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Father, art in me, and I in thee, they also may be one in us.”
4. Though it is not a mere legal union, yet it is an union sustained in law. Christ, as the cautioner, the elect as the principal debtors, are one, in the eye of the law. When the elect had run themselves, with the rest of mankind, in debt to the justice of God, Christ became surety for them, and paid the debt. When they believe on him, they are united to him in a spiritual marriage union; which takes effect so far, that what he did and suffered for them is reckoned, in law, as if they had done and suffered for themselves. Hence they are said to be crucified with Jesus, Gal. ii. 20. Buried with him, Col. ii. 12. Yea, raised up together, (namely, with Christ,) and made to sit together, in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, Eph. ii. 6. In which places, saints on earth, of whom the Apostle there speaks, cannot be said to be sitting, but in the way of law-reckoning.
5. It is an indissolvable union : Once in Christ, ever in him. Having taken up his habitation in the heart, he never removes. None can untie this happy knot. Who will 11 dissolve this union ? Will he himself do it? No, he will not; we have his word for it ; “ I will not turn away from this them," Jer. xxxii. 40. But perhaps the sinner will do this mischief for himself; no, he shall not; “ They shall not depart from me," saith their God. Can devils do it? No unless they be stronger than Christ, and his Father too: “ Neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand," saith our Lord, John X. 28. “ And none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand,” ver. 39. But, what say you of death, which parts husband and wife ; yea, separates the soul from the body? Will not death do it? No; the Apostle (Rom. viii. 38, 39.) is persuaded, that neither death, for as terrible as it is, nor life, for as desirable as it is, nor devils, those evil angels, nor the devil's persecuting agents, though they be principalities or powers on earth; nor evil things present already lying on us, nor evil things to come on us; nor the height of worldly felicity, nor depth of worldly misery; nor any other creature, good or ill, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. As death separated Christ's soul from his body, but could not separate either his soul or
body from his divine nature ; so though the saints should be separated from their nearest relations in the world, and from all their earthly enjoyments; yea, though their souls should be separated from their bodies, and their bodies separated in a thousand pieces, their bones scattered, as when one cutteth or cleaveth wood ; yet soul and body, and every piece of the body,the smallest dust of it shall remain united to the Lord Christ ; for even in death, they sleep in Jesus, 1 Thess. iv. 14. And he keepeth all their bones, Psal. xxxiv. 20. Union with Christ is the grace wherein we stand, firm and stable, as mount Zion, which cannot be removed.
Lastly, It is a mysterious union. The gospel is a doctrine of rnysteries. It discovers to us the substantial union of the three persons in one Godhead, 1 John v. 7. These three are one ; the hypostatical union of the divine and human natures, in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, 1 Tim. ii. 16. God was manifest in ihe flesh. And the mystical union, betwixt Christ and believers, is a great mystery also, Eph. v. 32. O what mysteries are here ! the Head in heaven, the members on earth, yet really united ! Christ in the believer, living in him, walking in him, and the believer dwelling in God, putting on the Lord Jesus ; eating his flesh, and drinking his blood! This makes the saints a mystery to the world; yea, a mystery to themselves.
SECONDLY, I come now more particularly to speak of this union with, and ingrafting into Jesus Christ. . And, (1.) I shall consider the natural stock which the branches are taken out of. (2.) Thesupernatural stock they are ingrafted into. (3.) What branches are cut off the old stock, and put into the new. (4.) How it is done. And, lastly, The benefits flowing from this union and ingrafting.
Of the natural and supernatural Stocks, and the Branches,
taken out of the former, and ingrafted into the latter.
I. Let us take a view of the stock which the branches are taken out of. The two Adams, that is, Adam and Christ, are the two stocks; for the scripture speaks of these two, as if there had never been more in the world than thoy, 1 Cor. xv. 45, 47. “The first man Adam was
made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening Spirit. The first man is of the earth, earthly; the second man is the Lord from heaven.” And the reason is, there were never any that were not branches of one of these two; all men being either in the one stock or in the other; for in these two sorts all mankind stands divided, ver. 48. 6 As is the earthly, such are they also that are earthly; and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly." The first Adam, then, is the natural stock : On this stock are the branches found growing at first; which are afterwards cut off, and ingrafted into Christ. As for the fallen angels, as they had no relation to the first Adam, so they have none to the second.
