

    Only, from this entrance that has been made into the description of him with whom the saints have communion, some motives might be taken to stir us up whereunto; as also considerations to lay open the nakedness and insufficiency of all other ways and things unto which men engage their thoughts and desires, something may be now proposed. The daughters of Jerusalem, ordinary, common professors, having heard the spouse describing her Beloved, Song of Solomon 5:10-16, etc., instantly are stirred up to seek him together with her; chap. <220601> 6:1, “Whither is thy Beloved turned aside? that we may seek him with thee.” What Paul says of them that crucified him, may be spoken of all that reject him, or refuse communion with him: “Had they known him, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory;” — Did men know him, were they acquainted in any measure with him, they would not so reject the Lord of glory.

    Himself calls them “simple ones,” “fools,” and “scorners,” that despise his gracious invitation, Proverbs 1:22. There are none who despise Christ, but only they that know him not; whose eyes the God of this world has blinded, that they should not behold his glory. The souls of men do naturally seek something to rest and repose themselves upon, — something to satiate and delight themselves withal, with which they [may] hold communion; and there are two ways whereby men proceed in the pursuit of what they so aim at. Some set before them some certain end, — perhaps pleasure, profit, or, in religion itself, acceptance with God; others seek after some end, but without any certainty, pleasing themselves now with one path, now with another, with various thoughts and ways, like them, Isaiah 57:10 — because something comes in by the life of the hand, they give not over though weary. In what condition soever you may be (either in greediness pursuing some certain end, be it secular or religious; or wandering away in your own imaginations, wearying yourselves in the largeness of your ways), compare a little what you aim at, or what you do, with what you have already heard of Jesus Christ: if any thing you design be like to him, if any thing you desire be equal to him, let him be rejected as one that has neither form nor comeliness in him; but if, indeed, all your ways be but vanity and vexation of spirit, in comparison of him, why do you spend your “money for that which is not bread, and your labor for that which satisfieth not?”

    Use. 1. You that are yet in the flower of your days, full of health and strength, and, with all the vigor of your spirits, do pursue some one thing, some another, consider, I pray, what are all your beloveds to this Beloved?

    What have you gotten by them? Let us see the peace, quietness, assurance of everlasting blessedness that they have given you? Their paths are crooked paths, whoever goes in them shall not know peace. Behold here a fit object for your choicest affections, — one in whom you may find rest to your souls, — one in whom there is nothing will grieve and trouble you to eternity. Behold, he stands at the door of your souls, and knocks: O reject him not, lest you seek him and find him not! Pray study him a little; you love him not, because you know him not. Why does one of you spend his time in idleness and folly, and wasting of precious time, perhaps debauchedly? Why does another associate and assemble himself with them that scoff at religion and the things of God? Merely because you know not our dear Lord Jesus. Oh, when he shall reveal himself to you, and tell you he is Jesus whom you have slighted and refused, how will it break your hearts, and make you mourn like a dove, that you have neglected him! and if you never come to know him, it had been better you had never been.

    Whilst it is called Today, then, harden not your hearts.

    Use 2. You that are, perhaps, seeking earnestly after a righteousness, and are religious persons, consider a little with yourselves, — has Christ his due place in your hearts? is he your all? does he dwell in your thoughts? do you know him in his excellency and desirableness? do you indeed account all things “loss and dung” for his exceeding excellency? or rather, do you prefer almost any thing in the world before it? But more of these things afterward.

    CHAPTER -Of the way and manner whereby the saints hold communion with the Lord Christ as to personal grace — The conjugal relation between Christ and the saints, Song of Solomon 2:16 Isaiah 54:5, etc.; Song of Solomon 3:11, opened — The way of communion in conjugal relation, Hosea 3:3; Song of Solomon 1:15 — On the part of Christ — On the part of the saints. (2.) The next thing that comes under consideration is, the way whereby we hold communion with the Lord Christ, in respect of that personal grace whereof we have spoken. Now, this the Scripture manifests to be by the way of a conjugal relation. He is married unto us, and we unto him; which spiritual relation is attended with suitable conjugal affections. And this gives us fellowship with him as to his personal excellencies.

    This the spouse expresseth, Song of Solomon 2:16, “My Beloved is mine, and I am his;” — “He is mine, I possess him, I have interest in him, as my head and my husband; and I am his, possessed of him, owned by him, given up unto him: and that as to my Beloved in a conjugal relation.”

    So Isaiah 54:5, “Thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.”

    This is yielded as the reason why the church shall not be ashamed nor confounded, in the midst of her troubles and trials, — she is married unto her Maker, and her Redeemer is her husband. And Isaiah, chap. 61:10, setting out the mutual glory of Christ and his church in their walking together, he saith it is “as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.” Such is their condition, because such is their relation; which he also farther expresseth, chap. 62:5, “As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.” As it is with such persons in the day of their espousals, in the day of the gladness of their hearts, so is it with Christ and his saints in this relation. He is a husband to them, providing that it may be with them according to the state and condition whereinto he has taken them.

    To this purpose we have his faithful engagement, Hosea 2:19,20, “I will,” saith he, “betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgement, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness.” And it is the main design of the ministry of the gospel, to prevail with men to give up themselves unto the Lord Christ, as he reveals his kindness in this engagement. Hence Paul tells the Corinthians, 2 Corinthians 11:2, that he had “espoused them unto one husband, that he might present them as a chaste virgin unto Christ.” This he had prevailed upon them for, by the preaching of the gospel, that they should give up themselves as a virgin, unto him who had betrothed them to himself as a husband.

    And this is a relation wherein the Lord Jesus is exceedingly delighted, and inviteth others to behold him in this his glory, Song of Solomon 3: it, “Go forth,” saith he, “O ye daughters of Jerusalem, and behold king Solomon with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladness of his heart.” He calls forth the daughters of Jerusalem (all sorts of professors) to consider him in the condition of betrothing and espousing his church unto himself. Moreover, he tells them that they shall find on him two things eminently upon this account: — 1. Honor. It is the day of his coronation, and his spouse is the crown wherewith he is crowned. For as Christ is a diadem of beauty and a crown of glory unto Zion, Isaiah 28:5; so Zion also is a diadem and a crown unto him, Isaiah 62:3. Christ makes this relation with his saints to be his glory and his honor. 2. Delight. The day of his espousals, of taking poor sinful souls into his bosom, is the day of the gladness of his heart. John was but the friend of the Bridegroom, that stood and heard his voice, when he was taking his bride unto himself; and he rejoiced greatly, John 3:29: how much more, then, must be the joy and gladness of the Bridegroom himself! even that which is expressed, Zephaniah 3:17, “he rejoiceth with joy, he joys with singing.”

    It is the gladness of the heart of Christ, the joy of his soul, to take poor sinners into this relation with himself. He rejoiced in the thoughts of it from eternity, Proverbs 8:31; and always expresseth the greatest willingness to undergo the hard task required thereunto, Psalm 40:7,8; Hebrews 10:7; yea, he was pained as a woman in travail, until he had accomplished it, Luke 12:50. Because he loved his church, he gave himself for it, Ephesians 5:25, despising the shame, and enduring the cross, Hebrews 12:2, that he might enjoy his bride, — that he might be for her, and she for him, and not for another, Hosea 3:3. This is joy, when he is thus crowned by his mother. It is believers that are mother and brother of this Solomon, Matthew 12:49,50. They crown him in the day of his espousals, giving themselves to him, and becoming his glory, Corinthians 8:23.

    Thus he sets out his whole communion with his church under this allusion, and that most frequently. The time of his taking the church unto himself is the day of his marriage; and the church is his bride, his wife, Revelation 19:7,8. The entertainment he makes for his saints is a wedding supper, Matthew 22:3. The graces of his church are the ornaments of his queen, Psalm 45:9-14; and the fellowship he has with his saints is as that which those who are mutually beloved in a conjugal relation do hold, Song of Solomon 1. Hence Paul, in describing these two, makes sudden and insensible transitions from one to the other, — Ephesians 5, from verse unto verse 32; concluding the whole with an application unto Christ and the church.

    It is now to be inquired, in the next place, how it is that we hold communion with the person of Christ in respect of conjugal relations and affections, and wherein this does consist. Now, herein there are some things that are common unto Christ and the saints, and some things that are peculiar to each of them, as the nature of this relation does require. The whole may be reduced unto these two heads: — [1.] A mutual resignation of themselves one to the other; [2.] Mutual, consequential, conjugal affections. [1.] There is a mutual resignation, or making over of their persons one to another. This is the first act of communion, as to the personal grace of Christ. Christ makes himself over to the soul, to be his, as to all the love, care, and tenderness of a husband; and the soul gives up itself wholly unto the Lord Christ, to be his, as to all loving, tender obedience. And herein is the main of Christ’s and the saints’ espousals. This, in the prophet, is set out under a parable of himself and a harlot, Hosea 3:3, “Thou shalt abide for me,” saith he unto her, “thou shalt not be for another, and I will be for thee.” — “Poor harlot,” saith the Lord Christ, “I have bought thee unto myself with the price of mine own blood; and now, this is that which we will consent unto, — IWILL BE FOR THEE,AND THOU SHALT BE FOR ME, and not for another. 1st . Christ gives himself to the soul, with all his excellencies, righteousness, preciousness, graces, and eminencies, to be its Savior, head, and husband, for ever to dwell with it in this holy relation. He looks upon the souls of his saints, likes them well, counts them fair and beautiful, because he has made them so. Song of Solomon 1:15, “Behold, thou art fair, my companion; behold, thou art fair; thou hast doves’ eyes.” Let others think what they please, Christ redoubles it, that the souls of his saints are very beautiful, even perfect, through his comeliness, which he puts upon them, Ezekiel 16:14, — “Behold, thou art fair, thou art fair:” particularly, that their spiritual light is very excellent and glorious; like the eyes of a dove, tender, discerning, clear, and shining. Therefore he adds that pathetical wish of the enjoyment of this his spouse, Song of Solomon 2:14, “O my dove,” saith he, “that art in the clefts of the rock, in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely;” — “Do not hide thyself, as one that flies to the clefts of the rocks; be not dejected, as one that hides herself behind the stairs, and is afraid to come forth to the company that inquires for her. Let not thy spirit be cast down at the weakness of thy supplications, let me yet hear thy sighs and groans, thy breathing and partings to me; they are very sweet, very delightful: and thy spiritual countenance, thy appearance in heavenly things, is comely and delightful unto me.” Neither does he leave her thus, but, chap. 4:8, presseth her hard to a closer [union] with him in this conjugal bond: “Come with me from Lebanon, my spouse, with me from Lebanon: look from the top of Amana, from the top of Shenir and Herman, from the lions’ dens, from the mountains of the leopards;” — “Thou art in a wandering condition (as the Israelites of old), among lions and leopards, sins and troubles; come from thence unto me, and I will give thee refreshment,” Matthew 11:28.

    Upon this invitation, the spouse boldly concludes, Song of Solomon 7:10, that the desire of Christ is towards her; that he does indeed love her, and aim at taking her into this fellowship with himself. So, in carrying on this union, Christ freely bestoweth himself upon the soul. Precious and excellent as he is, he becometh ours. He makes himself to be so; and with him, all his graces. Hence saith the spouse, “‘My Beloved is mine;’ in all that he is, he is mine.” Because he is righteousness, he is “The LORD our Righteousness,” Jeremiah 23:6. Because he is the wisdom of God, and the power of God, he is “made unto us wisdom,” etc., 1 Corinthians 1:30. Thus, “the branch of the LORD is beautiful and glorious, and the fruit of the earth is excellent and comely for them that are escaped of Israel,” Isaiah 4:2.

    This is the first thing on the part of Christ, — the free donation and bestowing of himself upon us to be our Christ, our Beloved, as to all the ends and purposes of love, mercy, grace, and glory; whereunto in his mediation he is designed, in a marriage covenant never to be broken. This is the sum of what is intended: — The Lord Jesus Christ, fitted and prepared, by the accomplishment and furniture of his person as mediator, and the large purchase of grace and glory which he has made, to be a husband to his saints, his church, tenders himself in the promises of the gospel to them in all his desirableness; convinces them of his goodwill towards them, and his all-sufficiency for a supply of their wants; and upon their consent to accept of him, — which is all he requires or expects at their hands, — he engageth himself in a marriage covenant to be theirs for ever. 2ndly . On the part of the saints, it is their free, willing consent to receive, embrace, and submit unto the Lord Jesus, as their husband, Lord, and Savior, — to abide with him, subject their souls unto him, and to be ruled by him for ever.

    Now, this in the soul is either initial, or the solemn consent at the first entrance of union; or consequential, in renewed acts of consent all our days. I speak of it especially in this latter sense, wherein it is proper unto communion; not in the former, wherein it primarily intendeth union.

    There are two things that complete this self-resignation of the soul: — (1st.) The liking of Christ, for his excellency, grace, and suitableness, far above all other beloveds whatever, preferring him in the judgement and mind above them all. In the place above mentioned, Song of Solomon 5:9, the spouse being earnestly pressed, by professors at large, to give in her thoughts concerning the excellency of her Beloved in comparison of other endearments, answereth expressly, that he is “the chiefest of ten thousand, yea,” verse 16, “altogether lovely,” infinitely beyond comparison with the choicest created good or endearment imaginable. The soul takes a view of all that is in this world, “the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” and sees it all to be vanity, — that “the world passeth away, and the lust thereof,” 1 John 2:16,17. These beloveds are no way to be compared unto him. It views also legal righteousness, blamelessness before men, uprightness of conversation, duties upon conviction, and concludes of all as Paul does, Philippians 3:8, “Doubtless, I count all these things loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.” So, also, does the church, Hosea 14:3, reject all appearing assistance whatever, — as goodly as Asshur, as promising as idols, — that God alone may be preferred. And this is the soul’s entrance into conjugal communion with Jesus Christ as to personal grace, — the constant preferring him above all pretenders to its affections, counting all loss and dung in comparison of him. Beloved peace, beloved natural relations, beloved wisdom and learning, beloved righteousness, beloved duties, [are] all loss, compared with Christ. (2ndly.) The accepting of Christ by the will, as its only husband, Lord, and Savior. This is called “receiving” of Christ, John 1:12; and is not intended only for that solemn act whereby at first entrance we close with him, but also for the constant frame of the soul in abiding with him and owning of him as such. When the soul consents to take Christ on his own terms, to save him in his own way, and says, “Lord, I would have had thee and salvation in my way, that it might have been partly of mine endeavors, and as it were by the works of the law; I am now willing to receive thee and to be saved in thy way, — merely by grace: and though I would have walked according is my own mind, yet now I wholly give up myself to be ruled by thy Spirit: for in thee have I righteousness and strength, in thee am I justified and do glory;” — then does it carry on communion with Christ as to the grace of his person. This it is to receive the Lord Jesus in his comeliness and eminency. Let believers exercise their hearts abundantly unto this thing. This is choice communion with the Son Jesus Christ. Let us receive him in all his excellencies, as he bestows himself upon us; — be frequent in thoughts of faith, comparing him with other beloveds, sin, world, legal righteousness; and preferring him before them, counting them all loss and dung in comparison of him. And let our souls be persuaded of his sincerity and willingness in giving himself, in all that he is, as mediator unto us, to be ours; and let our hearts give up themselves unto him. Let us tell him that we will be for him, and not for another: let him know it from us; he delights to hear it, yea, he says, “Sweet is our voice, and our countenance is comely;” — and we shall not fail in the issue of sweet refreshment with him.

    DIGRESSION 1. Some excellencies of Christ proposed to consideration, to endear our hearts unto him — His description, <200501>Song of Solomon 5, opened.

    To strengthen our hearts in the resignation mentioned of ourselves unto the Lord Christ as our husband, as also to make way for the stirring of us up to those consequential conjugal affections of which mention shall afterward be made, I shall turn aside to a more full description of some of the personal excellencies of the Lord Christ, whereby the hearts of his saints are indeed endeared unto him.

    In “The LORD our Righteousness,” then, may these ensuing things be considered; which are exceeding suitable to prevail upon our hearts to give up themselves to be wholly his: — 1. He is exceeding excellent and desirable in his Deity, and the glory thereof. He is “Jehovah our Righteousness,” Jeremiah 23:6. In the rejoicing of Zion at his coming to her, this is the bottom, “Behold thy God!” Isaiah 40:9. “We have seen his glory,” saith the apostle. What glory is that? “The glory of the only-begotten Son of God,” John 1:14.

    The choicest saints have been afraid and amazed at the beauty of an angel; and the stoutest sinners have trembled at the glory of one of those creatures in a low appearance, representing but the back parts of their glory, who yet themselves, in their highest advancement, do cover their faces at the presence of our Beloved, as conscious to themselves of their utter disability to bear the rays of his glory, Isaiah 6:2; John 12:39-41. He is “the fellow of the Lord, of hosts,” Zechariah 13:7. And though he once appeared in the form of a servant, yet then “he thought it not robbery to be equal with God,” Philippians 2:6. In the glory of this majesty he dwells in light inaccessible. We “cannot by searching find out the Almighty unto perfection: it is as high as heaven; what can we do? deeper than hell; what can we know? the measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea,” Job 11:7-9.

    We may all say one to another of this, “Surely we are more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man. We neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy. Who has ascended up into heaven, or descended? who has gathered the wind in his fists? who has bound the waters in a garment? who has established all the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his Son’s name, if ye can tell,” Proverbs 30:2-4.

    If any one should ask, now, with them in the Canticles, what is in the Lord Jesus, our beloved, more than in other beloveds, that should make him so desirable, and amiable, and worthy of acceptation? what is he more than others? I ask, What is a king more than a beggar? Much every way. Alas! this is nothing; they were born alike, must die alike, and after that is the judgement. What is an angel more than a worm? A worm is a creature, and an angel is no more; he has made the one to creep in the earth, — made also the other to dwell in heaven. There is still a proportion between these, they agree in something; but what are all the nothings of the world to the God infinitely blessed for evermore? Shall the dust of the balance, or the drop of the bucket be laid in the scale against him? This is he of whom the sinners in Zion are afraid, and cry, “Who amongst us shall dwell with the devouring fire, who amongst us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” I might now give you a glimpse of his excellency in many of those properties and attributes by which he discovers himself to the faith of poor sinners; but as he that goes into a garden where there are innumerable flowers in great variety, gathers not all he sees, but crops here and there one, and another, I shall endeavor to open a door, and give an inlet into the infinite excellency of the graces of the Lord Jesus, as he is “God blessed for evermore,” presenting the reader with one or two instances, leaving him to gather for his own use what farther he pleaseth. Hence, then, observe, — The endless, bottomless, boundless grace and compassion that is in him who is thus our husband, as he is the God of Zion. It is not the grace of a creature, nor all the grace that can possibly at once dwell in a created nature, that will serve our turn. We are too indigent to be suited with such a supply. There was a fullness of grace in the human nature of Christ, — he received not “the Spirit by measure,” John 3:34; a fullness like that of light in the sun, or of water in the sea (I speak not in respect of communication, but sufficiency); a fullness incomparably above the measure of angels: yet it was not properly an infinite fullness, — it was a created, and therefore a limited fullness. If it could be conceived as separated from the Deity, surely so many thirsty, guilty souls, as every day drink deep and large draughts of grace and mercy from him, would (if I may so speak) sink him to the very bottom; nay, it could afford no supply at all, but only in a moral way. But when the conduit of his humanity is inseparably united to the infinite, inexhaustible fountain of the Deity, who can look into the depths thereof? If, now, there be grace enough for sinners in an all-sufficient God, it is in Christ; and, indeed, in any other there cannot be enough. The Lord gives this reason for the peace and confidence of sinners, Isaiah 54:4,5, “Thou shalt not be ashamed, neither be thou confounded; for thou shalt not be put to shame.”

    But how shall this be? So much sin, and not ashamed! so much guilt, and not confounded! “Thy Maker,” saith he, “is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called.” This is the bottom of all peace, confidence, and consolation, — the grace and mercy of our Maker, of the God of the whole earth. So are kindness and power tempered in him; he makes us, and mars us, — he is our God and our God, our Redeemer. “Look unto me,” saith he, “and be ye saved; for I am God, and none else,” Isaiah 45:22, “Surely, shall one say, In the LORD have I righteousness,” verse 24.

    And on this ground it is that if all the world should (if I may so say) set themselves to drink free grace, mercy, and pardon, drawing water continually from the wells of salvation; if they should set themselves to draw from one single promise, an angel standing by and crying, “Drink, O my friends, yea, drink abundantly, take so much grace and pardon as shall be abundantly sufficient for the world of sin which is in every one of you;” — they would not be able to sink the grace of the promise one hair’s breadth. There is enough for millions of worlds, if they were; because it flows into it from an infinite, bottomless fountain. “Fear not, O worm Jacob, I am God, and not man,” is the bottom of sinners’ consolation. This is that “head of gold” mentioned, Song of Solomon 5:11, that most precious fountain of grace and mercy. This infiniteness of grace, in respect of its spring and fountain, will answer all objections that might hinder our souls from drawing nigh to communion with him, and from a free embracing of him. Will not this suit us in all our distresses? What is our finite guilt before it? Show me the sinner that can spread his iniquities to the dimensions (if I may so say) of this grace. Here is mercy enough for the greatest, the oldest, the stubbornst transgressor, — “Why will ye die, O house of Israel?” Take heed of them who would rob you of the Deity of Christ. If there were no more grace for me than what can be treasured up in a mere man, I should rejoice [if] my portion might be under rocks and mountains.

    Consider, hence, his eternal, free, unchangeable love. Were the love of Christ unto us but the love of a mere man, though never so excellent, innocent, and glorious, it must have a beginning, it must have an ending, and perhaps be fruitless. The love of Christ in his human nature towards his is exceeding, intense, tender, precious, compassionate, abundantly heightened by a sense of our miseries, feeling of our wants, experience of our temptations; all flowing from that rich stock of grace, pity, and compassion, which, on purpose for our good and supply, was bestowed on him: but yet this love, as such, cannot be infinite nor eternal, nor from itself absolutely unchangeable. Were it no more, though not to be paralleled nor fathomed yet our Savior could not say of it, as he does, “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you,” John 15:9. His love could not be compared with and squalled unto the divine love of the Father, in those properties of eternity, fruitfulness, and unchangeableness, which are the chief anchors of the soul, rolling itself on the bosom of Christ. But now, — (1.) It is eternal: “Come ye near unto me, hear ye this; I have not,” saith he, “spoken in secret from the beginning; from the time that it was, there am I: and now the Lord GOD, and his Spirit, has sent me,” Isaiah 48:16.

    He himself is “yesterday, today, and for ever,” Hebrews 13:8; and so is his love, being his who is “Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the ending, which is, which was, and which is to come,” Revelation 1:11. (2.) Unchangeable. Our love is like ourselves; as we are, so are all our affections: so is the love of Christ like himself. We love one, one day, and hate him the next. He changeth, and we change also: this day he is our right hand, our right eye; the next day, “Cut him off, pluck him out.” Jesus Christ is still the same; and so is his love. “In the beginning he laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of his hands; they shall perish, but he remaineth: they all shall wax old as does a garment; and as a vesture shall he fold them up, and they shall be changed: but he is the same, and his years fail not,” Hebrews 1:10-12.

    He is the LORD, and he changeth not; and therefore we are not consumed.

    Whom he loves, he loves unto the end. His love is such as never had beginning, and never shall have ending. (3.) It is also fruitful, — fruitful in all gracious issues and effects. A man may love another as his own soul, yet perhaps that love of his cannot help him. He may thereby pity him in prison, but not relieve him; bemoan him in misery, but not help him; suffer with him in trouble, but not ease him.

    We cannot love grace into a child, nor mercy into a friend; we cannot love them into heaven, though it may be the great desire of our soul. It was love that made Abraham cry, “O that Ishmael might live before thee!” but it might not be. But now the love of Christ, being the love of God, is effectual and fruitful in producing all the good things which he willeth unto his beloved. He loves life, grace, and holiness into us; he loves us also into covenant, loves us into heaven. Love in him is properly to will good to any one: whatever good Christ by his love wills to any, that willing is operative of that good.

    These three qualifications of the love of Christ make it exceedingly eminent, and him exceeding desirable. How many millions of sins, in every one of the elect, every one whereof were enough to condemn them all, has this love overcome! what mountains of unbelief does it remove! Look upon the conversation of any one saint, consider the frame of his heart, see the many stains and spots, the defilements and infirmities, wherewith his life is contaminated, and tell me whether the love that bears with all this be not to be admired. And is it not the same towards thousands every day?

    What streams of grace, purging, pardoning, quickening, assisting, do flow from it every day! This is our Beloved, O ye daughters of Jerusalem. 2. He is desirable and worthy our acceptation, as considered in his humanity; even therein also, in reference to us, he is exceedingly desirable.

    I shall only, in this, note unto you two things: — (1.) Its freedom from sin; (2.) Its fullness of grace; — in both which regards the Scripture sets him out as exceedingly lovely and amiable. (1.) He was free frown sin; — the Lamb of God, without spot, and without blemish; the male of the flock, to be offered unto God, the curse falling on all other oblations, and them that offer them, Malachi 1:14.

    The purity of the snow is not to be compared with the whiteness of this lily, of this rose of Sharon, even from the womb: “For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners,” Hebrews 7:26.

    Sanctified persons, whose stains are in any measure washed away, are exceeding fair in the eye of Christ himself. “Thou art all fair,” saith he, “my love, thou hast no spot in thee.” How fair, then, is he who never had the least spot or stain!

    It is true, Adam at his creation had this spotless purity; so had the angels: but they came immediately from the hand of God, without concurrence of any secondary cause. Jesus Christ is a plant and root out of a dry ground, a blossom from the stem of Jesse, a bud from the loins of sinful man, — born of a sinner, after there had been no innocent flesh in the world for four thousand years, every one upon the roll of his genealogy being infected therewithal. To have a flower of wonderful rarity to grow in paradise, a garden of God’s own planting, not sullied in the least, is not so strange; but, as the psalmist speaks (in another kind), to hear of it in a wood, to find it in a forest, to have a spotless bud brought forth in the wilderness of corrupted nature, is a thing which angels may desire to look into. Nay, more, this whole nature was not only defiled, but also accursed; not only unclean, but also guilty, — guilty of Adam’s transgression, in whom we have all sinned. That the human nature of Christ should be derived from hence free from guilt, free from pollution, this is to be adored.

    Objection . But you will say, “How can this be? who can bring a clean thing from an unclean? How could Christ take our nature, and not the defilements of it, and the guilt of it? If Levi paid tithes in the loins of Abraham, how is it that Christ did not sin in the loins of Adam?”

    Answer. There are two things in original sin: — [1.] Guilt of the first sin, which is imputed to us. We all sinned in him. jEf j w=| pa>ntev h[marton , Romans 5:12, whether we render it relatively “in whom,” or illatively, “being all have sinned,” all is one: that one sin is the sin of us all, — “omnes eramus unus ille homo”. We were all in covenant with him; he was not only a natural head, but also a federal head unto us.

    As Christ is to believers, Romans 5:17; 1 Corinthians 15:22, so was he to us all; and his transgression of that covenant is reckoned to us. [2.] There is the derivation of a polluted, corrupted nature from him: “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” and nothing else; whose wisdom and mind is corrupted also: a polluted fountain will have polluted streams. The first person corrupted nature, and that nature corrupts all persons following. Now, from both these was Christ most free: — 1st . He was never federally in Adam, and so not liable to the imputation of his sin on that account. It is true that sin was imputed to him when he was made sin; thereby he took away the sin of the world, John 1:29: but it was imputed to him in the covenant of the Mediator, through his voluntary susception, and not in the covenant of Adam, by a legal imputation. Had it been reckoned to him as a descendant from Adam, he had not been a fit high priest to have offered sacrifices for us, as not being “separate from sinners,” Hebrews 7:26. Had Adam stood in his innocence, Christ had not been incarnate, to have been a mediator for sinners; and therefore the counsel of his incarnation, morally, took not place, until after the fall. Though he was in Adam in a natural sense from his first creation, in respect of the purpose of God, Luke 3:23,38, yet he was not in him in a law sense until after the fall: so that, as to his own person, he had no more to do with the first sin of Adam, than with any personal sin of [any] one whose punishment he voluntarily took upon him; as we are not liable to the guilt of those progenitors who followed Adam, though naturally we were no less in them than in him. Therefore did he, all the days of his flesh, serve God in a covenant of works; and was therein accepted with him, having done nothing that should disannul the virtue of that covenant as to him. This does not, then, in the least take off from his perfection. 2ndly . For the pollution of our nature, it was prevented in him from the instant of conception, Luke 1:35, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing that shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.”

    He was “made of a woman,” Galatians 4:4; but that portion whereof he was made was sanctified by the Holy Ghost, that what was born thereof should be a holy thing. Not only the conjunction and union of soul and body, whereby a man becomes partaker of his whole nature, and therein of the pollution of sin, being a son of Adam, was prevented by the sanctification of the Holy Ghost, but it also accompanied the very separation of his bodily substance in the womb unto that sacred purpose whereunto it was set apart: so that upon all accounts he is “holy, harmless, undefiled.” Add now hereunto, that he “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth,” 1 Peter 2:22; that he “fulfilled all righteousness,” Matthew 3:15; his Father being always “well pleased” with him, verse 17, on the account of his perfect obedience; yea, even in that sense wherein he chargeth his angels with folly, and those inhabitants of heaven are not clean in his sight; and his excellency and desirableness in this regard will lie before us. Such was he, such is he; and yet for our sakes was he contented not only to be esteemed by the vilest of men to be a transgressor, but to undergo from God the punishment due to the vilest sinners. Of which afterward. (2.) The fullness of grace in Christ’s human nature sets forth the amiableness and desirableness thereof. Should I make it my business to consider his perfections, as to this part of his excellency, — what he had from the womb, Luke 1:35, what received growth and improvement as to exercise in the days of his flesh, Luke 2:52, with the complement of them all in glory, — the whole would tend to the purpose in hand. I am but taking a view of these things in transits. These two things lie in open sight to all at the first consideration: — all grace was in him, for the kinds thereof; and all degrees of grace, for its perfections; and both of them make up that fullness that was in him. It is created grace that I intend; and therefore I speak of the kinds of it: it is grace inherent in a created nature, not infinite; and therefore I speak of the degrees of it.

    For the fountain of grace, the Holy Ghost, he received not him “by measure,” John 3:34; and for the communications of the Spirit, “it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell,” Colossians 1:19, — “that in all things he might have the pre-eminence.” But these things are commonly spoken unto.

    This is the Beloved of our souls, “holy, harmless, undefiled;” “full of grace and truth;” — full, to a sufficiency for every end of grace, — full, for practice, to be an example to men and angels as to obedience, full, to a certainty of uninterrupted communion with God, — full, to a readiness of giving supply to others, — full, to suit him to all the occasions and necessities of the souls of men, — full, to a glory not unbecoming a subsistence in the person of the Son of God, — full, to a perfect victory, in trials, over all temptations, — full, to an exact correspondence to the whole law, every righteous and holy law of God, full to the utmost capacity of a limited, created, finite nature, — full, to the greatest beauty and glory of a living temple of God, — full, to the full pleasure and delight of the soul of his Father, — full to an everlasting monument of the glory of God, in giving such inconceivable excellencies to the Son of man.

    And this is the second thing considerable for the endearing of our souls to our Beloved. 3. Consider that he is all this in one person. We have not been treating of two, a God and a man; but of one who is God and man. That Word that was with God in the beginning, and was God, John 1:1, is also made flesh, verse 14; — not by a conversion of itself into flesh; not by appearing in the outward shape and likeness of flesh; but by assuming that holy thing that was born of the virgin, Luke 1:35, into personal union with himself. So “The mighty God,” Isaiah 9:6, is a “child given” to us; that holy thing that was born of the virgin is called “The Son of God,” Luke 1:35. That which made the man Christ Jesus to be a man, was the union of soul and body; that which made him that man, and without which he was not the man, was the subsistence of both united in the person of the Son of God. As to the proof hereof, I have spoken of it elsewhere at large; I now propose it only in general, to show the amiableness of Christ on this account. Here lies, hence arises, the grace, peace, life, and security of the church, — of all believers; as by some few considerations may be clearly evinced: — (1.) Hence was he fit to suffer and able to bear whatever was due unto us, in that very action wherein the “Son of man gave his life a ransom for many,” Matthew 20:28. “God redeemed his church with his own blood,” Acts 20:28; and therein was the “love of God seen, that he gave his life for us,” 1 John 3:16. On this account was there room, enough in his breast to receive the points of all the swords that were sharpened by the law against us; and strength enough in his shoulders to bear the burden of that curse that was due to us. Thence was he so willing to undertake the work of our redemption, Hebrews 10:7,8, “Lo, I come to do thy will, O God,” because he knew his ability to go through with it. Had he not been man, he could not have suffered; — had he not been God, his suffering could not have availed either himself or us, — he had not satisfied; the suffering of a mere man could not bear any proportion to that which in any respect was infinite. Had the great and righteous God gathered together all the sins that had been committed by his elect from the foundation of the world, and searched the bosoms of all that were to come to the end of the world, and taken them all, from the sin of their nature to the least deviation from the rectitude of his most holy law, and the highest provocation of their regenerate and unregenerate condition, and laid them on a mere holy, innocent, creature; — O how would they have overwhelmed him, and buried him for ever out of the presence of God’s love! Therefore does the apostle premise that glorious description of him to the purging of our sin: “He has spoken unto us by his Son, whom he has appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power,” has “purged our sins.” Hebrews 1:2,3. It was he that purged our sins, who was the Son and heir of all things, by whom the world was made, — the brightness of his Father’s glory, and express image of his person; he did it, he alone was able to do it. “God was manifested in the flesh,” 1 Timothy 3:16, for this work. The sword awaked against him that was the fellow of the Lord of hosts, Zechariah 13:7; and by the wounds of that great shepherd are the sheep healed, 1 Peter 2:24,25. (2.) Hence does he become an endless, bottomless fountain of grace to all them that believe. The fullness that it pleased the Father to commit to Christ, to be the great treasury and storehouse of the church, did not, does not, lie in the human nature, considered in itself; but in the person of the mediator, God and man. Consider wherein his communication of grace does consist, and this will be evident. The foundation of all is laid in his satisfaction, merit, and purchase; these are the morally procuring cause of all the grace we receive from Christ. Hence all grace becomes to be his; all the things of the new covenant, the promises of God, all the mercy, love, grace, glory promised, became, I say, to be his. Not as though they were all actually invested, or did reside and were in the human nature, and were from thence really communicated to us by a participation of a portion of what did so inhere: but they are morally his, by a compact, to be bestowed by him as he thinks good, as he is mediator, God and man; that is, the only begotten Son made flesh, John 1:14, “from whose fullness we receive, and grace for grace.” The real communication of grace is by Christ sending the Holy Ghost to regenerate us, and to create all the habitual grace, with the daily supplies thereof, in our hearts, that we are made partakers of.

    Now the Holy Ghost is thus sent by Christ as mediator, God and man, as is at large declared, John 14; 15; 16; of which more afterward. This, then, is that which I intend by this fullness of grace that is in Christ, from whence we have both our beginning and all our supplies; which makes him, as he is the alpha and Omega of his church, the beginner and finisher of our faith, excellent and desirable to our souls: — Upon the payment of the great price of his blood, and full acquitment on the satisfaction he made, all grace whatever (of which at large afterward) becomes, in a moral sense, his, at his disposal; and he bestows it on, or works it in, the hearts of his by the Holy Ghost, according as, in his infinite wisdom, he sees it needful. How glorious is he to the soul on this consideration! That is most excellent to us which suits us in a wanting condition, — that which gives bread to the hungry, water to the thirsty, mercy to the perishing. All our reliefs are thus in our Beloved. Here is the life of our souls, the joy of our hearts, our relief against sin and deliverance from the wrath to come. (3.) Thus is he fitted for a mediator, a days-man, an umpire between God and us, — being one with him, and one with us, and one in himself in this oneness, in the unity of one person. His ability and universal fitness for his office of mediator are hence usually demonstrated. And herein is he “Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God.” Herein shines out the infinitely glorious wisdom of God; which we may better admire than express. What soul that has any acquaintance with these things falls not down with reverence and astonishment? How glorious is he that is the Beloved of our souls! What can be wanting that should encourage us to take up our rest and peace in his bosom? Unless all ways of relief and refreshment be so obstructed by unbelief, that no consideration can reach the heart to yield it the least assistance, it is impossible but that from hence the soul may gather that which will endear it unto him with whom we have to do. Let us dwell on the thoughts of it. This is the hidden mystery; great without controversy; admirable to eternity. What poor, low, perishing things do we spend our contemplations on! Were we to have no advantage by this astonishing dispensation, yet its excellency, glory, beauty, depths, deserve the flower of our inquiries, the vigor of our spirits, the substance of our time; but when, withal, our life, our peace, our joy, our inheritance, our eternity, our all, lies herein, shall not the thoughts of it always dwell in our hearts, always refresh and delight our souls? (4.) He is excellent and glorious in this, — in that he is exalted and invested with all authority. When Jacob heard of the exaltation of his son Joseph in Egypt, and saw the chariots that he had sent for him, his spirit fainted and recovered again, through abundance of joy and other overflowing affections. Is our Beloved lost, who for our sakes was upon the earth poor and persecuted, reviled, killed? No! he was dead, but he is alive, and, lo, he lives for ever and ever, and has the keys of hell and of death. Our Beloved is made a Lord and ruler, Acts 2:36. He is made a king; God sets him his king on his holy hill of Zion, Psalm 2:6; and he is crowned with honor and dignity, after he had been “made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death,” Hebrews 2:7-9. And what is he made king of? “All things are put in subjection under his feet,” verse 8. And what power over them has our Beloved? “All power in heaven and earth,” Matthew 28:18. As for men, he has power given him “over all flesh,” John 17:2.

    And in what glory does he exercise this power? He gives eternal life to his elect; ruling them in the power of God, Micah 5:4, until he bring them to himself: and for his enemies, his arrows are sharp in their hearts, Psalm 45:5; he dips his vesture in their blood. Oh, how glorious is he in his authority over his enemies! In this world he terrifies, frightens, awes, convinces, bruises their hearts and consciences, — fills them with fear, terror, disquietment, until they yield him feigned obedience; and sometimes with outward judgements bruises, breaks, turns the wheel upon them, — stains all his vesture with their blood, — fills the earth with their caresses: and at last will gather them all together, beast, false prophet, nations, etc., and cast them into that lake that burns with fire and brimstone.

    He is gloriously exalted above angels in this his authority, good and bad, Ephesians 1:20-22, “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come.” They are all under his feet, — at his command and absolute disposal. He is at the right hand of God, in the highest exaltation possible, and in full possession of a kingdom over the whole creation; having received a “name above every name,” etc., Philippians 2:9. Thus is he glorious in his throne, which is at “the right hand of the majesty on high;” glorious in his commission, which is “all power in heaven and earth;” glorious in his name, a name above every name, — “Lord of lords, and King of kings;” glorious in his scepter, — “a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of his kingdom;” glorious in his attendants, — “his chariots are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels,” among them he rideth on the heavens, and sendeth out the voice of his strength, attended with ten thousand times ten thousand of his holy ones; glorious in his subjects, — all creatures in heaven and in earth, nothing is left that is not put in subjection to him; glorious in his way of rule, and the administration of his kingdom, — full of sweetness, efficacy, power, serenity, holiness, righteousness, and grace, in and towards his elect, — of terror, vengeance, and certain destruction towards the rebellious angels and men; glorious in the issue of his kingdom, when every knee shall bow before him, and all shall stand before his judgement-seat.

    And what a little portion of his glory is it that we have pointed to! This is the beloved of the church, — its head, its husband; this is he with whom we have communion: but of the whole exaltation of Jesus Christ I am elsewhere to treat at large.

    Having insisted on these generals, for the farther carrying on the motives to communion with Christ, in the relation mentioned, taken from his excellencies and perfections, I shall reflect on the description given of him by the spouse in the Canticles, to this very end and purpose Cant. 5:10-16, “My Beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.

    His head is as the most fine gold, his locks are bushy, and black as a raven. His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set. His cheeks are as a bed of spices, as sweet flowers: his lips like lilies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh. His hands are as gold rings, set with the beryl: his belly is as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires. His legs are as pillars of marble, set upon sockets of fine gold: his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars. His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my Beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”

    The general description given of him, verse 10, has been before considered; the ensuing particulars are instances to make good the assertion that he is “the chiefest among ten thousand.”

    The spouse begins with his head and face, verses 11-13. In his head, she speaks first in general, unto the substance of it, — it is “fine gold;” and then in particular, as to its ornaments, — “his locks are bushy, and black as a raven.” 1. “His head is as the most one gold,” or, “His head gold, solid gold;” so some; — “made of pure gold;” so others; — crusi>on kefalh> , say the LXX, retaining part of both the Hebrew words, to zp; µt,K, , “massa auri.”

    Two things are eminent in gold, — splendor or glory, and duration. This is that which the spouse speaks of the head of Christ. His head is his government, authority, and kingdom. Hence it is said, “A crown of pure gold was on his head,” Psalm 21:3; and his head is here said to be gold, because of the crown of gold that adorns it, — as the monarchy in Daniel that was most eminent for glory and duration, is termed a “head of gold,” Daniel 2:38. And these two things are eminent in the kingdom and authority of Christ: — (1.) It is a glorious kingdom; he is full of glory and majesty, and in his majesty he rides “prosperously,” Psalm 45:3,4. “His glory is great in the salvation of God: honor and majesty are laid upon him: he is made blessed for ever and ever,” Psalm 21:5,6.

    I might insist on particulars, and show that there is not any thing that may render a kingdom or government glorious, but it is in this of Christ in all its excellencies. It is a heavenly, a spiritual, a universal, and a shaken kingdom; all which render it glorious. But of this, somewhat before. (2.) It is durable, yea, eternal, — solid gold. “His throne is for ever and ever,” Psalm 45:6; “of the increase of his government there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgement and with justice from henceforth even for ever,” Isaiah 9:7. “His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom,” Daniel 7:27, — “a kingdom that shall never be destroyed,” chap. 2:44; for he must reign until all his enemies be subdued. This is that head of gold, — the splendor and eternity of his government.

    And if you take the head in a natural sense, either the glory of his Deity is here attended to, or the fullness and excellency of his wisdom, which the head is the seat of. The allegory is not to be straitened, whilst we keep to the analogy of faith. 2. For the ornaments of his head; his locks, they are said to be “bushy,” or curled, “black as a raven.” His curled locks are black; “as a raven,” is added by way of illustration of the blackness, not with any allusion to the nature of the raven. Take the head spoken of in a political sense: his locks of hair — said to be curled, as seeming to be entangled, but really falling in perfect order and beauty, as bushy locks — are his thoughts, and counsels, and ways, in the administration of his kingdom. They are black or dark, because of their depth and unsearchableness, — as God is said to dwell in thick darkness; and curled or brushy, because of their exact interweavings, from his infinite wisdom. His thoughts are many as the hairs of the head, seeming to be perplexed and entangled, but really set in a comely order, as curled bushy hair; deep and unsearchable, and dreadful to his enemies, and full of beauty and comeliness to his beloved. Such are, I say, the thoughts of his heart, the counsels of his wisdom, in reference to the administrations of his kingdom: — dark, perplexed, involved, to a carnal eye; in themselves, and to his saints, deep, manifold, ordered in all things, comely, desirable.

    In a natural sense, black and curled locks denote comeliness, and vigor of youth. The strength and power of Christ, in the execution of his counsels, in all his ways, appears glorious and lovely.

    The next thing described in him is his eyes. Verse 12, “His eyes are as the eyes of doves by the rivers of waters, washed with milk, and fitly set.”

    The reason of this allusion is obvious: — doves are tender birds, not birds of prey; and of all others they have the most bright, shining, and piercing eye; their delight also in streams of water is known. Their being washed in milk, or clear, white, crystal water, adds to their beauty. And they are here said to be “fitly set;” that is, in due proportion for beauty and luster, — as a precious stone in the foil or fullness of a ring, as the word signifies.

    Eyes being for sight, discerning, knowledge, and acquaintance with the things that are to be seen; the knowledge, the understanding, the discerning Spirit of Christ Jesus, are here intended. In the allusion used four things are ascribed to them: — 1. Tenderness; 2. Purity; 3. Discerning; and, 4. Glory: — 1. The tenderness and compassion of Christ towards his church is here intended. He looks on it with the eyes of galleys doves; with tenderness and careful compassion; without anger, fury, or thoughts of revenge. So is the eye interpreted, Deuteronomy 11:12, “The eyes of the LORD thy God are upon that land.” Why so? “It is a land that the LORD thy God careth for;” — careth for it in mercy. So are the eyes of Christ on us, as the eyes of one that in tenderness cares for us; that lays out his wisdom, knowledge, and understanding, in all tender love, in our behalf. He is the stone, that foundation-stone of the church, whereon “are seven eyes,” Zechariah 3:9; wherein is a perfection of wisdom, knowledge, care, and kindness, for its guidance. 2. Purity; — as washed doves’ eyes for purity. This may be taken either subjectively, for the excellency and immixed cleanness and purity of his sight and knowledge in himself; or objectively, for his delighting to behold purity in others. “He is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity,” Habakkuk 1:13. “He has no pleasure in wickedness; the foolish shall not stand in his sight,” Psalm 5:4,5.

