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without money. He is bidder. to the marriage of the King's Son, where the bridegroom himself furnisheth all the guests with wedding garments, Atripping them of their own : but he will not come,
because he wants a wedding garment ; howbeit he is very bufy making one ready. This is sad work; and therefore he most have a deeper. Itroke yet; else he is ruined. This ftroke is reached him with the ax of the law, in its irritating power.
Thus the law girding the soul with cords of death, and holding it in wild the rigorous commands of obedience, under the pain of the curse: and God, in his holy and wise conduct, withdrawing his reftraining grace: corruption is irritated, lufts become violent, and the more they are striving against, the more they rage, like a furious horse checked with the bit. Then do corruptions fet
their heads, which he never saw in himself before. Here oft-timęs atheism, blafphemy, and, in one word, horrible things concerning God, terible thoughts concerning the faith, arise in his breait : so that his heart is a very hell within him. Thus while he is fweeping the house of his heart, not yet watered with gospel grace, these corruptions which lay quier before, in neglected corners, fly up and down in it like duft. He is as one who is mending a dam, and while he's repairing breaches in it, and strengthening every part of it, a mighty flood comes down, overturos his work, and drives all away before it, as well what was newly laid, as what was laid before. Read Ron. vii. 8, 9, 10, 13. This is a stroke which goes to the heart'; and, by it, his hope of getting himself more fit to come to Chrift, is-cut off.
LASTLY, Now the time is come, when the man betwixt hope and despair, resolves to go to Christ as he is y, and therefore, like a dying man stretching himself, just before his breath goes out, he rallies the broken forces of his foul ; tries to believe, and in some sort lays hold on Christ. And now the branch hangs on the old lock by one single tack of a natural faith, produced by the natural vigour of one's own spirit, under a molt pressing necessity, Plal. lxxviii. 34, 35. " When he flew them, then they fought him, and they returned and enquired early after God. And they remembered that God was their rock, and the high God their Redeemer." Hof. viii, 2. " Ifrael Thall cry unto me, My God 'we know thee.?! But the Lord minding to perfect his work, fetches yet another froke, whereby the branch falls quite off. The Spirit of God convincingly discovers to the finner, bis uiter inability to do any thing that is good ; and fo dieth, Rom. vii. 9. That voice powerfully strikes through his
soul, “ How can ye believe!" John v. 44. Thou canst no more believe, than thou canst reach up thine haod to heaved, and bring Chrift down from thence. And thus at length he sees he can neither help himself by working, vor by believing: and having no more to hang by on the old ftock, he iherefore falls off. And while he is dittressed thus, seeing himself like to be swept away with the flood of God's wrath; and yet unable so much as to ftretch forth a hand to lay hold of a twig of the tree of life, growing on the banks of the river : he is taken up, and ingrafted into the true Vine, the Lord Jesus Christ giving him the spirit of faith.
By what has been said upon this head, I design not to rack or distress tender consciences; for though there are but few such, at this day, yeu God forbid I should offend any of Christ's little
But alas! a dead seep is fallen upon ihis generation ; they will not be awakened, let us go as near the quick as we will: and therefore, I fear there is another fort of awakening abiding this serion-proof generation, which Tall make the ears of them that hear it to tingle, However, I would not have this to be looked upun as the forereigo God's stinted method of breaking off rioners from the old lock: butihis I offert as a certain truth, that all who are in Christ, have been broken off from all these several confidences; and that they who were never broken off from them, are yet in their natural ttock. Never. theless, if the house be pulled down, and the old foundation razėd, it is all a case, whether it was taken down stone by fone, or whether it was undermined, and all fell down together.
Now it is, that the branch is ingrafted in Jesus Christ. And as the law, in the hand of the Spirit of God, was the instrument, to cut off the branch froai the natural ftock, so the gospel, in the band of the fame Spirit, is the instrument used for ingrafiing it in the supernatural stock, 1 John i. 3. “That which we have feen and heard, declare we unto you, that
also may bave fellowship with us : and troly our fellow ship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ." See lsa. Ixi. 1, 2, 3. The gospel is the filver cord let down from heaven, to draw periling finners to land. And, though the preaching of the law prepares the way of the Lord; yet it is in the word of the gospel, that Christ and a finner meet. Now, as in the natural grafting, the branch being taken up, is put into the stock ;; and being put into it, takes with
it, and fo they are united : even so in the spiritual ingrafting, Christ apprehends the finner : and the finner being apprehended of Chrift, apprehends him; and so they become one, Philip, ili. 2.
First, Christ apprehends the finner by his Spirit, and draws him to himself, 1. Cor. xii. 13." For by one Spirit, we are all baprized into one body. The fame Spirit, which is in the Mediator himself, he communicates to his elect in due time ; never to depart from them, but to abide in them, as a principle of life. Thus, he rakes hold of them, by his own Spirit put in. to them; and to the withered branch gets life. The foul is now in the hands of ihe Lord of life, and possessed by the Spirit of life ; hiw then can it but live? The man gers a ravishing sight of Chrift's excelleocy in the glass of the gospel : he fees him a full, suitable, and willing Saviour ; and gets a heart to take him for and instead of ail. The spirit of faith furnisheth him, with feet to come to Christ, and hands to receive him. , Whát by nature he could not do, by grace be can ; the holy Spirit working in him the work of faith with power
SECONDiL Yg. The finner thus apprehended, apprehends Chrif by faith, and so takes with the blessed ftock, Eph. ii. 17. ** That Christ may dwell your hearts by faith.' The foul that before tried many escape, but all in vain, doch now
SO Jook again with the eye of faith, which proves the healing look. As Aaron's rod, laid up in the tabernacle, budded and brought forth buds, Numb. xvii. 8. So the dead branch apprehended by the Lord of life, put into, and bound up with, the glorious quickning stock, by the Spirit of life, buds forth in adual believing on Jelus Christ, whereby this union is compleated. We having the same fpirit of faith-believe,' 2. Cor. iv. 13. Thus the stock and the graft are-united, Christ and the Christian are married : faith being the foul's consent to the spiritual marriagecovenant, which, as it is proposed in the gospel to mankind fina ners indefinitely, so it is demonstrated, attested, and brought home, to the man in particular, by the Holy Spirit : and fo he being joiged to the Lord, is one spirit with him. Hereby a bé liever lives in, and for Christ, and Christ lives in, and for the believer, Gal. ii. 20. I am crucified with Christ, Nevertheless, I live ; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me.' Hof. iii.
