THE BRANCH OF THE LORD, The Beauty of SION: OR, The Glory of the CHURCH, in It's Relation unto CHRIST.

Opened in Two SERMONS; one preached at Berwick, the other at Edinburgh.

By John Owen, Minister of the Gospel.

PSAL. 48. 12, 13, 14.
Walk about sion, and go round about her: tell the Towres thereof.
Mark ye wel her Bulwarks consider her Palaces, that you may tell it to the Generation following.
For this God is our God for ever and ever: he will be our Guide unto death.

EDINBURGH, Printed by Evan Tyler, in the year 1650.

To His EXCELLENCY the Lord General CROMWELL, &c.

MY LORD,

IT was with Thoughts of Peace, that I embraced my Call, to this Place, and Time of Warre. As all Peace that is from God is precious to my spirit, so incomparably, that between the Father & his Elect, which is established, and carried on in the Blood and Grace of Jesus Christ. The Ministeriall dispensation of this Peace, be­ing through free Grace committed even unto me also, I desire that in every place, my whole may be, to declare it to the men of Gods good pleasure. That this was my chief design, in answer to the Call of God upon me, even to poure out a savour of the Gospel upon the Sons of Peace in this place, I hope is mani­fest to the Consciences of all, with whom (since my coming hi­ther) in the Work of the Ministery I have had to do. The En­mity between God and us, began on our Part: The Peace which he hath made, begins and ends with himself. This is the way of God with sinners, when he might justly continue their Enemy, and fight against them to their Eternal ruine, he drawes forth Love, and beseeches them to be reconciled, who have done the wrong, and them to accept of Peace, who cannot abide the Bat­tell. Certainly, the bearing forth of this Message, which is so worthy of all Acceptation, and ought to be so welcome, can­not but have sweetnes enough to season all the Pressures and temptations wherewith it is somtimes attended. This hath bin my desire to pursue, and that, with the weapons which are not carnal. And though some may be so seasoned with the leaven of contention about carnal things, or at best the tithing of Mint and Cummin, as to disrelish the weightier things of the Go­spel, yet the great Owner of the Vineyard, hath not left me with­out [Page] a comfortable assurance, that even this labour in the Lord hath not been in vain. The following Sermons, which I desire to present unto your Excellency, were preached one at Berwick upon your first advance into Scotland; the other at Edin­burgh. My willingnes to serve the Inheritance of Christ here, even in my Ablence, caused me to close with the desires, that wercheld out to this purpose. And I do present them to your Excellency, not only because the Rise of my Call to this ser­vice, under God was from you; but also, because in the carrying of it on, I have received from you in the weaknesses and temp­tations wherewith I am encompassed, that dayly spirituall Re­freshment and support by inquiry into, and discovery of the deep and hidden dispensations of God towards his secret ones, which my spirit is taught to value. The carrying on of the In­terest of the Lord Jesus amongst his Saints, in all his wayes, which are Truth and Righteousnesse, the matter pointed at in this Discourse, being the Ayme of your spirit in your great under-takings it bears another Respect unto you. I am not un­acquainted with it's meannesse yea it's coming short in respect of use and fruit, of what the Lord hath since, and by others drawn forth; but such as it is, having by Providence stepped first into the world, I wholly commend it to him for an In­cense, who graciously supplyed the seed to the sower: be­seeching him that we may have joy unspeakable and glori­ous, in the Acceptance of that Peace, which he gives us in the Son of his Love, whilest the Peace whose desire in the midst of warre, you continually bear forth to him, and to others, is by them rejected to their hurt.

Your Excellencies most humble servant in our dearest Lord, John Owen.
ISAIAH 56. Chap. 7. verse.— For mine House shall be called an House of Prayer for all People.’

FRom the 3d verse of this Chapter to the 8th, you have Promises and Predictions of calling in Gentiles and Strangers to the Church of God, notwithstanding any Obje­ctions, or hinderances laid in their way, By Ceremoniall and Typicall constitutions, they being all to be removed in the Crosse of Christ, Ephes. 2. 13, 14, 15, 16: Colos. 2. 14. making way for the accomplishment of that signall Promise which is given in the 2: Chapt: of this Prophesie 2, 3. And it shall come to passe in the last dayes, that the Mountain of the house of the Lord shall be established in the top of the mountaines, and shall be exalted above the hills, and ALL NATIONS shall flow unto it: And MA­NY PEOPLE shall go, and say, Come ye, let us go up &c.

The words of the 7th verse, are a RecapiTulation of the whole, holding out summarily the calling of the Gentiles to the Holy Mount, or spirituall Church of [Page 2] Christ: Where also you have a description of the ser­vices performed by them upon their coming: Their burnt offerings and sacrifices shall be accepted upon mine Altar: Answerable to that eminent prediction of the solemne worship of the called Gentiles, Mal. 1. 11.

For, from the rising of the Sun, even to the going down of the same, my Name shall be great among the Gentiles, and in every place Incense shall be offered unto my Name, and a peace offering: for my Name shall be great among the Heathen saith the Lord of Hosts.

The Spirituall services of the Saints of the Gentiles, are in each place set forth by those Ceremoniall Or­dinances, of Incense, Altar and Sacrifice, as were then most acceptable from the Lords own appointment.

Now this whole promise is once again straight­ned, without losse of life or beauty, and comprized in the words of the Text.

That which before he termed sacrifice and burnt­offerings, here he calleth Prayer: and those who be­fore were, the sons of the stranger, are here, all People: some, many of all sorts, the whole world, all men, with­out distinction, the Partition. Wall being broken down. My House shall be called, &c.

The Thing here spoken of is Gods House, descri­bed

  • 1. By its Appropriation unto him, it is his peculiar, My House.
  • 2. By its extent of receipt in respect of others, it is for all People.
  • 3. By the employment of its Inhabitants, that is Prayer, it shall be called an House of Prayer.

[Page 3] House, here may be taken two wayes.

1. Properly, as it was in the Type for the Materiall Temple at Hierusalem: whereunto these words are applyed by our Saviour, Math. 21. but that is no far­ther concerned herein, but as the spirituall Holinesse of the Antitype, could not be represented without a Ceremoniall Holinesse of the Type.

2. Spiritually, for the Church of Christ to be ga­thered to him out of all Nations: the House wherein Juge sacrificium, a continuall spirituall sacrifice is to be offered to him: This is peculiarly intended: so then observe:

  • 1. Christs Church of Saints, of believers, is God's House.
  • 2. The Church of Christ under the Gospel, is to be ga­thered out of all Nations.
  • 3. There are established Ordinances, and appointed Wor­ship for the Church of Christ under the Gospell.

It is the first that I shall speak unto.

Christs Church of Saints, of believers, is God's House: That his Church, is of Saints, and Believers, will ap­pear in the issue.

By the Church of Christ, I understand, trimarily the whole Multitude of them, who antecedently, are chosen of his Father, and given unto him: Con­sequently, are redeemed, called, and justified in his blood: The Church which he loved, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctifie and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word. That he might present it unto himself a glorious Church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish, Ephes. 5. 25, 26.

[Page 4] And secondarily also, every holy Assembly of mount Sion, whereunto, the Lord Christ is made beau­ty and glory: every particular Church of his Saints, inasmuch as they partake the nature of the whole, being redeemed by his blood, Acts 20. 28.

That this Church belongs unto God, I shall onely leave evidenced under the claim whereby he here ap­propriates it to himself, he calls it His, My House: That it is his House, I shall further demonstrate: Three things are required to making of a House:

  • 1. A Foundation.
  • 2. Materialls for a superstruction.
  • 3. An orderly framing of both into an use­full building.

And all these concurre to the Church of Christ:

1. It hath a Foundation: I have laid the Foun­dation, faith Paul, 1. Cor. 3. 10. and, other Foundation can no man lay, save that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ, V. II. That Which Paul laid ministerially, God himself laid primarily and efficiently: Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I lay in Sion for a Foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious Corner stone, a sure Foundation, Isa. 28. 16. Now this Foundation is no other but the Rock upon which the Church is built, Math. 16. 18. which makes it impregnable to the Gates of hell, com­municating strength, and permanency, continually to every part of the building.

