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ministry against their unkind and childish wranglings; as with the Corinthians you may find him; sometimes he is put (but seldom) to a severe correction of the obstinate, delivering them up to satan, for a warning to the rest; sometimes he is fain to watch with them, as in their sickness, when they are infected with some dangerous error, or other disease; and is brought even to make great question of their lives, lest he hath laboured for them in vain, and themselves have run in vain, and lest they be fallen from grace, and Christ should profit them nothing; receiving himself no better requital of all his labours from them that once would have pulled out his eyes for him, than to be taken "for their enemy, because he tells them the truth; and the more he loveth them, the less to be loved of them;" as you may read in Gal. i. 6, 7. iii. 1.3, 4. iv. 11. 14-16. 19, 20. v.2.4.7. But with the most we find him, as one that is yet between hope and fear of them, directing and exhorting them to spiritual steadfastness, and growth, and perseverance to the end; and this is the work which we here find him upon with the Colossians in this text; which containeth, 1. A supposition of the work (the great work) already done; viz. "They have received Christ Jesus the Lord." 2. An inference of further duty, and exhortation thereto, which in sum is their confirmation and progress. The parts of this duty are expressed in several metaphors. The first is taken from a tree or other plant, and is called our “rooting in Christ.” After the receiving of Christ, there is a further rootedness in him to be sought. The second is taken from a building, and is called, “being built up in him," as a house is upon the foundation. All the work is not done when the chief cornerstone and foundation is laid. The third part is taken from those pillars and stronger parts of the building, which are firm upon the foundation, and it is called a being "stablished or confirmed in the faith." And having made mention of faith, lest they should hearken to innovations and the conceits of men under pretence of faith, he addeth, " as ye have been taught," to shew them what faith or religion it is that they must be established in; even that which by the apostles they had been taught. And lastly, he expresseth the measure that they should aim at, and one special way in which their faith should be exercised, "abounding therein with thanksgiv

ing." The matter is not great, whether we take the relative to refer to Christ, and read it with the vulgar Latin, “ abounding in him with thanksgiving;" or as the Ethiopic," abound with thanksgiving to him;" or whether we take it as relating to thanksgiving itself, as the Arabic translator, and some Greek copies have it, "abounding in thanksgiving;" or as the ordinary Greek copies, and the Syriac translator, referring it to faith, " abounding in it (that is, in that faith) with thanksgiving." For in the upshot it comes to the same, "to abound in Christ," and, "to abound in faith in Christ," and, "to abound in a believing thanksgiving to Christ.” And all this is comprehended in one foregoing general of walking in Christ;" the whole life of a Christian being divided into these two parts, Receiving Christ, and, Walking in him. Here are these several terms therefore briefly to be opened. 1. What is meant by, "receiving Christ Jesus the Lord." 2. What is meant by "walking in him." 3. What by "being rooted in him." 4. What by "being built up in him." 5. What by "being confirmed or stablished in the faith." 6. What by this directive limitation, "as ye have been taught." 7. What by "abounding therein with thanksgiving.'

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And for the first, you must observe the act and the object. The act is "receiving;" the object is "Christ Jesus the Lord." To receive Christ, is not only (as some annotators mistake it) to receive his doctrine, though it is certain that his doctrine must be received, and the rest is implied in this. But when the understanding receiveth the Gospel by assent, the will also accepteth or receiveth Christ as he is offered, by consent; and both these together are the receiving of Christ; that is, the true justifying faith of God's elect. It is not therefore a physical, passive reception, as wood receiveth the fire, and as our souls receive the graces of the Spirit; but it is a moral reception, or reputative, which is active and metaphorical. This will be better understood when the object is considered, which is, "Christ Jesus the Lord." To receive Christ as Christ, or the anointed Messias, and as the Saviour and our Lord, is to believe that he is such, and to consent that he be such to us, and to trust in him, and resign ourselves to him as such. The relation we do indeed receive by a proper passive reception; I mean our relation of being the redeemed members, sub

