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upon their consent to accept of him, which is all he requires or expeets at their hands, he engageth himself in a marriage covenant to be theirs for ever.

(2.) On the part of the saints. It is their free, willing consent to receive, embrace, and submit unto the Lord Jesus, as'their husband, Lord and Saviour, to abide with him, subject their souls unto him; and to be ruled by him

for ever.

Now this in the soul is either initial, or the solemn consent at the first entrance of union, or consequential, in renewed acts of consent all our days. I speak of it especially in this latter sense, wherein it is proper unto communion, not in the former, wherein it primarily intendeth union.

There are two things that complete this self-resignation of the soul.

[1.] The liking of Christ for his excellency, grace, and suitableness, far above all other beloveds whatever, preferring him in the judgment and mind above them all. In the place above-mentioned, Cant. v. 9, 10. the spouse being earnestly pressed by professors at large, to give in her thoughts concerning the excellency of her beloved in comparison of other endearments, answereth expressly, that he is the chiefest of ten thousand, yea,' ver. 16. altogether lovely,' infinitely beyond comparison with the choicest created good or endearment imaginable. The soul takes a view of all that is in this world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,' and sees it all to be vanity, that the 'world passeth away and the lust thereof;' 1 John ii. 16, 17. these beloveds are no way to be compared unto him. It views also legal righteousness, blamelessness before men, uprightness of conversation, duties upon conviction, and concludes of all as Paul doth, Phil. iii. 8. Doubtless, I count all these things loss for the excellency of the kñowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.' So also doth the church, Hos. xiv. 3, 4. reject all appearing assistances whatever, as goodly as Ashur, as promising as idols, that God alone may be preferred. And this is the soul's entrance into conjugal communion with Jesus Christ as to personal grace, the constant preferring him above all pretenders to its affections, counting all loss and dung in comparison of him. Beloved peace, beloved natural relations, belove: wisdom and learning, beloved righteousness, beloved duties, all loss compared with Christ.

[2.] The accepting of Christ by the will, as its only husband, Lord, and Saviour. This is called 'receiving' of Christ, John i. 12. and is not intended only for that solemn act whereby at first entrance we close with him, but also for the constant frame of the soul in abiding with him, and owning of him as such ; when the soul consents to take Christ on his own terms, to save him in his own way, and says, Lord, I would have had thee and salvation in my way, that it might have been partly of mine endeavours, and as it were by the works of the law, I am now willing to receive thee and to be saved in thy way, merely by grace; and though I would have walked according to my own mind, yet now I wholly give up myself to be ruled by thy Spirit, for in thee have I righteousness and strength, in thee am I justified and do glory; then doth it carry on communion with Christ as to the grace of his person. This it is to receive the Lord Jesus in his comeliness and eminency. Let believers exercise their hearts abundantly unto this thing. This is choice communion with the Son Jesus Christ. Let us receive him in all his excellencies as he bestows himself upon us.

Be frequent in thoughts of faith, comparing him with other beloveds; sin, world, legal righteousness, and preferring him before them, counting them all loss and dung in comparison of him. And let our souls be persuaded of his sincerity and willingness in giving himself, in all that he is, as mediator unto us, to be ours; and let our hearts give up themselves unto him; let us tell him, that we will be for him and not for another; let him know it from us, he delights to hear it, yea, he

says, sweet is our voice, and our countenance is comely,' and we shall not fail in the issue of sweet refreshment with him.

DIGRESSION I.

Some excellencies of Christ proposed to consideration, to endear our

hearts unto him. His description, Cant. v. opened. To strengthen our hearts in the resignation mentioned of ourselves unto the Lord Christ as our husband, as also to

b Rom. ix. 31, 32. XX. 3, 4.

c Isa, xlv. 24.

make way for the stirring of us up to those consequential conjugal affections, of which mention shall afterward be made, I shall turn aside to a more full description of some of the personal excellencies of the Lord Christ, whereby the hearts of his saints are indeed endeared unto him.

In the Lord our righteousness,' then, may these ensuing things be considered, which are exceeding suitable to prevail upon our hearts to give up themselves to be wholly his.

1. He is exceeding excellent and desirable in his d Deity, and the glory thereof. He is 'Jehovah our righteousness;' Jer. xxiii. 6. In the rejoicing of Sion at his coming to her, this is the bottom, ' Behold thy God;' Isa. xl. 9. We have seen his glory (saith the apostle); what glory is that? The glory of the only-begotten Son of God; John i. 14. The choicest saints have been afraid and amazed at the beauty of an angel; and the stoutest sinners have trembled at the glory of one of those creatures in a low appearance, representing but the back parts of their glory, who yet themselves in their highest advancement do cover their faces at the presence of our beloved, as conscious to themselves of their utter disability to bear the rays of his glory; Isa. vi. 2. John xii. 39, 40. He is the fellow of the Lord of Hosts; Zech, xiii. 7. And though he once appeared in the form of a servant, yet then ‘he thought it no robbery to be equal unto God;' Phil. ii. 8. In the glory of this majesty he dwells in light inaccessible. We cannot by searching 'find out the Almighty to perfection: it is as high as heaven, what can we do? it is deeper than hell, what can we know? the measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea;' Job xi. 7-9. We may

all say one to another of this ; 'Surely we are more brutish than any man, and have not the understanding of a man; we neither learned wisdom, nor have the knowledge of the holy. Who hath ascended up into heaven, or descended? who hath gathered the wind in his fist? who hath bound the waters in a garment? who hath established the ends of the earth? what is his name, and what is his Son's name, if ye can tell?' Prov. xxx. 2–4.

