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tion of human nature, I say, by incarnation, shews the oneness of flesh between Christ and his spouse. He is clothed with a part of the children's flesh and blood. Hence we are said to be members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones, Eph. y. 30; and no more twain, but they two shall be one flesh. But if Loud's notion be true, they are not one flesh; for he says the Saviour's flesh was made of deity, but ours was made of earth; consequently, he cannot be said to be of our flesh, and one flesh with us; but the Spirit says we are one flesh. “This is a great mystery; but I speak concerning Christ and the church.”
Furthermore, “He that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit.” All the elect are made partakers of the Spirit of Christ. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” The whole fulness of the Spirit is without measure in the Saviour; and the same Spirit operates and dwells in all the saints, whose bodies are temples of the Holy Ghost. And, under the sweet influence of the Spirit of love, our glorious and eternal union with the Saviour is manifested to the elect sinner; for by the Spirit God calls us to the fellowship of his Son; and, when once the poor sinner feels Christ's love operating in him, and all his affections stirred up and going out after him, then he passes into the bond of the covenant, into the joy of the Lord, and into the glorious liberty of the children of God; he enters into his rest, and rests from all his burdens, and from all his legal and
dead works; and says for himself, “My beloved is mine, and I am his;" while mutual affections, the bond of all perfectness, makes the union so clear, so close, so sweet, that they understand what he means when he says, “ Believe that I am in you and you in me;" and again, “ I am come into my garden, my sister, my spouse.”
This union, being compared to that which subsists between the foundation and the building, shews us where all the weight of our sins, and the sufferings due to us, were laid; and where the sin-burdened, soul-sinking, and selfdespairing sinner finds his resting place, when he is brought out of the horrible pit, and led to the rock that is higher than he; where he casts all his burdens and his cares, and where he finds his heart fixed on a firm basis, against which the gates of hell shall never prevail.
This union being represented by the neck, which joins the body to the head, and which head contrives and schemes for the welfare of every member of the body, is to set forth to us the union of the members among themselves; and how the head, Christ, in union with the body, guides, directs, influences, and actuates, the whole mystical body. “The wise man's eyes are in his (covenant] head.” “The way of man is not in himself. It is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” Be not like an horse or mule, which have no understanding; and I will guide thee with mine eye, saith the Lord, Psal. xxxii. 8. 9. And indeed the
Lord contrives, and provides, for every member of the whole body. Healing and health, food and physic, are all in him, and of him. “ I am the Lord that healeth thee.” Yea, the health of our countenance and our God. “I am the bread of life.” And it is he that purged our sins by his own blood. The wandering member he brings back, the weak he carries, the ewe with young he gently leads, the blind he illuminates, the dead he quickens, the cold he inflames, and works in all both to will and to do.
This union being represented by the vine and its branches, shews the root in which our life lies, where it is hid, and the way in which it is communicated to us. And, as the vine branch, which often appears without leaves or fruit, has life still in its root, so had the elect life given them in Christ Jesus before the world began, though they are by nature the children of wrath even as others, and dead in trespasses and sins, till quickened by the Lord of life and glory.
Furthermore, the vine, contrary to most plants, never bears fruit in the old wood; the new branch, and its new fruit in the branch, both spring together. If no life be communicated, there is no new branch; and, if no new branch, no fruit. So old nature can never bring forth fruit unto God. The new and living principle, the new man of grace, must be formed in the soul before fruit can be expected. No man can gather grapes of thorns, nor figs of thistles. In Christ is our fruit found; the new man of grace comes from Christ's fulness of grace; the Holy Ghost operates, and produces his
own fruits, which are called the graces, or fruits, of the Spirit; and from the tuition of grace we learn to deny ungodliness and worldly lust, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly in the world; and from the operations of grace. all good works proceed. “I laboured more abundantly than they all; yet not I, but the grace of God that was with me.” Moreover, as the new branch of the vine, the new cluster, and the leaves, all lie in the life, which is in the root of the vine, so our new man, new fruit, and the verdant leaves of our holy profession, are all derived from Christ, who is our life and our holy root; and on which account, though at times we appear withered in our profession and barren in our souls, yet, by virtue of our union with him, in him our leaf shall be green, our leaf, in him, shall not wither, nor shall we entirely cease from yielding fruit; yea, “ they shall still bring forth fruit in old age, to shew that the Lord is upright,” or righteous, or faithful, in giving to us, according to his covenant promise, the blessing of eternal life.
But again; as the life of the branch, the fruit, and the leaf, all lie in the sap, which is the life of the vine, and in which it is secured and hid as in its root; and which life is drawn forth, and the branch, fruit, and leaf, are all set in a working motion by the warm enlivening rays of the sun; even so, when the Sun of righteousness arises with healing in his beams, the barren desert becomes a fruitful field; and the degenerate plant of a strange
vine appears with all its silverlings, and with all its blessed clusters.
This union being set forth by that which subsists between the man and his wife, not only exhibits the oneness of flesh and blood, and the oneness of spirit, between Christ and his church; but it sets forth the church's share in all the dignity, honour, wealth, and majesty, of her husband. The wife is not only one flesh with her husband, but is likewise partner with him in every thing he has; and she will take care to let him know it, and will claim it, being taken to have and to hold, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health. And so is this union. Christ is the bridegroom, she the bride; he is the husband, she the wife; he is the king, she the queen; he the king's son, she the daughter of the Lord God Almighty; he is a prince, she the princess; he is the lord, she is the elect lady. But they not only share in titles, in dignity, honour, and majesty, but in personal property also. She is to wear a crown, and to sit on his throne; she shares in his word, in his grace, in his mercy, in his spirit, in his kingdom, and in his glory, being an heir of God and a joint heir with Christ. She must also share in his sufferings; she must drink of his cup, bear his cross, be planted together in the likeness of his death, partake of the afflictions of the gospel, lose all her reputation and be hated of all men for his name sake. And in doing this he comforts her in all her tribulations that she endures; makes her bed in her