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namely, to the mountain of the Lord's house. It denotes not only the abundance of converts, but the disposition of their souls, in coming to Christ ; they come heartily and freely, as drawn with loving kindness, Jer. xxxi. 3. « Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power," Psal. cx. 3. i. e. free, ready, open hearted, giving themselves to thee as free-will offerings. When the bridegroom has the bride's heart, it is a right marriage ; but some give their hand to Christ, who give him not their heart. They that are only driven to Christ by terror, will surely leave him again, when that terror is gone. Terror may break a heart of stone, but the pieces into which it is broken still continue to be stone ; the terrors camot soften it into a heart of flesh. Yet terror may begin the work, which love crowns; the strong wind, the earthquake, and the fire going before ; the still small voice, in which the Lord is, may come after them. When the blessed Jesus is seeking sinners to match with him, they are bold and perverse, they will not speak with him, till he hath wounded them, made them captives, and bound them with the cords of death. When this is done, then it is he makes love to them, and wins their hearts. The Lord says, Hos. ii. 16-20. that his chosen Israel. shall be married unto himself. But, how will the bride's consent be won? Why, in the first place, he will bring her into the wilderness, as he did the people when he brought them out of Egypt, ver. 14. There she will be hardly dealt with, scorched with thirst, and bitten with serpents ; and then he will speak comfortably to her, or, as the expression is, he will speak upon her heart. The sinner is first driven, and then drawn to Christ. It is with the soul as with Noah's dove; she was forced back again to the ark, because she could find nothing else to rest upon ; but when she did return, she would have rested on the outside of it, if Noah had not put forth his hand and pulled her in, Gen. viii. 9. The Lord sends the avenger of blood in pursuit of the criminal, and he, with a sad heart, leaves his own city ; and with tears in his eyes, parts with his old acquaintance, because he dare not stay with them; and he flees for his life to the city. of refuge. This is not at all his choice, it is forced work; necessity has no law. But when he comes to the gates, and sees the beauty of the place, the excellency and loveliness of it charms him ; and then he enters it with heart and good-will, saying, This is my rest, and here will I stay; and, as one said in another case, I had perished unless. I had perished.
Secondly, When Christ apprehends a soul, the heart is disengaged from, and turned against sin. As in cutting off the branch from the old stock, the great idol self is brought down, the man is powerfully taught to deny himself; so, in the apprehending of the sinner by his Spirit, that union is dissolved, which was betwixt the man and his lusts, while he was in the flesh, as the Apostle expresses it, Rom. vüi. 5. the heart is loosed from them, though formerly as dear to him, as the members of his body, as his eyes, legs, and arms; and, instead of taking pleasure in them, as sometime he did, he longs to be rid of them. When the Lord Jesus comes to a soul, in the day of converting grace, he finds it like Jerusalem in the day of her nativity, (Ezek. xvi. 4.) with its navel not cut, drawing its fulsome nourishment and satisfaction from its lusts; but, he cuts off this communication, that he may set the soul on the breasts of his own consolations, and give it rest in himself. And thus the Lord wounds the head and heart of sin, and the soul comes to him, saying, “ Surely our fathers have inherited lies, vanity, and things wherein there are no profit,” Jer. xvi. 19,
Of the Benefits foing to true Believers, from their Union
V. And, lastly, I come to speak of the benefits flowe ing to true believers, from their union with Christ. The chief of the particular benefits believers have by it are justification, peace, adoption, sanctification, growth in grace, fruitfulness in good works, acceptance of these good works, establishment in a state of grace, support, and a special conduct of Providence about them. As for communion with Christ, it is such a benefit, as being the immediate consequent of union with him, comprehends all the rest as mediate ones. For look, as the branch, immediately upon its union with the stock, hath communion with the stock, in all that is in it; so the believer,
uniting with Christ, hath communion with him ; in which he launcheth forth into an ocean of happiness, is led into a paradise of pleasures, and has a saving interest in the treasure hid in the field of the gospel, the unsearchable riches of Christ. As soon as the believer is united to Christ, Christ himself, in whom all fulness dwells, is his, Cant. ii. 16. “ My beloved is mine, and I am his." And, « How shall he not with him freely give us ALL thing's ?” Rom. vii. 32. “ Whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come, ALL are yours," I Cor. iii. 22. Thus communion with Christ is the great comprehensive blessing, necessarily flowing from our union with him. Let us now consider the particular benefits flowing from it, before mentioned.
The first particular benefit, that a sinner hath by his union with Christ, is 'Justification ; for being united to Christ, he hath communion with him in his righteousness, 1 Cor. i. 30. « But.of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom and righteousness. He stands no more condemned, but justified before God, as being in Christ, Rom. viii. 1. « There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." The branches hereof are pardon of sin, and personal acceptance.
