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intelligible; but the same objection lies against the most important articles of our faith and hope, and even against many undoubted certainties in the kingdom of nature as well as of grace.
There is the same reason to doubt of the union of the three persons in the Godhead, of the union of the divine and human natures in the person of the Son of God, and even of the union of our own souls and bodies. We may
have reason to believe, what our reason cannot search out, nor inquire into; and when that is the case, the more mysterious and unsearchable is the modus of any thing which God hath revealed, the more should it be the subject of our acknowledgment and admiration.
Thus, in the present case, because “ this is the Lord's doing, and marvellous in our eyes,” therefore we should adore the wonderful dispensation of grace, and rejoice and be glad in it.
2. I must also observe to you, that this is a spiritual union. Such a union whereby, being joined to the Lord, we are “one spirit with him.” By which we may understand, that believers partake of the same divine Spirit, and the same divine influences and operations, with our blessed Mediator and Master; this difference being excepted, that we have only lower degrees of the divine communications ; but “ to him God giveth not the Spirit by measure." We partake of rays; he of the full sun of divine light and grace; and in him are all the treasures of grace, as in the repository or fountain, from whence we derive those supplies which we are partakers of. The blessed Spirit, who is in Christ an infinite fountain of all grace, communicates some
emanations of the same grace to us, whereby we are (though in a low and imperfect degree) conformed to the divine will, made “ partakers of the divine nature, have Christ dwelling in us, and we in him." I confess I am afraid, in this mysterious depth of divine wisdom and grace, of darkening counsel by words without knowledge. I shall, therefore, not adventure to inquire into the mode of this unity of Spirit in Christ and believers; but only endeavour to consider it in a scriptural and practical light; in such a light as it is necessary it should be considered and understood by all that would obtain a foundation of hope, and need supplies of strength for a holy and spiritual walk with God.
Let it, then, be first observed, that by this union believers have all needful supplies of grace treasured up for them in Christ.
In which respect, it is said, “ all things are theirs: for they are Christ's, and Christ is God's." 66 In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; and we are complete in him, who is the head of all principality and power.” By which means believers are “ blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.” And “ Christ is made of God unto them wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.” By these, and other like texts of Scripture, believers have matter of great consolation, , even in their sharpest temptations and lowest frames; for how dead soever their affections may be, and how dark soever their circumstances may appear, they have an inexhaustible fountain of grace treasured up for them in Christ; and by virtue of their union to him, they have an interest in his person,
they have an interest in his graces, and are secure of all necessary communications of grace, as he shall see their case require. The believer's refuge, therefore, in all his trials, in all his prevailing darkness, deadness, temptation, and imperfection, is to act faith in Christ, for grace to help in time of need. There is a sufficient stock laid up for him in the hands of Christ; and if he will reach forth the hand of the soul, and, by a believing view of the fulness of Christ, be ready to receive, he shall surely find the grace of Christ sufficient for him, and the strength of Christ made perfect in his weakness. If he will eat Christ's flesh, and drink his blood, that is, if he will exercise a lively faith in him, he shall, by virtue of this communication of the Spirit of grace,“ dwell in Christ, and Christ in him.”
Hence also believers, by being joined to the Lord, are one spirit with him in another respect. They have the same mind in them that is in Christ Jesus. They have the interest of the Redeemer's kingdom at heart, as their own interest. They have their wills, in some measure, subjected to the will of Christ. They who abide in him, do carefully endeavour to walk even as he walked, to make him their exemplar, in the regulation of their affections, appetites, passions, and of their whole conduct and conversation; in their aims, desires, delights, love to, and zeal for, the service of God, in love to the brethren; and in their diligence and activity in doing the work he has appointed them, while it is day. “ He that thus keepeth his commandments, dwelleth in Christ, and Christ in him; and hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath
given us.” But “ he that hath not thus the Spirit of Christ, is none of his."
And hence believers shall finally be perfected, when they come to receive the full communications of his grace in the future world. It is by their union to Christ, and supplies derived from the fulness which is in him, that glorified saints attain to the perfection of knowledge and grace. By this are they perfectly delivered from all remainders of sin and corruption; by this are all the powers and faculties of their souls brought into a glorious conformity unto Christ himself, that they shall be like him when they see him as he is; and by this they are completely qualified for the ravishing joys of the heavenly state, and the eternal praises of redeeming love. “ In the dispensation of the fulness of times, God will gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are in earth, even in him.
That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.” 6 I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one.-Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me."
Here, Sir, it will be proper to make a pause, and to consider this with a special application to your own state. It is proper to consider where it is that you are looking for supplies of grace; to your own good purposes and endeavours, to your prayers, meditations, good affections, and resolutions; or to this inexhaustible treasury of grace that there is in Christ, to be obtained by the renewed exercise of faith in
him. It is proper to consider whether you are indeed joined to the Lord, and have one spirit with him. Whether you have a sensible experience of the blessed operations of the Holy Spirit, divorcing you from your idols, mortifying your appetites and passions, quickering your graces, and inflaming your affections to God and godliness. At least, whether you are groaning under the burden of your imperfections, and groaning after the quickening influences of the divine Spirit in your soul, to bring and keep you nearer to God; and whether the Spirit does thus help your infirmities with groanings which canpot be uttered.
It is proper to consider whether you have the evidence of your union to Christ, by your being a partaker of the divine nature, by your steady desire and endeavour of conformity and subjection to the divine will, by your having the interest of the Redeemer's kingdom at heart, and by keeping your eye upon his glorious example, that you may follow his steps; and whether you are still looking to him by faith for his quickening influences, and for an interest in his intercession, whensoever you find yourself come short in these attainments. You will pardon this digression when you consider by what motive it is occasioned. You will remember that I am not explaining this fundamental principle of Christianity as a mere matter of speculation, or to entertain your curiosity; but that you may know what is the hope of your calling, what the foundation of your confidence, and where the returns are to be made for all your experience of grace and life. But it is time I should proceed to some further description of the nature of that union to Christ under