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safeguards them from hell, death, all their enemies. Whatever presses on them, it must pass through the banner of the love of the Lord Jesus. They have then great spiritual safety, which is another ornament or excellency of their communion with him.
(4.) Supportment and consolation ; ver. 6. His left hand is under my head, and his right hand doth embrace me.' Christ here hath the posture of a most tender friend, towards any one in sickness and sadness. The soul faints with love; spiritual longings after the enjoyment of his presence, and Christ comes in with his embraces. He nourisheth and cherisheth his church ; Eph. v. 29. Isa. lxiii. 13. Now the hand under the head, is supportment, sustaining grace, in pressures and difficulties; and the hand that doth embrace, the hand upon the heart, is joy and consolation; in both, Christ rejoicing, as the 'bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride.' Isa. lxii. 5. Now thus to lie in the arms of Christ's love, under a perpetual influence of supportment and refreshment, is certainly to hold communion with him. And hereupon ver. 1. the
spouse is most earnest for the continuance of his fellowship, charging all so to demean themselves, that her beloved be not disquieted, or provoked to depart.
In brief, this whole book is taken up in the description of the communion that is between the Lord Christ and his saints, and therefore, it is very needless to take from thence any more particular instances thereof.
I shall only add that of Prov, ix. 1-5. Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars, she hath killed her beasts, she hath mingled her wine, she hath also furnished her table. She hath sent forth her maidens, she crieth upon the highest places of the city. Whoso is simple, let him turn in bither, as for him that wanteth unstanding she saith to him, Come, eat of my bread, and drink of the wine that I have mingled.'
The Lord Christ, the eternal wisdom of the Father, and who of God is made unto us wisdom, erects a spiritual house, wherein he makes provision for the entertainment of those guests whom he so freely invites. His church is the house which he hath built on a perfect number of pillars that it might have a stable foundation : his slain beasts, and mingled wine wherewith his table is furnished, are those spiritual fat things of the gospel, which he hath prepared for those that come in upon his invitation : surely to eat of this bread, and drink of this wine which he hath so graciously prepared, is to hold fellowship with him; for in what ways or things, is there nearer communion than in such.
I might farther evince this truth, by a consideration of all the relations wherein Christ and his saints do stand, which necessarily require that there be a communion between them, if we do suppose they are faithful in those relations: but this is commonly treated on, and something will be spoken to it, in one signal instance afterward.
is in grace.
What it is wherein we have peculiar fellowship with the Lord Christ. This
This proved; John i. 14. 16, 17. 2 Cor. xiii. 14. 2 Thess, iii. 17, 18. Grace, of various acceptations. Personal grace in Christ proposed to consideration. The grace of Christ as Mediator intended ; Psal. xlv. 2. Cant. v. 9. Christ how white and ruddy. His fitness to save, from the grace of union. His fulness to save. His suitableness to
endear. These considerations improved: Having manifested that the saints hold peculiar fellowship with the Lord Jesus, it nextly follows, that we shew wherein it is that they have this peculiar communion with him.
Now this is in grace. This is every where ascribed to him by the way of eminency. John i. 14. 'He dwelt among us, full of grace and truth. Grace in the truth and substance of it. All that awent before was but typical and in representation; in the truth and substance, it comes only by Christ. "Grace and truth is by Jesus Christ;'.ver. 17. and,
of his fulness we receive grace for grace;' ver. 16. that is, we have communion with him in grace; we receive from him all manner of grace whatever, and therein have we fellowship with him.
So likewise in that apostolical benediction, wherein the communication of spiritual blessings from the several Persons unto the saints, is so exactly distinguished; it is grace a Acts xv. 11. Rom. xvi. 24. 1 Cor. xvi. 23. 2 Cor. xiii. 14. Gal. vi. 18. Eph. vi. 24.
that is ascribed to our Lord Jesus Christ; 2 Cor. xiii. 14. • The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all.”
Yea, Paul is so delighted with this, that he makes it his motto, and the token whereby he would have his epistles known, 2 Thess. iii. 17, 18. The salutation of Paul with mine own hand.' So I write, ‘The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all.' Yea, he makes these two, 'grace be with you, and the Lord Jesus be with you,' to be equivalent expressions; for whereas he affirmeth the one to be the token in all his epistles, yet sometimes he useth the one only, sometimes the other of these, and sometimes puts them both together. This then is that which we are peculiarly to eye in the Lord Jesus, to receive it from him, even grace, gospel-grace, revealed in, or exhibited by the gospel. He is the head-stone in the building of the temple of God, to whom Grace, grace,' is to be cried ; Zech. iv. 7.
Grace is a word of various acceptations. In its most eminent significations it may be referred unto one of these three heads.
1. Grace of personal presence and comeliness. So we say a graceful and comely person, either from himself or his ornaments. This in Christ (upon the matter) is the subject of near one half of the book of Canticles : it is also mentioned, Psal. xlv. 2. "Thou art fairer than the children of men; grace is poured into thy lips.' And unto this first head, in respect of Christ, do I refer also that acceptation of grace, which in respect of us, I fix in the third place. Those inconceivable gifts and fruits of the Spirit which were bestowed on him, and brought forth in him, concur to his personal excellency, as will afterward appear.
