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Wherein the Believer's union with Christ is stated and opened, as a principle Pare of Gospel-Application.

Johk. xvii. 23. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfetl in one.

TH £ design and end of the application of Christ to sinners is the communication of his benefits to them; but seeing all communications of benefits necessarily imply communion, and all communion as neceslarily presupposes union with his person; I shall therefore, in this place, and from this seripture, treat of the mystical union betwixt Christ and believers; this union, being the principle act, wherein the Spirit's application of Christ consists, of which 1 spake (as to its general nature) in the former sermon.

In this verse (omitting the context) we find a threefold union, one betwixt the Father and Christ, a second betwixt Christ and believers, a third betwixt believers themselves.

First, Thou in me: This is a glorious ineffable union, and is fundamental to thebther two. The Father is not only in Christ, in respect of dear affections, as one dear friend is in another, who is as his own foul; nor only essentially, in respect of the identity and sameness of nature and attributes, in which respect, Christ is the express image of his person, Heb. i. 3. But he is in Christ also as Mediator, by communicating the fulness of the Godhead, which dwells in him as God-man, in a transcendent and singular manner, so as it never dwelt, nor can dwell in any other, Col. ii. 9.

Secondly, / in them: Here is the mystical union betwixt Christ and the saints, q. d. thou and I are one essentially, they and I are one mystically: and thou and I are one by communication of the Godhead, and singular fulness of the Spirit to me as Mediator; and they and I are one, by my communication of the Spirit to them in measure.

Thirdly, From hence results a third union betwixt believers themselves; that they may be made persetl in one; the same Spirit dwelling in them all, and equally uniting them all to me, as living members to their Head of influence, there must aeedi be f. dear and intimate union betwixt themselves, as fellow-members of the same body.

Now my business, at this time, lying in the second branch, namely, the union betwixt Christ and believers, I shall gather up the substance of it into this doctrinal proposition, to which I shall apply this discourse.

Doct. That there is a stritl and dear union betwixt Christ and all true believers.

The scriptures have borrowed from the book of nature, four elegant and lively metaphors, to help the nature of this mystical union with Christ into our understandings; namely, that of pieces of timber united by glue; that of a graff taking hold of its stock, and making One tree; that of the husband and wife, by the marriage-covenant, becoming one flesh; and that of the members and head animated by one soul, and so becoming one natural body. Every one of these is more lively and full than the other, and what is defective in one, is supplied in the other: but yet, neither any of these singly, or all of them jointly, can give us a full, and complete account of this mystery.

Not that of two pieces united by glue, t Cor. v. 17. "He that V is joined to the Lord is one Spirit," *oAA»a5»'{, glewed to the Lord. For though this cementeth, and strongly joins them ia one, yet this is but a saint and imperfect shadow of our union with Christ; for though this union, by glue, be intimate, yet not vital, but so is that of the soul with Christ.

Not that of the graff and stock, mentioned Rom. vi. 5. for though it be there said, that believers are mftQvrti, implanted, or ingraffed by way of incision, and this union betwixt it and the stock be vital, for it partakes of the vital sap and juice of it; yet here also is a remarkable defect, for the graff is of a more excellent kind and nature than the stock, and, upon that account, the tree receives its denomination from it, as from the more noble and excellent part; but Christ into whom believers are ingraffed, is insinitely more excellent than they, and they are denominated from him.

Nor yet that conjugal union, by marriage-covenant, betwixt a man and his wife; for though this be exceeding dear and intimate, so that a man leaves sather and mother, and cleaves to his wife, and they two become one flesh; yet this union is not indissolvable, but may and must be broken by death; and then the relict lives alone without any communion with, or relation

to, the person that was once so dear; but this foetwixt Christ .and t^ic soul can never be dissolved by death, it abides to eternity.

Nor, lastly, that of the head and members united by one Vital spirit, and so making one physical body, mentioned Eph. iy. 15, 16. for though one soul actuates every member, yet it ,doth npt knit every member alike near to the head, but some are nearer, and others removed sarther from it; but here every .member is alike nearly united with Christ the Head, the weak are as near to him as the strong.

Two things are necessary to be opened in the doctrinal part tof this point. I. The reality. 2. The quality of this union. 'First, For the reality of it, I shall make it appear, that there is such a union betwixt Christ and belivers; it is no Ens ratifinis, .empty notion, or cunningly devised sable, but a most certain demonstrable truth, which appears,

f irst, From the communion which is betwixt Christ and beJieyers; in this the apostle is express, 1 John i. 3. "Truly our "fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ .miiwh. It signifies such fellowship or copartnership, as persons have by a joint interest in one and the lame enjoyment, which is in common betwixt them. So Heb. iii. 14. we are pnexm, partak,ersof Christ. And Pfal. xlv. 7. "T"Qnp here the saints are .called the companions, consorts or fellows of Christ; "and that "not only in respect of his * assumption of our mortality, and "investing us with his immortality, .but it hath a special refe"rence and respect to the unction of the Holy Ghost, or graces "of the Spirit, of which believers are partakers with him and "through him." Now this communion of the saints with .Christ, is entirely and necessarily dependent upon their union with him, even as much as the branch's participation of the sap and juice,.depends upon its union and coalition with the stock; rake away union, and there can be no communion, or communications, which is clear from 1 Cor. iii. 22, 23. " All is yours, "and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." Where you fee how all our participation of Christ's benefits is built upon our uuion with Christ's person.