2. A Foundation onely will not make a House, there must also be Materials for a superstrustion: Those you have, 1. Pet. 2. 5. you are (saith he) lively stones: All Gods Elect, are stones, in due time to be hewed, [Page 5] and fitted for this building. For

3. Materials themselves will not serve: they must be fitly framed, and wisely disposed, or they will be an Heap, not an House. This then is not wanting.

Ye are built upon the Foundation of the Prophets, and the Apostles, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone, in whom the whole building fitly fra­med together, groweth into an holy Temple in the Lord: in whom also ye are builded together, for an ha­bitation to God by the spirit, Ephes. 2. 20, 21, 22.

There is much spirituall and heavenly Archite­cture in these 3. verses. I shall onely touch on some particulars.

1. The Foundation of this House, this Temple is laid, and that is Jesus Christ, other Foundation can no man lay: He is here called, the chief corner stone: and, the Foundation of the Prophets and A­postles, It is not which they were, but which they laid: It is Genetivus efficiculis, not materiae: That expres­sion holds out, the persons working, not the thing wrought.

2. The Materials of this Building, Elect, belie­vers: said in the former verse, to be fellow citizens with the Saints, and of the houshold of God: they alone are built on Christ, and thereby have union with him: not one dead rotten stone in all this Building, as shall be declared.

3. The Architects or builders are of two sorts:

1. Principall, the Spirit, we are framed to an habita­tion for God by the Spirit: He is the principall Work­man in this Fabrick: without him, is not one stone laid therein.

[Page 6] 2. Secundary and Instrumentall, the Prophets and Apostles, and this they were two wayes:

1. Personally, in their severall Generations: this was their work, their labour, to lay the Foundation, and carry on the building of this House.

2. Doctrinally: so they labour in it to this very day: Their Doctrine in the Scripture holds out the onely Foundation, and the onely way of building thereon.

4. The manner of the building, it is fitly framed to­gether, [...]: closely joynted and knit in to­gether: sweetly closed together with Christ▪ the head, from which, all the Body by joynts and hands having nou­rishment ministred, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Col 2. 19.

5. What kind a House it is: It receiveth here a two­fold Title, 1. an holy Temple: 2. an habitation, or a Tabernacle, because of it's allusion to both those ho­ly places of the worship of God, fulfilling the Types of them both.

Hence it is most evident that this Church of Christ is a House, and being appropriated unto God, God's House.

To make this the more evident, I shall do these two things:

  • 1. Shew you what are the chief Properties of this House.
  • 2. Declare what is the Relation, wherein Jesus Christ stands to this House, having called it all along the Church of Christ.

1. For the Properties or chief qualities of this House, they are three: 1. It is a living House: 2. it is strong: 3. it is glorious.

[Page 7] 1 It is a living House: Unto whom coming as unto a living stone, yee also as lively stones are built up a spirituall House, 1 Pet: 2: 4: 5. Christ the foundation is a living Stone, and they that are built upon him, are living stones. Hence they are said to grow together into an House: Growth is a signe of life: Growing from an inward Principle: such as the Growth of any thing is, such is its life: the Groweth of this House is spirituall, so therefore also is its life: it lives with a spirituall life: a life whose fulnesse, is in its foundation, he hath life in himself: Joh: 5. 26▪ and from him, in them: I am crucified with Christ: neverthelesse I live, Gal: 2: 22: yea it is himself in them; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me. It is true those stones are dead in the Rock as well as others: by na­ture Children of wrath as well as they, Ephes. 2: 3: being dead in Trespasses and sins: v: 1. He who Hews them our, gives them life: He quickens them, when dead in trespasses and sin: There is not one rotten dead stone in all this building: However some such may, by the advan­tage of their outward appearance, croud in, yet they are not of the House it self.

2. It is a strong House: the Gates of Hell cannot prevail against it, Mat. 1. 6: 18. though the Rain descend, and the floods come, and the winds blow, up­on this House, yet it will not fall, because it is founded on a Rock, Matth. 7. 25. We were all once an house built upon Adam: and when the winde came, and beat upon us, we fell, and the fall of that house was very great: He in his best estate was found to be but sand: now we are built upon a Rock that will abid all trialls: The waves may make a noise and dash them­selves against him, but it will be to their own ruine▪ [Page 8] But you will say, may not weak and inconsistent mate­rials be built upon a Rock, which yet may have never the more strength for their firme foundation? Ans 1: It is not so here, for the whole building is framed together in the foundation, Ephes. 2. 22. not only on it, but also in it, and so not to be prevailed against, unlesse the Rock it self be orethrown. 2. It is a living Rock, that this house is built on: a Rock continually communicating strength unto every stone in the building, that it may be inabled to abide in him: I should proceed too for, should I goe to declare the mighty defence and fortification of this House: what hath been spoken from the foun­dation, is enough to demonstrate it to be a strong House.

3. It is a Glorious House, and that in a three-fold respect:

1. It is Glorious in respect of Inward Glory brought unto it of God in the face of Jesus Christ: being beautifull, through the comlinesse that he puts upon it: Hence Christ speaking of it, says, How faire art thou O love for delights, Canticles, 7: 6. and thou art all fair my love, there is no spot in thee, Chap. 4 7. and how I pray comes that about, why Christ wash­eth it in his own blood, that it might be wholly a glo­rious Church, Ephes. 5. 26 27. And further he being the branch of the Lord, and fruit of the earth is made beauty and Glory, Excellency and Comlinesse thereun­to. Psal. 4. 2.

It hath the beauty and Glory of Justification, which doth not only take away all filthy Garments, causing Iniquity to passe away, but also gives fair change of Rayment, Zech. 3. 4, 5. even the Garments of Salvation, and the Robe of Righteousnesse, Isa. 61. 10. And then [Page 9] it hath, the Glory, and beauty of sanctification, whence the Kings daughter is all Glorious within, Psal. 45. 13. The comlinesse and beauty that is in a sanctified soul, is above all the Glory of the world. This House is all overlaid with gold within: Christ is unto it a Head of Gold, Cant. 5. 11. His house is not like Nebucadnezers Image, that the Head should be of Gold, and the mem­bers some of them of Clay: they all partake of his Na­ture, and are very glorious therein:

2. In respect of its outward structure; which it emi­nently hath in all the peculiar Assemblies thereof: O thou afflicted and tossed with tempest and not comfor­ted, behold I will lay thy stones with faire Colours, and thy foundations with saphires: I will make thy win­dowes of Agats and Carbuncles, and all thy borders of pleasant stones, Isa. 54, 11, 12. So also where it is called the new Hierusalem, (a city from its laws and policie) this city is said to be of pure Gold, (not drosse and mire) the building of the wall of Iasper, and the foundation of the wall garnished with all manner of precious stones, Revel. 21. 18. 19. This is that which the Psalmist calls the beauties of Holinesse, Psal. 110.

3. The Glory of the Ordinances of the Gospell in their vigour and puritie: There is nothing so glorious as our King on his throne: Christ in his Court; this House, raigning in the Administration of his Ordinances: then al his Garments, smel of Mirrh, Aloes and Cassia, out of the Ivory Pallaces whereby they have made him Glad, Kings daughters are among his honorable women, up­on his right hand doth stand the Queen in Gold of O­phir, Psal. 45. 8, 9. His goings are seene, the goings of our God and King in the sanctuary, Psal. 68. 24, 25. &c. The Apostle exalteth the Glory of Gospel-Admini­strations [Page 10] exceeding above the old Tabernacle and Tem­ple worship, which yet was excreeding pompous and glorious. If (saith he) the minist ation of death, written & engraven in stones was glorious, so that the Children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses, for the Glory of his countenance, which glory was to be done away, How shall not the the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious: For if the ministration of Condemnation be Glory, much more doth the mini­stration of Righteousnesse exceed in Glory: For even that which was made glorious, had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth, for if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which re­maineth is glorious, 2 Cor. 3. 7, 8, 9, 10, 11. Let men think as meanly as they please of the spirituall service of God amongst his people: All Glory that ever yet appeared in the world, was but a buble to it: all that God ever Instituted before, came exceeding short of it: He de­lights in it, who beholds the proud afar off.

