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congregation should now come in and close with the Lord Jesus Christ.
You will say unto me. Here are encouragements indeed to believers; for the doctrine runs thus. There is a communication of the fulness of Jesus Christ unto all believers. Oh! but what encouragement is here for others, that are not believers? And truly I am afraid, I am even afraid that I am not one of those; what encouragement is there for others that are not believers also.
I answer, Pray look into the lxviiith Psalm, and consider it well, at the 18th verse. See what is spoken concerning Christ to this purpose that now I am upon. 6. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive. Thou hast received gifts for men (it is spoken of Christ); yea, for the rebellious also ;" mark that word. Thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also. Well then, is there ever a rebellious child in this congregation? Is there ever a rebellious drunkard, that hath taken up arms against the Lord Jesus Christ? Is there ever a rebellious swearer, or an unclean heart here, that hath taken up arms against the Lord Jesus Christ. Says the text, “He hath received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also.” The reason why you have not these gifts, is, because you do not come to Christ. Oh! but if you would come to Christ, mark, If you
would but come to Christ, you that are rebellious, if you would come to Jesus Christ, he hath these gifts, or grace by him ; if you would come to him, you should have these gifts from him. Who would not throw down his weapons now? Is there ever a rebel in all this congregation, that hath taken up arms against the Lord Jesus Christ heretofore? Methinks he should be encouraged hence to come unto Jesus Christ. Bodin hath a story concerning a great rebel, that had made a great and strong party against a Roman emperor : and the emperor makes proclamation ; that whoever could bring in the rebel, either alive or dead, should have such a great sum of money. The rebel hearing of this, he comes in himself, presents himself unto the emperor, and demands the sum of money. Says the emperor : If now, I should put him to death, the world would think I did it to save my money: notwithstanding all his former rebellion, the emperor pardons him, and gave him the sum of money. Oh!
would a besiben en perer do thus br a poor rebel? And if thoa, man or woman, wilt throw down the weapons, and come in unto the Lord Jesus Christ, do rou think that the Lord Jesus Christ, will not give to you those gifts that he bath receired for you? Certainly he will. Oh! methinks, therefore, erery poor sinner should now hang upon this last word; rea, for the rebellious also. Hath the Lord Jesus Christ received gifts for men, and for the rebellious also ? I will for erer hang upon that word, also. Oh! I have been a rebel : I have been an unclean rebel; I hare been a swearing rebel; I have been a drunken rebel: Oh! Lord, I will throw down my weapon, and hang upon this word, also: Hath he receired gifts for men; and for the rebellious also Oh! I will come in unto him. Oh! what a mighty encouragement is here for all, good and bad, to come in unto Jesus Christ. Come drunkard, come swearer, come unclean heart, come Sabbath-breaker, come lying children, come stealing servants; oh, come unto the Lord Jesus Christ that you may be filled for erer; oh, come unto Christ, that you may leare Four sins. Here is encouragement to all, good and bad, to come uoto Jesus Christ.
Thirdls, One word more of use unto believers, and so I have done. Is there a communication of the fulness of Jesus Christ unto all believers? Then, belierers, own your own, own your own; labour to strengthen your assurance of your union with Jesus Christ, and maintain your confidence in him. If you have assurance of union with Jesus Christ, you may have the comfort of all this truth : you may, and you will say thus, or to the like purpose: Hath the Lord given me Christ, and will he not with him give me all things else? True indeed, I want grace to do such a work with, to pray with, to hear with, to examine my own heart withal. I want grace to do such a work for God. Oh, but there is a communication of the fulness of Jesus Christ unto all believers, and through the Lord's grace I am one; there is a communication of the fulness of the Lord Jesus Christ unto all the saints, and through the Lord's grace I am one; and therefore in due time I know I shall have this grace commupicated to me.
But if you want the assurance of your union with Jesus Christ, oh then you will want the comfort of this truth, then
you will break out and say, True indeed, there is the communication of the fulness of Christ unto believers, but the Lord knows I am none; it is true indeed there is a communication of the fulness of Christ unto all the saints, but the Lord knows I am none. I have an unclean heart of mine own; the Lord knows I am none. Oh, therefore, you that have gone doubting up and down, and had no assurance of your condition all this while, assurance of your
union with Jesus Christ; for the love of God get it now, as you desire to have the comfort of this truth that now I have been upon, get it now.
