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Galat. chap. 2. ver. 20. e Ephes. chap. 2. ver. 6.
Here then is our comfort, even in this unspeakable mystical union, to be thus knit unto Christ, that in all our troubles he is troubled. This union I say with him that even as one spirit giveth life unto this natural body, coupling all the members by joints and bands; so by the virtue of the communion of the same spirit, which is in him the head, and us the members, which he conveyeth unto us (giving life unto a dead soul and maintaining the same) we are one with him. Neither can it be otherwise possibly, for that very life which is in the head, causeth, and sendeth life unto the toe, the same life is in both. So that the head no sooner wisheth the foot or toe to stir, but immediately by the same life it moveth. No distance of place can stay the same; for, imagine a man were as high as heaven is betwixt heaven and earth, yet the same rule would hold. That very life which were in the head, would also be in the toe, and cause it to move. So that self-same spirit, which is in Christ Jesus, being poured into us also, and we of dead carcases made living, by his life we live. Thus (saith the apostle)" not live I, but Christ liveth in me." So that (as I have said) by his life, we live and are united, having the same spirit in us. So certainly, is the working and life of this mighty spirit, as Ezekiel describeth his vision of the beasts and the wheels. That as when the beasts went, the wheels went with them, and when the beasts were lift up from the earth, the wheels were lift up also, whither the spirit led them they went, and thither did the spirit of the wheels lead them, and the wheels were lifted up besides them, for the spirit of the beasts was in the wheels; when the beasts went they went, and when they stood, they stood. So by the same spirit which is ours in communion, conveyed from Christ, when he moveth we move, when he is abased we must also suffer. As he is exalted, so are we lifted up in the heavenly places in him. Ife he triumph, we triumph with him, whither he goeth, thither must we
d Ezek. chap. 1. ver. 19.
go also. "They shall follow (saith John) the Lamb whithersoever he goeth." It were a strange thing to see beasts and wheels asunder, the one following the other with the same motion, but you see the reason is added. The spirit of the beasts was in the wheels. So the spirit of God in us, by a continual motion, causeth us to move here with Christ, and he with us by an inseparable union of spirit, at length also bringing us to the perfection of our glorification for ever with him. So then we see the communion of his spirit is our's, whereby we are assured of our continual life, motion, and union with him. This the apostle confirmeth when he saith: "hereby we know that he abideth in us, even by that spirit which he hath given us." So to the Ephesians the apostle telleth us that through Christ we both have an entrance unto the Father by one spirit, adding, in the end of the same chapter, that in Christ they were built together, to be the habitation of God by the spirit. Thus we see, (as our blessed Saviour speaketh,) "ith is the spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing." None could be our Redeemer but the second Person of the Trinity.
It must also be in our nature, this obedience of his, so that the head and members must be one thereby. The Divine nature, being therefore an high thing, and such and so full of infinite and unspeakable majesty, that we durst never have approached unto the same; without some other way we had perished. But we come now unto Christ, as unto our elder brother, by his human nature as he is clothed with flesh, which is that which Christ so urgeth unto the Capernaites, to eat the flesh of the Son of Man, to drink his blood, to take hold of that bread, which came down from heaven, to apprehend him as God and man in the person of the Mediator. This is that sure way which the apostle exhorteth unto, seeing we aspire unto heaven, even by the blood of Jesus. This is that Jacob's ladder, where
1 John, chap. 3. ver. 24.
Ephes. chap. 18. ver. 22.
upon the angels ascend and descend, whereupon by degrees, we creep up to be partakers of immortality, in the Divine Nature of Christ. But what way? Even that of his flesh. It is that way which openeth a passage unto the Holy of holies, entering us into that which is within the veil, whither the forerunner is for us entered. Our Saviour, therefore, when he died, the veil of the temple rent from the top to the bottom, showing that all shadows were abolished by the true substance. I say, as Christ entered through the veil of his flesh unto the Holy of holies, the veil of the temple rent, showing that now there was an evident and plain way opened by an eternal High Priest, to the once forbidden tree of life. Even by such a one, who is an high priest and ruler over the house of God. This is that new and living way which (the apostle saith) he hath prepared for us, through the veil which is his flesh, whereby with boldness and assurance we may draw near unto the holy place. Thus Christ (you see) linketh us unto himself by strict bonds of union, and here marrieth himself unto us by assuming our nature. There is no stricter bond than that of marriage, whereby two distinct persons are made one. So Christ, with an eternal greater bond of communion of spirit and nature, hath hereby married himself unto us for ever, that we should be holy as he is holy, and be partakers of all his virtues, so that whatsoever is his is ours also. Hereby he is as much interested in our debt as we ourselves, and we have interest in whatsoever is his. Though we be poor, yet he is rich; though weak, yet he is strong, though fearful, yet it is he who strengtheneth the weak hands and feeble knees; though filthy, yet he is most pure, though dead, yet is he the resurrection and the life, &c., and so in all other things in him, whereof we are partakers, which is the first benefit of our adoption.
Again by adoption, how vile and wretched soever we were before, yet Christ now is our brother, and we are of the blood royal, who shall lack nothing, which either king
Heb. chap. 6. ver. 19.
or kingdom can afford. There we may boldly now make claim unto Christ, as unto our brother, saying thus, since I am his brother, I am assured my Saviour and brother will not be ashamed of me. If loving kindred on earth be so kind, how great then is the kindness which I may expect from my heavenly brother, who is flesh of my flesh and bone of my bone.
Thirdly, by adoption the angels are all our servants (as the author to the Hebrews speaketh) are1 they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to watch over them which shall be heirs of salvation. So that here are special privileges of God's children, which passeth our imagination to conceive; to be thus united and incorporated into Christ, to be married unto him, to have him our brother, and the heavenly army to compass, keep, and watch over us in all our ways.
How should we then all strive to be daily more and more united unto Christ, that thereby we may be partakers of him and all his benefits, and receive the adoption of the sons. But now let us praise God, and pray for these graces. O eternal and everliving God, &c.
Heb. chap. 1. ver. 14.
ROMANS, CHAP. VI. VER. 14.
For sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
THE apostle in this Epistle setteth down the grounds of Christianity, what all our estates are both by nature and grace, that no man in the trial should deceive himself. Where first (to stop all mouths) having proved in the beginning thereof, both Jew and Gentile to be under the curse of the law, wretched and forlorn by nature, slaves of death and heirs of hell fire; he then secondly showeth (having beaten all down from any kind of goodness in themselves whatsoever) that yet God had not left all mankind in this miserable estate, but had provided a means of reconciliation, under the kingdom of grace, by the preaching and glad tidings of the Gospel; in which there was deliverance and freedom, unto such, who seeing their own misery, did lay hold therein on Christ Jesus, by whose grace only, he showeth they could be saved, without any thing in themselves. So that whosoever by faith had apprehended his free grace offered (howsoever miserable they were before) yet now they might have perfect peace in Christ Jesus, being justified by faith in his blood, which he at length proveth throughout in the fifth chapter. And knowing how ready men are to build upon a false ground, that they think if once they be justified, settling this persuasion, they care not how they take this as an occasion unto them of the more liberty. He, therefore, thirdly in this chapter, beginneth to urge sanctification, proving by many arguments, that sanctification must needs follow, as a companion unto