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lowing verses, she calls him her beloved, or the ob-
2. What she says of him from her own experience, as a witnefs to his condefcenfion and grace, The King fitteth at his table: which may refer to all the ordinances of the gospel, in which, as at a feaft, he meets and entertains his people, fupping with them, and they with him, as his own expreffion is, Rev. iii. 20. His prefence in his inftitutions, and the gracious manifeftations he makes of himself to his members who in the way of his appointments wait for him, are here meant, The King fitteth at his table. How far foever he is above us, he is yet pleased, in the most endearing way, to vouchfafe and give proofs of his prefence with us.
3. The happy fruit or effect of Christ's fitting at his table, upon the believer who is admitted to fit with him. My pikenard fendeth forth the smell thereof.
This is a figurative defcription of the grace wherewith the believer is furnished from Chrift his living head; he receiving of his fulness, and grace for grace, John i. 16. and having that grace put into exercife, by his approach and influence as the fun of righteousness, under his ordinances.
ordinances. Spikenard was a precious Eastern plant of a pleafing finell, as was also the ointment made of it; a pound of which was worth three hundred pence. With this, how costly foever, Mary, in token of her efteem and grati tude, anointed the feet of Jefus, and wiped them with her hair; and fuch was its fragancy, that the whole houfe, it is faid, was filled with the odour of the ointment, John xii. 3, &c. This was done while Chrift was fitting at table, the account of which feems to have a defigned reference to our text.
Grace is compared to fpikenard for its precioufnefs and value; and the fending forth of its Ymell, denotes that grace, as discovering itself in a lively, fresh and vigorous manner. It is as ointment poured forth, moft pleafing to Chrift, and to all that love him too; they rejoicing in the honour paid him by themselves and others, through a lively exercise of grace.
Chift has his chambers, and his banquettinghoufe, into which he is pleased to bring his friends for fpiritual entertainment, and to give them the fore-taftes of heaven in the way to it. And when in his ordinances, particularly that of the Lord's fupper, where the King fits at his own table, ferious chriftians, the invited guefts, have their graces in exercife; their hearts broken by repentance, raifed by faith, inflamed with holy love and defire towards Chrift, and joyful expectations of fecing and being with him in glory. Then the fpikenard may be faid to fend forth the fmell thereof, when grace fhews itself in fuch
a way as Chrift will be pleased with, and reckon himself honoured by striving that it may, is paying our homage to him in a spiritual manner, as the wife men from the eaft did once, by opening their treasures, and prefenting him with frankincenfe and myrrhe.
4. We have the connexion of this effect with its caufe, or the prefence of Chrift, and the dependance of this upon it: While the King fitteth at his table, my fpikenard fendeth forth the fmell thereof. When this is vouchfafed, grace ftirs and acts, flows and flourishes, and thus continues to do while his prefence and influence continues: but when this is withdrawn or fufpended, grace droops and languishes, and fo little discovery is made of it by the exercise, that it becomes like flowers withering, or fpices unftirred, which fend not forth the delightful fragrancy by which they fhould be known.
From the whole we may obferve,
I. That grace in the friends of Christ is highly valuable and precious.
II. That Chrift's prefence as king in his ordinances, particularly at his table, is that which draws forth the graces of his people into that exercife, which is most pleafing to him, and comfortable to themfelves. While the King fitteth at his table, my pikenard fends forth the Smell thereof.
I. Grace in the friends of Chrift is highly vaJuable and precious. It being compared to spikenard, denotes its worth.
Under this, I fhall only briefly tell you,
II. From whence its worth may be collected.
III. The use that we may make of the whole.-
Grace in fcripture most usually denotes these
1. His goodwill to us loft finners in and thro' his Son, and this as revealed and tendered to us in the gofpel. We read that the grace of God bringeth falvation, Tit. ii. 11. and that by grace we are faved, Eph. ii. 8. This grace of God, or his goodwill towards men, is the spring of all the bleffings he bestows upon them.
2. Grace denotes God's good work in us, in all his people, which is the fruit or effect of that goodwill which he had in his heart concerning them. Thus faith the apoftle, fpeaking as a chriftian, Unto every one of us is grace given, &c. Ephef. iv. 7. And as Chrift is head over all things to the church, of his fulness all that are recovered from a state of nature, have received, and grace for grace, John i. 16.
It is of grace in this fenfe, as a good work in us, that we are now enquiring about, what it
It is represented in fcripture under feveral characters, viz. as a new creation, as that by which we are born again, raised from the death of fin to newness of life; as that by which we are effectually called, converted, and fanctified, &c. Upon which, a child of God fo vastly differs from his former ftate, that every one of this number is ftiled a new creature.
When the Spirit of God has been savingly at work, to the doing away all old things, and making all things new: when an holy light is shed upon the mind, and a god-like temper and difpofition is produced in the foul, bringing it to hate what God hates, and love and chufe what God loves; to grieve upon the account of fin, and prize and rely upon Jefus Chrift: when it is made careful to please God by doing his will, as the work of life, and promote his glory as the end of life when the man is led calmly to refign to the will of God, as wifeft and beft; has his chief defires after him, his highest delight in him, and hath pleafing and joyful hopes of feeing and being for ever with him, as his portion and reft, this is grace. And if we could fay no more, how valuable a thing does it appear to be ?
But to bring our hearts to be in love with it. II. Let us enquire from whence its worth and excellency may be collected. Now
1. Grace in the friends of Chrift may be faid to be valuable and precious, as having fo much. of heaven in it. And if you ask, How?
It comes from heaven,
It marks out for it,
It leads to it, And
1.) Grace comes from heaven. Every good and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, James i. 17. And grace in a special manner does fo. It is