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cially dead. When a man that has robbed and wounded another, is taken and sentenced judicially, we say he is a dead man; and it is often a great refreshing and satisfaction to a man, that he is so. Sin, O weak soul, is sentenced and judicially slain; and therefore that can never work the Lord Jesus to give thee a bill of divorce. The thoughts of which should much refresh thee, and support thee.
Secondly; sin is dead or slain civilly, as well as judicially. It is civilly dead, because the power of it is much abated, and its dominion and tyranny over-poured. As when a king or tyrant, whipped and stripped of all power to domineer, reign, and play the tyrant, is civilly dead, even while he lives; so is sin in this sense dead even while it lives. That text is suitable to our purpose in Hos. xiii. 1; When Ephraim spake trembling, he exalted himself in Israel; but when he offended in Baal, he died. What is the meaning of these words? The meaning is this —when the king of Ephraim spake, the people even trembled at his voice, such power once he had: but when he offended in Baal, by serving Baal, by giving himself up to idolatry, he died in respect of obedience not yielded to him as formerly. Time was that he was terrible, but when he fell into idolatry, his strength and glory came down, so that now he became even like a dead carcase. Adam died civilly the same day that he sinned. The creatures that before lovingly obeyed him, as soon as he renounced obedience to his God, renounced all obedience to him or his sovereignty, so that he civilly died the very same day that he sinned, and that is a sweet word that you have in Rom. vi. 11; Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead unto sin. Therefore Christ will never divorce you for sin. O what a support may this be to a weak saint; that sin which he fears above all other things in the world, is slain judicially and civilly; the Lord hath whipped and stripped it of all its ruling, reigning, domineering, tyrannizing power. Where sin sits in the soul, as a king sits upon his throne, and commands the heart, as a king commands his subjects, there is the reign of sin: but grace frees the soul from this. O therefore Christians, look upon sin as dead, that is, as not to be obeyed, as not to be acknowledged, no more than a tyrant that is stripped of all his tyrannizing power. People that are wise and understand their liberty, look not upon such a one as fit to be obeyed and served, but as one fit to be renounced and destroyed. Do you so look upon your sins, and deal accordingly with them.
Thirdly; sin is slain naturally, as well as civilly. Christ has given it its death wound by his death and resurrection. He has given sin such a wound, that it cannot be long lived though it may linger a while in a saint. As a tree that is cut at the root with a sore gash or two, must die within a year, perhaps a month, nay, it may be within a week; though for a time it may flourish, it may have leaves and fruit, yet it secretly dies, and will very shortly wither and perish. The Lord Jesus hath given sin such a mortal wound by his death and spirit, and by the communication of his favour and grace to the soul, that sin shall never recover its strength more, but die a lingering death in the souls of the saints. Christ did not die all at once upon the cross, but by little and little: to shew us that his death should extend to the slaying of sin gradually in the souls of the saints. When our enemy has a mortal wound, we say, he is a dead man, his wound is mortal; so when Jesus Christ has given sin such a deadly wound, such a mortal blow, that it shall never recover its strength and power more, we may truly say, it is dead, it is slain. Therefore cheer up, O weak souls, for certainly sin that is thus slain, can never provoke Jesus Christ to give you a bill of divorce. Ah that all weak Christians would, like the bee, abide upon the sweet flowers, and gather honey put of them!
12. The twelfth support is this—Christ and you are sharers.
Know this, weak saints, for your support and comfort, that Christ shares with you, and you share with Christ.
I shall open this sweet truth to you a little.
Christ shares with you in your natures.—For verily he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of'Abraham,Heb. ii. 16. Andby this he has advanced fallen man above the very angels. This is the great mystery spoken of in 1 Tim. iii. 16; And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh.
The Lord Jesus shares with you in your afflictions. In. all their affliction he was afflicted, and the angel of his presence saved them. In his love and in his pity he redeemed them; and he bare them, and carried them all the days of old, Isa. lxiii. 9. It is between Christ and his church, as between two lute strings, no sooner" one is struck, but the other trembles.
He shares with you in all sufferings and persecutions, as well as in all your afflictions. Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? There is such a near union between the Lord Jesus Christ, and the weakest saints, that a man cannot strike a saint, but he must strike through the very heart of Christ. Their sufferings are held his, Col. i. 24; and their afflictions are his afflictions, and their reproaches are his reproaches, Heb. xiii. 13; and their provocations are his provocations, Nehem. iv. 4, 5; God is provoked more than Nehemiah. So Isa. viii. 18, compared with Heb. ii. 13; Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me, are for signs and for wonders in Israel; this the apostle applies to Christ in Heb. ii. 13.
