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Opening the general Nature of effectual Application.
1 Cor. i. 30. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, -who of Cod is , made unto us -wisdom, and righteousness, and fantljfication, and redemption.
HE that enquires what is the just value and worth of Christ, asks a question which puts all the men on earth, aud angels in heaven, to an everlasting non-plus. The highest attainment of our knowledge, in this life, is to know, that himself, and his love do pass knowledge, Eph. iii.
But how excellent soever, Christ is in himself, what treasures of righteousoess soever lie in his blood, and whatever joy, peace, and ravishing comforts, spring up to men out of his incarnation, humiliatim, and exaltation, they all give down their distinct benefits and comforts to them, in the way of effetlual application.
For never was any wound healed by a prepared, but unapplied plaister. Never any body warmed by the most costly garment made, but not put on: Never any heart refreshed and comforted by the richest cordial compounded, but not received: Nor from the beginning of the world was it ever known, that a poor deceived, condemned, polluted, miserable sinner, was actually delivered out of that woful state, until of God, Christ-was made unto him, wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption.
For look * as the condemnation of the first Adam passeth not to us, except (as by generation) we are his; so grace and remission pass not from the second Adam to us, except (as by regeneration) we are his. Adam's fin hurts none but those .that are in him: And Christ's blood profits none but those that are in him: How great a weight therefore doth there hang upon the effectual application of Christ to the souls of men! And
* Parisienfis de caufis, cur Deus homo, cap. 9. ^jtemadmodum non transit Ada damnatio, niji per generationem in carnaliter ex eo
generates: Jic non transit Christi gratia, et peccatorum remiljio, nisi per regeneratienem ad spiritualiter per ipsum regenerator. Sicut detiflum Adae non nocet, nisi suit, in eo quodfuisunt : Jic net
gratia Christi prodest2 nifi suit, in eo quod fuisunt.
what is there In the whole world so awfully solemn, so greatly important, as this is f Such is the strong consolation resulting from it, that the apostle, in this context, offers it to the believing Corinthians, as a superabundant recompense for the despicable meanness, and baseness of their outward condition in this world, of which he had just before spoken in ver. 27, 28. telling them, though the world contemned them as vile, foolish, and weak, yet "of God Christ is made "unto themwis"dom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption."
In which words we have an enumeration of the chief privileges of believers, and an account of the method whereby they come to be invested with them f.
First, Their privileges are enumerated, namely, wisdom, righteousness, sdnilification, and redemption, mercies of inestimable value in themselves, and such as respect a fourfold misery lying upon sinful Man, viz. ignorance, guilt, pollution, and the whole train of miserable consequences and effects, let in upon the nature of men, yea, the best and holiest of men, by fin.
Lapsed man is not only deep in misery, but grossly ignorant, both that he is so, and how to recover himself from it: Sin hath left him at once senseless of his state, and at a perfect loss about the true remedy.
To cure this, Christ is made to him wisdom, not only by improvement of those treasures of wisdom that are in himself, for the benefit of such souls as are united to him, as an head, consulting the goo4 of his own members; but also, by imparting his wisdom to them by the Spirit of illumination, whereby they come to discern both their sin and danger; as also the true way of their recovery from both, through the application of Christ to their souls by saith.
But alas! simple illumination doth but increase our burden, and exasperate our misery, as long as sin in the guilt of it is, either imputed to our persons unto condemnation, or reflected by our consciences in a way of accusation.
With design therefore to remedy and heal this sore evil, Christ is made of God unto us righteousness, complete and perfect righteousness, whereby our obligation to punishment is dissolved, and thereby a solid foundation for a well-settled peace of conscience firmly establilhed.
Yea, but although the removing of guilt from our persons
f He ascribes a fourfold commendation of Christ, which comprehends all his virtue, and »H the good we receive from him. Cai* vint on the place.
and consciences be an inestimable mercy, yet alone it cannot make us completely happy: For though a man should never be damned for sin, yet what is it less than hell upon earth, to be under the dominion and pollution of every base lust? It is misery enough to be daily defiled by sin, though a man stiouid never be damned for it.
To complete therefore the happiness of the redeemed; Christ is not only made of God unto them -wisdom and righteousness, the one curing our ignorance, the other our guilt; but he is made santlification also, to relieve us against the dominion and pollutions of our corruptions: " He comes both by water aud "by blopd, not by blood only, but by water also," 1 John v. <6. purging as well as pardoning: How complete and perfect a cure is Christ!
But yet something is required beyond all this to make our happiness perfect and entire, wanting nothing; and that is the removal of those doleful effects and consequences of sin, which (notwithstanding all the forementioned privileges and mercies) itill lie upon the fouls and bodies of illuminated, justified, and. sanctified persons. For even with the best and holiest of men, what swarms of vanity, loads of deadness, and fits of unbelief, do daily appear in, and oppress their fouls! to the imbittering of all the comforts of life to them? And how many diseases deformities, pains, oppress their bodies, which daily moulder away by them, till they sall into the grave by death, even as the bodies of other men do, who never received such privileges from Christ as they do? For if " Christ be in us" (as the apostle speaks, Rom. viii. 10.) " the body is dtad, because of sir.:" Sanctification exempts us not from mortality.