a Numb. xxi. 5. 1 Cor. x. 9. Psal. Ixviii. 19. Eph. iv. 8. 10. Psal. xcvii. 7. Heb. ii./10. Psal. cii. 26. Isa. viii. 13. Luke ii. 31. Rom: ix. 30. 1 Pet. ii. 6. Isa. xl. 3. xliv. 6. xlv. 22. xlviii. 12. Rom. xiv. 10. Rev. i. 11. Mal. iii. 1. Psal. ij. 12. Isa. xxxv. 4. lii. 5, 6. xlv. 14, 15. Zech. ii. 8. 12. iii. 1. xii. 10. Matt. xvi. 17. Luke i. 16, 17. John v. 18, 19. x. 30. i. 1. 3. 10. 14. vi. 62. viii. 23. 58. Col. i. 16. Heb. i. 2. 1012. John iii. 13, 31. xvi. 28. Mich. v. 2. Prov. viii. 23. John xvii. 5. Jer. xxiii. 6. 1 John v. 20. Rev. i. 18. 4. 8. Acts xx. 28. 1 John iii. 16. Phil. ii. 6--8. 1 Tim. ii. 16. Heb. ii. 16. 1 John iv, 3. Heb. x.5. John xx. 28. Rom. ix. 5. John x. 29 --31. Matt. xvi. 16. Rom. viii. 32. John iii. 16. 18. Col. i. 15. John xvii. 10. Isa. ix. 6. Col. ii. 9. 1 Cor, viji. 6. ii. 8. Psal. Ixviij. 17.

If any one should ask now, with them in the Canticles, what is in the Lord Jesus our beloved, more than in other beloveds, that should make him so desirable, and amiable, and worthy of acceptation? What is he more than others? I ask, what is a king more than a beggar? Much every way. Alas! this is nothing; they were born alike, must die alike, and after that is the judgment. What is an angel more than a worm ? A worm is a creature, and an angel is no more; he hath made the one to creep in the earth, made also the other to dwell in heaven. There is still a proportion between these, they agree in something; but what are all the nothings of the world, to the God infinitely blessed for evermore? Shall the dust of the balance, or the drop of the bucket be laid in the scale against him? This is he of whom the sinners in Sion are afraid and cry, “Who amongst us shall dwell with that devouring fire, who amongst us shall inhabit with everlasting burnings ?' I might now give you a glimpse of his excellency in many of those properties and attributes, by which he discovers himself to the faith of poor sinners. But as he that goes into a garden where there are innumerable flowers in great variety, gathere not all he sees, but crops here and there one, and another; I shall endeavour to open a door, and give an inlet into the infinite excellency of the graces of the Lord Jesus, as he is 'God blessed forevermore;' presenting the reader with one or two instances, leaving him to gather for his own use, what farther he pleaseth. Hence then observe,

(1.) The endless, bottomless, boundless, grace and compassion that is in him, who is thus our husband as he is the God of Sion. It is not the grace of a creature, nor all the grace that can possibly at once dwell in a created nature, that will serve our turn. We are too indigent to be suited with such a supply. There was a fulness of grace in the human nature of Christ : 'he received not the Spirit by measure ;' John iii. 34. A fulness like that of light in the sun, or of water in the sea; I speak not in respect of communication, but sufficiency. A fulness incomparably above the measure of angels, yet it was not properly an infinite fulness; it was a created, and therefore a limited fulness. If it could be conceived as separated from the Deity, surely so many thirsty, guilty souls, as every day drink deep and large draughts of grace and mercy from him, would (if I may so speak) sink him to the very bottom : nay, it could afford no supply at all, but only in a moral way. But when the conduit of his humanity, is inseparably united to the infinite inexhaustible fountain of the Deity, who can look into the depths thereof? If now there be grace enough for sinners in an allsufficient. God, it is in Christ, and indeed in any other there cannot be enough. The Lord gives this reason for the peace and confidence of sinners, Isa. liv. 4,5. · Thou shalt not be afraid, nor confounded, thou shalt not be put to shame.' But how shall this be? So much sin and not ashamed? So much guilt and not confounded ? ' Thy Master,' saith he, 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 ;' this is the bottom of all peace,

confidence, and consolation; the grace and mercy of our Maker, of the God of the whole earth. So are kindness and power tempered in him; he makes us and mars us; he is our God, and our Goel, our Redeemer. “Look unto me,' saith he, "and be saved, I am God and none else;' Isa. xlv. 22. 'Surely, one shall say, in Jehovah have I strength and righteousness ;' ver. 24.

And on this ground it is, that if all the world should (if I may so say), set themselves to drink free grace, mercy, and pardon; drawing water continually from the wells of salvation ; if they should set themselves to draw from one single promise, an angel standing by, and crying, Drink, O my friends, yea, drink abundantly, take so much grace and pardon as shall be abundantly sufficient for the world of sin which is in every one of you ; they would not be able to sink the grace of the promise one hair's breadth. There is enough for millions of worlds if they were, because it flows into it from an infinite bottomless fountain. Fear not, O worm Jacob, I am God and not man,' is the bottom of sinners' consolation. This is that head of gold mentioned

•Cant. v. 1. Isa. lv. 1. Rev. xxii. 17. John vii. 37, 38.

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