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groom's coming it will then appear, that he will own no other to belong to his Kingdom or Church which is his Spouse, but holy Persons of a Virgin Purity.
Observe by the way, that the Spouse or Bride of Christ, and the Virgins or Bride-Maids tho’in the Parable they bespoken of as divers Persons, as if the Bride were one, and the Virgins that wait on her, were other Persons distinct from her, yer are they not several Persons indeed, but the self same. The Virgins are Christians, and singly consider'd, they are so many single Christians, and single Persons distinct one from another, and so they are ten; or of a great number, that is, as many as there are Christians in the World, and so they are said to be Bride-maids who wait upon her. But now these same single Chriftians taken jointly or collectively, are the Bride herself, on whom they are said to wait, that is, Catholick or Universal Church of Christ, as it is one body made up of many Members: And here we learn two things; 1. The Nature of Christ's Church. 2. The Office and Duty of us the Members of it.
1. The Nature of Christ's Church. It is the Universal Body of all Christians throughout the World, as we profess to believe it in the Creed. The Holy Catholick or Universal Church ; this is the Bride or Spouse of Christ, and the Body of Christ, whereof he is the only Husband and Head. For as the Body is one, and hath many Mema bers, and all the Members of that one Body being many, are one Body; so alfo is Christ, i. e. the Body or Church of Christ, 1 Cor. 12. 12. We grow up into him in all things which is the Head, even Cbrist: From whom the whole Body fitly joyned toge
ther, and compacted by that which every joynt fupa plieth, according to the effe£lual working in the mean sure of every part, maketh increase of the Body, unto the edifying of itself in love. Eph. 4.15, 16. And Ch. 5. The Apostle speaking of the Marriage Bond and Conjugal Union and Affection, thac ought to be betwixt Man and Wife, he tells us, that tho' all that he there faith be true of Men and their Wives, yet principally he speaks it of Christ and the Church. For as the Husband is the head of the Wife, even fo is Christ of the Church, and the Savioar of the Body, v. 23. He loved the Church, and gave himself for it, that he might fan&ifie and cleanse it, with the washing of Water by the Word; That he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having Spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish, 26, 27. This is the Bride, the Lamb's Wife. Rev. 21. 9. All Christians conjointly. For, saith the ApoAtle, by onc Spirit, we are all baptized into one Body, 1 Cor. 12, 13:
2. The Duty of us the Members; for, faith the Apostle, V: 27: Now ye are the Body of Christ, and Members in particular, i.e. jointly taken, ye are one Body or Church of Christ severally considered, ye are Members of that one Body, as the Virgins in the Text joyntly are the Bride, singly are the Bride-maids. And what's their Duty as such ? It is supposed here to attend the Bride, and wait to do their Office at the Bridegroom's coming. This then is it that we learn, that every single Christian is to consider himself as a Member of Christ's Body the Church. And fo
1. If he be separated from the Body he dies, because he is fo separated from the Head, which
communicates its Life to the Body. The Branch must abide in the Vine, or it is fruitless, and withereth, Job. 15.4. 6. There is to be no Schism or Breach made in the Body. 1 Cor. 12. 25. And this is it St. Paul exhorts to, Eph.4. That we endeavour to keep the Unity of the Spirit in the bond of Peace, v. 3. because there is bur one Body and one Spirit of Christians, V.4.
2. Contribute what he can to the Health and Life of the Body, and every Member of the Body. For unto every one of us is given Grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Eph. 4. 7. And all is to this end, for the edifying of the Body of Christ, v. 12. For tho there be a great difference between one Member and another in dignity and usefulness, yet should no Member envy or despise another, but helpand ferve one another according to its Ability. To this end every Member muk,
1. Keep its place and station, and do the Office that belongs to it. If it be a Foot, it must be content to walk and be guided by the Eye, and not presume to fee for it self or to guide, but to bear the Body
2. Be at peace with the rest, if the Hand will tear out the Eye ; the Body will suffer by it.
3. Serve the Body, and the rest of the Members according to its Office. The Meinbers are to have the fame care one for another, i Cor. 12, 25. Ind whether one member suffer, all the Members suffer with it, or one Member be honoured, all the Members rejoyce with it, v. 26.
O how little is all this confider'd by Christians at this Day! How is the Body of Christ torn in pieces ? And how do the Members of it, that pretend to be so, divide the Body whereof they
pretend to be Members ? And how do they envy and malign, bite and devour one another?
2. The Church of Christ is likened unto such Persons as are Virgins ; and what doth this reach us; but that all the Members of Christ's Church are to be of a Virgin Purity undefiled, and holy in all manner of Conversation. He that was born of a pure Virgin, the Holy one of God, will Marry no other but a pure Virzin, to such as cleanie thumfdves from all filthiness of Flesh and Spirit, and are ever perfecting Holiness in the Fear of God. 2 Cor. 7. 1. Now to a Virgin belong these things,
1. That she have no' Husband already, such are the Members of Christ's Church, not Married to any other God in any other Religion. No Idolaters, no Sectaries, or Followers of Men, sayingram of Paul, &c. wedded coihis or that Man's opinion, but Followers of Chriit only. I have elpoused you to one Husband, that I may present you as a Chait Virgin to Christ. 2 Cor. U. 2.
2. That she be not of wanton or wandring Affections, such are the Members of Christ, noc setting their affections on things below, but on things above, where Christ littech on the right Hand of God. Col. 3. I.
3. That she be adorn'd with Modesty, a Virgin blush being the most natural paint for a Virgin's Face. They are no Members of Christ, who have lost Modesty, and are not ashamed of every Sinful thing, or any thing that argues Levity and Wantonness; how much lefs they that glory in their Shame ? Thou hadít a Whore's Forehead, thou refufedit to be ashamed. fer. 3. 3. Virgins were veiled and covered in the Church. 1 Cor. u. 4. Retiredness and reservedness become a Vir: Dd
gin. And the Members of Christ, must not freely mix with all companiis, nor converse too much abroad in the World, for fear of Snares and Temptations. 'Tis the character of a good Wife, and more of a Virgin, to be Chaste, Keepers at home. Tit.2.5. Kcep close to the Church the House of God, and take heed of hearkning to the Voice of juangers.
3. The Church oi Christ shall be likened to Virgins that took th ir Lamps, made a fair fhew of profession, and preparation for the business they went about. They took Lamps, and some Oil in th: m.
Larn, that an outward Christian profeffion, and shew of Religion, is necessary to make one but a seeming Member of the Church.
With whic: then can they pretend to be of the Church, who have not so much as this thew, but the quite contrary?
We all took Lamps in our hands in Baptism; but have not many cast them away fince? Where's our Light thining before Men ?
We have been some of us Catechized,and come to hearing in the Church; to what end, it not to get fupplies of Oil? but alas, how few do so.
There may be Lamps without Oil, Profession without fincere Piety ; but no Oil without Lamps, no fincerity without external Profesiion. With the Heart Man believeth unto Righteousness, and with the Mouth Confillion is made unto Salvation, Rom. 10. 10.
4. They went forth to meet the Bridegroom, i. e. Towards the Bride's Chamber, to go thence when 'twas time.
1. We must go forth. 1, From home, our Carnal felves. 2. From the World, and all is aliurements.