    If the righteous soul of Lot was vexed with seeing the filthy deeds of wicked men, 2 Peter 2:8, who yet had eyes of flesh, in which there was a mixture of impurity; how much more do the pure eyes of our dear Lord Jesus abominate all the filthiness of sinners! But herein lies the excellency of his love to us, that he takes care to take away our filth and stains, that he may delight in us; and seeing we are so defiled, that it could no otherwise be done, he will do it by his own blood, Ephesians 5:25-27, “Even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctify and cleanse it, with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish.”

    The end of this undertaking is, that the church might be thus gloriously presented unto himself, because he is of purer eyes than to behold it with joy and delight in any other condition. He leaves not his spouse until he says of her, “Thou art all fair, my love; there is no spot in thee,” Song of Solomon 4:7. Partly, he takes away our spots and stains, by the “renewing of the Holy Ghost;” and wholly adorns us with his own righteousness: and that because of the purity of his own eyes, which “cannot behold iniquity,” — that he might present us to himself holy. 3. Discerning. He sees as doves, quickly, clearly, thoroughly, — to the bottom of that which he looks upon. Hence, in another place it is said that his “eyes are as a flame of fire,” Revelation 1:14. And why so? That the churches might know that he is he which “searcheth the reins and hearts,” Revelation 2:23. He has discerning eyes, nothing is hid from him; all things are open and naked before him with whom we have to do. It is said of him, whilst he was in this world, that “Jesus knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man; for he knew what was in man,” John 2:24,25.

    His piercing eyes look through all the thick coverings of hypocrites, and the snow [show] of pretenses that is on them. He sees the inside of all; and what men are there, that they are to him. He sees not as we see, but ponders the hidden man of the heart. No humble, broken, contrite soul, shall lose one sigh or groan after him, and communion with him; no pant of love or desire is hid from him, — he sees in secret; no glorious performance of the most glorious hypocrite will avail with him, — his eyes look through all, and the filth of their hearts lies naked before him. 4. Beauty and glory are here intended also. Every thing of Christ is beautiful, for he is “altogether lovely,” verse 16, but most glorious [is he] in his sight and wisdom: he is the wisdom of God’s eternal wisdom itself; his understanding is infinite. What spots and stains are in all our knowledge! When it is made perfect, yet it will still be finite and limited.

    His is without spot of darkness, without foil of limitedness.

    Thus, then, is he beautiful and glorious: — his “head is of gold, his eyes are doves’ eyes, washed in milk, and fitly set.”

    The next thing insisted on is his cheeks. Verse 13, “His cheeks are as a bed of spices; as sweet flowers,” or “towers of perfumes” [marginal reading], or well-grown flowers. There are three things evidently pointed at in these words: — 1. A sweet savor, as from spices, and flowers, and towers of perfume; 2. Beauty and order, as spices set in rows or beds, as the words import; 3. Eminency in that word, as sweet or well-grown, great flowers.

    These things are in the cheeks of Christ. The Chaldee paraphrase, who applies this whole song to God’s dealings with the people of the Jews, makes these cheeks of the church’s husband to be the two tables of stone, with the various lines drawn in them; but that allusion is strained, as are most of the conjectures of that scholiast.

    The cheeks of a man are the seat of comeliness and manlike courage. The comeliness of Christ, as has in part been declared, is from his fullness of grace in himself for us. His manly courage respects the administration of his rule and government, from his fullness of authority; as was before declared. This comeliness and courage the spouse, describing Christ as a beautiful, desirable personage, to show that spiritually he is so, calleth his cheeks; so to make up his parts, and proportion. And to them does she ascribe, — 1. A sweet savor, order, and eminency. A sweet savor; as God is said to smell a sweet savor from the grace and obedience of his servants ( Genesis 8:21, the LORD smelled a savor of rest from the sacrifice of Noah), so do the saints smell a sweet savor from his grace laid up in Christ, Song of Solomon 1:3. It is that which they rest in, which they delight in, which they are refreshed with. As the smell of aromatical spices and flowers pleases the natural sense, refreshes the spirits, and delights the person; so do the graces of Christ to his saints. They please their spiritual sense, they refresh their drooping spirits, and give delight to their souls. If he be nigh them, they smell his raiment, as Isaac the raiment of Jacob.

    They say, “It is as the smell of a field which the LORD has blessed,” Genesis 27:27; and their souls are refreshed with it. 2. Order and beauty are as spices set in a garden bed. So are the graces of Christ. When spices are set in order, any one may know what is for his use, and take and gather it accordingly. Their answering, also, one to another makes them beautiful. So are the graces of Christ; in the gospel they are distinctly and in order set forth, that sinners by faith may view them, and take from him according to their necessity. They are ordered for the use of saints in the promises of the gospel. There is light in him, and life in him, and power in him, and all consolation in him; — a constellation of graces, shining with glory and beauty. Believers take a view of them all, see their glory and excellency, but fix especially on that which, in the condition wherein they are, is most useful to them. One takes light and joy; another, life and power. By faith and prayer do they gather these things in this bed of spices. Not any that comes to him goes away unrefreshed. What may they not take, what may they not gather? what is it that the poor soul wants? Behold, it is here provided, set out in order in the promises of the gospel; which are as the beds wherein these spices are set for our use: and on the account hereof is the covenant said to be “ordered in all things,” 2 Samuel 23:5. 3. Eminency. His cheeks are “a tower of perfumes” held up, made conspicuous, visible, eminent. So it is with the graces of Christ, when held out and lifted up in the preaching of the gospel. They are a tower of perfumes, — a sweet savor to God and man.

    The next clause of that verse is, “His lips are like lilies, dropping sweet-smelling myrrh.” Two perfections in things natural are here alluded unto: — First, the glory of color in the lilies, and the sweetness of savor in the myrrh. The glory and beauty of the lilies in those countries was such as that our Savior tells us that “Solomon, in all his glory, was not arrayed like one of them,” Matthew 6:29; and the savor of myrrh such as, when the Scripture would set forth any thing to be an excellent savor, it compares it thereunto, Psalm 45:8; and thereof was the sweet and holy ointment chiefly made, Exodus 30:23-25: mention is also made frequently of it in other places, to the same purpose. It is said of Christ, that “grace was poured into his lips,” Psalm 45:2; whence men wondered or were amazed — toi~v lo>goiv th~v ca>ritov [ Luke 4:22] — at the words of grace that proceeded out of his mouth. So that by the lips of Christ, and their dropping sweet-smelling myrrh, the word of Christ, its savor, excellency, and usefulness, is intended. Herein is he excellent and glorious indeed, surpassing the excellencies of those natural things which yet are most precious in their kind, — even in the glory, beauty, and usefulness of his word. Hence they that preach his word to the saving of the souls of men, are said to be a “sweet savor unto God,” 2 Corinthians 2:15; and the savor of the knowledge of God is said to be manifested by them, verse 14. I might insist on the several properties of myrrh, whereto the word of Christ is here compared, — its bitterness in taste, its efficacy to preserve from putrefaction, its usefulness in perfumes and unctions, — and press the allegory in setting out the excellencies of the word in allusions to them; but I only insist on generals. This is that which the Holy Ghost here intends: — the word of Christ is sweet, savory, precious unto believers; and they see him to be excellent, desirable, beautiful, in the precepts, promises, exhortations, and the most bitter threats thereof.

    The spouse adds, “His hands are as gold rings set with the beryl” [verse 14]. The word “beryl,” in the original, is “Tarshish;” which the Septuagint have retained, not restraining it to any peculiar precious stone; the onyx, say some; the chrysolite, say others; — any precious stone shining with a sea-green color, for the word signifies the sea also. Gold rings set with precious, glittering stones, are both valuable and desirable, for profit and ornament: so are the hands of Christ; that is, all his works, — the effects, by the cause. All his works are glorious; they are all fruits of wisdom, love, and bounty. “And his belly is as bright ivory, overlaid with sapphires.”

    The smoothness and brightness of ivory, the preciousness and heavenly color of the sapphires, are here called in, to give some luster to the excellency of Christ.” To these is his belly, or rather his bowels (which takes in the heart also), compared. It is the inward bowels, and not the outward bulk that is signified. Now, to show that by “bowels” in the Scripture, ascribed either to God or man, affections are intended, is needless. The tender love, unspeakable affections and kindness, of Christ to his church and people, is thus set out. What a beautiful sight is it to the eye, to see pure polished ivory set up and down with heaps of precious sapphires! How much more glorious are the tender affections, mercies, and compassion of the Lord Jesus unto believers!

    Verse 15. The strength of his kingdom, the faithfulness and stability of his promises, — the height and glory of his person in his dominion, — the sweetness and excellency of communion with him, is set forth in these words: “His legs are as pillars of marble set upon sockets of fine gold; his countenance is as Lebanon, excellent as the cedars: his mouth is most sweet.”

    When the spouse has gone thus far in the description of him, she concludes all in this general assertion: “He is wholly desirable, — altogether to be desired or beloved.” As if she should have said, — “I have thus reckoned up some of the perfections of the creatures (things of most value, price, usefulness, beauty, glory, here below), and compared some of the excellencies of my Beloved unto them. In this way of allegory I can carry things no higher; I find nothing better or more desirable to shadow out and to present his loveliness and desirableness: but, alas! all this comes short of his perfections, beauty, and comeliness; ‘he is all wholly to be desired, to be beloved;’” — Lovely in his person, — in the glorious all-sufficiency of his Deity, gracious purity and holiness of his humanity, authority and majesty, love and power.

    Lovely in his birth and incarnation; when he was rich, for our sakes becoming poor, — taking part of flesh and blood, because we partook of the same; being made of a woman, that for us he might be made under the law, even for our sakes.

    Lovely in the whole course of his life, and the more than angelical holiness and obedience which, in the depth of poverty and persecution, he exercised therein; — doing good, receiving evil; blessing, and being cursed, reviled, reproached, all his days.

    Lovely in his death; yea, therein most lovely to sinners; — never more glorious and desirable than when he came broken, dead, from the cross.

    Then had he carried all our sins into a land of forgetfulness; then had remade peace and reconciliation for us; then had he procured life and immortality for us.

    Lovely in his whole employment, in his great undertaking, — in his life, death, resurrection, ascension; being a mediator between God and us, to recover the glory of God’s justice, and to save our souls, — to bring us to an enjoyment of God, who were set at such an infinite distance from him by sin.

    Lovely in the glory and majesty wherewith he is crowned. Now he is set down at the right hand of the Majesty on high; where, though he be terrible to his enemies, yet he is full of mercy, love, and compassion, towards his beloved ones.

    Lovely in all those supplies of grace and consolations, in all the dispensations of his Holy Spirit, whereof his saints are made partakers.

    Lovely in all the tender care, power, and wisdom, which he exercises in the protection, safe-guarding, and delivery of his church and people, in the midst of all the oppositions and persecutions whereunto they are exposed.

    Lovely in all his ordinances, and the whole of that spiritually glorious worship which he has appointed to his people, whereby they draw nigh and have communion with him and his Father.

    Lovely and glorious in the vengeance he taketh, and will finally execute, upon the stubborn enemies of himself and his people.

    Lovely in the pardon he has purchased and does dispense, — in the reconciliation he has established, — in the grace he communicates, — in the consolations he does administer, — in the peace and joy he gives his saints, — in his assured preservation of them unto glory.

    What shall I say? there is no end of his excellencies and desirableness; — “He is altogether lovely. This is our beloved, and this is our friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.”

    DIGRESSION 2. All solid wisdom laid up in Christ — True wisdom, wherein it consists — Knowledge of God, in Christ only to be obtained — What of God may be known by his works — Some properties of God not discovered but in Christ only; love, mercy — Others not fully but in him; as vindictive justice, patience, wisdom, all-sufficiency — No property of God savingly known but in Christ — What is required to a saving knowledge of the properties of God — No true knowledge of ourselves but in Christ — Knowledge of ourselves, wherein it consisteth — Knowledge of sin, how to be had in Christ; also of righteousness and of judgement — The wisdom of walking with God hid in Christ — What is required thereunto — Other pretenders to the title of wisdom examined and rejected Christ alone exalted.

    A second consideration of the excellencies of Christ, serving to endear the hearts of them who stand with him in the relation insisted on, arises from that which, in the mistaken apprehension of it, is the great darling of men, and in its true notion the great aim of the saints; which is wisdom and knowledge. Let it be evinced that all true and solid knowledge is laid up in, and is only to be attained from and by, the Lord Jesus Christ; and the hearts of men, if they are but true to themselves and their most predominate principles, must needs be engaged to him. This is the great design of all men, taken off from professed slavery to the world, and the pursuit of sensual, licentious courses, — that they maybe wise: and what ways the generality of men engage in for the compassing of that end shall be afterward considered. To the glory and honor of our dear Lord Jesus Christ, and the establishment of our hearts in communion with him, the design of this digression is to evince that all wisdom is laid up in him, and that from him alone it is to be obtained. 1 Corinthians 1:24, the Holy Ghost tells us that “Christ is the power of God, and the wisdom of God:” not the essential Wisdom of God, as he is the eternal Son of the Father (upon which account he is called “Wisdom” in the Proverbs, chap. 8:22,23); but as he is crucified, verse 23. As he is crucified, so he is the wisdom of God; that is, all that wisdom which God layeth forth for the discovery and manifestation of himself, and for the saving of sinners, which makes foolish all the wisdom of the world, — that is all in Christ crucified; held out in him, by him, and to be obtained only from him. And thereby in him do we see the glory of God, 2 Corinthians 3:18. For he is not only said to be “the wisdom of God,” but also to be “made unto us wisdom,” 1 Corinthians 1:30. He is made, not by creation, but ordination and appointment, wisdom unto us; not only by teaching us wisdom (by a metonymy of the effect for the cause), as he is the great prophet of his church, but also because by the knowing of him we become acquainted with the wisdom of God, — which is our wisdom; which is a metonymy of the adjunct. This, however verily promised, is thus only to be had. The sum of what is contended for is asserted in terms, Colossians 2:3, “In him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”

    There are two things that might seem to have some color in claiming a title and interest in this business: — 1. Civil wisdom and prudence, for the management of affairs; 2. Ability of learning and literature; — but God rejecteth both these, as of no use at all to the end and intent of true wisdom indeed. There is in the world that which is called “understanding;” but it comes to nothing. There is that which is called “wisdom;” but it is turned into folly, 1 Corinthians 1:19,20, “God brings to nothing the understanding of the prudent, and makes foolish this wisdom of the world.” And if there be neither wisdom nor knowledge (as doubtless there is not), without the knowledge of God, Jeremiah 8:9, it is all shut up in the Lord Jesus Christ: “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has revealed him.” He is not seen at another time, John 1:18, nor known upon any other account, but only the revelation of the Son. He has manifested him from his own bosom; and therefore, verse 9, it is said that he is “the true Light, which lighteth every man that comes into the world,” the true Light, which has it in himself: and none has any but from him; and all have it who come unto him. He who does not so, is in darkness.

    The sum of all true wisdom and knowledge may be reduced to these three heads: — 1. The knowledge of God, his nature and his properties. 2. The knowledge of ourselves in reference to the will of God concerning us. 3. Skill to walk in communion with God: — I. The knowledge of the works of God, and the chief end of all, does necessarily attend these. 1. In these three is summed up all true wisdom and knowledge; and, 2. — Not any of them is to any purpose to be obtained, or is manifested, but only in and by the Lord Christ: — 1. God, by the work of the creation, by the creation itself, did reveal himself in many of his properties unto his creatures capable of his knowledge; — his power, his goodness, his wisdom, his all-sufficiency, are thereby known. This the apostle asserts, Romans 1:19-21. Verse 19, he calls it to< gnwsto , — verse 20, that is, his eternal power and Godhead; and verse 21, a knowing of God: and all this by the creation. But yet there are some properties of God which all the works of creation cannot in any measure reveal or make known; — as his patience, long-suffering, and forbearance. For all things being made good, there could be no place for the exercise of any of these properties, or manifestation of them. The whole fabric of heaven and earth considered in itself, as at first created, will not discover any such thing as patience and forbearance in God; which yet are eminent properties of his nature, as himself proclaims and declares, Exodus 34:6,7.

    Wherefore the Lord goes farther; and by the works of his providence, in preserving and ruling the world which he made, discovers and reveals these properties also. For whereas by cursing the earth, and filling all the elements oftentimes with signs of his anger and indignation, he has, as the apostle tells us, Romans 1:18, “revealed from heaven his wrath against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men;” yet not proceeding immediately to destroy all things, he has manifested his patience and forbearance to all. This Paul, Acts 14:16,17, tells us: “He suffered all nations to walk in their own ways; yet he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with food and gladness.”

    A large account of his goodness and wisdom herein the psalmist gives us, Psalm 104 throughout. By these ways he bare witness to his own goodness and patience; and so it is said, “He endures with much long-suffering,” etc., Romans 9:22. But now, here all the world is at a stand; by all this they have but an obscure glimpse of God, and see not so much as his back parts. Moses saw not that, until he was put into the rock; and that rock was Christ. There are some of the most eminent and glorious properties of God (I mean, in the manifestation whereof he will be most glorious; otherwise his properties are not to be compared) that there is not the least glimpse to be attained of out of the Lord Christ, but only by and in him; and some that comparatively we have no light of but in him; and of all the rest no true light but by him: — (1.) Of the first sort, whereof not the least guess and imagination can enter into the heart of man but only by Christ, are love and pardoning mercy: — [1.] Love; I mean love unto sinners. Without this, man is of all creatures most miserable; and there is not the least glimpse of it that can possibly be discovered but in Christ. The Holy Ghost says, 1 John 4:8,16, “God is love;” that is, not only of a loving and tender nature, but one that will exercise himself in a dispensation of his love, eternal love, towards us, — one that has purposes of love for us from of old, and will fulfill them all towards us in due season. But how is this demonstrated? how may we attain an acquaintance with it? He tells us, verse 9, “In this was manifested the love of God, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him.” This is the only discovery that God has made of any such property in his nature, or of any thought of exercising it towards sinners, — in that he has sent Jesus Christ into the world, that we might live by him. Where now is the wise, where is the scribe, where is the disputer of this world, with all their wisdom? Their voice must be that of the hypocrites in Zion, Isaiah 33:14,15. That wisdom which cannot teach me that God is love, shall ever pass for folly.

    Let men go to the sun, moon, and stars, to showers of rain and fruitful seasons, and answer truly what by them they learn hereof. Let them not think themselves wiser or better than those that went before them, who, to a man, got nothing by them, but being left inexcusable. [2.] Pardoning mercy, or grace. Without this, even his love would be fruitless. What discovery may be made of this by a sinful man, may be seen in the father of us all; who, when he had sinned, had no reserve for mercy, but hid himself, Genesis 3:8. He did it µwOYhæ jæWrl] , when the wind did but a little blow at the presence of God; and he did it foolishly, thinking to “hide himself among trees!” <19D907> Psalm 139:7,8. “The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ,” John 1:17, — grace in the truth and substance. Pardoning mercy, that comes by Christ alone; that pardoning mercy which is manifested in the gospel, and wherein God will be glorified to all eternity, Ephesians 1:6. I mean not that general mercy, that velleity of acceptance which some put their hopes in: that pa>qov (which to ascribe unto God is the greatest dishonor that can be done him) shines not with one ray out of Christ; it is wholly treasured up in him, and revealed by him. Pardoning mercy is God’s free, gracious acceptance of a sinner upon satisfaction made to his justice in the blood of Jesus; nor is any discovery of it, but as relating to the satisfaction of justice, consistent with the glory of God. It is a mercy of inconceivable condescension in forgiveness, tempered with exact justice and severity. Romans 3:25, God is said “to set forth Christ to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness in the remission of sins;” his righteousness is also manifested in the business of forgiveness of sins: and therefore it is everywhere said to be wholly in Christ, Ephesians 1:7. So that this gospel grace and pardoning mercy is alone purchased by him, and revealed in him. And this was the main end of all typical institutions, — to manifest that remission and forgiveness is wholly wrapped up in the Lord Christ, and that out of him there is not the least conjecture to be made of it, nor the least morsel to be tasted. Had not God set forth the Lord Christ, all the angels in heaven and men on earth could not have apprehended that there had been any such thing in the nature of God as this grace of pardoning mercy. The apostle asserts the full manifestation as well as the exercise of this mercy to be in Christ only, Titus 3:4,5, “After that the kindness and love of God our Savior towards man appeared,” namely, in the sending of Christ, and the declaration of him in the gospel. Then was this pardoning mercy and salvation not by works discovered.

    And these are of those properties of God whereby he will be known, whereof there is not the least glimpse to be obtained but by and in Christ; and whoever knows him not by these, knows him not at all. They know an idol, and not the only true God. He that has not the Son, the same has not the Father,1 John 2:23; and not to have God as a Father, is not to have him at all; and he is known as a Father only as he is love, and full of pardoning mercy in Christ. How this is to be had the Holy Ghost tells us, 1 John 5:20, “The Son of God is come and has given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true.” By him alone we have our understanding to know him that is true. Now, these properties of God Christ revealeth in his doctrine, in the revelation he makes of God and his will, as the great prophet of the church, John 17:6. And on this account the knowledge of them is exposed to all, with an evidence unspeakably surmounting that which is given by the creation to his eternal power and Godhead. But the life of this knowledge lies in an acquaintance with his person, wherein the express image and beams of this glory of his Father do shine forth, Hebrews 1:3; of which before. (2.) There are other properties of God which, though also otherwise discovered, yet are so clearly, eminently, and savingly only in Jesus Christ; as, — [1.] His vindictive justice in punishing sin; [2.] His patience, forbearance, and long-suffering towards sinners; [3.] His wisdom, in managing things for his own glory; [4.] His all-sufficiency, in himself and unto others. All these, though they may receive some lower and inferior manifestations out of Christ, yet they clearly shine only in him; so as that it may be our wisdom to be acquainted with them. [1.] His vindictive justice. God has, indeed, many ways manifested his indignation and anger against sin; so that men cannot but know that it is “the judgement of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death,” Romans 1:32. He has in the law threatened to kindle a fire in his anger that shall burn to the very heart of hell. And even in many providential dispensations, “his wrath is revealed from heaven against all the ungodliness of men,” Romans 1:18. So that men must say that he is a God of judgement. And he that shall but consider that the angels for sin were cast from heaven, shut up under chains of everlasting darkness unto the judgement of the great day (the rumor whereof seems to have been spread among the Gentiles, whence the poet makes his Jupiter threaten the inferior rebellious deities with that punishment); and how Sodom and Gomorrah were condemned with an overthrow, and burned into ashes, that they might be “examples unto those that should after live ungodly,” Peter 2:6; cannot but discover much of God’s vindictive justice and his anger against sin. But far more clear does this shine into us in the Lord Christ: — 1st . In him God has manifested the naturalness of this righteousness unto him, in that it was impossible that it should be diverted from sinners without the interposing of a propitiation. Those who lay the necessity of satisfaction merely upon the account of a free act and determination of the will of God, leave, to my apprehension, no just and indispensable foundation for the death of Christ, but lay it upon a supposition of that which might have been otherwise. But plainly, God, in that he spared not his only Son, but made his soul an offering for sin, and would admit of no atonement but in his blood, has abundantly manifested that it is of necessity to him (his holiness and righteousness requiring it) to render indignation, wrath, tribulation, and anguish unto sin. And the knowledge of this naturalness of vindictive justice, with the necessity of its execution on supposition of sin, is the only true and useful knowledge of it. To look upon it as that which God may exercise or forbear, makes his justice not a property of his nature, but a free act of his will; and a will to punish where one may do otherwise without injustice, is rather ill-will than Justice. 2ndly . In the penalty inflicted on Christ for sin, this justice is far more gloriously manifested than otherwise. To see, indeed, a world, made good and beautiful, wrapped up in wrath and curses, clothed with thorns and briers; to see the whole beautiful creation made subject to vanity, given up to the bondage of corruption; to hear it groan in pain under that burden; to consider legions of angels, most glorious and immortal creatures, cast down into hell, bound with chains of darkness, and reserved for a more dreadful judgement for one sin; to view the ocean of the blood of souls spilt to eternity on this account, — will give some insight into this thing. But what is all this to that view of it which may be had by a spiritual eye in the Lord Christ? All these things are worms, and of no value in comparison of him.

    To see him who is the wisdom of God, and the power of God, always beloved of the Father; to see him, I say, fear, and tremble, and bow, and sweat, and pray, and die; to see him lifted up upon the cross, the earth trembling under him, as if unable to bear his weight; and the heavens darkened over him, as if shut against his cry; and himself hanging between both, as if refused by both; and all this because our sins did meet upon him; — this of all things does most abundantly manifest the severity of God’s vindictive justice. Here, or nowhere, is it to be learned. [2.] His patience, forbearance, and long-suffering towards sinners. There are many glimpses of the patience of God shining out in the works of his providence; but all exceedingly beneath that discovery of it which we have in Christ, especially in these three things: — 1st . The manner of its discovery. This, indeed, is evident to all, that God does not ordinarily immediately punish men upon their offenses. It may be learned from his constant way in governing the world: notwithstanding all provocations, yet he does good to men; causing his sun to shine upon them, sending them rain and fruitful seasons, filling their hearts with food and gladness. Hence it was easy for them to conclude that there was in him abundance of goodness and forbearance. But all this is yet in much darkness, being the exurgency of men’s seasonings from their observations; yea, the management of it [God’s patience\ has been such as that it has proved a snare almost universally unto them towards whom it has been exercised, Ecclesiastes 8:11, as well as a temptation to them who have looked on, Job 21:7; Psalm 73:2-4, etc.; Jeremiah 12:l; Habakkuk 1:13. The discovery of it in Christ is utterly of another nature. In him the very nature of God is discovered to be love and kindness; and that he will exercise the same to sinners, he has promised, sworn, and solemnly engaged himself by covenant. And that we may not hesitate about the aim which he has herein, there is a stable bottom and foundation of acting suitably to those gracious properties of his nature held forth, — namely, the reconciliation and atonement that is made in the blood of Christ.

    Whatever discovery were made of the patience and levity of God unto us, yet if it were not withal revealed that the other properties of God, as his justice and revenge for sin, had their acting also assigned to them to the full, there could be little consolation gathered from the former. And therefore, though God may teach men his goodness and forbearance, by sending them rain and fruitful seasons, yet withal at the same time, upon all occasions, “revealing his wrath from heaven against the ungodliness of men,” Romans 1:18, it is impossible that they should do any thing but miserably fluctuate and tremble at the event of these dispensations; and yet this is the best that men can have out of Christ, the utmost they can attain unto. With the present possession of good things administered in this patience, men might, and did for a season, take up their thoughts and satiate themselves; but yet they were not in the least delivered from the bondage they were in by reason of death, and the darkness attending it.

    The law reveals no patience or forbearance in God; it speaks, as to the issue of transgressions, nothing but sword and fire, had not God interposed by an act of sovereignty. But now, as was said, with that revelation of forbearance which we have in Christ, there is also a discovery of the satisfaction of his justice and wrath against sin; so that we need not fear any acting from them to interfere with the works of his patience, which are so sweet unto us. Hence God is said to be “in Christ, reconciling the world to himself,” 2 Corinthians 5:19; manifesting himself in him as one that has now no more to do for the manifestation of all his attributes, — that is, for the glorifying of himself, — but only to forbear, reconcile, and pardon sin in him. 2ndly . In the nature of it. What is there in that forbearance which out of Christ is revealed? Merely a not immediate punishing upon the offense, and, withal, giving and continuing temporal mercies; such things as men are prone to abuse, and may perish with their bosoms full of them to eternity.

    That which lies hid in Christ, and is revealed from him, is full of love, sweetness, tenderness, kindness, grace. It is the Lord’s waiting to be gracious to sinners; waiting for an advantage to show love and kindness, for the most eminent endearing of a soul unto himself, Isaiah 30:18, “Therefore will the LORD wait, that he may be gracious unto you; and therefore will he be exalted, that he may have mercy upon you.”

    Neither is there any revelation of God that the soul finds more sweetness in than this. When it [one’s soul] is experimentally convinced that God from time to time has passed by many, innumerable iniquities, he is astonished to think that God should do so; and admires that he did not take the advantage of his provocations to cast him out of his presence. He finds that, with infinite wisdom, in all long-suffering, he has managed all his dispensations towards him to recover him from the power of the devil, to rebuke and chasten his spirit for sin, to endear him unto himself; — there is, I say, nothing of greater sweetness to the soul than this: and therefore the apostle says, Romans 3:25, that all is “through the forbearance of God.” God makes way for complete forgiveness of sins through this his forbearance; which the other does not. 3dly . They differ in their ends and aims. What is the aim and design of God in the dispensation of that forbearance which is manifested and may be discovered out of Christ? The apostle tells us, Romans 9:22, “What if God, willing to show his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much long-suffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction?”

    It was but to leave them inexcusable, that his power and wrath against sin might be manifested in their destruction. And therefore he calls it “a suffering of them to walk in their own ways,” Acts 14:16; which elsewhere he holds out as a most dreadful judgement, — to wit, in respect of that issue whereto it will certainly come; as Psalm 81:12, “I gave them up unto their own hearts’ lusts, and they walked in their own counsels:” which is as dreadful a condition as a creature is capable of falling into in this world. And Acts 17:30, he calls it a “winking at the sins of their ignorance;” as it were taking no care nor thought of them in their dark condition, as it appears by the antithesis, “But now he commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” He did not take so much notice of them then as to command them to repent, by any clear revelation of his mind and will. And therefore the exhortation of the apostle, Romans 2:4, “Despises thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and long suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?” is spoken to the Jews, who had advantages to learn the natural tendency of that goodness and forbearance which God exercises in Christ; which, indeed, leads to repentance: or else he does in general intimate that, in very reason, men ought to make another use of those things than usually they do, and which he chargeth them withal, verse 5, “But after thy hardness and impenitent heart,” etc. At best, then, the patience of God unto men out of Christ, by reason of their own incorrigible stubbornness, proves but like the waters of the river Phasis, that are sweet at the top and bitter in the bottom; they swim for a while in the sweet and good things of this life, Luke 16:20; wherewith being filled, they sink to the depth of all bitterness.

    But now, evidently and directly, the end of that patience and forbearance of God which is exercised in Christ, and discovered in him to us, is the saving and bringing into God those towards whom he is pleased to exercise them. And therefore Peter tells you, 2 Peter 3:9, that he is “long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance;” that is, all us towards whom he exercises forbearance; for that is the end of it, that his will concerning our repentance and salvation may be accomplished. And the nature of it, with its end, is well expressed, Isaiah 54:9, “This is as the waters of Noah unto me: for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wrath,” etc.

    It is God’s taking a course, in his infinite wisdom and goodness, that we shall not be destroyed notwithstanding our sins; and therefore, Romans 15:5, these two things are laid together in God, as coming together from him, “The God of patience and consolation:” his patience is a matter of the greatest consolation. And this is another property of God, which, though it may break forth in some rays, to some ends and purposes, in other things, yet the treasures of it are hid in Christ; and none is acquainted with it, unto any spiritual advantage, that learns it not in him. [3.] His wisdom, his infinite wisdom, in managing things for his own glory, and the good of them towards whom he has thoughts of love. The Lord, indeed, has laid out and manifested infinite wisdom in his works of creation, providence, and governing of his world: in wisdom has he made all his creatures. “How manifold are his works! in wisdom has he made them all; the earth is full of his riches,” <19A424> Psalm 104:24.

    So in his providence, his supportment and guidance of all things, in order to one another, and his own glory, unto the ends appointed for them; for all these things “come forth from the LORD of hosts, who is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working,” Isaiah 28:29.

    His law also is for ever to be admired, for the excellency of the wisdom therein, Deuteronomy 4:7,8. But yet there is that which Paul is astonished at, and wherein God will for ever be exalted, which he calls, “The depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God,” Romans 11:33; — that is only hid in and revealed by Christ. Hence, as he is said to be “the wisdom of God,” and to be “made unto us wisdom;” so the design of God, which is carried along in him, and revealed in the gospel, is called “the wisdom of God,” and a “mystery; even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world was; which none of the princes of this world knew,” 1 Corinthians 2:7,8. Ephesians 3:10, it is called, “The manifold wisdom of God;” and to discover the depth and riches of this wisdom, he tells us in that verse that it is such, that principalities and powers, that very angels themselves, could not in the least measure get any acquaintance with it, until God, by gathering of a church of sinners, did actually discover it. Hence Peter informs us, that they who are so well acquainted with all the works of God, do yet bow down and desire with earnestness to look into these things (the things of the wisdom of God in the gospel), 1 Peter 1:12. It asks a man much wisdom to make a curious work, fabric, and building; but if one shall come and deface it, to raise up the same building to more beauty and glory than ever, this is excellence of wisdom indeed. God in the beginning made all things good, glorious, and beautiful. When all things had an innocence and beauty, the clear impress of his wisdom and goodness upon them, they were very glorious; especially man, who was made for his special glory. Now, all this beauty was defaced by sin, and the wholes creation rolled up in darkness, wrath, curses, confusion, and the great praise of God buried in the heaps of it.

    Man, especially, was utterly lost, and came short of the glory of God, for which he was created, Romans 3:23. Here, now, does the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God open itself. A design in Christ shines out from his bosom, that was lodged there from eternity, to recover things to such an estate as shall be exceedingly to the advantage of his glory, infinitely above what at first appeared, and for the putting of sinners into inconceivably a better condition than they were in before the entrance of sin. He appears now glorious; he is known to be a God pardoning iniquity and sin, and advances the riches of his grace: which was his design, Ephesians 1:6. He has infinitely vindicated his justice also, in the face of men, angels, and devils, in setting forth his Son for a propitiation. It is also to our advantage; we are more fully established in his favor, and are carried on towards a more exceeding weight of glory than formerly was revealed. Hence was that ejaculation of one of the ancients, “O felix culpa, quae talem meruit redemptorem!” Thus Paul tells us, “Great is the mystery of godliness,” 1 Timothy 3:16, and that “without controversy.” We receive “grace for grace;” — for that grace lost in Adam, better grace in Christ. Confessedly, this is a depth of wisdom indeed. And of the love of Christ to his church, and his union with it, to carry on this business, “This is a great mystery,” Ephesians 5:32, says the apostle; great wisdom lies herein.

    So, then, this also is hid in Christ, — the great and unspeakable riches of the wisdom of God, in pardoning sin, saving sinners, satisfying justice, fulfilling the law, repairing his own honor, and providing for us a more exceeding weight of glory; and all this out of such a condition as wherein it was impossible that it should enter into the hearts of angels or men how ever the glory of God should be repaired, and one sinning creature delivered from everlasting ruin. Hence it is said, that at the last day God “shall be glorified in his saints, and admired in all them that believe,” Thessalonians 1:10. It shall be an admirable thing, and God shall be for ever glorious in it, even in the bringing of believers to himself. To save sinners through believing, shall be found to be a far more admirable work than to create the world of nothing. [4.] His all-sufficiency is the last of this sort that I shall name.

    God’s all-sufficiency in himself is his absolute and universal perfection, whereby nothing is wanting in him, nothing to him: No accession can be made to his fullness, no decrease or wasting can happen thereunto. There is also in him an all-sufficiency for others; which is his power to impart and communicate his goodness and himself so to them as to satisfy and fill them, in their utmost capacity, with whatever is good and desirable to them. For the first of these, — his all-sufficiency for the communication of his goodness, that is, in the outward effect of it, — God abundantly manifested in the creation, in that he made all things good, all things perfect; that is, to whom nothing was wanting in their own kind; — he put a stamp of his own goodness upon them all. But now for the latter, — his giving himself as an all-sufficient God, to be enjoyed by the creatures, to hold out all that is in him for the satiating and making them blessed, — that is alone discovered by and in Christ. In him he is a Father, a God in covenant, wherein he has promised to lay out himself for them; in him has he promised to give himself into their everlasting fruition, as their exceeding great reward.

    And so I have insisted on the second sort of properties in God, whereof, though we have some obscure glimpse in other things, yet the clear knowledge of them, and acquaintance with them, is only to be had in the Lord Christ.

    That which remaineth is, briefly to declare that not any of the properties of God whatever can be known, savingly and to consolation, but only in him; and so, consequently, all the wisdom of the knowledge of God is hid in him alone, and from him to be obtained. 2. There is no saving knowledge of any property of God, nor such as brings consolation, but what alone is to be had in Christ Jesus, being laid up in him, and manifested by him. Some eye the justice of God, and know that this is his righteousness, that they which do such things” (as sin) “are worthy of death,” Romans 1:32. But this is to no other end but to make them cry, “Who amongst us shall dwell with the devouring fire?” Isaiah 33:14. Others fix upon his patience, goodness, mercy, forbearance; but it does not at all lead them to repentance; but “they despise the riches of his goodness, and after their hardness and impenitent hearts treasure up unto themselves wrath against the day of wrath,” Romans 2:4,5.

    Others, by the very works of creation and providence, come to know “his eternal power and Godhead; but they glorify him not as God, nor are thankful, but become vain in their imagination, and their foolish hearts are darkened,” Romans 1:20.

    Whatever discovery men have of truth out of Christ, they “hold it captive under unrighteousness,” verse 18. Hence Jude tells us, verse 10, that “in what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.”

    That we may have a saving knowledge of the properties of God, attended with consolation, these three things are required: — (1.) That God has manifested the glory of them all in a way of doing good unto us. (2.) That he will yet exercise and lay them out to the utmost in our behalf (3.) That, being so manifested and exercised, they are fit and powerful to bring us to the everlasting fruition of himself; which is our blessedness. Now, all these three lie hid in Christ; and the least glimpse of them out of him is not to be attained. (1.) This is to be received, that God has actually manifested the glory of all his attributes in a way of doing us good. What will it avail our souls, what comfort will it bring unto us, what endearment will it put upon our hearts unto God, to know that he is infinitely righteous, just, and holy, unchangeably true and faithful, if we know not how he may preserve the glory of his justice and faithfulness in his comminations and threatening, but only in one ruin and destruction? if we can from thence only say it is a righteous thing with him to recompense tribulation unto us for our iniquities? What fruit of this consideration had Adam in the garden?

    Genesis 3. What sweetness, what encouragement, is there in knowing that he is patient and full of forbearance, if the glory of these is to be exalted in enduring the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction? nay, what will it avail us to hear him proclaim himself “The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, abundant in goodness and truth,” yet, withal, that he will “by no means clear the guilty,” so shutting up the exercise of all his other properties towards us, upon the account of our iniquity? Doubtless, not at all. Under this naked consideration of the properties of God, justice will make men fly and hide, Genesis 3; Isaiah 2:21, 33:15,16; — patience, render them obdurate, Ecclesiastes 8:11. Holiness utterly deters them from all thoughts of approach unto him, John 24:19. What relief have we from thoughts of his immensity and omnipresence, if we have cause only to contrive how to fly from him ( <19D911> Psalm 139:11,12), if we have no pledge of his gracious presence with us? This is that which brings salvation, when we shall see that God has glorified all his properties in a way of doing us good. Now, this he has done in Jesus Christ. In him has he made his justice glorious, in making all our iniquities to meet upon him, causing him to bear them all, as the scapegoat in the wilderness; not sparing him, but giving him up to death for us all; — so exalting his justice and indignation against sin in a way of freeing us from the condemnation of it, Romans 3:25, 8:33,34. In him has he made his truth glorious, and his faithfulness, in the exact accomplishment of all his absolute threatening and promises. That fountain-threat and combination whence all others flow, Genesis 2:17, “In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt die the death;” seconded with a curse, Deuteronomy 27:26, “Cursed is every one that continueth not,” etc. [ Galatians 3:10] — is in him accomplished, fulfilled, and the truth of God in them laid in a way to our good. He, by the grace of God, tasted death for us, Hebrews 2:9; and so delivered us who were subject to death, verse 15; and he has fulfilled the curse, by being made a curse for us, Galatians 3:13. So that in his very threatening his truth is made glorious in a way to our good. And for his promises, “They are all yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us,” 2 Corinthians 1:20.

    And for his mercy, goodness, and the riches of his grace, how eminently are they made glorious in Christ, and advanced for our good! God has set him forth to declare his righteousness for the forgiveness of sin; he has made way in him for ever to exalt the glory of his pardoning mercy towards sinners. To manifest this is the great design of the gospel, as Paul admirably sets it out, Ephesians 1:5-8. There must our souls come to an acquaintance with them, or for ever live in darkness.

    Now, this is a saving knowledge, and full of consolation, when we can see all the properties of God made glorious and exalted in a way of doing us good. And this wisdom is hid only in Jesus Christ. Hence, when he desired his Father to glorify his name, John 12:24, — to make in him his name (that is, his nature, his properties, his will) all glorious in that work of redemption he had in hand, — he was instantly answered from heaven, “I have both glorified it and will glorify it again.” He will give it its utmost glory in him. (2.) That God will yet exercise and lay out those properties of his to the utmost in our behalf. Though he has made them all glorious in a way that may tend to our good, yet it does not absolutely follow that he will use them for our good; for do we not see innumerable persons perishing everlastingly, notwithstanding the manifestation of himself which God has made in Christ. Wherefore farther, God has committed all his properties into the hand of Christ if I may so say, to be managed in our behalf, and for our good. He is “The power of God, and the wisdom of God;” he is “The LORD our Righteousness,” and is “made unto us of God wisdom, and righteousness, sanctification, and redemption.” Christ having glorified his Father in all his attributes, he has now the exercise of them committed to him, that he might be the captain of salvation to them that do believe; so that if, in the righteousness, the goodness, the love, the mercy, the all-sufficiency of God, there be any thing that will do us good, the Lord Jesus is fully interested with the dispensing of it in our behalf. Hence God is said to be “in him, reconciling the world unto himself,” 2 Corinthians 5:18. Whatever is in him, he layeth it out for the reconciliation of the world, in and by the Lord Christ; and he becomes “The LORD our Righteousness,” Isaiah 45:24,25. And this is the second thing required. (3.) There remaineth only, then, that these attributes of God, so manifested and exercised, are powerful and able to bring us to the everlasting fruition of him. To evince this, the Lord wraps up the whole covenant of grace in one promise, signifying no less: “I will be your God.”

    In the covenant, God becomes our God, and we are his people; and thereby all his attributes are ours also. And lest that we should doubt — when once our eyes are opened to see in any measure the inconceivable difficulty that is in this thing, what unimaginable obstacles on all hands there lie against us — that all is not enough to deliver and save us, God has, I say, wrapped it up in this expression, Genesis 17:1, “I am,” saith he, “God Almighty” (all-sufficient); — “I am wholly able to perform all my undertakings, and to be thy exceeding great reward. I can remove all difficulties, answer all objections, pardon all sins, conquer all opposition: I am God all-sufficient.” Now, you know in whom this covenant and all the promises thereof are ratified, and in whose blood it is confirmed, — to wit, in the Lord Christ alone; in him only is God an all-sufficient God to any, and an exceeding great reward. And hence Christ himself is said to “save to the uttermost them that come to God by him,” Hebrews 7. And these three things, I say, are required to be known, that we may have a saving acquaintance, and such as is attended with consolation, with any of the properties of God; and all these being hid only in Christ, from him alone it is to be obtained.

    This, then, is the first part of our first demonstration, that all true and sound wisdom and knowledge is laid up in the Lord Christ, and from him alone to be obtained; because our wisdom, consisting, in a main part of it, in the knowledge of God, his nature, and his properties, this lies wholly hid in Christ, nor can possibly be obtained but by him.

    II. For the knowledge of ourselves, which is the SECOND part of our wisdom, this consists in these three things, which our Savior sends his Spirit to convince the world of, — even “sin, righteousness, and judgement,” John 16:8. To know ourselves in reference unto these three, is a main part of true and sound wisdom; for they all respect the supernatural and immortal end whereunto we are appointed; and there is none of these that we can attain unto but only in Christ. 1. In respect of sin. There is a sense and knowledge of sin left in the consciences of all men by nature. To tell them what is good and evil in many things, to approve and disapprove of what they do, in reference to a judgement to come, they need not go farther than themselves, Romans 2:14,15. But this is obscure, and relates mostly to greater sins, and is in sum that which the apostle gives us, Romans 1:32, “They know the judgement of God, that they which do such things are worthy of death.”

    This he placeth among the common presumptions and notions that are received by mankind, — namely, that it is “righteous with God, that they who do such things are worthy of death.” And if that be true, which is commonly received, that no nation is so barbarous or rude, but it retaineth some sense of a Deity; then this also is true, that there is no nation but has a sense of sin, and the displeasure of God for it. For this is the very first notion of God in the world, that he is the rewarder of good and evil. Hence were all the sacrifices, purgings, expiations, which were so generally spread over the face of the earth. But this was and is but very dark, in respect of that knowledge of sin with its appurtenances, which is to be obtained.