3 It is glorious in respect of the Exaltation it hath a­bove, and Triumph over all its opposers: To see a House, a Pallace hanged round about with Ensignes, Spoyles, and banners taken from the Enemy that have come against it, is a Glorious thing: thus is this House of God decked: Kings of Armyes did flee apace, and shee that caried at home, devided the spoyle, Psal: 68. 12. she that ta [...]ies at home, the mother of the family, the Church of God, shee hath all the spoyles. The Lord hath affirmed, that not onely every one that opposeth, but all that do not serve this house, shall be utterly de­stroyed, Isa. 60: 12. There you have the spoyle of Pha­raoh, and all his Host, gathered on the shore of the [Page 11] red sea, and dedicated in this House, Exod: 15. There you have the Robes of Nebuehadnezzar here referred when himself was turned into a Beast, Dan 34. There you have the imperiall Ornaments of Dioclesiar, and his companion casting aside their dominion for very madnes that they could not prevail against this house: There is the blood of Julian kept for a monument of Vengeance against Apostates: There you have the Ro­chets of the Prelates of this land, hung up of late with other Garments of their adherents rolled in blood: There is a place reserved for the remaining spoyls of the great whore, when shee shall be burned and made naked, and desolate Revel. 11. never any rose, or shall arise against this house, and go forth unto finall pro­sperity: Let the men of the world take heed how they burthen themselves with the foundation stone of this house, it will assuredly break them all in pieces.

Thus have I given you a Glimpse of this house, with the chief properties of it, which as God assumes as his owne, so also peculiarly it belongs unto the Lord Christ; yea what Relation it stands in unto him, or rather he unto it, is the maine thing I intend.

Jesus Christ stands in a two fold Relation unto this House,

  • 1 In respect of its fabrick and building.
  • 2 In respect of its state and Condition.

In the first regard Christ relates to this House in a­four fold Respect. As

  • 1 Its foundation.
  • 2 Its Arke.
  • 3 Its Altar.
  • 4 Its Candlestick.

[Page 12] In Respect of state and condition, Christ relates unto this house of God in a five-fold regard. As

  • 1 The Owner
  • 2 The Builder
  • 3 The Inhabiter
  • 4 The watchman or keeper
  • 5 The Avenger

thereof:

I shall passe through these (God assisting) in Order: & begin with what was first laid down, His Relation to this House in respect of its fabrick and building; as 1 The foundation of it: This was in part declared be­for: He is the stone which the builders rejected, but made of the Lord the head of the Corner, Psal. 118. 22. He is the lowest in the bottom to beare up the weight of the building, and the Highest in the Corner to Couple the whole together: other foundation can no man lay but that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ, 1 Cor. 3. 10. He is the Rock, on which he builds his Church, Mat. 16. 18.

Now there be 3. things, required to a Foundation, all which are eminently seen in the Lord Christ, in Reference to this House.

1. That it be first laid in the Building: It were a course exceeding preposterous, first to build a House, and then to lay the Foundation. Jesus Christ is the first that is laid in this holy fabrick: and that in a four­fold Respect.

1. He is the first, in respect of God's eternall pur­pose: The Lord purposed that he should have the prehe­minence in this as well as in all other things, Col. 1. 15. He is in that Respect the first born among many Brethren [Page 13] Rom. 8. 29. the Residue of this House, being predesti­nated to be made conformable unto him: He is before all things, by him all things, (that is all spirituall things, all the things of this House) consist, He is the Head of the Bo­dy the Church: this I mean, God purposed that Christ should be the bottom and foundation of this whole building, that it should be all laid on him: I do not mean, that God first intended Christ for a foundati­on, and then his Elect for a building. The order of In­tention and Execution is as to first, and last, inverted by all Agents: but this I say, God purposing to build his Elect into an holy Temple, purposed that Jesus Christ should be the Foundation.

2. In Respect of outward manifestation: God first manifests and declares him, before he layd one stone in this building, Gen. 3. 15. The seed (saith he) of the woman shall break the serpents Head: in that was laid the first stone of this building: then was the Lamb slain, [...], Revel. 13. 8. (presently) af­ter the foundation of the World: and thence, is Grace in him said to he given to the Elect, [...], Titus 1. 2. many Ages ago.

3. Because in order of Nature, Christ must be first laid in the Heart of every Individuall stone, before they are laid up in this building. If Christ be not in men, they are [...], 2. Cor. 15. 1. altogether uselesse for this building; try them never so often, they must at last be rejected, and laid aside.

4. In respect of every particular Assembly, and little Sanctuary of Mount Sion: If he be not first laid in the midst of such Assemblies, they will prove to be pi­ [...]acles of Babel, not Towres of Sion: This therefore was [Page 14] the way of the Saints of old, first to give up themselves to the Lord Christ, and then to one another, by the will of God, 2. Cor. 8. 5.

In these Respects Christ the Foundation, is first laid in this spirituall building: which is the first pro­perty of a Foundation.

2. A Foundation must be hidden, and out of sight unto all those that outwardly look upon the House: They cannot perceive it, though every part of the House doth rest upon it: And this hath occasioned many mistakes in the World. An unwise man com­ing to a great House, seeing the Anticks and Pictures stand crouching under the Windows and sides of the House, may happily think, that they bear up the weight of the House, when indeed they are for the most part pargetted Posts; they bear not the House, the House bears them. By their bowing and outward Ap­pearance, the Man thinks the Burden is on them, and supposes, that it would be an easie thing, at any time, by taking them away, to demolish the House it self; But, when hee sets himself to work, hee findes these things of no value, there is a Foundation in the Bot­tome, which bears up the whole, that he thought not of: against that, hee may waste himself, untill hee be broken in pieces.

Men looking upon the Church, do finde that it is a fair Fabrick indeed, but cannot imagine how it should stand. A few supporters it seemeth to have in the world, like crouching Anticks under the Windowes, that make some shew of under-propping it: Here you have a Magistrate, there an Army, or so: think the men of the world, can we but remove these props, the [Page 15] whole would quickly topple to the ground: Yea, so foolish have I been my self; and so void of understan­ding before the Lord, as to take a View of some good­ly appearing Props of this building, and to think, how shall the House be preserved if these should be remo­ved: they looked unto me, like the Mariners in Pauls ship without whose abode therein, they could not be saved: when lo, suddainly some have been manifested to be pargetted Posts, and the very best, to be held up by the House, and not to hold it up.

On this Account, the men of the world, think it no great matter to demolish the spirituall Church of Christ to the Ground: they encourage one another to the work, never thinking of the Foundation that lyes hidden, against which they dash themselves all to pie­ces. I say then, Christ as the Foundation of this House, is hidden to the men of the World, they see it not, they believe it not: there is nothing more remote from their Apprehension, then that Christ should be at the bottom of them and their ways, whom they so much despise.

3. The Foundation is that which beares up the whole weight of the Building. What part of the House soever, is not directly poysed upon it, hath no strength at all: take a goodly stone, hew it, square it, make it every way fit for your Fabrick, so that it may seem to be the best of all your Materials; yet if you do not lay it upon the Foundation, answerable to that, which may give it a solid Basis, and bear up the weight and poyse there­of, it will be uselesse, combersome, and quickly fall to the Ground.

Let a man be hewed and squared by the Word and [Page 16] ordinances into outward conformity, never so exactly, that he seems one of the most beautifull Saints in the World, yet if he be not laid rightly by Faith upon the Foundation, to derive from thence, strength, support­ment, and vigour, he will quickly fall to the ground: What then will become of their building, who heap up all sorts of rubbish to make an House for the Lord.

2. Christ is the Ark of this House: The Ark in the Tabernacle, and afterwards in the Temple, was the most holy thing, in the most holy Place. There was nothing in it but the two Tables of stone written with the Fing­er of God: before it was Aarons Rod that budded, with a Pot full of Manna: over it was the Propitiatory or Mercy seat, being a plate of Gold, as long and asbroad as the Ark, covering it, being shadowed with the Che­rubims of Glory. Now all this glorious Fabrick, did sig­nifie, that unlesse the Law with its condemning power were hid in the Ark, and covered with the Mercy seat, no person could stand before the Lord: Besides, the Law was the old Covenant of works, and being renew­ed unto them chiefly to be subservient to the Gospel, and partly with its Appurtenances and carnall Admini­stration, to be the tenour of the Israelites holding the land of Canaan, and this being in the Ark, it was said to contain the Covenant, and is frequently called the Ark of the Covenant.

