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of them. Accordingly God is said to foreknow his people, and, foreknowing them, to have given them to Christ. He saw them as his own, while they existed only in secret; and he considered them, according to the everlasting covenant, as in Christ before time began, and as members of Christ, for whom he was (in the view of the same covenant) the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. This was their election of God, who declareth the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [pp, from before all time] the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure.+
These being Christ's own, given of the Father to him as their God-man-mediator, he prayed, or interceded with his divine merits, for them, but not for the world, that they may be one, even as God and Christ are one; God in Christ, and Christ in God, that they also may be one in them; Christ in them, and God in Christ, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the glory which was given to Christ, and the love wherewith the Father loved him, may be given to them and be in them, and he in them as their life and hope of glory.§ According to this divine plan, when Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, the antient prophecy, by that act, was said to be fulfilled, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. This related to Christ as the head of his body the church, proving him to be the appointed first-born among many
* Ps. cxxxix. 16.
↑ Rev. xiii. 8.
brethren, who, by this glorious demonstration of his victory and finished salvation, and by the power of this resurrection, are entitled to become the sons of God in him, and are said therefore to be begotten, by that very deed, to a lively hope through the mercy of God. Alluding to this, the apostle says, that God hath RAISED US up together, and made us SIT TOGETHER in heavenly places in Christ Jesus. We are quickened with Christ, raised up together with him, and made to sit together, as one body, one entire substance, upon one abiding ground, Tois anos, in the super-heavenlies, in that which is above the, or natural heavens, even in
the immediate presence of אלהים or שמים the spiritual
the divine persons in Jehovah, of whom the others are the constituted figure,† Thus, the divine nature was called by the Jews, 'n “the name of the heavens;" i. e. the invisible reality and archetype of what these are only the sensible image and picture. Thus, the kingdom of heaven, distinguished into the rule of grace and providence, is the spiritual purpose of the heavens in the glory of God and salvation of his people. All this shows the great provision and certainty of their holy calling, or high vocation, and that it shall proceed to the several effects, described by the apostle in that glorious order, with which he comforts the believing Romans, and with them other believers to the end of time.‡
Upon this mighty and wonderful foundation, the members of Christ's mystical body have a rightful claim,
*Acts xiii. 33.
Rom. i. 4.
1 Pet. i. 3.
under their head and in conjunction with him, to all the mercies, graces, and blessings of God's everlasting covenant, which the revelation of his word hath set before them. They have a right to these both as a body and as individuals; for whatever belongs to the whole, belongs to every part in its place and order. They come, therefore, to the throne of grace, not as slaves, but as freemen; not as servants, but as children; not as mere expectants, but as undoubted heirs, yea, as heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ Jesus. Accordingly, the apostle speaks of the believer's privilege in this respect, as a wapnia, an open, clear, evidential, liberty or boldness; an access to God with confidence and full dependance by the faith of Christ:*-a liberty, founded upon an indefeasable right, and used with the confiding freedom of a lawful and undoubted son. We cannot therefore ask, in submission to the divine will and agreeable to the divine word, more than what Christ hath purchased for us, or more than what God hath promised to bestow in him and through him: and we cannot ask this with too great frequency, or too much assurance of faith. Our heavenly Father loves the ardent; holy, importunity of his children.†
Union with Christ implies communion of life, sentiments, and manners, with Christ. As every member of the natural body is actuated immediately by the head; so every member of Christ's mystical body is guided by his wisdom, and receives all true nourishment and
Eph. iii. 12. Heb.iv. 16. Matt, vii. 7, xxi. 22.
↑ Luke xviii. 1. xi.1.—13.
activity from him, as being the source of life to all that believe. It would be strange, indeed, were the head and the body to live by different principles, go different ways, act for separate purposes, and come to different ends. There is no such schism as this in Christ's spiritual body. His members hold, and hold fast too (as the word signifies) their life-giving HEAD, from which ALL the body, by joints and bands having nourishment ministered and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. They have the same spirit and life with Christ; and therefore they are in their place and measure like un to him. It is also their great desire to be more and more like unto him; and for this purpose they are enabled to live more dependently upon him. As a man cannot be truly like Christ, but through him; so none are his, or at least have any visible token that they are his, but those who walk according to this rule, and who strive even to perfect holiness in the fear of God.
Through union with Christ, there is not only life, but safety by him. The head hath pre-eminently all the discerning faculties in it for the use of the body. Christ watches over his people; and his eye is ever upon them and guides them. He succors them by his almighty power; making his strength perfect and illustrious, in all their wants and weakness. No enemy can delude him, nor his elect, essentially, in him:† No weapon, formed against either, shall prosper; and every tongue, that shall rise in judgement against them, will God con
* Col. ii. 19.
+ Matt. xxiv. 24.
demn. This is the heritage of the servants of Jehovah ; and their righteousness is of me, saith Jehovah.*
And all this safety necessarily infers victory, perseverance, and everlasting glory, through this gracious Head and Redeemer. It is impossible for the whole creation to overcome the head; and therefore the members must prevail. As Christ endureth ever; so those, who are in him, shall also endure to the end and be saved. The inheritance, the kingdom, the crown, even, an exceeding and eternal weight of glory, are reserved in heaven for the joint-heirs of Christ, by the faithfulness and omnipotence of JEHOVAH their Saviour; and therefore there is an ineffable security for their faith and hope, that they shall not trust in vain, but that the believers themselves shall be reserved too, for the enjoyment of what their Lord hath promised to them.
O believer! to what an high and gracious state art thou called! How unworthy then would thy conduct be of such a gracious Lord, wert thou to go drooping and doubting all the day long! But how much more shameful, to prostitute a member of Christ to the drudgery and baseness of the devil!
No: love to Christ must follow, invariably, the knowledge and possession of him. If Christ be in us, the body is dead, or in a subdued state, because of sin; but the spirit is life, and life daily renewed, because of righteousness. "No man (says the judicious Hooker) is in Christ, but he in whom Christ actually is.t" And the actuality is chiefly discovered by the activity. Love
† Eccl. Pol. B. v.
Işa. liv. 17.