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than an everlasting life and happiness. O Saviour, whensoever I sit at my own table, let me think of thine—whensoever I feed on the bread and meat that is set before me, and feel myself nourished by that repast, let me mind that better sustenance which

my soul receives from thee, and find thee more one with me than that bodily food. Sect. VII. This union compared to the branch and the stock; the foundation and the building.

Look but into thy garden or orchard, and see the vine, or any other fruit-bearing tree, how it grows

and fructifies; the branches are laden with increase. Whence is this, but that they are one with the stock, and the stock one with the root ? Were either of these severed, the plant were barren and dead. The branch hath not sap enough to maintain life in itself, unless it receive it from the body of the tree; nor that, unless it derived it from the root; nor that, unless it were cherished by the earth. Lo, “I am the vine,” (saith our Saviour, John xv. 5, 6,)“ye are the branches; he that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit. If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered.". Were the branch and the body of the tree of different substances, and only closed together in some artificial contiguity, no fruit could be expected from it; it is only the abiding in the tree as a living limb of that plant, which yields it the benefit and issue of vegetation. No otherwise is it betwixt Christ and his church; the bough and the tree are not more of one piece than we are of one substance with our Saviour; and branching out from him, and receiving the sap of heavenly

virtue from his precious root, we cannot but be acceptably fruitful. But if the analogy seem not to be so full, for that the branch issues naturally from the tree, and the fruit from the branch, whereas we by nature have no part in the Son of God; take that clearer resemblance which the apostle fetches from the stock and the scion : The branches of the wild olive, Rom. xi., are cut off, and grafted with choice scions of the good olive;' those grow,

and are now, by this incision, no less embodied in that stock, than if they had sprouted out by a natural propagation; neither can be any more separated from it than the strongest bough that nature puts forth. In the mean time, that scion alters the nature of that stock; and whilst the root gives fatness to the stock, and the stock yields juice to the scion, the scion gives goodness to the plant, and a specification to the fruit; so as whilst the scion is now the same thing with the stock, the tree is different from what it was : so it is betwixt Christ and the believing soul; old Adam is our wild stock; what could that have yielded, but either none, or sour fruit? We are ingrafted with the new man Christ, which is now incorporated into us; we are become one with him; our nature is not more ours, than he is ours by grace ; now we bear his fruit, and not our own; our old stock is forgotten; all things are become new; our natural life we receive from Adam, our spiritual life and growth from Christ; from whom, after the improvement of this blessed incision, we can be no more severed than he can be severed from himself.

Look but upon thy house (that from vegetative creatures thou mayest turn thine eyes to those things which have no life): if that be uniform, the foundation is not of a different matter from the walls; but those are but one piece; the superstructure is so raised upon the foundation, as if all were but one stone. Behold, Christ is the chief corner-stone, 1 Pet. ii. 6, elect and precious; neither can there be any other foundation laid than that which is laid on him, 1 Cor. iii. 11; 1 Pet. ii. 5; we are lively stones, built up to a spiritual house, on that sure and firm foundation. Some loose stones, perhaps, that lie unmortared upon the battlements, may be easily shaken down; but who ever saw a squared marble, laid by line and level, in a strong wall, upon a well-grounded base, fly out of its place by whatsoever violence; since both the strength of the foundation below, and the weight of the fabric above, have settled it in a. posture utterly immovable ? Such is our spiritual condition. O Saviour, thou art our foundation, we are laid upon thee, and are therein one with thee; we can no more be disjoined from thy foundation, than the stones of thy foundation can be disunited from themselves.

So then, to sum up all; as the head and members are but one body, as the husband and wife are but one flesh, as our meat and drink become part of ourselves, as the tree and branches are but one plant, as the foundation and walls are but one fabric; so Christ and the believing soul are indivisibly one with each other. Sect. VIII. The certainty and indissolubleness

of this union. Where are those, then, who go about to divide Christ from himself; Christ real from Christ mys

tical; yielding Christ one with himself, but not one with his church; making the true believer no less separable from his Saviour than from the entireness of his own obedience, dreaming of the uncomfortable and self-contradicting paradoxes of the total and final apostacy of saints. Certainly these men have never thoroughly digested the meditation of this blessed union whereof we treat. Can they hold the believing soul a limb of that body whereof Christ is the Head, and yet imagine a possibility of dissolution? Can they affix to the Son of God a body that is imperfect? Can they think that body perfect which hath lost his limbs? Even in this mystical body, the best joints may be subject to strains, yea, perhaps, to some painful and perilous luxation ;* but as it was in the natural body of Christ, when it was in death, most exposed to the cruelty of all enemies, that (upon an over-ruling providence) not a bone of it could be broken ; so it is still and ever with the spiritual; some scourgings and blows it may suffer, yea, perhaps, some bruises and gashes; but no bone can be shattered in pieces, much less dissevered from the rest of the body. Were we left to ourselves, or could we be so much as in conceit separated from the body whereof we are, alas ! we are but as other men, subject to the same sinful infirmities, to the same dangerous and deadly miscarriages; but since it hath pleased the God of heaven to unite us to himself, now it concerns him to maintain the honour of his own body by preserving us entire.

Can they acknowledge the faithful soul married in truth and righteousness to that celestial Husband, and made up into one flesh with the Lord of glory;

Out of joint.

and can they think of any bills of divorce written in heaven? Can they suppose that which, by way of type, was done in the earthly paradise, to be really undone in the heavenly? What an infinite power hath put together, can they imagine that a limited power can disjoin? Can they think sin can be of more prevalence than mercy? Can they think the unchangeable God subject to afterthoughts? Even the Jewish repudiations never found favour in heaven. They were permitted as a lesser evil to avoid a greater, never allowed as good; neither had so much as that toleration ever been, if the hard-heartedness and cruelty of that people had not enforced it upon Moses, as a prevention of further mischief. What place can this find with a God, in whom there is an infinite ten. derness of love and mercy ? No time can be any check to his gracious choice: the inconstant minds of us men may alter upon slight dislikes; our God is ever himself; “ Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, and to-day, and for ever," Heb. xiii. 8. * With him there is no variableness, nor shadow of turning," James i. 17. Divorces were ever grounded upon hatred, Mal. ii. 16.

(saith the apostle, Eph. V. 29) ever yet hated his own flesh;” much less shall God do so, who is love itself, 1 John iv. 8. His love and our union are, like himself, everlasting. “ Having loved his own,' (saith the disciple of love, John xiii. 1,)“ which were in the world, he loved them to the end." He that “hateth putting away,” Mal. ii. 16, can never act it. So that in this relation we are indissoluble.

Can they have received that bread which came down from heaven, and flesh which is meat indeed, and that blood which is drink indeed; can their

- No man

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