2. Grace of free favour and acceptance. By this grace we are saved : that is, the free favour and gracious acceptation of God in Christ. In this sense is it used in that frequent expression, if I have found grace in thy sight:' that is, if I be freely and favourably accepted before thee. So he giveth grace (that is, favour) to the humble;' James iv. 6.
b Prov. i. 9. iii. 32. 34. Cant. iii. 6--11. v. 9---16, &c. c Ezra ix, 8. Acts iv. 33. Luke ii. 40. Esther ii. 17. Psal. Ixxxiv. 11. Eph. ij. 5. Acts xv. 40. xviii. 27. Rom. i. 7. iv. 4, 16. v. 2. 20. xi. 5, 6. 2 Thess. ii. 16. Tit. iii. 7. Rev. i. 4, &c.
Gen. xxxix. 21. xli. 37. Acts vii. 10. 1 Sam. ii. 26. 2 Kings xxv. 27, &c.
3. The fruits of the Spirit, sanctifying and renewing our natures, enabling unto good, and preventing from evil, are so termed. Thus the Lord tells Paul, his 'grace was sufficient for him ;' that is, the assistance against temptation which he afforded him; Col. iii. 16. 2 Cor. viii. 6, 7. Heb. xii. 28.
These two latter, as relating unto Christ, in respect of us who receive them, I call purchased grace, being indeed purchased by him for us; and our communion with him therein, is termed a 'fellowship in his sufferings, and the power of his resurrection;' Phil. iii. 10.
Let us begin with the first, which I call personal grace, and concerning that do these two things:
(1.) Shew what it is, and wherein it consisteth, I mean the personal grace of Christ. And,
(2.) Declare how the saints hold immediate communion with him therein.
To the handling of the first, I shall only premise this observation. It is Christ as Mediator of whom we speak: and therefore, by the 'grace of his person,'I understand not
[1.] The glorious excellencies of his Deity, considered in itself, abstracting from the office which for us, as God and man, he undertook.
[2.] Nor the outward appearance of his human nature, neither when he conversed here on earth, bearing our infirmities, (whereof, by reason of the charge that was laid upon him, the prophet gives quite another character, Isa. lii. 14.) concerning which some of the ancients were very poetical in their expressions; nor yet as now exalted in glory; a vain imagination whereof, makes many bear a false, a corrupted respect unto Christ, even upon carnal apprehensions of the mighty exaltation of the human nature, which is but 'to know Christ after the flesh;' 2 Cor. v. 19. a mischief much improved by the abomination of foolish imagery: but this is that which I intend; the graces of the person of Christ, as he is vested with the office of mediation. His spiritual eminency, comeliness, and beauty, as appointed and anointed by the Father unto the great work of bringing home all his elect unto his bosom.
שופרך מלכא .and to exalt its subject beyond all comparison says the Chaldee paraphrast: Thy משיחא עדיפ מבני נשא
Now in this respect the Scripture describes him as exceeding excellent, comely, and desirable, far above comparison with the chiefest, choicest, created good, or any endearment imaginable.
Psal. xlv. 2. "Thou art fairer than the children of men, grace is poured into thy lips.' He is beyond comparison, more beautiful and gracious than any here below, n'g'd' japhiaphita, the word is doubled to increase its significancy,
: • fairness, O King Messiah, is more excellent than the sons of men.! Pulcher admodum præ filiis hominum,' exceeding desirable. Inward beauty and glory is here expressed by that of outward shape, form, and appearance; because that was so much esteemed in those who were to rule or govern. Isa. iv. 2. the prophet terming of him the Branch of the Lord,' and the fruit of the earth,' affirms that he shall be beautiful and glorious, excellent and comely; for in him dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead bodily; Col. ii. 9.
Cant. v. 9. the spouse is inquired of as to this very thing, even concerning the personal excellencies of the Lord Christ her beloved. "What is thy beloved (say the daughters of Jerusalem) more than another beloved, Othou fairest among women? what is thy beloved more than another beloved ?' and she returns this answer, ver. 10. • My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand;' and so proceedeth to a particular description of him by his excellencies, to the end of the chapter, and there concludeth that he is altogether lovely ;' ver. 16. whereof at large afterward. Particularly he is here affirmed to be white and ruddy, a due mixture of which colours, composes the most beautiful complexion.
1st. He is white in the glory of his Deity, and ruddy in the preciousness of his humanity. “His teeth are white with milk, and his eyes are red with wine;' Gen. xlix. 12. Whiteness (if I may so say) is the complexion of glory.
d Isa. xi. 1. Jer. xxiii. 5. xxxiji. 15. Zech. iii. 8. vi. 12. • Ως ηδύ καλός όταν έχει νούν σώφρονα, πρώτον μεν είδος άξιον τυραννίδος. Porphyr. in Isag. inde Suetonius de Domitiano : Commendari se verecundia oris adeo sentiebat, ut apud senatum sic quondam jactaverit; usque adhuc certe animum meum probastis et vultum. Sueton. Domit. cap. 18. Formæ elegantia in rege laudatur, non quod per se decoris magni æstimari debeat, sed quia in ipso vultu sæpe reluceat generosa indoles. Calvin. in Loc.