Secondly, The reality of the believers union with Christ, is e

* Jpse venit in sortem r.qstræ mortalitatis, ut in sortem nsi adduceret sua immortalitatis : clarum autem est, hie agi de eonfertibus unSiinif : quales sunt omnef fideles qui unftionis participes fi' unt. Rivet.

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vident from the imputation of Christ's righteousness to him for his justification. That a believer is justified before God by a righteousnels without himself, is undeniable from Rom. ill. 24. "Being justified freely by his grace, through the redemption "that is in Christ Jeliis." Aud that Christ's righteousness becomes ours by imputation, is as clear from Rom. iv, 23, 24. but it can never be imputed to us, except we be united to him, and become one with him: which is also plainly asserted in 1 Cor. i. 30. " But of him are ye (in Christ Jesus) who of God is made "unto us wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redempi"tion." He communicates his merits unto none but those that are in him. Hence all those rain cavils of the Papist's, disputing against our justification by the righteousness of Christ; and atserting it to be by inherent righteousness, are solidly answered.

When they demand, How can we be justified by the righteousness of another? Can I be rich with another man's money, or preferred by another's honours? Our answer is, Yes, if that other be my surety or husband. Indeed Peter cannot be justified by the righteousness of Paul; but both may be justified by the righteousnels of Christ imputed to them; they being members, jointly knit to one common Head. Principal and surety are one in obligation and construction of law. Head and members are one body, branch and stock are one tree; and it is no strange thing, to fee a graff live by the lap of another stock, when, once it is engraffed into it.

Thirdly, The sympathy that is betwixt Christ and believers, proves a union betwixt them; Christ and the saints smile and sigh together. St. Paul in Col. i. 24. tells us, that he did "fill

"up that which is behind," vnfiftx*x, the remainders

of the "sufferings of Christ in his flesh not as if Christ's sufferings were imperfect, ("for by one offering he hath per"fected for ever them that are sanctified," Heb. x. 14.) but in these two scriptures, Christ is considered in a twofold capacity; he suffered once in corpore proprio, in his own person, as Mediator; these sufferings are complete and full, and in that fense he suffers no more; he suffers also in corpore mystico, in his church and members; thus he still suffers in the sufferings of every saint for his sake; and though these sufferings in his mystical body are not equal to the other, either pondere et mensura, in their weight and value, nor yet designed ex qfficio, for the same use and purpose, to satisfy by their proper merit, offended justice; nevertheless they are truly reckoned the sufferings of Christ, because the head suffers when the members do; and without this sup-position, that place, Acts ix. 5. is never to be understood, whea Christ, the Head in heaven, cries out, "Saul, Saul, why perse"cutest thou me?" when the foot was trod upon on earth; How doth Christ sensibly feel our sufferings, or we his, if there be not a mystical union betwixt him and us?

Fourthly, and lastly, The way and manner in which the saints {hall be railed at the last day, proves this mystical union betwixt Christ and them; for they are not to be raised as others, by the naked power of God without them, but by the virtue of Christ's resurrection as their Head, sending forth vital quickening influences into their dead bodies, which are united to him as well as their Ibuls. For so we find it, Rom. viii. 11. "But if the "Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell ia "you, he that raised up Christ from the dead, shall also quick"-en your mortal bodies, by his Spirit that dwelleth in you;" even as it is in our awaking out of natural fleep, first the animal-spirits in the head begin to rouze and play there, and then the fenses and members are loosed throughout the whole body.

Now it is impassible the saints mould be raised in the last resurrection, by the Spirit of Christ dwelling in them, if that Spirit did not knit and unite them to him, as members to their head. So then by all this, it is proved, that there is a real union of the saints with Christ.

Next, I shall endeavour to open the quality and nature of this union, and shew you what it is, according to the weak apprehensions we have of so sublime a mystery; and this I shall do in a general and particular account of it.

First, More generally, it is an intimate conjunction of believers to Christ, by the imparting of his Spirit to them, whereby they are enabled to believe and live in him.

All divine spiritual life is originally in the Father, and cometh not to us, but by, and through the Son, John v. 26. to him hath the Father given to have an stvT^an, a quickening,, enlivening power in himself; but the Son communicates this life which is in him to none, but by, and through the Spirit, Rom. viii. 2. "The Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus, hath made "me free from the law of sin and death."

The Spirit must therefore first take hold of us, before we can' live in Christ, and when he doth so, then we are enabled to exert that vital act of saith, whereby we receive Christ; all this lies plain in that one Scripture, John vi. 57. " As the living Fa"ther hath sent me, and I live by the Father, so he that eat"eth me (that is, by saith applies me) even he shall live by me." So that these two, namely, the Spirit, on Christ's part, aud saith,

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