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various images, such as the union between the head and the body, what a strange body would it be, which had only a metaphorical union with the head ? Between the bread and the eater, what sort of a constitution must it be, which could live upon metaphorical bread ? And between the foundation and the building, what kind of a building would it be, which should stand upon a metaphorical foundation ? But chiefly between the vine and the branches, which our Lord has largely treated of in John xv. “ I am the vine," says he, “ ye are the “ branches. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself “ except it abide in the vine, no more can ye except ye " abide in me. He that abideth in me, and I in him, “ the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me “ ye can do nothing." If any man abide in Christ, and bear much fruit to the glory of the Father, he must be as truly and as vitally united to Christ, as the branches are to the vine: for he is the root and stock, from whence the branches receive their nourishment, and are enabled to bring forth fruit: and therefore whoever is not united to Christ can have no principle of divine life in him, but is like a branch cut off from the stock and withered, whose end is to be burnt.
From these scriptures it is evident, that we cannot live to God, nor bring forth any fruit unto holiness until we are united to Christ, and have fellowship with him. The Spirit of God is the bond of ths union : for he gives us the true faith, whereby the soul is enabled to reject every thing that would separate it from Christ, and to cast away all hopes of salvation in its own endeavours and works, and thus placing no merit in any thing it can do, it closes in with the free offer of mercy in Christ Jesus, whom faith has a peculiar fitness to receive, and does actually receive him with all his fulness, as these scriptures testify, “ For we have an “ access,” says the apostle, 6 and entrance by faith into “ that grace of Christ, wherein we stand.” And, again, 66 Christ dwelleth in our hearts by faith.” And that most holy faith, whereby Christ dwelleth in us, enables
us to live the life of Christ: for by purifying all the faculties of the soul it makes us to be like him, to love his image, and to desire it may be perfectly formed in our souls. And accordingly by the close and intimate union which faith keeps up between Christ and us, we are made conformable to his death and resurrection : for faith draws virtue from his death to destroy the dominion of sin, and from his resurrection to rise to newness of life. Nothing but the influence of the death of Christ, and a real fellowship with it, can free us from sin's dominion. We must be planted together in the likeness of his death, if we ever get any mortifying power over the body of sin. And we must be also planted into the likeness of his resurrection, that we, who are by nature dead in trespasses and sins, may be quickened in Christ, and made alive in him. St. Paul had happy experience of this doctrine"I am crucified, “ says he, with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, 6 but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live “ in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God." And whoever is crucified with Christ in the same manner, has the body of sin destroyed, that henceforth he should not serve sin, and whoever liveth by the same faith in the Son of God, has continual supplies of grace from Jesus Christ to enable him to live a life of holiness unto God.
This is the scripture doctrine of holy obedience. We are therein taught that God must work in us what ever is well-pleasing to him. St. Paul prays thus for his Hebrews : “ Now the God of peace make you per“ fect in every good work to do his will, working in you " that which is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus “ Christ :” who came in the flesh to destroy in us ungodliness and worldly lusts, that we might be fit to perform holy obedience. " The great God and our ** Saviour Jesus Christ, says he, gave himself for us, • that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify “ unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good $6 works.” And again another scripture saithe
We are created in Christ Jesus unto good works.” When we are made new creatures in him, then have we a new nature with new affections, which delight to obey the will of God, as much as the old sinful nature hated it, for if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away, behold all things are become new. He is renewed throughout, in body, soul, and spirit. The body, which sin enslaved and defiled, is cleansed by the blood of Christ, and consecrated by his Spirit for an holy temple to the living God. The soul is enriched with the divine graces of faith, and hope, and love, which work upon all the faculties, restraining the imagination, enlightening the understanding, regulating the will, and turning the heart and affections to God; and then renewing the spirit day by day with the sweet and holy tempers of the blessed Jesus, that the whole man may grow up to the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ. Nothing availeth in Christ Jesus but this new creature. God the Father will accept of no obedience, unless it be the work of this new nature. Our best duties and services are displeasing to him, unless we be renewed by faith in the spirit of the mind, as our church has clearly determined in the 12th article. “ Albeit that good * works, which are the fruits of faith, and follow after “ (don't go before) justification, cannot put away our 6 sins, and endure the severity of God's judgment, yet s are they pleasing and acceptable to God in Christ, 66 and do spring out necessarily of a true and lively faith, “ insomuch that by them a lively faith may be as evi66 dently known, as a tree discerned by the fruit."