    A farther knowledge of sin, upon all accounts whatever, is giver by the law; that law which was “added because of transgressions.” This revives doctrinally all that sense of good and evil which was at first implanted in man; and it is a glass, whereinto whosoever is able spiritually to look, may see sin in all its ugliness and deformity. The truth is, look upon the law in its purity, holiness, compass, and perfection; its manner of delivery, with dread, terror, thunder, earthquakes, fire; the sanction of it, in death, curse, wrath; and it makes a wonderful discovery of sin, upon every account: its pollution, guilt, and exceeding sinfulness are seen by it. But yet all this does not suffice to give a man a true and thorough conviction of sin. Not but that the glass is clear, but of ourselves we have not eyes to look into it; the rule is straight, but we cannot apply it: and therefore Christ sends his Spirit to convince the world of sin, John 16:8; who, though, as to some ends and purposes, he makes use of the law, yet the work of conviction, which alone is a useful knowledge of sin, is his peculiar work. And so the discovery of sin may also be said to be by Christ, — to be part of the wisdom that is hid in him. But yet there is a twofold regard besides this, of his sending his Spirit to convince us, wherein this wisdom appears to be hid in him: — First, because there are some near concernments of sin, which are more clearly held out in the Lord Christ’s being made sin for us, than any other way. Secondly, in that there is no knowledge to be had of sin, so as to give it a spiritual and saving improvement, but only in him.

    For the first, there are four things in sin that clearly shine out in the cross of Christ: — (1.) The desert of it. (2.) Man’s impotency by reason of it. (3.) The death of it. (4.) A new end put to it. (1.) The desert of sin does clearly shine in the cross of Christ upon a twofold account: — [1.] Of the person suffering for it. [2.] Of the penalty he underwent. [1.] Of the person suffering for it. This the Scripture oftentimes very emphatically sets forth, and lays great weight upon: John 3:16, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” It was his only Son that God sent into the world to suffer for sin, Romans 8:32. “He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all.” To see a slave beaten and corrected, it argues a fault committed; but yet perhaps the demerit of it was not very great. The correction of a son argues a great provocation; that of an only son, the greatest imaginable. Never was sin seen to be more abominably sinful and full of provocation, than when the burden of it was upon the shoulders of the Son of God. God having made his Son, the Son of his love, his only begotten, full of grace and truth, sin for us, to manifest his indignation against it, and how utterly impossible it is that he should let the least sin go unpunished, he lays hand on him, and spares him not. If sin be imputed to the dear Son of his bosom, as upon his own voluntary assumption of it was (for he said to his Father, “Lo, I come to do thy will,” and all our iniquities did meet on him), [and] he will not spare him any thing of the due desert of it; is it not most clear from hence, even from the blood of the cross of Christ, that such is the demerit of sin, that it is altogether impossible that God should pass by any, the least, unpunished?

    If he would have done it for any, he would have done it in reference to his only Son; but he spared him not.

    Moreover, God is not at all delighted with, nor desirous of, the blood, the tears, the cries, the inexpressible torments and sufferings, of the Son of his love (for he delights not in the anguish of any, — “he does not afflict willingly, nor grieve the children of men,” much less the Son of his bosom); only he required that his law be fulfilled, his justice satisfied, his wrath atoned for sin; and nothing less than all this would bring it about. If the debt of sin might have been compounded for at a cheaper rate, it had never been held up at the price of the blood of Christ. Here, then, soul, take a view of the desert of sin; behold it far more evident than in all the threatening and curses of the law. “I thought, indeed,” mayest thou say from thence, “that sin, being found on such a poor worm as I am, was worthy of death; but that it should have this effect if charged on the Son of God, — that I never once imagined.” [2.] Consider also, farther, what he suffered. For though he was so excellent a one, yet perhaps it was but a light affliction and trial that he underwent, especially considering the strength he had to bear it. Why, whatever it were, it made this “fellow of the LORD of hosts,” this “lion of the tribe of Judah,” this “mighty one,” “the wisdom and power of God,” to tremble, sweat, cry, pray, wrestle, and that with strong supplications.

    Some of the popish devotionists tell us that one drop, the least, of the blood of Christ, was abundantly enough to redeem all the world; but they err, not knowing the desert of sin, nor the severity of the justice of God. If one drop less than was shed, one pang less than was laid on, would have done it, those other drops had not been shed, nor those other pangs laid on. God did not cruciate the dearly-beloved of his soul for nought. But there is more than all this: — It pleased God to bruise him, to put him to grief, to make his soul an offering for sin, and to pour out his life unto death. He hid himself from him, — was far from the voice of his cry, until he cried out, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” He made him sin and a curse for us; executed on him the sentence of the law; brought him into an agony, wherein he sweat thick drops of blood, was grievously troubled, and his soul was heavy unto death. He that was the power of God, and the wisdom of God, went stooping under the burden, until the whole frame of nature seemed astonished at it. Now this, as I said before that it discovered the indignation of God against sin, so it clearly holds out the desert of it.

    Would you, then, see the true demerit of sin? — take the measure of it from the mediation of Christ, especially his cross. It brought him who was the Son of God, equal unto God, God blessed for ever, into the form of a servant, who had not where to lay his head. It pursued him all his life with afflictions and persecutions; and lastly brought him under the rod of God; there bruised him and brake him, — slew the Lord of life. Hence is deep humiliation for it, upon the account of him whom we have pierced. And this is the first spiritual view of sin we have in Christ. (2.) The wisdom of understanding our impotency, by reason of sin, is wrapped up in him. By our impotency, I understand two things: — [1.] Our disability to make any atonement with God for sin. [2.] Our disability to answer his mind and will, in all or any of the obedience that he requireth, by reason of sin. [1.] For the first, that alone is discovered in Christ. Many inquiries have the sons of men made after an atonement, — many ways have they entered into to accomplish it. After this they inquire, Micah 6:6,7, “Will any manner of sacrifices, though appointed of God, as burnt-offerings, and calves of a year old; though very costly, thousands of rams, and ten thousand rivers of oil; though dreadful and tremendous, offering violence to nature, as to give my children to the fire;” — will any of these things make an atonement? David does positively, indeed, determine this business, Psalm 49:7,8, “None of them” of the best or richest of men) “can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him; for the redemption of their soul is precious, and it ceaseth for ever.” It cannot be done, — no atonement can be made; yet men would still be doing, still attempting: hence did they heap up sacrifices, some costly, some bloody and inhuman. The Jews, to this day, think that God was atoned for sin by the sacrifices of bulls and goats, and the like. And the Socinians acknowledge no atonement, but what consists in men’s repentance and new obedience. In the cross of Christ are the mouths of all stopped as to this thing. For, — 1st . God has there discovered that no sacrifices for sin, though of his own appointment, could ever make them perfect that offered them, Hebrews 10:11. Those sacrifices could never take away sin; those services could never make them perfect that performed them, as to the conscience, Hebrews 9:9; as the apostle proves, chap. <581001> 10:1. And thence the Lord rejects all sacrifices and offerings whatever, as to any such end and purpose, verses 6-8, Christ, in their stead, saying, “Lo, I come;” and by him we are “justified from all things, from which we could not be justified by the law,” Acts 13:39: God, I say, in Christ, has condemned all sacrifices, as wholly insufficient in the least to make an atonement for sin.

    And how great a thing it was to instruct the sons of men in this wisdom, the event has manifested. 2ndly . He has also written vanity on all other endeavors whatever, that have been undertaken for that purpose. Romans 3:24-26, by setting forth his only Son “to be a propitiation,” he leaves no doubt upon the spirits of men that in themselves they could make no atonement; for “if righteousness were by the law, then were Christ dead in vain.” To what purpose should he be made a propitiation, were not we ourselves weak and without strength to any such purpose? So the apostle argues, Romans 5:6, when we had no power, then did he by death make an atonement; as verses 8, 9.

    This, wisdom then, is also hid in Christ. Men may see by other helps, perhaps, far enough to fill them with dread and astonishment, as those in Isaiah 33:14; but such a sight and view of it as may lead a soul to any comfortable settlement about it, — that only is discovered in this treasury of heaven, the Lord Jesus. [2.] Our disability to answer the mind and will of God, in all or any of the obedience that he requireth, is in him only to be discovered. This, indeed, is a thing that many will not be acquainted with to this day. To teach a man that he cannot do what he ought to do, and for which he condemns himself if he do it not, is no easy task. Man rises up with all his power to plead against a conviction of impotency. Not to mention the proud conceits and expressions of the philosophers, how many that would be called Christians do yet creep, by several degrees, in the persuasion of a power of fulfilling the law! And from whence, indeed, should men have this knowledge that we have not? Nature will not teach it, — that is proud and conceited; and it is one part of its pride, weakness, and corruption, not to know it at all. The law will not teach it: for though that will show us what we have done amiss, yet it will not discover to us that we could not do better; yea, by requiring exact obedience of us, it takes for granted that such power is in us for that purpose: it takes no notice that we have lost it; nor does it concern it so to do. This, then, also lies hid in the Lord Jesus. Romans 8:2-4, “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death. For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us.”

    The law can bring forth no righteousness, no obedience; it is weak to any such purpose, by reason of the flesh, and that corruption that is come on us. These two things are done in Christ, and by him: — First, Sin is condemned as to its guilt, and we set free from that; the righteousness of the law by his obedience is fulfilled in us, who could never do it ourselves.

    And, secondly, That obedience which is required of us, his Spirit works it in us. So that that perfection of obedience which we have in him is imputed to us; and the sincerity that we have in obedience is from his Spirit bestowed on us. And this is the most excellent glass, wherein we see our impotency; for what need we his perfect obedience to be made ours, but that we have not, can not attain any? what need we his Spirit of life to quicken us, but that we are dead in trespasses and sins? (3.) The death of sin; — sin dying in us now, in some measure, whilst we are alive. This is a third concernment of sin which it is our wisdom to be acquainted with; and it is hid only in Christ. There is a twofold dying of sin: — as to the exercise of it in our mortal members; and as to the root, principle, and power of it in our souls. The first, indeed, may be learned in part out of Christ. Christless men may have sin dying in them, as to the outward exercise of it. Men’s bodies may be disabled for the service of their lusts, or the practice of them may not consist with their interest. Sin is never more alive than when it is thus dying. But there is a dying of it as to the root, the principle of it, — the daily decaying of the strength, power, and life of it; and this is to be had alone in Christ. Sin is a thing that of itself is not apt to die or to decay, but to get ground, and strength, and life, in the subject wherein it is, to eternity; prevent all its actual eruptions, yet its original enmity against God will still grow. In believers it is still dying and decaying, until it be utterly abolished. The opening of this treasury [mystery] you have, Romans 6:3-6, etc. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death, that like as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection; knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

    This is the design of the apostle in the beginning of that chapter, not only to manifest whence is the principle and rise of our mortification and the death of sin, even from the death and blood of Christ; but also the manner of sin’s continuance and dying in us, from the manner of Christ’s dying for sin. He was crucified for us, and thereby sin was crucified in us; he died for us, and the body of sin is destroyed, that we should not serve sin; and as he was raised from the dead, that death should not have dominion over him, so also are we raised from sin, that it should not have dominion over us. This wisdom is hid in Christ only. Moses at his dying day had all his strength and vigor; so have sin and the law to all out of Jesus: at their dying day, sin is no way decayed. Now, next to the receiving of the righteousness prepared for us, to know this is the chiefest part of our wisdom. To be truly acquainted with the principle of the dying of sin, to feel virtue and power flowing from the cross of Christ to that purpose, to find sin crucified in us, as Christ was crucified for us, — this is wisdom indeed, that is in him alone. (4.) There is a glorious end whereunto sin is appointed and ordained, and discovered in Christ, that others are unacquainted withal. Sin in its own nature tends merely to the dishonor of God, the debasement of his majesty, and the ruin of the creature in whom it is; hell itself is but the filling of wretched creatures with the fruit of their own devices. The combinations and threats of God in the law do manifest one other end of it, even the demonstration of the vindictive justice of God, in measuring out unto it a meets recompense of reward. But here the law stays (and with it all other light) and discovers no other use or end of it at all. In the Lord Jesus there is the manifestation of another and more glorious end; to wit, the praise of God’s glorious grace in the pardon and forgiveness of it; — God having taken order in Christ that that thing which tended merely to his dishonor should be managed to his infinite glory, and that which of all things he desireth to exalt, — even that he may be known and believed to be a “God pardoning iniquity, transgression and sin.” To return, then, to this part of our demonstration: — In the knowledge of ourselves, in reference to our eternal condition, does much of our wisdom consist. There is not any thing wherein, in this depraved condition of nature, we are more concerned than sin; without a knowledge of that, we know not ourselves. “Fools make a mock of sin.” A true saving knowledge of sin is to be had only in the Lord Christ: in him may we see the desert of our iniquities, and their pollution, which could not be born or expiated but by his blood; neither is there any wholesome view of these but in Christ. In him and his cross is discovered our universal impotency, either of atoning God’s justice or living up to his will. The death of sin is procured by, and discovered in, the death of Christ; as also the manifestation of the riches of God’s grace in the pardoning thereof. A real and experimental acquaintance, as to ourselves, with all which, is our wisdom; and it is that which is of more value than all the wisdom of the world. 2. Righteousness is a second thing whereof the Spirit of Christ convinces the world, and the main thing that it is our wisdom to be acquainted withal.

    This all men are persuaded of, that God is a most righteous God; (that is a natural notion of God which Abraham insisted on, Genesis 18:25, “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”) they “know that this is the judgement of God, that they who commit such things are worthy of death,” Romans 1:32; that “it is a righteous thing with him to recompense tribulation unto offenders,” 2 Thessalonians 1:6.

    He is “a God of purer eyes than to behold evil,” Habakkuk 1:13; and therefore, “the ungodly cannot stand in judgement,” Psalm 1:5. Hence the great inquiry of every one (who lies in any measure under the power of it), convinced of immortality and the judgement to come, is concerning the righteousness wherewith to appear in the presence of this righteous God.

    This more or less they are solicitous about all their days; and so, as the apostle speaks, Hebrews 2:15, “through the fear of death they are all their lifetime subject to bondage,” they are perplexed with fears about the issue of their righteousness, lest it should end in death and destruction. (1.) Unto men set upon this inquiry, that which first and naturally presents itself, for their direction and assistance, assuredly promising them a righteousness that will abide the trial of God, provided they will follow its direction, is the law. The law has many fair pleas to prevail with a soul to close with it for a righteousness before God. It was given out from God himself for that end and purpose; it contains the whole obedience that God requireth of any of the sons of men; it has the promise of life annexed to it: “Do this, and live,” “The doers of the law are justified;” and, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments;” yea, it is most certain that it must be wholly fulfilled, if we ever think to stand with boldness before God. This being some part of the plea of the law, there is no man that seeks after righteousness but does, one time or another, attend to it, and attempt its direction. Many do it every day, who yet will not own that so they do. This, then, they set themselves about, — laboring to correct their lives, amend their ways, perform the duties required, and so follow after a righteousness according to the prescript of the law. And in this course do many men continue long with much perplexity; — sometimes hoping, oftener fearing; sometimes ready to give quite over; sometimes vowing to continue (their consciences being no way satisfied, nor righteousness in any measure attained) all their days. After they have wearied themselves perhaps for a long season, in the largeness of their ways, they come at length, with fear, trembling, and disappointment, to that conclusion of the apostle, “By the works of the law no flesh is justified;” and with dread cry that if God mark what is done amiss, there is no standing before him. That they have this issue, the apostle witnesseth, Romans 9:31,32, “Israel, who followed after the law of righteousness, has not attained to the law of righteousness. Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law.”

    It was not solely for want of endeavor in themselves that they were disappointed, for they earnestly followed after the law of righteousness; but from the nature of the thing itself, — it would not bear it.

    Righteousness was not to be obtained that way; “For,” saith the apostle, “if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect; because the law worketh wrath,” Romans 4:14,15.

    The law itself is now such as that it cannot give life, Galatians 3:21, “If there had been a law given which would have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.” And he gives the reason in the next verse why it could not give life; because “the Scripture concludes all under sin;” that is, it is very true, and the Scripture affirms it, that all men are sinners, and the law speaks not one word to sinners but death and destruction: therefore the apostle tells us plainly, that God himself found fault with this way of attaining righteousness, Hebrews 8:7,8. He complains of it; that is, he declares it insufficient for that end and purpose.

    Now, there are two considerations that discover unto men the vanity and hopelessness of seeking righteousness in this path: — [1.] That they have already sinned: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” Romans 3:23. This they are sufficiently sensible of, that although they could for the time to come fulfill the whole law, yet there is a score, a reckoning, upon them already, that they know not how to answer for. Do they consult their guide, the law itself, how they may be eased of the account that is past? it has not one word of direction or consolation; but bids them prepare to die. The sentence is gone forth, and there is no escaping. [2.] That if all former debts should be blotted out, yet they are no way able for the future to fulfill the law; they can as well move the earth with a finger, as answer the perfection thereof: and therefore, as I said, on this twofold account, they conclude that this labor is lost. “By the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (2.) Wherefore, secondly, Being thus disappointed, by the severity and inexorableness of the law, men generally retake themselves to some other way, that may satisfy them as to those considerations which took them off from their former hopes; and this, for the most part, is by fixing themselves upon some ways of atonement to satisfy God, and helping out the rest with hopes of mercy. Not to insist on the ways of atonement and expiation which the Gentiles had pitched on; nor on the many ways and inventions — by works satisfactory at their own, supererogations of others, indulgences, and purgatory in the close — that the Papists have found out for this end and purpose; it is, I say, proper to all convinced persons, as above, to seek for a righteousness, partly by an endeavor to satisfy for what is past, and partly by hoping after general mercy. This the apostle calls a seeking for it “as it were by the works of the law,” Romans 9:32; not directly, “but as it were” by the works of the law, making up one thing with another. And he tells us what issue they have in this business, chap. 10:3, “Being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

    They were by it enemies to the righteousness of God. The ground of this going about to establish their own righteousness was, that they were ignorant of the righteousness of God. Had they known the righteousness of God, and what exact conformity to his will he requireth, they had never undertaken such a fruitless business as to have compassed it “as it were by the works of the law.” Yet this many will stick on a long time. Something they do, something they hope for; some old faults they will buy off with new obedience. And this pacifies their consciences for a season; but when the Spirit comes to convince them of righteousness, neither will this hold.

    Wherefore, — (3.) The matter comes at length to this issue, — they look upon themselves under this twofold qualification; as, — [1.] Sinners, obnoxious to the law of God and the curse thereof; so that unless that be satisfied, that nothing from thence shall ever be laid to their charge, it is altogether in vain once to seek after an appearance in the presence of God. [2.] As creatures made to a supernatural and eternal end; and therefore bound to answer the whole mind and will of God in the obedience required at their hands. Now, it being before discovered to them that both these are beyond the compass of their own endeavors, and the assistance which they have formerly rested on, if their eternal condition be of any concernment to them, their wisdom is, to find out a righteousness that may answer both these to the utmost.

    Now, both these are to be had only in the Lord Christ, who is our righteousness. This wisdom, and all the treasures of it, are hid in him. 1st . He expiates former iniquities, he satisfies for sin, and procures remission of it. Romans 3:24,25, “Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.” “All we like sheep,” etc., Isaiah 53:6. “Through his blood we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins,” Ephesians 1:7. “God spared not his own Son, but delivered,” etc., Romans 8:32. This, even this alone, is our righteousness; as to that first part of it which consists in the removal of the whole guilt of sin, whereby we are come short of the glory of God.

    On this account it is that we are assured that none shall ever lay any thing to our charge, or condemn us, Romans 8:33,34, — there being “no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus,” verse 1. We are purged by the sacrifice of Christ, so as to have “no more conscience of sin,” Hebrews 10:2; that is, troubles in conscience about it. This wisdom is hid only in the Lord Jesus; in him alone is there an atonement discovered: and give me the wisdom which shall cut all scores concerning sin, and let the world take what remains. But, — 2ndly . There is yet something more required; it is not enough that we are not guilty, we must also be actually righteous; — not only all sin is to be answered for, but all righteousness is to be fulfilled. By taking away the guilt of sin, we are as persons innocent; but something more is required to make us to be considered as persons obedient. I know nothing to teach me that an innocent person shall go to heaven, be rewarded, if he be no more but so. Adam was innocent at his first creation, but he was to “do this,” to “keep the commandments,” before he entered into “life:” he had no title to life by innocence. This, then, moreover, is required, that the whole law be fulfilled, and all the obedience performed that God requires at our hands.

    This is the soul’s second inquiry; and it finds a resolution only in the Lord Christ: “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life,” Romans 5:10.

    His death reconciled us; then are we saved by his life. The actual obedience which he yielded to the whole law of God, is that righteousness whereby we are saved; if so be we are found in him, not having on our own righteousness which is of the law, but the righteousness which is of God by faith, Philippians 3:9. This I shall have occasion to handle more at large hereafter.

    To return, then: It is not, I suppose, any difficult task to persuade men, convinced of immortality and judgement to come, that the main of their wisdom lies in this, even to find out such a righteousness as will accompany them for ever, and abide the severe trial of God himself. Now, all the wisdom of the world is but folly, as to the discovery of this thing.

    The utmost that man’s wisdom can do, is but to find out most wretched, burdensome, and vexatious ways of perishing eternally. All the treasures of this wisdom are hid in Christ; he “of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness,” 1 Corinthians 1:30. 3. Come we to the last thing, which I shall but touch upon; and that is judgement. The true wisdom of this also is hid in the Lord Christ; I mean, in particular, that judgement that is for to come: so at present I take the word in that place, [ John 16:8.] Of what concernment this is to us to know, I shall not speak; — it is that whose influence upon the sons of men is the principle of their discriminating themselves from the beasts that perish. Neither shall I insist on the obscure intimations of it which are given by the present proceedings of Providence in governing the world; nor that greater light of it which shines in the threats and promises of the law.

    The wisdom of it is in two regards hid in the Lord Jesus: — (1.) As to the truth of it. (2.) As to the manner of it: — (1.) For the truth of it; and so in and by him it is confirmed, and that two ways: — [1.] By his death. [2.] By his resurrection: — [1.] By his death. God, in the death of Christ, punishing and condemning sin in the flesh of his own Son, in the sight of men, angels, and devils, has given an abundant assurance of a righteous and universal judgement to come; wherefore, or upon what account imaginable, could he be induced to lay such a load on him, but that he will certainly reckon one day with the sons of men for all their works, ways, and walkings before him. The death of Christ is a most solemn exemplar of the last judgement. Those who own him to be the Son of God, will not deny a judgement to come. [2.] By his resurrection. Acts 17:31, Pi>stin parascw , — he has given faith and assurance of this thing to all, by raising Christ from the dead, having appointed him to be the judge of all; in whom and by whom he will judge the world in righteousness. And then, — (2.) And, lastly, for the manner of it: that it shall be by him who has loved us, and given himself for us, — who is himself the righteousness that he requires of our hands; and on the other side, by him who has been, in his person, grace, ways, worship, servants, reviled, despised, condemned by the men of the world; — which holds out unspeakable consolation on the one hand, and terror on the other: so that the wisdom of this also is hid in Christ.

    And this is the second part of our first demonstration. Thus the knowledge of ourselves, in reference to our supernatural end, is no small portion of our wisdom. The things of the greatest concernment hereunto are, sin, righteousness, and judgement; the wisdom of all which is alone hid in the Lord Jesus: which was to be proved.

    III. The THIRD part of our wisdom is to walk with God. Now, that one may walk with another, six things are required: — 1. Agreement. 2. Acquaintance. 3. A way. 4. Strength. 5. Boldness. 6. An aiming at the same end.

    All these, with the wisdom of them, are hid in the Lord Jesus. 1. Agreement. The prophet tells us that two cannot walk together unless they be agreed, Amos 3:3. Until agreement be made, there is no communion, no walking together. God and man by nature (or whilst man is in the state of nature) are at the greatest enmity. He declares nothing to us but wrath, Romans 1:18; whence we are said to be children of it; that is, born obnoxious to it, Ephesians 2:3: and whilst we remain in that condition, “the wrath of God abideth on us,” John 3:36. All the discovery that God makes of himself unto us is, that he is inexpressibly provoked; and therefore preparing wrath against the day of wrath, and the revelation of his righteous judgement. The day of his and sinners’ meeting, is called “The day of wrath,” Romans 2:5,6. Neither do we come short in our enmity against him; yea, we first began it, and we continue longest in it. To express this enmity, the apostle tells us, that our very minds, the best part of us, are “enmity against God,” Romans 8:7,8; and that we neither are, nor will, nor can be, subject to him; our enmity manifesting itself by universal rebellion against him: whatever we do that seems otherwise, is but hypocrisy or flattery; yea, it is a part of this enmity to lessen it. In this state the wisdom of walking with God must needs be most remote from the soul. e is a “light, and in him is no darkness at all;” we are darkness, and in us there is no light at all. He is life, a “living God;” we are dead, dead sinners, — dead in trespasses and sin. He is “holiness,” and glorious in it; we wholly defiled, — an abominable thing. He is “love;” we full of hatred, — hating and being hated. Surely this is no foundation for agreement, or, upon that, of walking together: nothing can be more remote than this frame from such a condition. The foundation, then, of this, I say, is laid in Christ, hid in Christ. “He,” saith the apostle, “is our peace; he has made peace” for us, Ephesians 2:14,15. He slew the enmity in his own body on the cross, verse 16. (1.) He takes out of the way the cause of the enmity that was between God and us, — sin and the curse of the law. He makes an end of sin, and that by making atonement for iniquity, Daniel 9:24; and he blotteth out the hand-writing of ordinances, Colossians 2:14, redeeming us from the curse, by “being made a curse for us,” Galatians 3:13. (2.) He destroys him who would continue the enmity, and make the breach wider, Hebrews 2:14. “Through death he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the devil;” and, Colossians 2:15, “spoiled principalities and powers.” (3.) He made “reconciliation for the sins of the people,” Hebrews 2:17; he made by his blood an atonement with God, to turn away that wrath which was due to us, so making peace. Hereupon God is said to be “in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself,” 2 Corinthians 5:19; — being reconciled himself, verse 18, he lays down the enmity on his part, and proceeds to what remains, — to slay the enmity on our part, that we also may be reconciled. And this also, — (4.) He does; for, Romans 5:11, “By our Lord Jesus Christ we do receive the atonement,” accept of the peace made and tendered, Laying down our enmity to God; and so confirming an agreement betwixt us in his blood. So that “through him we have an access unto the Father,” Ephesians 2:18. Now, the whole wisdom of this agreement, without which there is no walking with God, is hid in Christ; out of him God on his part is a consuming fire, — we are as stubble fully dry, yet setting ourselves in battle array against that fire: if we are brought together we are consumed. All our approaching to him out of Christ are but to our detriment; in his blood alone have we this agreement. And let not any of us once suppose that we have taken any step in the paths of God with him, that any one duty is accepted, that all is not lost as to eternity, if we have not done it upon the account hereof. 2. There is required acquaintance, also, to walking together. Two may meet together in the same way, and have no quarrel between them, no enmity; but if they are mere strangers one to another, they pass by without the least communion together. It does not suffice that the enmity betwixt God and us be taken away; we must also have acquaintance given us with him.

    Our not knowing of him is a great cause and a great part of our enmity.

    Our understandings are “darkened,” and we are “alienated from the life of God,” etc., Ephesians 4:18. This also, then, must be added, if we ever come to walk with God, which is our wisdom. And this also is hid in the Lord Christ, and comes forth from him. It is true there are sundry other means, as his word and his works, that God has given the sons of men, to make a discovery of himself unto them, and to give them some acquaintance with him, that, as the apostle speaks, Acts 17:27, “they should seek the Lord, if happy they might find him;” but yet, as that knowledge of God which we have by his works is but very weak and imperfect, so that which we have by the word, the letter of it, by reason of our blindness, is not saving to us if we have no other help; for though that be light as the sun in the firmament, yet if we have no eyes in our heads, what can it avail us? — no saving acquaintance with him, that may direct us to walk with him, can be obtained. This also is hid in the Lord Jesus, and comes forth from him, 1 John 5:20, “He has given us an understanding, that we should know him that is true;” — all other light whatever without his giving us an understanding, will not do it. He is the true Light, which lighteth every one that is enlightened, John 1:9. He opens our understandings that we may understand the Scriptures, Luke 24:45; — none has known God at any time, “but he has revealed him,” John 1:18. God dwells in that “light which no man can approach unto,” 1 Timothy 6:16. None has ever had any such acquaintance with him as to be said to have seen him, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. Hence he tells the Pharisees, that notwithstanding all their great knowledge which they pretended, indeed they had “neither heard the voice of God at any time, nor seen his shape,” John 5:37. They had no manner of spiritual acquaintance with God, but he was unto them as a man whom they had never heard nor seen. There is no acquaintance with God, as love, and full of kindness, patience, grace, and pardoning mercy (on which knowledge of him alone we can walk with him), but only in Christ; but of this fully before. This, then, also is hid in him. 3. There must, moreover, be a way wherein we must walk with God. God did at the beginning assign us a path to walk in with him, even the path of innocence and exact holiness, in a covenant of works. This path, by sin, is so filled with thorns and briers, so stopped up by curses and wrath, that no flesh living can take one step in that path; a new way for us to walk in must be found out, if ever we think to hold communion with God. And this also lies upon the former account. It is hid in Christ. All the world cannot, but by and in him, discover a path that a man may walk one step with God in. And therefore the Holy Ghost tells us that Christ has consecrated, dedicated, and set apart for that purpose, “a new and living way” into the holiest of all, Hebrews 10:20; a new one, for the first, old one was useless; a living one, for the other is dead: therefore, saith he, verse 22, “Let us draw near;” having a way to walk in, let us draw near.

    And this way that he has prepared is no other but himself, John 14:6. In answer to them who would go to the Father, and hold communion with him, he tells them, “I am the way; and no man comes to the Father but by me.” He is the medium of all communication between God and us. In him we meet, in him we walk. All influences of love, kindness, mercy, from God to us, are through him; all our returns of love, delight, faith, obedience unto God, are all through him; — he being that “one way” God so often promiseth his people: and it is a glorious way, Isaiah 35:8, — a high way, a way of holiness, a way that none can err in that once enter it; which is farther set out, Isaiah 42:16. All other ways, all paths but this, go down to the chambers of death; they all lead to walk contrary to God. 4. But suppose all this, — that agreement be made, acquaintance given, and a way provided; yet if we have no strength to walk in that way, what will all this avail us? This also, then, must be added; of ourselves we are of no strength, Romans 5:6, — poor weaklings, not able to go a step in the ways of God. When we are set in the way, either we throw ourselves down, or temptations cast us down, and we make no progress: and the Lord Jesus tells us plainly, that “without him we can do nothing,” John 15:5; not any thing at all that shall have the least acceptation with God.

    Neither can all the creatures in heaven and earth yield us the least assistance. Men’s contending to do it in their own power, comes to nothing. This part of this, wisdom also is hid in Christ. All strength to walk with God is from him. “I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me,” saith St. Paul, Philippians 4:13, who denies that of ourselves we have any sufficiency, 2 Corinthians 3:5. We that can do nothing in ourselves, we are such weaklings, can do all things in Jesus Christ, as giants; and therefore in him we are, against all oppositions in our way, “more than conquerors,” Romans 8:37; and that because “from his fullness we receive grace for grace,” John 1:16. From him have we the Spirit of life and power, whereby he bears, as on eagles’ wings, swiftly, safely, in the paths of walking with God. Any step that is taken in any way, by strength that is not immediately from Christ, is one step towards hell. He first takes us by the arm and teaches us to go, until he leads us on to perfection. He has milk and strong meat to feed us; he strengthens us with all might, and is with us in our running the race that is set before us.

    But yet, — 5. Whence should we take this confidence as to walk with God; even our God, who is “a consuming fire?” Hebrews 12:29. Was there not such a dread upon his people of old, that it was taken for granted among them that if they saw God at any time, it was not to be endured, — they must die? Can any, but with extreme horror, think of that dreadful appearance that he made unto them of old upon mount Sinai; until Moses himself, who was their mediator, said, “I exceedingly fear and quake?” Hebrews 12:21, and all the people said, “Let not God speak with us, lest we die?” Exodus 20:19. Nay, though men have apprehensions of the goodness and kindness of God, yet upon any discovery, of his glory, how do they tremble, and are filled with dread and astonishment! Has it not been so with the “choicest of his saints?” Habakkuk 3:16; Isaiah 6:5; Job 42:5,6. Whence, then, should we take to ourselves this boldness, to walk with God? This the apostle will inform us in Hebrews 10:19; it is “by the blood of Jesus:” so Ephesians 3:12, “In him we have boldness, and access with confidence;” — not standing afar off, like the people at the giving of the law, but drawing nigh to God with boldness; and that upon this account: — The dread and terror of God entered by sin; Adam had not the least thought of hiding himself until he had sinned. The guilt of sin being on the conscience, and this being a common notion left in the hearts of all, that God is a most righteous revenger thereof; this fills men with dread and horror at an apprehension of his presence, fearing that he is come to call their sins to remembrance. Now, the Lord Jesus, by the sacrifice and the atonement that he has made, has taken away this conscience of sin; that is, a dread of revenge from God upon the account of the guilt thereof. He has removed the slaying sword of the law, and on that account gives us great boldness with God; discovering him unto us now, no longer as a revenging Judge, but as a tender, merciful, and reconciled Father.

    Moreover, whereas there is on us by nature a spirit of bondage, filling us with innumerable tormenting fears, he takes it away, and gives us “the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry Abba, Father,” and behave ourselves with confidence and gracious boldness, as children: for “where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty,” 2 Corinthians 3:17; that is, a freedom from all that dread and terror which the administration of the law brought with it. Now, as there is no sin that God will more severely revenge than any boldness that man takes with him out of Christ; so there is no grace more acceptable to him than that boldness which he is pleased to afford us in the blood of Jesus. There is, then, — 6. But one thing more to add; and that is, that two cannot walk together unless they have the same design in hand, and aim at the same end. This also, in a word, is given us in the Lord Jesus. The end of God is the advancement of his own glory; none can aim at this end, but only in the Lord Jesus. The sum of all is, that the whole wisdom of our walking with God is hid in Christ, and from him only to be obtained; as has been manifest by an enumeration of particulars.

    And so have I brought my first demonstration of what I intended unto a close, and manifested that all true wisdom and knowledge is laid up in, and laid out by, the Lord Jesus; and this by an induction of the chief particular heads of those things wherein Confessedly our wisdom does consist. I have but one more to add, and therein I shall be brief. SECONDLY, then, I say this truth will be farther manifested by the consideration of the insufficiency and vanity of any thing else that may lay claim or pretend to a title to wisdom.

    There be two things in the world that do pass under this account: — 1. The one is learning or literature; skill and knowledge of arts, sciences, tongues, with the knowledge of the things that are past. 2. prudence and skill for the management of ourselves in reference to others, in civil affairs, for public good; which is much the fairest flower within the border of nature’s garden. Now, concerning both these, I shall briefly evince, — (1.) That they are utterly insufficient for the compassing and obtaining of those particular ends whereunto they are designed. (2.) That both of them in conjunction, with their utmost improvement, cannot reach the true general end of wisdom. Both which considerations will set the crown, in the issue, upon the head of Jesus Christ: — 1. Begin we with the first of these, and that as to the first particular.

    Learning itself, if it were all in one man, is not able to compass the particular end whereto it is designed; which writes “vanity and vexation” upon the forehead thereof.

    The particular end of literature (though not observed by many, men’s eyes being fixed on false ends, which compels them in their progress “aberrare a scopo”) is none other but to remove some part of that curse which is come upon us by sin. Learning is the product of the soul’s struggling with the curse for sin. Adam, at his first creation, was completely furnished with all that knowledge (excepting only things not then in being, neither in themselves nor in any natural causes, as that which we now call tongues, and those things that are the subject of story), as far as it lies in a needful tendency to the utmost end of man, which we now press after. There was no straitness, much less darkness, upon his understanding, that should make him sweat for a way to improve, and make out those general conceptions of things which he had. For his knowledge of nature, it is manifest, from his imposition of suitable names on all the creatures (the particular reasons of the most of which to us are lost); wherein, from the approbation given of his nomination of things in the Scripture, and the significance of what yet remains evident, it is most apparent it was done upon a clear acquaintance with their natures. Hence Plato could observe, that he was most wise that first imposed names on things; yea, had more than human wisdom. Were the wisest man living, yea, a general collection of all the wise men in the world, to make an experiment of their skill and ]earning, in giving names to all living creatures, suitable to their natures and expressive of their qualities, they would quickly perceive the loss they have incurred. Adam was made perfect, for the whole end of ruling the creatures and living to God, for which he was made; which, without the knowledge of the nature of the one and the will of the other, he could not be. All this being lost by sin, a multiplication of tongues also being brought in, as a curse for an after rebellion, the whole design of learning is but to disentangle the soul from this issue of sin. Ignorance, darkness, and blindness, is come upon the understanding; acquaintance with the works of God, spiritual and natural, is lost; strangeness of communication is given, by multiplication of tongues; tumultuating of passions and affections, with innumerable darkening prejudices, are also come upon us. To remove and take this away — to disentangle the mind in its seasonings, to recover an acquaintance with the works of God, to subduct the soul from under the effects of the curse of division of tongues — is the aim and tendency of literature. This is the “aliquid quo tendit;” and he that has any other aim in it, “Passim sequitur corvum testaque lotoque.” Now, not to insist upon that vanity and vexation of spirit, with the innumerable evils wherewith this enterprise is attended, this is that I only say, it is in itself no way sufficient for the attainment of its end, which writes vanity upon its forehead with characters not to be obliterated. To this purpose I desire to observe these two things: — (1.) That the knowledge aimed at to be recovered was given unto man in order to his walking with God, unto that supernatural end whereunto he was appointed. For after he was furnished with all his endowments, the law of life and death was given to him, that he might know wherefore he received them. Therefore, knowledge in him was spiritualized and sanctified: even that knowledge which he had by nature, in respect of its principle and end, was spiritual. (2.) That the loss of it is part of that curse which was inflicted on us for sin. Whatever we come short in of the state of the first man in innocence, whether in loss of good or addition of evil, it is all of the curse for sin.

    Besides, that blindness, ignorance, darkness, deadness, which is everywhere ascribed to us in the state of nature, does fully comprise that also whereof we speak.

    On these two considerations it is most apparent that learning can no way of itself attain the end it aimeth at. For, — [1.] That light which by it is discovered (which, the Lord knows, is very little, weak, obscure, imperfect, uncertain, conjectural, for a great part only enabling men to quarrel with and oppose one another, to the reproach of reason, yet I say, that which is attained by it) is not in the least measure by it spiritualized, or brought into that order of living to God, and with God, wherein at first it lay. This is wholly beyond its reach. As to this end, the apostle assures us that the utmost issue that men come to, is darkness and folly, Romans 1:21,22. Who knows not the profound inquiries, the subtle disputations, the acute seasonings, the admirable discoveries of Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and others? What, as to the purpose in hand, did they attain by all their studies and endeavors? “Emorantesan”, says the apostle, — “They became fools.” He that, by general consent, bears the crown of reputation for wisdom from them all, with whom to have lived was counted an inestimable happiness, died like a fool, sacrificing a cock to AEsculapius. And another [apostle assures us], that Jesus Christ alone is “the true Light,” that lighteth us, John 1:9.

    And there is not any that has any true light, but what is immediately from him. After all the learning of men, if they have nothing else, they are still natural men, and perceive not the things of God. Their light is still but darkness; and how great is that darkness! It is the Lord Jesus alone who is anointed to open the eyes of the blind. Men cannot spiritualize a notion, nor lay it in any order to the glorifying of God. After all their endeavors, they are still blind and dark, yea, darkness itself, knowing nothing as they should. I know how the men of these attainments are apt to say, “Are we blind also?” with great contempt of others; but God has blasted all their pride: “Where,” saith he, “is the wise? where is the scribe,” etc., Corinthians 1:20. I shall not add what Paul has farther cautioned us, to the seeming condemning of philosophy as being fitted to make spoil of souls; nor what Tertullian with some other of the ancients have spoken of it; being very confident that it was the abuse, and not the true use and advantage of it, that they opposed. But, — [2.] The darkness and ignorance that it strives to remove, being come upon us as a curse, it is not in the least measure, as it is a curse, able to remove it or take it away. He that has attained to the greatest height of literature, yet if he has nothing else, — if he have not Christ, — is as much under the curse of blindness, ignorance, stupidity, dullness, as the poorest, silliest soul in the world. The curse is only removed in him who was made a curse for us. Every thing that is penal is taken away only by him on whom all our sins did meet in a way of punishment; yea, upon this account. The more abilities the mind is furnished withal, the more it closes with the curse, and strengthens itself to act its enmity against God. All that it receives does but help it to set up high thoughts and imaginations against the Lord Christ. So that this knowledge comes short of what in particular it is designed unto; and therefore cannot be that solid wisdom we are inquiring after.

    There be sundry other things whereby it were easy to blur the countenance of this wisdom; and, from its intricacy, difficulty, uncertainty, unsatisfactoriness, — betraying its followers into that which they most profess to avoid, blindness and folly, — to write upon it “vanity and vexation of spirit.” I hope I shall not need to add any thing to clear myself for not giving a due esteem and respect unto literature, my intendment being only to cast it down at the feet of Jesus Christ, and to set the crown upon his head. 2. Neither can the second part of the choicest wisdom out of Christ attain the peculiar end whereunto it is appointed; and that is prudence in the management of civil affairs, — than which no perishing thing is more glorious, — nothing more useful for the common good of human kind.

    Now, the immediate end of this prudence is to keep the rational world in bounds and order, to draw circles about the sons of men, and to keep them from passing their allotted bounds and limits, to the mutual disturbance and destruction of each other. All manner of trouble and disturbance ariseth from irregularity: one man breaking in upon the rights, usages, interests, relations of another, sets this world at variance. The sum and aim of all wisdom below is, to cause all things to move in their proper sphere, whereby it would be impossible there should be any more interfering than is in the celestial orbs, notwithstanding all their divers and various motions: to keep all to their own allotments, within the compass of the lines that are fallen unto them, is the special end of this wisdom.

    Now, it will be a very easy task, to demonstrate that all civil prudence whatever (besides the vexation of its attainment, and loss being attained) is no way able to compass this end. The present condition of affairs throughout the world, as also that of former ages, will abundantly testify it; but I shall farther discover the vanity of it for this end in some few observations. And the (1.) First is, That, through the righteous judgement of God lopping off the top flowers of the pride of men, it frequently comes to pass that those who are furnished with the greatest abilities of this kind do lay them out to a direct contrary end unto that which is their natural tendency and aim.

    From whom, for the most part, are all the commotions in the world, — the breaking up of bounds, setting the whole frame of nature on fire? is it not from such men as these. Were not men so wise, the world, perhaps, would be more quiet, when the end of wisdom is to keep it in quietness. This seems to be a curse that God has spread upon the wisdom of the world, in the most in whom it is, that it shall be employed in direct opposition to its proper end. (2.) That God has made this a constant path towards the advancement of his own glory, even to leaven the wisdom and the counsels of the wisest of the sons of men with folly and madness, that they shall, in the depth of their policy, advise things for the compassing of the ends they do propose as unsuitable as any thing that could proceed out of the mouth of a child or a fool, and as directly tending to their own disappointment and ruin as any thing that could be invented against them. “He destroys the wisdom of the wise, and brings to nothing the understanding of the prudent,” Corinthians 1:19. This he largely describes, Isaiah 19:11-14.

    Drunkenness and staggering is the issue of all their wisdom; and that upon this account, — the Lord gives them the spirit of giddiness. So also Job 5:12-14. They meet with darkness in the day-time: when all things seem clear about them, and a man would wonder how men should miss their way, then will God make it darkness to such as these. So Psalm 33:10.

    Hence God, as it were, sets them at work, and undertakes their disappointment, Isaiah 8:9,10, “Go about your counsels,” saith the Lord, “and I will take order that it shall come to nought.” And, Psalm 2:3,4, when men are deep at their plots and contrivances, God is said to have them in derision, to laugh them to scorn, seeing the poor worms industriously working out their own ruin. Never was this made more clear than in the days wherein we live. Scarcely have any wise men been brought to destruction, but it has evidently been through their own folly; neither has the wisest counsel of most been one jot better than madness. (3.) That this wisdom, which should tend to universal quietness, has almost constantly given universal disquietness unto themselves in whom it has been most eminent. “In much wisdom is much grief,” Ecclesiastes 1:18. And in the issue, some of them have made away with themselves, as Ahithophel; and the most of them have been violently dispatched by others. There is, indeed, no end of the folly of this wisdom. The great men of the world carry away the reputation of it; — really it is found in few of them. They are, for the most part, common events, whereunto they contribute not the least mite, which are ascribed to their care, vigilance, and foresight. Mean men, that have learned to adore what is above them, reverence the meetings and conferences of those who are in greatness and esteem. Their weakness and folly is little known. Where this wisdom has been most eminent, it has dwelt so close upon the borders of atheism, been attended with such falseness and injustice, that it has made its possessors wicked and infamous.