6 Thou fhalt not be for another man, fo will I also be for thee.? The bonds ihen of this blessed union, are, the Spirit on Christ's part, and faith on the believer's part.
Now, both the fouls and bodies of believers are united to Christ. He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit,' 1 Cor. vi. 17. The very
bodies of believers have this honour put upon them, that they are the temples of the holy Ghost, ver. 19. And, the members of Christ, ver. 15. When they sleep in the dust, they
lieep in Jesus,' 1 Theff. iv. 14. And, it is in virtue ofthis union they shall be raised up out of the duit again, Rom. viii. 11. He fhall quick'en your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dewelleth in you. In token of this myftical union, the church of believers is called by the name of her head and husband, i Cor. xii. 12. • For as the body is one, and hach many members, --so allo is Christ.'
USE. From what is said, we may draw these following inferences :
1. The preaching of the Jaw is moft necessary. He that would ingraft, must needs use the fnedding knife. Sinners have many thifts to keep them from Chrift; many things by which they keep their hold of the natural stock: therefore, they have need to be closely pursued, and hunted out of their sculking boles, and refuges of lies.
Yet, it is the gospel that crowns the work : the law makes nothing perfect. The law lays open the wound, but it is the gospel that heals. The law strips a man, wounds him, and leaves him half dead :' the gospel binds up his wounds, pouring in wine and oil,' to heal them. By the law we are broken off: but, it is by the gospel we are taken up, and implanted is Chrift.
3. If any niao have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of hisz' Rom. viii. 9. We are told of a monster in nature, having two bodies differently. animated, as appeared from contrary affections at one and the same time; but fo united, that they were served with the self-fame legs. Even so, however men may cleave to Christ, call themselves of the holy city, and stay themselves upon the God of Israel, Ifa. xlvii. 2. And they may be bound up as branches in bim, John XV. 2. by the outward ties of facraments : yet, if the Spirit that dwells in Chrift, dwell not in them, they are not one with him. There is a great difference betwixe adhesion and ingrafting. The ivy clasps and swifts itself about the oak; but it is not one with it, for it still grows on its own rooi : so, to allude to la. iv. i, many profefiors take hold of Christ, and eat their own bread, and wear their own apparel, only they are called by bis wame.' They May themselves upon hin, but
grow upon their own root: they take him to support their hopes, but their delights are elsewhere.
4. The union betwixt Christ and his myftical members is firń and indissoluble. Were it so that the believer only apprebended Christ, but. Christ apprehended not him ; we could promise little on the itability of such an union; it might quickly be
diffolved: but, 'as the believer apprehends Christ by faith ; fo Christ apprehends bin by his Spirit, and none shall pluck him out of his hand.' Did the child only keep hold of ihe nurse, it might at length weary and let go its hold, and so fall away : but if he have her arms about the child, it is in no hazard of falling away, even though it be not actually holden by, her: so, whatever finful intermissions may happen in the exercise of faith, yet the union remains sure, by reason of the constanţ indwelling of the Spirir. Blessed Jesus ! All his faints are in thy hand," Deut, xxxiii. 3. It is observed by fome, that he word Abbas is the same, whether you read it forward or backward ! whatover the believer's casc be, the Lord is still-to him Abba, Father,
LASTLY, They have an unsure hold of Chrif, whom he has nct apprehended by his Spirit. There are many half marriages here, where the soul apprehends Christ, but is not apprehended of him. Hence many fall away, and never rise again: they let go their hold of Christ ; and when that is gone, all is gone. These are the branches 113 Chrift, that bear not fruit, which the husband man taketh away, John, xv. 23. Queft
. How can that be? Anf. These branches are set in the stock, by a proeflion, or an unfound hypocritical faith; they are bound up with it, in the external use of the facraments: but the stock and thev are never knit ; therefore they cannot bear fruit And. they need not be cut off, nor broken off: they are by the husbananian only taken away, or, (as--the word primarily fignifies) lifted up ;' and so taken away, because there is nothing to hold them: they are indeed bound up with the ftock; but they have never united with it..
Queft., How shall I know if I am apprehended of Christ? Anf. You may be satisfied in this inquiry, if you consider and apply these two things.
First, When Christ apprehends a man by his Spirit, he is fo, drawn, that he comes away to Christ with his whole heart :: for true believing is believing with all the heart, Acts viii. 37: Our Lord's followers are like these who followed Saul at first,
men whose hearts God has touched; I Sami X. 26: When the Spirit pours in overcoming grace, they hearts like water before him, Pfal. Ixii. 8. They flow onto him, like a river, lsa. ii. 2: All nations shall flow. unto it,? namely, to the mountain of the Lord's house.". It denotes not only the abundance of converts; but the disposition of their fouls, in coming to Christ : they come heartily and freely, as (drawn with loying kindness,' Jeri xxxi. 3. Thy people thall
pour out their