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till possession, to be fully informed. Beloved, faith the Apostle to all made partakers of grace, now are we the fons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be : but we know that when be (i. e. Christ) shall appear, we shall be like bim, for we shall see him as he is : Like him in perfected holiness, and so dwell with him in everlasting glory.
I have been longer than I designed upon this head, the excellency of grace ; and yet the one half has not been told you. My design in all, is to put you upon enquiring more closely than ever, whether it be found in you. To affist
you a little herein. I. Grace, where bestowed, leads the soul to chufe God for his portion, and accordingly to place his happiness in him, in opposition to all things else. The Psalmist's language is expreffive of the sense of every gracious foul, Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee. No sooner is the heart touched and changed, but it turns from the creature, as nothing, to God
To thee my God I look, to thee I come : I come to thee alonę. No creature in the world gave me my being; none of them redeemed me when lost; none of them can pardon my sin, justify me at thy bar, save me from thy wrath, renew me, and be a felicitating portion to my soul. My displaced soul can never be well till it come near to thee. To know thee and love thee, delight in thee and be beloved by thee, must be my blessedness; or I can never have any. Let others take up with what they will, the Lord is my portion, saith my foul; and O let me never have any other. My heart is no longer what it was : it stands pointed to thee, followeth hard after thee, and is resolved to take up with nothing lower ; but must remain restless and unsatisfied for ever, if thou be not its rest
grace is found, Christ is precious; by whom grace is purchased, and through whom it is bestowed,
How is it with you? Is Christ dear to you, and prized by you ? Are you daily studying of him, and labouring above all things in the world to make sure of, and clear up your interest in him, as that which is infinitely more necessary and valuable than
any thing else in the world? Are you filled with admiring thoughts of his person and excellencies : Are you affected with his condescension and grace in his laying down his life to save finners ? Do you live under the powerful conviction, that without him you are lost, but in him you are happy for ever? Do you think no pains too great to reach this ? Nothing too dear to deny yourself in, or to be parted with that would keep you from him, or deprive you
of your interest in him ? Is no condition more dreadful to you than a christless one? And so Christ be yours, would it in your account, make amends for all that you can want, or suffer?
3. A soul principled with grace hates sin? and from that hatred, prays and watches, and
strives against it, and will never be at rest till perfectly free, that is, till removed from earth to heaven, where nothing that defileth can ever enter.
4. Gracious fouls have their hearts and hopes drawn off from this world, as their portion, and resolve never to seek their rest or take up their happiness in it. They look to heaven as their home, and the enjoyment of God there as their chief felicity. Their hearts are in heaven where their Lord is: Their faces stand Zion-ward. Heaven is the center of their hopes, the object of their pursuits, and the thoughts, the views, and discourses of heaven are their frequent refreshment upon their way through this world ; and the poffeffion of it, is that which they expect to be their perfect everlasting happiness; and in this hope, they are purifying themselves, even as Christ their head and example is pure.
APPLICATION. 1. Is grace so valuable ? How blind are they that see not its worth? What enemies to their souls are they who labour not after it ?
2, How much hath God done for them on whom he has bestowed his grace, so excellent in itself, and leading to glory? 3. How greatly are the Partakers of
grace obliged to Christ, by whose blood it is purchased, and for whose fake it is bestowed ?
4. How glad should they be of all the opportunities to meet him, by his presence and influence, to have grace drawn into act ?
How thankful should they be, who can say with the church, While the King fat at his table, my spikenard sent forth the smell thereof?
Lastly, How willing should they be whose grace hath been drawn forth by the presence of Christ here, to behold him in his glory, and dwell with him for ever. Though death stand in the way, fay with good old Simon, Now let thy servant depart in peace. To have had communion with Christ here, has been heaven begun: But, Angels, do your office, in bearing my departing foul to be with Christ there, as that which is far better.
My Beloved is mine, and I am his.
HIS book is a song of love, and these
are some of the sweetest expressions in it. They are the revived and cheared church's triumph in Christ by an appropriating faith, under the sense she had of the happiness of having a special interest in him, after the remembrance of the deep distress she had been in for want of it, as first in her natural unconverted ftate, and after it when she had fallen into a deserted one for a time.
The spouse, here representing the church, and
My Beloved spake : How affecting is it to re-