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And here, without attempting to compass a large tract of holy Scripture on this sublime subject, (which the limits of a sermon forbid) it will be sufficient for my present purpose to observe that the fellowship into which the church is brought, by her union with her glorious head and husband, the Lord Jesus Christ, opens and keeps open an interest and partnership in all that belongs to Christ, as Christ. The Holy Ghost, by Paul, confirms all this at once, when saying : “ without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh.” (1 Tim. iii. 16.) For by this taking into union with himself that holy portion of our nature, all the mystical members of his body became united to his person, and obtained fellowship and communion in all that he said or did, as the Christ of God. Hence, all those divine and soulrefreshing Scriptures which confirm the blessed truth: "For thy Maker is thine husband, the Lord of hosts is his name : and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: the God of the whole earth shall he be called.” (Isaiah liv, 5. Jer. iii. 14. Hosea ii. 19, 20, &c.) And hence also from this union with Christ, being chosen before all worlds, the church was designed in the covenant of grace, formed between the persons in the Godhead in the ancient settlements of eternity, to be the partner with Christ and in Christ for evermore.

But we must not stop here. In this vast plan of Jehovah in what is here called in this Scripture,“ the manifold wisdom of God,” it was not considered enough in the divine counsel, for Christ to bring the church into fellowship with him as her glorious head and husband only; she was to know him in another relationship, as her Redeemer and Saviour ; and in this also to have “fellowship in the mystery” of which the text speaks. And here opens another vast volume of mystery, to which the fall of

the church ministered, and for which in the recovery of the church by the sole undertaking and incommunicable work of salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ, the whole of redemption is founded. By virtue of which the whole church of God became interested in all that concerned her glorious head and husband. In all Jesus wrought the church had fellowship. In all Jesus suffered the church was in him. When he died, she was considered in covenant promises dead to sin. And when he arose from the dead, in his triumphs over death, the church was included. In his ascension, her return to her original state in Christ was secured. And as the church was thus raised up together with him, so now, even now by faith, until actually brought into open and real possession by sight, she is made to sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” (Eph. ii. 4–6.) Here then is “ the fellowship of the mystery hid in God from the beginning of the world, but now made manifest to the saints." (Col. i. 26.) And the whole founded in the person, and completed in the finished salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ : in which the church bath fellowship from her everlasting union with him, being “members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” (Eph. v. 30.)

One point more remains to be considered in this delightful contemplation of our most glorious Christ, and the church's partnership and interest in bim, and that, as far as concerns every member of Christ's mystical body, a most important point indeed ; namely, our personal knowledge and enjoyment of the same. This is what the apostle Paul above all other considerations thought the most essential in this “fellowship of the mystery ;” and for the excellency of the knowledge of which, he counted all other things but loss. “That I may know him (said Paul) and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his

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sufferings, being made conformable unto his death."
(Phil. jii. 7—10.) And allow me to say, that what
the apostle so highly estimated, from a perfect con-
viction of its infinite consequence is, or ought to be,
in the same value to every regenerated child of God :
“for it is by these things men live, and in all these
things is the life of the spirit.” (Isaiah xxxviii. 16.)
So that the great secret of this “ fellowship of the
mystery,” known only to the child of God, but hidden
wholly from the world, is at once the simplest, and
yet the deepest in divine teachings. And mark what
I am going to add : every truly regenerated person,
unto whom the Lord hath given a real sense and feeling
of his utterly lost estate by nature, accompanied
with a spiritual apprehension of Christ's person and
Christ's sufferings for sin, as doing away sin by the
sacrifice of himself; so that the humbled soul beholds
him ruined in himself, but saved with an everlasting
salvation in Christ: here is the truest evidence of
“the fellowship of the mystery,” and the most perfect
assurance, like Paul, that all such are brought, by
the divine unction of the Spirit as he was, when with
him we can, and do, count all things but loss, both
righteous self, and sinful self, “ to win Christ, and be
found in him."

And now, with what hopes of being spiritually taught of God concerning this fellowship of the mystery,” am I to close my sermon? A mystery, yea, a depth of mystery, as all the ways and works of God must needs be to all his creatures: yet it is the privilege of the Lord's people, to be taught of the Lord : for it is said, “the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him, and he will shew them his covenant." (Psalm xxv. 14.) And the apostle John declared that the great object for which, under the Holy Ghost, he wrote to the church, and above every other consideration with him, for which he held forth to them

the glorious person of our most glorious Christ, whom he called eternal life, was, that they might have fellowship together: 'and “truly (said John) our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ!” Hence this fellowship of the whole body the church, with Christ the almighty head, and with each other as members, is the very life of all spiritual communion; and where this is, the joy of the Lord's people is full ; yea, their cup runneth over. (1 John i. 1–4.) I only add a prayer, that the Lord, in his infinite grace, will realize those divine truths in the souls of his people!

Lord ! (I would say, for myselfand all the Lord's chosen ones,) bring us into the daily apprehension of those blessed realities. Give us such a personal knowledge of our oneness with thee, and interest in thee, that we may be living in the enjoyment of all those promises by which we are taught to expect the manifestation ofallthe persons in the GODHEAD to oursouls, otherwise than unto the world! It is among the gracious assurances of our God, that thy people shall have “the fellowship of this mystery.” Yea, our adorable Lord Jesus hath said, and left it upon record, for our daily asking the unspeakable blessing : “I will not leave you comfortless, I will come to you! If a man love me he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him and make our abode with him. And the Holy Ghost shall abide with you for ever!” Lord, we would humbly say in answer,“ do as thou hast said !” for here we shall find “the fellowship of the mystery,” and know in our hearts and in our souls that the Lord is with us of a truth! Glory to the Holy Three in One, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, now and for ever. Amen.

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