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bought us, we belong to the purchaser, which is the apostle's inference: "Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price,” i Cor. vi. 19, 20. Not our own governors, not our own keepers. The possession the Holy Ghost hath of us making us his temples, is by virtue of this price. If Christ died, that his people might have grace, and that it might be powerful, shall lust trample upon that which Christ hath so dearly bought ? Was it a light thing, for which he endured all the torments upon the cross, and will he now make no matter of it? If he purchased us, and grace for us when we were enemies, will he not preserve it in us, since we are his friends ? Shall he be at the ex• pense of his richest blood to buy it, and spare his power to secure it? Is the right of his purchase of so low a value with him, as to suffer it to be usurped by his greatest enemy? 2. An actual
proprietor and possessor by way of, (1.) Donation from his Father. Every believer is God's gift to Christ as Mediator, for this end, to give eternal life to them, and every one of them : That I should give eternal life to as many as thou hast given me, John xvii. 2; which eternal life, is the knowledge of God, which includes all grace. And they were given to him that they might be perfect ; one, as the Father and the Son are :
Keep through thy own name, those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are,” John xvii. 11. He gave them with an intent that they should be one in as high a manner as the creature is capable of; this was the end both of God's giving and Christ's keeping ; for the particle ira may refer to keep, or to given. If they be not at last one, the end of God's giving must be frustrate, and the petition of Christ not heard. Christ will not undervalue his Father's gift. We prize even small tokens from a friend we love. Because our Redeemer valued this gift, he accepted of it, and took it into his own possession. And because he loves his Father, he will answer the ends of this donation. Christ calls those his sheep by virtue of this donation, John X. 16. Our being his sheep, by virtue of this gift, will be as much a reason to preserve us in faith, as it was at first to confer it on us. The same reason is as valid for preserving as for first conferring, and that is the Father's gift.
(2.) He is proprietor and possessor by the conquest of every gracious person, and whatsoever was contrary to grace. As our Redeemer was to purchase us by his death at the hand of God's justice, so he was to rescue us by his power from the fury of our hellish oppressor. As he was to appease the justice of God, so he was to deface the works of the devil : “ He was manifested to take away our sins," 1 John iii. 5. “For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil,” ver. 8. As God's justice is so perfectly pacified as never to renew the curses of the law against a believer, so is the devil so thoroughly subdued as never to repair the ruins of his works. Did Christ rise as a conqueror out of the grave to let sin and Satan run away with the fruits of his victory? Shall he overcome the powers of hell, and triumph over them, to let the devil rob him of the honour of his achievements by regaining his loss ? Shall that man of his right hand, whom God hath made strong for himself, that we might not go back from him, Psa. lxxx. 17, be made
weak again by man's own corruptions and the devil's repossession ? Should grace truckle under the devil's works, and the standard which was set up in the soul when it was first snatched from the power of darkness, be pulled down, what would become of the glory of our Redeemer's death, and the honour of his victory? What a disparagement would it be, to have that which he paid so great a price for, which was the special gift of his Father, the acquisition of the travail and sweat of his soul, wrested out of his hand by an enemy he hath subdued, condemned upon the cross, and triumphed over at his ascension! No; this will never be. Christ and the Father are one in operation ; and whom God delivers from the power of darkness, he translates into the kingdom of his dear Son; not to return under the government of a hated devil; and makes them meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light, Col. i. 12, 13. not to be partakers of the inheritance of the devils in darkness. Neither the Father nor the Son will lose the fruit of their pains.
(3.) By mutual consent and agreement. He hath possession of them by God's gift, and their own choice : “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand,” John x. 27, 28. Believers are his sheep in his hand, he knows them with a knowledge of affection, and therefore will be careful of their feeding, growth, and safety. On the other side, they hear his voice, answer his call, and believe in him, and own him for their Lord and Proprietor. They follow him, he calls them; they hear his voice, he
knows them; they follow him, he gives unto them eternal life ; a life never to perish, either by their own wills, or the wolves' violence. Against both those, Christ in this promise as their Owner, secures them. Against their corruptions, they shall not perish, namely, by a corruptive principle in themselves : here he removes from them all inward causes of destruction. Against outward violence, neither shall any man,
nor devil, pluck them out of my hands, šiç. By this promise he holds us safe in his own possession against the encroachments of our lusts and the rapine of the devil. They choose him for their guardian, and cast all their care upon him, and follow his conduct; and he takes care of them to give them eternal life, and to mind the weakest as well as the strongest of his sheep. He hath them in his hand. They apprehend him, and are apprehended by him, that they may attain the same end of the race with him, the resurrection of the dead, namely, a state of perfection: “If by any means I may attain unto the resurrection of the dead, not as though I had already attained, or were already perfect; but I follow after, if that I may (karalatw) lay hold of that for which” [for which end] “I am apprehended of Christ Jesus,” Phil. ii. 12. Apprehended, or laid hold on by Christ, a metaphor from those that run a race, that take hold of another to draw him after to win a prize as well as themselves. Christ lays hold on believers, and they follow him. Will Christ be easily persuaded to let go the hold of his own right? will he throw them out of his hand ? That would be changeableness, and unfaithfulness after his promise. Shall any pluck them out of his hand ? That would be weakness. Faith cleaves
to Christ, and Christ to faith. Faith hands Christ into the heart, and gives him possession ; Christ takes the heart as his own property : " That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith,” Eph. iii. 17; and engageth himself by promise that both he and his Father shall abide there, John xiv. 23. Will any gracious heart cast Christ out of his lodging ? He that knows the sweetness of their company, can never desire to have their room. Doth Christ dwell in the heart to let sin pull his house down about his ears ? Will he suffer the devil to bring in hell-fire to burn up his dwelling? It is his own house, the church and every member of it, Heb. iji. 6. Will he not hinder the decays of it, and repair the beams and walls ? Yea, the very tiles and pins ? Shall he not brush down the cobwebs, and sweep out the dust ? The heart is his field; will he not gather in his wheat, and burn up the tares at last ?
3. Christ is a steward and officer, appointed by God to this purpose, to take care of every believer, and his grace. How is he the “ surety of the covenant,” and of “ a better testament?” Heb. vii. 22. How can it be a better testament, if it may be broken, and prove as weak as the first ? He is bound for the performance of the articles of it, whereof those are the two standing parts of this agreement: “ I will not turn away from them to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me,” Jer. xxxii. 40. that God will not turn away from us to do us good, and that we shall never depart from him; and our perpetual cleaving to him doth depend upon his putting his fear into our hearts, and is the end of it. This never departing is the end why God puts his