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sarily depend on our union to Christ.
As we are accepted in the Beloved, so it is by Christ's dwelling in our hearts by faith that we are rooted and grounded in love. “ We stand by faith in him.” It is because Christ lives, that we live also. And if we do “ live, it is not we, but Christ liveth in us.” We have no source of spiritual life, but in him; no stability in the exercises of the spiritual life, but by continual supplies of grace from him. It is because none can pluck us out of Christ's hand, that we shall have eternal life, and never perish. Here, and here only, is the believer's stability and security; he belongs to Christ, is a “ member of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” And will the blessed Saviour neglect his own body? Will he leave any of his members to perish? Is it in the power of hell or earth, of sin or Satan, to prevail against him? Or can he, who is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever, change the purposes of love and eternal kindness towards those whom he has once loved and united to himself? And are not all the promises of the believer's perseverance yea and amen in Christ, with whom the believer is one mystical and spiritual person? Sooner shall beaven and earth pass away, than the blessed Redeemer shall forget, or neglect, the members of his body, and the objects of his love: they were eternally chosen in him, they are his by covenant, they are united to him by faith, their interest is his, and he is gone to take possession of their inheritance, that where he is, there they may be also. Thus are we kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.
But how could we stand one day, or hour, against the efforts of our own corruptions,
the craft, malice, and power of Satan's temptations, and the shares and entanglements of a wicked world, if we were not founded
this Rock ? And now, Sir, you are to judge, whether there be not more than a doctrinal acquaintance with our union to Christ necessary for us, if we would either be justified in the sight of God, obtain that holiness without which no man can see the Lord, live near to God, or “ hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast unto the end."
By what has been said, you cannot but see that it should be your great inquiry how this union may be obtained, if you have not the evidence of it; or how it should be evidenced to yourself, if you are in doubt about it.
If you have no evidence of your union to Christ, it concerns you to realize your natural enmity of heart to God, deeply to affect your soul with a sense of the dreadful misery of a Christless state, and to lament before God the pollution of your nature, the hardness of your heart, the guilt of your sins, and the amazing destruction and perdition unto which you are thereby exposed. It concerns you (as I have often advised you) to lie at mercy, to come to the footstool of sovereign grace, self-loathing and self-condemning, pleading with importunate ardour for the powerful influences of the blessed Spirit to draw and unite you to Christ. It concerns you to be careful and diligent in your attendance upon all the duties of religious worship, and to be “steadfast and immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, if you would not have your labour in vain in the Lord.” It concerns you, though
and for you.
watchful, active, and diligent, yet utterly to despair of all help in yourself, and to maintain a lively impression, that all the progress of spiritual life must flow from your union to Jesus Christ; and that you must therefore rely upon him only to do all in you
It likewise concerns you to look unto Jesus Christ, not only as a sufficient, but a compassionate Saviour; williug to receive you to mercy in your present state, how bad soever; and therefore to endeavour a cheerful and immediate compliance with the Gospel offer, without waiting for moral qualifications to recommend you to the Redeemer's acceptance; and let Christ Jesus be your steady hope and confidence, whatever darkness, difficulties, trials, or temptations, you may meet withal in your way.
If you are in doubt about your state, and in an uncomfortable suspense whether you are united to Christ or not, do not rest satisfied in such a case, wherein
eternal all is at stake, and in a precarious uncertainty; but labour to resolve your doubts, by the lively exercise of faith, and by an humble, cheerful confidence and delight in the blessed Saviour. Then may you know that “ he dwells in your heart by faith, when you are rooted and grounded in love." Labour to evidence your union to Christ, by having your heart purified by faith, and your affections spiritual and heavenly. Then may you know that
you are risen with Christ, when you seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God, and when you place your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth." Labour to clear up this doubt, by the ex
ercise of all the several graces of the Spirit of life. If you live in the exercise of faith, repentance, love to God, humility, hope in Christ, desire after, and delight in him; if you bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance,
hereby you know that he abideth in you, by the Spirit which he hath given you.” Labour, likewise, to clear up this difficulty, not only by the life, but by the growth of grace.
you grow more humble, self-abasing, and self-condemning—if you grow more penitent, and more passionately groan under the burden of, and mourn for, deliverance from all your sins—if your love to God increases, and you take more delight in him and in his ways, or at least long after a life of nearer communion with him, with more ardent desire—if you are more spiritual in your thoughts, meditations, and affections; more heavenly in your conversation, and more careful of your respective duties both to God and man—then you may know that." Christ abideth in you and you in him, in that you bring forth much fruit."
If you get satisfying evidences of your union to Christ, adore, admire, and praise the infinite condescension, and the astonishing love of the glorious Redeemer, in taking such dust and ashes, such sin and pollution, into union with himself. Contemplate the amazing transaction of love with admiration; and let the “ love of Christ constrain you to live to the praise of the glory of that grace by which you become accepted in the Beloved.”
That Christ may abide in you, and you in him; that
you may win Christ, and be found in him at his
appearance, and kingdom, and that you may reign with him for ever, is the prayer of,
SOME ANTINOMIAN ABUSES OF THE DOCTRINE OF
BELIEVERS' UNION TO CHRIST, OR PLEAS FROM IT FOR LICENTIOUSNESS AND SECURITY IN SINNING, CONSIDERED AND OBVIATED.
that the consequences you draw from the doctrine of our union to Christ, as I have represented it, are without any foundation ; and that a just view of the case must convince you, that this doctrine gives no “advantage to licentious and latitudinarian principles," but the direct contrary.
I shall therefore endeavour, according to your desire, to consider the Antinomian principles you are pleased to propose, and see whether they “naturally follow from what I taught in
“ You do not see, (you tell me,) if the principles I teach are allowed, how the Antinomians can be charged with error, in supposing that the true believer has no cause to repent of his sins, or to entertain any disquietment of mind with respect to them, since he is united to Christ, and all his sins are charged to Christ's account, whereby he has satisfied for them all. Why, therefore, should the