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be willing in the day of thy power,' Psal. cx. 3• i. e. free, ready, open-hearted, giving themselves to thee as free-will offerings
, When the bridegroom has the bride's heart, it is a right marriage : but some give their hand to Christ, who give him not their heart.? They that are only driven to Chrilt by terror, will surely leave him again, when that terror is gone. Terror may break a heart of ltone; but the pieces into which it is broken, still continue to be stone: the ierrors cannot foften it into a heart of Aesha Yet' terror may begin the work, which love crowns, The strong wind, the earthquake, and the fire going before : the still small voice, in which the Lord is, may come after them. When the blessed Jesus is seeking finners to match with him, they are bold and perverse, they will not speak with him, till he hath wounded them, made them captives, and bound them with the cords of death. When this is done, then it is that he makes love to them, and wins their hearts. The Lord tells us, Hol. ii. 16-20. That his chosen Israel (hall be married unto himself. But, how will the bride's consent be won? Why, in the first place, he will bring her into the wil. derness, as he did the people when he brought them out of Egypt, ver. 14. There she will be hardly dealt with, scorched with thirst, and bitten with ferpenis; and then he will • speak comfortably to her,' or, as the expression is, he will speak upon her heart. The finner is first driven, and then drawa to Christ. It is with the foul as with Noah's dove ; she was forced back again to the ark, because the could find nothing else in rest upon : but, when she did return, the would have rested on the outside of it, if Noah had not put forth his hand and pulled her in,' Gen, viii.
of blood in pursuit of the criminal ; and be, with a fad heart, leaves his own city; and with tears in his eyes, parts with his old acquaintance, because he dare not stay with them: and he Hees for his life to the city of refuge. This is not at all his choice, it is forced work; necessity has no law. But, when he comes to the gates, and fees the beauty of the place, the excellency and loveliness of it charmas him; and then be enters it with heart and good will, saying, . This is my reft, and here I will ftay: and, as one said in another case, I had perished, unlefs. I had perished.”
SECONDLY, When Christ apprehends a foul, the heart is difengaged from, and turned against, fin. As io cutting off the branch from the old lock, the great idol Self is brought dowog: the man is powerfully taught to deny himself. log in the appre.
hending of the finner by his Spirit, that union is diffolved, which was betwixt the man and his lusts, while he was in the flesh, as the Apostle expresses it, Rom. viii. 5. his heart is looled from them, though formerly as dear to him, as the members of his body; as his eyes, legs, or arms; and, instead of taking pleasure in them, as some time be did; he longs to be rid of them. When the Lord Jesus comes to a soul, in the day of converting grace; he finds it like Jerusalem in the day of her nativity. (Ezek. xvi. 4.) with its Davel not cut, drawing its fulsome nourishment and satisfaction from its lusts : but he cuts off this communication, that he may set the soul on the breasts of his own confolations, and give it rest in himself. And thus the Lord wounds the head and heart of fin, and the foul comes to him faying, " Surely, our fathers have inherited lies, vanity and things wherein there is no profit,”: Jer. xvi. 19. Of the Benefits flowing to true believers, from their union with
V. And lastly, I come to speak of the benefits flowing to true believers from their union with Christ. The chief of the particular benefits believers bave by it, are justification, peace, adoption, sanctification, growth in grace, fruitfulness in good works, acceptance of these good works, establishment in a state of grace, support and a special conduct of providence about them. As for communion with Christ, it is such a benefit, as being the immediate consequent of union with him, comprehends all the reft as mediate ones. For like as the branch, immedi. ately upon its union with the stock, hard communion with the stock, in all that is in it: so the believer uniting with Christ, hath communion with him ; in which he launcherh forth into an ocean of happiness, is led into a paradise of pleasures, and has a saving interest in the treasure bid in the field of the gospel, the unsearchable riches of Christ. As soon as the believer is united to Chrjít, Christ himself, in whom all fulness dwells, is his, Cant. ii. 16. My beloved is mine, and I am his. Anda.. how shall he not with him freely give us ALL things ? Rom. vii. 32. • Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, 6 or death, or things present, or things to come, ALL are yours, 1 Cor. ii. 22. Thus communion with Christ is the great cani. prehensive blefling, necessarily flowing from our union with him. Let us now consider the particular benefits Aowing from it, befare-mentioned
224 Benefits flowing from Christ to Believers. State III.
The First particular benefit that a finner hath by his union with Christ, is Justification ; for being uvited to Christ, he hath communion with him in his righteousness, 1 Corvi. 39. · But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness,' He stands no more condemned; but justified before God, as being in Christ, Rom. vii. 1. There is therefore now. no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.' The branches hereof are pardon of Go, 'and perfonal acceptance.