Jesus Christ is the Ark of this spirituall House. When the Temple was opened in Heaven, there was seen in the Temple the Ark of Gods Testament, Revel. 11. 10. Jesus Christ made conspicuous to all, who lay much hid under the old Testament, Rom. 3. 25. God is said to set forth Christ to be [...], a Propitiation, or Mercy [Page 17] seat, for by that very term is the Mercy seat expressed, Heb. 9. 5. He is then the Ark, and the Mercy seat co­vering it. He then doth those two things:

1. In behalf of this House and every stone thereof, he hides the Law with its condemning power, that nothing from thence shal be laid to their charge. If a man have a suit to be tryed in any Court, and a powerful Friend engage himself, that the only Evidence which is against him, shall not be produced, will it not give him en­couragement to proceed? In that great and tremen­dous tryal, which is to be above, there is but one prin­cipal Evidence against us, which gives li [...]e to all others, which if it be removed, all the rest must fail. This is the Law: Christ as the Ark and Mercy seat hides this Law: it shall not (I speak in respect to this House) be produced at the day of tryall: will it not be a great encouragement to them to appear at the Throne of God? Christ hides the Law as being the End of it, Rom. 10. 4. that the Righteousnesse thereof might be ful­filled in us, Rom 8. 4. He hath so far answered all that the Law required, that none from thence can lay any thing to the charge of Gods Elect, Rom. 8. 33, 34. Let not poor sinners fear; it will not be with them as with Uzzah: He touched the Ark, and died: Touch this Ark, and live for ever.

And 2ly, he is the Ark of this House, as containing in himself the New Covenant; it is made with him, originally: established in him, irreversibly; made out through him in all the grace of it, faithfully.

3. He is the Al [...]ar of this House: There were two Altars in the old Tabernacle, and Temple: An Altar for Sacrifice, and an Altar for Incense, Exod. chap. 29. [Page 18] and 30. The first was the great Brazen Altar, that stood without the Holy Place, whereon the burnt offe­rings, and all sacrifices of blood, for Remission, were offered. The other lesse made of Shittim wood, all over­laid with pure Gold, and a Crown of beaten Gold u­pon it, on which they were to burn pure Incense unto the Lord alwayes: And they were both most holy, sanctifying the Gifts with legall sanctification, that were offered on them, Math. 23. 19. Now both these doth our Saviour supply in this House: 1. He is the g [...]eat great Altar of sacrifice, the Altar of offerings for Expiation and Attonement: We have an Altar whereof they have no Right to eat, who serve at the Tabernacle, Heb. 13 10.. That seven he who sanctified the People with his own Blood, and suffered without the gate, v. 11. The good will and soul of Christ offering up himself, through the eternall spirit, a pure Oblation and sacrifice, by one offering to perfect for ever them that are sanctified, is all onr Altar: 2. He is the Golden Altar of Incense. Incense is Prayer, Psal. 141. 2. Let my Prayer come before thee as Incense. Jesus Christ is the Golden Altar, whereon that Incense is offered, Revel. 8 3, 4. even that Altar which is always before God, Rev. 9. 13. as by being the former, he makes our Persons accepted; so by the latter he makes our duties accepted: And all the living stones of this House, are Priests to offer sacrifice on these Altars: by him as Priests, they have Approxi­mation to the Holy Place: there they have a share and participation in all the sacrifices that are offered up­on, or by him.

4. He is the Candlestick of this House. The ma­king, fashioning, and use of the Candlestick, in the holy [Page 19] place of the Tabernacle, you have Exod. 25 31. &c. It was one of the most glorious Utensils of that frame: made of pure and beaten Gold, with much variety of works, knops, flowres and lamps. The Use of it was to bear out light, for all the worship of God in that most Holy Place. The Tabernacle was made close, without any window: It was not to receive light from without: It had all its own light from within. It is true, this Candlestick with its 7. lamps, did secundarily represent the Churches of Christ, which hold out his light among themselves, and unto others, Revel. 1. last: the seven Candlesticks thou sawest are the seven Churches: There­fore Solomon made ten Candlesticks of pure Gold, 1. Kings 7. 49. to set out yet further the Increase & multiplying of the Churches of God. Upon this account also, the two witnesses are said to be two Candlesticks, Rev. 11. 4. And, the two anointed ones that stand before the God of the whole Earth, Zech. 4. 3. Whence that in the Reve­lation is taken, there is mention indeed of two Anointed ones, but of one Candlestick: the Holy Ghost plainly in­timating, that though the Churches and Witnesses of Christ are also Candlesticks in a second sense, yet there is one Eminent Candlestick which hath light original­ly in it self, which also it communicates unto all o­thers. And this is that which is mentioned in Zech. 4. which hath the two Olive Trees, or the two Anointed Churches of Jews and Gentiles, standing by it, recei­ving light from it, to communicate to others: they em­pty the Golden oyle out of themselves, which they re­ceive from the Candlestick. For this Candlestick hath seven lamps, v. 2. which lamps that burn before the throne, are the seven spirits of God, Rev. 4. 5. seven spirits [Page 20] that is, the perfection and compleatnesse of the Spirit of God, in all his Graces and Operations. Now who hath these seven spirits? Even he who received not the spirit by measure, Joh. 3. 34. being the stone upon which are the seven Eyes, Zech. 3. 9. He alone then is this Candlestick, and all the light which this House hath, it is from him.

There are two wayes whereby Jesus Christ makes out light to this House.

1. By way of Doctrinall Revelation: 2. Of Reall Com­munication.

1. He alone discovers light to all the Stones of this Building. No man hath seen God at any time: the onely be­gotten Son which is in the bosome of the Father, he hath declared him Joh 1. 10. No saving discovery of God, of his Nature, his Will, his Love, but what is by Christ. The Moon and Starres give light, but it is on­ly what they receive from the Sun. The Prophets and Apostles, held out light, but it was all received from him. They spake by the spirit of Christ that was in them I have received of the Lord that which I have deli­vered unto you, 1 Cor. 11. 23. The same Apostle curses every one that shall bring in any other light into this House, be they Angels or Men, Gal. 1. 8. 9▪ Christ alone fully knowes the minde of God, as being alwayes in the bosome of his Father, Joh: 1. 18. Yea he knowes it to the uttermost, being one with his Father, Joh. 10: 30. And he is willing to reveal it, for even for this end came he into the world, that he might bear witnesse to the truth. And he had Ability enough to do it, for in him were hid all Treasure of wisdome and knowledge, Col. 2. 3. He alone is the Author of all light to this his holy Habi­tation.

[Page 21] Many Attempts have been to set up light in this House, and not from Christ. Some would kindle their Traditions or the Doctrine of this House: Some their Prudentials for the Government of it: Some their Ce­remonials for the Worship of it: All Candles in the Sun. Shall men think to compasle themselves with sparks, and walk in the light of the fire which themselves have kindled, in the face of the Sun of Righteousnes? shall not such men ly down in sorrow? Beloved, take heed of such ignes fatui, foolish misguiding fires.

2. By way of Reall Communication, He is the true light which lightneth everyman, Joh. 1. 9. Every one that hath any spirituall light really communica­ted to him, hath it from Christ. It is part of his work to recover sight to the blind, Luke 4. 18. And ther­fore he adviseth the Church of Laodicea to come to him for eye salve, that she might see, Revel. 3. 18. At his coming, Sion shines forth, Isa 60. 1. because his light ariseth upon her, v. 2. The former Doctrinall Teaching of it self w [...]ll not suffice. That light may shine in darknes, and the darknes not comprehend it, Joh. 1. 5. All the light: the Sun can give, will not make a blind man see. There must be a visive faculty within, as well as light without: The Stones of this building are by Na­ture all blind▪ yea darkned, yea darknesse it self. If the Lord Christ do not by the mighty efficacy of his spirit create a visive Power within them, as well as reveal the will of his Father to them, they will never spiritu­ally discern the things of God. The naturall man dis­cerneth not the things of God, nor indeed can do, 1. Cor. 2 14.

