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thousands left their native soil, and went into a vast and howling wilderness in the utmost parts of the world, to keep their souls undefiled and chaste to their dear Lord Jesus, as to this of his worship and institutions.  They readily embrace, receive, and practise every thing that the Lord Christ hath appointed. They inquire diligently into his mind and will, that they may know it. They go to him for directions, and beg of him to lead them in the way they have not known. The 119th Psalm may be a pattern for this. How doth the good holy soul breathe after instruction in the ways and ordinances, the statutes and judgments of God? This, I say, they are tender in; whatever is of Christ, they willingly submit unto, accept of, and give up themselves to the constant practice hereof. Whatever comes on any other account they refuse. (4.) Christ manifests and evidences his love to his saints in a way of bounty, in that rich plentiful provision he makes for them. It hath “pleased the Father that in him all fulness should dwell; Col. i. 19. and that for this end, “that of his fulness we might all receive grace for grace; John i. 16. I shall not insist upon the particulars of that provision which Christ makes for his saints, with all those influences of the Spirit of life and grace, that daily they receive from him, that bread that he gives them to the full, the refreshment they have from him; I shall only observe this, that the Scripture affirms him to do all things for them in an abundant manner, or to do it richly in a way of bounty. Whatever he gives us, his grace to assist us, his presence to comfort us, he doth it abundantly. You have the general assertion of it, Rom. v. 20. “Where sin abounded, grace did abound much more.” If grace abound much more in comparison of sin, it is abundant grace indeed, as will easily be granted by any that shall consider how sin hath abounded and doth in every soul. Hence he is said to be able, and we are bid to expect that he should do for us exceeding ‘ abundantly above what we can ask or think; Eph. iii. 20. Is it pardoning mercy we receive of him? why he doth abundantly pardon; Isa. lv. 7. he will multiply or add to pardon, he will add pardon to pardon, that grace and mercy shall abound above all our sins and iniquities. Is it the Spirit he gives us? he sheds him upon us richly or abundantly ; Tit.
iii. 6. not only bidding us drink of the waters of life freely, but also bestowing him in such a plentiful measure that rivers of water shall flow from them that receive him; John vii. 38, 39. that they shall never thirst any more who have drank of him. Is it grace that we receive of him? he gives that also in a way of bounty; we receive abundance of grace ; Rom. v. 17. he abounds towards us in all wisdom and prudence; Eph. i. 18. Hence is that invitation, Cant. v. 1. If in any things then we are straitened, it is in ourselves, Christ deals bountifully with us. Indeed, the great sin of believers is, that they make not use of Christ's bounty as they ought to do; that we do not every day take of him mercy in abundance. The oil never ceaseth, till the vessels cease; supplies from Christ fail not but only when our faith fails in receiving them. 4. Then our return to Christ is in a way of duty; unto this two things are required. (1.) That we follow after and practise holiness in the power of it, as it is obedience unto Jesus Christ; under this formality, as obedience to him. All gospel-obedience is called, ‘whatsoever Christ commands us;’ Matt. xxviii. 20. and, saith he, John xv. 14. ‘ye are my friends if you do what I command you;’ and it is required of us that we live to him who died for us; 2 Cor. v. 15. ‘live to him in all holy obedience, live to him as our Lord and King.” Not that I suppose there are peculiar precepts and a peculiar law of Jesus Christ, in the observance whereof we are justified, as the Socinians fancy; for surely the gospel requires of us no more, “but to love the Lord our God with all our hearts, and all our souls,” which the law also required; but that the Lord Jesus having brought us into a condition of acceptance with God, wherein our obedience is well-pleasing to him, and we being to honour him as we honour the Father, that we have a respect and peculiar regard to him in all our obedience; so Tit. ii. 14. “he hath purchased us unto himself;’ and thus believers do in their obedience, they eye Jesus Christ. [1..] As the author of their faith and obedience, for whose sake it is given to them to believe; Phil. i. 29. and who by his Spirit works that obedience in them. So the apostle, Heb. xii. 1, 2, in the course of our obedience we still look to Jesus' the author of our faith ;' faith is here both the grace of faith, and the fruit of it in obedience.
[2.] As he, in, for, and by whom we have acceptance with God in our obedience. They know all their duties are weak, imperfect, not able to abide the presence of God; and therefore they look to Christ as he who bears the iniquity of their holy things, who adds incense to their prayers, gathers out all the weeds of their duties, and makes them acceptable to God.
[3.] As one that hath renewed the commands of God unto them with mighty obligations unto obedience. So the apostle, 2 Cor. v. 14, 15. “the love of Christ constrains us;' of which afterward.