    I shall not need to give any more instances to manifest the insufficiency of this wisdom for the attaining of its own peculiar and immediate end. This is the vanity of any thing whatever, — that it comes short of the mark it is directed unto. It is far, then, from being true and solid wisdom, seeing on the forehead thereof you may read “Disappointment.”

    And this is the first reason why true wisdom cannot consist in either of these, — because they come short even of the particular and immediate ends they aim at. But, — Secondly, Both these in conjunction, with their utmost improvement, are not able to reach the true general end of wisdom. This assertion also falleth under an easy demonstration, and it were a facile thing to discover their disability and unsuitableness for the true end of wisdom; but it is so professedly done by him who had the largest portion of both of any of the sons of men (Solomon in his Preacher), that I shall not any farther insist upon it.

    To draw, then, unto a close: — if true and solid wisdom is not in the least to be found amongst these, if the pearl be not hid in this field, if these two are but vanity and disappointment, it cannot but be to no purpose to seek for it in any thing else below, these being amongst them incomparably the most excellent; and therefore, with one accord, let us set the crown of this wisdom on the head of the Lord Jesus.

    Let the reader, then, in a few words, take a view of the tendency of this whole digression. To draw our hearts to the more cheerful entertainment of and delight in the Lord Jesus, is the aim thereof. If all wisdom be laid up in him, and by an interest in him only to be attained, — if all things beside him and without him that lay claim thereto are folly and vanity, — let them that would be wise learn where to repose their souls.

    CHAPTER -Of communion with Christ in a conjugal relation in respect of consequential affections — His delight in his saints first insisted on, Isaiah 62:5; Song of Solomon 3:11 Proverbs 8:21 — Instance of Christ’s delight in believers — He reveals his whole heart to them, John 15:14,16; himself, 1 John 14:21; his kingdom; enables them to communicate their mind to him, giving them assistance, a way, boldness, Romans 8:26,27 — The saints delight in Christ; this manifested Song of Solomon 2:7; 8:6 — <200301>Song of Solomon 3:1-5, opened — Their delight in his servants and ordinances of worship for his sake.

    The communion begun, as before declared, between Christ and the soul, is in the next place carried on by suitable consequential affections, — affections suiting such a relation. Christ having given himself to the soul, loves the soul; and the soul having given itself unto Christ, loveth him also.

    Christ loves his own, yea, “loves them to the end,” John 13:l; and the saints they love Christ, they “love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity,” Ephesians 6:24.

    Now the love of Christ, wherewith he follows his saints, consists in these four things: — I. Delight.

    II. Valuation.

    III. Pity, or compassion.

    IV. Bounty.

    The love, also, of the saints unto Christ may be referred to these four heads: — Delight; Valuation; Chastity; Duty.

    Two of these are of the same kind, and two distinct; as is required in this relation, wherein all things stand not on equal terms.

    I. The first thing on the part of Christ is delight. Delight is the flowing of love and joy, — the rest and complacence of the mind in a suitable, desirable good enjoyed. Now, Christ delights exceedingly in his saints: “As the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee,” Isaiah 62:5.

    Hence he calleth the day of his espousals, the day of the “gladness of his heart,” Song of Solomon 3:11. It is known that usually this is the most unmixed delight that the sons of men are in their pilgrimage made partakers of. The delight of the bridegroom in the day of his espousals is the height of what an expression of delight can be carried unto. This is in Christ answerable to the relation he takes us into. His heart is glad in us, without sorrow. And every day whilst we live is his wedding-day. It is said of him, Zephaniah 3:17, “The Lord thy God in the midst of thee” (that is, dwelling amongst us, taking our nature, John 1:14) “is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing;” which is a full description of delight, in all the parts of it, — joy and exultation, rest and complacence. “I rejoiced,” saith he, “in the habitable parts of the earth, and my delights were with the sons of men,” Proverbs 8:31. The thoughts of communion with the saints were the joy of his heart from eternity. On the compact and agreement that was between his Father and him, that he should divide a portion with the strong, and save a remnant for his inheritance, his soul rejoiced in the thoughts of that pleasure and delight which he would take in them, when he should actually take them into communion with himself. Therefore in the preceding verse it is said he was by him as ˆwOma; ; say we, “As one brought up with him,” “alumnus;” the LXX render it ajrmo>zousa? and the Latin, with most other translations, “cuncta componens,” or “disponens”.

    The word taken actively, signifies him whom another takes into his care to breed up, and disposeth of things for his advantage. So did Christ take us then into his care, and rejoiced in the thoughts of the execution of his trust.

    Concerning them he saith, “Here will I dwell, and here will I make my habitation for ever.” For them has he chosen for his temple and his dwelling-place, because he delighteth in them. This makes him take them so nigh himself in every relation. As he is God, they are his temple; as he is a king, they are his subjects, — he is the king of saints; as he is a head, they are his body, — he is the head of the church; as he is a first-born, he makes them his brethren, — “he is not ashamed to call them brethren.”

    I shall choose out one particular from among many as an instance for the proof of this thing; and that is this: — Christ reveals his secrets, his mind, unto his saints, and enables them to reveal the secrets of their hearts to him, — an evident demonstration of great delight. It was Samson’s carnal delight in Delilah that prevailed with him to reveal unto her those things which were of greatest concernment unto him; he will not hide his mind from her, though it cost him his life. It is only a bosom friend into whom we will unbosom ourselves Neither is there, possibly, a greater evidence of delight in close communion than this, that one will reveal his heart unto him whom he takes into society, and not entertain him with things common and vulgarly known. And therefore have I chose this instance, from amongst a thousand that might be given, of this delight of Christ in his saints.

    He, then, communicates his mind unto his saints, and unto them, only; — his mind, the counsel of his love, the thoughts of his heart, the purposes of his bosom, for our eternal good, — his mind, the ways of his grace, the workings of his Spirit, the rule of his scepter, And the obedience of his gospel. All spiritual revelation is by Christ. He is “the true Light, that lighteth every man that comes into the world,” John 1:9. He is the “Day-spring,” the “Day-star,” and the “Sun;” so that it is impossible any light should be but by him. From him it is that “the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he shows them his covenant,” Psalm 25:14; as he expresses it at large, John 15:14,15, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you. Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord does: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” He makes them as his friends, and useth them as friends, — as bosom friends, in whom he is delighted. He makes known all his mind unto them; every thing that his Father has committed to him as Mediator to be revealed, Acts 20:24. And the apostle declares how this is done, 1 Corinthians 2:10,11, “God has revealed these things unto us by his Spirit; for we have received him, that we might know the things that are freely given us of God.” He sends us his Spirits as he promised, to make known his mind unto his saints, and to lead them into all truth. And thence the apostle concludes, “We have known the mind of Christ,” verse l6; “for he useth us as friends, and declareth it unto us,” John 1:18. There is not any thing in the heart of Christ, wherein these his friends are concerned, that he does not reveal to them. All his love, his goodwill, the secrets of his covenant, the paths of obedience, the mystery of faith, is told them.

    And all this is spoken in opposition to unbelievers, with whom he has no communion. These know nothing of the mind of Christ as they ought: “The natural man receiveth not the things that are of God,” Corinthians 2:14. There is a wide difference between understanding the doctrine of the Scripture as in the letter, and a true knowing the mind of Christ. This we have by special unction from Christ,1 John 2:27, “We have an unction from the Holy One, and we know all things,” 1 John 2:20.

    Now, the things which in this communion Christ reveals to them that he delights in, may be referred to these two heads: — 1. Himself 2. His kingdom. 1. Himself. John 14:21, “He that loveth me shall be loved of my Father; and I will love him, and will manifest myself unto him;” — “manifest myself in all my graces, desirableness, and loveliness; he shall know me as I am, and such I will be unto him, — a Savior, a Redeemer, the chiefest of ten thousand.” He shall be acquainted with the true worth and value of the pearl of price; let others look upon him as having neither form nor comeliness, as no way desirable, he will manifest himself and his excellencies unto them in whom he is delighted, that they shall see him altogether lovely. He will vail himself to all the world; but the saints with open face shall behold his beauty and his glory, and so be translated into the image of the same glory, as by the Spirit of the Lord, 2 Corinthians 3:18. 2. His kingdom. They shall be acquainted with the government of his Spirit in their hearts; as also with his rule and the administration of authority in his word, and among his churches. (1.) Thus, in the first place, does he manifest his delight in his saints, — he communicates his secrets unto them. He gives them to know his person, his excellencies, his grace, his love, his kingdom, his will, the riches of his goodness, and the bowels of his mercy, more and more, when the world shall neither see nor know any such thing. (2.) He enables his saints to communicate their mind, to reveal their souls, unto him, that so they may walk together as intimate friends. Christ knows the minds of all. He knows what is in man, and needs not that any man testify of him, John 2:25. He searcheth the hearts and trieth the reins of all, Revelation 2:23. But all know not how to communicate their mind to Christ. It will not avail a man at all that Christ knows his mind; for so he does of every one, whether he will or no; — but that a man can make his heart known unto Christ, this is consolation. Hence the prayers of the saints are incense, odors; and those of others are howling, cutting off a dog’s neck, offering of swine’s blood, — an abomination unto the Lord.

    Now, three things are required to enable a man to communicate his heart unto the Lord Jesus: — [1.] Assistance for the work; for of ourselves we cannot do it. And this the saints have by the Spirit of Jesus, Romans 8:26,27, “Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought; but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with greenings which cannot be uttered. And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

    All endeavors, all attempts for communion with God, without the supplies of the Spirit of supplications, without his effectual working in the heart, is of no value, nor to any purpose. And this opening of our hearts and bosoms to the Lord Jesus is that wherein he is exceedingly delighted.

    Hence is that affectionate call of his unto us, to be treating with him on this account, Song of Solomon 2:14, “O my dove, that art in the secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, let me hear thy voice; for sweet is thy voice, and thy countenance is comely.”

    When the soul on any account is driven to hide itself, — in any neglected condition, in the most unlikely place of abode, — then does he call for this communication of itself by prayer to him; for which he gives the assistance of the Spirit mentioned. [2.] A way whereby to approach unto God with our desires. This, also, we have by him provided for us, John 14:5,6, “Thomas saith unto Jesus, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? Jesus saith unto him, I am the way; no man comes unto the Father, but by me.”

    That way which we had of going unto God at our creation is quite shut up by sin. The sword of the law, which has fire put into it by sin, turns every way, to stop all passages unto communion with God. Jesus Christ has “consecrated a new and living way” (for the saints) “through the vail, that is to say, his flesh,” Hebrews 10:20. He has consecrated and set it apart for believers, and for them alone. Others pretend to go to God with their prayers, but they come not nigh him. How can they possibly come to the end who go not in the way? Christ only is the way to the throne of grace; none comes to God but by him. “By him we have an access in one Spirit unto the Father,” Ephesians 2:18. These two things, then, the saints have for the opening of their hearts at the throne of grace, — assistance and a way. The assistance of the Spirit, without which they are nothing; and the way of Christ’s mediation, without which God is not to be approached unto. [3.] Boldness to go unto God. The voice of sinners in themselves, if once acquainted with the terror of the Lord, is, — “Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?” Isaiah 33:14.

    And no marvel; shame and trembling before God are the proper issues of sin. God will revenge that carnal, atheistical boldness which sinners out of Christ do use towards him. But we have now “boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which he has consecrated for us) through the vail, that is to say, his flesh: and having an high priest over the house of God, we may draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith,” Hebrews 10:19,20.

    The truth is, such is the glory and terror of the Lord, such the infinite perfection of his holiness, that, on clear sight of it, it will make the soul conclude that of itself it cannot serve him; nor will it be to any advantage, but add to the fierceness of his destruction, once to draw nigh to him. It is in Christ alone, and on the account alone of his oblation and intercession, that we have any boldness to approach unto him. And these three advantages have the saints of communicating their minds unto the Lord Christ, which he has provided for them, because he delights in them.

    To touch a little by the way, because this is of great importance, I will instance in one of these, as I might in every one, that you may see the difference between a spiritual revealing of our minds unto Christ in this acceptable manner, and that praying upon conviction which others practice; and this shall be from the first, — namely, the assistance we have by the Spirit. 1st . The Spirit of Christ reveals to us our own wants, that we may reveal them unto him: “We know not what we should pray for as we ought,” Romans 8:26; no teachings under those of the Spirit of God are able to make our souls acquainted with their own wants, — its burdens, its temptations. For a soul to know its wants, its infirmities, is a heavenly discovery. He that has this assistance, his prayer is more than half made before he begins to pray. His conscience is affected with what he has to do; his mind and spirit contend within him, there especially where he finds himself most straitened. He brings his burden on his shoulders, and unloads himself on the Lord Christ. He finds (not by a perplexing conviction, but a holy sense and weariness of sin) where he is dead, where dull and cold, wherein unbelieving, wherein tempted above all his strength, where the light of God’s countenance is wanting. And all these the soul has a sense of by the Spirit, — an inexpressible sense and experience. Without this, prayer is not prayer; men’s voices may be heard, but they speak not in their hearts. Sense of want is the spring of desire; — natural, of natural; spiritual, of spiritual. Without this sense given by the Holy Ghost, there is neither desire nor prayer. 2ndly . The expressions, or the words of such persons, come exceeding short of the laboring of their hearts; and therefore, in and after their supplications, “the Spirit makes intercession with sighs and groans that cannot be uttered.” Some men’s words go exceedingly beyond their hearts.

    Did their spirits come up to their expressions, it were well. He that has this assistance can provide no clothing that is large and broad enough to set forth the desires of his heart; and therefore, in the close of his best and most fervent supplications, such a person finds a double dissatisfaction in them: — 1. That they are not a righteousness to be rested on; that if God should mark what is in them amiss, they could not abide the trial. 2. That his heart in them is not poured out, nor delivered in any proportion to the holy desires and laborings that were conceived therein; though he may in Christ have great refreshment by them. The more they [saints] speak, the more they find they have left unspoken. 3dly . The intercession of the saints thus assisted is according to the mind of God; that is, they are guided by the Spirit to make requests for those things unto God which it is his will they should desire, — which he knows to be good for them, useful and suitable to them, in the condition wherein they are. There are many ways whereby we may know when we make our supplications according to the will of God. I shall instance only in one; that is, when we do it according to the promise: when our prayers are regulated by the promise, we make them according to the will of God. So David, <19B949> Psalm 119:49, “Remember the word upon which thou hast caused me to hope.” He prays, and regulates his desire by the word of promise wherein he had trusted. But yet, men may ask that which is in the promise, and yet not have their prayers regulated by the promise. They may pray for what is in the promise, but not as it is in the promise. So James says some “ask and receive not, because they ask amiss, that they may spend it on their lusts,” chap. 4:3. Though the things which God would have us ask be requested, yet if not according as he would have us do it, we ask amiss.

    Two things are required, that we may pray for the things in the promise, as they are in the promise: — (1st.) That we look upon them as promised, and promised in Christ; that is, that all the reason we have whence we hope for attaining the things we ask for, is from the mediation and purchase of Christ, in whom all the promises are yea and amen. This it is to ask the Father in Christ’s name, — God as a father, the fountain; and Christ as the procurer of them. (2ndly.) That we ask for them for the end of the promise, not to spend on our lusts. When we ask pardon for sin, with secret reserves in our hearts to continue in sin, we ask the choicest mercy of the covenant, to spend it on our lusts. The end of the promise the apostle tells us, 2 Corinthians 7:1, “Having these promises, let us cleanse ourselves from all pollution of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

    When we ask what is in the promise, as it is in the promise, to this end of the promise, our supplications are according to the will of God. And this is the first conjugal affection that Christ exerciseth towards believers, — he delights in them; which that he does is evident, as upon other considerations innumerable, so from the instance given.

    In return hereunto, for the carrying on of the communion between them, the saints delight in Christ; he is their joy, their crown, their rejoicing, their life, food, health, strength, desire, righteousness, salvation, blessedness: without him they have nothing; in him they shall find all things Galatians 6:14, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He has, from the foundation of the world, been the hope, expectation, desire, and delight of all believers. The promise of him was all (and it was enough) that God gave Adam in his inexpressible distress, to relieve and comfort him, Genesis 3:15. Eve perhaps supposed that the promised seed had been born in her first-born, when she said, “I have gotten a man from the LORD” (so most properly, ta, denoting the fourth case); and this was the matter of her joy, Genesis 4:1. Lamech having Noah given to him as a type of Christ and salvation by him, cries out, “This same shall comfort us concerning our work and toil of our hands, because of the ground which the LORD has cursed,” Genesis 5:29; he rejoices in him who was to take away the curse, by being made a curse for us. When Abraham was in the height of his glory, returning from the conquest of the kings of the east, that came against the confederate kings of the vale of Sodom, God appears to him with a glorious promise, Genesis 15:1, “Fear not, Abram: I am thy shield, and thy exceeding great reward.”

    What now could his soul more desire? Alas! he cries (as Reuben afterward, upon the loss of Joseph), “The child is not, and whither shall I go?” Verse 2, “Lord God, what wilt thou give me, seeing I go childless?” “Thou hast promised that in my seed shall all the earth be blessed; if I have not that seed, ah! what good will all other things do me?” Thence it is said that he “rejoiced to see the day of Christ; he saw it, and was glad,” John 8:56; the thoughts of the coming of Christ, which he looked on at the distance of two thousand years, was the joy and delight of his heart. Jacob, blessing his sons, lifted up his spirit when he comes to Judah, in whom he considered the Shiloh to come, Genesis 49:8,9; and a little after, wearied with the foresight and consideration of the distresses of his posterity, this he diverts to for his relief, as that great delight of his soul: “I have waited for thy Salvation, O God;” for him who was to be the salvation of his people. But it would be endless to instance in particulars. Old Simon sums up the whole: Christ is God’s salvation, and Israel’s glory, Luke 2:30,31; and whatever was called the glory of old, it was either himself or a type of him. The glory of man is their delight. Hence, Haggai 2:7, he is called “The Desire of all nations.” Him whom their soul loves and delights in, [they] desire and long after. So is the saints’ delight in him made a description of him, by way of eminence, Malachi 3:1: “The Lord whom ye seek shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in.” “He whom ye seek, whom ye delight in,” is the description of Christ. He is their delight and desirable one, the person of their desire. To fix on something in particular: — In that pattern of communion with Jesus Christ which we have in the Canticles, this is abundantly insisted on. The spouse tells us that she sits down under his shadow with great delight, Song of Solomon 2:3. And this delight to be vigorous and active, she manifests several ways; wherein we should labor to find our hearts in like manner towards him: — 1. By her exceeding great care to keep his company and society, when once she had obtained it, chap. 2:7, “I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes, and by the hinds of the field, that ye stir not up, nor awake my love till he please.”

    Having obtained sweet communion with Christ, described in the verses foregoing (of which before), here she expresseth her delight in it and desire of the continuance of it; and therefore, following on the allusion formerly insisted on, she speaks as one would do to her companion, [as one] that had rest with one she loved: “I charge you, by all that is dear to you, — by the things you most delight in, which among the creatures are most lovely, all the pleasant and desirable things that you can think of, — that you disturb him not.” The sum of her aim and desire is, that nothing may fall out, nothing of sin or provocation happen, that may occasion Christ to depart from her, or to remove from that dispensation wherein he seemed to take that rest in her: “O stir him not up until he please!” that is, never. hb;h\aæh; , — love itself in the abstract, to express a “pathos”, or earnest affection; for so that word is often used. When once the soul of a believer has obtained sweet and real communion with Christ, it looks about him, watcheth all temptations, all ways whereby sin might approach, to disturb him in his enjoyment of his dear Lord and Savior, his rest and desire. How does it charge itself not to omit any thing, nor to do any thing that may interrupt the communion obtained! And because the common entrance of temptations, which tend to the disturbance of that rest and complacency which Christ takes in the soul, is from delightful diversions from actual communion with him; therefore is desire strong and active that the companions of such a soul, those with whom it does converse, would not, by their proposals or allurements, divert it into any such frame as Christ cannot delight nor rest in. A believer that has gotten Christ in his arms, is like one that has found great spoils, or a pearl of price. He looks about him every way, and fears every thing that may deprive him of it. Riches make men watchful; and the actual sensible possession of him, in whom are all the riches and treasure of God, will make men look about them for the keeping of him. The line of choicest communion, is a line of the greatest spiritual solicitousness: carelessness in the enjoyment of Christ pretended, is a manifest evidence of a false heart. 2. The spouse manifests her delight in him, by the utmost impatience of his absence, with desires still of nearer communion with him. Chap. 8:6, “Set me as a seal upon thine heart, as a seal upon thine arm: for love is strong as death; jealousy is cruel as the grave: the coals thereof are coals of fire, which has a most vehement flame.” The allusion is doubtless from the high priest of the Jews, in his spiritual representation of the church before God. He had a breastplate which he is said to wear on his heart, Exodus 28:29, wherein the names of the children of Israel were engraven, after the manner of seals or signets, and he bare them for a memorial before the Lord. He had the like also upon his shoulders, or on his arms, verses 11, 12; both representing the priesthood of Christ, who bears the names of all his before his Father in the “holy of belies,” Hebrews 9:24. Now the seal on the heart, is near, inward, tender love and care, which gives an impression and image on the heart of the thing so loved “Set me,” saith the spouse, “as a seal upon thine heart;” — “Let me be constantly fixed in thy most tender and affectionate love; let me always have a place in thine heart; let me have an engraving, a mighty impression of love, upon thine heart, that shall never be obliterated.” The soul is never satisfied with thoughts of Christ’s love to it. “O that it were more, that it were more! that I were as a seal on his heart!” is its language. The soul knows, indeed, on serious thoughts, that the love of Christ is inconceivable, and cannot be increased; but it would fain work up itself to an apprehension of it: and therefore she adds here, “Set me as a seal upon thine arm.” The heart is the fountain, but close and hidden; the arm is manifestation and power. “Let,” saith the spouse, “thy love be manifested to me in thy tender and powerful persuasion of me.” Two things are evident in this request: — the continual mindfulness of Christ of the soul, as having its condition still in his eye, engraven on his arm, Isaiah 49:15,16, with the exalting of his power for the preservation of it, suitable to the love of his heart unto it; and the manifestation of the hidden love and care of the heart of Christ unto the soul, being made visible on his arm, or evident by the fruit of it.

    This is that which she would be assured of; and without a sense whereof there is no rest to be obtained.

    The reason she gives of this earnestness in her supplications, is that which principally evinces her delight in him: “Love is strong as death, jealousy is cruel as the grave,” or “hard as hell.” This is the intendment of what is so loftily set out by so many metaphors in this and the following verse: — “I am not able to bear the workings of my love to thee, unless I may always have society and fellowship with thee. There is no satisfying of my love without it. It is as the grave, that still says Give, give. Death is not satisfied without its prey; if it have not all, it has nothing: let what will happen, if death has not its whole desire, it has nothing at all. Nor can it be withstood in its appointed season; no ransom will be taken. So is my love; if I have thee not wholly, I have nothing. Nor can all the world bribe it to a diversion; it will he no more turned aside than death in its time. Also, I am not able to bear my jealous thoughts: I fear thou dost not love me, that thou hast forsaken me; because I know I deserve not to be beloved. These thoughts are hard as hell; they give no rest to my soul: if I find not myself on thy heart and arm, I am as one that lies down in a bed of coals.” This also argues a holy greediness of delight. 3. She farther manifests this by her solicitousness, trouble, and perplexity, in his loss and withdrawings. Men bewail the loss of that whose whole enjoyment they delight in; we easily bear the absence of that whose presence is not delightful. This state of the spouse is discovered, Song of Solomon 3:1-3, “By night on my bed I sought him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. I will rise now, and go about the city in the streets, and in the broad ways I will seek him whom my soul loveth: I sought him, but I found him not. The watchmen that go about the city found me: to whom I said, Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?”

    It is night now with the soul, — a time of darkness and trouble, or affliction. Whenever Christ is absent, it is night with a believer. He is the sun; if he go down upon them, if his beams be eclipsed, if in his light they see no light, it is all darkness with them. Here, whether the coming of the night of any trouble on her made her discover Christ’s absence, or the absence of Christ made it night with her, is not expressed. I rather think the latter; because, setting that aside, all things seem to be well with her.

    The absence of Christ will indeed make it night, dark as darkness itself, in the midst of all other glowing consolations. But is the spouse contented with this dispensation? She is upon her bed, — that is, of ease (the bed, indeed, sometimes signifies tribulation, Revelation 2:22; but in this book, everywhere, rest and contentment: here is not the least intimation of any tribulation but what is in the want of Christ); but in the greatest peace and opportunity of ease and rest, a believer finds none in the absence of Christ: though he be on his bed, having nothing to disquiet him, he rests not, if Christ, his rest, be not there. She “sought him.” Seeking of Christ by night, on the bed (that is, alone, in immediate inquest, and in the dark), has two parts: — searching of our own souls for the cause of his absence; secondly, searching the promises for his presence. (1.) The soul finding not Christ present in his wonted manner, warming, cherishing, reviving it with love, nigh to it, supping with it, always filling its thoughts with himself, dropping myrrh and sweet tastes of love into it; but, on the contrary, that other thoughts crowd in and perplex the heart, and Christ is not nigh when inquired after; it presently inquires into the cause of all this, calls itself to an account what it has done, how it has behaved itself, that it is not with it as at other times, — that Christ has withdrawn himself, and is not nigh to it in the wonted manner. Here it accomplishes a diligent search; it considers the love, tenderness, and kindness of the Lord Jesus, what delight he takes in abiding with his saints, so that his departure is not without cause and provocation. “How,” saith it, “have I demeaned myself, that I have lost my Beloved? where have I been wandering after other lovers?” And when the miscarriage is found out, it abounds in revenge and indignation. (2.) Having driven this to some issue, the soul applieth itself to the promises of the covenant, wherein Christ is most graciously exhibited unto it; considers one, ponders another, to find a taste of him; — it considers diligently if it can see the delightful countenance and favor of Christ in them or no. But now, if (as it often falls out) the soul finds nothing but the carcass, but the bare letter, in the promise, — if it come to it as to the grave of Christ, of which it may be said (not in itself, but in respect of the seeking soul), “He is risen, he is not here,” this amazes the soul, and it knows not what to do. As a man that has a jewel of great price, having no occasion to use it, lays it aside, as he supposes, in a safe place; in an agony and extremity of want going to seek for his jewel, he finds it not in the place he expected, and is filled with amazement, and knows not what to do; — so is it with this pearl of the gospel. After a man has sold all that he has for it, and enjoyed it for a season, then to have it missing at a time of need, it must needs perplex him. So was it with the spouse here. “I sought him,” saith she, “but I found him not;” a thing which not seldom befalls us in our communion with Christ.

    But what does she now do? does she give over, and search no more? Nay; but says she, verse 2, “‘I will arise;’ I will not so give over. I must have Christ, or die. I will now arise,” (or, “let me arise,”) “and go about this business.” [1.] She resolves to put herself upon another course, a more vigorous inquest: “I will arise and make use of other means besides those of private prayer, meditation, self-searching, and inquiring into the promises;” which she had insisted on before. It carries, — 1st . Resolution, and a zealous, violent casting off that frame wherein she had lost her love. “‘I a will arise;’ I will not rest in this frame: I am undone if I do.” So, sometimes God calls his church to arise and shake itself out of the dust. Abide not in that condition. 2ndly . Diligence. “I will now take another course; I will leave no way unattempted, no means untried, whereby I may possibly recover communion with my Beloved.”

    This is the condition of a soul that finds not the wonted presence of Christ in its private and more retired inquiries, — dull in prayer, wandering in meditations, rare in thoughts of him, — “I will not bear this frame: whatever way God has appointed, I will, in his strength, vigorously pursue, until this frame be altered, and I find my Beloved.” [2.] Then the way she puts herself upon, as to go about the city. Not to insist upon particulars, nor to strain the parts of the allegory too far, the city here intended is the city of God, the church; and the passing through the broad and narrow streets, is the diligent inquiry that the spouse makes in all the paths and ordinances given unto it. This, then, is the next thing the soul addresses itself unto in the want of Christ: — when it finds him not in any private endeavors, it makes vigorous application to the ordinances of public worship; in prayer, in preaching, in administration of the seals, does it look after Christ. Indeed, the great inquiry the souls of believers make, in every ordinance, is after Christ. So much as they find of him, so much sweetness and refreshment have they, and no more.

    Especially when under any desertion, they rise up to this inquiry: they listen to every word, to every prayer, to find if any thing of Christ, any light from him, any life, any love, appears to them. “Oh, that Christ would at length meet me in this or that sermon, and recover my poor heart to some sight of his love, — to some taste at kindness!” The solicitousness of a believer in his inquest after Christ, when he finds not his presence, either for grace or consolation, as in former days, is indeed inexpressible. Much of the frame of such a heart is couched in the redoubling of the expression, “I sought him, I sought him;” setting out an inconceivable passion, and suitably industrious desire. Thus, being disappointed at home, the spouse proceeds.

    But yet see the event of this also: “She sought him, but found him not.” It does sometimes so fall out, all will not do: “They shall seek him, and not find him;” they shall not come nigh him. Let them that enjoy any thing of the presence of Christ take heed what they do; if they provoke him to depart, if they lose him, it may cost them many a bitter inquiry before they find him again. When a soul prays and meditates, searches the promises in private; when it with earnestness and diligence attends all ordinances in public, and all to get one glimpse of the face of Jesus Christ, and all in vain, it is a sad condition.

    What now follows in this estate? Verse 3, “The watchmen found me,” etc.

    That these watchmen of the city of God are the watchmen and officers of the church, is confessed. And it is of sad consideration, that the Holy Ghost does sometimes in this book take notice of them on no good account. Plainly, chap. 5:7, they turn persecutors. It was Luther’s saying, “Nunquam periclitatur religio nisi inter reverendissimos”. Here they are of a more gentle temper, and seeing the poor disconsolate soul, they seem to take notice of her condition.

    It is the duty, indeed, of faithful watchmen, to take notice of poor, troubled, deserted souls; — not to keep at a distance, but to be willing to assist. And a truly pressed soul on the account of Christ’s absence cannot cover its love, but must be inquiring after him: “Saw ye him whom my soul loveth?” — “This is my condition: I have had sweet enjoyment of my blessed Jesus, — he is now withdrawn from me. Can you help me? can you guide me to my consolation. What acquaintance have you with him? when saw you him? how did he manifest himself to you, and wherein?”

    All these laborings in his absence sufficiently discover the soul’s delight in the presence of Christ. Go one step farther, to the discovery that it made of him once again, and it will yet be more evident. Verses 4,5, “It was but a little that I passed from them, but I found him whom my soul loveth: I held him, and would not let him go, until I had brought him into my mother’s house, and into the chamber of her that conceived me. I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem,” etc.

    First, She tells you how she came to him: “She found him;” what ways and by what means is not expressed. It often so falls out in our communion with Christ, when private and public means fail, and the soul has nothing left but waiting silently and walking humbly, Christ appears; that his so doing may be evidently of grace. Let us not at any time give over in this condition. When all ways are past, the summer and harvest are gone without relief, — when neither bed nor watchmen can assist, — let us wait a little, and we shall see the Salvation of God. Christ honors his immediate absolute acting sometimes, though ordinarily he crowns his ordinances Christ often manifests himself immediately, and out of ordinances, to them that wait for him in them; — that he will do so to them that despise them, I know not. Though he will meet men unexpectedly in his way, yet he will not meet them at all out of it. Let us wait as he has appointed; let him appear as he pleaseth. How she deals with him when found is neatly declared: “She held him, and would not let him go,” etc. They are all expressions of the greatest joy and delight imaginable. The sum is: — having at length come once more to an enjoyment of sweet communion with Christ, the soul lays fast hold on him by faith (kratei~n , “to hold fast,” is an act of faith), refuses to part with him any more, in vehemency of love, — tries to keep him in ordinances in the house of its mother, the church of God; and so uses all means for the confirming of the mutual love between Christ and her. All the expressions, all the allusions used, evidencing delight to the utmost capacity of the soul. Should I pursue all the instances and testimonies that are given hereunto, in that one book of the Song of Solomon, I must enter upon an exposition of the greatest part of it; which is not my present business. Let the hearts of the saints that are acquainted with these things be allowed to make the close. What is it they long for, they rejoice in? what is it that satisfies them to the utmost, and gives sweet complacency to their spirits in every condition? what is it whose loss they fear, whose absence they cannot bear? Is it not this their Beloved, and he alone?

    This, also, they farther manifest by their delight in every thing that peculiarly belongs to Christ, as his, in this world. This is an evidence of delight, when, for his sake whom we delight in, we also delight in every thing that belongs to him. Christ’s great interest in this world lies in his people and his ordinances, — his household and their provision. Now in both these do the saints exceedingly delight, for his sake. Take an instance in both kinds in one man, namely, David, Psalm 16:3, “In the saints and the excellent” (or the noble) “of the earth is all my delight; my delight in them.” Christ says of his church that she is “Hephzi-bah,” Isaiah 62, “My delight in her.” Here says David of the same, “Hephzi-bah, — “My delight in them.” As Christ delights in his saints, so do they in one another, on his account. “Here,” says David, “is all my delight.” Whatever contentment he took in any other persons, it was nothing in comparison of the delight he took in them. Hence, mention is made of “laying down our lives for the brethren,” or any common cause wherein the interest of the community of the brethren does lie.

    Secondly, For the ordinances, consider the same person. Psalm 42,84, and 48, are such plentiful testimonies throughout, as we need no farther inquiring; nor shall I go forth to a new discourse on this particular.

    And this is the first mutual consequential act of conjugal affection, in this communion between Christ and believers: — he delights in them, and they delight in him. He delights in their prosperity, has pleasure in it; they delight in his honor and glory, and in his presence with them. For his sake they delight in his servants (though by the world condemned) as the most excellent in the world; and in his ordinances, as the wisdom of God; — which are foolishness to the world.

    CHAPTER -Other consequential affections: — 1 On the part of Christ — He values his saints — Evidences of that valuation: — (1.) His incarnation; (2.) Exinanition, 2 Corinthians 8:9; Philippians 2:6,7; (3.) Obedience as a servant; (4.) In his death. His valuation of them in comparison of others. 2. Believers’ estimation of Christ: — (1.) They value him above all other things and persons; (2.) Above their own lives; (3.) All spiritual excellencies. The sum of all on the part of Christ — The sum on the part of believers. The third conjugal affection — On the part of Christ, pity or compassion — Wherein manifested — Suffering and supply, fruits of compassion — Several ways whereby Christ relieves the saints under temptations — His compassion in their afflictions. Chastity, the third conjugal affection in the saints. The fourth — On the part of Christ, bounty; on the part of the saints, duty.

    II. Christ values his saints, values believers (which is the second branch of that conjugal affection he bears towards them), having taken them into the relation whereof we speak. I shall not need to insist long on the demonstration hereof; heaven and earth are full of evidences of it. Some few considerations will give life to the assertion. Consider them, then, — 1. Absolutely; 2. In respect of others; and you will see what a valuation he puts upon them: — 1. All that ever he did or does, all that ever he underwent or suffered as mediator, was for their sakes. Now, these things were so great and grievous, that had he not esteemed them above all that can be expressed, he had never engaged to their performance and undergoing. Take a few instances: — (1.) For their sakes was he “made flesh;” “manifested in the flesh.” Hebrews 2:14, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same.” And the height of this valuation of them the apostle aggravates. Verse 16, “Verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham;” he had no such esteem of angels. Whether you take ejpilamza>nesqai , properly to “take,” or to “take hold of,” as our translators, and so supply the word “nature,” and refer the whole unto Christ’s incarnation, who therein took our nature on him, and not the nature of angels; or for ajnalamza>nesqai , to “help,” (he did not help nor succor fallen angels, but he did help and succor the seed of Abraham,) and so consider it as the fruit of Christ’s incarnation, — it is all one, as to our present business: his preferring the seed of Abraham before angels, his valuing them above the other, is plainly expressed. And observe, that he came to help the seed of Abraham, — that is, believers. His esteem and valuation is of them only. (2.) For their sakes he was so made flesh, as that there was an emptying, an exinanition of himself, and an eclipsing of his glory, and a becoming poor for them, 2 Corinthians 8:9, “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor.”

    Being rich in eternal glory with his Father, John 17:5, he became poor for believers. The same person that was rich was also poor. That the riches here meant can be none but those of the Deity, is evident, by its opposition to the poverty which as man he undertook. This is also more fully expressed, Philippians 2:6,7, “Who being in the form of God, counted it no robbery to be equal to God, but he emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, and being made in the fashion of a man, and found in form as a man,” etc.

    That the “form of God” is here the essence of the Deity, sundry things inevitably evince; as, — [1.] That he was therein equal to God; that is, his Father. Now, nothing but God is equal to God. Not Christ as he is mediator, in his greatest glory, — nothing but that which is infinite, is equal to that which is infinite. [2.] The form of God is opposed to the form of a servant; and that form of a servant is called the “fashion of a man,” verse 8, — that fashion wherein he was found when he gave himself to death, wherein as a man he poured out his blood and died. Morfhlou lazw , (he “took the form of a servant”), is expounded in the next words, ejn oJmoiw>mati ajnqrw>pwn geno>menov , — an expression used to set out his incarnation, Romans 8:3. God sent him ejn oJmoiw>mati sarkoav , in taking true flesh, he was in the “likeness of sinful flesh.” Now, in thus doing, it is said eJautonwse , — “he humbled, emptied himself, made himself of no reputation.” In the very taking of flesh, there was a condescension, a debasing of the person of the Son of God; it could not be without it. If God humbled himself to “behold the things that are in heaven, and in the earth,” <19B306> Psalm 113:6, then certainly it was an inconceivable condescension and abasement, not only to behold, but take upon him (into personal union) our nature with himself. And though nothing could possibly be taken off from the essential glory of the Deity, yet that person appearing in the fashion of a man, and form of a servant, the glory of it, as to the manifestation, was eclipsed; and he appeared quite another thing than what indeed he was, and had been from eternity. Hence he prays that his Father would “glorify him with the glory he had with him before the world was,” John 17:5, as to the manifestation of it. And so, though the divine nature was not abased, the person was. (3.) For their sakes he so humbled and emptied himself, in taking flesh, as to become therein a servant, — in the eyes of the world of no esteem nor account; and a true and real servant unto the Father. For their sakes he humbled himself, and became obedient. All that he did and suffered in his life comes under this consideration; all which may be referred to these three heads: — [1.] Fulfilling all righteousness. [2.] Enduring all manner of persecutions and hardships. [3.] Doing all manner of good to inert.

    He took on him, for their sakes, a life and course pointed to, Hebrews 5:7,8, — a life of prayers, tears, fears, obedience, suffering; and all this with cheerfulness and delight, calling his employment his “meat and drink,” and still professing that the law of this obedience was in hiss heart, — that he was content to do this will of God. He that will sorely revenge the least opposition that is or shall be made to him by others, was content to undergo any thing, all things, for believers. (4.) He stays not here, but (for the consummation of all that went before) for their sakes he becomes obedient to death, the death of the cross. So he professeth to his Father, John 17:19, “For their sakes I sanctify myself;” — “I dedicate myself as an offering, as a sacrifice, to be killed and slain.” This was his aim in all the former, that he might die; he was born, and lived, that he might die. He valued them above his life. And if we might stay to consider a little what was in this death that he underwent for them, we should perceive what a price indeed he put upon them. The curse of the law was in it, the wrath of God was in it, the loss of God’s presence was in it. It was a fearful cup that he tasted of, and drank of, that they might never taste of it. A man would not for ten thousand worlds be willing to undergo that which Christ underwent for us in that one thing of desertion from God, were it attended with no more distress but what a mere creature might possibly emerge from under. And what thoughts we should have of this himself tells us, John 15:13, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” It is impossible there should be any greater demonstration or evidence of love than this.

    What can any one do more? And yet he tells us in another place, that it has another aggravation and heightening, Romans 5:8, “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

    When he did this for us we were sinners, and enemies, whom he might justly have destroyed. What more can be done? — to die for us when we were sinners! Such a death, in such a manner, with such attendancies of wrath and curse, — a death accompanied with the worst that God had ever threatened to sinners, — argues as high a valuation of us as the heart of Christ himself was capable of.

    For one to part with his glory, his riches, his ease, his life, his love from God, to undergo loss, shame, wrath, curse, death, for another, is an evidence of a dear valuation; and that it was all on this account, we are informed, Hebrews 12:2. Certainly Christ had a dear esteem of them, that, rather than they should perish, — that they should not be his, and be made partakers of his glory, — he would part with all he had for their sakes, Ephesians 5:25,26.

    There would be no end, should I go through all the instances of Christ’s valuation of believers, in all their deliverances, afflictions, in all conditions of sinning and suffering, — what he has done, what he does in his intercession, what he delivers them from, what he procures for them; all telling out this one thing, — they are the apple of his eye, his jewel, his diadem, his crown. 2. In comparison of others. All the world is nothing to him in comparison of them. They are his garden; the rest of the world, a wilderness. Song of Solomon 4:12, “A garden enclosed is my sister, my spouse; a spring shut up, a fountain sealed.” They are his inheritance; the rest, his enemies, of no regard with him. So Isaiah 43:3,4, “I am the LORD thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Savior: I gave Egypt for thy ransom, Ethiopia and Seba for thee. Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honorable, and I have loved thee: therefore will I give men for thee, and people for thy life.”

    The reason of this dealing of Christ with his church, in parting with all others for them, is, because he loves her. She is precious and honorable in his sight; thence he puts this great esteem upon her. Indeed, he disposeth of all nations and their interests according as is for the good of believers. Amos 9:9, in all the siftings of the nations, the eye of God is upon the house of Israel; not a grain of them shall perish. Look to heaven; angels are appointed to minister for them, Hebrews 1:14. Look into the world; the nations in general are either blessed for their sakes, or destroyed on their account, — preserved to try them, or rejected for their cruelty towards them; and will receive from Christ their final doom according to their deportment towards these despised ones. On this account are the pillars of the earth born up, and patience is exercised towards the perishing world. In a word, there is not the meanest, the weakest, the poorest believer on the earth, but Christ prizes him more than all the world besides. Were our hearts filled much with thoughts hereof, it would tend much to our consolation.

    To answer this, believers also value Jesus Christ; they have an esteem of him above all the world, and all things in the world. You have been in part acquainted with this before, in the account that was given of their delight in him, and inquiry after him. They say of him in their hearts continual]y, as David, “Whom have I in heaven but thee? and none upon earth I desire beside thee.” Psalm 73:25.

    Neither heaven nor earth will yield them an object any way comparable to him, that they can delight in. 1. They value him above all other things and persons. “Mallem,”, said one, “ruere cum Christo, quam regnare cum Caesare. Pulchra terra, pulchrum coelum, sed pulcherrimus dominus Jesus;” — Christ and a dungeon, Christ and a cross, is infinitely sweeter than a crown, a scepter without him, to their souls. So was it with Moses, Hebrews 11:26, “He esteemed the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures in Egypt.” The reproach of Christ is the worst consequent that the wickedness of the world or the malice of Satan can bring upon the followers of him. The treasures of Egypt were in those days the greatest in the world; Moses despised the very best of the world, for the worst of the cross of Christ.

    Indeed, himself has told believers, that if they love any thing better than him, father or mother, they are not worthy of him. A despising of all things for Christ is the very first lesson of the gospel. “Give away all, take up the cross and follow me,” was the way whereby he tried his disciples of old; and if there be not the same mind and heart in us, we are none of his. 2. They value him above their lives. Acts 20:24, “My life is not dear, that I may perfect my course with joy, and the ministry I have received of the Lord Jesus;” — “Let life and all go, so that I may serve him; and, when all is done, enjoy him, and be made like to him.” It is known what is reported of Ignatius when he was led to martyrdom: “Let what will,” said he, “come upon me, only so I may obtain Jesus Christ.” Hence they of old rejoiced when whipped, scourged, put to shame, for his sake, Acts 5:41; Hebrews 11. All is welcome that comes from him, or for him. The lives they have to live, the death they have to die, is little, is light, upon the thoughts of him who is the stay of their lives and the end of their death.

    Were it not for the refreshment which daily they receive by thoughts of him, they could not live, — their lives would be a burden to them; and the thoughts of enjoyment of him made them cry with Paul, “Oh that we were dissolved!” The stories of the martyrs of old and of late, the sufferers in giving witness to him under the dragon and under the false prophet, the neglect of life in women and children on his account, contempt of torments, whilst his name sweetened all, have rendered this truth clear to men and angels. 3. They value him above all spiritual excellencies, and all other righteousness whatever, Philippians 3:7,8, “Those things which were advantage to me, I esteemed loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord; for whose sake I have lost all things, and do esteem them common, that I may gain Christ, and be found in him.”