It is true, men by the help of Common Gifts, with [Page 22] the use of the former Doctrinall Revelation, may at­tain to such a knowledge of the mind of God, as may in a sense be called Illumination, Heb. 6. 4. Far may they go much may they do, by this light. They may teach others, and be cast away themselves: They may dispute for Truth, yea dye for Truth, and all this while have but the first common Anointing, see nothing clearly, but, Menwalking like Trees. A spiritual Insight into the mind of God, is not to be obtained, without an Almighty Act of the Spirit of Christ, creating a new power of Life, and Light upon the Soul.

Some indeed think that they have this seeing Power in themselves. Do but shew them outwaraly what is to be seen, and let them alone for the discerning of it. Well then, let them alone, if ever they are stones of this living House, I am deceived. Thou that art so, know whence is all thy light: and if thou art any thing in the dark, draw nigh to the Candlestick, from whence all light is: Thence must thy light come, yea and thence it shall come: the secrets of the Lord shall make their abode with thee.

And this is the fourfold Relation wherein the Lord Christ stands unto this House, as it is a Spirituall building.

In Respect of State and Condition, Jesus Christ stands in a fivefold Relation to this House: which I shall unfold in order.

1. He is the Owner of it. He cals it HIS. Upon this Rock will I build my Church, Math. 16 18 Moses was faithfull in all &c. but Christ as a son over his OWN House, whose House are we, Heb. 3. 4, 5. And that you may see that he doth not owne it as His, without good [Page 23] Right and Title, know that in the great Oeconomie of Grace, Jesus Christ hath a threefold Right and Title to this House.

1. Of Inheritance, He is by his Father appointed Heir of all things, Heb. 1. 3. By Inheritance he obtains this ex­cellent name, to be Lord of this House. God sends him to the Vineyard as the Heir, after his servants were re­fused: And he hath an Engagement from his Father, that he shal injoy his whole Inheritance upon demand, Psal. 2. 8. For the Father appointed, in the fulnesse of time, to gather together all these things in Christ, both which are in Heaven, and which are in Earth in him, Eph. 1. 10. So that as Christ is the first begotten of the Fa­ther, Heb. 1. 6. and the first born of every creature, Col. 1. 15. the Right of Heirship is his. But this will not do: for

2. When He should come to take possession of this House, He findes that it is morgaged, and that a great Debt lyes upon it, which he must pay to the uttermost farthing, if ever He intend to have it. To the former Title, there must also be added a Right of Furchase. He must Purchase this House, and pay a great Price for it. And what is this Price? what is required of him? No lesse then his dearest blood, Acts 20. 28. Yea he must make his Soul an Offering for sin; and charge himself with the whole Debt, all the Curse and Pu­nishment, which this House had in part actually con­tracted upon it self, and wholly deserved. He must put his shoulders under the burden due to it, and his back to the stripes prepared for it. A hard Task. But Jesus Christ being the Heir, the Right of Redemption be­longed unto him. It was not for his Honour that it [Page 24] should lye unredeemed. Full well he knew that if he did it not, the whole Creation was too beggarly to make this Purchase. 'Tis true, that Nature of ours, which He assumed to pay that by, which He never took, was startled for a while, and would have depre­cated this grievous price, crying out, If it be possible let this cup passe from me: but he recollects himself and sayes, I am content to do thy will O God: and so, through the eternall spirit offered himself up into God for a Ransome. He likes the House, and will have it to dwel in what ever it cost him. Here (saith he) shall be my Ha­bitation and my dwelling for ever, Psal. 133. Know you not (saith the Apostle) that you are the Temple of the Spirit of Christ? Well, and how come we so to be? you are bought with a price, 2. Cor 6. 19. They who affirm that he also thus purchased the unclean styes of the Divel, wot not what they say.

3. Unto Purchase, He must also adde Conquest. An unjust Usurper had taken possession of this House, and kept it in bondage: Sathan had seized on it, and brought it, through the wrath of God, under his pow­er. He then must be conquered, that the Lord Christ may have compleat possession of his own House. For this purpose (then) was the Son of God made manifest, that he might destr [...]y the works of the Devil, 1. Joh. 38. And how doth he do it? 1. He overpowers him, and de­stroves him, in that, Through death he destroyed him that had the power of death, that is, the divel, Heb. 2. 14. 2. He spoyled him having overcome him, He bund the strong man, and then spoyled his goods, Math 12. 27. All that darknesse, unbelief, sin, and hardnesse, that he had stuffed this House withall, Christ spoyles them, and [Page 25] scatters them all away. 3. To make his Conquest compleat, He triumphs over his Enemy, and like a mighty Conquerour makes an open shew of him to his everlasting shame, Col. 2. 15. Having spoyled Princi­palities and Powers, he made a shew of them openly, trium­phing over them in his Crosse: And by this means strengthens his Title to his Inheritance.

I m [...]ght also farther insist on the Donation of his Fa­ther, and the actual possession he takes of it by his Spi­rit, but these are sufficient, to prove this House to be Christs. I shall take some Observations hence.

1. Is this the House of Christ? is he the Owner of it? let men take heed how they spoyl it for themselves. The Psalmist makes this a great Argument in his plead­ing against opposers, that they came into the Lords in­heritance, Psal. 79. 1. The Title of Christs purchase was not then so clearely known, as that of his Inheritance, and therefore they of old pleaded chiefly by that Ti­tle. Now he hath proclaimed to all, his other Titles al­so: the whole Right he has to this House, to his Saints. Who then shall meddle with it and go free? Amongst men, every one with all his might will defend his own possession. And shall we think that the Lord Christ will suffer his to be spoiled at an easie rate? shall not men pay dear for their encroachment? How hath he in our dayes frustrated all attempts for the persecu­tion of his? Touch not (saith he) mine Anointed. Men may upon various pretences claim this privi­ledge, to such a Land, Nation, or Faction; it will in the end appeare to be theirs and only theirs, who are liv­ing stones of this House: doggs may scramble for their bread, but shall not injoy it: It is Christ in this House that will make every stone of it a burdensome stone: He [Page 26] hath done it, that men may learn [...]. do not think it will excuse thee to say, thou wast mistaken.

2. Is Christ the Owner of this House, let the Order and disposall of it, be left to himself. Men are apt to be tampering with his House and Houshold. They will be so kind and carefull, as to say out their wisedome and prudence about it: Thus and thus shall it be, these are parts and members of it. Christ is exceeding jealous of his Honour in this particular: He cannot bear it, that men pretending to his Glory, should think him so wanting in Love, or Wisedome, towards his own, as not exactly to dispose of all things that concern the Reiglement thereof. Men would not be so dealt with­all in their own Houses, as they deal with Christ in his. We have all Wisedome enough (as we suppose) to order our own houses: Only, the Wisedome and Love of the Father, leaves his to the discretion of others: these thoughts are not from above.

3. Hath Christ taken his own House to himself up­on so many Titles, let not men put those buildings on him for his, which are not so, which he holds not by these Titles. Go to a man that dwells in a stately Pa­lace of his own, show him a hog sty, tell him, this is your House, here you dwell, this is yours; can you put a greate indignity on him? No, sayes the man, that is not mine, I dwell in yonder sumptuous Palace. And shal we deal thus with the Lord Jesus? He hathbought & adorned his own House: a glorious House it is I [...]now men shall hold out to him, a sty of swine, a den of un­clean Beasts, a ruinous Heap, whereof the far greatest part are dead stones, and tell him, this is his Church, his House, will it notexceedingly provoke him? will he bear such a reproach? Nay, he will re­ject [Page 27] such Tenders, to their Ruine.

2. Jesus Christ is the Builder of this House. This man is counted worthy of more Honour then Moses, inas­much as he that buildeth the House, hath more Honour then the House▪ Heb. 3. 3. I (saith he) will build my Church, Math. 16. 18. This is not a Fabrick for any workman but Christ. It is true, there are others imployed under him: and some so excellent, that they may be said to be w [...]se master-builders, 2. Cor. 3. 10. But yet all the Ef­ficacy of their labour in this building is not from them­selves, but meerly from him, by whom they are im­ployed. Except the Lord build this house, they labour in vain that go about to build it.