But from all these, and whatsoever else, the fruits and consequences of sin, Christ is redemption to his people also: This seals up the sum of mercies s This so completes the happiness of the saints, that it leaves nothing to desire.
These four, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption, take in ail that is necessary or desirable, to make a foci truly and perfectly blessed.
Secondly, We have here the method and way, by which the tkct come to be invested with these excellent privileges: the account whereof, the apostle gives us in these words, [" Who "of God is made unto us"] in which expression, four things are remarkable. *
First, That Christ and his benefits go inseparably and undividedly together: it is Christ himself is made all this unto us: W£ can huve.no saving benefit separate aad apart from the p^r*son of Christ: many would willingly receive his privileges, who will not receive his person; but it cannot be; if we will have one, we must take the other too: Yea, we must accept his person first, and then his benefits: as it is in the marriage covenant, so it is here.
Secondly, That Christ with his benefits, must be personally and particularly applied to us, before we can receive any actual, saving privilege by him; he must be [made unto usj i. e. particularly applied to us; as a sum of money becomes, or is made the ransom and liberty of a captive, when it is not only promised, but paid down in his came, and legally applied for that use and end. When Christ died, the ransom was prepared, the sum laid d«vo; but yet the elect continue still in lin and misery, notwithstanding, till by effetlual calling, it be actually applied to their persons, and then they are made free, Rom. v. 10, 11..reconciled by Christ's death, by whom" we have now re
ceived the atonement."
Thirdly, That this application of Christ, is the work of God, and not of man: " Of Gad he is made unto us:" The same hand that prepared it, must also apply it, or else we perish, notwithstanding all that the Father hath done in contriving, and appointing, and all that the Son hath done in executing, and accomplishing the design thus sar. And this actual application is the work of the Spirit, by a singular appropriation.
Fourthly, and Lastly, This expression imports the suitableness of Christ, to the necessities of sinners; what they want, he is made to them; and indeed, as money answers all things, and is convertible into meat, drink, raiment, physic, or what else our bodily necessities do require; so Christ is virtually, and eminently all that the necessities of our souls require; bread lo the hungry, and cloathing to the naked soul. In a word, God prepared, and furnished him on purpose to answer all our wants, which fully suits the apostle's fense, when he saith, "Who of "God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctificatioa "and redemption." The sum of all is,
Doct. That the Lord Jesus dhrist, -with all his precious beneJits, becomes ours, by God's special and cssctlual application.
There is a twofold application of our redemption, one primary, the other secondary: The former is the act of God the Father, applying it to Christ our surety, and virtually to us in him; the tatter is the act of the Holy Spirit, personally and actually applying it to us in the work of conversion: The forroer hath the respect and relation of an example, model, or pattern to this, and this is produced and wrought by the virtue of that. What was done upon the person os Christ, was not nqy virtually done upon us, considered in him as a common public representative person, in which sense, we are said to die with him, and live with him, to be crucified with him, and buried with him, but it was also intended for a platform, or idea, of what is to be done by the Spirit, actually upon our souls and bodies, in our single persons. As he died for sin, so the Spirit applying his death to us in the work of mortification, causes us to die to sin, by the virtue of his death : And as he was quickned by the Spirit, and raised unto life, so the Spirit applying unto us the life of Christ, causeth us to live, by s piritual vivificatian. Now this personal, secondary, and atlual application of redemption to us by the Spirit, in his sanctifying work, is that which I am engaged here to discuss, and open; which I shall do in these following propositions. *
Prop, i. The application of Christ to us, is not only comprehensive of our justification, but of all thofe works of the Spirit, 'which are known to us in scripture, by the names of regeneration, vocation, fantlificatisn, and converfion.
Though all these terms have some small respective differences among themselves, yet they are all included in this general, the applying, and putting on of Christ, Rom. xiii. 14. " Put ye "on the Lord Jesus Christ."
Regeneration expresses those supernatural, divine, new qualities, infused by the Spirit into the soul, which are the principles of all holy actions.
Vocation expresses the terms from which, and to which, the foul moves, when the Spirit works savingly upon it, under the gospel-call. . . >
Sanfiification notes an holy dedication of heart and life to God: our becoming the temples of the living God, separate from all prophane sinful practices, to the Lord's only use and service.
Conversion denotes the great change itself, which the Spirit causeth upeu the soul, turning it by a sweet irresistable efficacy from the power of sin and Satan, to God in Christ.
Now all these are imported in, and done by the application of Christ to our souls: For when once the efficacy of Christ's death, and the virtue of his resurrection, come to take place upon the heart of any man, he cannot but turn from sin to God, and become a new creature, living and acting by new principles and. rales. So the apostle observes, x Thes. i. 5, 6. speaking of the