From these authorities it is evident, that Jesus Christ is the foundation of all holy obedience. Until you be accepted in him, you can do no good works; nay, without him you can do nothing. The scripture and our articles and homilies speak full to this point, and they entirely overthrow the destructive doctrine of the Papists and Socinians, who agree in maintaining the merit of works. Every true son of our church has re.
nounced their heresies. The scripture has assured him, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord: but he finds the sinfulness of his nature reigning in many unholy tempers, and breaking out into many offences, against which he strives, but not in his own strength : for he is convinced, that his soul is by nature dead in trespasses and sins, and that all his striving can no more give it spiritual life, than rubbing and chafing a dead carcase can restore to it animal life, and therefore he does not seek to attain holiness, while his nature continues corrupt and dead in sin. The gospel method is directly contrary. It first cleanses the heart, from whence are the issues of life, and then the streams will certainly run pure: It directs you to labour first to be reconciled unto God, that you may be accepted through the righteousness of Jesus Christ, and justified by his merits, and then you will have a new nature inclined to holiness, and endued by the holy Spirit with power to seek and to attain it. After you have received justification to life, you may go on with the work of sanctification: for by justification your nature is regenerate and new-born, and sanctification is the proper work of this regenerate nature, as it brings all its parts and faculties into use, whereby they improve and grow in strength. Justification, which is the new birth of the soul is like the first birth of the infant into this world. When it is born, it has all the parts of the body perfect; no new ones are added afterwards, only these grow in size and strength, until they reach to the stature of a' man, as the graces grow in the justified soul until it arrive to a perfect man in Christ. And then God, who has been glorified by it upon earth, will receive it into his eternal glory through Jesus Christ our Lord
Who is the foundation of our present and eternal happiness, as I proposed in the fourth and last place to consider. This is a direct consequence from what has been said, and does not require many words to illustrate it: for since the sinner has no saving knowledge, until
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Christ enlighten him; since God the Father will not accept his person, but through the righteousness of Christ, nor bis works, but as done in Christ, and flowing from living faith in him, then it is certain that whatever happiness he enjoys must be derived from the Lord and giver of grace and glory. He can merit none, for when he has done all these things that are commanded him, which yet no man has done, he was even then to say, I am an unprofitable servant, I have done that which was my duty to do, and therefore I cannot deserve present, and much less eternal happiness from the hand of God. · By present happiness I mean those comforts of the gospel which I have been describing, and which the heavenly comforter administers to the sinner, when he is enlightened with saving truth, when he is convinced of his reconciliation with God the Father, and satisfied that the divine holiness, justice, and truth, are no longer his enemies, but will now make all things work together for his good ; and when he is assured of the truth of his reconciliation, as well from the inward witness of the Spirit of God with his spirit, as from the holy obedience in which he now delights, and which he has power to perform. This happy soul enjoys the comforts of present salvation, which are daily strengthened in it more and more, as it grows in grace, and bears fairer and richer fruits of holiness : for this growth in grace is an evident proof of our acceptance with God, and a fruitful source of spiritual comfort: when we find ourselves renewed in the spirit of our minds, and are pleased with the will of God in the inner man, and are enabled to run cheerfully in the way of God's commandments, the happiness arising from hence can no more be described than the joys of heaven. If you would know what blessings, love, joy, peace, and the other fruits of the Spirit bring to the soul, O taste and see how gracious the Lord is. And whenever he gives you the experience of them, you will then find that in them heaven is already begun in the soul; and