sit, His fins are pardoned, the guilt of them is removedi. The bond obliging him to pay his debis, is cancelled. God the Father takes the pen, dips it in the blood of his Son, cruffeth the finner's accounts, and blotteth them out of his debt-book, The finner, out of Christ, is bound over to the wrach of God: he is under an uiligation in law, to go to the prison of hell, and there to ly till he has paid the utmost farthing. This ariseth from the terrible fanction with which the law is fenced, which is no lefs than death, Gen. ii. 17. So that the finner paling the bounds assigned him, is as Shemei, in another case, • a man of death,' i Kings ji. 42. But now, being united to Christ, God faith, “ Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom,” Job xxxiii. 24. The sentence of condembarion is reversed, the believer is abfolved; and set beyond the reach of the condemning law. His fins, which sometimes were set before the Lord, Pfal. xc. 8. fo that they could not be hid, God now cakes and cafts them all behind his back,' Ifä. xxxvii: 17. Yea,, he casts them into the depths of the sea,»"Micah viv. 19. What - falls into a brook may be got up again ; but what is cast into the sea cannot be recovered. Ay, but there are some shallow places in the sea : true, but their fins.az
are not cast in there, but? into the depths of the sea; and the depths of the sea are devour. ing depths, from whence they halt never come forth again. But,, what if they do not fink? He will cast them in with farce; lo , that they shall go to the ground, and link as lead in the mighty waters of the Redeemer's blood. They are not only forgiven, but forgotten, Jer. xxxi. 34: 'I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their fins do more." And tho their after-lins: do, in themselves deserve eternak wrath, and do actually makė them liable to temporal ftrokesand fatherly chastisements, aco, cording to the tenor of the covenant of grace, Psal. Ixxxix. 30.33. Yet they can never be actually liable to eternal wrath or the curse of the law; for they are dead to the law in Christ, Rom. vii. 4, And they can never fall from their union with
Chrift; nor can they be in Chrift, and yet under condemnation, Rom. yiii. 1. " There is therefore now no condemnation to them pihich are in Chiift Jesus. This is an inference drawn from that doctrine of the believer?s being dead to the law, delivered by the Apostle, chap. vii. 1-6. as is clear from the 2d, 3d, and 4th verfis of this viii
. chap. And in this respect, the justified man, is the blessed man, unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity.' Psal. xxxii. 2. As one who has no design to charge a debt on another, fets it not down in his count-book.
2dly, The believer is accepted as righteous in God's sight, 2 Cor, v. 21. For he is found in Chrift, pot having his own righteousness, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righreousoess which is of God by faith,' Phil. iii.g. He could never be accepted of God, as righteous, upon the account of his owo righteoufness; because, at best, it is but imperfect, and all righteousness, properly so called, which will abide-a trial before the throne of God, is perfe&t. The very name of it implies perfection : for unless a work be perfectly conform to the law, it is por right, but wrong: and fo cannot make a man righieous before God, whose judgment is according to truth. Yet if justice demand a righteousness of one thar is in Christ, upon which he may be accounted righteous before the Lord : Surely shall such an one say, In the Lord have 1 righteousness,' Ifa. xiv. 24:
The law is fulfilled, its commands are obeyed, its fanction is fatisfied. The believer's Cautioner has paid the debt. It was exacted, and he answered for it.
Thus the person united to Chrift, is justified. You may conceive of the whole proceeding herein, in this manner. The avenger of blood pursuing the criminal, Christ, as the Saviour of loft sinners, doth by the Spirit apprehend him, and draw him to bimfelf; and he by faith lays hold on Chrift: fo the Lord our riglateousness, and the unrighteous creature unite. From this union with Chrilt, results a communion with bim, in his un. searchable riches, and confequently, in his righteoufness, that white raiment which he has for clothing of the naked, Rep. iii. 18. Thus the righteousness of Chrit becomes his: and because it is his by on questionable title, it is imputed to him; it is reckoned his, in the judgment of God, which is always according to the truth of the thing. And so the believing finner having a rigbreousness which fully answers the demands of the law, he is pardoned and accepted as righteous. See Ifa. xlv. 22, 24, 25. Rom. iii. 24. and chap. v. 1.
Now he is a free man : Who shall lay any thing to the charge of these whom God justifieth?
Can justice lay any thing to their charge ? No, for it is fatistied. Can the law ? No, for it has got
For all its demands of them in jefus Christ, Gal. ii. 26. I am crucified with Chrift? What can the law require more after it has wounded their Head ; poured in wrath, in full measure, into iheir Soul; and cut off their Life, and brought it into the dust of death; in so far as it has done all this to Jesus Christ, who is their Head, Eph, i. 22 their Sou', Aett ii. 25, 27. and their Life ? Col. 11. 4. What is become of the finner's own hand writing, which would prove the debt upon him? Christ has blotted it out, Col. ii. 14. But, it may be justice may get its eye upon it again : n9,' he took it out of the way. But, o that it had been torn in pieces. may the finner fay : yea, so it is; the nails that pierced Christ's hands and feet, are driven through it, he sailed it.' But what if the toro pieces be set together again ? That cannot be ; for "be nailed it to his cross,' and his cross 'was burned with him, but will never rise more, seeing Christ dieth no more. Where is the facecovering that was upon the condenined man ? Christ has de. stroyed it, Isa. XXV. 7. Where is death, that stood before the sinuer with a grim face, and an open mouth, ready to devour him ? Christ has .fwailowed it up in victory, verfe 8. Glory, glory, glory to him that thus loved us, and washed us from our fins in his own blood !!
The second benefit fowing from the fame spring of union with Chritt, and coming by the way of justification, is Peace; peace with God, and peace of conscience, according to the meaTure of the sense the justified have of their peace with God, Rom. v. 1. "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God.' Chap. xiv. 27. For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink, but righteoufness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Whereas God was their enemy before, now he is reconciled to them in Chrift; they are in a covenant of peace with him; and as Abraham was, so they are the friends of God. He is well pleased with them, in his beloved Son, His word, which spoke terror to them formerly, now speaks peace, if they sightly take up its language. And there is love in all his disa pensations towards them, which makes all work together for their good. Their consciences are purged of that guilt and filthiness that sometime lay upon them: his conscience purifying blood streams through their souls, by virtue of their union with him, H ix. 14. . How much more shall the blo of Chrift, -purge your conscience from dead works, to serve the living God: The bonds laid on their consciences, by the Spirit of