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XIII. There is not more strangeness than significance in that charge of the apostle, That we should put on the Lord Jesus Christ.'' The soul is, as it were, a body; not really and properly so, according to the gross error of Tertullian, but by way of allusion. This body of the soul then may not be naked, but must be clad: as our first parents were ashamed of their bodily nakedness; and so still are all their (not savage) posterity; so may we of our spiritual. Every sinner is naked : those rags that he hath are so far from hiding his nakedness, that they are part of it: his fairest moralities are but glittering sins; and his sins are his nakedness. Aaron · had made Israel naked to their shame :'? not so much in that they were stript of their earrings, as that they were enwrapped in the sin of idolatry. No marvel if we run away and hide us from the presence of God, as our first parents did, while we are guilty to ourselves of our spiritual deformity. As then we are bodily naked when we come into the world, so we are spiritually naked while we are of the world; neither can it be either safe or comely for us till we be covered. There is no clothing can fit the soul but the Lord Jesus Christ. All other robes in the wardrobe of earth or heaven are too short, too strait; like those which the scorn of Hanun put upon David's messengers, reaching but to the hams; for, though the soul of man be finite, the sin of the soul is scarce so; and that sin must be covered, else there can be no safety for the soul; according to that of the psalmist,
• Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered." None, therefore, but the robes of an infinite righteousness can cover the soul so woefully dressed; none, therefore, but the Lord Jesus Christ, who is God blessed for ever, can cover the soul, that it may not appear unrighteous, or can cleanse the soul, that it may not be unrighteous : and cleansed it must be ere the Lord Jesus can be put on. We shall wrong his perfect holiness if we think we can slip him on, as a case, over our beastly rags. It is with us as with Joshua the high priest: the filthy garments must first be taken off; and then the Lord shall say unto us,
Behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment.'? We put on a garment when we apply it all over to our body, so as that part which is clothed appears not, but is defended from the air and from the eye. If we have truly put on the Lord Jesus nothing of ours is seen, but Christ is all in all to us : although this application goes yet deeper; for we so put him on, that we not only put ourselves into him, but also put him into ourselves by a mutual kind of spiritual incorporation. We put him on then upon our intellectual parts, by knowing him, by believing on him. This is eternal life to know thee, and whom thou has sent,' saith our Saviour; and for faith, no grace doth so sensibly apprehend him, and make him so feelingly ours. We put him on upon our wills and affections, when we take pleasure in him, when we love him, delight in him, and prefer him to our chiefest joy. Thus do we put him on: as our Lord, in our humble and duti
ful subjection; as our Jesus in our faithful affiance; as Christ the anointed of God to be our king in all boly obedience; our priest in our willing consecration to him ; our prophet in our cheerful readiness to be instructed by him. How happy are we if we be thus decked! We prank up these poor carcasses of ours gaily with no small expence; and when we have done, the stuff or the fashion, or both, wears out to nothing; but here is a garment that will never be out of fashion : ‘Jesus Christ yesterday, and to-day, and the same for ever;' yea, the same to us: here we put him on in grace; there in eternal glory. The Israelities were forty years in the wilderness, yet their shoes not worn, their apparel not impaired ;' but this attire shall not only hold good in the time of our wandering in this desert, but after we are come into the Canaan of glory, and is best at last. Wherefore do we put on our choicest attire on some high days, but to testify the cheerfulness of our hearts ? •Let thy garment be white,' saith the preacher, ‘for now God accepteth thy works.'? Mephibosheth changed not his raiment since David went out, as one that would have the sorrow of his heart seen in the neglect of his clothes; although many a one under a gay coat hath a heavy heart; but this attire doth not only testify but make cheerfulness in the soul. • Thou hast given me more joy of heart than they had in the time that their corn and their wine increased ;'and, ‘In thy presence is the fulness of joy.'" What can this apparel of ours do, but keep us from a blast or a shower ? It is so far from safeguarding the soul, that it many times wounds · Deut. xxix. 5. ? Eccles. ix. 7, 8. Psalm, iv. 7.
4 Psalm xvi. 11.
it, and that to the death. It was one of the main quarrels against the rich glutton, that he was every day clothed in purple and byss.' How many souls shall once wish that their bodies had been ever either naked or clad with hair-cloth! But this array, as it is infinitely rich and beautiful, so it is as surely defensative of the soul; and is no less than armour of proof against all assaults, all miseries. What a deal of cost and pains do we bestow upon these wretched bodies of ours, only to make them pleasing and lovely to the eye of some beholders, as miserable perhaps as ourselves! and yet, when we have all done, we are, it may be, no better than hard-favoured and unhandsome creatures, and contemptible in those eyes from whom we desired most approbation. Jezebel, for all her licking, is cast out of the window and trodden to dirt in the streets. But this robe we cannot wear, and not be amiable in the eyes of the Holiest. • Behold, thou art fair, my beloved; behold, thou art fair, and there is no spot in thee.'3 Lo, in this case, the apparel makes the man. Neither is it in the power of any spiritual deformity to make us other than lovely in the sight of our God, while we have Christ put on upon us. Whatever, therefore, become of the outward man, let it be my care that my soul be vested with my Lord Jesus; so shall I be sure to be safe, rich, amiable here, and hereafter glorious. It was part of our Saviour's charge upon the mount, “Take no care what to put on;' but it must be the main care of our lives how to put on Christ upon our souls. This is the prime stole, wherewith the father of the prodigal graceth his re
Luke, xvi. 19.
2 Eph. vi. 13.
3 Cant. i. 16.
turned son. The heaven of heavens is not worth such another. When I have once got this on my back, I shall say, though in a contrary sense with the spouse in the Canticles, “I have put on my coat, how shall I put it off? I have washed my feet, how shall I defile them.''
XIV. With how devout passion doth the Psalmist call to all the works of the Almighty to praise him! as well supposing, that every creature, even those that have no tongues to speak for themselves, yet have a tongue to praise their Maker : "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament sheweth his handy work. Day unto day uttereth his speech, and night unto night sheweth knowledge. There is no speech, where their voice is not heard.'? Neither is the very earth defective in this duty; every plant says, “Look on me, and acknowledge the life, colour, form, smell, fruit, force, that I have from the power of my Creator :” every worm and fly says, “ Look on me, and give God the praise of my living, sense, and motion :" every bird says, “ Hear me, and praise that God, who hath given me these various feathers, and taught me these several notes :" every beast, while he bellows, bleats, brays, barks, roars, says, “ It is God, that hath given me this shape, this sound :” yea, the very mute fishes are, in their very silence, vocal in magnifying the infinite wisdom and power of him that made them, and placed them in those watery habitations : ‘Let every thing that hath breath, saith the Psalmist,“ praise the Lord.'3 Yea, the
i Cant. v. 3.
? Psalm, xix,l, 2.
3 Cl. 6.