The Lord Jesus Christ shares with you in all your temptations, Heb. ii. 17,18; iv. 15, 16. Christ was tempted, and he was afflicted as well as you, that he might be able to succour you that are tempted; as a poor man that has been troubled with pain and grief, will share with others that are troubled with pain or grief. Ah friends, the Lord Jesus Christ has lost none of his affections by going to heaven; he is still full of compassion, though free from personal passion. When he was on earth, O how did he sympathize with his poor servants in all their temptations. Satan, says Christ to Peter, hath desired to winnow thee, but I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not. Luther in his preaching met with every man's temptation, and being once asked how he could do so, answered,' Mine own manifold temptations and experiences are the cause thereof.' O the manifold temptations that the Lord Jesus hath undergone, makes him sensible, as I may say; and willing to share with us in our temptations.
As Christ shares with weak saints, so weak saints share with Christ. And this I shall shew you briefly in a few particulars.
Weak saints share with Christ in his divine nature. Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, 2 Pet. i. 4; not of the substance of the God-head, as the faraelists say, for that is incommunicable; but by the divine nature we are to understand those divine qualities, called elsewhere the image of God, the life of God; that whereby we are made like to God in wisdom and holiness, wherein the image of God, after which man was at first created, consists, Ephes. iv. 24; Col. Hi. 10. Saints that do partake of this divine nature, that is, of those divine qualities before spoken of, they resemble God, not only as a picture does a man in outward lineaments, but as a child does his father, in countenance and conditions And well may grace be called the Divine nature, for as God brings light out of darkness, comfort out of sorrow, riches out of poverty, and glory out of shame, so does grace bring day out of night, and sweet out of bitter, and plenty out of poverty, and glory out of shame. It turns counters into gold, pebbles into pearls, sickness into health, weakness into strength, and wants into abundance; having nothing, and yet possessing all things.
Weak saints share with Christ in his spirit and grace. In Psalm xlv. 7, Christ is anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. They have the anointings of the Spirit, as well as he, though not so richly as he. They have their measure, though not that measure and proportion of the Spirit, as the Lord Jesus has. So in Johni. 16. Of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. There is in Christ not only a fulness of abundance, but also a fulness of redundance. There is an overflowing fulness in Christ; as a fountain overflows, and yet still remains full. Grace for grace, or grace upon grace; abundance of grace, and the increases of grace one by other. Grace for grace. That is, as the paper from the press receives letter for letter; or as the wax from the seal receives print, for print; or as the glass from the image receives face for face; so does the weakest saint receive from Jesus Christ. Grace for grace; that is, for every grace that is. in Christ, there is the same grace in us in some measure. There is not the weakest saint that breathes, but has in him some wisdom that answers to the wisdom of Christ,. and some love that answers to the love of Christ, and some humility, meekness, and faith, that answers to the humility, meekness, and faith of the Lord Jesus, in truth and reality, though not in degree or quantity.
Weak saints share with Christ in the manifestations and discoveries of his Father.
The Lord Jesus that lies in the bosom of the Father, has the clearest and the fullest manifestations of the Father that can be, and he comes and opens the love and heart of the Father; he unbosoms and unbowels God to the weakest saint, as in John xv. 15; Henceforth I call you not servants ; for the servant knoweth not what his Lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father, I have made known unto you. So in John xvii. 6—8.
Weak saints share with Christ in his honourable titles; in the title of sons, 1 John iii. 12; Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God: and in that of heirs, Rom. viii. 17. Yea, they are priests, and prophets, and kings, as well as he, as you may see by comparing Revelation i. 5, 6, with 1 Pet ii. 9.
Weak saints share with Christ in his conquests; 1 Cor. xv. 55-^57; Rom. viii. 37. Christ has triumphed over sword, famine, death and devils; and so have they through him also; Over all these we are more than conquerors; we are over and above conquerors. O, what a blessed thing is this, that weak saints should share with Christ in his conquests! The poor weak soldier shares with his general in all his noble and honourable conquests; so does a poor weak Christian share with his Christ in all his noble and honourable conquests.
They share with Christ in all honour and glory. Anb* what would they have more? If any man serve me let him follow me, and where I am, there shall also my servant be. If any man serve me, him will my Father honour. John xii. 26. And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Ephesians ii. 6. Believers are already risen in Christ their Head, and they do at this instant sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. Christ as a public person does