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only dispenser of the Spirit, and of all grace of sanctification and holiness. They consider that upon his intercession it is granted to him, that he shall make effectual all the fruits of his purchase to the sanctification, the purifying and making glorious in holiness of his whole people. They know that this is actually to be accomplished by the Spirit, according to the innumerable promises given to that purpose. He is to sprinkle that blood upon their souls, he is to create the holiness in them that they long after, he is to be himself in them a well of water springing up to everlasting life. In this state they look to Jesus ; here faith fixes itself, in expectation of his giving out the Spirit for all these ends and purposes ; mixing the promises with faith, and so becoming actual partaker of all this grace. This is their way, this their communion with Christ; this is the life of faith as to grace and holiness. Blessed is the soul that is exercised therein ; • He shall be as a tree planted by the waters, that spreadeth forth her roots by the river, and shall not see when heat cometh, but her leaf shall be green, and shall not be careful in the year of drought, neither shall cease from yielding fruit;' Jer. xvii. 18. Convinced persons who know not Christ, nor the fellowship of his sufferings, would spin a holiness out of their own bowels; they would work it out in their own strength. They begin it with : trying endeavours, and follow it with vows, duties, resolutions, engagements, sweating at it all the day long. Thus they continue for a season; their , hypocrisy for the most part ending in apostacy. The saints of God do in the very entrance of their walking with him, reckon upon it, that they have a threefold want.
[1.] Of the Spirit of holiness, to dwell in them.
[3.] Of actual assistance, to work all their works for them; and that if these should continue to be wanting, they can never with all their might, power, and endeavours, perform any one act of holiness before the Lord. They know that of themselves they have no sufficiency; that without Christ, they can do nothing, therefore they look to him, who is intrusted with a fulness of all these in their behalf, and thereupon by faith derive from him an increase of that, whereof ? Rom. 1. 14.
John xv. 5.
they stand in need. Thus, I say, have the saints communion with Christ, as to their sanctification and holiness. From him do they receive the Spirit to dwell in them; from him the new principle of life, which is the root of all their obedience, from him have they actual assistance for every duty they are called unto. In waiting for, expectation and receiving of these blessings on the accounts before-mentioned, do they spend their lives and time with him. In vain is help looked for from other mountains; in vain do men spend their strength in following after righteousness, if this be wanting. Fix thy soul here; thou shalt not tarry until thou be ashamed. This is the way, the only way, to obtain full, effectual manifestations of the Spirit's dwelling in us; to have our hearts purified, our consciences purged, our sins mortified, our graces increased, our souls made humble, holy, zealous, believing, like to him ; to have our lives fruitful, our deaths comfortable ; let us herein abide, eyeing Christ by faith, to attain that measure of conformity to him, which is allotted unto us in this world, that when we shall see him as he is, we may be like unto him.
Of communion with Christ in privileges : of adoption; the nature of it;
the consequences of it; peculiar privileges attending it; liberty, title, boldness, affliction, communion with Christ hereby.
The third thing wherein we have communion with Christ, is grace of privilege before God; I mean as the third head of purchased grace. The privileges we enjoy by Christ, are great and innumerable; to insist on them in particular, were work for a man's whole life, not a design to be wrapped up in a few sheets. I shall take a view of them only in the head, the spring and fountain whence they all arise and flow. This is our adoption; · Beloved, now we are the sons of God; 1 John iii. 2. This is our great and fountain privilege. Whence is it that we are so ? It is from the love of the Father, ver. 1. “Behold, what love the Father hath given unto us, that we should be called the sons of God.' But by whom immediately do we receive this honour? As many as
believe on Christ, he gives them this power to become the sons of God; John i. 12. Himself was appointed to be the first-born among many brethren; Rom. viii. 29. and his taking us to be brethren, Heb. ii. 11. makes us become the children of God. Now that God is our Father, by being the Father of Christ, and we his children, by being the brethren of Christ, being the head and sum of all the honour, privilege, right, and title we have, let us a little consider the nature of that act, whereby we are invested with this state and title ; namely, our adoption. Now adoption is the authoritative translation of a believer by Jesus Christ, from the family of the world and Satan, into the family of God, with his investiture in all the privileges and advantages of that family. To the complete adoption of any person, these five thing are required. 