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2. Query. The next thing is to open the transcendeat excel lency of Christ's flelle and blood, above all other food in the world. And this appears in four particulars. . . . First, This fleth and blood was assumed into the nearest union with the second person in the blessed Trinity, and so is not only dignified above all other created beings, but becomes the firit receptacle of all grace, jotended to be communicated through it to the children of men; John i. 14. . .in
Secondly, This fell and blood of Christ was offered up to . God, as the great facrifice for our sias, and purchase of our peace; Col. i. 20. Eph. V. 2. and so it is of inestimable price and value to believers. The human nature of Christ was the sacrifice, the divide Dature was the altar on which it was offer: ed up, and by which it was dignified and fanctified, and made ap offering of a fweet-smelliog favour to God, Eph. V. 2. ;:
Thirdly, This flesh and blood of Christ, is the great medium of conveyance of all blessings and mercies to the souls and .bodies of believers. It lies as a vast pipe at the fountain-head of blessings, receiving and conveying them from God to men ; Col. i. 14, 10. in. Liiti
So then, it being ooited to the second person, and so become the flesh and blood of God; it being the facrifice offered up to God for atonement and remission of lips, and the medium of conveyiog all grace and mercy from God the fountain, to the fouls and bodies of believers ; how fweet' a relish must it have upon the palate of faith ? Here faith may tafte The sweetness of a pardon; a full, free, and final pardon of fin; than which nothing in this world can be sweeter to a sin-burdened conscience.
ain's Here it tastes the incomparable sweetness of peace with God, a peace which palleth understanding : The breach fio made, is by this sacrifice made up for ever, Col. i. 20. . *
Here it tastes the ipexpressible sweetness of acceptation with God, and an interest in his favour;. 'mercy, which a poor convinced mul would give ten thoufạnd worlds for, were it to be purchased. :: Yea, here it relisheth all the sweet promises in the covenant of grace, as confirmed' and ratified by this facri. fice; Heb. ix. S. So that well might he say, “ My flesh is meat se jodeed, and my blood is dripk indeed," the most excellent: New Testament food for believers : : .i, teri 1.,
1. Ule, of information. First, See here the love of a Saviour, that heavenly pelican, who feeds us with his owo flesh aod blood. You read, Lam., iv. 10. of pitiful women, who eat the flesh of their own chilg.
dren; but where have you read of men or women, that gave their own: flesh and blood, for meat and dripk to their children ? Think on this, you that are so loth to cross and dedy your flesh for Chrift: He suffered his flesh to be rent, and his blood set abroach for you : What love like the love of Chrift!
Secondly, Learn hence a gropod of content, in the lowest and poorest condition allotted to any believer in this world. It may be some of you live low in the world; you have hard fare, and are abridged of many of those sweet comforts in the creature, which the enemies of God abound in : But still remember you have no caufe to envy their dainties, and be dillatisfied with your own lot and portion ; when not many nobles, or mighty in the world, feed as your souls do feed. O what a feast have you! What dainties do your souls taste by faith; whilst others do but feed upon alhes and husks ? What is the Mesh of lambs and calves out of the Stall, to the flelh of Christ? Amos vi. 4, 5, 6. What is wine in bowls, and the chief ointment, to the blood of Christ, and the anointings of his Spirit? D be satisfied with your outward lot, however God hath cast it, whilst he hath dealt so bountifully with your fouls. ii ii '
Thirdly, Learo hence the necessity of faith, in order to the livelihood and sublistaoce of our souls. What is a feast to him that cannot taste it? And what is Christ to him that cannot believe? That cannot, by faith, cat his flesh, and drink his blood ?? ..*.. !
: It is not the preparation made for souls in Christ, but the application of him by faith, that gives us the sweeness and benefit of him. Faith is the soul's mouth, or palate : The unbeliever tastes no sweetness in Christ; he can relish more sweet. riess in money, meat, driok, caroal inirth, or any sensual enjoyment thao in Christ. . : Fourthly, How excellent are gospel ordioances? What sweetness is there to be found in them by true believers ? For there Christ is prepared, and, as it were, served in for them to feed upon. It is your mioister's work, to prepare for you all the week long, and to furnish for you a feast of fat things. Lo here is a table spread and furnished this day, with the costJielt daiories that heaven affords?. O prize these mercies : lit not here with flat, or wapton appetites, left God call to your enemies, and bid them away.
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II. Uje, of exhortation. Is the felh and blood of Christ meat and drink indeed ? Then let me exhort you, brethren,
First, To come to this table with sharp and hungry appetites. Have you ever tasted, That the Lord is gracious ? And do you got hunger and thirst, to taste it again ? Surely, • Where the carcase is, thither will the eagles be gathered;" Matth. xxiv. 28. There is a two fold appetite ; a daioty, and an hungry appetite. Beware of a pice and dainty appetite, that can relish nothing in the most folid and spiritual duties, except the dish be garnished with flowers of rhetoric, or the matter served in with art and elegancy. This hath been the great fin of the professors of this generation. O Christians ! no more of that I pray you. Were you really an huagred and athirst for Christ, you would come to his ordinances, as famishing men to a feast.
Secondly, To feed heartily upon Christ, in every ordioance, and jo every facrament especially. O that your souls might hear, and answer that invitation this day! Cant, v. 1. " Eat, O « friends : drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved.”
