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them; for he is the Spirit of life, and makes them live unto sighteousness, Ezek. xxxvi. 2.' And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in riy statutes. These that have been planted together with Christ, in the likeness of his death, shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection,' Rom. vi.
5. At Christ's resurrection, when his foul was re-united with his body, every member of that blessed body was enabled again to perform the actions of life : so, the soul being influenced by the fanctifying Spirit of Chrift, is enabled more and more to perform all the actions of spiritual life. And as the whole of the law, and nor some scraps of it only, is written on the holy heart; fo believers are enabled to transcribe that law in their conversation, And altho they caònot write one line of it without blots ; yet God, for Christ's fake, accepts of the performances, in point of fanctification : they being disciples to his own son, and led by his own Spirit.
This fanctifying Spirit, communicated by the Lord Jesus to his members, is the spiritual nourishment the branches have from the Stock in:o which they are ingrafted; whereby the life of grace, given them in regeneration, is preserved; continued and actuated.
It is the nourishment whereby the new creasure liv. esh and is nourished up towards perfection. Spiritual life needs to be fed, and must have supply of nourishment : and believers derive the same from Christ their head, whom the Father has constituted the head of influences to all his members, Col. ii. 196 * And not holding the head, from w wh all the body, by joides and bands, have nourishment ministred, are supplied,' &c. Now, this fupply, is the supply of the Spirit of Jesus Christ,' Phil. i. 196 The faints feed richly, earing Christ's flesh, and drinking his Blond, for their fpiritual nourishment : yet our Lord himself Itacheth us, tha! It is the Spirit thát quickneth : even that Spirit who dwells in that bleffed body, John vi. 63. The hy man natüfe is united to the divine nature, in the person of the Son, and so (like the bowlin Zechariah's candlestick, Zech. iv.) lies at the fountain-head, as the glorious means of conveyance
of influences, froin the fountain of the Deity; and receives not the Spirit by meafure, but never hath a fulness of the Spirit, by rea. fun of that perfonal union. Hence, believers being united to the Màn Christ, (as the seven lamps to the bowl, by their feven pipes, Zech. iy. 2.) his felh is, to them meat indeed, and his blood drink indeed : for, feeding on that blessed brody, i. e. efa fettually applying Chrift to their fouls by faith,) they partake more and more of that Spirit, who dwelleth therein, to their
fpiritual nourishment. The holiness of God could nerer admig of an immediate union with the sinful creature ; nor (consequently) an immediare communion with it: get, the creature coutu not live the life of grace, without communion with the fountain of life: Therefore, that the honour of God's holiness, and the salvation of finners, might jointly be provided for ; the second person of the glorious Trinity, took, into a perfonal union with himself, a linless human nature; that so his holy, harniless, and undefiled humanity, mightimmediately receive a fuloess: of the Spirit, of which he might communicate to his members, by bis divine power and efficacy. And like as, if there were a tree, having its root in the earth, and its branches reaching to heaven; the vast distance betwixt the root and the branches would not interrupt the communication betwixt them. What: though the parts of mystical Christ, (viz. the head and the members,) are not contiguous, as joined together in the way
of a.corporal union? The union is not therefore the less real and effectual. Yea, our Lord himself shews us, that a beit we: should eat his felh, in a corporal, and carnal manner, yet, it would proît nothing John.vi. 63. we would, out be ope. whit holier thereby. But the members of Christ on earth, are united to their head in heaven, by the invisible bond of the self-fame: Spirit dwelling in both : in him as the head, and in them as the.. members, even as the wheels in Ezekiel's vision, were not contiguous to the liviąg creatures, yet were united to them, by an invisible bond of ope fpirit in both; so that when the living creatures weat, the wheels wed by that ; and when the living, ereatures were lilo up from the earth, the wheels were
ap, Ezek. i. 19. För,' says the Prophetthe spirit of the living creature was in the wheels, ver. 20.
