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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 Virginsthat wait on her, were other Persons distinct from her, ver are they not several Persons indeed, but the self fame. 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 wair, 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, whereòt 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 also as 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 Cbrift: From whom the whole Body fitly joined toge
thers ther, and compa&ted by that which every joynt fupe plieth, according to the effe&tual working in the meaSure 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 fanEtifie and cleanse it, with the washing of Water by the Word; That he might present it to bimself 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 Apostle, by one 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 sach ? 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 so
1. If he be separated from the Body he dies, because he is so leparated 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. G. There is to be no Schism or Breach made in the Body. I 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 but 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 serve one another according to its Ability. To this end every Member muf, .
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 see 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 ir.
3. Serve thé 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. And 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
serve na every place and F it be led by the
this en Keep its to itina be
vy and he church of C. and what doin's Church
pretend to be Members? And how do they envy and malign, bite and devour one another?
2. The Church of Christ is likened unro such Persons as are Virgins ; and what doch this reach us; but that all the Members of Christ's Church are co be of a Virgin Puricv 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 Virgin, to such as cleanie themselves 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, nor Married to any other God in any other Religion. No Idolatérs, no Sectaries, or Followers of Men, faying I am of Paul, &c. wedded to this or that Man's opinion, but Followers of Christ only. I have espoused you to one Husband, that I may present you as a Chast Virgin to Christ. 2 Cor. 11. 2.
2. That she be not of wanton or wandring Affections; such are the Members of Christ, not setting their affections on things below, but on things above, where Christ litterh on the right Hand of God. Col. 3. 1.
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 less they that glory in their Shame? Thou hadít a Whore's Forehead, thou refufedft to be ashamed. Jer. 3. 3. Virgins were veiled and covered in the Church. I Cor. u. 4. Retiredness and reservedness become a VirDod
gin, gin. And the Members of Christ, must not freely mix with all companies, nor converse too much abroad in the World, for fear of Snares and Tempracions. 'Tis the character of a good Wife, and more of a Virgin, to be Chaste, Keepers at home. Tit. 2. 5. Keep close to the Church the House of God, and take heed of hearkning to the Voice of Surangers.
3. The Church of Christ shall be likened to Virgins that took thuir Lamps, made a fair fhew of profession, and preparation for the business they went about. They took Lamps, and some Oil in thim.
Learn, that an outward Christian profeffion, and shew of Religion, is necessary to make one bur a seeming Member of the Church.
With what= then can they pretend to be of the Church, who have not so much as this shew, but the quite contrary?
We all took Lamps in our hands in Baptism; but have not many cast them away since? Where's our Light thining before Men ?
We have been fome of us Catechized, and come to hearing in the Church; to what end, it not to get supplies of Oil? but alas, how few do so.
There may be Lamps without Oil, Profeffion without sincere Piety ; but no Oil without Lamps, no sincerity without external Profesiion. With the Heart Man believeth unto Righteousness, and with the Mouth Confillion is made unto Salvati. on, Rom. 10. 10.
4. They went forth to meet the Bridegroom, j. 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.