[4.] They consider him as God equal with his Father, to whom all honour and obedience is due; so Rev. v. 14. But these things I have not long since opened in another treatise dealing about the worship of Christ as mediator. This then the saints do in all their obedience; they have a special regard to their dear Lord Jesus. He is on all these accounts and innumerable others continually in their thoughts; his love to them,'his life for them, his death for them, all his kindness and mercy constrains them to live to him.
.. (2.) By labouring to abound in fruits of holiness ;, as he deals with us in a way of bounty, and deals out unto us abundantly, so he requires that we abound in all grateful, obediential returns to him; so we are exhorted to be always abounding in the work of the Lord ;' 1 Cor. xv. 58. This is that I intend; the saints are not satisfied with that measure that at any time they have attained, but are still pressing that they may be more dutiful, more fruitful to Christ. ... And this is a little glimpse, of some of that communion which we enjoy with Christ. It is but a little from him, who hath the least experience of it, of all the saints of God, who yet hath found that in it, which is better than ten thousand worlds; who desires to spend the residue of the few. and evil days of his pilgrimage, in pursuit hereof, in the contemplation of the excellencies, desirableness, love, and grace of our dear Lord Jesus, and in making returns of obe
| Vindicia Evangel. chap. 13.
dience according to his will; to whose soul in the midst of the perplexities of this wretched world, and cursed rebellions of his own heart, this is the great relief, that “he that shall come, will come, and will not tarry; the spirit and the bride say, Come; and let him that readeth say, Come; even so come Lord Jesus.”
Of communion with Christ in purchased grace: purchased grace considered in respect of its rise and fountain. The first rise of it, in the obedience of Christ. Obedience properly ascribed to Christ. Two ways considered: what it was, and wherein it did consist. Of his obedience to the law in general. Of the law of the Mediator. His habitual righteousness how necessary, as also his obedience to the law of the Mediator. Of his actual obedience or active righteousness. All Christ's obedience performed as he was Mediator. His active obedience for us. This proved at large ; Gal. iv. 4, 5. Rom. v. 19. Phil. iii. 19. Zach. iii. 3–5. One objection removed. Considerations of Christ's active righteousness closed. Of the death of Christ, and its influence into our acceptation with God; a price; redemption, what it is. A sacrifice; atonement made thereby; a punishment; satisfaction thereby. ' The intercession of Christ; with its influence into our acceptation with God.
OUR process is now to communion with Christ, in purchased grace; as it was before proposed. ‘That we may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his suffering, and be made conformable to his death; Phil. iii. 10. By purchased grace I understand all that righteousness and grace which Christ hath procured, or wrought out for. us, or doth by any means make us partakers of, or bestows on us for our benefit, by any thing that he hath done, or suffered, or by any thing he continueth to do as mediator. First, What this purchased grace is, and wherein it doth consist. Secondly, How we hold communion with Christ therein: are the things that now come under consideration. The first may be considered two ways. 1. In respect of the rise and fountain of it, 2. Of its nature, or wherein it consisteth.
1. It hath a threefold rise, spring, or causality in Christ. (1.) The obedience of his life. (2.) The suffering of his death. (3.) His continued intercession. All the actions of Christ as Mediator, leading to the communication of grace unto us, may be either referred to these heads, or to some things that are subservient to them, or consequents of them. 2. For the nature of this grace wherein we have communion with Christ flowing from these heads and fountains, it may be referred to these three. (1.) Grace of justification or acceptation with God, which makes a relative change in us, as a state and condition. (2.) Grace of sanctification or holiness before God, which makes a real change in us, as to principle and operation. (3.) Grace of privilege, which is mixed, as we shall shew, if I go forth to the handling thereof. Now, that we have communion with Christ in this purchased grace, is evident on this single consideration; that there is almost nothing that Christ hath done, which is a spring of that grace whereof we speak, but we are said to do it with him. We are crucified with him; Gal. ii. 20. we are dead with him; 2 Tim. ii. 11. Col. iii. 3. and buried with him; Rom. vi. 4. Col. ii. 12. we are quickened together with him; Col. ii. 13. risen with him; Col. iii. 1. ‘He hath quickened us together with Christ, and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places; Eph. ii. 5, 6. In the actings of Christ, there is, by virtue of the compact between him as mediator and the Father, such an assured foundation laid of the communication of the fruits of those actings, unto those in whose stead he performed them, that they are said, in the participation of those fruits, to have done the same things with him. The life and power of which truth, we may have occasion hereafter to inquire into. (1.) The first fountain and spring of this grace wherein we have our communion with Christ, is first to be considered; and that is the obedience of his fife concerning which it must be declared, [1..] What it is that is intended thereby; and wherein it consisteth. - - ‘. .