You see, beloved, these times we are fallen upon are dying times; and truly I may say, dying times and doubting hearts cannot stand together. Oh, cock up, cock up; you that have had your evidence for heaven lying abroad all this while, get it in. Labour to get assurance of your union with Jesus Christ, and maintain your confidence and assurance, and so shall you have the comfort of all this truth made good unto you. And the Lord give it in unto you.
And of his fulness have all we received, even grace for grace."
John 1. 16.
I HAVE made entrance into these words in other congregations, and desire to proceed here where I left there.
The words are spoken of our Lord and Saviour Christ: they hold forth three great, grand propositions.
First, That there is a fulness of grace in Jesus Christ.
Thirdly, That of his fulness all we have received, even grace for grace.
I have done with the first proposition. The second affordeth this observation:
That all the saints and people of God do partake of the fulness of Jesus Christ in a way of receiving.
This fulls asunder into two parts, or two branches.
First, That there is a communication of the fulness of Jesus Christ unto all believers.
Secondly, That whatever grace or holiness the saints have from Christ, they have it in a way of receiving.
I have done, also, with the first of these, and am now, God willing, to speak to the second :
Whatsoever grace or holiness the saints and people of God have from Christ; they have it all in a way of receiving. 6 Of his fulness all we have received.”
The former branch told us that Christ communicates: this tells us that we receive. There the emphasis lay upon Christ's communicating, and here the accent is set upon our receiving. The grace of Jesus Christ is not born with us; we do not go to Jesus Christ in the strength of our nature, to take of his fulness to ourselves, but Jesus Christ gives out and we receive : all in a way of receiving.
The grace and mercy of our justification and remission of sins, is by way of receiving. “ Not only so, but we also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement,” Rom.v.ll. Atonement is to be had, it is to be had by Christ, and this in a way of receiving.
Again, The grace and mercy of our adoption is to be had in a way of receiving. “He came to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons," Gal. iv. 5. Adoption is a blessing that is most desirable : this Christ gives, and this we receive.
Again, The grace of our sanctification is to be had in a way of receiving. What is the cause and original of all our grace or holiness but the Spirit of God? and that is received. “ This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith ?” Gal. iii. 2. The schools say, that the word grace, is either taken for the gifts of the Holy Ghost, or for saving and sanctifying grace.
Take grace for the gifts of the Holy Ghost, as sometimes the word is used in Scripture, and that is in a way of receiving Acts x. 46, “ They heard them speak with tongues.” At the 47th verse, " Then answered Peter, Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost;" that is, the gift of the Holy Ghost.
Take grace for holiness and sanctification, and that is, also,
in a way of receiving; to be had in a way of receiving. “For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear: but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father,” Rom. viii. 15. There are gifts of prayer, and there is the Spirit of prayer, of adoption, crying, Abba, Father. The first may be without grace, but the second not: wherever the second is, there is grace: and this is received, saith the apostle, here.
In general, all is by way of receiving. “ As ye have received the Lord Christ (says the apostle) see that ye walk in him,” Col. ii. 6. And, in another place, “What hast thou, that thou hast not received?” Cor. iv. 7. What hast thou that thou hast not received ? all in a way of receiving. “ He shall come down," says the Psalmist in the lxxiind Psalm, speaking concerning our Lord and Saviour Christ, and his grace, at the 6th verse, “ He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass :” or, as some write it, for so the original will bear it, “ He shall come down like rain upon the fleece:” having relation to Gideon's fleece. “ He shall come down like rain
upon the mown grass : as showers that water the earth.” A Psalm for Solomon, says the title, but there are many things in this Psalm that cannot properly be understood of Solomon : but, in a type, properly belonging to Jesus Christ. For as Strigelius does well observe: at the 7th verse, the verse next following this text, it is said, “In his days shall the righteous flourish: and abundance of peace so long as the moon endureth.” Solomon did not live so long as the moon endures; this, therefore, is to be understood of Christ. And, at the 5th verse, it is said, “ They shall fear thee as long as the sun and moon endure, throughout all generations." They did not fear Solomon; men did not fear Solomon as long as the sun and moon endure, through all generations: this, therefore, must be understood of Christ.
Now see, therefore, what is said of Christ, and concerning his grace: says the text, in the 6th verse, “ He shall come down like rain upon the mown grass.”
Like rain : rain, you know, is that which does make the earth fruitful. Non ager sed annus facit fructum: it is not the sowing, but it is the year that causes fruit: it is the rain that causeth fruit : and so it is the grace of Jesus Christ that does make us fruitful; his grace the cause of our grace. “I