Page images


CXXVII, CXXVIII. An Explication of the Fifth Commandment


Relations, how founded

Duties of each differ,
Superiors, why called fathers
Duties of inferiors to superiors

Of children to parents
Of servants to masters

Of subjects to magistrates
The necessity and advantage of civil government
Papists arguments for deposing princes, answered
The sins of inferiors

518 ibid ibid 520 ibid 523 525 524 526 529


CXXXIII. The Duties of superiors, &c. 530 The duties of parents to their children

531 Of masters to servants

533 Of magistrates to subjects

534 The sins of superiors

ibid The duties of equals

335 The sins of equals

536 Reasons annexed to this Commandment

ibid Of the promise of long life

537 Old age how far to be desired

538 Quest. CXXXVII, CXXXV, CXXXVI. An Explication of the Sixth Commandment

539 The life of others to be preserved

540 When lawful to take it away

541 Of duels

542 Elijah not guilty of murder

543 Nor Abraham in offering Isaac

544 Nor Moses in killing the Egyptian

545 Self-murder a great sin

ibid Whether Samson was guilty of it

546 God's judgments on murderers

547 Sinful anger is heart-murder

548 Passionate men, their sin and guilt

549 How to be dealt with


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]






Quest. LXV. What special benefits do the members of the

invisible church enjoy by Christ? Answ. The members of the invisible church, by Christ, enjoy

union and communion with him in grace and glory. Quest. LXVI. What is that union which the elect have with

Christ? Answ. The union which the elect have with Christ, is the

work of God's grace, whereby they are spiritually and mystically, yet really and inseparably joined to Christ, as their head and husband, which is done in their effectual calling.


E have, in the foregoing part of this work, considered

man as made upright at first; but not continuing in that state, plunged into those depths of sin and misery, which would have rendered his state altogether desperate, without the interposition of a Mediator; whose designation to this work, his fitness for, and faithful discharge thereof, have been particularly considered in several foregoing answers, wherein we have had an account of his Person as God-man; his offices of Prophet, Priest, and King, his twofold estate, to wit, of humiliation and exaltation; and the benefits which accrue to the church thereby. This church has also been considered as visible or invisible; and the former of these, as enjoying many privileges which respect, more especially, the ordinary means of salvation.

We are now led to consider the benefits which the members of the invisible church, to wit, the whole number of the elect, who have been, are, or shall be gathered into one, under Christ, their head, enjoy by him. And these are contained in two general heads; namely, union and communion with him in Vol. III.


grace and glory; which comprise in them the blessings of both worlds, as the result of their relation to, and interest in him. First, they are united to him, and then made partakers of his benefits. All grace imparted to us here, is the result thereof; as the apostle says, Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, 1 Cor. i. 30. And elsewhere our Saviour says, He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit, John xv. 5. And the contrary hereunto is inconsistent with the exercise of any grace: Without me ye can do nothing

Moreover, that communion which the saints have with Christ in glory, whereby they who are brought to a state of perfection, participate of those graces and comforts which flow from their continued union with him; and the first fruits, or foretastes of glory, which they have in this world, are also founded on it. Thus the apostle calls Christ in his people, The hope of glory, Colos. i. 27. and speaking of his giving eternal life to them, he considers them as being in his hand, from whence none shall pluck them out, John X. 28. or separate them from him. So that they shall enjoy everlasting happiness with him, inasmuch as they shall be found in him, Phil. iii. 9. which leads us more particularly to consider,

What this union with Christ is. The scripture often speaks of Christ's being, or abiding in his people, and they in him ; and assigns it as an evidence of their interest in the blessings he has purchased for them : and, indeed, it is from hence that all internal and practical godliness is derived."

This privilege argues infinite condescension in him, and tends to the highest advancement of those who are the subjects thereof. Now that we may understand what is intended thereby, let us take heed that we do not include in it any thing that tends to extenuate it on the one hand; or to exalt those who are made partakers of it above the station or condition into which they are brought thereby, on the other. *** : It is not sufficient to suppose that this union contains in it no more than that his people have the same kind of nature with him, as being made partakers of flesh and blood; he having himself taken part of the same, Heb. ii. 14. He is indeed allied to us, as having all the essential perfections of our nature : and this was an instance of infinite condescension in him, and absolutely necessary to our redemption : nevertheless, this similitude of nature, abstracted from other considerations, accompanying or flowing from his incarnation, contains in it no other idea of union, between Christ and his people, than that which they have with one another; nor is it a privilege peculiar to believers, since Christ took on him the same human nature that áll men have, though with a peculiar design of grace to those whom he came to redeem. This I the rather take notice of, because the Socinians, and others, that speak of this privilege, inasmuch as it is often mentioned in scripture, appear to have very low thoughts of it, when they suppose nothing more than this to be intended thereby.

Again, this union includes in it more than what is contained in that mutual love that is between Christ and believers, in that sense in which there is an union of affection between those who love one another; as it is said, The soul of Jonathan was knit with the soul of David; and Jonathan loved him as his own soul, 1 Sam. xviii. 1. Iņ which

respect believers are united to one another; or, as the apostle expresses it, their hearts are knit together in love, Col. ii. 2. being like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one

mind, Phil. ii. 2. or, as he adds, Let this mind also be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus, ver. 5. I say it includes more than this, which is rather the fruit and consequence of our union with Christ, than that wherein it principally consists.

Moreover we must take heed that we do not, in explaining this union between Christ and believers, include more in it than what belongs to creatures infinitely below him, to whom they are said to be united: therefore we cannot but abhor the blasphemy of those who speak of an essential union of creatures with God; or, as though they had hereby something derived to them in common with Christ the great Mediator. *

But passing by this method of accounting for the union between Christ and believers, there are two senses in which it is taken in scripture ; one is, that which results from Christ's being their federal head, representative, or surety; having undertaken to deal with the justice of God in their behalf, so that what he should do, as standing in this relation to them, should be placed to their account, as much as though it had been done

The first that seems to use this unsavoury mode of speaking, is Gregory Nazianzen ; who did not consider how inconsistent some of those rhetorical ways of speaking, he seems fond of, are with that doctrine, which, in other parts of his writinge, he maintained. Those words Xplochrany, and Sofy, which he sometimes uses to express the nature, or consequence of this union between Christ and believers, are very disgustful. In one place of his writings, (Vid. ejusd. Orat. 41.) exhorting Christians to be like Christ, he says, That because he became like unto us, gemusta Os dialer, efficiamur Dii propter ipsum; and elsewhere, (in Orat. 35. de Folio.) he says, Hic homo Deus effectus postes quam cum Deo coaluit na tym fos TOOSTON COS COOV A UVOS asopustoszainon, ut ipse quoque tantum Deus efficiar quantum ipse homo. And sonie modern writers have been fond of the same mode of speaking, especially among those who, from their mysterious and unintelligible mode of expressing themselves, have rather exposed than defended the doctrines of the gospel

. We find expressions of the like nature in a book put forth by Luther, which is supposed to be written by Taulerus, before the Reformation, called Theologia Germunica, and some others, since that time, such as Parcelsus, Swenckfelt, Weigelius, and those enthusiasts, that have adhered to their unintelligible and blasphemous modes of speaking.

« PreviousContinue »