jects, disciples of this Christ. But the person of Christ we only receive by such an active, moral, reputative reception, as a servant by consent receives a master, a patient by consent receives a physician, a wife by consent receives a husband, and as a scholar or pupil by consent receives a teacher or tutor, or the subjects by consent receive a sovereign. So that it is the same thing that is called, "receiving Jesus the Lord," and, "believing in him," as it is expounded, John i. 12. There are three great observable acts of faith essential to it; the first is, Assent to the truth of the Gospel. The second is, Consent or acceptance of Christ and life, as the offered good. The third is, Affiance in Christ for the accomplishing of the ends of his office. Now the word 'faith' doth most properly express the first act and the last, and the word 'receiving'. doth most properly express the middlemost; but whichever term is used, when it is justifying faith that is spoken of, all three are intended or included. By what hath been said, you may discern whether you have received Christ or not; for your faith may be known by these acts which are its parts. 1. If you sincerely believe the Gospel to be true; which must be with a belief so strong at least, as that you are resolved to venture your happiness upon this belief, and let go all for the hope that is set before you. 2. If an offered Christ, in his relation as a full and perfect Saviour, be heartily welcome to you. If you consent to the Gospel offer, and are but truly willing to be his, and that he be yours in that relation. Faith is not only called a "receiving of Christ," but is oft expressed by this term of " willing" him; and therefore the promise is to "whosoever will;" Rev. xxii. 17. and the wicked are denied a part in Christ, because "they will not have him reign over them;" Luke xix. 27. or "will not come to him that they may have life;" John vi. 40. even because they "would have none of him;" Psalm lxxxi. 11, 12. which is, because they are not true believers or disciples of Christ. 3. If you thus by consent take Christ for your Saviour, Teacher, and Lord, it must needs follow that you fiducially rely upon him, or trust him to accomplish the ends of his relations; that you trust to him for deliverance from the guilt, and power, and punishment of sin, and for quickening, strengthening, and preserving grace, and for everlasting life, that you resign yourselves up to him as his disciples, to learn of him,

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with a confidence or trust, that he will infallibly teach you the way to happiness. And that you also give up your selves to him as his subjects, with a trust that he will govern you in truth and righteousness, in order to your salvation, and will defend you from destroying enemies. This much is of the very being of faith, or the "receiving Christ Jesus the Lord;" and these parts are inseparable; he that hath one in truth, hath all. Whenever we find in Scripture, the promise of justification or salvation made to us, if we believe, it is this believing, and none but this, that is intended. It is not only believing in Christ as a sacrifice or priest, that is the faith which justifieth, and believing in him as a Teacher or Lord, that sanctifieth: the effects are not thus parcelled out to several essential parts of this same faith; but it is this one entire faith in all these essential parts, that is the undivided condition of all these benefits; and in that way of a condition of the free promise it doth procure them. So much for the meaning of the first words, "Receiving Christ Jesus the Lord." I will be briefer about the next. The second, is, "walking in him," which is no more but the living as Christians, when once we are become Christians, and using that Christ to the ends which we received him for, when once we have received him. Two things are necessary to such as we, that have lost our way: the first is, to get into the right way (and that is to get into Christ, who is the way): the other is to travel it for it is not enough to bring us to that we have found out the right way. explained, is, "rooted;" which doth not intimate that any are really planted into Christ, without any rooting in him at all; but by "rooted," is meant, "deeply rooted;" for the roots increase under ground, as well as the tree above ground. Rooting hath two ends, and both are here implied: the first is for the firmness of the tree, that blustering winds may not overturn it. The second is for nutriment, that it may receive that nourishment from the earth, which may cause its preservation, growth, and fruitfulness. This is the rootedness of Christians in Christ, that they may be confirmed in him against all assaults, and may draw from him that nutriment that is necessary to their growth and fruit. The next term is, "built up in him." No house consisteth of a bare foundation. Five things are expressly contained in

on when we are in our journey's end, The next word to be

our being "built up in him." The first is, that we are united or conjoined to him, as the building is on the foundation. The second is, that we rest wholly on him as our support, as the building doth on the foundation. The third is, that we are also conjoined one unto another, and are become one spiritual building in the Lord. The fourth is, that the fabric doth increase in bigness, as the house doth by being built up; so that it importeth our increase in grace, and the increase of the church by us. The fifth is, the fitness of the building to its intended ends and use; till it be built up, it is not fit for habitation; and till Christians are built up, God hath not that use of them to which he doth intend them. The next term is, "stablished or confirmed in the faith," which signifieth but that strengthening and fixing of us that may prevent our falling or shaking; and it compriseth these two things: first, that we be soundly bottomed on Christ, who is our foundation. And secondly, that we be cemented and firmly joined to each other. And this comprehendeth their stability in the doctrine of faith: and therefore he addeth "as ye have been taught," to fortify them against heresies, which indeed are all but novelties; that so they may know how to try the doctrines that afterwards should be offered them, and stick fast to that which the apostles taught. He next requireth them to "abound therein," to let them know that as it is no small matters that they expect by Christ, so they should not rest in small degrees of grace or duty; but especially the duty of "thanksgiving," which is an evangelical and celestial duty, and so admirably beseems a people that have partaken of such admirable salvation, and is so suitable to our mercies, and our condition, and God's just expectation. As it is love and grace, whose eternal praise is designed by the Gospel, and are magnified in the church by the Redeemer's great and blessed work: so it is returns of love, and praise, and joy, that should be the most abounding or overflowing part of all our Christian affections and performances. After this explication, you may see that the sense of the text lieth plain in this proposition..

Doct. Those that have savingly received Christ Jesus the Lord, must be so far from resting here as if all were done, that they must spend the rest of their days in walking in him, being rooted and built up in him, and stablished in

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