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effect of this work of the Spirit upon that people, " Our Gos
pel (laith he) came not to you in word only, but in power ; “ and in the Holy Ghoft:" There was the effectual application of Christ to them. “ And you became followers of us, and “ of the Lord,” ver. 6. there was their effcctual call. “And
ye turned from dumb idols to serve the living and true God," ver. 9. there was their couversion. “ So that ye were en“ famples to all that believe," ver. 9. there was their life of fanctification or dedication to God. So that all these are comprehended in effectual application.
Prop. 2. The application of Christ to the fouls of men, is that great project and design of God in this world, for the accomplisboa ment whereof, all the ordinances, and all the officers of the spel, are appointed and continued in the world,
This the gospel exprelly declared to be its direct eod, and the great business of all its officers, Eph. iv. 11, 12. “And he gave “ fomc apoftles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and “ some paltors and teachers; till we all come in the unity of " the faith, and the knowledge of the Son of God; to a per“ feet man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of " Chrift," i.e. the great aim and scope of all Chrilt's ordiDances and officers, are to bring men into union with Christ, and lo build them up to perfection in him: or to unite them to, and confirm thein in, Chrift: And when it thall have finished this design, then shall the whole frame of golpel-ordinances be taken down, and all its officers disbanded. “The kingdom" (i.e. this prefent oeconomy, maoner, and form of government) " thall be delivered up," i Cor. xv. 24. What are ministers, but the bridegroom's friends, ambassadors for God, to beseech mea to be reconciled? When therefore all the elect are bropght home in a reconciled state to Christ, when the marriage of the Lainb is come, our work and office expire together.
Prop. 3. Such is the importance and great concernment of the personal application of Christ to us by the Spirit, that whatsoever the Father hath done in the contrivance, or the Son hath dune in ile accomplishment of our redemption, is all inavailable, and ineffe&tual, to our salvation, without this.
It is confessedly true, that God's good pleasure appointing us fron eternity to falvation, is, in its kind, a moit full and fufficient impulsive cause of our salvation, and every way able (for so much as it is concerned) to produce its effect. And Christ's humiliation and sufferings are a most complete, and fufficient meritorious cause of our salvation, to which nothing can be added to make it more apt, and able to procure our
falvation, than it already is : Yet neither the one or the other can actually fave any foul, without the Spirit's application of Christ to it: for where there are divers fucial causes, or concauses, necessary to produce one effect, there the effect cannot be prodnced, until the last cause hath wrought. Thus it is here, the Father hath elected,' and the Son hath redeemed; but until the Spirit (who is the last cause) hath wrought his part also, we cannot be saved. For he coines in the Father's and in the Son's name and authority, to put the laft hand to the work of our salvation, by bringing all the fruits of election and redemption home to our souls in this work of effectual vocation. Hence the apostle, 1 Pet i. 2. noting the order of causes in their operations, for the bringing about of our salvation, thus fates it : “ Elect,
acording to the foreknowledge of God the Father, ilirough " fanctification of the Spirit unto obedience, and sprinkling of " the blood of Jesus Christ.” Here you find God's election and Christ's blood, the two great causes of salvation, and yet deither of these alone, nor both together can fave us; there must be added the fanctification of the Spirit, by which God's decree is executed ; and the sprinkling (i. e. the personal application of Christ's blood) as well as the shedding of it, before we can have the faving benefit of either of the former causes.
Prop. 4. The application of Christ, with his faving benefits, is exactly of the fame extent and latitude with the Father's election, and the Son's intention in dying, and cannot posibly be extended to une foul farther.
" Whom he did predestinate, them he also called," Rom. viii. 30. and Acts xiii. 48. “ As many as were ordained to eternal “ life, believed;" 2 Tim. i. 9. "Who hath faved and called " us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but ac"cording to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in " Christ Jefus, before the foundation of the world.”
The Father, Son, and Spirit, (betwixt whom was the council of peace) work out their design in a perfect harmony and con sent: As there was no jar in their council, so there can be none in the execution of it: those whom the Father, before all time, did chuse; they, and they only, are the persons, whom the Son, when the fulpess of time for the execution of that decree was come, died for, John xvii. 6. “ I have manifested
thy oame unto the men, which thou gavest me out of the world ; thine they were, and thou gavest them me;" and ver.
" For their fakes I fanctify myself;" (i.c.) confecrate, detote, or fet myself apart for a sacrifice for them. And those for
whom Christ died, are the persons to whom the Spirit effectually applies the benefits and purchases of his blood : He comes in the name of the Father and Son : " But the world cannot re“ ceive him, for it neither fees, nor knows him," Joho xiv. 17. “ They that are not of Chrift's Theep, believe not,” John X. 26.
Christ hath indeed a fulness of faving power, but the dispensa- tion thereof is limited by the Father's will; therefore he tells us, Mat. xx. 23." It is not mine to give, but it fhall be given to “ them for whom it is prepared of my Father:" In which words he no ways denies his authority, to give glory as well as grace; only shews that in the dispensation proper to him, as Mediator, he was limited by his Father's will and counsel.
And thus also are the dispensations of grace by the Spirit, in like manner, limited, both by the counsel and will of the Father and Son. For as he proceeds from them, so he acts ia the admi. pistration proper to him, by commiffion from both. John xiv. 26. “ The holy Ghost whom the Father will send in and as he comes forth into the world by this joint commission, fo his difpenfations are limited in his commiffion; for it is said, John xvi. 13."He fhall not speak of himself, but whatsoever he “ shall hear, that shall he speak;” (i.e.) He fhall in all things act according to his commission, which the Father and I have given him.