    Having recounted the excellencies which he had, and the privileges which he enjoyed, in his Judaism, — which were all of a spiritual nature, and a participation wherein made the rest of his countrymen despise all the world, and look upon themselves as the only acceptable persons with God, resting on them for righteousness, — the apostle tells us what is his esteem of them, in comparison of the Lord Jesus. They are “loss and dung,” things that for his sake he had really suffered the loss of; that is, whereas he had for many years been a zealot of the law, — seeking after a righteousness as it were by the works of it, Romans 9:32, — instantly serving God day and night, to obtain the promise, Acts 26:7, — living in all good conscience from his youth, Acts 23, — all the while very zealous for God and his institutions, — now [he] willingly casts away all these things, looks upon them as loss and dung, and could not only be contented to be without them, but, as for that end for which he sought after them, he abhorred them all. When men have been strongly convinced of their duty, and have labored many years to keep a good conscience, — have prayed, and heard, and done good, and denied themselves, and been zealous for God, and labored with all their might to please him, and so at length to come to enjoy him; they had rather part with all the world, life and all, than with this they have wrought. You know how unwilling we are to part with any thing we have labored and beaten our heads about? How much more when the things are so excellent, as our duty to God, blamelessness of conversation, hope of heaven, and the like, which we have beaten our hearts about. But now, when once Christ appears to the soul, when he is known in his excellency, all these things, as without him, have their paint washed off, their beauty fades, their desirableness vanisheth, and the soul is not only contented to part with them all, but puts them away as a defiled thing, and cries, “In the Lord Jesus only is my righteousness and glory.” Proverbs 3:13-15, among innumerable testimonies, may be admitted to give witness hereunto, “Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding. For the merchandise of it is better than the merchandise of silver, and the gain thereof than fine gold.

    She is more precious than rubies: and all the things that thou canst desire are not to be compared unto her.” It is of Jesus Christ, the Wisdom of God, the eternal Wisdom of the Father, that the Holy Ghost speaks; as is evident from the description which is given hereof, chap. 8. He and his ways are better than silver and gold, rubies, and all desirable things; as in the gospel he likens himself to the “pearl in the field,” which when the merchant man finds, he sells all that he has, to purchase. All goes for Christ; — all righteousness without him, all ways of religion, all goes for that one pearl. The glory of his Deity, the excellency of his person, his all-conquering desirableness, ineffable love, wonderful undertaking, unspeakable condescensions, effectual mediation, complete righteousness, lie in their eyes, ravish their hearts, fill their affections, and possess their souls. And this is the second mutual conjugal affection between Christ and believers; all which, on the part of Christ, may be referred unto two heads: — 1. All that he parted withal, all that he did, all that he suffered, all that he does as mediator; he parted withal, did, suffered, does, on the account of his love to and esteem of believers. He parted with the greatest glory, he underwent the greatest misery, he does the greatest works that ever were, because he loves his spouse, — because he values believers. What can more, what can farther be spoken? how little is the depth of that which is spoken fathomed! how unable are we to look into the mysterious recesses of it! He so loves, so values his saints, as that, having from eternity undertaken to bring them to God, he rejoices his soul in the thoughts of it; and pursues his design through heaven and hell, life and death, by suffering and doing, in mercy and with power; and ceaseth not until he bring it to perfection. For, — 2. He does so value them, as that he will not lose any of them to eternity, though all the world should combine to take them out of his hand. When in the days of his flesh he foresaw what opposition, what danger, what rocks they should meet withal, he cried out, “Holy Father, keep them,” John 17:11; — “Let not one of them be lost;” and tells us plainly, John 10:28, that no man shall take his sheep out of his hand. And because he was then in the form of a servant, and it might be supposed that he might not be able to hold them, he tells them true, as to his present condition of carrying on the work of mediation, his “Father was greater than he;” and therefore to him he committed them, and none should take them out of his Father’s hand, John 10:29. And whereas the world, afflictions, and persecutions, which are without, may be conquered, and yet no security given but that sin from within, by the assistance of Satan, may prevail against them to their ruin; as he has provided against Satan, in his promise that the gates of hell shall not prevail against them, so he has taken care that sin itself shall not destroy them. Herein, indeed, is the depth of his love to be contemplated, that whereas his holy soul hates every sin (it is a burden, an abomination, a new wound to him), and his poor spouse is sinful (believers are full of sins, failings, and infirmities), he hides all, covers all, bears with all, rather than he will lose them; by his power preserving them from such sins as a remedy is not provided for in the covenant of grace. Oh, the world of sinful follies that our dear Lord Jesus bears withal on this account! Are not our own souls astonished with the thoughts of it? Infinite patience, infinite forbearance, infinite love, infinite grace, infinite mercy, are all set on work for this end, to answer this his valuation of us.

    On our part it may also be referred to two heads: — 1. That, upon the discovery of him to our souls, they rejoice to part with all things wherein they have delighted or reposed their confidence, for him and his sake, that they may enjoy him. Sin and lust, pleasure and profit, righteousness and duty, in their several conditions, all shall go, so they may have Christ. 2. That they are willing to part with all things rather than with him, when they do enjoy him. To think of parting with peace, health, liberty, relations, wives, children; it is offensive, heavy, and grievous to the best of the saints: but their souls cannot bear the thoughts of parting with Jesus Christ; such a thought is cruel as the grave. The worst thoughts that, in any fear, sin desertions, they have of hell, is, that they shall not enjoy Jesus Christ. So they may enjoy him here, hereafter be like him, be ever with him, stand in his presence; they can part with all things freely, cheerfully, be they never so beautiful, in reference to this life or that which is to come.

    III. The third conjugal affection on the part of Christ is pity and compassion. As a man “nourisheth and cherisheth his own flesh, so does the Lord his church,” Ephesians 5:29. Christ has a fellow feeling with his saints in all their troubles, as a man has with his own flesh. This act of the conjugal love of Christ relates to the many trials and pressures of afflictions that his saints meet withal here below. He does not deal with believers as the Samaritans with the Jews, that fawned on them in their prosperity, but despised them in their trouble; he is as a tender father, who, though perhaps he love all his children alike, yet he will take most pains with, and give most of his presence unto, one that is sick and weak, though therein and thereby he may be made most froward, and, as it should seem, hardest to be born with. And (which is more than the pity of any father can extend to) he himself suffers with them, and takes share in all their troubles.

    Now, all the sufferings of the saints in this world, wherein their head and husband exerciseth pity, tenderness, care, and compassion towards them, are of two sorts, or may be referred to two heads: — 1. Temptations. 2.

    Afflictions. 1. Temptations (under which head I comprise sin also, whereto they tend); as in, from, and by their own infirmities; as also from their adversaries without. The frame of the heart of Christ, and his deportment towards them in this condition, you have, Hebrews 4:15, “We have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities”. We have not such a one as cannot. The two negations do vehemently affirm that we have such an high priest as can be, or is, touched. The word “touched” comes exceedingly short of expressing the original word; it is sumapaqh~sai , — to “suffer together.” “We have,” saith the apostle, “such an high priest as can, and consequently does, suffer with us, — endure our infirmities.” And in what respect he suffers with us in regard of our infirmities, or has a fellow-feeling with us in them, he declares in the next words, “He was tempted like as we are,” verse 15. It is as to our infirmities, our temptations, spiritual weakness; therein, in particular, has he a compassionate sympathy and fellow-feeling with us. Whatever be our infirmities, so far as they are our temptations, he does suffer with us under them, and compassionates us. Hence at the last day he saith, “I was an hungered,” etc. There are two ways of expressing a fellow-feeling and suffering with another: — (1.) Per benevolam condolentiam, — a “friendly grieving.” (2.) Per gratiosam opitulationem, — a “gracious supply:” both are eminent in Christ: — (1.) He grieves and labors with us. Zechariah 1:12, “The angel of the LORD answered and said, O LORD of hosts, how long wilt thou not have mercy on Jerusalem?”

    He speaks as one intimately affected with the state and condition of poor Jerusalem; and therefore he has bid all the world take notice that what is done to them is done to him, chap. 2:8,9; yea, to “the apple of his eye.” (2.) In the second he abounds. Isaiah 40:11, “He shall feed his flock like a shepherd, he shall gather the lambs with his arm, and carry them in his bosom, and gently lead them that are with young.”

    Yea, we have both here together, — tender compassionateness and assistance. The whole frame wherein he is here described is a frame of the greatest tenderness, compassion, condescension that can be imagined. His people are set forth under many infirmities; some are lambs, some great with young, some very tender, some burdened with temptations, — nothing in any of them all strong or comely. To them all Christ is a shepherd, that feeds his own sheep, and drives them out to pleasant pasture; where, if he sees a poor weak lamb, [he] does not thrust him on, but takes him into his bosom, where he both easeth and refresheth him: he leads him gently and tenderly. As did Jacob them that were burdened with young, so does our dear Lord Jesus with his flock, in the several ways and paths wherein he leads them. When he sees a poor soul, weak, tender, halting, ready to sink and perish, he takes him into his arms, by some gracious promise administered to him, carries him, bears him up when he is not able to go one step forward. Hence is his great quarrel with those shepherds, Ezekiel 34:4, “Woe be to you shepherds! the diseased have ye not strengthened, neither have ye healed that which was sick, neither have ye bound up that which was broken, neither have ye brought again that which was driven away, neither have ye sought that which was lost.”

    This is that which our careful, tender husband would have done.

    So mention being made of his compassionateness and fellow-suffering with us, Hebrews 4:15, it is added, verse 16, that he administers ca>rin eijv eu]kairon boh>qeian , — seasonable grace, grace for help in a time of need.

    This is an evidence of compassion, when, like the Samaritan, we afford seasonable help. To lament our troubles or miseries, without affording help, is to no purpose. Now, this Christ does; he gives eu]kairon boh>qeian , seasonable help. Help being a thing that regards want, is always excellent; but its coming in season puts a crown upon it. A pardon to a malefactor when he is ready to be executed, is sweet and welcome. Such is the assistance given by Christ. All his saints may take this as a sure rule, both in their temptations and afflictions: — when they can want them, they shall not want relief; and when they can bear no longer, they shall be relieved, 1 Corinthians 10:13.

    So it is said emphatically of him, Hebrews 2:18, “In that he himself has suffered being tempted, he is able to succor them that are tempted.” It is true, there is something in all our temptations more than was in the temptation of Christ. There is something in ourselves to take part with every temptation; and there is enough in ourselves to tempt us, though nothing else should appear against us. With Christ it was not so, John 14:30. But this is so far from taking off his compassion towards us, that, on all accounts whatever, it does increase it; for if he will give us succor because we are tempted, the sorer our temptations are, the more ready will he be to succor us. Take some instances of Christ’s giving eu]kairon boh>qeian , — seasonable help in and under temptations unto sin. Now this he does several ways: — [1.] By keeping the soul which is liable to temptation and exposed to it, in a strong habitual bent against that sin that he is obnoxious to the assaults of. So it was in the case of Joseph: Christ knew that Joseph’s great trial, and that whereon if he had been conquered he had been undone, would lie upon the hand of his mistress tempting him to lewdness; whereupon he kept his heart in a steady frame against that sin, as his answer without the least deliberation argues, Genesis 39:9. In other things, wherein he was not so deeply concerned, Joseph’s heart was not so fortified by habitual grace; as it appears by his swearing by the life of Pharaoh. This is one way whereby Christ gives suitable help to his, in tenderness and compassion.

    The saints, in the course of their lives, by the company, society, business, they are cast upon, are liable and exposed to temptations great and violent, some in one kind, some in another. Herein is Christ exceedingly kind and tender to them, in fortifying their hearths with abundance of grace as to that sin unto temptations whereunto they are most exposed; when perhaps in other things they are very weak, and are often surprised. [2.] Christ sometimes, by some strong impulse of actual grace, recovers the soul from the very borders of sin. So it was in the case of David, Samuel 24:4-6. “He was almost gone,” as he speaks himself; “his feet had well-nigh slipped.” The temptation was at the door of prevalence, when a mighty impulse of grace recovers him. To show his saints what they are, their own weakness and infirmity, he sometimes suffers them to go to the very edge and brow of the hill, and then causeth them to hear a word behind them saying, “This is the right way, walk in it,” — and that with power and efficacy; and so recovers them to himself. [3.] By taking away the temptation itself, when it grows so strong and violent that the poor soul knows not what to do. This is called “delivering the godly out of temptation,” 2 Peter 2:9, as a man is plucked out of the snare, and the snare left behind to hold another. This have I known to be the case of many, in sundry perplexing temptations. When they have been quite weary, have tried all means of help and assistance, and have not been able to come to a comfortable issue, on a sudden, unexpectedly, the Lord Christ, in his tenderness and compassion, rebukes Satan, that they hear not one word more of him as to their temptation. Christ comes in the storm, and saith, “Peace, be still.” [4.] By giving in fresh supplies of grace, according as temptations do grow or increase. So was it in the case of Paul, 2 Corinthians 12:9, “My grace is sufficient for thee.” The temptation, whatever it were, grew high; Paul was earnest for its removal; and receives only this answer, of the sufficiency of the grace of God for his supportment, notwithstanding all the growth and increase of the temptation. [5.] By giving them wisdom to make a right, holy, and spiritual improvement of all temptations. James bids us “count it all joy when we fall into divers temptations,” James 1:2, which could not be done were there not a holy and spiritual use to be made of them; which also himself manifests in the words following. There are manifold uses of temptations, which experienced Christians, with assistance suitable from Christ, may make of them. This is not the least, that by them we are brought to know ourselves. So Hezekiah was left to be tried, to know what was in him. By temptation, some bosom, hidden corruption is oftentimes discovered, that the soul knew not of before. As it was with Hazael in respect of enormous crimes, so in lesser things with the saints. They would never have believed there had been such lusts and corruptions in them as they have discovered upon their temptations. Yea, divers having been tempted to one sin, have discovered another that they thought not of; as some, being tempted to pride, or worldliness, or looseness of conversation, have been startled by it, and led to a discovery of neglect of many duties and much communion with God, which before they thought not of. And this is from the tender care of Jesus Christ, giving them in suitable help; without which no man can possibly make use of or improve a temptation. And this is a suitable help indeed, whereby a temptation which otherwise, or to other persons, might be a deadly wound, proves the lancing of a festered sore, and the letting out of corruption that otherwise might have endangered the life itself. So, 1 Peter 1:6, “If need be ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations.” [6.] When the soul is at any time more or less overcome by temptations, Christ in his tenderness relieves it with mercy and pardon; so that his shall not sink utterly under their burden, 1 John 2:12.

    By one, more, or all of these ways, does the Lord Jesus manifest his conjugal tenderness and compassion towards the saints, in and under their temptations. 2. Christ is compassionate towards them in their afflictions: “In all their affliction he is afflicted,” Isaiah 63:9; yea, it seems that all our afflictions (at least those of one sort, — namely, which consist in persecutions) are his in the first place, ours only by participation. Colossians 1:24, We “fill up the measure of the afflictions of Christ.” Two things evidently manifest this compassionateness in Christ: — (1.) His interceding with his Father for their relief, Zechariah 1:12.

    Christ intercedeth on our behalf, not only in respect of our sins, but also our sufferings; and when the work of our afflictions is accomplished, we shall have the reliefs he intercedes for. The Father always hears him; and we have not a deliverance from trouble, a recovering of health, ease of pain, freedom from any evil that ever laid hold upon us, but it is given us on the intercession of Jesus Christ. Believers are unacquainted with their own condition, if they look upon their mercies as dispensed in a way of common providence. And this may, indeed, be a cause why we esteem them no more, are no more thankful for them, nor fruitful in the enjoyment of them: — we see not how, by what means, nor on what account, they are dispensed to us. The generation of the people of God in the world are at this day alive, endeavored, merely on the account of the intercession of the Lord Jesus. His compassionateness has been the fountain of their deliverances. Hence oftentimes he rebukes their sufferings and afflictions, that they shall not act to the utmost upon them when they are under them.

    He is with them when they pass through fire and water, Isaiah 43:2,3. (2.) In that he does and will, in the winding up of the matter, so sorely revenge the quarrel of their sufferings upon their enemies. He avenges his elect that cry unto him; yea, he does it speedily. The controversy of Zion leads on the day of his vengeance, Isaiah 34:8. He looks upon them sometimes in distress, and considers what is the state of the world in reference to them. Zechariah 1:11, “We have walked to and fro through the earth, and, behold, all the earth sitteth still, and is at rest,” say his messengers to him, whom he sent to consider the world and its condition during the affliction of his people. This commonly is the condition of the world in such a season, “They are at rest and quiet, their hearts are abundantly satiated; they drink wine in bowls, and send gifts to one another.” Then Christ looks to see who will come in for their succor, Isaiah 59:16,17; and ending none engaging himself for their relief, by the destruction of their adversaries, himself undertakes it. Now, this vengeance he accomplishes two ways: — [1.] Temporally, upon persons, kingdoms, nations, and countries; (a type whereof you have, Isaiah 63:1-6); as he did it upon the old Roman world, Revelation 6:15,16. And this also he does two ways: — 1st . By calling out here and there an eminent opposer, and making him an example to all the world. So he dealt with Pharaoh: “For this cause have I raised thee up,” Exodus 9:16. So he does to this day; he lays his hand upon eminent adversaries, — fills one with fury, another with folly, blasts a third, and makes another wither, or destroys them utterly and terribly.

    As a provoked lion, he lies not down without his prey. 2ndly . In general, in the vials of his wrath which he will in these latter days pour out upon the antichristian world, and all that partake with them in their thoughts of vengeance and persecution. He will miserably destroy them, and make such work with them in the issue, that whosoever hears, both his ears shall tingle. [2.] In eternal vengeance will he plead with the adversaries of his beloved, Matthew 25:41-46; 2 Thessalonians 1:6; Jude 15. It is hence evident that Christ abounds in pity and compassion towards his beloved.

    Instances might be multiplied, but these things are obvious, and occur to the thoughts of all.

    In answer to this, I place in the saints chastity unto Christ, in every state and condition. That this might be the state of the church of Corinth, the apostle made it his endeavor. 2 Corinthians 11:2,3, “I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.”

    And so is it said of the followers of the Lamb, on mount Sion, Revelation 14:4, “These are they which were not defiled with women, for they are virgins.” What defilement that was they were free from, shall be afterward declared.

    Now, there are three things wherein this chastity consists: — 1. The not taking any thing into their affections and esteem for those ends and purposes for which they have received Jesus Christ. Here the Galatians failed in their conjugal affection to Christ; they preserved not themselves chaste to him. They had received Christ for life, and justification, and him only; but being after a while overcome with charms, or bewitched, they took into the same place with him the righteousness of the law. How Paul deals with them hereupon is known. How sorely, how pathetically does he admonish them, how severely reprove them, how clearly convince them of their madness and folly! This, then, is the first chaste affection believers bear in their heart to Christ: — having received him for their righteousness and salvation before God, for the fountain, spring, and well-head of all their supplies, they will not now receive any other thing into his room and in his stead. As to instance, in one particular: — We receive him for ours acceptance with God. All that here can stand in competition with him for our affections, must be our own endeavors for a righteousness to commend us to God. Now, this must be either before we receive him, or after. [As] for all duties and endeavors, of what sort soever, for the pleasing of God before our receiving of Christ, you know what was the apostle’s frame, Philippians 3:8-10. All endeavors, all advantages, all privileges, he rejects with indignation, as loss, — with abomination, as dung; and winds up all his aims and desires in Christ alone and his righteousness, for those ends and purposes. But the works we do after we have received Christ are of another consideration. Indeed, they are acceptable to God; it pleaseth him that we should walk in them. But as to that end for which we receive Christ, they are of no other account than the former, Ephesians 2:8-10. Even the works we do after believing, — those which we are created unto in Christ Jesus, those that God has ordained that believers “should walk in them,” — as to justification and acceptance with God, (here called salvation), are excluded. It will one day appear that Christ abhors the manglings of men about the place of their own works and obedience, in the business of their acceptation with God; nor will the saints find any peace in adulterous thoughts of that kind. The chastity we owe unto him requires another frame. The necessity, usefulness, and excellency of gospel obedience shall be afterward declared.

    It is marvelous to see how hard it is to keep some professors to any faithfulness with Christ in this thing; — how many disputes have been managed, how many distinctions invented, how many shifts and evasions studied, to keep up something, in some place or other, to some purpose or other, that they may dally withal. Those that love him indeed are otherwise minded.

    Herein, then, of all things, do the saints endeavor to keep their affections chaste and loyal to Jesus Christ. He is made unto them of God “righteousness;” and they will own nothing else to that purpose: yea, sometimes they know not whether they have any interest in him or no, — he absents and withdraws himself; they still continue solitary, in a state of widowhood, refusing to be comforted, though many things offer themselves to that purpose, because he is not. When Christ is at any time absent from the soul, when it cannot see that it has any interest in him, many lovers offer themselves to it, many woo its affections, to get it to rest on this or that thing for relief and succor; but though it go mourning never so long, it will have nothing but Christ to lean upon. Whenever the soul is in the wilderness, in the saddest condition, there it will stay until Christ come for to take it up, until it can come forth leaning upon him, Song of Solomon 8:5. The many instances of this that the book of Canticles affords us, we have in part spoken of before.

    This does he who has communion with Christ: — he watcheth diligently over his own heart, that nothing creep into its affections, to give it any peace or establishment before God, but Christ only. Whenever that question is to be answered, “Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and appear before the high God?” he does not gather up, “This or that I will do;” or, “Here and there I will watch, and amend my ways;” but instantly he cries, “In the Lord Jesus have I righteousness, All my desire is, to be found in him, not having on my own righteousness.” 2. In cherishing that Spirit, that holy Comforter, which Christ sends to us, to abide with us in his room and stead. He tells us that he sends him to that purpose, John 16:7. He gives him to us, “vicariam navare operam,” saith Tertullian, — to abide with us for ever, for all those ends and purposes which he has to fulfill toward us and upon us; he gives him to dwell in us, to keep us, and preserve us blameless for himself. His name is in him, and with him: and it is upon this account that whatever is done to any of Christ’s is done to him, because it is done to them in whom he is and dwells by his Spirit. Now, herein do the saints preserve their conjugal affections entire to Christ, that they labor by all means not to grieve his Holy Spirit, which he has sent in his stead to abide with them. This the apostle puts them in mind of, Ephesians 4:30, “Grieve not the Holy Spirit.”

    There be two main ends for which Christ sends his Spirit to believers: — (1.) For their sanctification; (2.) For their consolation: to which two all the particular acts of purging, teaching, anointing, and the rest that are ascribed to him, may be referred. So there be two ways whereby we may grieve him: — [1]. In respect of sanctification; [2.] In respect of consolation: — (1.) In respect of sanctification. He is the Spirit of holiness, — holy in himself, and the author of holiness in us: he works it in us, Titus 3:5, and he persuades us to it, by those motions of his which are not to be quenched. Now, this, in the first place, grieves the Spirit, when he is carrying on in us and for us a work so infinitely for our advantage, and without which we cannot see God, that we should run cross to him, in ways of unholiness, pollution, and defilement. So the connection of the words in the place before mentioned manifests, Ephesians 4:28-31; and thence does Paul bottom his powerful and most effectual persuasion unto holiness, even from the abode and indwelling of this Holy Spirit with us, 1 Corinthians 3:16,17. Indeed, what can grieve a loving and tender friend more than to oppose him and slight him when he is most intent about our good, — and that a good of the greatest consequence to us. In this, then, believers make it their business to keep their hearts loyal and their affections chaste to Jesus Christ. They labor instantly not to grieve the Holy Spirit by loose and foolish, by careless and negligent walking, which he has sent to dwell and abide with them. Therefore shall no anger, wrath, malice, envy, dwell in their hearts; because they are contrary to the holy, meek Spirit of Christ, which he has given to dwell with them. They attend to his motions, make use of his assistance, improve his gifts, and nothing lies more upon their spirits, than that they may walk worthy of the presence of this holy substitute of the Lord Jesus Christ. (2.) As to consolation. This is the second great end for which Christ gives and sends his Spirit to us; who from thence, by the way of eminency, is called “The Comforter.” To this end he seals us, anoints us, establishes us, and gives us peace and joy. Of all which I shall afterward speak at large.

    Now, there be two ways whereby he may be grieved as to this end of his mission, and our chastity to Jesus Christ thereby violated: — [1.] By placing our comforts and joys in other things, and not being filled with joy in the Holy Ghost. When we make creatures or creature comforts — any thing whatever but what we receive by the Spirit of Christ — to be our joy and our delight, we are false with Christ. So was it with Demas, who loved the present world. When the ways of the Spirit of God are grievous and burdensome to us, — when we say, “When will the Sabbath be past, that we may exact all our labors?” — when our delight and refreshment lies in earthly things, — we are unsuitable to Christ. May not his Spirit say, “Why do I still abide with these poor souls? I provide them joys unspeakable and glorious; but they refuse them, for perishing things. I provide them spiritual, eternal, abiding consolations, and it is all rejected for a thing of nought.” This Christ cannot bear; wherefore, believers are exceeding careful in this, not to place their joy and consolation in any thing but what is administered by the Spirit. Their daily work is, to get their hearts crucified to the world and the things of it, and the world to their hearts; that they may not have living affections to dying things: they would fain look on the world as a crucified, dead thing, that has neither form nor beauty; and if at any times they have been entangled with creatures and inferior contentment, and have lost their better joys, they cry out to Christ, “O restore to us the joys of thy Spirit!” [2.] He is grieved when, through darkness and unbelief, we will not, do not, receive those consolations which he tenders to us, and which he is abundantly willing that we should receive. But of this I shall have occasion to speak afterward, in handling our communion with the Holy Ghost. 3. In [keeping] this institutions, or matter and manner of his worship.

    Christ marrying his church to himself, taking it to that relation, still expresseth the main of their chaste and choice affections to him to lie in their keeping his institutions and his worship according to his appointment. The breach of this he calls “adultery” everywhere, and “whoredom.” He is a “jealous God;” and he gives himself that title only in respect of his institutions. And the whole apostasy of the Christian church unto false worship is called “fornication;” and the church that leads the others to false worship, the “mother of harlots.” On this account, those believers who really attend to communion with Jesus Christ, do labor to keep their hearts chaste to him in his ordinances, institutions, and worship; and that two ways: — (1.) They will receive nothing, practice nothing, own nothing his worship, but what is of his appointment. They know that from the foundation of the world he never did allow, nor ever will, that in any thing the will of the creatures should be the measure of his honor or the principle of his worship, either as to matter or manner. It was a witty and true sense that one gave of the second commandment: “Non image, non simulachrum prohibetur; set non facies tibi;” — it is a making to ourselves, an inventing, a finding out, ways of worship, or means of honoring God, not by him appointed, that is so severely forbidden. Believers know what entertainment all will worship finds with God: “Who has required these things at your hand?” and, “In vain do you worship me, teaching for doctrines the traditions of men,” — his the best it meets with. I shall take leave to say what is upon my heart, and what (the Lord assisting) I shall willingly endeavor to make good against all the world, — namely, that that principle, that the church has power to institute and appoint any thing or ceremony belonging to the worship of God, either as to matter or to manner, beyond the orderly observance of such circumstances as necessarily attend such ordinances as Christ himself has instituted, lies at the bottom of all the horrible superstition and idolatry, of all the confusion, blood, persecution, and wars, that have for so long a season spread themselves over the face of the Christian world; and that it is the design of a great part of the Revelation to make a discovery of this truth.

    And I doubt not but that the great controversy which God has had with this nation for so many years, and which he has pursued with so much anger and indignation, was upon this account: — that, contrary to that glorious light of the gospel which shone among us, the wills and fancies of men, under the name of order, decency, and the authority of the church (a chimera that none knew what it was, nor wherein the power of it did consist, nor in whom reside), were imposed on men in the ways and worship of God. Neither was all that pretense of glory, beauty, comeliness, and conformity, that then was pleaded, any thing more or less than what God does so describe in the church of Israel, Ezekiel 16:25, and forwards. Hence was the Spirit of God in prayer derided; hence was the powerful preaching of the gospel despised; hence was the Sabbath decried; hence was holiness stigmatised and persecuted; — to what end?

    That Jesus Christ might be deposed from the sole privilege and power of law-making in his church; that the true husband might be thrust aside, and adulterers of his spouse embraced; that taskmasters might be appointed in and over his house, which he never gave to his church, Ephesians 4:11; that a ceremonious, pompous, outward show worship, drawn from Pagan, Judaical, and Antichristian observations, might be introduced; — of all which there is not one word, little, or iota, in the whole book of God. This, then, they who hold communion with Christ are careful of: — they will admit of nothing, practice nothing, in the worship of God, private or public, but what they have his warrant for; unless it comes in his name, with “Thus saith the Lord Jesus,” they will not hear an angel from heaven.” They know the apostles themselves were to teach the saints only what Christ commanded them, Matthew 28:20. You know how many in this very nation, in the days not long since past, yea, how many thousands, left their native soil, and went into a vast and howling wilderness in the utmost parts of the world, to keep their souls undefiled and chaste to their dear Lord Jesus, as to this of his worship and institutions. (2.) They readily embrace, receive, and practice every thing that the Lord Christ has appointed. They inquire diligently into his mind and will, that they may know it. They go to him for directions, and beg of him to lead them in the way they have not known. The 119th Psalm may he a pattern for this. How does the good, holy soul breathe after instruction in the ways and ordinances, the statutes and judgements, of God! This, I say, they are tender in: whatever is of Christ, they willingly submit unto, accept of, and give up themselves to the constant practice thereof; whatever comes on any other account they refuse.

    IV. Christ manifests and evidences his love to his saints in a way of bounty, — in that rich, plentiful provision he makes for them. It has “pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell,” Colossians 1:19; and that for this end, that “of his fullness we might all receive, and grace for grace,” John 1:16. I shall not insist upon the particulars of that provision which Christ makes for his saints, with all those influences of the Spirit of life and grace that daily they receive from him, — that bread that he gives them to the full, the refreshment they have from him; I shall only observe this, that the Scripture affirms him to do all things for them in an abundant manner, or to do it richly, in a way of bounty. Whatever he gives us, — his grace to assist us, his presence to comfort us, — he does it abundantly. You have the general assertion of it, Romans 5:20, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.” If grace abound much more in comparison of sin, it is abundant grace indeed; as will easily be granted by any that shall consider how flirt has abounded, and does, in every soul.

    Hence he is said to be able, and we are bid to expect that he should do for us “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think,” Ephesians 3:20. Is it pardoning mercy we receive of him? why, he does “abundantly pardon,” Isaiah 10:7; he will multiply or add to pardon, — he will add pardon to pardon, that grace and mercy shall abound above all our sins and iniquities. Is it the Spirit he gives us? he sheds him upon us richly or “abundantly,” Titus 3:6; not only bidding us drink of the water of life freely, but also bestowing him in such a plentiful measure, that rivers of water shall flow from them that receive him, John 7:38,39, — that they shall never thirst any more when have drank of him. Is it grace that we receive of him? he gives that also in a way of bounty; we receive “abundance of grace,” Romans 5:17; he “abounds toward us in all wisdom and prudence,” Ephesians 1:8. Hence is that invitation, Song of Solomon 5:1. If in any things, then, we are straitened, it is in ourselves; Christ deals bountifully with us Indeed, the great sin of believers is, that they make not use of Christ’s bounty as they ought to do; that we do not every day take of him mercy in abundance. The oil never ceaseth till the vessels cease; supplies from Christ fail not but only when our faith fails in receiving them.

    Then our return to Christ is in a way of duty. Unto this two things are required: — 1. That we follow after and practice holiness in the power of it, as it is obedience unto Jesus Christ. Under this formality, as obedience to him, all gospel obedience is called, “whatsoever Christ commands us,” Matthew 28:20; and saith he, John 15:14, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you;” and it is required of us that we live to him who died for us, 2 Corinthians 5:15, — live to him in all holy obedience, — live to him as our Lord and King. Not that I suppose there are peculiar precepts and a peculiar law of Jesus Christ, in the observance whereof we are justified, as the Socinians fancy; for surely the gospel requires of us no more, but “to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, and all our souls,” which the law also required; — but that, the Lord Jesus having brought us into a condition of acceptance with God, wherein our obedience is well-pleasing to him, and we being to honor him as we honor the Father, that we have a respect and peculiar regard to him in all our obedience. So Titus 2:14, he has purchased us unto himself. And thus believers do in their obedience; they eye Jesus Christ, — (1.) As the author of their faith and obedience, for whose sake it is “given to them to believe,” Philippians 1:29; and who by his Spirit works that obedience in them. So the apostle, Hebrews 12:1,2; in the course of our obedience we still look to Jesus, “the author of our faith.” Faith is here both the grace of faith, and the fruit of it in obedience. (2.) As him in, for, and by whom we have acceptance with God in our obedience. They know all their duties are weak, imperfect, not able to abide the presence of God; and therefore they look to Christ as him who bears the iniquity of their holy things, who adds incense to their prayers, gathers out all the weeds of their duties, and makes them acceptable to God. (3.) As one that has renewed the commands of God unto them, with mighty obligations unto obedience. So the apostle, 2 Corinthians 5:14,15, “The love of Christ constraineth us;” of which afterward. (4.) They consider him as God, equal with his Father, to whom all honor and obedience is due. So Revelation 5:13. But these things I have, not long since, opened in another treatise, dealing about the worship of Christ as mediator. This, then, the saints do in all their obedience; they have a special regard to their dear Lord Jesus. He is, on all these accounts, and innumerable others, continually in their thoughts. His love to them, his life for them, his death for them, — all his kindness and mercy constrains them to live to him. 2. By laboring to abound in fruits of holiness. As he deals with us in a way of bounty, and deals out unto us abundantly, so he requires that we abound in all grateful, obediential returns to him. So we are exhorted to “be always abounding in the work of the Lord,” 1 Corinthians 15:58. This is that I intend: — the saints are not satisfied with that measure that at any time they have attained, but are still pressing, that they may be more dutiful, more fruitful to Christ.

    And this is a little glimpse of some of that communion which we enjoy with Christ. It is but a little, from him who has the least experience of it of all the saints of God; who yet has found that in it which is better than ten thousand worlds; who desires to spend the residue of the few and evil days of his pilgrimage in pursuit hereof, — in the contemplation of the excellencies, desirableness, love, and grace of our dear Lord Jesus, and in making returns of obedience according to his will: to whose soul, in the midst of the perplexities of this wretched world, and cursed rebellions of his own heart, this is the great relief, that “He that shall come will come, and will not tarry.” “The Spirit and the bride say, Come; and let him that readeth say, Come. Even so, come, Lord Jesus.”

    CHAPTER -Of communion with Christ in purchased grace — Purchased grace considered in respect of its rise and fountain — The first rise of it, in the obedience of Christ — Obedience properly ascribed to Christ — Two ways considered: what it was, and wherein it did consist — Of his obedience to the law in general — Of the law of the Mediator — His habitual righteousness, how necessary; as also his obedience to the law of the Mediator — Of his actual obedience or active righteousness — All Christ’s obedience performed as he was Mediator — His active obedience for us — This proved at large, Galatians 4:4,5; Romans 5:19; Philippians 3:10; Zechariah 3:3-5 — One objection removed — Considerations of Christ’s active righteousness closed — Of the death of Christ, and its influence into our acceptation with God — A price; redemption, what it is — A sacrifice; atonement made thereby — A punishment; satisfaction thereby — The intercession of Christ; with its influence into our acceptation with God.

    Our process is now to communion with Christ in purchased grace, as it was before proposed: “That we may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, and be made conformable to his death,” Philippians 3:10.

    By purchased grace, I understand all that righteousness and grace which Christ has procured, or wrought out for us, or does by any means make us partakers of, or bestows on us for our benefit, by any thing that he has done or suffered, or by any thing he continueth to do as mediator: — First, What this purchased grace is, and wherein it does consist; Secondly, How we hold communion with Christ therein; are the things that now come under consideration.

    The First may be considered two ways: — 1. In respect of the rise and fountain of it; 2. Of its nature, or wherein it consisteth. 1. It has a threefold rise, spring, or causality in Christ: — (1.) The obedience of his life. (2.) The suffering of his death. (3.) His continued intercession. All the actions of Christ as mediator, leading to the communication of grace unto us, may be either referred to these heads, or to some things that are subservient to them or consequent of them. 2. For the nature of this grace wherein we have communion with Christ, flowing from these heads and fountains, it may be referred to these three: — (1.) Grace of justification, or acceptation with God; which makes a relative change in us, as to state and condition. (2.) Grace of sanctification, or holiness before God; which makes a real change in us, as to principle and operation. (3.) Grace of privilege; which is mixed, as we shall show, if I go forth to the handling thereof.

    Now, that we have communion with Christ in this purchased grace, is evident on this single consideration, — that there is almost nothing that Christ has done, which is a spring of that grace whereof we speak, but we are said to do it with him. We are “crucified” with him, Galatians 2:20; we are “dead” with him, 2 Timothy 2:11; Colossians 3:3; and “buried” with him, Romans 6:4; Colossians 2:12; we are “quickened together with him,” Colossians 2:13; “risen” with him, Colossians 3:1. “He has quickened us together with Christ, and has raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places,” Ephesians 2:5,6.

    In the acting of Christ, there is, by virtue of the compact between him as mediator, and the Father, such an assured foundation laid of the communication of the fruits of those acting unto those in whose stead he performed them, that they are said, in the participation of those fruits, to have done the same things with him. The life and power of which truth we may have occasion hereafter to inquire into: — (1.) The first fountain and spring of this grace, wherein we have our communion with Christ, is first to be considered; and that is the obedience of his life: concerning which it must be declared, — [1.] What it is that is intended thereby, and wherein it consisteth. [2.] What influence it has into the grace whereof we speak.

    To the handling of this I shall only premise this observation, — namely, that in the order of procurement, the life of Christ (as was necessary) precedeth his death; and therefore we shall handle it in the first place: but in the order of application, the benefits of his death are bestowed on us antecedently, in the nature of the things themselves, unto those of his life; as will appeal; and that necessarily, from the state and condition wherein we are. [1.] By the obedience of the life of Christ, I intend the universal conformity of the Lord Jesus Christ, as he was or is, in his being mediator, to the whole will of God; and his complete actual fulfilling of the whole of every law of God, or doing of all that God in them required. He might have been perfectly holy by obedience to the law of creation, the moral law, as the angels were; neither could any more, as a man walking with God, be required of him: but he submitted himself also to every law or ordinance that was introduced upon the occasion of sin, which, on his own account, he could not be subject to, it becoming him to “fulfill all righteousness,” Matthew 3:15, as he spake in reference to a newly-instituted ceremony.

    That obedience is properly ascribed unto Jesus Christ as mediator, the Scripture is witness, both as to name and thing Hebrews 5:8, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience,” etc.; yea, he was obedient in his sufferings, and it was that which gave life to his death, Philippians 2:8.

    He was obedient to death: for therein “he did make his soul an offering for sin,” Isaiah 53:10; or, “his soul made an offering for sin,” as it is interpreted, verse 12, “he poured out his soul to death,” or, “his soul poured out itself unto death.” And he not only sanctified himself to be an offering, John 17:10, but he also “offered up himself,” Hebrews 9:14, an “offering of a sweet savor to God,” Ephesians 5:2. Hence, as to the whole of his work, he is called the Father’s “servant,” Isaiah 42:1, and verse 19: and he professes of himself that he “came into the world to do the will of God, the will of him that sent him;” for which he manifests “his great readiness,” Hebrews 10:7; — all which evince his obedience. But I suppose I need not insist on the proof of this, that Christ, in the work of mediation, and as mediator, was obedient, and did what he did willingly and cheerfully, in obedience to God.

    Now, this obedience of Christ may be considered two ways: — 1st. As to the habitual root and fountain of it. 2ndly. As to the actual parts or duties of it: — 1st . The habitual righteousness of Christ as mediator in his human nature, was the absolute, complete, exact conformity of the soul of Christ to the will, mind, or law of God; or his perfect habitually inherent righteousness.

    This he had necessarily from the grace of union; from whence it is that that which was born of the virgin was a “holy thing,” Luke 1:35. It was, I say, necessary consequentially, that it should be so; though the effecting of it were by the free operations of the Spirit, Luke 2:52. He had an all-fullness of grace on all accounts. This the apostle describes, Hebrews 7:26, “Such an high priest became us, holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” Every way separate and distant from sin and sinners he was to be; whence he is called “The Lamb of God, without spot or blemish,” 1 Peter 1:19. This habitual holiness of Christ was inconceivably above that of the angels. He who chargeth his angels with folly,” Job 4:18; “who putteth no trust in his saints; and in whose sight the heavens” (or their inhabitants) “are not clean,” chap. 15:15; always embraceth him in his bosom, and is always well pleased with him, Matthew 3:17. And the reason of this is, because every other creature, though never so holy, has the Spirit of God by measure; but he was not given to Christ “by measure,” John 3:34; and that because it pleased him that in him “should all fullness dwell,” Colossians 1:19. This habitual grace of Christ, though not absolutely infinite, yet, in respect of any other creature, it is as the water of the sea to the water of a pond or pool. All other creatures are depressed from perfection by this, — that they subsist in a created, dependent being; and so have the fountain of what is communicated to them without them. But the human nature of Christ subsists in the person of the Son of God; and so has the bottom and fountain of its holiness in the strictest unity with itself. 2ndly . The actual obedience of Christ, as was said, was his willing, cheerful, obediential performance of every thing, duty, or command, that God, by virtue of any law whereto we were subject and obnoxious, did require; and [his obedience], moreover, to the peculiar law of the mediator.

    Hereof, then, are two parts: — (1st.) That whatever was required of us by virtue of any law, — that he did and fulfilled. Whatever was required of us by the law of nature, in our state of innocence; whatever kind of duty was added by morally positive or ceremonial institutions; whatever is required of us in way of obedience to righteous judicial laws, — he did it all. Hence he is said to be “made under the law,” Galatians 4:4; subject or obnoxious to it, to all the precepts or commands of it. So, Matthew 3:15, he said it became him to “fulfill all righteousness,” — pa~san dikaiosu>nhn , — all manner of righteousness whatever; that is, everything that God required, as is evident from the application of that general axiom to the baptism of John. I shall not need, for this, to go to particular instances, in the duties of the law of nature, — to God and his parents; of morally positive [duties], in the Sabbath, and other acts of worship; of the ceremonial law, in circumcision, and observation of all the rites of the Judaical church; of the judicial, in paying tribute to governors; — it will suffice, I presume, that on the one hand he “did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth;” and on the other, that he “fulfilled all righteousness:” and thereupon the Father was always well pleased with him. This was that which he owned of himself, that he came to do the will of God; and he did it. (2ndly.) There was a peculiar law of the Mediator, which respected himself merely, and contained all those acts and duties of his which are not for our imitation. So that obedience which he showed in dying was peculiarly to this law, John 10:18, “I have power to lay down my life: this commandment have I received of my Father.” As mediator, he received this peculiar command of his Father, that he should lay down his life, and take it again; and he was obedient thereunto. Hence we say, he who is mediator did some things merely as a man, subject to the law of God in general; so he prayed for his persecutors, — those that put him to death, Luke 23:34; — some things as mediator; so he prayed for his elect only, John 17:9. There were not worse in the world, really and evidently, than many of them that crucified him; yet, as a man, subject to the law, he forgave them, and prayed for them. When he prayed as mediator, his Father always heard him and answered him, John 11:41; and in the other prayers he was accepted as one exactly performing his duty.