181, His sins are pardoned, the guilt of them is remove ed. The bond obliging him to pay his debt is cancelled God the Father takes the pen, dips it in the blood of his Son, crosseth the sinner's accounts, and blotteth them out of his debt-book. The sinner, out of Christ, is bound over to the wrath of God; he is under an obligation in law to go to the prison of hell, and there lie till he has paid the utmost farthing. This ariseth from the terrible sanction with which the law is fenced, which is no less than death, Gen. ii. 17. So that the sinner, passing the bounds assigned him, is as Shimei in another case, a man of death, 1 Kings ii. 42. But now being united to Christ, God saith, “ Deliver him from going down to the pit; I have found a ransom,” Job xxxiii. 24. The sentence of condemnation is reversed, the believer is absolved, and set beyond the reach of the condemning law. His sins, which sometimes were set before the Lord, Psaha
Xc. 8. so that they could not be hid, God now takes and casts them all behind his back, Isa. xxxvii, 17. Yea, he casts them into the depths of the sea, Micah vii. 19. What falls into a brook may be got up again ; but what is cast into the sea cannot be recovered. Ay, but there are some shallow places in the sea; true, but their sins are not cast in there, but into the depths of the sea ; and the depths of the sea are devouring depths, from whence they shall never come forth again. But what if they do not sink? He will cast them in with force ; so that they shall go to the ground, and sink as lead in the mighty waters of the Redeemer's blood. They are not a only forgiven, but forgotten, Jer. xxxi. 34. “I will for
il give their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no Inore." And though their after-sins do in themselves deserve eternal wrath, and do actually make them liable to fli.com temporal strokes, and fatherly chastisements, according to the tenor of the covenant of grace, Psalm lxxxix. 30–33. Yet they can never be actually liable to eternal wrath, or the curse of the law ; for they are dead to the law in Christ, Rom. vii. 4. And they can never fall from their union with Christ, nor can they be in Christ, and yet under condemnation, Rom. viii. 1. 6 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.”
This is an inference drawn from that doctrine of the believer's being dead to the law, delivered by the Apostle, chap. vii. 1-6. as is clear from chap. viii. 2, 3, 4. And in this respect, the justified man is the blessed man, unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, Psal. xxxii. 2. As one who has no design to charge a debt on another, sets it not down in his count-book.
2dly, The believer is accepted as righteous in God's sight, 2 Cor. v. 21. For he is found in Christ, not hava ing his own righteousness, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith, Phil. iii. 9. He could never be accepted of God as righteous, upon the account of his own righteousness; because, at best, it is but imperfect; and all righteousness, proper ly so called, which will abide a trial before the throne of God, is perfect. The very name of it implies, perfection; for unless a work be perfectly conform to the law, it is not right but wrong; and so cannot make a man righteous before God, whose judgment is according to truth. Yet
it if justice demand a righteousness of one that is in Christ, sa upon which he may be accounted righteous before the - Lord; Surely shall such an one say,In the Lord have I righ
teousne88, Isa xiv. 24. The law is fulfilled, its commands are obeyed, its sanction is satisfied. The believer's Cautioner has paid the debt. It was exacted, and he answered for it.
Thus the person united to Christ is justified. You may conceive of the whole proceeding herein in this manner. The avenger of blood pursuing the criminal, Christ, as the Saviour of lost sinners, doth by the Spirit apprehend
him, and draw him to himself; and he by faith lays hold hon Christ; so the Lord our righteousness and the un
righteous creature unite. From this union with Christ results a communion with him, in his unsearchable riches, and, consequently, in his Sighteousness, that white raiment
which he has for clothing of the naked, Rey. iii. 18. Thus - the righteousness of Christ becomes his; and because it DL is his by unquestionable title, it is imputed to him ; it is te reckoned his, in the judgment of God, which is always
according to truth of the thing. And so the believe dren ing sinner having a righteousness which fully answers
the demands of the law, he is pardoned and accepted as Side righteous. See Isa. xlv. 22, 24, 25. Rom. iii. 24. and
chap. v. 1. Now he is a free man : Who shall lay any
thing to the charge of those whom God justifieth? Can #justice lay any thing to their charge ? No; for it is satis
fied, Can the law ? No ; for it has got all its demands of them in Jesus Christ, Gal. ii. 26. I am crucified with Christ. What can the law require more,after it has wounded their Head; poured in wrath, in full measure, into their soul; and cut off their life, and brought it into the dust of death? In so far as it has done all this to Jesus Christ, who is their Head, Eph. i. 22. their Soul, Acts. ii. -25, 27. and their Life ? Col. iii. 4. What is become of the sinner's own hand-writing, which would prove the debt
upon him ? Christ has blotted it out, Col. ii. 14. But, it may be justice may get its eye upon it again : No, he took it out of the way. But, О that it been torn in pieces, may the sinner say: Yea, so it is; the nails that pierced Christ's hands and feet are driven through it, ha nailed it. But what if the torn pieces be set together