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uli. The last part of the Direction yet remains, viz. that you must close with Christ entirely, as well as understandingly and heartily. It is whole Christ that must be received with the whole heart.
For the understanding of this, it must be known, both how and why Christ is offered to us.
As he came into the world to destroy the works of the devil; (1 John iii. 8.) and to seek and save that which was lost; (Luke xix. 19.) and by his mediation to reconcile us. to God, and bring us up to glory; so two things were to be done, for the accomplishment of this : first he was himself to merit our salvation, and pay the price of our redemption on the cross, and in his own person to conquer the world, the devil, and death, and the grave : and then he was by his intercession in the heavens to make application of this, and bestow the benefits thus purchased by him. And because it was he, and not we, that made the purchase, it therefore pleased the Father that the purchased treasure should be put into his hands, and not immediately put into ours. He is become our treasury, and authorised to be our Head: all power is given him in heaven and earth. We have so foully miscarried already, that he will no more trust his honour in our hands, as at first he did. We shall have nothing of pardon, or grace, or glory, but what we have in and from the Son. “God hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son : he that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son hath not life;" 1 John v. 12. It is not only the nature and person of Christ that is to be believed in; but it is the person as impowered to certain ends, and clothed with his office that we must now entertain. Now the office of Christ being for our salvation, and the glory of God, is suited to these happy ends.
And our necessities are principally in these three points. 1. We have the guilt of sin upon us to be pardoned, and the wrath of God, and curse of the law, and the punishment of sin to be removed. 2. We have the corruption of our nature to be healed; the power of sin to be destroyed; the image of God repaired on us, and our hearts and lives to be acted and ordered according to the will of God; and to these ends, temptations to be conquered, and our souls directed, strengthened, and preserved to the end. 3. We must be raised from the grave at the last day; we must be justi
fied in judgment, and possessed of that glory which is the end of our faith. To this, justification, sanctification, and glorification may the rest be reduced.
Now the office of Christ is suited to these necessities of ours ; and as we cannot possibly be saved unless all these necessities be supplied, and these works done for us : so we cannot possibly have these things done but by accepting of Christ, as authorised and impowered, by his office and perfections, to do them.
The glory that God will have by this work, I have before expressed to you at large. He will have his justice, and wisdom, and power, and holiness, and mercy to be demonstrated and honoured by Christ. And therefore Christ hath resolved to give out none of his benefits, but in such manner and ways as may best attain these highest ends.
These several points therefore I must entreat you here to note distinctly. 1. That you must be brought into a special relation to the person of Christ, as clothed with his office, before you can lay claim to his saving benefits. He is the Head, and you must become his spouse; and so of the rest. This is called our uniting to Christ, which must go before our further communion with him. It is the will of God, that you shall never receive his benefits before you receive his Son; (except only those benefits which go before your union with Christ himself, in order to the accomplishing it; as the Gospel, the gift of faith to the elect, &c.) You shall never have actual pardon, justification, adoption, sanctification, or glory, till you have first saving interest in Christ himself. He is the vine, and we are the branches: we must be planted into him, and live in him, or else we can have nothing further from God, nor do any thing acceptable to God. And therefore the first and great work of faith is to receive and close with the person of Christ, as clothed with his office.
2. Understand and note, that as you shall not have his great benefits before, or without his person ; so God hath resolved, that you shall not have his special benefits, unless you
will take them all together : (I speak of men at age, that are capable of all.) You shall not have pardon and justification, or glory, without sanctification ; nor the comforts of Christ without the guidance and government of Christ. You must have all or none.
3. From hence it follows, that therefore you must receive and close with Christ entirely, in his whole office, as he is to accomplish all these works, or else you cannot be united to him. He will not be divided: you shall not have Christ as a justifier of you, if you will not have him as a guide, and ruler, and sanctifier of you. He will not be a partial Saviour: if you will not consent that he shall save you from your sins, he will not consent to save you from hell.
4. Understand, and note that Christ will look to his Father's interest and honour, and his own, as well as to your salvation; yea, and before it. And therefore you must not hope for any mercy from him, in any way that is dishonourable to him, or that is inconsistent with his own blessed ends and interest. And therefore do not look for any such grace from him as shall discharge you from your duty, or give you liberty to dishonour or disobey him ; nor do not think that you shall have him related to you only for your own ends, but on terms of highest honour to God and your Redeemer. And do not think that your grace is ever the less free, because God's honour is thus preferred : for if you are Christians indeed, you will take God's interest, as your own highest interest, and will confess, that you could not have your own ends and welfare any other way.