    This, then, is the obedience of Christ; which was the first thing proposed to be considered. The next is, — [2.] That it has an influence into the grace of which we speak, wherein we hold communion with him, — namely, our free acceptation with God; what that influence is, must also follow in its order. 1st . For his habitual righteousness, I shall only propose it under these two considerations: — (1st.) That upon this supposition, that it was needful that we should have a mediator that was God and man in one person, as it could not otherwise be, so it must needs be that he must be holy. For although there be but one primary necessary effect of the hypostatical union (which is the subsistence of the human nature in the person of the Son of God), yet that he that was so united to him should be a “holy thing,” completely holy, was necessary also, — of which before. (2ndly.) That the relation which this righteousness of Christ has to the grace we receive from him is only this, — that thereby he was iJkano>v — fit to do all that he had to do for us. This is the intendment of the apostle, Hebrews 7:26. Such a one “became us;” it was needful he should be such a one, that he might do what he had to do. And the reasons hereof are two: — [1st.] Had he not been completely furnished with habitual grace, he could never have actually fulfilled the righteousness which was required at his hands. It was therein that he was able to do all that he did. So himself lays down the presence of the Spirit with him as the bottom and foundation of his going forth to his work, Isaiah 61:1. [2ndly.] He could not have been a complete and perfect sacrifice, nor have answered all the types and figures of him, that were complete and without blemish. But now, Christ having this habitual righteousness, if he had never yielded any continued obedience to the law actively, but had suffered as soon after his incarnation as Adam sinned after his creation, he had been a fit sacrifice and offering; and therefore, doubtless, his following obedience has another use besides to fit him for an oblation, for which he was most fit without it. 2ndly . For Christ’s obedience to the law of mediation, wherein it is not coincident with his passive obedience, as they speak (for I know that expression is improper); it was that which was requisite for the discharging of his office, and is not imputed unto us, as though we had done it, though the ajpotele>smata and fruits of it are; but is of the nature of his intercession, whereby he provides the good things we stand in need of, at least subserviently to his oblation and intercession; — of which more afterward. 3rdly . About his actual fulfilling of the law, or doing all things that of us are required, there is some doubt and question; and about it there are three several opinions: — (1st.) That this active obedience of Christ has no farther influence into our justification and acceptation with God, but as it was preparatory to his blood-shedding and oblation; which is the sole cause of our justification, the whole righteousness which is imputed to us arising from thence. (2ndly.) That it may be considered two ways: — [1st.] As it is purely obedience; and so it has no other state but that before mentioned. [2ndly.] As it was accomplished with suffering, and joined with it, as it was part of his humiliation, so it is imputed to us, or is part of that upon the account whereof we are justified. (3rdly.) That this obedience of Christ, being done for us, is reckoned graciously of God unto us; and upon the account thereof are we accepted as righteous before him. My intendment is not to handle this difference in the way of a controversy, but to give such an understanding of the whole as may speedily be reduced to the practice of godliness and consolation; and this I shall do in the ensuing observations: — [1st.] That the obedience that Christ yielded to the law in general, is not only to the peculiar law of the mediator, though he yielded it as mediator.

    He was incarnate as mediator, Hebrews 2:14; Galatians 4:4; and all he afterward did, it was as our mediator. For that cause “came he into the world,” and did and suffered whatever he did or suffered in this world. So that of this expression, as mediator, there is a twofold sense: for it may be taken strictly, as relating solely to the law of the mediator, and so Christ may be said to do as mediator only what he did in obedience to that law; but in the sense now insisted on, whatever Christ did as a man subject to any law, he did it as mediator, because he did it as part of the duty incumbent on him who undertook so to be. [2ndly.] That whatever Christ did as mediator, he did it for them whose mediator he was, or in whose stead and for whose good he executed the office of a mediator before God. This the holy Ghost witnesseth, Romans 8:3,4, “What the law could not do, in that it was wreak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us;” because that we could not in that condition of weakness whereinto we are cast by sin, come to God, and be freed from condemnation by the law, God sent Christ as a mediator, to do and suffer whatever the law required at our hands for that end and purpose, that we might not be condemned, but accepted of God. It was all to this end, — “That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us;” that is, which the law required of us, consisting in duties of obedience. This Christ performed for us. This expression of the apostle, “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh;” if you will add to it, that of Galatians 4:4, that he was so sent forth as that he was uJpo< no>mon geno>menov , made under the law,” (that is, obnoxious to it, to yield all the obedience that it does require), comprises the whole of what Christ did or suffered; and all this, the Holy Ghost tells us, was for us, verse 4. [3rdly.] That the end of this active obedience of Christ cannot be assigned to be, that he might be fitted for his death and oblation. For be answered all types, and was every way iJkano>v (fit to be made an offering for sin), by his union and habitual grace. So that if the obedience Christ performed be not reckoned to us, and done upon our account, there is no just cause to be assigned why he should live here in the world so long as he did, in perfect obedience to all the laws of God. Had he died before, there had been perfect innocence, and perfect holiness, by his habitual grace, and infinite virtue and worth from the dignity of his person; and surely he yielded not that long course of all manner of obedience, but for some great and special purpose in reference to our salvation. [4thly.] That had not the obedience of Christ been for us (in what sense we shall see instantly), it might in his life have been required of him to yield obedience to the law of nature, the alone law which he could be liable to as a man; for an innocent man in a covenant of works, as he was, needs no other law, nor did God ever give any other law to any such person (the law of creation is all that an innocent creature is liable to, with what symbols of that law God is pleased to add). And yet to this law also was his subjection voluntary; and that not only consequentially, because he was born upon his own choice, not by any natural course, but also because as mediator, God and man, he was not by the institution of that law obliged unto it; being, as it were, exempted and lifted above that law by the hypostatical union: yet, when I say his subjection hereunto was voluntary, I do not intend that it was merely arbitrary and at choice whether he would yield obedience unto it or no, — but on supposition of his undertaking to be a mediator, it was necessary it should be so, — but that he voluntarily and willingly submitted unto, and so became really subject to the commands of it. But now, moreover, Jesus Christ yielded perfect obedience to all those laws which came upon us by the occasion of sin, as the ceremonial law; yea, those very institutions that signified the washing away of sin, and repentance from sin, as the baptism of John, which he had no need of himself. This, therefore, must needs be for us. [5thly.] That the obedience of Christ cannot be reckoned amongst his sufferings, but is clearly distinct from it, as to all formalities. Doing is one thing, suffering another; they are in diverse predicaments, and cannot be coincident.

    See, then, briefly what we have obtained by those considerations; and then I shall intimate what is the stream issuing from this first spring or fountain of purchased grace, with what influence it has thereinto: — First, By the obedience of the life of Christ you see what is intended, — his willing submission unto, and perfect, complete fulfilling of, every law of God, that any of the saints of God were obliged unto. It is true, every act almost of Christ’s obedience, from the blood of his circumcision to the blood of his cross, was attended with suffering, so that his whole life might, in that regard, be called a death; but yet, looking upon his willingness and obedience in it, it is distinguished from his sufferings peculiarly so called, and termed hiss active righteousness. This is, then, I say, as was showed, that complete, absolutely perfect accomplishment of the whole law of God by Christ, our mediator; whereby he not only “did no sin, neither was there guile fold in his mouth,” but also most perfectly fulfilled all righteousness, as he affirmed it became him to do.

    Secondly, That this obedience was performed by Christ not for himself, but for us, and in our stead. It is true, it must needs be, that whilst he had his conversation in the flesh he must be most perfectly and absolutely holy; but yet the prime intendment of his accomplishing of holiness, — which consists in the complete obedience of his whole life to any law of God, — that was no less for us than his suffering death. That this is so, the apostle tells us, Galatians 4:4,5, “God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law.”

    This Scripture, formerly named, must be a little farther insisted on. He was both made of a woman, and made under the law; that is, obedient to it for us. The end here, both of the incarnation and obedience of Christ to the law (for that must needs be understood here by the phrase uJpo< no>mon geno>menov , — that is, disposed of in such a condition as that he must yield subjection and obedience to the law), was all to redeem us. In these two expressions, “Made of a woman, made under the law,” the apostle does not knit his incarnation and death together, with an exclusion of the obedience of his life. And he was so made under the law, as those were under the law whom he was to redeem. Now, we were under the law, not only as obnoxious to its penalties, but as bound to all the duties of it. That this is our being “under the law,” the apostle informs us, Galatians 4:21, “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law.” It was not the penalty of the law they desired to be under, but to be under it in respect of obedience.

    Take away, then, the end, and you destroy the means. If Christ were not incarnate nor made under the law for himself, he did not yield obedience for himself; it was all for us, for our good. Let us now look forward, and see what influence this has into our acceptation.

    Thirdly, Then, I say, this perfect, complete obedience of Christ to the law is reckoned unto us. As there is a truth in that, “The day thou eatest thou shalt die,” — death is the reward of sin, and so we cannot be freed from death but by the death of Christ, Hebrews 2:14,15; so also is that no less true, “Do this, and live,” — that life is not to he obtained unless all be done that the law requires. That is still true, “If thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments,” Matthew 19:17. They must, then, be kept by us, or our surety. Neither is it of any value which by some is objected, that if Christ yielded perfect obedience to the law for us, then are we no more bound to yield obedience; for by his undergoing death, the penalty of the law, we are freed from it. I answer, How did Christ undergo death?

    Merely as it was penal. How, then, are we delivered from death? Merely as it is penal. Yet we must die still; yea, as the last conflict with the effects of sin, as a passage to our Father, we must die. Well, then, Christ yielded perfect obedience to the law; but how did he do it? Purely as it stood in that conditional [arrangement], “Do this, and live.” He did it in the strength of the grace he had received; he did it as a means of life, to procure life by it, as the tenor of a covenant. Are we, then, freed from this obedience? Yes; but how far? From doing it in our own strength; from doing it for this end, that we may obtain life everlasting. It is vain that some say confidently, that we must yet work for life; it is all one as to say we are yet under the old covenant, “Hoc fac, et vives:” we are not freed from obedience, as a way of walking with God, but we are, as a way of working to come to him: of which at large afterward. Romans 5:18,19, “By the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life: by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous,” saith the Holy Ghost. By his obedience to the law are we made righteous; it is reckoned to us for righteousness. That the passive obedience of Christ is here only intended is false: — First, It is opposed to the disobedience of Adam, which was active. The dikai>wma is opposed paraptw>mati , — the righteousness to the fault.

    The fault was an active transgression of the law, and the obedience opposed to it must be an active accomplishment of it. Besides, obedience placed singly, in its own nature, denotes an action or actions conformable to the law; and therein came Christ, not to destroy but to fulfill the law, Matthew 5:17, — that was the design of his coming, and so for us; he came to fulfill the law for us, Isaiah 9:6, and [was] born to us, Luke 2:11. This also was in that will of the Father which, out of his infinite love, he came to accomplish. Secondly, It cannot clearly be evinced that there is any such thing, in propriety of speech, as passive obedience; obeying is doing, to which passion or suffering cannot belong: I know it is commonly called so, when men obey until they suffer; but properly it is not so.

    So also, Philippians 3:9, “And be found in him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.” The righteousness we receive is opposed to our own obedience to the law; opposed to it, not as something in another kind, but as something in the same kind excluding that from such an end which the other obtains. Now this is the obedience of Christ to the law, — himself thereby being “made to us righteousness,” 1 Corinthians 1:30. Romans 5:10, the issue of the death of Christ is placed upon reconciliation; that is, a slaying of the enmity and restoring us into that condition of peace and friendship wherein Adam was before his fall. But is there no more to be done? Notwithstanding that there was no wrath due to Adam, yet he was to obey, if he would enjoy eternal life. Something there is, moreover, to be done in respect of us, if, after the slaying of the enmity and reconciliation made, we shall enjoy life: “Being reconciled by his death,” we are saved by that perfect obedience which in his life he yielded to the law of God. There is distinct mention made of reconciliation, through a non-imputation of sin, as Psalm 32:1, Luke 1:77, Romans 3:25, 2 Corinthians 5:19; and justification through an imputation of righteousness, Jeremiah 23:6, Romans 4:5, 1 Corinthians 1:30; — although these things are so far from being separated, that they are reciprocally affirmed of one another: which, as it does not evince an identity, so it does an eminent conjunction. And this last we have by the life of Christ.

    This is fully expressed in that typical representation of our justification before the Lord, Zechariah 3:3-5. Two things are there expressed to belong to our free acceptation before God: — 1. The taking away of the guilt of our sin, our filthy robes; this is done by the death of Christ. Remission of sin is the proper fruit thereof; but there is more also required, even a collation of righteousness, and thereby a right to life eternal. This is here called “Change of raiment;” so the Holy Ghost expresses it again, Isaiah 61:10, where he calls it plainly “The garments of salvation,” and “The robe of righteousness.” Now this is only made ours by the obedience of Christ, as the other by his death.

    Objection . “But if this be so, then are we as righteous as Christ himself, being righteous with his righteousness.”

    Answer. But first, here is a great difference, — if it were no more than that this righteousness was inherent in Christ, and properly his own, it is only reckoned or imputed to us, or freely bestowed on us, and we are made righteous with that which is not ours. But, secondly, the truth is, that Christ was not righteous with that righteousness for himself, but for us; so that here can be no comparison: only this we may say, we are righteous with his righteousness which he wrought for us, and that completely.

    And this, now, is the rise of the purchased grace whereof we speak, the obedience of Christ; and this is the influence of it into our acceptation with God. Whereas the guilt of sin, and our obnoxiousness to punishment on that account, is removed and taken away (as shall farther be declared) by the death of Christ; and whereas, besides the taking away of sin, we have need of a complete righteousness, upon the account whereof we may be accepted with God; this obedience of Christ, through the free grace of God, is imputed unto us for that end and purpose.

    This is all I shall for the present insist on to this purpose. That the passive righteousness of Christ only is imputed to us in the non-imputation of sin, and that on the condition of our faith and new obedience, so exalting them into the room of the righteousness of Christ, is a thing which, in communion with the Lord Jesus, I have as yet no acquaintance withal.

    What may be said in the way of argument on the one side or other must be elsewhere considered. (2.) The second spring of our communion with Christ in purchased grace, is his death and oblation. He lived for us, he died for us; he was ours in all he did, in all he suffered. I shall be the more brief in handling of this, because on another design I have elsewhere at large treated of all the concernments of it.

    Now, the death of Christ, as it is a spring of that purchased grace wherein we have communion with him, is in the Scripture proposed under a threefold consideration: — [1.] Of a price. [2.] Of a sacrifice. [3.] Of a penalty.

    In the first regard, its proper effect is redemption; in the second, reconciliation or atonement; in the third, satisfaction; which are the great ingredients of that purchased grace whereby, in the first place, we have communion with Christ. [1.] It is a price. “We are bought with a price,” 1 Corinthians 6:20; being “not redeemed with silver and gold, and corruptible things, but with the precious blood of Christ,” 1 Peter 1:18,19: which therein answers those things in other contracts. He came to “give his life a ransom for many,” Matthew 20:28, — a price of redemption, 1 Timothy 2:6. The proper use and energy of this expression in the Scripture, I have elsewhere declared.

    Now, the proper effect and issue of the death of Christ as a price or ransom is, as I said, redemption. Now, redemption is the deliverance of any one from bondage or captivity, and the miseries attending that condition, by the intervention or interposition of a price or ransom, paid by the redeemer to him by whose authority the captive was detained: — 1st . In general, it is a deliverance. Hence Christ is called “The Deliverer,” Romans 11:26; giving himself to “deliver us,” Galatians 1:4. He is “Jesus, who delivers us from the wrath to come,” 1 Thessalonians 1:10. 2ndly . It is the delivery of one from bondage or captivity. We are, without him, all prisoners and captives, “bound in prison,” Isaiah 61:1; “sitting in darkness, in the prison house,” Isaiah 42:7, 49:9; “prisoners in the pit wherein there is no water,” Zechariah 9:11; “the captives of the mighty, and the prey of the terrible,” Isaiah 49:25; under a “captivity that must be led captive,” Psalm 68:18: this puts us in “bondage,” Hebrews 2:15. 3rdly . The person committing thus to prison and into bondage, is God himself. To him we owe “our debts,” Matthew 6:12, 18:23-27; against him are our offenses, Psalm 51:4; he is the judge and lawgiver, James 4:12. To sin is to rebel against him. He shuts up men under disobedience, Romans 11:32; and he shall cast both body and soul of the impenitent into hell-fire, Matthew 10:28. To his wrath are men obnoxious, John 3:36; and lie under it by the sentence of the law, which is their prison. 4thly . The miseries that attend this condition are innumerable. Bondage to Satan, sin, and the world, comprises the sum of them; from all which we are delivered by the death of Christ, as a price or ransom. “God has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son; in whom we have redemption through his blood,” Colossians 1:13,14. And he “redeems us from all iniquity,” Titus 2:14; “from our vain conversation,” 1 Peter 1:18,19; even from the guilt and power of our sin; purchasing us to himself “a peculiar people, zealous of good works,” Titus 2:14: so dying for the “redemption of transgressions,” Hebrews 9:15; redeeming us also from the world, Galatians 4:5. 5thly . And all this is by the payment of the price mentioned into the hand of God, by whose supreme authority we are detained captives, under the sentence of the law. The debt is due to the great householder, Matthew 18:23,24; and the penalty, his curse and wrath: from which by it we are delivered, Revelation 1:5.

    This the Holy Ghost frequently insists on. Romans 3:24,25, “Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus; whom God has set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins:” so also, Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:18; Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:13; Galatians 3:13. And this is the first consideration of the death of Christ, as it has an influence into the procurement of that grace wherein we hold communion with him. [2.] It was a sacrifice also. He had a body prepared him, Hebrews 10:5; wherein he was to accomplish what by the typical oblations and burnt-offerings of the law was prefigured. And that body he offered, Hebrews 10:10; — that is, his whole human nature; for “his soul” also was made “an offering for sin,” Isaiah 53:10: on which account he is said to offer himself, Ephesians 5:2; Hebrews 1:3, 9:26. He gave himself a sacrifice to God of a sweet-smelling savor; and this he did willingly, as became him who was to be a sacrifice, — the law of this obedience being written in his heart, Psalm 40:8; that is, he had a readiness, willingness, desire for its performance.

    Now, the end of sacrifices, such as his was, bloody and for sin, Romans 5:10; Hebrews 2:17, was atonement and reconciliation. This is everywhere ascribed to them, that they were to make atonement; that is, in a way suitable to their nature. And this is the tendency of the death of Christ, as a sacrifice, atonement, and reconciliation with God. Sin had broken friendship between God and us, Isaiah 63:10; whence his wrath was on us, John 3:36; and we are by nature obnoxious to it, Ephesians 2:3. This is taken away by the death of Christ, as it was a sacrifice, Daniel 9:24. “When we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,” Romans 5:10. And thereby do we “receive the atonement,” verse 11; for “God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not imputing to them their sins and their iniquities,” Corinthians 5:19-21: so also, Ephesians 2:12-16, and in sundry other places. And this is the second consideration of the death of Christ; which I do but name, having at large insisted on these things elsewhere. [3.] It was also a punishment, — a punishment in our stead. “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him,” Isaiah 53:5.

    God made all our iniquities (that is, the punishment of them) “to meet upon him,” verse 6. “He bare the sins of many,” verse 12; “his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree,” 1 Peter 2:24; and therein he “who knew no sin, was made sin for us,” 2 Corinthians 5:21. What it is in the Scripture to bear sin, see Deuteronomy 19:15, 20:17; Numb. 14:33; Ezekiel 18:20. The nature, kind, matter, and manner of this punishment I have, as I said before, elsewhere discussed.

    Now, bearing of punishment tends directly to the giving satisfaction to him who was offended, and on that account inflicted the punishment. Justice can desire no more than a proportional punishment, due to the offense.

    And this, on his own voluntary taking of our persons, undertaking to be our mediator, was inflicted on our dear Lord Jesus. His substituting himself in our room being allowed of by the righteous Judge, satisfaction to him does thence properly ensue.

    And this is the threefold consideration of the death of Christ, as it is a principal spring and fountain of that grace wherein we have communion with him; for, as will appear in our process, the single and most eminent part of purchased grace, is nothing but the natural exurgency of the threefold effect of the death of Christ, intimated to flow from it on the account of the threefold consideration insisted on. This, then, is the second rise of purchased grace, which we are to eye, if we will hold communion with Christ in it, — his death and blood-shedding, under this threefold notion of a price, an offering, and punishment. But, — (3.) This is not all: the Lord Christ goes farther yet; he does not leave us so, but follows on the work to the utmost. “He died for our sins, and rose again for our justification.” He rose again to carry on the complete work of purchased grace, — that is, by his intercession; which is the third rise of it.

    In respect of this, he is said to be “able to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them,” Hebrews 7:25.

    Now, the intercession of Christ, in respect of its influence into purchased grace, is considered two ways: — [1.] As a continuance and carrying on of his oblation, for the making out of all the fruits and effects thereof unto us. This is called his “appearing in the presence of God for us,” Hebrews 9:24; that is, as the high priest, having offered the great offering for expiation of sin, carried in the blood thereof into the most holy place, where was the representation of the presence of God, so to perfect the atonement he made for himself and the people; so the Lord Christ, having offered himself as a sweet-smelling sacrifice to God, being sprinkled with his own blood, appears in the presence of God, as it were to mind him of the engagement made to him, for the redemption of sinners by his blood, and the making out the good things to them which were procured thereby. And so this appearance of his has an influence into purchased grace, inasmuch as thereby he puts in his claim for it in our behalf. [2.] He procureth the holy Spirit for us, effectually to collate and bestow all this purchased grace upon us. That he would do this, and does it, for us, we have his engagement, John 14:16. This is purchased grace, in respect of its fountain and spring; — of which I shall not speak farther at present, seeing I must handle it at large in the matter of the communion we have with the Holy Ghost.

    CHAPTER -The nature of purchased grace; referred to three heads: — 1. Of our acceptation with God; two parts of it. 2. Of the grace of sanctification; the several parts of it.

    The fountain of that purchased grace wherein the saints have communion with Christ being discovered, in the next place the nature of this grace itself may be considered. As was said, it may be referred unto three heads: — 1. Grace of acceptation with God. 2. Grace of sanctification from God. 3. Grace of privileges with and before God. 1. Of acceptation with God. Out of Christ, we are in a state of alienation from God, accepted neither in our persons nor our services. Sin makes a separation between God and us: — that state, with all its consequences and attendancies, [it] is not my business to unfold. The first issue of purchased grace is to restore us into a state of acceptation. And this is done two ways: — (1.) By a removal of that for which we are refused, — the cause of the enmity. (2.) By a bestowing of that for which we are accepted.

    Not only all causes of quarrel were to be taken away, that so we should not be under displeasure, but also that was to be given unto us that makes us the objects of God’s delight and pleasure, on the account of the want whereof we are distanced from God: — (1.) It gives a removal of that for which we are refused. This is sin in the guilt, and all the attendancies thereof. The first issue of purchased grace tends to the taking away of sin in its guilt, that it shall not bind over the soul to the wages of it, which is death.

    How this is accomplished and brought about by Christ, was evidenced in the close of the foregoing chapter. It is the fruit and effect of his death for us. Guilt of sin was the only cause of our separation and distance from God, as has been said. This made us obnoxious to wrath, punishment, and the whole displeasure of God; on the account hereof were we imprisoned under the curse of the law, and given up to the power of Satan. This is the state of our unacceptation. By his death, Christ — bearing the curse, undergoing the punishment that was due to us, paying the ransom that was due for us — delivers us from this condition. And thus far the death of Christ is the sole cause of our acceptation with God, — that all cause of quarrel and rejection of us is thereby taken away. And to that end are his sufferings reckoned to us; for, being “made sin for us,” 2 Corinthians 5:21, he is made “righteousness unto us,” 1 Corinthians 1:30.

    But yet farther; this will not complete our acceptation with God. The old quarrel may be laid aside, and yet no new friendship begun; we may be not sinners, and yet not be so far righteous as to have a right to the kingdom of heaven. Adam had no right to life because he was innocent; he must, moreover, “do this,” and then he shall “live.” He must not only have a negative righteousness, — he was not guilty of any thing; but also a positive righteousness, — he must do all things. (2.) This, then, is required, in the second place, to our complete acceptation, that we have not only the not imputation of sin, but also a reckoning of righteousness. Now, this we have in the obedience of the life of Christ. This also was discovered in the last chapter. The obedience of the life of Christ was for us, is imputed to us, and is our righteousness before God; — by his obedience are we “made righteous,” Romans 5:19.

    On what score the obedience of faith takes place, shall be afterward declared.

    These two things, then, complete our grace of acceptation. Sin being removed, and righteousness bestowed, we have peace with God, — are continually accepted before him. There is not any thing to charge us withal: that which was, is taken out of the way by Christ, and nailed to his cross, — made fast there; yea, publicly and legally canceled, that it can never be admitted again as an evidence. What court among men would admit of an evidence that has been publicly canceled, and nailed up for all to see it? So has Christ dealt with that which was against us; and not only so, but also he puts that upon us for which we are received into favor. He makes us comely through his beauty; gives us white raiment to stand before the Lord. This is the first part of purchased grace wherein the saints have communion with Jesus Christ. In remission of sin and imputation of righteousness does it consist; from the death of Christ, as a price, sacrifice, and a punishment, — from the life of Christ spent in obedience to the law, does it arise. The great product it is of the Father’s righteousness, wisdom, love, and grace; — the great and astonishable fruit of the love and condescension of the Son; — the great discovery of the Holy Ghost in the revelation of the mystery of the gospel. 2. The second is grace of sanctification. He makes us not only accepted, but also acceptable. He does not only purchase love for his saints, but also makes them lovely. He came not by blood only, but by water and blood.

    He does not only justify his saints from the guilt of sin, but also sanctify and wash them from the filth of sin. The first is from his life and death as a sacrifice of propitiation; this from his death as a purchase, and his life as an example. So the apostle, Hebrews 9:14; as also Ephesians 5:26,27.

    Two things are eminent in this issue of purchased grace: — (1.) The removal of defilement; (2.) The bestowing of cleanness in actual grace. (1.) For the first, it is also threefold: — [1.] The habitual cleansing of our nature. We are naturally unclean, defiled, — habitually so; for “Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?” Job 14:4; “That which is born of the flesh is flesh,” John 3:6. It is in the pollution of our blood that we are born, Ezekiel 16, — wholly defiled and polluted. The grace of sanctification, purchased by the blood of Christ, removes this defilement of our nature. 1 Corinthians 6:11, “Such were some of you; but ye are washed, ye are sanctified.” So also Titus 3:3-5, “He has saved us by the washing of regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost.” How far this original, habitual pollution is removed, need not be disputed; it is certain the soul is made fair and beautiful in the sight of God. Though the sin that does defile remains, yet its habitual defilement is taken away. But the handling of this lies not in my aim. [2.] Taking away the pollutions of all our actual transgressions. There is a defilement attending every actual sin. Our own clothes make us to be abhorred, Job 9:31. A spot, a stain, rust, wrinkle, filth, blood, attends every sin. Now, 1 John 1:7, “The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin.” Besides the defilement of our natures which he purgeth, Titus 3:5, he takes away the defilement of our persons by actual follies. “By one offering he perfected for ever them that are sanctified;” by himself he “purged our sins,” before he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, Hebrews 1:3. [3.] In our best duties we have defilement, Isaiah 64:6. Self, unbelief, form, drop themselves into all that we do. We may be ashamed of our choicest performances. God has promised that the saints’ good works shall follow them. Truly, were they to be measured by the rule as they come from us, and weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, it might be well for us that they might be buried for ever: But the Lord Christ first, as our high priest, bears the iniquity, the guilt, and provocation, which in severe justice does attend them, Exodus 28:38; and not only so, but he washes away all their filth and defilements. He is as a refiner’s fire, to purge both the sons of Levi and their offerings; adding, moreover, sweet incense to them, that they may be accepted. Whatever is of the Spirit, of himself, of grace, — that remains; whatever is of self, flesh, unbelief (that is, hay and stubble), — that he consumes, wastes, takes away. So that the saints’ good works shall meet them one day with a changed countenance, that they shall scarce know them: that which seemed to them to be black, deformed, defiled, shall appear beautiful and glorious; they shall not be afraid of them, but rejoice to see and follow them.

    And this cleansing of our natures, persons, and duties, has its whole foundation in the death of Christ. Hence our washing and purifying, our cleansing and purging, is ascribed to his blood and the sprinkling thereof meritoriously, this work is done, by the shedding of the blood of Christ; efficiently, by its sprinkling. The sprinkling of the blood of Christ proceedeth from the communication of the Holy Ghost; which he promiseth to us, as purchased by him for us He is the pure water, wherewith we are sprinkled from all our sins, that spirit of judgement and burning that takes away the filth and blood of the daughters of Zion. And this is the first thing in the grace of sanctification; of which more afterward. (2.) By bestowing cleanness as to actual grace. The blood of Christ in this purchased grace does not only take away defilement, but also it gives purity; and that also in a threefold gradation: — [1.] It gives the Spirit of holiness to dwell in us. “He is made unto us sanctification,” 1 Corinthians 1:30, by procuring for us the Spirit of sanctification. Our renewing is of the Holy Ghost, who is shed on us through Christ alone, Titus 3:6. This the apostle mainly insists on, Romans 8, — to wit, that the prime and principal gift of sanctification that we receive from Christ, is the indwelling of the Spirit, and our following after the guidance hereof. But what concerns the Spirit in any kind, must be referred to that which I have to offer concerning our communion with him. [2.] He gives us habitual grace; — a principle of grace, opposed to the principle of lust that is in us by nature. This is the grace that dwells in us, makes its abode with us; which, according to the distinct faculties of our souls wherein it is, or the distinct objects about which it is exercised, receiveth various appellation, being indeed all but one new principle of life.

    In the understanding, it is light; in the will, obedience; in the affections, love; in all, faith. So, also, it is differences in respect of its operations.

    When it carries out the soul to rest on Christ, it is faith; when to delight in him, it is love; but still one and the same habit of grace. And this is the second thing. [3.] Actual influence for the performance of every spiritual duty whatever.

    After the saints have both the former, yet Christ tells them that without him “they can do nothing,” John 15:5. They are still in dependence upon him for new influences of grace, or supplies of the Spirit. They cannot live and spend upon the old stock; for every new act they must have new grace. He must “work in us to will and to do of his good pleasure,” Philippians 2:13. And in these three, thus briefly named, consists that purchased grace in the point of sanctification, as to the collating of purity and cleanness, wherein we have communion with Christ. 3. This purchased grace consists in privileges to stand before God, and these are of two sorts,-primary and consequential. Primary, is adoption, — the Spirit of adoption; consequential, are all the favors of the gospel, which the saints alone have right unto. But of this I shall speak when I come to the last branch, — of communion with the Holy Ghost.

    These are the things wherein we have communion with Christ as to purchased grace in this life. Drive them up to perfection, and you have that which we call everlasting glory. Perfect acceptance, perfect holiness, perfect adoption, or inheritance of sons, — that is glory.

    Our process now, in the next place, is to what I mainly intend, even the manner how we hold communion with Christ in these things; and that in the order laid down; as, — I. How we hold communion with him in the obedience of his life and merit of his death, as to acceptance with God the Father.

    II. How we hold communion with Christ in his blood, as to the Spirit of sanctification, the habits and acts of grace.

    III. How we hold communion with him as to the privileges we enjoy.

    Of which in the ensuing chapters.

    CHAPTER -How the saints hold communion with Christ as to their acceptation with God — What is required on the part of Christ hereunto; in his intention; in the declaration thereof — The sum of our acceptation with God, wherein it consists — What is required on the part of believers to this communion, and how they hold it, with Christ — Some objections proposed to consideration, why the elect are not accepted immediately on the undertaking and the death of Christ — In what sense they are so — Christ a common or public person — How he came to be so — The way of our acceptation with God on that account — The second objection — The necessity of our obedience stated, Ephesians 2:8-10 — The grounds, causes, and ends of it manifested — Its proper place in the new covenant — How the saints, in particular, hold communion with Christ in this purchased grace — They approve of this righteousness; the grounds thereof — Reject their own; the grounds thereof — The commutation of sin and righteousness between Christ and believers; some objections answered.

    I. Communion with Christ in purchased grace, as unto acceptation with God, from the obedience of his life and efficacy of his death, is the first thing we inquire into. The discovery of what on the part of Christ and what on our part is required thereunto (for our mutual acting, even his and ours, are necessary, that we may have fellowship and communion together herein), is that which herein I intend.

    First, On the part of Christ there is no more required but these two things: — (1.) That what he did, he did not for himself, but for us. (2.) What he suffered, he suffered not for himself, but for us. That is, that his intention from eternity, and when he was in the world, was, that all that he did and suffered was and should be for us and our advantage, as to our acceptance with God; that he still continueth making use of what he so did and suffered for that end and purpose, and that only. Now, this is most evident: — (1.) What he did, he did for us, and not for himself: “He was made under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons,” Galatians 4:4,5.

    He was made under the law; that is, in that condition that he was obnoxious to the will and commands of it. And why was this? to what end? for himself? No; but to redeem us is the aim of all that he did, — of all his obedience: and that he did. This very intention in what he did he acquaints us with, John 17:19, “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they may be sanctified through the truth.” “I sanctify myself, — dedicate and set myself apart to all that work I have to do. I came not to do my own will; I came to save that which was lost; to minister, not to be ministered unto; and to give my life a ransom;” — it was the testimony he bare to all he did in the world. This intendment of his is especially to be eyed. From eternity he had thoughts of what he would do for us; and delighted himself therein. And when he was in the world, in all he went about, he had still this thought, “This is for them, and this is for them, — my beloved.” When he went to be baptized, says John, “I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?” Matthew 3:14,15; as if he had said, “Thou hast no need at all of it.” But says Christ, “Suffer it to be so, now; for thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness;” — “I do it for them who have none at all, and stand obliged unto all.” (2.) In what he suffered. This is more clear, Daniel 9:26, “Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself”. And the apostle lays down this as a main difference between him and the high priests of the Jews, that when they made their solemn offerings, they offered first for themselves, and then for the people; but Jesus Christ offered only for others. He had no sin, and could make no sacrifice for his own sin, which he had not, but only for others. He “tasted death every man,” Hebrews 2:9, — “gave his life a ransom for many,” Matthew 20:28. The “iniquity of us all was made to meet on him,” Isaiah 53:6; — “He bare our sins in his own body on the tree,” 1 Peter 2:24; — “loved the church, and gave himself for it,” Ephesians 5:25; Galatians 2:20; Romans 4:25; Revelation 1:5,6; Titus 2:14; 1 Timothy 2:6; Isaiah 53:12; John 17:19. But this is exceeding clear and confessed, that Christ in his suffering and oblation, had his intention only upon the good of his elect, and their acceptation with God; suffering for us, “the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.”

    Secondly, To complete this communion on the part of Christ, it is required, — (1.) That there be added to what he has done, the gospel tenders of that complete righteousness and acceptation with God which ariseth from his perfect obedience and sufferings. Now, they are twofold: — [1.] Declaratory, in the conditional promises of the gospel. Mark 16:15; Matthew 11:28, “He that believeth shall be saved;” “Come unto me, and I will give you rest;” “As Moses lifted up the serpent,” etc.; “Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth,” Romans 10:4; and innumerable others. Now, declaratory tenders are very precious, there is much kindness in them, and if they be rejected, they will be the “savor of death unto death;” but the Lord Christ knows that the outward letter, though never so effectually held out, will not enable any of his for that reception of his righteousness which is necessary to interest them therein; wherefore, — [2.] In this tender of acceptation with God, on the account of what he has done and suffered, a law is established, that whosoever receives it shall be so accepted. But Christ knows the condition and state of his in this world.

    This will not do; if he do not effectually invest them with it, all is lost.

    Therefore, — (2.) He sends them his Holy Spirit, to quicken them, John 6:63, to cause them that are “dead to hear his voice,” John 5:25; and to work in them whatever is required of them, to make them partakers of his righteousness and accepted with God.

    Thus does Christ deal with his: — he lives and dies with an intention to work out and complete righteousness for them; their enjoying of it, to a perfect acceptation before God, is all that in the one and other he aimed at.

    Then he tenders it unto them, declares the usefulness and preciousness of it to their souls, stirring them up to a desire and valuation of it; and lastly, effectually bestows it upon them, reckons it unto them as theirs, that they should by it, for it, with it, be perfectly accepted with his Father.

    Thus, for our acceptation with God, two things are required: — First, That satisfaction be made for our disobedience, — for whatever we had done which might damage the justice and honor of God; and that God be atoned towards us: which could no otherwise be, but by undergoing the penalty of the law. This, I have showed abundantly, is done by the death of Christ. God “made him to be sin for us,” 2 Corinthians 5:21, — a “curse,” Galatians 3:13. On this account we have our absolution, — our acquitment from the guilt of sin, the sentence of the law, the wrath of God, Romans 8:33,34. We are justified, acquitted, freed from condemnation, because it was Christ that died; “he bare our sins in his own body on the tree,” 1 Peter 2:24.

    Second, That the righteousness of the law be fulfilled, and the obedience performed that is required at our hands. And this is done by the life of Christ, Romans 5:18,19. So that answerable hereunto, according to our state and the condition of our acceptation with God, there are two parts: — Our absolution from the guilt of sin, that our disobedience be not charged upon us. This we have by the death of Christ; our sins being imputed to him, shall not be imputed to us, 2 Corinthians 5:21; Romans 4:25; Isaiah 53:12.

    Imputation of righteousness, that we may be accounted perfectly righteous before God; and this we have by the life of Christ. His righteousness in yielding obedience to the law is imputed to us. And thus is our acceptation with God completed. Being discharged from the guilt of our disobedience by the death of Christ, and having the righteousness of the life of Christ imputed to us, we have friendship and peace with God. And this is that which I call our grace of acceptation with God, wherein we have communion with Jesus Christ.

    That which remains for me to do, is to show how believers hold distinct communion with Christ in this grace of acceptation, and how thereby they keep alive a sense of it, — the comfort and life of it being to be renewed every day. Without this, life is a hell; no peace, no joy can we be made partakers of, but what has its rise from hence. Look what grounded persuasion we have of our acceptation with God, that he is at peace with us; whereunto is the revenue of our peace, comfort, joy, yea, and holiness itself, proportioned.

    But yet, before I come in particular to handle our practical communion with the Lord Jesus in this thing, I must remove two considerable objections; — the one of them lying against the first part of our acceptation with God, the other against the latter.

    Objection 1. For our absolution by and upon the death of Christ, it may be said, that “if the elect have their absolution, reconciliation, and freedom by the death, blood, and cross of Christ, whence is it, then, that they were not all actually absolved at the death of Christ, or at least so soon as they are born, but that many of them live a long while under the wrath of God in this world, as being unbelievers, under the sentence and condemning power of the law? John 3:36. Why are they not immediately freed, upon the payment of the price and making reconciliation for them?”

    Obj. 2. “If the obedience of the life of Christ be imputed unto us, and that is our righteousness before God, then what need we yield any obedience ourselves? Is not all our praying, laboring, watching, fasting, giving alms, — are not all fruits of holiness, in purity of heart and usefulness of conversation, all in vain and to no purpose? And who, then, will or need take care to be holy, humble, righteous, meek, temperate, patient, good, peaceable, or to abound in good works in the world?” 1. I shall, God assisting, briefly remove these two objections, and then proceed to carry on the design in hand, about our communion with Christ: — (1.) Jesus Christ, in his undertaking of the work of our reconciliation with God, — for which cause he came into the world, — and the accomplishment of it by his death, was constituted and considered as a common, public person, in the stead of them for whose reconciliation to God he suffered. Hence he is the “mediator between God and man,” Timothy 2:5, — that is, one who undertook to God for us, as the next words manifest, verse 6, “Who gave himself a ransom for all,” — and the “surety of the better covenant,” Hebrews 7:22; undertaking for and on the behalf of them with whom that covenant was made. Hence he is said to be given “for a covenant of the people,” Isaiah 42:6; and a “leader,” 55:4. He was the second Adam, 1 Corinthians 15:45,47, to all ends and purposes of righteousness, to his spiritual seed, as the first Adam was of sin to his natural seed, Romans 5:15-19. (2.) His being thus a common person, arose chiefly from these things: — [1.] In general, from the covenant entered into by himself with his Father to this purpose. The terms of this covenant are at large insisted on, Isaiah 53, summed up, Psalm 40:7,8; Hebrews 10:8-10. Hence the Father became to be his God; which is a covenant expression, Psalm 89:26; Hebrews 1:5; Psalm 22:1, 40:8, 45:7; Revelation 3:12; Micah 5:4. So was he by his Father on this account designed to this work, Isaiah 42:1,6, 49:9; Malachi 3:1; Zechariah 13:7; John 3:16; Timothy 1:15. Thus the “counsel of peace” became to be “between them both,” Zechariah 6:13; that is, the Father and Son. And the Son rejoices from eternity in the thought of this undertaking, Proverbs 8:22-30. The command given him to this purpose, the promises made to him thereon, the assistance afforded to him, I have elsewhere handled. [2.] In the sovereign grant, appointment, and design of the Father, giving and delivering the elect to Jesus Christ in this covenant, to be redeemed and reconciled to himself. John 17:6, “Thine they were, and thou gavest them me.” They were God’s by eternal designation and election, and he gave them to Christ to be redeemed. Hence, before their calling or believing, he calls them his “sheep,” John 10:15,16, laying down his life for them as such; and hence are we said to be “chosen in Christ,” Ephesians 1:4, or designed to obtain all the fruits of the love of God by Christ, and committed into his hand for that end and purpose. [3.] In his undertaking to suffer what was due to them, and to do what was to be done by them, that they might be delivered, reconciled, and accepted with God. And he undertakes to give in to the Father, without loss or miscarriage, what he had so received of the Father as above, John 17:2,12, 6:37,39; as Jacob did the cattle he received of Lab an, Genesis 31:39,40. Of both these I have treated somewhat at large elsewhere, in handling the covenant between the Father and the Son; so that I shall not need to take it up here again. [4.] They being given unto him, he undertaking for them to do and suffer what was on their part required, he received, on their behalf and for them, all the promises of all the mercies, grace, good things, and privileges, which they were to receive upon the account of his undertaking for them. On this account eternal life is said to be promised of God “before the world began,” Titus 1:2; that is, to the Son of God for us, on his undertaking on our behalf. And grace, also, is said to be given unto us “before the world began,” 2 Timothy 1:9; that is, in Christ, our appointed head, mediator, and representative. [5.] Christ being thus a common person, a mediator, surety, and representative, of his church, upon his undertaking, as to efficacy and merit, and upon his actual performance, as to solemn (declaration, was as such acquitted, absolved, justified, and freed, from all and every thing that, on the behalf of the elect, as due to them, was charged upon him, or could so be; I say, as to all the efficacy and merit of his undertakings, he was immediately absolved upon his faithfulness, in his first engagement: and thereby all the saints of the Old Testament were saved by his blood no less than we. As to solemn declaration, he was so absolved when, the “pains of death being loosed”, he was “declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead;” Romans 1:4, God saying to him, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee,” Psalm 2:7. And this his absolution does Christ express his confidence of, Isaiah 1:5-9.

    And he was “justified,” 1 Timothy 3:16. That which I intend by this absolution of Christ as a public person is this: — God having made him under the law, for them who were so, Galatians 4:4; in their stead, obnoxious to the punishment due to sin, made him sin, 2 Corinthians 5:21; and so gave justice, and law, and all the consequent of the curse thereof, power against him, Isaiah 53:6; — upon his undergoing of that which was required of him, verse 12, God looses the pains and power of death, accepts him, and is well pleased with him, as to the performance and discharge of his work, John 17:3-6; pronounceth him free from the obligation that was on him, Acts 13; and gave him a promise of all good things he aimed at, and which his soul desired. Hereon are all the promises of God made to Christ, and their accomplishment, — all the encouragements given him to ask and make demand of the things originally engaged for to him, Psalm 2:8, (which he did accordingly, John 17), — founded and built. And here lies the certain, stable foundation of our absolution, and acceptation with God. Christ in our stead, acting for us as our surety, being acquitted, absolved, solemnly declared to have answered the whole debt that was incumbent on him to pay, and made satisfaction for all the injury we had done, a general pardon is sealed for us all, to be sued out particularly in the way to be appointed. For, — [6.] Christ as a public person being thus absolved, it became righteous with God, a righteous thing, from the covenant, compact, and convention, that was between him and the mediator, that those in whose stead he was, should obtain, and have bestowed on them, all the fruits of his death, in reconciliation with God, Romans 5:8-11; that as Christ received the general acquittance for them all, so they should every one of them enjoy it respectively. This is everywhere manifested in those expressions which express a commutation designed by God in this matter; as 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:21,24; — of which afterward. [7.] Being thus acquitted in the covenant of the Mediator (whence they are said to be circumcised with him, to die with him, to be buried with him, to rise with him, to sit with him in heavenly places, — namely, in the covenant of the Mediator), and it being righteous that they should be acquitted personally in the covenant of grace, it was determined by Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, that the way of their actual personal deliverance from the sentence and curse of the law should be in and by such a way and dispensation as might lead to the praise of the glorious grace of God, Ephesians 1:5-7. The appointment of God is, that we shall have the adoption of children. The means of it, is by Jesus Christ; the peculiar way of bringing it about, is by the redemption that is in his blood; the end, is the praise of his glorious grace. And thence it is, — [8.] That until the full time of their actual deliverance, determined and appointed to them in their several generations, be accomplished, they are personally under the curse of the law; and, on that account, are legally obnoxious to the wrath of God, from which they shall certainly be delivered; — I say, they are thus personally obnoxious to the law, and the curse thereof; but not at all with its primitive intention of execution upon them, but as it is a means appointed to help forward their acquaintance with Christ, and acceptance with God, on his account. When this is accomplished, that whole obligation ceases, being continued on them in a design of love; their last condition being such as that they cannot without it be brought to a participation of Christ, to the praise of the glorious grace of God. [9.] The end of the dispensation of grace being to glorify the whole Trinity, the order fixed on and appointed wherein this is to be done, is, by ascending to the Father’s love through the work of the Spirit and blood of the Son. The emanation of divine love to us begins with the Father, is carried on by the Son, and then communicated by the Spirit; the Father designing, the Son purchasing, the Spirit effectually working: which is their order. Our participation is first by the work of the Spirit, to an actual interest in the blood of the Son; whence we have acceptation with the Father.

