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image of Christ, in his life, death, resurrection, and ascension; and they have fellowship with him, as their living, reigning, crowned head, Lord, and Saviour: so that they walk up and down in the name and fear of the Lord of hosts. Being thus taught by Christ in the knowledge, and by the revelation of him, they grow hereby all their lives, and are in due feafon removed from earth to heaven, to behold their Lord face to face; to see him as he is, and to be filled with all the fulness of God So that this knowledge of the truth differs from the former, as much as the substance doth from the shadow. The truths of God, as making Christ known to the soul, and letting him into the soul, through the inward evidence and influ. ence of the cternal Spirit, give a subsistence to Christ in all the faculties of the new man. What a possessor of the knowledge of truth knows in theory only, the real believer knows fpiritually. What the one cannot see in truths, viz. their original, inherent spirituality ; that the other does, and hence his mind becomes spiritually affected. And, the more spiritual any truth appears, the more it takes hold of his heart, and draws his affections to Christ, in whom it hath içs being and foundation. As they are at best but pleasing to the one, to the other they are means of communion with the Lord, of strengthening hope, enlarg. ing the heart heavenward, and filling it with hopes full of immortality. Having thus briefly filled up the heads of discourse, I leave the subject with
for your improvement. May the Lord command his blessing on it. Amen.
A REAL CHRISTIAN, A MAN IN CHRIST.
2 Cor. Chap. xii. Ver. 2.
I knew a Man in Chrift; or, 4 Man in Chrift.
F all the apostles and ministers which our Lord
Jesus Christ ever had, or will have, Saul of Tarsus (afterwards called to be an apostle) was and will be found the greatest. He received the gospel immediately from Christ. God revealed his Son in him: so that his knowledge and understanding of the Father's everlasting love to the persons of the elect, of the Son's complete and everlasting salvation, and of the testimony and witness of the Holy Spirit to the truths and doc. trines of the everlasting gospel, were such, that he says himself, I was not a whit behind the very chiefel! apostles: whilst in the true humility of his own spiritual mind, he adds, I am nothing. His faith in Christ was suited to his knowledge of him, firm and unfeigned; his love to Christ was fervent, flaming, and vehement; his zeal constant; so that he was continually employed in spreading the name, fame, honour, and renown of his most adorable Lord. He rejoiced
in so doing, and thanks God for the effects which followed it, saying, Now thanks be unto God which always causeth us to triumph in Christ, and maketh manifes the favour of his knowledge by us in every place. For we are unto God a fweet favour of Christ. As his very soul was engaged in this moft delightful work, so his travels were great, and his journies very many. Bunting, one of our English geographers, computes, that from Paul's first setting out from Damascus, to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ, to the time of his being a prisoner at Rome, he had traversed one hundred and ninety thousand two hundred and seventy miles. As he was fo fully and spiritually illuminated by the day spring from on high, and most abundantly successful, he had many enemies. Even some who .called themselves apostles and ministers of Christ, withstood, spoke against, and backbit him. He speaks of these in the two former chapters; as also of his sufferings and perfecutions for the gospel's fake. Yet the church of God is gainer hereby to the prefent moment. It was the occasion of his giving us an account of his rapture into heaven, and of what befell him afterwards, in which we have a choice experience of his, that, in all probability, would have been concealed, had it not been for the opposition which he met with. He begins this chapter thus : It is not expedient for me, doubtless, to glory. No one was a greater enemy to glorying in the flesh.' He was dead to all below Christ. He was fully determined to glory only in the cross of Christ. He therefore alters the subject
he was constrained by those he wrote to, to be upon. . Yet he must give them to know he had a knowledge of the visions and revelations of the Lord, as much as, and more than any of them could boast of. However, he speaks of it in a concealed way. I knew a man in Chrift. He means himself. He knew himself to be one in Christ, and with Christ, and he would not view hiinself abstracted from him, nor speak of himself but as in him. I knew such an one above fourteen years ago, caught up into the third beaven. Yet I cannot say concerning this, whether the body and soul were transported thither. How this was I cannot tell. Yet this I know (such an one, whether in the body, I cannot tell ; or whether out of the body: how this was, I cannot say, God knoweth the case. Yet I know the truth of this) that such an one was caught up to the third heaven. And I knew fach a man : (wbether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell, God knoweth): how that he was caught up into paradise, and beard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful (in the inargin it is not posible) for a man to utter. I know the truth of this rapture. Yet whether the foul was absent from the body, and thus admitted into the immediate presence of Christ; or, whether the body and foul were raised up to the ftate of glory, this I cannot say; it is the truth of the being translated first io the third heaven, then to paradise, is all I know, or can declare of the matter. Most conceive the third heaven and paradise one and the same. I rather prefer Dr. Goodwin on this point, who.considers the third heaven to be the ultimate state of glory, in which
body and soul will be glorified, and where God, in all his persons and perfections, will be to elect angels and faints, all in all; and paradise, the immediate state between this and the resurrection of the ele&t in their bodies, that state into which Christ entered immediately on his yielding up the ghost, and to which he promised to admit the thief, saved on the cross, when he said to him, Verily I say unto thee, 10 day shalt thou be with me in paradise. What the apostle saw in heaven, in paradise, he speaks not of. He tells us he heard unspeakable words : such as he could not himself utter on earth. My design is to speak of the definition given of a Christian, of a real believer, in these words, I knew a man in Chrift. My text, however, will be shorter, as I shall confine it to the words a man in Christ. Which are a true definition of a spiritual man. Twenty folios could not, says Mr. Romaine, have so fully expressed it. A real Christian, a true believer, a child of God, he who is born again, is a man in Chrijt. The expresfion is comprehensive; the title is glorious. The idea raised in our minds from it by the Holy Ghost, is hea. venly and divine. To be in Christ is true blessed. ness: to know Christ is true Christianity: to receive Christ is the very essence of it: to believe on Christ is life everlasting: to live on Christ is pra@ical godliness: to die in Christ is real blessedness : and to live with Christ in the state of blessedness and glory, will be the consummation of everlasting bliss. May the Lord the Spirit be most graciously prefent with me, whilf I attempt to give you the fubftance of the words