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184 CHRIST MYSTICAL; OR THE BLESSED UNION

2 Tim. i. 12, you have but knowledge enough • to know yourselves truly miserable. Wouldst thou, therefore, my son, find true and solid comfort in the hour of temptation, in the agony of death ; make sure work for thy soul in the days of thy peace; find Christ thine; and, in despite of hell, thou art both safe and blessed. Look not so much to an absolute Deity, infinitely and incomprehensibly glorious ; alas, that Majesty (because perfectly and essentially good) is, out of Christ, no other than an enemy to thee: thy sin hath offended his justice, which is himself; what hast thou to do with that dreadful power which thou hast provoked ? Look to that merciful and all-sufficient Mediator betwixt God and man, who is both God and man, Jesus Christ the righteous, 1 Tim. ii. 5; 1 John ii. Į. It is his charge, and our duty, Ye believe in God, believe also in me,” John xiv. l. Yet look not merely to the Lord Jesus as considered in the notion of his own eternal being, as the Son of God, co-equal and co-essential with God the Father; but look upon him, as he stands in reference to the sons of men :

and herein also look not to him so much as a Lawgiver and a Judge, (there is terror in such apprehension,) but look upon him as a gracious Saviour and Advocate. And, lastly, look not upon him as, in the generality of his mercy, the common Saviour of mankind, (what comfort were it to thee, that all the world, except thyself, were saved?) but look upon him as the dear Redeemer of thy soul, as thine Advocate at the right hand of Majesty, as one with whom thou art, through his wonderful mercy, inseparably united. Thus look upon him firmly and fixedly, so as he may never be out of thine eyes; and whatever secular objects interpose themselves betwixt thee and him, look through them as some slight mists, and terminate thy sight still in this blessed prospect; let neither earth nor heaven hide them from thee, in whatsoever condition. SECT. II. The honour and happiness of being

united to Christ. And while thou art thus taken up, see if thou canst, without wonder, and a kind of ecstatical amazement, behold the infinite goodness of thy God, that hath exalted thy wretchedness to no less than a blessed and indivisible union with the Lord of glory; so as thou, who, in the sense of thy miserable mortality, mayest “say to corruption, Thou art my father, and to the worm, Thou art my mother and sister,” Job xvii. 14, canst now, through the privilege of thy faith, hear the Son of God say unto thee, “ Thou art bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh,” Gen. ii. 23; Eph. v. 30. Surely, as we are too much subject to pride ourselves in these earthly glories, so we are too apt, through ignorance or pusillanimity, to undervalue ourselves in respect of our spiritual condition. We are far more noble and excellent than we account ourselves. It is our faith that must raise our thoughts to a due estimation of our greatness, and must show us how highly we are descended, how royally we are allied, how gloriously estated: that only is it that must advance us to heaven, and bring heaven down to us; through the want of the exercise whereof it comes to pass, that, to the great prejudice of our souls, we are ready to think of Christ Jesus as a stranger to us, as one aloof off in

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another world, apprehended only by fits, in a kind of ineffectual speculation, without any lively feeling of our own interest in him; whereas we ought, by the powerful operation of this grace in our hearts, to find so heavenly an appropriation of Christ to our souls, as that every believer may truly say, “I am one with Christ, Christ is one with

Had we not good warrant for so high a challenge, it could be no less than a blasphemous arrogance to lay claim to the royal blood of heaven; but since it hath pleased the God of heaven so far to dignify our unworthiness, as in the multitudes of his mercies to admit and allow us to be partakers of the Divine nature, 2 Pet. i. 4, it were no other than an unthankful stupidity not to lay hold on so glorious a privilege, and to go for less than God hath made us. Sect. III. The kind and manner of this union

with Christ. Know now, my son, that thou art upon the ground of all consolation to thy soul, which consists in this beatifical union with thy God and Saviour; think not, therefore, to pass over this important mystery with some transient and careless glances, but let thy heart dwell upon it, as that which must stick by thee in all extremities, and cheer thee up when thou art forsaken of all worldly comforts: do not, then, conceive of this union as some imaginary thing, that hath no other being but in the brain, whose faculties have power to apprehend and bring home to itself far remote substances, possessing itself in a sort of whatsoever it conceives : do not think it a union merely virtual, by the participation of those spiritual gifts and graces which God worketh in the soul, as the comfortable effects of our happy conjunction with Christ : do not think it an accidental union in respect of some circumstances and qualities, wherein we communicate with him who is God and man; nor yet a metaphorical union, by way of figurative resemblance: but know that this is a true, real, essential, substantial union, whereby the person of the believer is indissolubly united to the glorious person of the Son of God: know, that this union is not more mystical than certain ; that in natural unions there

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be more evidence, there cannot be more truth ; neither is there so firm and close a union betwixt the soul and body, as there is betwixt Christ and the believing soul, forasmuch as that may be severed by death, but this never. Away yet with all gross carnality of conceit, this union is true and really existent, but yet spiritual ; and if some of the ancients have termed it natural and bodily, it hath been in respect to the subject united, our humanity to the two blessed natures of the Son of God, met in one most glorious person, not in respect of the manner of the uniting. Neither is it the less real, because spiritual. Spiritual agents neither have, nor put forth any whit less virtue, because sense cannot discern their manner of working: even the loadstone, though an earthen substance, yet when it is out of sight, whether under the table, or behind a solid partition, stirreth the needle as effectually as if it were within view; shall not he contradict his senses that will say, “ It cannot work, because I see it not?” O Saviour, thou art more mine than my body is mine; my sense feels that present, but so that I must lose it; my faith sees and feels thee so present with me, that I shall never be parted from thee.

Sect. IV. The comparison of this union to the

head and body. There is no resemblance whereby the Spirit of God more delights to set forth the heavenly union betwixt Christ and the believer, than that of the head and the body. The head gives sense and motion to all the members of the body; and the body is one, not only by the continuity of all the parts held together by the same natural ligaments, and covered with one and the same skin; but much more by the animation of the same soul quickening that whole frame; in the acting whereof, it is not the large extent of the stature, and distance of the limbs from each other, that can make any difference: the body of a child that is but a span long, cannot be said to be more united than the vast body of a giantly son of Anak, whose height is as the cedars: and if we could suppose such a body as high as heaven itself, that one soul which dwells in it, and is diffused through all the parts of it, would make it but one entire body: right so it is with Christ and his church; that one Spirit of his, which dwells in and enlivens every believer, unites all those far-distant members both to each other and to their Head, and makes them up into one true mystical body; so as now every true believer may, without presumption, but with all holy reverence and humble thankfulness, say to his God and Saviour, Behold, Lord, I am (how unworthy soever) one of the limbs of thy body, and therefore have a right to all that thou hast, to all that thou docst; thine eyes see for me,

thine ears hear for me, thine hands act for me, thy life, thy grace, thy happiness is mine. Oh the wonder of the two blessed unions! In the personal union it pleased God to assume and

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