    This, then, is the order whereby we are brought to acceptation with the Father, for the glory of God through Christ: — 1st . That the Spirit may be glorified, he is given unto us, to quicken us, convert us, work faith in us, Romans 8:11; Ephesians 1:19,20; according to all the promises of the covenant, Isaiah 4:4,5; Ezekiel 11:19, 36:26. 2ndly . This being wrought in us, for the glory of the Son, we are actually interested, according to the tenor of the covenant, at the same instant of time, in the blood of Christ, as to the benefits which he has procured for us thereby; yea, this very work of the Spirit itself is a fruit and part of the purchase of Christ. But we speak of our sense of this thing, whereunto the communication of the Spirit is antecedent. And, — 3rdly . To the glory of the Father, we are accepted with him, justified, freed from guilt, pardoned, and have “peace with God,” Romans 5:1.

    Thus, “through Christ we have access by one Spirit unto the Father,” Ephesians 2:17. And thus are both Father and Son and the Holy Spirit glorified in our justification and acceptation with God; the Father in his free love, the Son in his full purchase, and the holy Spirit in his effectual working. [10.] All this, in all the parts of it, is no less fully procured for us, nor less freely bestowed on us, for Christ’s sake, on his account, as part of his purchase and merits, than if all of us immediately upon his death, had been translated into heaven; only this way of our deliverance and freedom is fixed on, that the whole Trinity may be glorified thereby. And this may suffice in answer to the first objection. Though our reconciliation with God be fully and completely procured by the death of Christ, and all the ways and means whereby it is accomplished; yet we are brought unto an actual enjoyment thereof, by the way and in the order mentioned, for the praise of the glorious grace of God. 2. The second objection is, “That if the righteousness and obedience of Christ to the law be imputed unto us, then what need we yield obedience ourselves?” To this, also, I shall return answer as briefly as I can in the ensuing observations: — (1.) The placing of our gospel obedience on the right foot of account (that it may neither be exalted into a state, condition, use, or end, not given it of God; nor any reason, cause, motive, end, necessity of it, on the other hand, taken away, weakened, or impaired), is a matter of great importance. Some make our obedience, the works of faith, our works, the matter or cause of our justification; some, the condition of the imputation of the righteousness of Christ; some, the qualification of the person justified, on the one hand; some exclude all the necessity of them, and turn the grace of God into lasciviousness, on the other. To debate these differences is not my present business; only, I say, on this and other accounts, the right stating of our obedience is of great importance as to our walking with God. (2.) We do by no means assign the same place, condition, state, and use to the obedience of Christ imputed to us, and our obedience performed to God. If we did, they were really inconsistent. And therefore those who affirm that our obedience is the condition or cause of our justification, do all of them deny the imputation of the obedience of Christ unto us. The righteousness of Christ is imputed to us, as that on the account whereof we are accepted and esteemed righteous before God, and are really so, though not inherently. We are as truly righteous with the obedience of Christ imputed to us as Adam was, or could have been, by a complete righteousness of his own performance. So Romans 5:18, by his obedience we are made righteous, — made so truly, and so accepted; as by the disobedience of Adam we are truly made trespassers, and so accounted. And this is that which the apostle desires to be found in, in opposition to his own righteousness, Philippians 3:9. But our own obedience is not the righteousness whereupon we are accepted and justified before God; although it be acceptable to God that we should abound therein. And this distinction the apostle does evidently deliver and confirm, so as nothing can be more clearly revealed: Ephesians 2:8-10, “For by grace are ye saved through faith: and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has prepared that we should walk in them.” We are saved, or justified (for that it is whereof the apostle treats), “by grace through faith,” which receives Jesus Christ and his obedience; “not of works, lest any man should boast.” “But what works are they that the apostle intends?” The works of believers, as in the very beginning of the next words is manifest: “‘For we are,’ we believers, with our obedience and our works, of whom I speak.” “Yea; but what need, then, of works?” Need still there is: “We are his workmanship,” etc.

    Two things the apostle intimates in these words: — [1.] A reason why we cannot be saved by works, — namely, because we do them not in or by our own strength; which is necessary we should do, if we will be saved by them, or justified by them. “But this is not so,” saith the apostle; “for we are the workmanship of God,” etc.; — all our works are wrought in us, by full and effectual undeserved grace. [2.] An assertion of the necessity of good works, notwithstanding that we are not saved by them; and that is, that God has ordained that we shall walk in them: which is a sufficient ground of our obedience, whatever be the use of it.

    If you will say then, “What are the true and proper gospel grounds, reasons, uses, and motives of our obedience; whence the necessity thereof may be demonstrated, and our souls be stirred up to abound and be fruitful therein?” I say, they are so many, and lie so deep in the mystery of the gospel and dispensation of grace, spread themselves so throughout the whole revelation of the will of God unto us, that to handle them fully and distinctly, and to give them their due weight, is a thing that I cannot engage in, lest I should be turned aside from what I principally intend. I shall only give you some brief heads of what might at large be insisted on: — 1st . Our universal obedience and good works are indispensably necessary, from the sovereign appointment and will of God; Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.

    In general “This is the will of God, even your sanctification,” or holiness, 1 Thessalonians 4:3. This is that which God wills, which he requires of us, — that we be holy, that we be obedient, that we do his will as the angels do in heaven. The equity, necessity, profit, and advantage of this ground of our obedience might at large be insisted on; and, were there no more, this might suffice alone, — if it be the will of God, it is our duty: — (1st.) The Father has ordained or appointed it. It is the will of the Father, Ephesians 2:10. The Father is spoken of personally, Christ being mentioned as mediator. (2ndly.) The Son has ordained and appointed it as mediator. John 15:16, “‘I have ordained you, that ye should bring forth fruit’ of obedience, and that it should remain.” And, — (3rdly.) The holy Ghost appoints and ordains believers to works of obedience and holiness, and to work holiness in others. So, in particular, Acts 13:2, he appoints and designs men to the great work of obedience in preaching the gospel. And in sinning, men sin against him. 2ndly . Our holiness, our obedience, work of righteousness, is one eminent and especial end of the peculiar dispensation of Father, Son, and Spirit, in the business of exalting the glory of God in our salvation, — of the electing love of the Father, the purchasing love of the Son, and the operative love of the Spirit: — (1st.) It is a peculiar end of the electing love of the Father, Ephesians 1:4, “He has chosen us, that we should be holy and without blame.” So Isaiah 4:3,4. His aim and design in choosing of us was, that we should be holy and unblamable before him in love. This he is to accomplish, and will bring about in them that are his. “He chooses us to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth,” 2 Thessalonians 2:13. This the Father designed as the first and immediate end of electing love; and proposes the consideration of that love as a motive to holiness,1 John 4:8-10. (2ndly.) It is so also of the exceeding love of the Son; whereof the testimonies are innumerable. I shall give but one or two: — Titus 2:14, “Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

    This was his aim, his design, in giving himself for us; as Ephesians 5:25-27, “Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word; that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy, and without blemish” Corinthians 5:15; Romans 6:11. (3rdly.) It is the very work of the love of the Holy Ghost. His whole work upon us, in us, for us, consists in preparing of us for obedience; enabling of us thereunto, and bringing forth the fruits of it in us. And this he does in opposition to a righteousness of our own, either before it or to be made up by it, Titus 3:5. I need not insist on this. The fruits of the Spirit in us are known, Galatians 5:22,23.

    And thus have we a twofold bottom of the necessity of our obedience and personal holiness: — God has appointed it, he requires it; and it is an eminent immediate end of the distinct dispensation of Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the work of our salvation. If God’s sovereignty over us is to be owned, if his love towards us be to be regarded, if the whole work of the ever-blessed Trinity, for us, in us, be of any moment, our obedience is necessary. 3rdly . It is necessary in respect of the end thereof; and that whether you consider God, ourselves, or the world: — (1st.) The end of our obedience, in respect of God, is, his glory and honor, Malachi 1:6. This is God’s honor, — all that we give him. It is true, he will take his honor from the stoutest and proudest rebel in the world; but all we give him is in our obedience. The glorifying of God by our obedience is all that we are or can be. Particularly, — [1st.] It is the glory of the Father. Matthew 5:16, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” By our walking in the light of faith does glory arise to the Father. The fruits of his love, of his grace, of his kindness, are seen upon us; and God is glorified in our behalf. And, — [2ndly.] The Son is gloried thereby. It is the will of God that as all men honor the Father, so should they honor the Son, John 5:23. And how is this done? By believing in him, John 14:1; obeying of him. Hence, John 17:10, he says he is glorified in believers; and prays for an increase of grace and union for them, that he may yet be more glorified, and all might know that, as mediator, he was sent of God. [3rdly.] The Spirit is gloried also by it. He is grieved by our disobedience, Ephesians 4:30; and therefore his glory is in our bringing forth fruit. He dwells in us, as in his temple; which is not to be defiled. Holiness becometh his habitation for ever.

    Now, if this that has been said be not sufficient to evince a necessity of our obedience, we must suppose ourselves to speak with a sort of men who regard neither the sovereignty, nor love, nor glory of God, Father, Son, or Holy Ghost. Let men say what they please, though our obedience should be all lost, and never regarded (which is impossible, for God is not unjust, to forget our labor of love), yet here is a sufficient bottom, ground, and reason of yielding more obedience unto God than ever we shall do whilst we live in this world. I speak also only of gospel grounds of obedience, and not of those that are natural and legal, which are indispensable to all mankind. (2ndly.) The end in respect of ourselves immediately is threefold: — [1st.] Honor. [2ndly.] Peace. [3rdly.] Usefulness. [1st.] Honor. It is by holiness that we are made like unto God, and his image is renewed again in us. This was our honor at our creation, this exalted us above all our fellow-creatures here below, — we were made in the image of God. This we lost by sin, and became like the beasts that perish. To this honor, of conformity to God, of bearing his image, are we exalted again by holiness alone. “Be ye holy,” says God, “for I am holy,” 1 Peter 1:16; and, “Be ye perfect” (that is, in doing good), “even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect,” Matthew 5:48, — in a likeness and conformity to him. And herein is the image of God renewed; Ephesians 4:23,24, therein we “put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and holiness of truth.” This was that which originally was attended with power and dominion; — is still all that is beautiful or comely in the world. How it makes men honorable and precious in the sight of God, of angels, of men; how alone it is that which is not despised, which is of price before the Lord; what contempt and scorn he has of them in whom it is not, — in what abomination he has them and all their ways, — might easily be evinced. [2ndly.] Peace. By it we have communion with God, wherein peace alone is to be enjoyed. “The wicked are like the troubled sea, that cannot rest;” and, “There is no peace” to them, “saith my God,” Isaiah 57:20;21.

    There is no peace, rest, or quietness, in a distance, separation, or alienation from God. He is the rest of our souls. In the light of his countenance is life and peace. Now, “if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another,” 1 John 1:7; “and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ,” verse 3. He that walks in the light of new obedience, he has communion with God, and in his presence is fullness of joy for ever; without it, there is nothing but darkness, and wandering, and confusion. [3rdly.] Usefulness. A man without holiness is good for nothing. “Ephraim,” says the prophet, “is an empty vine, that brings forth fruit to itself” And what is such a vine good for? Nothing. Saith another prophet, “A man cannot make so much as a pin of it, to hang a vessel on.” A barren tree is good for nothing, but to be cut down for the fire. Notwithstanding the seeming usefulness of men who serve the providence of God in their generations, I could easily manifest that the world and the church might want them, and that, indeed, in themselves they are good for nothing. Only the holy man is commune bonum. (3rdly.) The end of it in respect of others in the world is manifold: — [1st.] It serves to the conviction and stopping the mouths of some of the enemies of God, both here and hereafter: — 1. Here. 1 Peter 3:16, “Having a good conscience; that, wherein they speak evil of you, as of evil-doers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.”

    By our keeping of a good conscience men will be made ashamed of their false accusations; that whereas their malice and hatred of the ways of God has provoked them to speak all manner of evil of the profession of them, by the holiness and righteousness of the saints, they are convinced and made ashamed, as a thief is when he is taken, and be driven to acknowledge that God is amongst them, and that they are wicked themselves, John 17:23. 2. Hereafter. It is said that the saints shall judge the world. It is on this, as well as upon other considerations: their good works, their righteousness, their holiness, shall be brought forth, and manifested to all the world; and the righteousness of God’s judgements against wicked men be thence evinced. “See,” says Christ, “these are they that I own, whom you so despised and abhorred; and see their works following them: this and that they have done, when you wallowed in your abominations,” Matthew 25:42,43. [2ndly.] The conversion of others. 1 Peter 2:12, “Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles; that, wherein they speak against you as evil-doers, they may, by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation,” Matthew 5:16. Even revilers, persecutors, evil-speakers, have been overcome by the constant holy walking of professors; and when their day of visitation has come, have glorified God on that account, 1 Peter 3:1,2. [3rdly.] The benefit of all; partly in keeping off judgements from the residue of men, as ten good men would have preserved Sodom: partly by their real communication of good to them with whom they have to do in their generation. Holiness makes a man a good man, useful to all; and others eat of the fruits of the Spirit that he brings forth continually. [4thly.] It is necessary in respect of the state and condition of justified persons; and that whether you consider their relative state of acceptation, or their state of sanctification: — First. They are accepted and received into friendship with a holy God, — a God of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, — who hates every unclean thing. And is it not necessary that they should be holy who are admitted into his presence, walk in his sight, — yea, lie in his bosom? Should they not with all diligence cleanse themselves from all pollution of flesh and spirit, and perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord?

    Secondly. In respect of sanctification. We have in us a new creature, Corinthians 5:17. This new creature is fed, cherished, nourished, kept alive, by the fruits of holiness. To what end has God given us new hearts, and new natures? Is it that we should kill them? stifle the creature that is found in us in the womb? that we should give him to the old man to be devoured? [5thly.] It is necessary in respect of the proper place of holiness in the new covenant; and that is twofold: — First. Of the means unto the end. God has appointed that holiness shall be the means, the way to that eternal life, which, as in itself and originally [it] is his gift by Jesus Christ, so, with regard to his constitution of our obedience, as the means of attaining it, [it] is a reward, and God in bestowing of it a rewarder. Though it be neither the cause, matter, nor condition of our justification, yet it is the way appointed of God for us to walk in for the obtaining of salvation. And therefore, he that has hope of eternal life purifies himself, as he is pure: and none shall ever come to that end who walketh not in that way; for without holiness it is impossible to see God.

    Secondly. It is a testimony and pledge of adoption, — a sign and evidence of grace; that is, of acceptation with God. And, — Thirdly. The whole expression of our thankfulness.

    Now, there is not one of all these causes and reasons of the necessity, the indispensable necessity of our obedience, good works, and personal righteousness, but would require a more large discourse to unfold and explain than I have allotted to the proposal of them all; and innumerable others there are of the same import, that I cannot name. He that upon these accounts does not think universal holiness and obedience to be of indispensable necessity, unless also it be exalted into the room of the obedience and righteousness of Christ, let him be filthy still.

    These objections being removed, and having, at the entrance of this chapter, declared what is done on the part of Christ, as to our fellowship with him in this purchased grace, as to our acceptation with God, it remains that I now show what also is required and performed on our part for the completing thereof. This, then, consists in the ensuing particulars: — 1. The saints cordially approve of this righteousness, as that alone which is absolutely complete, and able to make them acceptable before God. And this supposeth six things: — (1.) Their clear and full conviction of the necessity of a righteousness wherewith to appear before God. This is always in their thoughts; this in their whole lives they take for granted. Many men spend their days in obstinacy and hardness, adding drunkenness unto thirst, never once inquiring what their condition shall be when they enter into eternity; others trifle away their time and their souls, sowing the wind of empty hopes, and preparing to reap a whirlwind of wrath; but this lies at the bottom of all the saints’ communion with Christ, — a deep, fixed, resolved persuasion of an absolute and indispensable necessity of a righteousness wherewith to appear before God. The holiness of God’s nature, the righteousness of his government, the severity of his law, the terror of his wrath, are always before them. They have been all convinced of sin, and have looked on themselves as ready to sink under the vengeance due to it.

    They have all cried, “Men and brethren, what shall we do to be saved?” “Wherewith shall we come before God?” and have all concluded, that it is in vain to flatter themselves with hopes of escaping as they are by nature.

    If God be holy and righteous, and of purer eyes than to behold iniquity, they must have a righteousness to stand before him; and they know what will be the cry one day of those who now bear up themselves, as if they were otherwise minded, Isaiah 53:1-5; Micah 6:6,7. (2.) They weigh their own righteousness in the balance, and find it wanting; and this two ways: — [1.] In general, and upon the whole of the matter, at their first setting themselves before God. When men are convinced of the necessity of a righteousness, they catch at every thing that presents itself to them for relief. Like men ready to sink in deep waters, [they] catch at that which is next, to save them from drowning; which sometimes proves a rotten stick, that sinks with them. So did the Jews, Romans 9:31,32; they caught hold of the law, and it would not relieve them; and how they perished with it the apostle declares, chap. <451001> 10:1-4. The law put them upon setting up a righteousness of their own. This kept them doing, and in hope; but kept them from submitting to the righteousness of God. Here many perish, and never get one step nearer God all their days. This the saints renounce; they have no confidence in the flesh: they know that all they can do, all that the law can do, which is weak through the flesh, will not avail them. See what judgement Paul makes of all a man’s own righteousness, Philippians 3:8-10. This they bear in their minds daily, this they fill their thoughts withal, that upon the account of what they have done, can do, ever shall do, they cannot be accepted with God, or justified thereby. This keeps their souls humble, full of a sense of their own vileness, all their days. [2.] In particular. They daily weigh all their particular actions in the balance, and find them wanting, as to any such completeness as, upon their own account, to be accepted with God. “Oh!” says a saint, “if I had nothing to commend me unto God but this prayer, this duty, this conquest of a temptation, wherein I myself see so many failings, so much imperfection, could I appear with any boldness before him? Shall I, then, piece up a garment of righteousness out of my best duties? Ah! it is all as a defiled cloth,” Isaiah 64:6.

    These thoughts accompany them in all their duties, in their best and most choice performances: — “Lord, what am I in my best estate? How little suitableness unto thy holiness is in my best duties! O spare me, in reference to the best thing that ever I did in my life!” Nehemiah 13:22.

    When a man who lives upon convictions has got some enlargements in duties, some conquest over a sin or temptation, he hugs himself, like Micah when he had got a Levite to be his priest: now surely it shall be well with him, now God will bless him: his heart is now at ease; he has peace in what he has done. But he who has communion with Christ, when he is highest in duties of sanctification and holiness, is clearest in the apprehension of his own unprofitableness, and rejects every thought that might arise in his heart of setting his peace in them, or upon them. He says to his soul, “Do these things seem something to thee? Alas! thou hast to do with an infinitely righteous God, who looks through and through all that vanity, which thou art but little acquainted withal; and should he deal with thee according to thy best works, thou must perish.” (3.) They approve of, value, and rejoice in, this righteousness, for their acceptation, which the Lord Jesus has wrought out and provided for them; this being discovered to them, they approve of it with all their hearts, and rest in it. Isaiah 45:24, “Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength.” This is their voice and language, when once the righteousness of God in Christ is made known unto them: “Here is righteousness indeed; here have I rest for my soul. Like the merchant man in the gospel ( Matthew 13:45,46) that finds the pearl of price, I had been searching up and down; I looked this and that way for help, but it was far away; I spent my strength for that which was not bread: here is that, indeed, which makes me rich for ever!” When first the righteousness of Christ, for acceptation with God, is revealed to a poor laboring soul, that has fought for rest and has found none, he is surprised and amazed, and is not able to contain himself: and such a one always in his heart approves this righteousness on a twofold account: — [1.] As full of infinite wisdom. “Unto them that believe,” saith the apostle, “Christ crucified is ‘the wisdom of God,’” 1 Corinthians 1:24. They see infinite wisdom in this way of their acceptation with God. “In what darkness,” says such a one, “in what straits, in what entanglements, was my poor soul! How little able was I to look through the clouds and perplexities wherewith I was encompassed! I looked inwards, and there was nothing but sin, horror, fear, tremblings; I looked upwards, and saw nothing but wrath, curses, and vengeance. I knew that God was a holy and righteous God, and that no unclean thing could abide before him; I knew that I was a poor, vile, unclean, and sinful creature; and how to bring these two together in peace, I knew not. But in the righteousness of Christ does a world of wisdom open itself, dispelling all difficulties and darkness, and manifesting a reconciliation of all this.” “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!” Romans 11:33; Colossians 2:3.

    But of this before. [2.] As full of grace. He knows that sin had shut up the whole way of grace towards him; and whereas God aims at nothing so much as the manifestation of his grace, he was utterly cut short of it. Now, to have a complete righteousness provided, and yet abundance of grace manifested, exceedingly delights the soul; — to have God’s dealing with his person all grace, and dealing with his righteousness all justice, takes up his thoughts.

    God everywhere assures us that this righteousness is of grace. It is “by grace, and no more of works,” Romans 11:6, as the apostle at large sets it out, Ephesians 2:7-9. It is from riches of grace and kindness that the provision of this righteousness is made. It is of mere grace that it is bestowed on us, it is not at all of works; though it be in itself a righteousness of works, yet to us it is of mere grace. So Titus 3:4-7, “But after that the kindness and love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

    The rise of all this dispensation is kindness and love; that is, grace, verse 4.

    The way of communication, negatively, is not by works of righteousness that we have done; — positively, by the communication of the Holy Ghost, verse 5; the means of whose procurement is Jesus Christ, verse 6; — and the work itself is by grace, verse 7. Here is use made of every word almost, whereby the exceeding rich grace, kindness, mercy, and goodness of God may be expressed, all concurring in this work. As: 1. Crhsto>thv , — his goodness, benignity, readiness to communicate of himself and his good things that may be profitable to us. 2. Filanqrwpi>a , — mercy, love, and propensity of mind to help, assist, relieve them of whom he speaks, towards whom he is so affected. 3. [Eleov , — mercy forgiveness, compassion, tenderness, to them that suffer; and ca>riv , — free pardoning bounty, undeserved love. And all this is said to be tou~ Qeou~ swth~rov , — he exercises all these properties and attributes of his nature towards us that he may save us; and in the bestowing of it, giving us the Holy Ghost, it is said, ejxe>ceen , — he poured him out as water out of a vessel, without stop and hesitation; and that not in a small measure, but plousi>wv , — richly and in abundance: whence, as to the work itself, it is emphatically said, dikaiwqe>ntev th~ ejkei>nou ca>riti , — justified by the grace of him who is such a one. And this do the saints of God, in their communion with Christ, exceedingly rejoice in before him, that the way of their acceptation before God is a way of grace, kindness, and mercy, that they might not boast in themselves, but in the Lord and his goodness, crying, “How great is thy goodness! how great is thy bounty!” (4.) They approve of it, and rejoice in it, as a quay of great peace and security to themselves and their own souls. They remember what was their state and condition whilst they went about to set up a righteousness of their own, and were not subject to the righteousness of Christ, — how miserably they were tossed up and down with continual fluctuating thoughts. Sometimes they had hope, and sometimes were full of fear; sometimes they thought themselves in some good condition, and anon were at the very brink of hell, their consciences being racked and torn with sin and fear: but now, “being justified by faith, they have peace with God,” Romans 5:1. All is quiet and serene; not only that storm is over, but they are in the haven where they would be. They have abiding peace with God. Hence is that description of Christ to a poor soul, Isaiah 32:2, “And a man shall he as a hiding-place from the wind, and a covert from the tempest; as rivers of water in a dry place, as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land.”

    Wind and tempest, and drought and weariness, — nothing now troubles the soul that is in Christ; he has a hiding-place, and a covert, and rivers of water, and the shadow of a great rock, for his security. This is the great mystery of faith in this business of our acceptation with God by Christ: — that whereas the soul of a believer finds enough in him and upon him to rend the very caul of the heart, to fill him with fears, terror, disquietments all his days, yet through Christ he is at perfect peace with God, Isaiah 26:3; Psalm 4:6-8. Hence do the souls of believers exceedingly magnify Jesus Christ, that they can behold the face of God with boldness, confidence, peace, joy, assurance, — that they can call him Father, bear themselves on his love, walk up and down in quietness, and without fear.

    How glorious is the Son of God in this grace! They remember the wormwood and gall that they have eaten; — the vinegar and tears they have drunk; — the trembling of their souls, like an aspen leaf that is shaken with the wind. Whenever they thought of God, what contrivances have they had to hide, and fly, and escape! To be brought now to settlement and security, must needs greatly affect them. (5.) They cordially approve of this righteousness, because it is a way and means of exceeding exaltation and honor of the Lord Jesus, whom their souls do love. Being once brought to an acquaintance with Jesus Christ, their hearts desire nothing more than that he may be honored and glorified to the utmost, and in all things have the pre-eminence. Now, what can more tend to the advancing and honoring of him in our hearts, than to know that he is made of God unto us “wisdom and righteousness?” Corinthians 1:30. Not that he is this or that part of our acceptation with God; but he is all, — he is the whole. They know that on the account of his working out their acceptation with God, he is, — [1.] Honored of God his Father. Philippians 2:7-11, “He made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: and being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also has highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

    Whether that word “wherefore” denotes a connection of causality or only a consequence, this is evident, that on the account of his suffering, and as the end of it, he was honored and exalted of God to an unspeakable pre-eminence, dignity, and authority; according as God had promised him on the same account, Isaiah 53:11,12; Acts 2:36, 5:30,31. And therefore it is said, that when “he had by himself purged our sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high,” Hebrews 1:3. [2.] He is on this account honored of all the angels in heaven, even because of this great work of bringing sinners unto God; for they do not only bow down and desire to look into the mystery of the cross, 1 Peter 1:12, but worship and praise him always on this account: Revelation 5:11-14, “I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne, and the living creatures and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing. And every creature which is in heaven and earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever. And the living creatures said, Amen. And the four and twenty elders fell down and worshipped him that liveth for ever and ever.”

    The reason given of this glorious and wonderful doxology, this attribution of honor and glory to Jesus Christ by the whole host of heaven, is, because he was the Lamb that was slain; that is, because of the work of our redemption and our bringing unto God. And it is not a little refreshment and rejoicing to the souls of the saints, to know that all the angels of God, the whole host of heaven, which never sinned, do yet continually rejoice and ascribe praise and honor to the Lord Jesus, for his bringing them to peace and favor with God. [3.] He is honored by his saints all the world over; and indeed, if they do not, who should? If they honor him not as they honor the Father, they are, of all men, the most unworthy. But see what they do, Revelation 1:5,6, “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and has made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Chap. 5:8-10, “The four living creatures and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of saints. And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood, out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; and hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.” The great, solemn worship of the Christian church consists in this assignation of honor and glory to the Lord Jesus: therefore do they love him, honor him, delight in him; as Paul, Philippians 3:8; and so the spouse, Song of Solomon 5:9-16. And this is on this account, — (6.) They cordially approve of this righteousness, this way of acceptation, as that which brings glory to God as such. When they were laboring under the guilt of sin, that which did most of all perplex their souls was, that their safety was inconsistent with the glory and honor of the great God, — with his justice, faithfulness, and truth, all which were engaged for the destruction of sin; and how to come off from ruin without the loss of their honor [i. e., the honor of the fore-mentioned attributes] they saw not. But now by the revelation of this righteousness from faith to faith, they plainly see that all the properties of God are exceedingly glorified in the pardon, justification, and acceptance of poor sinners; as before was manifested.

    And this is the first way whereby the saints hold daily communion with the Lord Jesus in this purchased grace of acceptation with God: they consider, approve of, and rejoice in, the way, means, and thing itself. 2. They make an actual commutation with the Lord Jesus as to their sins and his righteousness. Of this there are also sundry parts: — (1.) They continually keep alive upon their hearts a sense of the guilt and evil of sin; even then when they are under some comfortable persuasions of their personal acceptance with God. Sense of pardon takes away the horror and fear, but not a due sense of the guilt of sin. It is the daily exercise of the saints of God, to consider the great provocation that is in sin, — their sins, the sin of their nature and lives; to render themselves vile in their own hearts and thoughts on that account; to compare it with the terror of the Lord; and to judge themselves continually. This they do in general. “My sin is ever before me,” says David. They set sin before them, not to terrify and affright their souls with it, but that a due sense of the evil of it may be kept alive upon their hearts. (2.) They gather up in their thoughts the sins for which they have not made a particular reckoning with God in Christ; or if they have begun so to do, yet they have not made clear work of it, nor come to a clear and comfortable issue. There is nothing more dreadful than for a man to be able to digest his convictions; — to have sin look him in the face, and speak perhaps some words of terror to him, and to be able, by any charms of diversions or delays, to put it off, without coming to a full trial as to state and condition in reference thereunto. This the saints do: — they gather up their sins, lay them in the balance of the law, see and consider their weight and desert; and then, — (3.) They make this commutation I speak of with Jesus Christ; that is, — [1.] They seriously consider, and by faith conquer, all objections to the contrary, that Jesus Christ, by the will and appointment of the Father, has really undergone the punishment that was due to those sins that lie now under his eye and consideration, Isaiah 53:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21. He has as certainly and really answered the justice of God for them as, if he himself (the sinner) should at that instant be cast into hell, he could do. [2.] They hearken to the voice of Christ calling them to him with their burden, “Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden;” — “Come with your burdens; come, thou poor soul, with thy guilt of sin.” Why? what to do? “Why, this is mine,” saith Christ; “this agreement I made with my Father, that I should come, and take thy sins, and bear them away: they were my lot. Give me thy burden, give me all thy sins. Thou knowest not what to do with them; I know how to dispose of them well enough, so that God shall be glorified, and thy soul delivered.” Hereupon, — [3.] They lay down their sins at the cross of Christ, upon his shoulders.

    This is faith’s great and bold venture upon the grace, faithfulness, and truth of God, to stand by the cross and say, “Ah! he is bruised for my sins, and wounded for my transgressions, and the chastisement of my peace is upon him. He is thus made sin for me. Here I give up my sins to him that is able to bear them, to undergo them. He requires it of my hands, that I should be content that he should undertake for them; and that I heartily consent unto.” This is every day’s work; I know not how any peace can be maintained with God without it. If it be the work of souls to receive Christ, as made sin for us, we must receive him as one that takes our sins upon him. Not as though he died any more, or suffered any more; but as the faith of the saints of old made that present and done before their eyes [which had] not yet come to pass, Hebrews 11:1, so faith now makes that present which was accomplished and past many generations ago. This it is to know Christ crucified. [4.] Having thus by faith given up their sins to Christ, and seen God laying them all on him, they draw nigh, and take from him that righteousness which he has wrought out for them; so fulfilling the whole of that of the apostle, 2 Corinthians 5:21, “He was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” They consider him tendering himself and his righteousness, to be their righteousness before God; they take it, and accept of it, and complete this blessed bartering and exchange of faith. Anger, curse, wrath, death, sin as to its guilt, he took it all and takes it all away. With him we leave whatever of this nature belongs to us; and from him we receive love, life, righteousness, and peace.

    Objection . But it may be said, “Surely this course of procedure can never be acceptable to Jesus Christ. What! shall we daily come to him with our filth, our guilt, our sins? May he not, will he not, bid us keep them to ourselves? they are our own. Shall we be always giving sins, and taking righteousness?”

    Answer . There is not any thing that Jesus Christ is more delighted with, than that his saints should always hold communion with him as to this business of giving and receiving. For, — 1. This exceedingly honors him, and gives him the glory that is his due.

    Many, indeed, cry “Lord, Lord,” and make mention of him, but honor him not at all. How so? They take his work out of his hands, and ascribe it unto other things; their repentance, their duties, shall bear their iniquities.

    They do not say so; but they do so. The commutation they make, if they make any, it is with themselves. All their bartering about sin is in and with their own souls. The work that Christ came to do in the world, was to “bear our iniquities,” and lay down his life a ransom for our sins. The cup he had to drink of was filled with our sins, as to the punishment due to them. What greater dishonor, then, can be done to the Lord Jesus, than to ascribe this work to any thing else, — to think to get rid of our sins [by] any other way or means? Herein, then, I say, is Christ honored indeed, when we go to him with our sins by faith, and say unto him, “Lord, this is thy work; this is that for which thou camest into the world; this is that thou hast undertaken to do. Thou callest for my burden, which is too heavy for me to bear; take it, blessed Redeemer Thou tenderest thy righteousness; that is my portion.” Then is Christ honored, then is the glory of mediation ascribed to him, when we walk with him in this communion. 2. This exceedingly endears the souls of the saints to him, and constrains them to put a due valuation upon him, his love, his righteousness, and grace. When they find, and have the daily use of it, then they do it. Who would not love him? “I have been with the Lord Jesus,” may the poor soul say: “I have left my sins, my burden, with him; and he has given me his righteousness, wherewith I am going with boldness to God. I was dead, and am alive; for he died for me: I was cursed, and am blessed; for he was made a curse for me: I was troubled, but have peace; for the chastisement of my peace was upon him. I knew not what to do, nor whither to cause any sorrow to go; by him have I received joy unspeakable and glorious. If I do not love him, delight in him, obey him, live to him, die for him, I am worse than the devils in hell.” Now the great aim of Christ in the world is, to have a high place and esteem in the hearts of his people; to have there, as he has in himself, the pre-eminence in all things, — not to be jostled up and down among other things, — to be all, and in all. And thus are the saints of God prepared to esteem him, upon the engaging themselves to this communion with him.

    Obj . Yea, hut you will say, “If this be so, what need we to repent or amend our ways? it is but going to Christ by faith, making this exchange with him: and so we may sin, that grace may abound.”

    Ans . I judge no man’s person; but this I must needs say, that I do not understand how a man that takes this objection in cold blood, not under a temptation or accidental darkness, can have any true or real acquaintance with Jesus Christ: however, this I am certain of, that this communion in itself produces quite other effects than those supposed. For, — 1. For repentance; it is, I suppose, a gospel repentance that is intended.

    For a legal, bondage repentance, full of dread, amazement, terror, self-love, astonishment at the presence of God, I confess this communion takes it away, prevents it, casts it out, with its bondage and fear; but for gospel repentance, whose nature consists in godly sorrow for sin, with its relinquishment, proceeding from faith, love, and abhorrence of sin, on accounts of Father, Son, and Spirit, both law and love, — that this should be hindered by this communion, is not possible. I told you that the foundation of this communion is laid in a deep, serious, daily consideration of sin, its guilt, vileness, and abomination, and our own vileness on that account; that a sense hereof is to be kept alive in and upon the heart of every one that will enjoy this communion with Christ: without it Christ is of no value nor esteem to him. Now, is it possible that a man should daily fill his heart with the thoughts of the vileness of sin, on all considerations whatever, — of law, love, grace, gospel, life, and death, — and be filled with self-abhorrency on this account, and yet be a stranger to godly sorrow? Here is the mistake, — the foundation of this communion is laid in that which they suppose it overthrows. 2. But what shall we say for obedience? “If Christ be so glorified and honored by taking our sins, the more we bring to him, the more will he be glorified.” A man could not suppose that this objection would be made, but that the Holy Ghost, who knows what is in man and his heart, has made it for them, and in their name, Romans 6:1-3. The very same doctrine that I have insisted on being delivered, chap. 5:18-20, the same objection is made to it: and for those who think it may have any weight, I refer them to the answer given in that chapter by the apostle; as also to what was said before to the necessity of our obedience, notwithstanding the imputation of the righteousness of Christ.

    But you will say, “How should we address ourselves to the performance of this duty? what path are we to walk in?”

    Faith exercises itself in it, especially three ways: — (1.) In meditations. The heart goes over, in its own thoughts, the part above insisted on, sometimes severally, sometimes jointly, sometimes fixing primarily on one thing, sometimes on another, and sometimes going over the whole. At one time, perhaps, the soul is most upon consideration of its own sinfulness, and filling itself with shame and self-abhorrency on that account; sometimes it is filled with the thoughts of the righteousness of Christ, and with joy unspeakable and glorious on that account.

    Especially on great occasions, when grieved and burdened by negligence, or eruption of corruption, then the soul goes over the whole work, and so drives things to an issue with God, and takes up the peace that Christ has wrought out for him. (2.) In considering and inquiring into the promises of the gospel, which hold out all these things: — the excellency, fullness, and suitableness of the righteousness of Christ, the rejection of all false righteousness, and the commutation made in the love of God; which was formerly insisted on. (3.) In prayer. Herein do their souls go through this work day by day; and this communion have all the saints with the Lord Jesus, as to their acceptation with God: which was the first thing proposed to consideration.

    CHAPTER -Of communion with Christ in holiness — The several acts ascribed unto the Lord Christ herein: 1. His intercession; 2. Sending of the Spirit; 3. Bestows habitual grace — What that is, and wherein it consists — This purchased by Christ; bestowed by him — Of actual grace — How the saints hold communion with Christ in these things; manifested in sundry particulars.

    II. Our communion with the Lord Jesus as to that grace of sanctification and purification whereof we have made mention, in the several distinctions and degrees thereof, formerly, is neatly to be considered. And herein the former method must be observed; and we must show, — 1. What are the peculiar actings of the Lord Christ as to this communion; and, 2. What is the duty of the saints herein. The sum is, — How we hold communion with Christ in holiness, as well as in righteousness; and that very briefly: — 1. There are several acts ascribed unto the Lord Jesus in reference to this particular; as, — (1.) His interceding with the Father, by virtue of his oblation in the behalf of his, that he would bestow the Holy Spirit on them. Here I choose to enter, because of the oblation of Christ itself I have spoken before; otherwise, every thing is to be run up to that head, that source and spring.

    There lies the foundation of all spiritual mercies whatever; as afterward also shall be manifested. Now the Spirit. as unto us a Spirit of grace, holiness, and consolation, is of the purchase of Christ. It is upon the matter, the great promise of the new covenant, Ezekiel 11:19, “I will put a new spirit within you;” so also, chap. 36:27; Jeremiah 32:39,40; and in sundry other places, whereof afterward. Christ is the mediator and “surety of this new covenant.” Hebrews 7:22, “Jesus was made surety of a better testament,” or rather covenant; — a testament needs no surety. He is the undertaker on the part of God and man also: of man, to give satisfaction; of God, to bestow the whole grace of the promise; as chap. 9:15, “For this cause he is the mediator of the new testament, that by means of death, for the redemption of transgressions that were under the first testament, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.” He both satisfied for sin and procured the promise. He procures all the love and kindness which are the fruits of the covenant, being himself the original promise thereof, Genesis 3:15; the whole being so “ordered in all things, and made sure,” 2 Samuel 23:5, that the residue of its effects should all be derived from him, depend upon him, and be procured by him, — “that he in all things might have the pre-eminence,” Colossians 1:18; according to the compact and agreement made with him, Isaiah 53:12. They are all the purchase of his blood; and therefore the Spirit also, as promised in that covenant, 1 Corinthians 1:30. Now, the whole fruit and purchase of his death is made out from the Father upon his intercession. This ( John 14:16-18) he promiseth his disciples, that he will pursue the work which he has in hand in their behalf, and intercede with the Father for the Spirit, as a fruit of his purchase. Therefore he tells them that he will not pray the Father for his love unto them, because the eternal love of the Father is not the fruit but the fountain of his purchase: but the Spirit, that is a fruit; “That,” saith he, “I will pray the Father for,” etc. And what Christ asketh the Father as mediator to bestow on us, that is part of his purchase, being promised unto him, upon his undertaking to do the will of God. And this is the first thing that is to be considered in the Lord Jesus, as to the communication of the Spirit of sanctification and purification, the first thing to be considered in this our communion with him, — he intercedes with his Father, that he may be bestowed on us as a fruit of his death and blood shed in our behalf. This is the relation of the Spirit of holiness, as bestowed on us, unto the mediation of Christ. He is the great foundation of the covenant of grace; being himself everlastingly destinated and freely given to make a purchase of all the good things thereof. Receiving, according to promise, the Holy Ghost, Acts 2:33, he sheds him abroad on his own. This faith considers, fixes on, dwells upon.

    For, — (2.) His prayer being granted, as the Father “hears him always,” he actually sends his Spirit into the hearts of his saints, there to dwell in his stead, and to do all things for them and in them which he himself has to do.

    This, secondly, is the Lord Christ by faith to be eyed in; and that not only in respect of the first enduing of our hearts with his Holy Spirit, but also of the continual supplies of it, drawing forth and exciting more effectual operations and acting of that indwelling Spirit. Hence, though ( John 14:16) he says the Father will give them the Comforter, because the original and sovereign dispensation is in his hand, and it is by him made out, upon the intercession of Christ; yet, not being bestowed immediately on us, but, as it were, given into the hand of Christ for us, he affirms that (as to actual collation or bestowing) he sends him himself; chap. 15:26, “I will send the Comforter to you, from the Father.” He receives him from his Father, and actually sends him unto his saints. So, chap. 16:7, “I will send him.” And, verses 14,15, he manifests how he will send him. He will furnish him with that which is his to bestow upon them: “He shall take of mine (of that which is properly and peculiarly so, — mine, as mediator, — the fruit of my life and death unto holiness), and give it unto you.” But of these things more afterward. This, then, is the second thing that the Lord Christ does, and which is to be eyed in him: — He sends his Holy Spirit into our hearts; which is the efficient cause of all holiness and sanctification, — quickening, enlightening, purifying the souls of his saints.

    How our union with him, with all the benefit thereon depending, floweth from this his communication of the Spirit unto us, to abide with us, and to dwell in us, I have at large elsewhere declared; where also this whole matter is more fully opened. And this is to be considered in him by faith, in reference to the Spirit itself. (3.) There is that which we call habitual grace; that is, the fruits of the Spirit, — the spirit which is born of the Spirit, John 3:6. That which is born of, or produced by, the Holy Ghost, in the heart or soul of a man when he is regenerate, that which makes him so, is spirit; in opposition to the flesh, or that enmity which is in us by nature against God. It is faith, love, joy, hope, and the rest of the graces of the gospel, in their root or common principle, concerning which these two things are to be observed: — [1.] That though many particular graces are mentioned, yet there are not different habits or qualities in us, — not several or distinct principles to answer them; but only the same habit or spiritual principle putting forth itself in various operations or ways of working, according to the variety of the objects which it goes forth unto, is their common principle: so that it is called and distinguished, as above, rather in respect of actual exercise, with relation to its objects, than habitual inherence; it being one root which has these many branches. [2.] This is that which I intend by this habit of grace, — a new, gracious, spiritual life, or principle, created, and bestowed on the soul, whereby it is changed in all its faculties and affections, fitted and enabled to go forth in the way of obedience unto every divine object that is proposed unto it, according to the mind of God. For instance, the mind can discern of spiritual things in a spiritual manner; and therein it is light, illumination.

    The whole soul closes with Christ, as held forth in the promises of the gospel for righteousness and salvation: that is faith; which being the main and principal work of it, it often gives denomination unto the whole. So when it rests in God, in Christ, with delight, desire, and complacency, it is called love; being, indeed, the principle suiting all the faculties of our souls for spiritual and living operations, according to their natural use. Now it differs, — 1st . From the Spirit dwelling in the saints; for it is a created quality. The Spirit dwells in us as a free agent in a holy habitation. This grace, as a quality, remains in us, as in its own proper subject, that has not any subsistence but therein, and is capable of being intended or restrained under great variety of degrees. 2ndly . From actual grace, which is transient; this making its residence in the soul. Actual grace is an illapse of divine influence and assistance, working in and by the soul any spiritual act or duty whatsoever, without any pre-existence unto that act or continuance after it, “God working in us, both to will and to do.” But this habitual grace is always resident in us, causing the soul to be a meet principle for all those holy and spiritual operations which by actual grace are to be performed. And, — 3rdly . It is capable of augmentation and diminution, as was said. In some it is more large and more effectual than in others; yea, in some persons, more at one time than another. Hence are those dyings, decays, ruins, recoveries, complaints, and rejoicings, whereof so frequent mention is made in the Scripture.

    These things being premised as to the nature of it, let us now consider what we are to eye in the Lord Jesus in reference thereunto, to make an entrance into our communion with him therein, as things by him or on his part performed: — As I said of the Spirit, so, in the first place, I say of this, it is of the purchase of Christ, and is so to be looked on. “It is given unto us for his sake to believe on him,” Philippians 1:29. The Lord, on the behalf of Christ, for his sake, because it is purchased and procured by him for us, bestows faith, and (by same rule) all grace upon us. “We are blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in him,” Ephesians 1:3. “In him;” that is, in and through his mediation for us. His oblation and intercession lie at the bottom of this dispensation. Were not grace by them procured, it would never by any one soul be enjoyed. All grace is from this fountain. In our receiving it from Christ, we must still consider what it cost him. Want of this weakens faith in its proper workings. His whole intercession is founded on his oblation, 1 John 2:1,2. What he purchased by his death, that — nor more nor less, as has been often said — he intercedeth may be bestowed. And he prays that all his saints may have this grace whereof we speak, John 17:17. Did we continually consider all grace as the fruit of the purchase of Christ, it would be an exceeding endearment on our spirits: nor can we without this consideration, according to the tenor of the gospel, ask or expect any grace. It is no prejudice to the free grace of the Father, to look on any thing as the purchase of the Son; it was from that grace that he made that purchase: and in the receiving of grace from God, we have not communion with Christ, who is yet the treasury and storehouse of it, unless we look upon it as his purchase. He has obtained that we should be sanctified throughout, have life in us, be humble, holy, believing, dividing the spoil with the mighty, by destroying the works of the devil in us.

