Page images

freed, by their ever-blessed and victorious Re. deemer. He, therefore, who, by virtue of that heavenly union, is made unto us of God, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, is also upon the same ground made unto us our full redemption. Redemption implies a captivity.--We are naturally under the woeful bondage of the law, of sin, of miseries, of death. The law is a cruel exacter ; for it requires of us what we cannot now do, and whips us for not doing it; “For the law worketh wrath,” Rom. iv. 15; and, “ As many as are of the works of the law, are under the curse,” Gal. iii. 20. Sin is a worse tyrant than the law, and takes advantage to exercise its cruelty by the law ; “For when we were in the flesh, the motion of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death,” Rom. vii. 5. Upon sin necessarily follows misery, the forerunner of death; and death, the upshot of all miseries : “ By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned,” Rom. v. 12. From all these is Christ our redemption : from the law; “ For Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us,” Gal. iii. 13. From sin ; “ For we are dead to sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord,” Rom. vi. 11. “Sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law, but under grace,” Rom. vi. 14. From death, and therein from all miseries : “ O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin 18 the law: but thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ,” I Cor. xv. 55–57. Now, then, let the law do its worst,

[ocr errors]

“we are not under the law, but under grace,” Rom. vi. 14. The case, therefore, is altered betwixt the law and us. It is not now a cruel taskmaster, to beat us to, and for our work; it is our schoolmaster, to direct and to whip us unto Christ. It is not a severe judge, to condemn us; it is a friendly guide, to set us in the way towards heaven. Let sin join its forces together with the law, they cannot prevail to our hurt;“For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God send. ing his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, condemned sin in the flesh; that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit,” Rom. viii. 3, 4. Let death join its forces with them both, we are yet safe; “For the law of the Spirit of life hath freed us from the law of sin and of death,” Rom. viii. 2. What can we therefore fear, what can we suffer, while Christ is made our redemption ?

Finally, as thus Christ is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption; so whatsoever else he either is, or hath, or doth, by virtue of this blessed union, becomes ours : he is our “riches,” Eph. i. 7; our “ strength,” Psa. xxvii. 1; xxviii. 7 ; our “ glory," Eph. i. 18; our " salvation,” 1 Thess. v.9, Isa. xii. 2; our“ all,” Col. iii. 11. He is all to us; and all is ours in him. Sect. XVII. The external privileges of this union,

a right to the blessings of earth and heaven.

From these primary and intrinsical privileges, therefore, flow all those secondary and external: wherewith we are blessed; and therein a righ all the blessings of God, both of the right ha and of the left, and interest in all the good thir



both of earth and heaven. Hereupon it is
the glorious angels of heaven become our &
ians, keeping us in all our ways, and wors
secretly for our good upon all occasio
God's creatures are at our service; tha
true spiritual title to them. 6 All things are you
(saith the apostle, 1 Cor. üi. 22, 23,) an
Christ's, and Christ is God's.”

But take heed, my son, of misı
or of making it in such a manner as
not. There is a civil right that mus
property in these earthly things ; o
neither gives us possession of

upon all occasions; that all at our service; that we have a

Cor. iii. 22, 23,) “and ye are

[ocr errors]

man hath and must have Walau
purchase, gift, or inheritance
otherwise there would folloy
in the world ; we could new
own, and only will and mig
of all men's estates; which

[ocr errors]

Sanrionne can sufficientiy

evince. This right is no

surpation of that which Out over to others. The bery, no oppression in

goods might be every able and comfortable, commodities, in regard avhich are by human ours. The earth is the

my son, of mislaying thy claim, such a manner as thou oughtest vil right that must regulate our arthly things ; our spiritual right

Possession of them, nor takes ua property of others. Every

st have what, by the just laws of or inheritance, is derived to him; would follow an infinite confusion

..could neither enjoy nor give our mil and might must be the arbiters cates; which how unequal it would son and experience car

right is not for the plundering or that which civil titles have legally hers. There were no theft, no robression in the world, if any man's de every man's; but for the warrantafortable enjoying of those earthly , in regard of God their original owner, by human conveyances justly become ne earth is the Lord's, and the fulness of

nis right, whatever parcels do lawfully decena unto us, we may justly possess, as we have Them legally made over to us from the secondary and immediate owners. There is a generation of maen who have vainly fancied the founding of tem

it; in his right, whatev

*U 3

and a no

ood the

poral dominion in grace ; and have, upon this mistake, turned out the true heirs as intruders, and scoffed the just and godly in the possession of wicked inheritors; who, whether they be worse commonwealth's-men or Christians, is to me utterly uncertain : sure I am, they are enemies to both; whilst, on the one side, they destroy all civil property and commerce; and, on the other, stretch the extent of the power of Christianity so far, as to render it injurious and destructive both to reason, and to the laws of all well-ordered humanity. Nothing is ours by injury and injustice; all things are so ours, that we may with a good conscience enjoy them, as from the hand of a munificent God, when they are rightfully estated upon us by the lawful convention or bequest of men. In this regard it is, that a Christian man is the lord of the whole universe ; and hath a right to the whole creation of God. How can he challenge less ? He is a son, and in that an heir; and, according to the bigh expression of the Holy Ghost, “a co-heir with Christ.” As therefore we may not be highminded, but fear; so we may not be too lowhearted in the undervaluing of our condition. In God we are great, how mean soever in ourselves. " His right, the world is ours, whatever pittance we may enjoy in our own : how can we go less, when we are one with Him who is the possessor of heaven and earth?

It were but a poor comfort to us, if by virtue of this union we could only lay claim to all earthly things. Alas, how vain and transitory best of these! perishing under our hand in the

are the very use of them; and, in the mean while, how unsatisfying in the fruition ! All this were nothing,

if we had not hereby an interest in the best of all God's favours, in the heaven of heavens, and the eternity of that glory which is there laid up for his saints; far above the reach of all human expressions or conceits. It was the word of Him who is the eternal Word of his Father; “ Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me,” John xvii. 24 : and not to be mere spectators, but even partners of all this celestial bliss, together with himself; “ The glory which thou gavest me, I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one,” John xvii. 22. Oh the transcendent and incomprehensible blessedness of believers, which, even when they enjoy, they cannot be able to utter—for measure infinite, for duration eternal! Oh the inexplicable joy of the full and everlasting accomplishment of the happy union of Christ and the believing soul ! more fit for thankful wonder, and ravishment of spirit, than for any finite apprehension. Sect. XVIII. The means by which this union is

worought. Now, that we may look a little further into the means by which this union is wrought, know, my son, that as there are two persons betwixt whom this union is made, Christ and the believer, so each of them concurs to the happy effecting of it. Christ, by his Spirit, diffused through the hearts of all the regenerate, giving life and activity to them; the believer, laying hold by faith upon Christ so working in him. And these do so re-act upon each other, that from their mutual operation results this gracious union whereof we treat. Here

« PreviousContinue »