1. That he be actually, and of his own right, of another family than that whereunto he is adopted. He must be the son of one family or other, in his own right, as all perSOnS are. 2. That there be a family unto which of himself he hath no right, whereinto he is to be grafted. If a man comes into a family upon a personal right, though originally at never so great a distance, that man is not adopted. If a man of a most remote consanguinity, do come into the inheritance of any family by the death of the nearer heirs, though his right before were little better than nothing, yet he is a born son of that family, he is not adopted. He is not to have the plea of the most remote possibility of succession. 3. That there be an authoritative, legal translation of him, by some that have power thereunto, from one family into another. It was not by the law of old, in the power of particular persons, to adopt when, and whom they would. It was to be done by the authority of the sovereign power. 4. That the adopted person be freed from all the obligations that be upon him unto the family from whence he is translated; otherwise he can be no way useful or serviceable unto the family whereinto he is ingrafted. He cannot serve two masters, much less two fathers. 5. That by virtue of his adoption, he be invested in all the rights, privileges, advantages, and title, to the whole inheritance of the family into which he is adopted, in as full and ample manner, as if he had been born a son therein. Now all these things and circumstances do concur, and are found in the adoption of believers. - 1. They are by their own original right of another family, than that whereinto they are adopted. They are by nature the children of wrath, Eph. ii. 3. sons of wrath; of that family whose inheritance is wrath, called ‘the power of darkness;' Col. i. 13. for from thence doth God “translate them into the kingdom of his dear Son.” This is the family of the world and of Satan, of which by nature believers are. Whatever is to be inherited in that family, as wrath, curse, death, hell, they have a right thereunto. Neither can they of themselves, or by themselves, get free of this family: a strong man armed, keeps them in subjection. Their natural estate is a family condition, attended with all circumstances of a family; family duties and services; rights and titles; relations and observances. They are of the black family of sin and Satan. 2. There is another family whereinto they are to be translated, and whereunto of themselves they have neither right nor title. This is that family in heaven and earth, which is called after the name of Christ; Eph. iii. 15. The great family of God: God hath a house and family for his children, of whom some he maintains on the riches of his grace, and some he entertains with the fulness of his glory. This is that house, whereof the Lord Christ is the great dispenser, it having pleased the Father ‘to gather togetherin one all things in him, both which are in heaven, and which are in earth, even in him; Eph. i. 10. Herein live all the sons and daughters of God, spending largely on the riches of his grace. Unto this family of themselves they have no right, nor title; they are wholly alienated from it, Eph. ii. 12. and can lay no claim to anything in it. God driving fallen Adam out of the garden, and shutting up all ways of return with a flaming sword ready to cut him off, if he should attempt it; abundantly declares that he, and all in him, had lost all right of approaching unto God, in any family relation. Corrupted, cursed nature is not vested with the least right to any thing of God; therefore they have an authoritative translation from - - a Heb. v. 6.
one of these families to another. It is not done in a private, underhand way, but in the way of authority ; John i. 12. 'to as many as received him, he gave power to become the sons of God;' power, or authority. This investing them with the power, excellency, and right of the sons of God, is a forensical act, and hath a legal proceding in it. It is called the 'making us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light; Col. i. 12. A judicial exalting us into membership in that family, where God is the Father, Christ the elder brother, all saints and angels, brethren, and fellow-children, and the inheritance a crown immortal and incorruptible, that fades not away.
Now this authoritative translation of believers from one family into another, consisteth of these two parts.
(1.) An effectual proclamation and declaration of such a person's immunity from all obligations to the former family, to which by nature he was related; and this declaration hath a threefold object. : [1.] Angels; it is declared unto them, they are the sons of God. They are the sons of God, and so of the family whereunto the adopted person is to be admitted, and therefore it concerns them to know, who are invested with the rights of that family, that they may discharge their duty towards them ; unto them then it is deelared, that believers are freed from the family of sin and hell, to become fellowsons, and servants with them: and this is done two ways.
1st. Generally, by the doctrine of the gospel; Eph. iii. 10. • Unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places is made krown by the church, the manifold wisdom of God.'. . By the church is this wisdom made known to the angels, either as the doctrine of the gospel is delivered unto it, or as it is gathered thereby. And what is this wisdom of God, that is thus made known to principalities and powers? It is that the Gentiles should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body with us ; ver. 6. The mystery of adopting sinners of the Gentiles, taking them from their slavery in the family of the world, that they might have a right of heirship, becoming sons in the family of God, is this wisdom thus made known. And how was it primitively made known ?
Rom. viii. 29. Heb. ii. 12.