    Secondly. The Lord Christ does actually communicate this grace unto his saints, and bestows it on them: “Of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace,” John 1:16. For, — (1st.) The Father actually invests him with all the grace whereof, by compact and agreement, he has made a purchase (as he received the promise of the Spirit); which is all that is of use for the bringing his many sons to glory. “It pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell,” Colossians 1:19, — that he should be invested with a fullness of that grace which is needful for his people. This himself calls the “power of giving eternal life to his elect,” John 17:2; which power is not only his ability to do it, but also his right to do it. Hence this delivering of all things unto him by his Father, he lays as the bottom of his inviting sinners unto him for refreshment: “All things are delivered unto me of my Father,” Matthew 11:27. “Come unto me, all that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” verse 28. This being the covenant of the Father with him, and his promise unto him, that upon the making “his soul an offering for sin, he should see his seed, and the pleasure of the LORD should prosper in his hand,” Isaiah 53:10, in the verses following, the “pouring out of his soul unto death, and bearing the sins of many,” is laid as the bottom and procuring cause of these things: — 1. Of justification: “By his knowledge he shall justify many.” 2. Of sanctification; in “destroying the works of the devil,” verses 11, 12.

    Thus comes our merciful high priest to be the great possessor of all grace, that he may give out to us according to his own pleasure, quickening whom he will. He has it in him really as our head, in that he received not that Spirit by measure ( John 3:34) which is the bond of union between him and us, 1 Corinthians 6:17; whereby holding him, the head, we are filled with his fullness, Ephesians 1:22,23; Colossians 1:19. He has it as a common person, intrusted with it in our behalf, Romans 5:14-17. “The last Adam is made” unto us “a quickening Spirit,” 1 Corinthians 15:45.

    He is also a treasury of this grace in a moral and law sense: not only as “it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell,” Colossians 1:19; but also because in his mediation, as has been declared, is founded the whole dispensation of grace. (2ndly.) Being thus actually vested with this power, and privilege, and fullness, he designs the Spirit to take of this fullness, and to give it unto us: “He shall take of mine, and shall show it unto you,” John 16:15. The Spirit takes of that fullness that is in Christ, and in the name of the Lord Jesus bestows it actually on them for whose sanctification he is sent.

    Concerning the manner and almighty efficacy of the Spirit of grace whereby this is done (I mean this actual collation of grace upon his peculiar ones), more will be spoken afterward. (3rdly.) For actual grace, or that influence or power whereby the saints are enabled to perform particular duties according to the mind of God, there is not any need of farther enlargement about it. What concerns our communion with the Lord Christ therein, holds proportion with what was spoken before.

    There remaineth only one thing more to be observed concerning those things whereof mention has been made, and I proceed to the way whereby we carry on communion with the Lord Jesus in all these; and that is, that these things may be considered two ways: — 1. In respect of their first collation, or bestowing on the soul. 2. In respect of their continuance and increase, as unto the degrees of them.

    In the first sense, as to the real communicating of the Spirit of grace unto the soul, so raising it from death unto life, the saints have no kind of communion with Christ therein but only what consists in a passive reception of that life-giving, quickening Spirit and power. They are but as the dead bones in the prophet; the wind blows on them, and they live; — as Lazarus in the grave; Christ calls, and they come forth, the call being accompanied with life and power. This, then, is not that whereof particularly I speak; but it is the second, in respect of farther efficacy of the Spirit and increase of grace, both habitual and actual, whereby we become more holy, and to be more powerful in walking with God, — have more fruit in obedience and success against temptations. And in this, — 2. They hold communion with the Lord Christ. And wherein and how they do it, shall now be declared.

    They continually eye the Lord Jesus as the great Joseph, that has the disposal of all the granaries of the kingdom of heaven committed unto him; as one in whom it has pleased the Father to gather all things unto a head, Ephesians 1:10, that from him all things might be dispensed unto them.

    All treasures, all fullness, the Spirit not by measure, are in him. And this fullness in this Joseph, in reference to their condition, they eye in these three particulars: — (1.) In the preparation unto the dispensation mentioned, in the expiating, purging, purifying efficacy of his blood. It was a sacrifice not only of atonement, as offered, but also of purification, as poured out. This the apostle eminently sets forth, Hebrews 9:13,14, “For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

    This blood of his is that which answers all typical institutions for carnal purification; and therefore has a spiritually-purifying, cleansing, sanctifying virtue in itself, as offered and poured out. Hence it is called, “A fountain for sin and for uncleanness,” Zechariah 13:1; that is, for their washing and taking away; — “A fountain opened;” ready prepared, virtuous, efficacious in itself, before any be put into it; because poured out, instituted, appointed to that purpose. The saints see that in themselves they are still exceedingly defiled; and, indeed, to have a sight of the defilements of sin is a more spiritual discovery than to have only a sense of the guilt of sin. This follows every conviction, and is commensurate unto it; that, usually only such as reveal the purity and holiness of God and all his ways. Hereupon they cry with shame, within themselves, “Unclean, unclean,” unclean in their natures, unclean in their persons, unclean in their conversations; all rolled in the blood of their defilements; their hearts by nature a very sink, and their lives a dung hill.

    They know, also, that no unclean thing shall enter into the kingdom of God, or have place in the new Jerusalem; that God is of purer eyes than to behold iniquity. They cannot endure to look on themselves; and how shall they dare to appear in his presence? What remedies shall they now use? “Though they wash themselves with nitre, and take them much soap, yet their iniquity will continue marked,” Jeremiah 2:22.

    Wherewith, then, shall they come before the Lord? For the removal of this, I say, they look, in the first place, to the purifying virtue of the blood of Christ, which is able to cleanse. them from all their sins,1 John 1:7; being the spring from whence floweth all the purifying virtue, which in the issue will take away all their spots and stains, “make them holy and without blemish, and in the end present them glorious unto himself,” Ephesians 5:26,27. This they dwell upon with thoughts of faith; they roll it in their minds and spirits. Here faith obtains new life, new vigor, when a sense of vileness has even overwhelmed it. Here is a fountain opened: draw nigh, and see its beauty, purity, and efficacy. Here is a foundation laid of that work whose accomplishment we long for. One moment’s communion with Christ by faith herein is more effectual to the purging of the soul, to the increasing of grace, than the utmost self-endeavors of a thousand ages. (2.) They eye the blood of Christ as the blood of sprinkling. Coming to “Jesus, the mediator of the new covenant,” they come to the “blood of sprinkling,” Hebrews 12:24. The dyeing of the blood of Christ as shed will not of itself take away pollution. There is not only aiJmatekcusi>a , — a “shedding of blood,” without which there is no remission, Hebrews 9:22; but there is also ai[matov rJantismo>v , — a “sprinkling of blood,” without which there is no actual purification. This the apostle largely describes, Hebrews 9:19, “When Moses,” saith he, “had spoken every precept to all the people according to the law, he took the blood of calves and of goats, with water, and scarlet wool, and hyssop, and sprinkled both the book and all the people, saying, This is the blood of the testament which God has enjoined unto you. Moreover he sprinkled likewise with blood both the tabernacle, and all the vessels of the ministry. And almost all things are by the law purged with blood. It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these,” verses 19-23. He had formerly compared the blood of Christ to the blood of sacrifices, as offered, in respect of the impetration and the purchase it made; now he does it unto that blood as sprinkled, in respect of its application unto purification and holiness. And he tells us how this sprinkling was performed: it was by dipping hyssop in the blood of the sacrifice, and so dashing it out upon the things and persons to be purified; as the institution also was with the Paschal lamb, Exodus 12:7. Hence, David, in a sense of the pollution of sin, prays that he may be “purged with hyssop,” Psalm 51:7. For that this peculiarly respected the uncleanness and defilement of sin, is evident, because there is no mention made, in the institution of any sacrifice (after that of the lamb before mentioned), of sprinkling blood with hyssop, but only in those which respected purification of uncleanness; as in the case of leprosy, Leviticus 14:6; and all other defilements, Numbers 19:18: which latter, indeed, is not of blood, but of the water of separation; this also being eminently typical of the blood of Christ, which is the fountain for separation for uncleanness, Zechariah 13:1. Now, this bunch of hyssop, wherein the blood of purification was prepared for the sprinkling of the unclean, is (unto us) the free promises of Christ. The cleansing virtue of the blood of Christ lies in the promises, as the blood of sacrifices in the hyssop, ready to pass out unto them that draw nigh thereunto. Therefore the apostle argueth from receiving of the promise unto universal holiness and purity: “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God,” 2 Corinthians 7:1. This, then, the saints do: — they eye the blood of Christ as it is in the promise, ready to issue out upon the soul, for the purification thereof; and thence is purging and cleansing virtue to be communicated unto them, and by the blood of Christ are they to be purged from all their sins,1 John 1:7. Thus far, as it were, this purifying blood, thus prepared and made ready, is at some distance to the soul. Though it be shed to this purpose, that it might purge, cleanse, and sanctify, though it be taken up with the bunch of hyssop in the promises, yet the soul may not partake of it. Wherefore, — (3.) They look upon him as, in his own Spirit, he is the only dispenser of the Spirit and of all grace of sanctification and holiness. They consider that upon his intercession it is granted to him that he shall make effectual all the fruits of his purchase, to the sanctification, the purifying and making glorious in holiness, of his whole people. They know that this is actually to be accomplished by the Spirit, according to the innumerable promises given to that purpose. He is to sprinkle that blood upon their souls; he is to create the holiness in them that they long after; he is to be himself in them a well of water springing up to everlasting life. In this state they look to Jesus: here faith fixes itself, in expectation of his giving out the Spirit for all these ends and purposes; mixing the promises with faith, and so becoming actual partaker of all this grace. This is their way, this their communion with Christ; this is the life of faith, as to grace and holiness.

    Blessed is the soul that is exercised therein: “He shall be as a tree planted by the waters, and that spreadeth out her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat comes, but her leaf shall be green; and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit,” Jeremiah 17:8. Convinced persons who know not Christ, nor the fellowship of his sufferings, would spin a holiness out of their own bowels; they would work it out in their own strength. They begin it with trying endeavors; and follow it with vows, duties, resolutions, engagements, sweating at it all the day long. Thus they continue for a season, — their hypocrisy, for the most part, ending in apostasy. The saints of God do, in the very entrance of their walking with him, reckon upon it that they have a threefold want: — [1.] Of the Spirit of holiness to dwell in them. [2.] Of a habit of holiness to be infused into them. [3.] Of actual assistance to work all their works for them; and that if these should continue to be wanting, they can never, with all their might, power, and endeavors, perform any one act of holiness before the Lord.

    They know that of themselves they have no sufficiency, — that, without Christ they can do nothing: therefore they look to him, who is intrusted with a fullness of all these in their behalf; and thereupon by faith derive from him an increase of that whereof they stand in need. Thus, I say, have the saints communion with Christ, as to their sanctification and holiness.

    From him do they receive the Spirit to dwell in them; from him the new principle of life, which is the root of all their obedience; from him have they actual assistance for every duty they are called unto. In waiting for, expectation and receiving of these blessings, on the accounts before mentioned, do they spend their lives and time with him. In vain is help looked for from other mountains; in vain do men spend their strength in following after righteousness, if this be wanting. Fix thy soul here; thou shalt not tarry until thou be ashamed. This is the way, the only way, to obtain full, effectual manifestations of the Spirit’s dwelling in us; to have our hearts purified, our consciences purged, our sins mortified, our graces increased, our souls made humble, holy, zealous, believing, — like to him; to have our lives fruitful, our deaths comfortable. Let us herein abide, dyeing Christ by faith, to attain that measure of conformity to him which is allotted unto us in this world, that when we shall see him as he is, we may be like unto him.

    CHAPTER -Of communion with Christ in privileges — Of adoption; the nature of it, the consequences of it — Peculiar privileges attending it; liberty, title, boldness, affliction — Communion with Christ hereby.

    III. The third thing wherein we have communion with Christ, is grace of privilege before God; I mean, as the third head of purchased grace. The privileges we enjoy by Christ are great and innumerable; to insist on them in particular were work for a man’s whole life, not a design to be wrapped up in a few sheets. I shall take a view of them only in the head, the spring and fountain whence they all arise and flow, — this is our adoption: “Beloved, now are we the sons of God,” 1 John 3:2. This is our great and fountain privilege. Whence is it that we are so? It is from the love of the Father. Verse 1, “Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!” But by whom immediately do we receive this honor? As many as believe on Christ, he gives them this power, to become the sons of God, John 1:12.

    Himself was appointed to be the first-born among many brethren, Romans 8:29; and his taking us to be brethren, Hebrews 2:11, makes us become the children of God. Now, that God is our Father, by being the Father of Christ, and we his children by being the brethren of Christ, being the head and sum of all the honor, privilege, right, and title we have, let us a little consider the nature of that act whereby we are invested with this state and title, — namely, our adoption.

    Now, adoption is the authoritative translation of a believer, by Jesus Christ, from the family of the world and Satan into the family of God, with his investiture in all the privileges and advantages of that family.

    To the complete adoption of any person, these five things are required: — 1. That he be actually, and of his own right, of another family than that whereinto he is adopted. He must be the son of one family or other, in his own right, as all persons are. 2. That there be a family unto which of himself he has no right, whereinto he is to be grafted. If a man comes into a family upon a personal right, though originally at never so great a distance, that man is not adopted. If a man of a most remote consanguinity do come into the inheritance of any family by the death of the nearer heirs, though his right before were little better than nothing, yet he is a born son of that family, — he is not adopted. [In adoption] he is not to have the plea of the most remote possibility of succession. 3. That there be an authoritative, legal translation of him, by some that have power thereinto, from one family into another. It was not, by the law of old, in the power of particular persons to adopt when and whom they would. It was to be done by the authority of the sovereign power. 4. That the adopted person be freed from all the obligations that be upon him unto the family from whence he is translated; otherwise he can be no way useful or serviceable unto the family whereinto he is ingrafted. He cannot serve two masters, much less two fathers. 5. That, by virtue of his adoption, he be invested in all the rights, privileges, advantages, and title to the whole inheritance, of the family into which he is adopted, in as full and ample manner as if he had been born a son therein.

    Now, all these things and circumstances do concur and are found in the adoption of believers: — 1. They are, by their own original right, of another family than that whereinto they are adopted. They are “by nature the children of wrath,” Ephesians 2:3, — sons of wrath, — of that family whose inheritance is “wrath,” called “the power of darkness,” Colossians 1:13; for from thence does God “translate them into the kingdom of his dear Son.” This is the family of the world and of Satan, of which by nature believers are.

    Whatever is to be inherited in that family, — as wrath, curse, death, hell, — they have a right thereunto. Neither can they of themselves, or by themselves, get free of this family: a strong man armed keeps them in subjection. Their natural estate is a family condition, attended with all the circumstances of a family, — family duties and services, rights and titles, relations and observances. They are of the black family of sin and Satan. 2. There is another family whereinto they are to be translated, and whereunto of themselves they have neither right nor title. This is that family in heaven and earth which is called after the name of Christ, Ephesians 3:15, — the great family of God. God has a house and family for his children; of whom some he maintains on the riches of his grace, and some he entertains with the fullness of his glory. This is that house whereof the Lord Christ is the great dispenser, it having pleased the Father to “gather together in one all things in him, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him,” Ephesians 1:10. herein live all the sons and daughters of God, spending largely on the riches of his grace. Unto this family of themselves they have no right nor title; they are wholly alienated from it, Ephesians 2:12, and can lay no claim to any thing in it. God driving fallen Adam out of the garden, and shutting up all ways of return with a flaming sword, ready to cut him off if he should attempt it, abundantly declares that he, and all in him, had lost all right of approaching unto God in any family relation. Corrupted, cursed nature is not vested with the least right to any thing of God. Therefore, — 3. They have an authoritative translation from one of these families to another. It is not done in a private, underhand way, but in the way of authority. John 1:12, “As many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God,” power or authority. This investing them with the power, excellency, and light of the sons of God, is a forensical act, and has a legal proceeding in it. It is called the “making us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light,” Colossians 1:12; — a judicial exalting us into membership in that family, where God is the Father, Christ the elder brother, all saints and angels brethren and fellow-children, and the inheritance a crown immortal and incorruptible, that fades not away.

    Now, this authoritative translation of believers from one family into another consisteth of these two parts: — (1.) An effectual proclamation and declaration of such a person’s immunity from all obligations to the former family, to which by nature he was related. And this declaration has a threefold object: — [1.] Angels. It is declared unto them; they are the sons of God. They are the sons of God, and so of the family whereinto the adopted person is to be admitted; and therefore it concerns them to know who are invested with the rights of that family, that they may discharge their duty towards them.

    Unto them, then, it is declared that believers are freed from the family of sin and hell, to become fellow-sons and servants with them. And this is done two ways: — 1st . Generally, by the doctrine of the gospel. Ephesians 3:10, “Unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places is made known by the church the manifold wisdom of God.”

    By the church is this wisdom made known to the angels, either as the doctrine of the gospel is delivered unto it, or as it is gathered thereby. And what is this wisdom of God that is thus made known to principalities and powers? It is, that “the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs and of the same body with us,” verse 6. The mystery of adopting sinners of the Gentiles, taking them from their slavery in the family of the world, that they might have a right of heirship, becoming sons in the family of God, is this wisdom, thus made known. And how was it primitively made known? It was “revealed by the Spirit unto the prophets and apostles,” verse 5. 2ndly . In particular, by immediate revelation. When any particular soul is freed from the family of this world, it is revealed to the angels. “There is joy in the presence of the angels of God” (that is, among the angels, and by them) “over one sinner that repenteth,” Luke 15:10. Now, the angels cannot of themselves absolutely know the true repentance of a sinner in itself; it is a work wrought in that cabinet which none has a key unto but Jesus Christ; by him it is revealed to the angels, when the peculiar care and charge of such a one is committed to them. These things have their transaction before the angels, Luke 12:8,9. Christ owns the names of his brethren before the angels, Revelation 3:5. When he gives them admittance into the family where they are, Hebrews 12:22, he declares to them that they are sons, that they may discharge their duty towards them, Hebrews 1:14. [2.] It is denounced in a judicial way unto Satan, the great master of the family whereunto they were in subjection. When the Lord Christ delivers a soul from under the power of that strong armed one, he binds him, — ties him from the exercise of that power and dominion which before he had over him. And by this means does he know that such a one is delivered from his family; and all his future attempts upon him are encroaching upon the possession and inheritance of the Lord Christ. [3.] Unto the conscience of the person adopted. The Spirit of Christ testifies to the heart and conscience of a believer that he is freed from all engagements unto the family of Satan, and is become the son of God, Romans 8:14,15; and enables him to cry, “Abba, Father,” Galatians 4:6. Of the particulars of this testification of the Spirit, and of its absolving the soul from its old alliance, I shall speak afterward. And herein consists the first thing mentioned. (2.) There is an authoritative ingrafting of a believer actually into the family of God, and investing him with the whole right of sonship. Now this, as unto us, has sundry acts: — [1.] The giving a believer a new name in a white stone, Revelation 2:17.

    They that are adopted are to take new names; they change their names they had in their old families, to take the names of the families whereinto they are translated. This new name is, “A child of God.” That is the new name given in adoption; and no man knoweth what is in that name, but only he that does receive it. And this new name is given and written in a white stone; — that is the tessera of our admission into the house of God.

    It is a stone of judicial acquitment. Our adoption by the Spirit is bottomed on our absolution in the blood of Jesus; and therefore is the new name in the white stone privilege grounded on discharge. The white stone quits the claim of the old family; the new name gives entrance to the other. [2.] An enrolling of his name in the catalogue of the household of God, admitting him thereby into fellowship therein. This is called the “writing of the house of Israel,” Ezekiel 13:9; that is, the roll wherein all the names of the Israel, the family of God, are written. God has a catalogue of his household; Christ knows his sheep by name. When God writeth up the people, he counts that “this man was born in Zion,” Psalm 87:6. This is an extract of the Lamb’s book of life. [3.] Testifying to his conscience his acceptation with God, enabling him to behave himself as a child, Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:5,6. 4. The two last things required to adoption are, that the adopted person be freed from all obligations to the family from whence he is translated, and invested with the rights and privileges of that whereinto he is translated.

    Now, because these two comprise the whole issue of adoption, wherein the saints have communion with Christ, I shall hand]e them together, referring the concernments of them unto these four heads: — (1.) Liberty. (2.) Title, or right. (3.) Boldness. (4.) Correction.

    These are the four things, in reference to the family of the adopted person, that he does receive by his adoption, wherein he holds communion with the Lord Jesus: — (1.) Liberty. The Spirit of the Lord, that was upon the Lord Jesus, did anoint him to proclaim liberty to the captives, Isaiah 61:1; and “where the Spirit of the Lord is” (that is, the Spirit of Christ, given to us by him because we are sons), “there is liberty,” 2 Corinthians 3:17. All spiritual liberty is from the Spirit of adoption; whatever else is pretended, is licentiousness. So the apostle argues, Galatians 4:6,7, “He has sent forth his Spirit into their hearts, crying, Abba, Father.

    Wherefore ye are no more servants,” no more in bondage, but have the liberty of sons. And this liberty respects, — [1.] In the first place, the family from whence the adopted person is translated. It is his setting free from all the obligations of that family. Now, in this sense, the liberty which the saints have by adoption is either from that which is real or that which is pretended: — 1st . That which is real respects a twofold issue of law and sin. The moral, unchangeable law of God, and sin, being in conjunction, meeting with reference to any persons, has, and has had, a twofold issue: — (1st.) An economical institution of a new law of ordinances, keeping in bondage those to whom it was given, Colossians 2:14. (2ndly.) A natural (if I may so call it) pressing of those persons with its power and efficacy against sin; whereof there are these parts: — [1st.] Its rigor and terror in commanding. [2ndly.] Its impossibility for accomplishment, and so insufficiency for its primitively appointed end. [3rdly.] The issues of its transgression; which are referred unto two heads: — 1. Curse. 2. Death.

    I shall speak very briefly of these, because they are commonly handled, and granted by all. 2ndly . That which is pretended, is the power of any whatever over the conscience, when once made free by Christ: — (1st.) Believers are freed from the instituted law of ordinances, which, upon the testimony of the apostles, was a yoke which neither we nor our fathers (in the faith) could bear, Acts 15:10; wherefore Christ “blotted out this hand-writing of ordinances that was against them, which was contrary to them, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross,” Colossians 2:14: and thereupon the apostle, after a long dispute concerning the liberty that we have from that law, concludes with this instruction: Galatians 5:1, “Stand fast in the liberty where with Christ has made us free.” (2ndly.) In reference so the moral law: — [1st.] The first thing we have liberty from, is its rigor and terror in commanding. Hebrews 12:18-22, “We are not come to the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, to the whirlwind, darkness, and tempest, to the sound of the trumpet, and the voice of words, which they that heard besought that they might hear it no more; but we are come to mount Sion,” etc.

    As to that administration of the law wherein it was given out with dread and terror, and so exacted its obedience with rigor, we are freed from it, we are not called to that estate. [2ndly.] Its impossibility of accomplishment, and so insufficiency for its primitive end, by reason of sin; or, we are freed from the law as the instrument of righteousness, since, by the impossibility of its fulfilling as to us, it is become insufficient for any such purpose, Romans 8:2,3; Galatians 3:21-23. There being an impossibility of obtaining life by the law, we are exempted from it as to any such end, and that by the righteousness of Christ, Romans 8:3. [3rdly.] From the issue of its transgression: — First. Curse. There is a solemn curse inwrapping the whole wrath annexed to the law, with reference to the transgression thereof; and from this are we wholly at liberty. Galatians 3:13, “Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law by being made a curse for us.”

    Secondly. Death, Hebrews 2:15; and therewith from Satan, Hebrews 2:14, Colossians 1:13; and sin, Romans 6:14, 1 Peter 1:18; with the world, Galatians 1:4; with all the attendancies, advantages, and claims of them all, Galatians 4:3-5, Colossians 2:20; without which we could not live one day.

    That which is pretended and claimed by some (wherein in deed and in truth we were never in bondage, but are hereby eminently set free), is the power of binding conscience by any laws and constitutions not from God, Colossians 2:20-22. [2.] [In the second place,] there is a liberty in the family of God, as well as a liberty from the family of Satan. Sons are free. Their obedience is a free obedience; they have the Spirit of the Lord: and where he is, there is liberty, 2 Corinthians 3:17. As a Spirit of adoption, he is opposed to the spirit of bondage, Romans 8:15. Now, this liberty of our Father’s family, which we have as sons and children, being adopted by Christ through the Spirit, is a spiritual largeness of heart, whereby the children of God do freely, willingly, genuinely, without fear, terror, bondage, and constraint, go forth unto all holy obedience in Christ.

    I say, this is our liberty in our Father’s family: what we have liberty from, has been already declared.

    There are Gibeonites outwardly attending the family of God, that do the service of his house as the drudgery of their lives. The principle they yield obedience upon, is a spirit of bondage unto fear, Romans 8:15; the rule they do it by, is the law in its dread and rigor, exacting it of them to the utmost, without mercy and mitigation; the end they do it for, is to fly from the wrath to come, to pacify conscience, and seek righteousness as it were by the works of the law. Thus servilely, painfully, fruitlessly, they seek to serve their own conviction all their days.

    The saints by adoption have a largeness of heart in all holy obedience.

    Saith David, “I will walk at liberty, for I seek thy precepts,” <19B945> Psalm 119:45; Isaiah 61:1; Luke 4:18; Romans 8:2,21; Galatians 4:7, 5:1,13; James 1:25; John 8:32,33,36; Romans 6:18; 1 Peter 2:16.

    Now, this amplitude, or son-like freedom of the Spirit in obedience, consists in sundry things: — 1st . In the principles of all spiritual service; which are life and love; — the one respecting the matter of their obedience, giving them power; the other respecting the manner of their obedience, giving them joy and sweetness in it: — (1st.) It is from life; that gives them power as to the matter of obedience. Romans 8:2, “The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus sets them free from the law of sin and death.” It frees them, it carries them out to all obedience freely; so that “they walk after the Spirit,” verse 1, that being the principle of their workings. Galatians 2:20, “Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God;” — “The life which I now live in the flesh (that is, the obedience which I yield unto God whilst I am in the flesh), it is from a principle of life, Christ living in me. There is, then, power for all living unto God, from Christ in them, the Spirit of life from Christ carrying them out thereto. The fruits of a dead root are but dead excrescences; living acts are from a principle of life.

    Hence you may see the difference between the liberty that slaves assume, and the liberty which is due to children: — [1st.] Slaves take liberty from duty; children have liberty in duty. There is not a greater mistake in the world, than that the liberty of sons in the house of God consists in this, — they can perform duties, or take the freedom to omit them; they can serve in the family of God (that is, they think they may if they will), and they can choose whether they will or no.

    This is a liberty stolen by slaves, not a liberty given by the Spirit unto sons.

    The liberty of sons is in the inward spiritual freedom of their hearts, naturally and kindly going out in all the ways and worship of God. When they find themselves straitened and shut up in them, they wrestle with God for enlargement, and are never contented with the doing of a duty, unless it be done as in Christ, with free, genuine, and enlarged hearts. The liberty that servants have is from duty; the liberty given to sons is in duty. [2ndly.] The liberty of slaves or servants is from mistaken, deceiving conclusions; the liberty of sons is from the power of the indwelling Spirit of grace. Or, the liberty of servants is from outward, dead conclusions; the liberty of sons, from an inward, living principle. (2ndly.) Love, as to the manner of their obedience, gives them delight and joy. John 14:15, “If ye love me,” says Christ, “keep my commandments.” Love is the bottom of all their duties; hence our Savior resolves all obedience into the love of God and our neighbor; and Paul, upon the same ground, tells us “that love is the fulfilling of the law,” Romans 13:10. Where love is in any duty, it is complete in Christ. How often does David, even with admiration, express this principle of his walking with God! “O,” saith he, “how I love thy commandments! “This gives saints delight, that the commandments of Christ are not grievous to them. Jacob’s hard service was not grievous to him, because of his love to Rachel. No duty of a saint is grievous to him, because of his love to Christ.

    They do from hence all things with delight and complacency. Hence do they long for advantages of walking with God, — pant after more ability; and this is a great share of their son-like freedom in obedience. It gives them joy in it. 1 John 4:18, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear.” When their soul is acted to obedience by love, it expels that fear which is the issue of bondage upon the spirit. Now, when there is a concurrence of these two (life and love), there is freedom, liberty, largeness of heart, exceedingly distanced from that strait and bandaged frame which many walk in all their days, that know not the adoption of sons. 2ndly . The object of their obedience is represented to them as desirable, whereas to others it is terrible. In all their approaches to God, they eye him as a Father; they call him Father, Galatians 4:6, not in the form of words, but in the spirit of sons. God in Christ is continually before them; not only as one deserving all the honors and obedience which he requires, but also as one exceedingly to be delighted in, as being all-sufficient to satisfy and satiate all the desires of the soul. When others napkin their talents, as having to deal with an austere master, they draw out their strength to the uttermost, as drawing nigh to a gracious rewarder. They go, from the principle of life and love, to the bosom of a living and loving Father; they do but return the strength they do receive unto the fountain, unto the ocean. 3rdly . Their motive unto obedience is love, 2 Corinthians 5:14. From an apprehension of love, they are effectually carried out by love to give up themselves unto him who is love. What a freedom is this! what a largeness of spirit is in them who walk according to this rule! Darkness, fear, bondage, conviction, hopes of righteousness, accompany others in their ways; the sons, by the Spirit of adoption, have light, love, with complacency, in all their walkings with God. The world is a universal stranger unto the frame of children in their Father’s house. 4thly . The manner of their obedience is willingness. “They yield themselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead,” Romans 6:13; they yield themselves, — give up themselves willingly, cheerfully, freely. “With my whole heart,” saith David. Romans 12:1, “They present themselves a living sacrifice,” and a willing sacrifice. 5thly . The rule of their walking with God is the law of liberty, as divested of all its terrifying, threatening, killing, condemning, cursing power; and rendered, in the blood of Jesus, sweet, tender, useful, directing, — helpful as a rule of walking in the life they have received, not the way of working for the life they have not. I might give more instances. These may suffice to manifest that liberty of obedience in the family of God which his sons and daughters have, that the poor convinced Gibeonites are not acquainted withal. (2.) The second thing which the children of God have by adoption is title.

    They have title and right to all the privileges and advantages of the family whereinto they are translated. This is the pre-eminence of the true sons of any family. The ground on which Sarah pleaded the ejection of Ishmael was, that he was the son of the bond woman, Genesis 21:10, and so no genuine child of the family; and therefore could have no right of heirship with Isaac. The apostle’s arguing is, “We are no more servants, but sons; and if sons, then heirs,” Romans 8:14-17, — “then have we right and title: and being not born hereunto (for by nature we are the children of wrath), we have this right by our adoption.”

    Now, the saints hereby have a double right and title: 1st . Proper and direct, in respect of spirituals. 2ndly . Consequential, in respect of temporal: — [1.] The first, also, or the title, as adopted sons, unto spirituals, is, in respect of the object of it, twofold: — (1st.) Unto a present place, name, and room, in the house of God, and all the privileges and administrations thereof (2ndly.) To a future fullness of the great inheritance of glory, — of a kingdom purchased for that whole family whereof they are by Jesus Christ: — 1st . They have a title unto, and an interest in, the whole administration of the family of God here.

    The supreme administration of the house of God in the hand of the Lord Christ, as to the institution of ordinances and dispensation of the Spirit, to enliven and make effectual those ordinances for the end of their institution, is the prime notion of this administration. And hereof they are the prime objects; all this is for them, and exercised towards them. God has given Jesus Christ to be the “head over all things unto the church, which is his body,” Ephesians 1:22,23: he has made him the head over all these spiritual things, committed the authoritative administration of them all unto him, to the use and behoove of the church; that is, the family of God.

    It is for the benefit and advantage of the many sons whom he will bring unto glory that he does all these things, Hebrews 2:10; see Ephesians 4:8-13. The aim of the Lord Jesus in establishing gospel administrations, and administrators, is “for the perfecting of the saints, the work of the ministry,” etc. All is for then, all is for the family. In that is the faithfulness of Christ exercised; he is faithful in all the house of God, Hebrews 3:2. Hence the apostle tells the Corinthians, 1 Corinthians 3:22,23, of all these gospel administrations and ordinances, they are all theirs, and all for them. What benefit soever redoundeth to the world by the things of the gospel (as much does every way), it is engaged for it to the children of this family. This, then, is the aim and intendment of the Lord Christ in the institution of all gospel ordinances and administrations, — that they may be at use for the house and family of God, and all his children and servants therein.

    It is true, the word is preached to all the world, to gather in the children of God’s purpose that are scattered up and down in the world, and to leave the rest inexcusable; but the prime end and aim of the Lord Christ thereby is, to gather in those heirs of salvation unto the enjoyment of that feast of fat things which he has prepared for them in his house.

    Again: they, and they only, have right and title to gospel administrations, and the privileges of the family of God, as they are held out in his church according to his mind. The church is the “house of God,” 1 Timothy 3:15; Hebrews 3:6; herein he keeps and maintains his whole family, ordering them according to his mind and will. Now, who shall have any right in the house of God, but only his children? We will not allow a right to any but our own children in our houses: will God, think you, allow any right in his house but to his children? Is it meet, to “take the children’s bread and cast it unto the dogs?” We shall see that none but children have any right or title to the privileges and advantages of the house of God, if we consider, — (1st.) The nature of that house. It is made up of such persons as it is impossible that any but adopted children should have right unto a place in it. It is composed of “living stones,” 1 Peter 2:5; — a “chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people,” verse 9; — “saints and faithful in Christ Jesus,” Ephesians 1:1; — “saints and faithful brethren,” Colossians 1:2; — a people that are “all righteous,” Isaiah 60:21; and the whole fabric of it is glorious, chap. 54:11-14, — the way of the house is “a way of holiness,” which the unclean shall not pass through, chap. 35:8; yea, expressly, they are the “sons and daughters of the Lord Almighty,” and they only, 2 Corinthians 6:17,18; all others are excluded, Revelation 21:27. It is true that oftentimes, at unawares, other persons creep into the great house of God; and so there become in it “not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood and of earth,” etc., 2 Timothy 2:20; but they only creep in, as Jude speaks, verse 4, they have no right nor title to it. (2ndly.) The privileges of the house are such as they will not suit nor profit any other. To what purpose is it to give food to a dead man? Will he grow strong by it? will he increase upon it? The things of the family and house of God are food for living souls. Now, children only are alive, all others are dead in trespasses and sins. What will outward signs avail, if life and power be away? Look upon what particular you please of the saints’ enjoyments in the family of God, you shall find them all suited unto believers; and, being bestowed on the world, [they] would be a pearl in the snout of a swine.

    It is, then, only the sons of the family that have this right; they have fellowship with one another, and that fellowship with the Father and the Son Jesus Christ; they set forth the Lord’s death till he come; they are intrusted with all the ordinances of the house, and the administration of them. And who shall deny them the enjoyment of this right, or keep them from what Christ has purchased for them? And the Lord will in the end give them hearts everywhere to make use of this title accordingly, and not to wander on the mountains, forgetting their resting-place. 2ndly . They have a title to the future fullness of the inheritance that is purchased for this whole family by Jesus Christ. So the apostle argues, Romans 8:17, “If children, then heirs,” etc. All God’s children are “first-born,” Hebrews 12:23; and therefore are heirs: hence the whole weight of glory that is prepared for them is called the inheritance, Colossians 1:12, “The inheritance of the saints in light.” “If ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise,” Galatians 3:29. Heirs of the promise; that is, of all things promised unto Abraham in and with Christ.

    There are three things that in this regard the children of God are said to be heirs unto: — (1st.) The promise; as in that place of Galatians 3:29 and Hebrews 6:17. God shows to “the heirs of the promise the immutability of his counsel;” as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, are said to be “heirs of the same promise,” Hebrews 11:9. God had from the foundation of the world made a most excellent promise in Christ, containing a deliverance from all evil, and an engagement for the bestowing of all good things upon them. It contains a deliverance from all the evil which the guilt of sin and dominion of Satan had brought upon them, with an investiture of them in all spiritual blessings in heavenly things in Christ Jesus. Hence, Hebrews 9:15, the Holy Ghost calls it a “promise of the eternal inheritance.” This, in the first place, are the adopted children of God heirs unto. Look, whatever is in the promise which God made at the beginning to fallen man, and has since solemnly renewed and confirmed by his oath; they are heirs of it, and are accepted in their claim for their inheritance in the courts of heaven. (2ndly.) They are heirs of righteousness, Hebrews 11:7. Noah was an heir of the righteousness which is by faith; which Peter calls a being “heir of the grace of life,” 1 Peter 3:7. And James puts both these together, chap. 2:5, “Heirs of the kingdom which God has promised;” that is, of the kingdom of grace, and the righteousness thereof. And in this respect it is that the apostle tells us, Ephesians 1:11, that “we have obtained an inheritance;” which he also places with the righteousness of faith, Acts 26:18. Now, by this righteousness, grace, and inheritance, is not only intended that righteousness which we are here actually made partakers of, but also the end and accomplishment of that righteousness in glory; which is also assured in the next place, — (3rdly.) They are “heirs of salvation,” Hebrews 1:14, and “heirs according to the hope of eternal life,” Titus 3:7; which Peter calls an “inheritance incorruptible,” 1 Peter 1:4; and Paul, the “reward of the inheritance,” Colossians 3:24, — that is, the issue of the inheritance of light and holiness, which they already enjoy. Thus, then, distinguish the full salvation by Christ into the foundation of it, the promises; and the means of it, righteousness and holiness; and the end of it, eternal glory.

    The sons of God leave a right and title to all, in that they are made heirs with Christ.

    And this is that which is the main of the saints’ title and right, which they have by adoption; which in sum is, that the Lord is their portion and inheritance, and they are the inheritance of the Lord: and a large portion it is that they have; the lines are fallen to them in a goodly place. [2.] Besides this principal, the adopted sons of God have a second consequential right, — a right unto the things of this world; that is, unto all the portions of it which God is pleased to intrust them here withal. Christ is the “heir of all things,” Hebrews 1:2; all right and title to the things of the creation was lost and forfeited by sin. The Lord, by his sovereignty, had made an original grant of all things here below for man’s use; he had appointed the residue of the works of his hands, in their several stations, to be serviceable unto his behoove. Sin reversed this whole grant and institution, — all things were set at liberty from this subjection unto him; yet that liberty, being a taking them off from the end to which they were originally appointed, is a part of their vanity and curse. It is evil to any thing to be laid aside as to the end to which it was primitively appointed.

    By this means the whole creation is turned loose from any subordinate ruler; and man, having lost the whole title whereby he held his dominion over and possession of the creatures, has not the least color of interest in any of them, nor can lay any claim unto them. But now the Lord, intending to take a portion to himself out of the lump of fallen mankind, whom he appointed heirs of salvation, he does not immediately destroy the works of creation, but reserve them for their use in their pilgrimage. To this end he invests the whole right and title of them in the second Adam, which the first had lost; he appoints him “heir of all things.” And thereupon his adopted ones, being “fellow-heirs with Christ,” become also to have a right and title unto the things of this creation. To clear up this right, what it is, I must give some few observations: — 1st . The right they have is not as the right that Christ has; that is, sovereign and supreme, to do what he will with his own; but theirs is subordinate, and such as that they must be accountable for the use of those things whereunto they have a right and title. The right of Christ is the right of the Lord of the house; the right of the saints is the right of servants. 2ndly . That the whole number of the children of God have a right unto the whole earth, which is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof, in these two regards: — (1st.) He who is the sovereign Lord of it does preserve it merely for their use, and upon their account; all others whatever being maalae fidei possessores, invading a portion of the Lord’s territories, without grant or leave from him. (2ndly.) In that Christ has promised to give them the kingdom and dominion of it, in such a way and manner as in his providence he shall dispose; that is, that the government of the earth shall be exercised to their advantage. 3rdly . This right is a spiritual right, which does not give a civil interest, but only sanctifies the right and interest bestowed. God has providentially disposed of the civil bounds of the inheritance of men, Acts 17:26, suffering the men of the world to enjoy a portion here, and that oftentimes very full and plenteous; and that for his children’s sake, that those beasts of the forest, which are made to be destroyed, may not break loose upon the whole possession. Hence, — 4thly . No one particular adopted person has any right, by virtue thereof, to any portion of earthly things whereunto he has not right and title upon a civil interest, given him by the providence of God. But, — 5thly . This they have by their adoption; that, — (1st.) Look, what portion soever God is pleased to give them, they have a right unto it, as it is reinvested in Christ, and not as it lies wholly under the curse and vanity that is come upon the creation by sin; and therefore can never be called unto an account for usurping that which they have no right unto, as shall all the sons of men who violently grasp those things which God has set at liberty from under their dominion because of sin. (2ndly.) By this their right, they are led unto a sanctified use of what thereby they do enjoy; inasmuch as the things themselves are to them pledges of the Father’s love, washed in the blood of Christ, and endearments upon their spirits to live to his praise who gives them all things richly to enjoy.

    And this is a second thing we have by our adoption; and hence I dare say of unbelievers, they have no true right unto any thing, of what kind soever, that they do possess.

    They have no true, unquestionable right, I say, even unto the temporal things they do possess; it is true they have a civil right in respect of others, but they have not a sanctified right in respect of their own souls.

    They have a right and title that will hold plea in the courts of men, but not a right that will hold in the court of God, and in their own conscience. It will one day be sad with them, when they shall come to give an account of their enjoyments. They shall not only be reckoned withal for the abuse of that they have possessed, that they have not used and laid it out for the glory of him whose it is; but also, that they have even laid their hands upon the creatures of God, and kept them from them for whose sakes alone they are preserved from destruction. When the God of glory shall come home to any of them, either in their consciences here, or in the judgement that is for to come, and speak with the terror of a revengeful judge, “I have suffered you to enjoy corn, wine, and oil, — a great portion of my creatures; you have rolled yourselves in wealth and prosperity, when the right heirs of these things lived poor, and low, and mean, at the next doors; — give in now an answer what and how you have used these things. What have you laid out for the service and advancement of the gospel? What have you given unto them for whom nothing was provided? what contribution have you made for the poor saints? Have you had a ready hand, and willing mind, to lay down all for my sake?” when they shall be compelled to answer, as the truth is, “Lord, we had, indeed, a large portion in the world; but we took it to be our own, and thought we might have done what we would with our own. We have ate the fat, and drank the sweet, and left the rest of our substance for our babes: we have spent somewhat upon our lusts, somewhat upon our friends; but the truth is, we cannot say that we made friends of this unrighteous mammon, — that we used it to the advancement of the gospel, or for ministering unto thy poor saints: and now, behold, we must die,” etc.: — so also, when the Lord shall proceed farther, and question not only the use of these things, but also their title to them, and tell them, “The earth is mine, and the fullness thereof. I did, indeed, make an original grant of these things to man; but that is lost by sin: I have restored it only for my saints. Why have you laid, then, your fingers of prey upon that which was not yours? why have you compelled my creatures to serve you and your lusts, which I had set loose from under your dominion? Give me my flax, any wine, and wool; I will set you naked as in the day of your birth, and revenge upon you your rapine, and unjust possession of that which was not yours:” — I say, at such a time, what will men do? (3.) Boldness with God by Christ is another privilege of our adoption. But hereof I have spoken at large before, in treating of the excellency of Christ in respect of our approach to God by him; so that I shall not reassume the consideration of it. (4.) Affliction, also, as proceeding from love, as leading to spiritual advantages, as conforming unto Christ, as sweetened with his presence, is the privilege of children, Hebrews 12:3-6; but on these particulars I must not insist.

    This, I say, is the head and source of all the privileges which Christ has purchased for us, wherein also we have fellowship with him: fellowship in name; we are (as he is) sons of God: fellowship in title and right; we are heirs, co-heirs with Christ: fellowship in likeness and conformity; we are predestinated to be like the firstborn of the family: fellowship in honor; he is not ashamed to call us brethren: fellowship in sufferings; he learned obedience by what he suffered, and every son is to be scourged that is received: fellowship in his kingdom; we shall reign with him. Of all which I must speak peculiarly in another place, and so shall not here draw out the discourse concerning them any farther.


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