Now this House receives a two fold building. 1. Spi­rituall, of all the stones thereof into one mysticall House: of this I chiefly treat. 2. Ecclesiasticall, of some particular stones into severall Tabernacles, which are usefull Partitions in the great mysticall House, called Assemblyes, and dwelling places of mount Sion: both these it hath from Christ alone.

1. For the first. If all the most skilfull Workmen in the world should go to the pit of Nature, by their own strength to hew out stones for this building, they will never with all their skill and diligence, lay one stone upon it. There is Life required to those stones, which none can give but Christ▪ The Father hath given into his hand alone, to give life eternall to whom he will, Joh. 17. 2. He alone can turn stones into children of Abra­ham. To him is committed all dispensation of quick­ning power. He brings us from the dust of death, and no man hath quickned his own soul. With spiritual pow­er, all spirituall life is vested in Christ. If dead stones live, it must be, by hearing the voyce of the Son of God. [Page 28] Christ's building of his mysticall House, is his giving life unto dead stones, or rather, being life unto them. Of those who will attempt to build themselves, and draw a Principle of spirituall life, from the broken Cisterns of Nature, I shall speak afterwards.

For the second, or the communion of living stones one with another, and all with Christ, in the Order and Worship appointed by the Gospel, so becoming Assemblies, and dwelling places of Mount Sion, this also is of him. This is for his outward solemn Worship: and he would never allow, that the will of any creature, should be the measure of his Honour. He sets up the Candlesticks, and holds the Starres in his hand. Look to the Institution of this building, it is from Christ: Look for Directions about this building, it is wholly from him. From him, his Word, his Spirit, is the In­stitution, Direction, and Perfection of it: from hence now take some Observations.

1. Is Christ the Builder of this House? Can hee a­lone [...]it us for this Building? Can he alone, and that by his Almighty Power put li [...]e into dead stones, that they may grow up to bee a holy and living Habitation unto him? what then becomes of that famous work­man Freewill, and a power of believing in our selves, do not they work effectually in this Temple? As it was in Salomons Temple, there was neither Axe, nor Hammer, nor any Tool of Iron heard în it, all the while it was in building. 1. Kings 6. 7. So in this spi [...]ual House, that Iron Tool of Freewill, is not once heard: It comes not nigh the work, Christ doth all alone. He gives life to whom he pleases. Shall a dead wil [...] be thought to have a quickning, life-giving power in it? Shall a Spirit of life be spun out of the Bowels of Nature? Is it the [Page 29] will of man, or the will of God that drawes men unto Christ? And is it Spirit or flesh that unites us to him? Where then is this workman employed that makes all this noyse in the world? Even there where men cry, Go to, let us build a City and a Tower whose top may reach to Heaven? Gen 11 4 amongst those who would build a Babel, a Tower of their own to get to Heaven by. The Lord comes down and scatters all their un­der-takings. This Workman never placed Stone in the House of Christ. Nay, it is like the foolish woman, that pu [...]s down her house with both her hands. what Free grace sets up, that Freewill strives to demolish.

3. See hence a great mistake of many poor Crea­tures, who would fain be stones in this House: what course take they? They Hew and square themselves, strive to cut off this and that rubbish, which (as they suppose) alone hinders them from being fitted to this building. They pare themselves with vows, pro­mises, resolutions and engagements, beautifie them­selves with duties and services: and then with many perplexing feares present themselves to the building: never knowing whether they are admitted or no. All this while, the great Master Builder stands by, scarsely dealt withal. What now is the issue of such Attempts? what they build one day, fals down in another. When they have oftentimes in their own thoughts, brought the Building to such a passe, as that they are ready to think, it will be well with them, now surely they shal have a share & Interest in this living & glorious House, when all on the suddain they fal again to the ground: their Hopes wither, and they suppose themselves in the worlds rubbish again. There is no end of this Al­ternation. Would now this poor soul see where its [Page 30] great defect lyes? It hath not applyed it self aright to the only Builder. Wouldest thou be a stone in this Fabrick, lay thy self before the Lord Jesus: say to him, that thou art in thy self altogether unfit for the great Building he hath in hand, tha thou hast often attemp­ted to put thy self upon it, but all in vain: Now Lord Jesus, do thou take me into thine own Hand: if thou castest me away, I cannot complain: I must justifie thee in all thy ways: but thou callest things that are not, as though they were. Thou turnest dead stones in­to Children of Abraham: Oh turn my dead, into a li­ving stone. Fear not, He will in no wise cast thee out.

The vanity of men attempting to mixe their Power and Wisedome in the heaping up Tabernacles for Christ, might be hence discovered, but I forbear.

3. Jesus Christ is the great Watchman or Keeper of this House. There are indeed other Watchmen, and that of God's own appointment for the use of this House. Son of man, I have set thee a Watchman, Ezek. 2. 11. I have set Watchmen upon thy walls, Isa 61. 6, 7. which in a spe­ciall manner are the Pastors of the Churches, they watch, Heb. 13. 17. As the Priests and Levits heretofore kept the watch of the Lord: It cannot be denyed, but that many who have taken upon them to be these Watchmen, have watched onely for their own advan­tage, have been very dogs, yea dumb dogs, the very worst of dogs, Isa. 66. 10. yea they have been, and of­tentimes are under various pretences, great smiters and wounders of the Spouse of Christ, Cant 5. but yet were they never so good and true to their Trusts, they were never able all to watch and keep this House, had it not another Watchman. Except the Lord keep the City, these Watchmen watch in vain, Psal. 127. 1. He that keepeth [Page 31] Israel, who doth neither slumber nor sleep, must keep this House, or it will be destroyed. Christ then is that Holy One, and that WATCHER that came down from Heaven, and commanded to cut down the tree and the branches, Dan. 4. 13, 14. Nebuchadnezzar and his great power, for medling with this House.

Now Christ watcheth this House for two ends.

1. To see what it wants, 2. Cor. 16. 9. The eyes of the Lord run to and fro, throughout the whole earth, to shew himself strong in its behalf. He looks down from heaven to behold them that fear him, Psal. 14. He is that Stone upon which are seven Eyes Zech. 3. 9. A sufficiency, in perfe­ction of wisedome, inspection, and government for the good of his House. And those seven eyes of his run to and fro through the whole earth, for this very purpose, Zech. 4. 10. He takes notice of the state and condition of his People, to eye them in all their distresses, and to give them timely and suitable deliverance. They may call every spring of their Refreshment, Beer la [...]ai-roi.

2. To see that the Son of Violence draw not nigh unto it, and if he do, to require it at his hands, to make him eat his own flesh, and drink his own blood, that he may learn to devour no more. Observe then,

1. Whence it is that this House which seems so often to be nigh to destruction, is yet preserved from ruine. Ofttimes it is brought into a condition, that all that look on say, Now it is gone for ever: but still it reco­vers and gets up again. The Lord Christ he looks on all the while: He knowes how far things may pro­ceed for tryall. When it comes to that passe, that if pressures and troubles should continue, the House would be over born indeed, then he puts in, rebukes the windes and waves, and makes all things still again. [Page 32] Like a Father who looks upon his Childe in a diffi­cult and dangerous businesse, knowes that he can re­lieve him when he pleases, but would willingly see him try his strength and cunning, lets him alone, untill perhaps the Childe thinks himself quite lost, and wonders his Father doth not help him: but when the Condition comes to be such, that without help he will be lost indeed, instantly the Father puts in his hand and saves him. So deales the Lord Iesus with his House, lets it oftentimes strive and wrestle with great Oppositions, to draw out and exercise all the Graces thereof: but yet all this while He looketh on, and when danger is nigh indeed, He is not far off.

2. Let all the Enemies of the Church know, that there is one, who hath an Eye overthem in all their Counsels and under-takings. Whilst they are digging deep, He looks on, and laughs them to scorn. How per­plexed was the King of Syria, when he found that the Prophet was acquainted with all his designes, and made them known to the King of Israel. It cannot but be a matter of perplexity to the Enemies of this House, when they shall finde that the great Friend and Protector thereof, is continually present in all their Advisoes. Let them not wonder at their birthlesse under-takings, the Eye of Christ is still u­upon them.

