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ix. 4. + The righteons God holds himself obliged to vindicate oppressed innocency, though it be in the persons of wicked men, how much more when it is in a member of Christ ? “ He that " toucheth you, toucheth the apple of mine eye,” Zech. ii. 8. And is it to be imagined, that Christ will fit still, and suffer his enemies to hurt or injure the very apples of his eyes : No, no, " He hath ordained his arrows against the perfecutors,” Psalm
O it were better thine hand should wither, and thine arm fall from thy fhoulder, than ever it should be lifted up against Chrift, in the poorest of his members. Believe it, firs, not onJy your violent actions, but your hard speeches, are all set dowa upon your doom's-day book; and you shall be brought to an account for them in the great day, Jude 15. Beware what ar. rows you shoot, and be sure of your mark before you loot them.
Inter. 7. If there be such a union betwixt Chrift and the fuints, as bath been described, upon what comfortable terms then, may believers part with their bodies at death?
Chrift your head is risen, therefore you cannot be lost: nay, he is not only risen from the dead himlelf, but is also “ become " the first-fruits of them that Nept,” i Cor. xv. 20. Believers are his members, his fulness, he cannot therefore be complete without you : a part of Chrilt cannot perish in the grave , much less burn in hell. Remember, when you feel the patural union diffolving, that this mystical union can never be dissolve ed: the pangs of death cannot break this tie. And as there is a peculiar excellency in the believer's life, so there is a Gogular fupport, and peculiar comfort in his death; “ To me to live is
Chrift, and to die is gain," Phil. i. 21.
Infer. 8. If there be such a union betwixt Christ and believe ers, How doth it concern every man to try and examine his eftate, whether he is really united with Christ or not, by the natural and proper effects, which always flow from this union? As,
† Agesilaus was wont to say, That he very much wondered, that those were not reckoned upin the number of sacrilegious persons, who injured those who made fupplication to God, or worshipped him : By
ich he signified, that not only those should be reckoned injurious, who robbed the Gods themselves, or their temples, but even these chiefly who affronted their servants or heralds. Æmyl. Prob.
# To say that the temple of God, in which the Spirit of the Fas ther dwells, and the members of Christ, shall not partake of fal. vation, but be brought into perdition, what is it but the greatest blasphemy? Iren. lib. s.
*Firk, The real communication of Christ's holiness to the foul
. We cannot be united with this root, and not partake of the vital sap of fanctification from him; all that are planted into him, are plaaced into the likeness of his death, and of his resurrection, Rom, vi. 5, 6. viz. by mortification and vivification.
Secondly, They that are fo nearly united to him, as members to the head, cannot but love him and value him, above their owo lives; as we fee in nature, the hand and arm will io terpose to save the head. The nearer the union, the stronger always is the affection.
Thirdly, The members are subject to the head. Dominion in the head must needs infer fubjection in the members, Eph. V. 24, In vain do we claim union with Christ as our head, whilft we are governed by our own wills, and our lusts give us law.
Fourthly, All that are united to Christ, de bear fruit to God, Rom. vii. 4." Fruitfulnefs is the next end of our union : there are no barren branches growing upon this fruitful root.
Iofer. 9. Lastly, How much are believers engaged to walk as the members of Christ, in the visible exercises of all those graces and duties, which the confideration of their near relation to him exacts from them. As,
FirA, How contented and well pleased should we be with our outward lot, however providence hath cast it for us in this world, O do not repine, God hath dealt bountifully with you; upon others he hath bestowed the good things of this world ; upon you, bimself in Christ.
Secondly, How humble and lowly in fpirit should you be under your great advancement ! It is true, God hath magnified you greatly by this union, but yet do not swell, “ You bear not " the ruot, but the root you,” Rom. xi. 18. You shine, but it is as the stars, with a borrowed light.
Thirdly, How zealous should you be to honour Christ, who hath put so much honour upon you ! Be willing to give glory to Christ, though his glory should rise out of your shame. Never reckoo that glory that goes to Christ, to be lost to you: when you lie at his feet, in the moft particular heart-breaking conferlions of la, yet let this please you, that therein you have given
Fourthly, How exact and circumspect should you be in all your ways, remembring whose you are, and whom you repre. sent ! Shall it be faid, that a member of Christ was convicted of obrighteousaels and unholy actions! God forbid. “If we fay, « we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie," 1 John i. 6.
“ And he that faith he abideth in him, ought al“ fo himself to walk even as he also walked,” John ii. 6.
Fifthly, How studious Mould you be of peace, among your felves, who are all lo nearly united to such a Head, and thereby are made fellow-members of the same body! The Heathen world was never acquainted with such an argument as the apostle urges for unity, in Eph. iv. 3, 4.
Sixthly, and lastly, How joyful and comfortable should you be, to whom Christ, with all his treasures and benefits, is effectually applied in this blessed union of your souls with him! This brings him into your possession : 0 how great! how glorious a person do these little, weak arins of your faith embrace !
Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ. insaaressarcomarca
no ancora conana
Opening the Nature and Use of the Gospel-mipistry, as
an external Means of applying CHRIST.
2 COR. v. 20. Now then, we are ambassadurs for Chrif, as
though God did beseech you by us : we pray you in Chrif's Stead, be
reconciled to God.
HE effectual application of Christ, principally consists
in our union with him, but, ordinarily, there can be da union without a gospel-tender, and overture of him to our fouls; for, “ How shall they believe in him, of whom they have
not heard ? and how shall they hear without a preacher ? " and how shall they preach, except they be fent ?” Rom. x.
· If God be upon a design of espousing poor finners to his Son, there must be a treaty in order to it; that treaty requires interlocution betwixt both the parties concerned in it; but such is our frailty, that, should God fpeak immediately to us bimfelf, it would confound and overwhelm us : God therefore gracioung condescends, and accomodates himfelf to our infirmity, in treating with us in order to our union with Christ, by his ambassadors, and these not angels, whose converses we cannot bear, bat men like ourselves, who are commissionated for the effecting of this great business betwixt Chrilt and us. " Now then, we are 361
balladors for God," &c. In which words you have,
First, Christ's ambassadors commissionated.
First, Chrift's ambassadors commiffiogated. "Now then, we " are ambassadors for Chist.” The Lord Jesus thought it not sufficient to print the law of grace, and blessed terms of our union with him in the scriptures, where med may read his wil. lingness to receive them, and see the just and gracious terms and conditions upon which he offers to become theirs ; but hath also fo set up and established a standing office in the church, to expound that law, inculcate the precepts, and urge the promises thereof; to woo and cspouse fouls to Christ, “ I have espoused
you to one Husband, that I may present you as a chalte virgin “ to Christ,” 2 Cor. xi. 20.; and this not simply from their own affections and compaffious to miserable finners, but also by virtue of their office and commission, whereby they are authorized and appointed to that work. “We then are ambassadors for “ Christ."
Secondly, Their commission opened: Wherein we find, 1. Their work appointed. 2. Their capacity described. 3. And the manner of their acting in that capacity prescribe ed.
First, The work whereunto the ministers of the gospel are appointed, is to reconcile the world to God; to work these finful, vain, rebellious hearts, which have a strong aversation from God naturally in them; to close with him according to the articles of peace contained in the gospel, that thereby they may be capable to receive the mercies and benefits purchased by the death of Christ, which they cannot receive in the state of enmity and alienation.
Secondly, Their capacity described : They act in Christ's stead, as his vicegerents. He is no more in this world to treat perfonally with finners, as once he did in the days of his flesh; but yet he still continues the treaty with this lower world, by his officers, requiring men to look upon them, and obey then as they would himself, if he were corporally present, Luke X. 16. “ He " that heareth you, heareth me; and he that despiseth you, der
spiseth me." Thirdly, The manner of their acting in that capacity prescribed; and that is, by humble, sweet, and condescending entreaties and beseechings. This best suits the meek and lamb-like Saviour wliom they represent: thus he dealt with poor fingers himself, when he conversed among them; he would not
“ break a bruised reed, nor quench the smoaking flax,” Ifa. xlii. 3. This is the way to allure and win the fouls of fioners to Christ.
From hence the note is,
Doct. That the preaching of the gospel by Christ's ambassadors,
is the means appointed for the reconciling and bringing home of finners to Chrift.
This is clear from Rom. X. 14., i Cor. i. 21. and many other scriptures.
Here we shall take into consideration these three things.
First, What is implied in Christ's treating with sioners by his ambassadors or ministers.
Secondly, What is the great concernment they are to treat with finners about.
Thirdly, What, and when is the efficacy of preaching, to bring finners to Christ.
First, We will open what is implied and imported in Christ's treaty with finners, by his ambassadors or minifters.
And here we find these fix things implied.
1. It necessarily implies the defection and fall of man, from his estate of favour and friendship with God : If no war with heaven, what need of ambassadors of peace ? The very office of the ministry, is an argument of the fall. Gospel-ordinances, and officers came in upon the fall, and expire with the Media. tor's dispensatory-kingdom, 1 Cor. xv. 24, 25. “Then shall he * deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father :" Thenceforth no more ordinances, no more ministers; What use can there be of them, when the treaty is ended? They have done and accomplished all they were ever intended and designed for, when they shall have reconciled to God all the number of his elect, that dispersed among the loft and miserable pofterity of Adam, and have brought them home to Christ in a perfect itate, Eph. iv. 12, doc.
2. It implies the fingular grace and admirable condefcenfion of God to sinful man. That God will admit any treaty with him at all, is wonderful mercy, it is more than he would do for the angels that fell, Jude 6.“ They are reserved in everlasting “ chains, under darkness, unto the judgment of the great day. Christ took not on him their nature, but suffered myriads of them to perish, and fills up their vacaat places in glory, with a Bumber of fipfol men and women, to whom the law awarded the fame punishment.