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many people as a dew from the Lord.” And Christ is called “the bright morning-star “,” and “the day-springo," and “the sun of righteousness P;” and the time of the gospel is called “the time of day q” or the approach of day. So that “from the womb of the morning” is, From the heavenly light of gospel, which is the wing or beam, whereby the sun of righteousness revealeth himself, and breaketh out upon the world; as the rising sun, which rejoiceth like a giant to run his race, shall the succession increase, and armies of the church of God be continually supplied.
The words, thus unfolded, do contain in them a lively character of the subjects in Christ's spiritual kingdom ; described, First, by their relation to him, and his propriety to them, thy people. Secondly, by their present condition, intimated in the Word, willing or voluntaries, and (if we take thy people and armies for synonymous terms, the one notifying the order and quality of the other) expressed in the text, and that is, to be military men. Thirdly, by their thorough and universal resignation, subjection and devotedness unto him. For when he conquereth by his Word, his conquest is wrought upon the wills and affections of men. Victorque volentes per populos dat jura:” thy people shall be willing. The ground of which willingness is farther added, (for so chiefly I understand those words) the day of thy power. So that the willingness of Christ's subjects is effected by the power of his grace and Spirit in the revelation of the gospel. Fourthly, by their honourable attire, and military robes, in which they appear before him, and attend upon him, in beauties of holiness, or in the various and manifold graces of Christ, as in a garment of divers colours. Fifthly and lastly, by their age, multitudes, and manner of their birth ; they are the dew of the morning, as many as the small drops of dew; and they are born to him out of the womb of the morning, as dew is generated, not on the earth, but in the air, by a heavenly calling, and by the shining of the morningstar, and day-spring upon their consciences. “Ye are all the children of light,” saith the apostle, "and the children of the day; we are not of the night, nor of darkness."
P Mal. iv, 2.
a Rom. xiii. 12.
Rev. xxii. 16. 1 John ii. e.
o Luke ii. 78. rl Thes. v. 5.
I said before, that I approve not the mincing and crumbling of holy Scriptures. Yet in these parts of them, which are written for models and summaries of Christian doctrine, I suppose there may be weight in every word, as, in a rich jewel, there is worth in every sparkle. Here then, first, we may take notice of Christ's propriety to his people; thy people; all the elect and believers do belong unto Christ. They are his people. They are his “own sheep s." There is a mutual and reciprocal propriety between him and them. “I am my beloved's, and my beloved is mine! His desire is towards me.” His,” I say, not as he is God only, by a right of inseparable dominion, as we are his creatures; for all things were created by him and for him; and he is over all, God blessed for ever*.-Nor his only, as he is the firstborn and heir of all things y. In which respect he is Lord of the angels, and God hath set him “over all the works of his hands."-But as he is the mediator and head in his church. In which respect the faithful are his by a more peculiar propriety. “We are thine ; thou never barest rule over them, they were not called by thy name ?." The devils are his vassals : the wicked of this world his prisoners. The faithful only are his subjects and followers; his jewels, his friends, his brethren, his sons, his members, his spouse. His, by all the relations of intimateness that can be named.
Now this propriety Christ hath unto us upon several grounds. First, By constitution and donation from his father. God hath made him Lord and Christ. He hath put all things under his feet, and hath given him to be head over all things to the church. “ Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession." "Behold, I and the children whom thou hast given me b.” “ Thine they were, and thou gavest them to me.”--For as, in regard of God's justice, we were bought by Christ in our redemption; so in regard of his love, we were given unto Christ in our election, that he might redeem us.
Secondly, By a right of purchase, treaty, and covenant between Christ and his Father. For we, having sold away
s John x. 3. t Can. ii. 16. vii. 10. y Heb. i. 2, 3. ii. 7, 8. 2 Isai. Ixiii. 19. e John xvii. 6.
u Col. i. 16, 17.
a Psalm ii. 8.
ourselves, and being now in the enemies' possessions, could not be restored unto our primitive estate without some intervening price to redeem us. Therefore, saith the apostle, he was made under the law, iva égaryopéon " that he might buy out, those that were under the law d.” And again, “Ye are bought with a price €.” He was our surety f, and stood in our stead, and was set forth to declare the righteousness of Gods. God dealt in grace with us, but in justice with him.
Thirdly, By a right of conquest and deliverance. He hath plucked us out of our enemies' hand; he hath dispossessed and spoiled those that ruled over us before; he hath delivered us from the power of Satan, and translated us into his own kingdom. We are his freemen: he only hath made us free from the law of sin and death, and hath rescued us as spoils out of the hands of our enemies, and therefore we are become his servants , and owe obedience unto him as our patron and deliverer. As the Gibeonites, when they were delivered from the sword of the children of Israel, were thereupon made hewers of wood, and drawers of water for the congregation; so we, being rescued out of the hands of those tyrannous lords which ruled over us, do now owe service and subjection unto him, that hath so mercifully delivered us. “ Being made free from sin,” saith the apostle ",
ye become the servants of righteousness.”—And "we are delivered from the law,” that being dead wherein we were held, " that we should serve in newness of spirit.”—And again, “He died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them and rose again."
