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unite our human nature to the Deity; in the spiritual and mystical, it pleases God to unite the person of every believer to the person of the Son of God: our souls are too narrow to bless God enough for these incomprehensible mercies; mercies wherein he hath preferred us (be it spoken with all godly lowliness) to the blessed angels of heaven, “ For verily he took not upon him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham,” Heb. ii. 16. Neither hath he made those glorious spirits members of his mystical body; but his saints, whom he hath (as it were) so incorporated, that they are become his body, and he theirs ; according to that of the divine apostle,

For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body being many are one body, so also is Christ,” 1 Cor. xii. 12. Sect. V. This union set forth by the compari

son of the husband and wife. Next hereunto there is no resemblance of this mystery, either more frequent or more full of lively expression, than that of the conjugal union betwixt the husband and wife. Christ is, as the Head, so the Husband of the church; the church, and every believing soul, is the spouse of this heavenly Bridegroom, whom he marrieth unto himself for ever“ in righteousness, and in judgment, and in loving-kindness, and in mercies,” Isa. lxii. 5; Hos. ii. 19. And this match thus made

fulfils that decretive word of the Almighty, “ They twain shall be one flesh,” Eph. v. 31; Gen. ii. 24. Oh happy conjunction of the second Adam with her who was taken out of his most precious side! Oh heavenly and complete marriage, wherein God the Father brings and gives the bride! Gen. ii, 22. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me,' saith Christ, John vi. 37: wherein God the Son receives the bride as mutually partaking of the same nature ; and can say, “ This is now bone of my bone, and flesh of my flesh,” John i. 14; Gen. xxii. 3: wherein God the Holy Ghost knits our wills in a full and glad consent to the full consummation of this blessed wedlock: and those whom God hath thus joined together, let no man (no devil can) put asunder. What is there, then, which an affectionate husband can withhold from a dear wife? He that hath given himself to her, what can he refuse to impart? He that hath made himself one with her, how can he be divided from his other self? Some wild fancies there are that have framed the links of marriage of such brittle stuff, as that they may be snapped in sunder upon every slight occasion; but He who ordained it in Paradise, for an earthly representation of this heavenly union betwixt Christ and his church, hath made that and his own indissoluble. Here is no contract in the future, which upon some intervening accidents may be remitted, but “I am my well-beloved's, and my well-beloved is mine," Cant. vi. 3; ii. 16; and therefore each is so the other's, that neither of them is their own. Oh the comfortable mystery of our uniting to the Son of God! “ The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband," 1 Cor. vii. 4. We are at thy disposing, O blessed Saviour, we are not our own; neither art thou so absolutely thine, as that we may not (through thine infinite mercy) claim an interest in thee. Thou hast given us such a right in thyself, as that we are bold to lay challenge to all that is thine ; to thy love, to thy merits, to thy blessings, to thy glory. It was wont of old to be the plea of the Roman wives to their husbands, Where thou art Caius, I am Caia; and now, in our present marriages, we have not stuck to say, “With all my worldly goods I thee endow:” and if it be thus in our imperfect conjunctions here upon earth, how much more in that exquisite oneness which is betwixt thee, O blessed Saviour, and thy dearest spouse, the church! What is it, then, that can hinder us from a sweet and heavenly fruition of thee? Is it the loathsome condition of our nature? Thou sawest this before, and yet

up,

couldst

say, when we were yet in our blood, Live, Ezek. xvi. 6. Had we not been so vile, thy mercy had not been so glorious. Thy free grace did all for us: thou washedst us with water, and anointedst us with oil, and clothedst us with broidered work, and girdedst us about with fine linen, and coveredst us with silk, and deckedst us with ornaments; and didst put bracelets on our hands, and a chain on our neck, and jewels on our foreheads, and rings in our ears, and a beautiful crown on our own heads, Ezek. xvi. 9—12. What we had not, thou gavest—what thou didst not find, thou madest; that we might be a not unmeet match for the Lord of life. Is it want of beauty ? “Behold, I am black, but comely,” Cant. i. 5. Whatever our hue be in our own or others' eyes, it is enough that we are lovely in thine, Cant. i. 16.

Behold, thou art fair, my beloved; behold, thou art fair, yea, pleasant,” Cant. i. 15, 16. “ Thou art beautiful, o

my

love, as Tirzah, comely as Jerusalem. How fair and how pleasant art thou, O love, for delights !” Cant. vi. 4; vii. 6. But, O Saviour,

ear

if thou take contentment in this poor imperfect beauty of thy spouse, the church, what infinite pleasure should thy spouse take in that absolute perfection which is in thee, who art all loveliness and glory! And if she have ravished thy heart with one of her eyes, Cant. iv. 9, how much more reason hath her heart to be wholly ravished with both thine, which are so full of grace and amiableness! And in this mutual fruition, what can there be other than perfect blessedness ? SECT. VI. The comparison of this union to the

nourishment of the body. The Spirit of God, well knowing how much it imports us both to know and feel this blessed union, whereof he himself is the only worker, labours to set it forth to us by the representations of many of our familiar concerns which we daily find in our meats and drinks, in our houses, in our gardens and orchards. That which is nearest to us is our nourishment. What can be more evident than that the bread, the meat, the drink, which we receive, is incorporated into us, and becomes part of the substance whereof we consist; so as, after perfect digestion, there can be no distinction betwixt what we are, and what we took ? Whilst that bread was in the bin, and that meat in the shambles, and that drink in the vessel, it had no relation to us, nor we to it; yea, whilst all these were on the table, yea, in our mouths, yea, newly let down into our stomachs, they are not fully ours; but if the concoction be once fully finished, now they are so turned into our blood and flesh, that they can be no more distinguished from our former substance, than that could be

divided from itself; now they are dispersed into the veins, and incorporated to the flesh; and no part of our flesh and blood is more ours, than that which was lately the blood of the grapes, and the flesh of this fowl or that beast. O Saviour, thou who art truth itself hast said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven,” John vi. 51. “ My flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed,” ver. 55. And thereupon hast most justly inferred, “He that eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him,” ver. 56 ; and as a necessary consequence of this spiritual feeding, “Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life,” ver. 54. Lo, thou art bread indeed; not the common bread, but manna : not the Israelitish manna; alas! that fell from no higher than the region of the clouds, and they that ate it died with it in their mouths ; but thou art the living bread that came down from the heaven of heavens, of whom whosoever eats lives for ever. Thy flesh is meat, not for our stomachs, but for our souls; our faith receives and digests thee, and makes thee ours, and us thine. Our material food in these corruptible bodies runs into corruption; thy spiritual food nourisheth purely, and strengthens us to a blessed immortality. As for this material food, many a one longs for it, who cannot get it; many a one hath it, who cannot eat it; many eat it, who cannot digest it; many digest it into noxious and corrupt humours; all who receive it do but maintain a perishing life, if not a languishing death: but this flesh of thine, as it was never withheld from any true appetite, so it never yields any but wholesome and comfortable sustenance to the soul; never hath any other issue

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