There are four things to be remembered here, (1.) That all mankind (theman Christexcepted) are naturally branches of the first Adam, Rom. v. 12. “ By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men.” (2.) The bond wbich knit us unto the natural stock was the covenant of works. Adam being our natural root, was made the moral boot also; bearing all his posterity, as representing them in the covenant of works. For, « By one man's disobedience many were made sinners," Rom. v. 19. Now, there behoved to be a peculiar relation betwixt that one man and the many, as a foundation for imputing his sin to them. This relation did not arise from the mere natural bond betwixt him and us, as a father to his children; forso we are related to our immediate parents, whose sins are not thereupon imputed to us as Adam's sin is. It behoved then to arise from a moral bond betwixt Adam and us, the bond of a covenant, which could be no other than the covenant of works, wherein we were united to him as branches to a stock. Hence Jesus Christ, though a son of Adam, (I.uke iii. 23, 38.) was none of these branches ; for seeing he came not of Adam, in virtue of the blessing of marriage, which was given be. fore the fall, Gen. i. 28. "Be fruitful and multiply," &c. but in virtue of a special promise made after the fall, Gen. iii. 15. « The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." Adam could not represent him in a covenant. made before his fall. (3.) As it is impossible for a branch to be in two stocks at once, so no man can be, at one and the same time, both in the first and second Adam.
(4.) Hence it evidently follows, that all who are not ingrafted in Jesus Christ are yet branches of the old stock; and so partake of the nature of the same. Now, as to the first Adam, our natural stock, consider,
First, What a stock he was originally. He was a vine of the Lord's planting, a choice vine, a noble vine, wholly a right seed. There was a consultation of the Trinity at the planting of this vine, Gen. i. 26. “Iut us make man in our own image, after our own likeness.” There was no rottenness at the heart of it. There was sap and juice enough in it, to have nourished all the branches, to bring forth fruit unto God. My meaning is, Adam was made able perfectly to keep the commandments of God, which would have procured eternal life to himself, and to all his posterity ; for seeing all die by Adam's disobedience, all should have had life, by his obedience, if he had stood. Consider,
Secondly, What that stock now is : Ah! most unlike to what it was, when planted by the author and fountain of all good. A blast from hell, and a bite with the venomous teeth of the old serpent, have made it a degenerate stock, a dead stock; nay, a killing stock.
1st, It is a degenerate naughty stock. Therefore, the Lord God said to Adam, in that dismal day, Where art thou? Gen. iii. 9. In what condition art thou now? How art thou turned into the degenerate plant of a strange vine, unto me? Or, Where wast thou? Why not in the place of meeting with me? Why so long a-coming? What meaneth this fearful change, this hiding of thyself fronī me? Alas! the stock is degencrate, quite spoiled, become allogether naught, and bring's forth wild grapes. Converse with the devil is preferred to communion with God. Satan is believed, and God, who is truth itself, disbelieved. He who was the friendof Godis now in conspiracy against him. Darkness is come into the room of light ; ignorance prevails in the mind, where divine knowiedge shone ; the will, sometime righteous or regular, is now turned rebel against its Lord; and the whole man is in dreadful disorder.
Before I go further, let me stop and obserye, Here is a mirror both for saints and sinners. Sinners, stand here and consider what you are ; and saints, learn ye what once ye were. Ye sinners are branches of a degencrate stock
Fruit you may bear indeed; but now that your vine is the vine of Sodom, your grapes must of course be grapes of gall, Deut. xxxii. 32. The scripture speaks of two sorts of fruit, which grow on the branches upon the natural stock; and it is plain enough, they are of the nature of their degenerate stock. (1.) The wild grapes of wickedness, Isa. v. 2. These grow in abundance by influence from hell: See Gal. v. 19, 20, 21. At their gates are all manner of these fruits, both new and old. Storms come from heaven to put them back; but they still grow. They are struck at with the sword of the Spirit, the word of God; conscience gives them many a secret blow ; yet they thrive. (2.) Fruit to themselves, Hosea x. 1. What else are all the unrenewed man's acts of obedience, his reforination, sober deportment, his prayers, and good works? They are all done chiefly for himself, not for the glory of God. These fruits are like the apples of Sodom, fair to look at, but fall to ashes, when handled and tried. Ye. think ye have not only the leaves of a profession, but the fruits of a holy practice too; but if ye be not broken off from the old stock, and ingrafted in Christ Jesus, God accepts not, nor regards your fruits.
Here I must take occasion to tell you, there are five faults will be found in heaven with your best fruits. (1.) Their bitterness; your clusters are bitter, Deut. xxxii. 52. There is a spiritof bitterness, wherewith some comebe. fore the Lord, in religious duties, living in malice and envy; and which some professors entertain against others, because they outshine them, by holiness of life, or because they are not of their opinion or way. This, wheresoever it reigns, is a fearful symptom of an unregenerate state. But I do not so much mean this, as that which is common to all the 1 branches of the old stock ; namely, the leven of hypocrisy;** Luke xii. 1. which sours and embitters every duty they perform. The wisdom that is full of good fruits is without hypocrisy, James iii. 17. (2.) Their ill savour. Their works are abominable, for themselvesare corrupt, Psal. xiv. 1. They all savour of the old stock, not of the new; it is the peculiar privilege of the saints, that they are unto God a sweet savour of Christ, 2 Cor. ii. 15. The uregenerate man's fruits savour not of love to Christ, nor of the blood of Christ, nor of the incense of his intercession ; .I