Fourthly, By covenant and stipulation. “I entered into covenant with thee, and thou becamest mine 0." Therefore, in our baptism, we are said to be · Baptized into Christ P,' and to put on Christ?,' and to be · Baptized into his name ";' that is, wholly to consecrate and devote ourselves to him as the servants of his family. Therefore they which were bap
d Gal. iv. 5. el Cor. vi. 20. Tit. ii. 14. f Heb. vii. 22. 8 Rom. iii. 25. h Luke xi. 22. i Isai. xxvi. 13, 14, 15. k Ingratus Libertus, qui Patrono non præstat obsequium. 1 Josh. ix. 26, 27. in Rom. vi. 18. vii. 6. o 2 Cor. v. 15. o Ezek. xvi. 8. p Rom. vi. 3. iii. v. 9 Gal. jii. 27. r Acts xix. 5.
tized in the ancient church”, were wont to put on white raiment, as it were the livery and badge of Christ, a testimony of that purity and service which therein they vowed unto him. And therefore it is, that we still retain the ancient form of vow, promise, or profession in baptism, which was
to renounce the Devil and all works, the world, with the pomp, luxury, and pleasures thereof.' And this is done in a most solemn and deliberate manner by way of answer to the question and demand of Christ. For which purpose St. Peter" calleth baptism, ouverðhoews árabñs étepúrnua The answer,' or 'the interrogatory trial of a good conscience' towards God. He that conformeth himself to the fashions, and setteth his heart upon the favours, preferment, empty applause, and admiration of the world; that liveth xat' aiöva according to the rules and courses and sinful maxims of worldly men,-in such indifferency, compliancy, and connivance as may flatter others and delude himself; he that is freely and customarily overruled by the temptations of Satan; that yieldeth to looseness of heart, to vanity of thoughts, lusts of the eye, pride of life, luxury, intemperance, impurity of mind or body, or any other earthly and inordinate affection,-is little better in the sight of God than a perjured and a runagate person, flinging off from that service unto which he had bound himself by a solemn vow, and robbing Christ of that interest in him which, by a mutual stipulation, was agreed upon.
Lastly, By the virtue of our communion with him, and participation of his grace and fulness. All that we are in regard of Spirit and life, is from him. We are nothing of ourselvesy. And “ we can do nothing of ourselves?.” ” All that we are, is from the grace of Christ. “ By the grace of God I am what I am a.”—And all that we do, is from the grace of Christ; “ I am able to do all things through Christ that strengtheneth me b.” As when we do evil, it is not we ourselves, but sin that dwelleth in use; so when we do
s Socrat. Hist. lib. 7. cap. 17.-Laurent, de la Bar. in Tertul. lib. de Coron. milit. cap. 1. — Ambros. Tom. 4. lib. de iis qui mysteriis initiantur. c. 7. * Tertul. de Corona milit. c. 3. et de Spectaculis,cap. 4.-Ambros. To.4. de Sacram. lib. 1. c. 2.- Basil. Mag. To. 2. de Spir. Sancto, cap. 11.-Vid. Brisson. Comment. in lib. Dominico, &c. page 137. u 1 Pet. iji. 21,
Ephes. ii. 2.
y 2 Cor. xii. 11. > John xv. 5. a 1 Cor. xv. 10. b Phil. iv. 13, c Rom vii. 20.
good, it is not we, but Christ that liveth in usd. So that in all respects we are not our own, but his that died for us.
Now this being a point of so great consequence, needful it is that we labour therein to try and secure ourselves, that belong unto Christ. For which purpose we must note, that a man may belong unto Christ two manner of ways: First, By a mere external profession. So all in the visible church that call themselves Christians, are his, and his Word and oracles theirs : in which respect they have many privileges, as the apostle showeth of the Jews. Yet notwithstanding such men, continuing unreformed in their inward man, are nearer unto cursing than others, and subject unto a sorer condemnation, for despising Christ in his Word and Spirit, with whom, in their baptism, they made so solemn a covenant. For God will not suffer his gospel to be cast away, but will cause it to prosper' unto some end or other, either to save those that believe; or to cumulate the damnation of those that disobey it. He will be more careful to cleanse his garner 5, and to purge his floor, than of other empty and barren places. A weed in the garden is in more danger of rooting out, than in the field. Such belong unto Christ no otherwise than ivy unto the tree, unto which it externally adheres. Secondly, A man may belong unto Christ by implantation into his body, which is done by faith. But here we are to note, that as some branches in a tree have a more faint and unprofitable fellowship with the root than others, as having no farther strength than to furnish themselves with leaves, but not with fruit; so, according unto the several virtues or kinds of faith, may the degrees of men's ingrafture into Christ be judged of. There is a dead “, unoperative faith, which, like Adam after his fall, hath the nakedness thereof only covered with leaves, with mere formal and hypocritical conformities. And there is an unfeigned, lively, and effectual faith ; which is available to those purposes for which faith was appointed, namely, to justify the person, to purify the heart', to quench temptations, to carry a man with wisdom and an unblamable conversation through this present world, to work by love, to grow and make a man abound in the service of the Lord. And this distinction our Saviour giveth us,
d Gal. ii. 20. h James ii. 26.
8 Luke iii. 17.
e Jsai. xxix. 13. il Tim. i. 5.
Isai. Iv. 10, 11.