For motives, I will only hint these three following.
First, Christ is the matter of the feast. God hath prepared him for your souls.' Is any thing in heaven or earth so sweet, as Christ sacrificed is? Do not the angels and saints in heaven fealt upon him ? Surely one drop of Christ's blood hath more fweetness and excellency in it, than the whole ocean of all creature-comforts.
Secondly, Do not your graces need it? Have you got a lan. guishing love, a staggering faith, dull and sluggish desires ? Look into your hearts, and see what need there is of Arengthen. ing the things that are in you, which are ready to die. O feed upon Christ, that your graces may be revived and strengthen
Thirdly, Do you know how many days you are to go in the strength of this meal? How long it may be, ere you fit again at the Lord's table? Surely, even these, as well as your inferior temporal comforts, stand upon terms of greatest uncertaioty. Ah Christians ! consider well the times you live in, the enemy chat ftands ready to take away the cloth, and remove your fpiritual food from you. It is said of Peter Martyr, that being in Oxford when queen Mary came in, and heariog the first mass-bell riog; he was struck to the heart, and said, Haec una notula omnem meam doctrinam evertit: This one tiokliog bell overthrows all the labours of my ministry at once.
a provement of Chr like to be, accope of that mi
361 God grant that we may hear none of that music in England any more : but it is like to be, according to your estimation and improvement of Christ's precious ordinances.
Thirdly, Commend the experienced sweetness of Christ to go thers. Do not conceal his loveliness and excellency. Thus the fair and enamoured spouse charges, or adjures others; Cant. V. 9. Be not content to feast upon Christ alone, whilst other fouls are starving, and perhaps the souls of your dear natural relations. Say to them, as David, Plal. xxxiv. 8. “O taste and “ see how good the Lord is.”
Fourthly, and lastly, See that your appetite to Chrif be right, and truly Spiritual. Such an hunger and thirst, upon which blessedness is entailed by promise. And you may conclude it so, when, i
First, It is a sharp and strong appetite, Pfal. xlii. 1. Let your thoughts run upon Christ night and day; eveo continually.
Secondly, When it is an universal appetite, after every thing in Chrift; his holinels, as well as his righteousoess; his commands, as well as his promises ; for he is altogether lovely, Capt. V. 16.
Thirdly, When it is a continued appetite. I mean not, that the pulse of your desires should keep an even stroke at all times, '. but that there be real and sincere workings of heart after him always ; Psal. cxix. 20.
Fourtbly, when it is an industrious appetite, awakening the soul to the use of all means, and practice of all duties, in order to satisfaction ; Pfal. xxvii. 4. • One thing have I desired of * the Lord, and that will I seek after.”
Fifthly, and lastly, It is then a right, when it is an insatiable appetite, never to be allayed with any thing beside Christ ; Pfal. lxxiii. 25. no, nor with Christ himself, till thou comeft to the full enjoyment of him in heaven. The believer knows, how sweet foever his communion with Christ is in this world, yet that communion he thall have with Christ in heaven, will far excel it : there it will be more intimate and immediate, i Cor xii. 12. more full and perfect, even to satisfaction, Pfal. xviie 15. more constant and continued, not suffering such interruptions as it doth here, Rev. xxi. 25. more pure and unmixed; here our corruptions work with our graces, Rom. vii. 21. but there grace shall work alone : in a word, more durable and perpetual; we shall be ever with the Lord, i Theff. iv. 7. Long therefore to drink that new wine in the Father's kingdom. “ The “ Spirit and the bride fay, Come; and let him that heareth, “ say, Come. Even so, come Lord Jesus ; come quickly.”
The and pop speemakes toided,
thine arm : for love is strong as death ; jealousy is cruel as the grave : the coals thereof are coals of fire, which hatb a most
vehement flime. THIS book is a sacred allegory ; the sense thereof is deep
and fpiritual. Our unacquaintedness with such schemes and figures of speech, together with the want of spiritual light aod experience, makes it difficult to be upderstood; but the allegory being once unfolded, by reason of its affinity with the fancy, truth is more easily and affectingly transmitted, both to the mind and heart.
St. Augustin assigns this reason, why we are so much delight ed with metaphors and allegories ; because they are so much proportioned to our senses, with which our reason hath con: tracted an intimacy and familiarity; and therefore God, to accommodate his truth to our capacity, doth, as it were, embody it io earthly expressions; according to that of the ancient Cabbalifts, Lumen supremum nunquam defcendit sine idumento; heaveoly truth never descendeth to us without its veil and covering.
The words before us, are the request of the spouse to Jesus Christ; and coolist of cwo parts, viz.
1. Her suit; which is earnest.
1. Her earnest fuit, or request to Jesus Christ ; “ Set me as “ a seal upon thy heart, as a feal upon thine arm." The heart of Christ notes his most dear, inward, and tender affection; his arm notes his protecting and preserving care and power. The last naturally follows the first; what men dearly affect, they tenderly and carefully protect. And by setting her as a seal upon his heart and arm, the means a lure and a well-confirmed interest, both in his love and power ; this the would have firmly sealed and ratified : aod that this is her meaning, will plainly appear from,
The argument with which the enforces her request : “ For “ love is strong as death ; jealousy is cruel as the grave,” foc..
By jealousy, we must understand her fears and suspicious of coming Thort of Christ and his love; 9.d. What if after all I