Hence, we may see the difference betwixt true sanctification, and that shadow of it, which is to be fouod amongst some strict -profeffors of Christianity, who yet are not true Chriftians, are not regenerate by the Spirit of Christ, and is of the same kind, with what has appeared in many fobar heathens. True fanctia fication is the result of the fouls union with the holy Jefus, the first and immediate receptacle of the fanctifying Spirit; out of whose fulness his members do by virtue of their union with him, receive fanctifying influence... The other is the mere product of the man's own fpirit, whichgwhatever it has, or feems to have of the matter of true holigefs, yet does not arise from the fupera natural principles, por to the high aims and ends, thereof:. forg as it comes from self, so it runs out into the dead fea of self again
and lies as void of true holines, as nature doth of grace. They who have tris bastard holiness, are like common boat-men, who serve themselves with their own oars: whereas, the ship bound for Immanuel's land, fails by the blowings of the divine Spirit, N How is it possible ibere should be true sanctification without Christ? Can there be true fanctification, without partaking of the Spirit of bolinefs? Can we partake of that Spirit, but by Jesus Christ, the way, the truth, and the life? The falling dew Thall foon make its way through the finty rock, as in: Buences of grace shall come from God !o linners, in no other way, but through him whom the Father has conftituted the head of influences, Col. i. 19. For it pleased the Father, that in hini should all fulness dwell: and, chap. ii. 19. And not holding J the head, from which all the body, by joints and bands, having nourishment miniftred, and kvit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Hence fee how it comes to pafs, that many 81 fall aways
from their seeming fanctification, and never becoger : It is becaufe they are not branches truly knię tu the true vine. Meanwliile, others recover from tbeir decays; becaufe of their union with the life giving stock, by the quickning Spirit, 1 John ii. 19. They went out from us, but they were not of us: fur if they had been of uls, they would no doubt have continued with us."
A Fifth benefit is Growth in Grace. Haring nourishment miniftred, they increase with the increase of God, Col. ii. 19. • The righteous fhall Rourish like the palm-tree, he hall grow like a cedar in Lebanon,' Psal. xcii. 12. Grace is of a growing, nature : in the way to Zion, they go from strength to frengtha
Though the holy man be at first a liule child in grace, yet at length he becames a young man, a father, ! John ii. 13. Thos he be does but creep in the way to heaven fonetimes ; yet after-wards, he walkes, he runs, he mounts up with wings as eagles," Ila. xl. 31. If a branch grafted into a lock, never grows,
it is de plain evidence of its not having knit with the stock...
But fonte may perhaps say, " If all ude Christians be growing ones, whai shall be laid of these, who instead of growing are- th going back" 1 answers Tirdt, There is a great difference between the Chriftian's growing fimply, and his growing at all times. All rue Christians do grow, but I do not say, they grow at all times. A tree that has life and nourishment, grows; to its perfe&tion, yet it is not always growing :: it grows not in su be winter, Chiiftians also have their winters, wherein the inluences of grace, necessary for growth, are ceafeds Cant. 1. 2
"I fleep.' It is by faith, the believer derives gracious influence from Jesus Chrift, like as cach lamp in the candlestick received oil from the bowl, by the pipe going betwixt them, Zech. iv, 2. Now, if that pipe be ftopi, if the faints faith ly dormant and (unactive ; then all the rest of the graces will become cini, and seem ready to be extinguished. In consequence whereof, depraved nature will gather strength, and become active. What then will become of the foul ? Why, there is ftill one fure ground of hope. The faint's faith is not as the hypocrite's, like a pipe laid' thort of the fountain, whereby there can be no conveyance : it still remains a bond of union bt twixt Christ and the foul; and therefore, becaufe Christ lives; the believer thall live also,'. John xiv.-19. The Lord Jesus purs in his hand by the hole of the door, and clears the means of conveyance : and then inttuences for growth flow, and the belle per's