The Son can do nothing of himself, but what he feeth the Fa. ther do, John v. 19. And the Spirit can do nothing of himself, but what he hears from the Father and Son : And it is impossible it should be otherwise, considering not only the unicy of their Dature, but also of their will and defign. So that you see the applications of Christ, and benefits by the Spirit, are commenSurable with the Father's secret counsel, and the Son's design in dying, which are the rule, model, and pattern of the Spirit's working.
Prop. 5. The application of Christ to fouls, by the regenerating work of the Spirit, is that which makes the first internal difference, and distinction among men.
It is very true, that in refpect of God's fore-knowledge and purpose, there was a distinction betwixt one man and another, before any man had a being, one was taken, another left: And with respect to the death of Christ, there is a great difference betwixt one and another : le laid down his life for the sheep, he prayed for them, and not for the world; but al. this while, as to any relative change of late, or real change of temper, they are upon a level with the rest of the miferable world. The elect them
felves are “by nature the children of wrath, even as others," Eph. ii. 3. And to the fame purpose the apostle tells the Corinthians, 1 Cor. vi. 11. (when he had given in that black bill, describing the most lewd, profligate, abominable wretches in the world, men whole practices did stink in the very nostrils of nature, and were able to make the more fober Heathens blush ; after this he tells the Corinthians) “ Add such were some of you, " but ye are washed," c. q. d. look, these were your compani. ons once : as they are, you lately were.
The work of the Spirit doth not only evidence, and manifest that difference which God's election hath made between men and man, as the apostle speaks, i Theff. i. 4, 5. But it also makes a twofold difference itself, namely in fate and temper; whereby they visibly differ, not only from other men, but also from them. felves: after this work, though a man be the who, yet not the what he was. This work of the Spirit, makes us new creatures, namely, for quality and temper, 2 Cor. v. 17. “If any man be " in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are part away, be
hold, all things are become new."
Propos. 6. The application of Christ, by the work of regeneration, is that which yields unto men all the sensible sweetness, and refresbing comforts, that they have in Chrift, and in all that he hath done, suffered, or purchafed for finners.
An unsanctified person may relish the natural sweetness of the creature, as well as he that is fanctified; he may also seem to relish and taste fome sweetness in the delicious promises and difcoveries of the gospel, by a misapplication of them to himself. But this is like the joy of a beggar, dreaming he is a king ; but he awakes and finds himself a beggar ftill : but for the rational, folid, and genuine delights, and comforts of religion, no man tastes them, till this work of the Spirit hath first passed upon his foul : it is an enclosed pleasure, a ftranger intermeddles not with it. “The white stone, and the new name,” (denoting the pleasant results and fruits of justification and adoption) “ DO
man knows but he that receives it,” Rev. ii. 7. There are all those things wanting in the unfanctified (though elect) souls, that should capacitate and enable it to relish the sweetness of Christ and religion, namely, propriety, evidence, and suitable
ness of spirit.
Propriety is the sweetest part of any excellency; therefore Luther was wont to say, that the sweetness of the gospel lay mostly in pronouns, as me, my, thy, &c. who loved (me) and gave himself for me, Gal: ii. 20. Christ Jesus (my] Lord, Phil.
jäi. 18. So Mat, ix. 2. “ Son, be of good cheer. [thy) fins are
forgiven." Take away propriety, and you deflower the very gospel, of its beauty aud deliciousness: and as propriety, fo
Evidence is requisite to joy and comfort; yea, fo neceffary, that even intereft and propriety afford po lengble sweetness without it. For as to comfort, it is all one got to appear, and Dot to be. If I am registred in the book of life, and know it pot, what comfort can my game there afford.me ? Befides, ta capacitate a soul for the sweetness and comfort of Christ there is also an agreeable temper of spirit required; for how cao Chrift be sweet to that '
man's foul, whose thoughts reluctate, decline, or naufeate so holy and pure an object? Now, all these requisites being the proper effects and fruits of the Spirit's fanctifyiag operations upon us, it is beyond controverty, that the confolations of Christ cannot be tasted, until the application of Christ be firft made.
Propos. 7. The application of Christ to the soul effettually, though it be fa far wrought in the firft saving work of the Spirit, as true ly to entitle the soul to Cbrift, and save it from the danger of perishing; yet it is a work gradually advancing in the believer's Joul, whilft it abides on this side heaven and glory,
It is true, indeed, that Christ is perfectly and completely ap. plied to the foul in the firft act, for righteousnefs, “ JustificaSo tion being a relative change *, properly admits no degrees, “ but is perfected together, and at once, in one only act; tho " as to its manifestation, and fense, it hath various degrees :" But the application of Chrilt to us, for wisdom, and fanctificati. øn, is got perfected in one single act, but rises by many, and now degrees to its just perfection.
And though we are truly faid to be come to Christ when we first believe, John vi. 35. yet the soul after that is ftill coming ta him by farther acts of faith, 1 Pet. ii. 4." To whom (coming] " as unto a living stone;" the particle notes a continued motion, by which the soul gains ground, and still gets nearer and nearer to Chrift; growing still more jawardly acquainted with him. The knowledge of Christ grows upon the soul as the morning light, frorn its first spring, to the perfect day, Prov. iv. 18. сvery grace of the Spirit grows, if not sensibly, yet really; for it is in discerning the growth of sanctification, as it is in difcerning the
* Nullos proprie dictos gradus admittit, sed unico aétu fimul at Amel exiftit perfeita, quamvis quoad manifeftationem, fenfum, ef effelta; varios habet gradus. Ames.