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sickness, when she cannot make it herself; supports her on the bed of languishing, that she may not faint or be strangled; supplies her wants, that she may not be compelled to get out before she is able. He is touched with the feeling of her infirmities, and nurses her tenderly; succours her under temptations, that she may not faint; makes a way for her escape, that she may not be imprisoned; sympathises with her, by describing her case, and pitying her. In all our afflictions he is afflicted; he calls every cruel touch of her, a touch of the apple of his eye; and pronounces an awful and eternal wo to all that offend the least part of her, or the least member in her.
This union is further set forth by the art of ingrafting. For, if thou wert cut out of the olive tree, which is wild by nature, and wert grafted, contrary to nature, into a good olive tree, and partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree, boast not against the natural branches; but, if thou boast, thou bearest not the root, but the root thee, Rom. xi. 17, 18. This ingrafting is said to be contrary to nature. The natural way of grafting is to take a scion out of a good tree, which produces good fruit, and to graft it into a wild stock, the wood of which, being reduced to its natural standard, as it can sink no lower, will stand better, and endure longer in the earth, than the wood of a good tree, could a stock of such wood be procured. But our ingraftiture is con trary to nature; for we are wild olive branches, cut out of a wild olive tree, which is by nature wild, and are ingrafted into a good olive tree, so as to partake of the goodness and fatness of the , good tree; which wonderful ingrafting must in the end purge out all the wild nature of such a wild branch: and this is done in part at the sinner's conversion, by implanting a principle of grace in the heart; and will be effectually accomplished when our mortal bodies shall put on immortality, and these corruptible bodies shall have put on incorruption; for then mortality, with all its wildness, shall be swallowed up of life, and immortality be all in all,
This mystical union is set forth by the union between kings and their subjects. The king rules over his subjects, gives laws to them, demands tribute of them, and commands obedience to him. Hence Christ is called the king of saints; by his righteous sceptre he rules in the midst of Jerusalem; the isles wait for his laws; and all the elect are made obedient to his will, and carry their tributes of praise and thanksgiving to him. They kiss the Son, set as king on Zion's holy hill; put their trust under his shadow; and all that have felt the power of his sceptre agree in their petitions, that this olive tree would ever reign in and over their hearts, so as to subdue sin, dethrone Satan, and ever sit as supreme in all their affections.
Moreover, this union is set forth by that which subsists between the father and his children. The
father loves and provides for his offspring, sees to their education, and endeavours to lay up some. thing for them. So Christ is the everlasting Father; the elect are his seed; he gives them eternal life, and the promise of the life that now is. All his children are taught of him; they are trained up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and it is not yet known what that goodness is that he has laid up for them that trust in him before the sons of men. I come now to treat of the blessed effects of this mystical union.
And, first, persons in real union are divested of all prejudice to, and have a mutual affection for, each other. And so the sinner is sweetly reconciled to his reconciling Lord, and loves him above every object in heaven above or in the earth beneath. “Whom have I in heaven but thee, nor is there any upon earth that I desire in comparison of thee.” Christ and his church, in union, deal with each other aš real friends; they are well-wishers to each • other's state, to their welfare, their family, and all that they have. And so souls in union with Christ wish well to Zion, to her watchmen, and desire the universal spread of the gospel, the salvation of the elect, and that Christ may be glorified in and by them all.
Christ deals not with those who are in union with him as he does with bond servants and hypocrites. “The servant knoweth not what his Lord doth,” nor does Christ take into his privy
council the treacherous heart. “ But Jesus did not commit himself to them, because he knew all men, and needed not that any should testify of man, for he knew what was in man.” But to his own elect he reveals all his heart. “ Henceforth I call you not servants, but friends, for all things that I have heard of the Father I have made known unto you.” Yea, “the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his covenant.” But these things are hid from the wise and prudent, for none of the wicked shall understand.
None but the elect, in friendship with the Lord, are admitted to his banquets of wine, or to the feast of fat things on Zion's holy mountain. The marriage feasts, the feast of tabernacles, the feast of harvest, and the feast of the passover, are all for Israelites. The enemy, the sophist, the bond slave, and the hypocrite, are no more than lookers-on at these entertainments; who envy every smiling countenance, are provoked at every contrite heart, and filled with infernal jealousy at every quiet spirit, at every penitential tear, at every rapture of joy, at every expression of thankfulness; and inwardly grudge every token for good, every savoury morsel, every drop of honey, and every sweet word, that savours of truth, peace, and righteousness; but, notwithstanding all their grudging and dissatisfaction, the kind invitation and hearty welcome reaches to all the
friends of the bridegroom, and none else. “ Eat, O friends; drink, yea, drink abundantly, O beloved."
Persons who are in union with the Saviour find help in every time of trouble; while the worlding, when his earthly god is gone, and the hypocrite, when his sandy foundation and vain confidence give way, are obliged to fly, like Judas, to a dumb dog, or go, like Saul, to the witch of Endor, or, like Demas, to the world, or, like Ahithophel, to the halter, or, like Alexander, to the blasphemers of Christ, or, like the sons of Sceva the Jew, into the madness or distraction of Satan, or else, like the foolish virgins, to buy oil of the wise when fearfulness surprises the hypocrites; but Zion comes up out of the wilderness, leaning upon her beloved, whose strength is made perfect in her weakness. “Zion shall never be moved; God is in the midst of her; God shall help her, and that right early."
The hypocrite may walk with the righteous, as Ahithophel walked with David, to the house of God in company; and such may go to and fro to the place of the holy, and be forgotten in the city where they had so done. But Zion, like Enoch and Noah, walks with God; she shall never be forgotten. “ The righteous shall be had in everlasting remembrance."
The believer knows that the government of both the church and the world is laid upon Christ's shoulders, who lends his friendly aid to those that