's graces look fresh and green again, Hof: xiv, 7. ' 1'hey that dwell under his shadow, hall return': ihey shall revive as the corn, and grow as the vind. In the worst of times, the faines have a principle of growih in them, i John iii. 2. His feed remaineth jo him.' And therefore after decays, they revive again : namely, when the winter is over, and the Sun of righteousness returns to them with his warm irifluences. Mud thrown into a pool, may ly there at ease ; & ux if it be cast into a fountain, the spring will at length work it out, and run clear as formerly. Secondly, Christiáns may mistake their growth, and that two ways. (1.) By judging of their case according to their present feeling... They observe theinfelves, and cannot perceive themselves to be growing but there is no reason thence to conclude they are: not growing, Mark iv, 27 The seed Springs and grows up, he knoweth nat how." Should one fix his eyes ever so steadfastly on the sun ruoning his race, or on a growing tree; he would pot perceive the fun moving, or the tree growing: buty.if he compare the tree as it now is, with what is was some years ago; and consider the place in the heavens, where the sun was in the morning; he will certainly perceive the tree has grown, and the fun has mored. In like manner may the Christian know, whether he be in a growing or declining state, by comparing hispresent with his former condition. (2.) Christians may mistake. their cafe, by measuring their growth by the advances of the. top onlynot of the rooti. Though a man be not growing aller, he may be growing Aronger.. If a tree be taking with the ground, fixing itself in the earth, and spreading out its roots ; it is certainly, growing, although it be nothing taller than.
formerly. So, albeit a Christian nay want the sweet confola
TO tion and Halhes of affection, which fometimes he has had; yet if he be growing in humility, felf-denial, and a sense of needy dependence on J-lus Christ, he is a groxing Christian, Hos. xiv. 5. "I will be as the dew unto Ifrael, he shall caft forth his roots. as Lebanon.'
Quelt.“ But do hypocrites grow at all? And if so, how shall we ditinguisha beiwixi their growth, and true Chriftian growth? Anf. To the first part of the question, hypocrites do grow. The cares have direir growth, as well as the wheatand the feed that fell among thorns did spring op,' Luke siii. 7. only it did bring no fruit to perfection, ver. 14. Yea, a true Christian day, have a falfe growth. James and Jobs seemed to grow in the grace of holy zeal, when their spiris grew so hot in the cause of Christ, that they would have fired whole villages, for not receiving their Lord and Master, Luke ix. 54. They faid, Lord, wilt thou that we comniand fire to come down from heaveng, to confume them, even as Elias did? But it was indeed no fuch thing: and therefore he turned and rebokéd them, ver. 55 and said, - Ye how not what manner of spirit ye are of.'. To the second part of the question, it is answered, that there is die peculiar beauty in true Christian growth, distinguishing it from all falfe growth: it is universal, regular, proportionable. It is a growing up to him in all things which is the head, Eph.. iv. 15. The growing Chriftian grows proportionably in all the parts
of the new man. Under the kindly influences of tħe Sun of righteousness, believers' grow up as calves in the stall," Mala
Ye would think it a monstrous growth, in these creza:
saw their heads grow, and not their bodies ';: or if y ye: faw one leg grow, and another not; if all the parts do not grow proportionably. Ay, but such is the growth of many in reli. gion. They grow like rickery children, who have a big head,, but a Nender body: they get more knowledge in their heads but no more holiness in their hearts and lives :: They grow." very hot outwardly, but very cold inwardly; like men in a fit of the ague. They are more taken up about the externals of religion, than formerly; yet as great trangers to the power of godliness as ever. If a garden is watered with the hand, fome of the plants will readily get much, some little, and fume no Water at all ; and therefore fome wither, while others. ate coming forward: but after a shower from the clouds, all conje fora ward together. In like manner, all the graces of the Spirits TOW proportionably, by the fpecial infgences of divide grace.