3. Let the Saints see their priviledge, who ever they are, in what condition soever, the Eye of Christ is up­on them. He watches over them for good, and knowes their soules in Adversity. When no Eye sees them, he looks on them, they cannot be cast out of his care, nor hid from his sight. There are many poor souls, who goe heavily all the day long; that mourn in their spi­rits [Page 33] unknown, unregarded, unpitted: The Eye of Christ is on them for good continually: they cannot be thrown out of his watchfull care.

4. Christ is the In dweller of this House, He hath not built it, and framed it, for no use. It is for an Habi­tation for himself. He hath chosen Zion, he hath desired it for [...]s Habitation this is my rest (saith he) here will I dwell, Psal. 132. 13, 14. This House i [...] built up, to be an Habitation unto him, Ephes. 2. 22. He is the King of Saints, and this House is his Court. It is true for his human Nature, the Hevens must receive him untill the time of the Restitution of all things, Acts. 4. 27. but yet, he dwelleth in this House three ways.

1. By his Spirit, Christ dwels in this House, and e­very stone of it, by his Spirit Know you not that Christ is in you except you be reprobates. 2 Cor 13. 5 Christ in you that is, the Spirit of Christ; Christ by his Spirit. So the Holy Ghost expounds it, Rom. 8. 9. If the Spirit of God dwell in you, which: v 10. is if Christ be in you: Christ and his Spirit, as to Indwelling are all one: for he dwels in us by his Spirit. The love of God is shed in abroad in our Hearts by the Holy Ghost that is given unto us, Rom. 5. 5. There is not only the love of God, a grace of the Spirit shed abroad in us, but there is also the Holy Spirit giuen unto us. This is fully asserted, Rom. 8. 11. The Spirit of him that raysed up Jesus, dwels in you: as also, 2 Tim. 1. 14. keep the good thing committed to thee, by the Holy Ghost that dwelleth in us, Hence the Saints are said to be Tem­ples of the Holy Ghost. Jesus Christ doth not build Tem­ples, merely for Graces, created Graces, He dwels in them himself, He dwels in them by his Spirit. And this is a glorious Priviledge of this House, that Jesus Christ [Page 34] in a Misticall and wounderfull manner should dwell in it, and every stone of it. Hereby all beleivers become to be not one personall but) one Misticall Christ. 1 C [...]r. 12. 6. However we are distanced, in respect of his human Nature, yet Mistically we are one, one body, one Mistical Christ, because we have one Spirit, dwel­ing in us and him. If a man were never so tall, so that his Head should reach the sterres, and his freet stand upon the Ground, yet having but one soul, he is but one man still. Though Christ in his human Nature be ex­ceedingly distanced from us, yet there being one and the same Spirit in him and us, wee are one Mysticall Christ. Yet abserve,

1. Though Christ be united unto the persons of the Saints, by the Indwelling of the Spirit, yet the Saints have not that which is called Personal Vnion, with him nor with the Spirit Personal Vnion is, by a person of the Deity, assuming the nature of man, into one personall­ty with it self, that having of it sown no personall sub­sistance. Things are here clean otherwise: Christ doth not assume the Saints into a personall subsistance with himself, but dwels in their persons by his Spirit.

2. That the Operations of the Indwelling Spirit of Christ, and all his manifestations are Voluntary. He worketh as he will, & revealeth what he wil: [...] where he dwells. He doth not work in us Naturally but Vo­luntarily, unto what proportion he pleaseth: therefore though he dwel equally in all Saints, in respect of Truth and reality, yet he doth not in respect of working and Eficacy.

2. By his graces. Christ dwelleth in this House and in all the stones thereof by his Graces. He dwells in our [Page 35] hearts by faith, Ephes. 3. 17. He dwells in us by his word in all wisdome, Col. 3. 16. All the graces we are made partakers of, we receive from his fulnesse, and by them, he Inhabits, in us. They are indeed the ornaments of the living stones of this House, to make them meet and fit for such an Indweller as the Lord Christ. Christ will not dwell in a soule, whose mind is darknesse, His will stubbornesse, and His Affections carnall and sensuall. He puts Light, and life, and love, upon the soule, that it may be meet for him to dwell in: Christ dwels in all the world by his power, and Presence, but he dwels only in his Saints, by his Spirit, and Grace.

3. By his Ordinances. Where two or three of his are assembled together, there is he in the middest of them. The Ordinances of Christ, are the great Ornaments of his Kingly Court: by them he is glorious in all the Assemblies of mount Sion. Some would faine cast out this Indwelling of Christ from among his Saints: In due time he will throughly rebuke them: Some againe would thrust him out into the world: but he will make men know, that his Ordinances are given unto his: it is true the be­nefit of some of them, extends to the world, but the Right and enjoyment of them, that, is the pri­viledge of his Saints: Thus Christ dwels in his House: Hence Observe,

1. The Intimacy of the Lord Jesus with his Saint, and the delight he takes in them: Hedwelleth with them, he dwelleth in them. He takes them to the nearest Vnion with himself possible. He in them, they in him, that they may be one. He hath made many an admirable change with us. He took our sin, and [Page 36] gives us his Righteousnesse; He took our Nature, and gives us his Spirit. Neither is it a bare Indwelling, neither: He thereby holds with us all acts of the cho [...]sest communion. if (saith he) any man haere my voice, and open to me, I will come to him: and what then? I will sup with him, and he shall sup with me, Revel. 3. 20.

1, I will sup with him. I will delight and satisfie my self with him. Jesus Christ takes abundance of delight and contentment in the Hearts of his Saints. When they are faithfull, when they are fruitfull, He is marvellously refreshed with it. Hence is that Prayer of the Spouse, Awake O North winde and come thou South, blow upon my Garden, that the savour of my spices may flow out, let my boloved come and eat of his spices, Can. 4. 16. she would have the Spices, the Graces she hath received, breathed on by a fresh gale of the Spirit, that they might yeeld a sweet savour. And why so? that her Beloved may have something for his Entertainment, that hee may come and sup, and eat of his pleasant fruits. A poor Soul, that hath received Christ, hath not any desire so fervent, as that it may have something for the Entertainment of him: that He who filled it when it was hungry, may not (as it were) be sent away empty. And the Lord Jesus is exceedingly taken with those Refreshments. The King is held in his Galleries, Cant. 4. 5. Hee is detained, yea bound with delight, He knowes not how to passe away. Therefore He rests in his love, Zeph. 3. 17. Hee is exceedingly satiated in the delight he takes in his Saints: Neither is this all, that when Christ comes he will sup with us (though this we a great deal, o what are we that we should entertain our Lord▪ but also,

[Page 37] 2 The saints sup with him. He provides Choyce Re­freshments for them also. When Christ comes in unto us, he will entertaine a soul bounteously. He provides love for us. When the Spirit of Christ, is bestowed on us, he sheads abroad the love of God in our Hearts, Rom. 5. 5. He sheeds it abroad, powers it out abundantly. Friends, love is a Choyce danty. He that knows it not is a stranger to all spirituall banquets: It is a choyce dish in the feast of fatt things, that Christ prepareth: He povides Righteousnesse and Peace and joy in the holy Ghost for us. That his Kingdome, Rom. 14. 17 and, this King­dome of his, is within us. Of such precious things as these doth Christ provide a supper for them, with whomhe dwells. It Christ be in you, more or lesse, you shall not want this entertainment. We are indeed sometimes like made Guests, that when meat is set one the Table, cast it all downe, without tasting a morsell. When Christ hath prepared sweet and precious dantyes for us, we cast them on the Ground. We throw away our peace, our joy, by folly and unbeli [...]fe; But this makes not the Truth of God of none effect.

