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is a spiritual marriage betwixt Christ and the soul. The liking of one part doth not make up the match, but the consent of both. To this purpose Christ gives his Spirit; the soul plights her faith. What interest have we in Christ, but by his Spirit? What interest hath Christ in us, but by our faith?
On the one part, “ He hath given us his Holy Spirit,” saith the apostle, 1 Thess. iv. 8; and in a way of relation with each other, “We have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit which is of God," 1 Cor. ii. 12. And this Spirit we have so received, as that “he dwells in us,” Rom. viii. 11; Gal. ii. 20; and so dwells in us, that we are joined to the Lord; and he that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.
On the other part, “ we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God;" so as now the life that we live in the flesh,“ we live by the faith of the Son of God,” who dwells in our hearts by faith, Eph. iii. 17. Oh! the grace of faith, according to St. Peter's style, 2 Pet. i. 1, truly precious; justly recommended to us by St. Paul, Eph. vi. 16, above all other graces of the soul; as that which, if not alone, yet chicfly transacts all the main affairs tend. ing to salvation ; for faith is the quickening grace, Gal. ii. 20; Rom. i. 17; the directing grace, 2 Cor. v. 7; the protecting grace, Eph. vi. 16; the establishing grace, Rom. xi. 20; 2 Cor. i. 24; the justifying grace, Rom. v. 1; the sanctifying and purifying grace, Acts xv. 9. Faith is the grace that assents to, apprehends, applies, appropriates Christ, Heb. xi. 1; and hereupon the uniting grace, and (which comprehends all) the saving grace. If ever, therefore, we look for any consolation in
Christ, or to have any part in this beatifical union, it must be the main care of our hearts to make sure of a lively faith in the Lord Jesus, to lay fast hold upon him, to clasp him close to us, yea, to receive him inwardly into our bosoms; and so to make him ours, and ourselves his, that we may be joined to him as our Head, espoused to him as our Husband, incorporated into him as our nourishment, ingrafted in him as our stock, and laid upon him as a sure foundation. Sect. XIX. The union of Christ's members with
themselves. First, those in heaven. Hitherto we have treated of this blessed union, as in relation to Christ the Head ; it remains that we now consider it, as it stands in relation to the members of his mystical body, one towards another. For, as the body is united to the Head, so must the members be united to themselves, to make the body truly complete; thus the Holy Ghost, by his apostle, “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. From this entire conjunction of the members with each other, arises that communion of saints, which we profess both to believe, and to partake of. This mystical body of Christ is a large one, extending itself both to heaven and earth. There is a real union betwixt all those far-spread limbs, between the saints in heaven, between the saints on earth, between the saints in heaven and earth.
We have reason to begin at heaven; thence is the original of our union and blessedness. There was never place for discord in that region of glory
since the rebellious angels were cast out thence.“ The spirits of just men made perfect,” Heb. xii. 23. must needs agree in a perfect unity. Neither can it be otherwise, for there is but one will in heaven; one scope of the desires of blessed souls, which is the glory of their God; all the whole choir sing one song, and in that one harmonious tune of Hallelujah. We poor partly-sainted souls here on earth, profess to bend our eyes directly upon the same holy end, the honour of our Maker and Redeemer. But, alas, at our best we are drawn to look asquint at our own aims of profit or pleasure. We profess to sing loud praises unto God; but it is with many harsh and jarring notes. Above there is a perfect accordance in a unanimous glorifying of Him that sits upon the throne for ever. Oh how ye love the Lord, all ye his saints! Psa. xxxi. 23. Oh how joyful ye are in glory! Psa. cxlix. 5. “ The heavens shall praise thy wonders, O Lord; thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints,” Psa. Ixxxix. 5. Oh what a blessed commonwealth is that above! “ The city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem," (ever at unity with itself, Psa. cxxii. 3,) and therein are “ an innumerable company of angels, and the general assembly and church of the first-born, which are written in heaven; the spirits of just men made perfect, and” (whom they all adore) “God the Judge of all, and Jesus the Mediator of the new testament,” Heb. xii. 22-24; all these as one, as holy. Those twenty thousand chariots of heaven, Psa. lxviii. 17, move all one way; when those four beasts “ full of eyes, round about the throne, give glory, and honour, and thanks, to Him that sits upon the throne, say. ing, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which
was, and is, and is to come; then the four and
earth. First, in matter of judgment.
but fellow citizens with the saints, and of the household of God," Eph. ii. 18, 19, we cease not to pray, “Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” Matt. vi. 10. Yea, O Saviour, thou who canst not but be heard, hast prayed to thy Father for the accomplishment of this union, “ That they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be perfect in one,” John xvii. 22, 23. What, then, is this union of the members of Christ here on earth, but a spiritual oneness arising from a happy combination of their thoughts and affections? For, whereas there are two main principles of all human actions and dispositions, the brain and the heart, the conjuncture of these two cannot but produce a perfect union; from the one our thoughts take their rise, our affections from the other; in both, the soul puts itself forth upon all matters of accord or difference. The union of thoughts is, when we mind the same things, when we agree in the same truths. This is the charge which the apostle of the Gentiles lays upon his Corinthians, 1 Cor. i. 10, and, in their persons, upon all Christians: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.” And this is no other than that “one faith,” Eph. iv. 5, which makes up the one church of Christ upon earth; one, both in respect of times and places : of times, so as the fathers of the first world, the patriarchs of the next, and all God's people in their ages who looked, together with them, for the redemption of Israel, are united with us Christians of the last days, in the same belief,