5. Understand and note also, that as all your mercies are in the hand of Christ, so Christ hath appointed in his Gospel a certain way and course of means, in which he will bestow it: and you cannot expect it from him, in any other way but his own. As God hath made Christ the way, and no man cometh unto the Father but by him, so Christ hath ordained a standing course of means, which are his way for the making over of his benefits; and here you must have them or go without them.
6. Understand and note, that there are some of Christ's ends and benefits, that the very natural man desires, and some that corrupted nature is against. Now it is therefore the established way of Christ to promise us those which we can desire, on condition that we will also accept of, and submit to, those that we are against. Not but that his grace doth dispose men to the performance of such conditions ; but his grace worketh by means : and a conditional promise is his established means to draw men's hearts to the performance of the condition (which well considered, is a sufficient answer to the arguments that are commonly urged against the conditionality of the promise). As the Spirit doth powerfully work within ; so he useth that word from without, as his instrument, which worketh sapientially and powerfully to the same work. If a physician have two medicines to give his patient, as necessary for his cure, the one very sweet, and the other bitter; the one which he loves, and the other which he loathes, he will promise him the sweeter, if he will take the bitter one; that by the love of one, he may prevail against the loathing of the other, and may entice it down. He will not promise the bitter one which is loathed, and make the taking of the sweet one the condition: he will not say, 'I will give thee this aloes, on condition thou wilt take this sugar;' but contrary, I will give thee the sweeter, if thou wilt take the bitter.'
In Christ's ends, and works, 1. We naturally are more willing of that which makes for ourselves directly, than of that which makes directly for the honour of God and the Redeemer. We prefer our own ends before God's glory. And, therefore, Christ hath so ordered the condition of his promises, that unless we will take him in his relations of dignity as King and Lord, and will make the glory and pleasing of God our principal end, we shall have none of him, or his saving benefits. For he came not to fulfil our selfish desires, but to fetch us off from ourselves, and recover us to God, that he might have his own. And if we will not have our all in God, we shall have nothing. 2. And naturally we are willing, as to our own benefits, to be pardoned, and freed from the curse of the law, and the flames of hell, and natural death, and punishment. And, therefore, we are thus far naturally willing of free justification; but we are unwilling to let go the seeming profit, and credit, and pleasure of sin, and to deny the flesh, and forsake the world; and we are averse to the spiritual felicity of the saints, and to the holiness of heart, and life, that is the way to it. And, therefore, Christ hath most wisely so ordered it, in the tenor of his promises, that our repentance and faith shall be the con-: dition of our justification and deliverance from death and hell. And this faith is the believing in him, and accepting him entirely in his whole office, to sanctify us, and rule us, as well as to justify us. And thus we must take him wholly, or we shall have none of him. And the accepting him as
our teacher, and sanctifier, and king, is as much (at least the condition of our justification, and pardon, and deliverance from hell) as the accepting him as a justifier of us is. He that had the power in his own hands, and that made the free promise, or deed of gift, hath put in such conditions, as his own wisdom saw best; and they are such as suit most.congruously to all his ends; even the glory of God, in all his attributes, and the Redeemer's glory, and our own, and most full and free salvation. And on his conditions must we have his benefits, or we shall never have them.
7. Lastly, understand and note, that the means which Christ hath resolved on for teaching and ruling us, ordinarily, are his word, his ministers, and his Spirit; all must be submitted to together, where they may be had, and none of them laid by, by separation. His word is the grammar, or book, as it were, that we must learn. His ministers must teach us this book; and his Spirit (who, in the apostles and prophets, indited and sealed it) must inwardly teach us, by powerful illumination. The word is God's laws. The ministers are his ambassadors, or heralds to proclaim them, and command obedience in his name ; and his Spirit must open men's hearts to entertain them. The word is God's: seed d; the ministers are the husbandmen, or servants that sow it; and the Spirit must give the increase, without which, our planting, and watering will do nothing. He, therefore, that takes Christ for his master and king, must resolve to be taught and ruled by his established means, even by his word and ministers, and Spirit conjunct. For he that refuseth and despiseth these, doth refuse and despise Christ ; and consequently the Father that sent him ; Luke x. 16. 1 Thess. iv. 8. For it was never the meaning of Christ, when he became the Teacher and King of the church, to stay on earth, and personally, and visibly to teach them himself; but these three are his means, which all must submit to, that will be his subjects and disciples. And he that despiseth the word, shall be destroyed : Prov.xiii. 13. He that will not have the word, ministry, and Spirit teach him, will not have Christ teach him. And he that refuseth to be ruled by these three, shall be destroyed as a rebel against Christ himself; Luke xix. 27. Still it is supposed that ministers must teach and rule, according to this word.
And the society in which Christ will teach and govern