2 Doth Christ Dwell in us by his Spirit, should we not be carefull, least we grieve that Spirit of his? The Spirit of Christ is very tender. Did the Saints conti­nually consider this, that Christ dwells in them, that he is grieved, and troubled, at all their unbeliefe, unruly passions, worldy desires, foolish Imaginations, surely they could not but be much more watchfulover them­selves, then generally they are. He is refreshed when we walk with him, and hold fellowship with him To turn aside from him, to hold fellowship with world [Page 38] or flesh, this grives him, and burdens him. Oh grive not the Spirit of God whereby you are sealed to the day of Re­demption. And let me tell you, if you doe, though he will not utterly depart from you, nor take his kindnes away for ever more▪ yet he will do that that shall make your heartake, your joynts tremble, and break all your bones in peices: For,

1 He will depart from you, as to all sense of his pre­sence: that you shal have neither joy, nor comfort, nor peace. He will hide his face, and make you believe (as we say) that he is gone utterly from you. And this he will doe, not for a day or a night or so, but for a great while together. You shall goe to seeke him, and you shall not find him. Yea beg, and cry, and have no Answer: Now all the world for one smile from Christ, for one im­pression of his presence upon my Heart, and all in vain. When the Spirit of Christ was thus departed from David upon his miscarriage, as to the sense and joy of it: how doth he cry out, Make me to hear the voyce of joy and gladnesse, that the bones which thou hast broken may rejoyce, Psal. 51. 8. If thou valuest the pre­sence of Christ at no greater rate, but to jeopard it upon every Occasion▪ thou mayst haply go without the comfort of it all thy dayes. Examine your selves, is it not so with some of you? have you not lost the sense of the presence of Christ by your folly and un­even walking? Perhaps you value it not much, but go on as Sampson with his hair cut, and think to do as at other times: but if the Philistines set upon thee, it will be sorrow and trouble. In every Assault thou wilt finde thy self a lost man. Sooner or later it [Page 39] will bee bitternesse to thee.

2. He will depart, as to the Efficacie of his working in thee, and leave thee so weak, that thou shalt not be able to walk with God. His Spirit is a Spirit of Grace and Supplications. He will so with-draw it, that thou shalt find thy Heart in a poor condition, as to those things. To be cold in Prayer, dead in Hearing, en­stranged from Meditation, sleight in all dutyes, this shall be thy portion. A frame that a tender Soul would tremble to think of. Ah! how many poor crea­tures are come to this state in these dayes, by their neglect and contempt of Christ dwelling in them, they have lost their sirst love, their first life, their Gra­ces are ready to dy, and their whole soules asleep, in a heartlesse, lifelesse, zealelesse frame. They shall be sa­ved, but yet as through fire.

3. He will depart as to Assurance of what is to come, as well as to a sense of what is present. It is the In­dwelling Spirit of Christ that gives Assurance: here by are we sealed to the day of Redemption. He beareth witnesse with our Spi [...]its, that we are the Children of God. Upon our grieving him, he will withdraw as to this also. We shall be beweldred, and in the dark, not knowing what will become of our Souls to Eter­nity. For it Christ by his Spirit do not speak Peace, who shall?

2. Doth he dwell in us by his Grace?

1. Let us first know whence all Graces are, that in a want, or weaknesse of them, we may know whither to go for a supply. Of his fulnesse we receive, & Grace for Grace. All supplyes of Graces are from Christ. Lord, [Page 40] encrease our faith, say the Apostles: Not only Faith o­riginally is from him, but all Increases of it also. I be­lieve, help thou my unbelief, sayes the poor man. We wrestle and struggle with a little Grace, a little Faith, a little Love, a little Joy, and are cont [...]nted if wee can keep our Heeds above water, that we be not quite sunk and lost. How sweet would it be with us, if up­on a serious consideration from whence all these Graces flow, that we would apply our selves to draw out fafther degrees and heightenings of them, where­by he might dwell more plentifully in us, and wee might alwayes converse with him in his Gracious Train of Attendants. How this may be done in par­ticular, is not my businesse now to shew.

2. Learn to tender the Graces of Christ, as those which hold out his presence to us. Let us tender them in our own Hearts, and prize them in whomsoever they are. They are pledges o [...] the Indwelling of Christ. Certainly if men valued Christ, they would more va­lue his Graces. Many pretend to Love him, to Honour him, yea with Peter to be ready to dy with him, or for him: but what evil surmizes have they of the Graces of Christ appearing in others: How do they cal them, Hypocrisie, Humor, Folly, Pride, Singularity, with o­ther terms of a later Invention. I cannot so easily be­lieve, that any one can love the Lord Jesus, and hate the Appearances of him in others. Where is any thing of Christ, there is also Christ.

5. Jesus Christ is the great Avenger of this House, and of all the Injuries or wrongs that are done unto it. All (saith he) that devour Israel shall offend, Jerem. 2. [Page 41] 3. He will not hold him guiltlesse that rises up against it▪ see Isa. 59. 15, 16, 17; 18. he takes upon him the a­venging of his House, as his own proper work. Shall He not avenge his Elect? he will do it speedily: See also Isa. 63. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. How dreadfull is hee in the execu­tion of his revenging judgements against the Enemies thereof. So also is he described Revel. 19. 13, 14, 15. He hath promised to make the Stones of this House heavy stones, they shall burden all that touch them, Zech 12. 3. He comes forth of the Myrtle trees in the bottom (his lowly people, in a low condition) with the Red horse following him, Zech. 1. 8. upon this ac­count he [...]arfully b [...]oke the old Roman Pagan Empire, Revel. 6. 13, 14, 15, 16, 17. and will as fearfully destroy the Antichristian Roman power, with all its adherents, Revel. 17. 18, 19. Sooner or later he will call to an ac­count every Instrument of persecution in the world. Hence he is said to be a Lyon in the behalf of this House, that treads down all before him, Mic. 5. 8. Jacob sayes of him in Judah, He is a Lyon, as an old Lyon, who shall rouse him up? Gen. 49. 9. Suppose-any do rouse him up, how then? He will not ly down, untill he eat of the prey, and drink the blood of the slain, Numb. 23. 24. Many poor Creatures have by their Opposition to his House▪ roused up this Lyon, and what hath been the Issue? what attempts have been to cause him to ly down aga [...]n: all in vain: if he be once roused up, he will not couch down, until he eat and drink the blood of the slain. But suppose great Opposition be made unto him, will he not give over? not at all: As a Lyon that cometh upon his prey, if a multitude of shepheards be [Page 42] called forth against him, he will not be afraid at their voyce, nor abase himself at their noyse, Isa. 31. 4. In brief, sooner or later, temporally or eternally, he will avenge all the Injuries, and destroy all, the Enemies of his holy dwelling, 1. Thess. 1. 6, 7, 8, 9, 10.

And these are some of the Relations wherein the Lord Christ stands unto this House of God, being made thereby unto it, Beauty and Glory, Comelinesse and Excellency. The carrying on of this Building by the u­nion of all the stones thereof [...]o the Foundation, and their cementing one to another, by Faith, Love, and Order, I shall not now treat of: Nor of the following points of the Text. The Generall uses of what hath bin said, are three, the Heads whereof I shall name.

1. See the Eminent Priviledge of them which are indeed stones of this House, which is living, strong, and glorious, which is so neerly related to the Lord Christ: There is more of Duty, dignity, and safety in this thing, then can easily be expressed. To do service unto Christ, as his, to have the Honor of being his, and to be safe guarded as his are great priviledges: let them who have any sense of these things, further draw out these particulars, from what hath been spoken.

2. Learn hence the vanity of resting upon outward Church priviledges, if we are not withall, interested in this spiritual estate where men are living stones indeed, they ly in beauty and order in the Assemblies: where they are otherwise, where Assemblyes are made up of dead rubbish, and yet cry, the House of the Lord, the House of the Lord, the Lord Jesus abhorres those As­semblies, He stands not in these Relations unto them.

[Page 43] 3. See hence the Ruine of Persecution, that hath ap­peared in the world in various forms. It hath put on all manner of colours and pretences, and prevailed with all sorts of persons at one time or other to close with it: what hath been the Issue? what is like to be? The House indeed hath been battered sometimes, but they who have come against it, have been broken all to pieces. Shall the Residue of men, who under new pretences, or old ones new painted, drive on the same designe, shall they prosper? Thou, O Lord Jesus, in thine anger, wilt cut them off. The Lord open the Eyes o [...] the sons of men, that they may not hope any more to separate between Christ, and his Saints, be­tween whom there are so many everlasting Relati­ons.

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