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Chafer – Grace: An Exposition of God’s Marvelous Gift

Posted by David Cox on April 29, 2020
Posted in CGrace  | Tagged With:

Grace: An Exposition of God’s Marvelous Gift

By Lewis Sperry Chafer

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Pierce, S.E. – Riches of Divine Grace

Posted by David Cox on November 4, 2013
Posted in GraceP 

[firstchapter:Title-Contents] [chapters:200,left]

Riches of Divine Grace

by Samuel E. Pierce
1822

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Dialogue 1 In Which Sin and the Fall, with their consequences, are the subject of Discourse between Mr. Enquirer and Mr. Instructor, whose names are subsequently exchanged for Senior and Junior.

Dialogue 2 In which a Discourse is carried on concerning Regeneration, which subject is opened and explained.

Dialogue 3 Which contains a Discourse on Salvation, in its Nature, Fruits, and Effects, as proceeding from the Covenant of the Eternal Three in the one Incomprehensible Jehovah.

Dialogue 4 A Discourse, in which an Account is given how this Salvation is received, in the knowledge of it, into the regenerate Mind, by the operation of the Holy Ghost upon it.

Dialogue 5 A Discourse on the Holy Trinity, as made known by the Doctrine of Christ’s person, to such as are born again.

Dialogue 6 What is contained in the Knowledge of Christ, and how the Saints are brought to know him, are the subjects of this discourse.

Dialogue 7 The subject of this Discourse is, On Communion with Christ: in which fellowship, the Lord is pleased, in an especial manner, to open his heart most freely to his beloved ones.

Dialogue 8 On the Ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper: these are the subjects of this discourse.

Dialogue 9 This Discourse is on Church Fellowship.

Dialogue 10 A Discourse on Death: what it is, and what it prepares for, are enquired into.

Dialogue 11 A Discourse on an Entrance into the Invisible State, and the same opened and explained, so far as the written, so far as the written Word of God, gives warrant for.

Dialogue 12 A Discourse on Heaven, Glory, and Eternal Life, as set forth to view, and revealed to our faith in the word of inspiration.

[chapter:1. Sin and the Fall] [chapters:200,left]

1 In Which Sin and the Fall, with their consequences, are the subject of Discourse between Mr. Enquirer and Mr. Instructor, whose names are subsequently exchanged for Senior and Junior.

THE RICHES OF DIVINE GRACE UNFOLDED

DIALOGUE I.

In which Sin and the Fall, with their consequences, are the Subject of Discourse , between Mr. Enquirer and Mr. Instructor, whose names I am inclined to exchange for Senior and Junior.

THESE Dialogists are to be considered as two so intimate and united in friendship, as to love each other as David and Jonathan did, of the latter of whom it is said, he loved David as his own soul.

The discourse begins as follows, Mr. Enquirer addresses Mr. Instructor, thus: — Sir, I have often looked at, and considered you as a monument of God’s mercy; as one of long continuation “in the good ways of God; as a person who must, I conceive, have attained a good degree in the faith which is in Christ. I should, therefore, be glad of some free personal conversation with you; as I expect it would-redound to my own profit and real satisfaction. I hope you will not object to this. It may be, it may redound to the advantage of others also.

Mr. Instructor. For my own part, I should be most truly glad to communicate any knowledge to my good friend, which might contribute to his spiritual advantage. I am very greatly advanced in age, yet I would not have you forget what one of noble extraction once said in company with Many honorable persons: great men are not always wise; neither do the aged understand judgment. I am an old man; yet it does not follow that I am a wise man. I am an old disciple of our Lord; yet it does not from hence follow that you will find me full of spiritual knowledge and spirituality. If you would converse with me, you must take me just as I am: you must not overrate me. Take me as I am: that is, if you would prefer a conversation with me.

Enquirer. This, my good Sir, I most readily Will. I shall use no sort of flattering words. All I aim at, is to gain some spiritual light and instruction into the truths, mysteries, and things of God. I am persuaded, in the course of conversation, you will, through the good hand of our God upon you, be useful to me.

Instructor. No one can be more desirous to pour out his whole soul into the bosom of his friend, than I am to communicate the whole of my spiritual knowledge to you.

Enquirer. Sir, I most heartily thank you. I have good reason for believing it; having by long familiarity and acquaintance with you, proved the truth of this: I therefore request you would kindly give me all the light you can, from the knowledge and experience of them in your own mind, of the most important truths which concern salvation, faith, and experience, contained in the everlasting gospel of the blessed God.

Instructor. I am at your service. But pray state what you conceive those most important subjects you want light and instruction into are.

Enquirer. I thank you, Sir, for this act of kindness. I will. What in a very particular manner appear to me to be such subjects as I want more fully to be acquainted with, are (1). Sin (2). Regeneration (3). Salvation (4). Faith, in Christ (5). The Person of Christ (6). The Knowledge of Christ (7). On Communion with Christ (8). On the Ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper (9). On Church Fellowship (10). On Death (11). Concerning entrance into the invisible State (12). On Eternal Glory.. Now, I should conceive, were my mind more clearly apprehensive of these subjects, and were they so stated in my mind, as they are in the written word, I should thereby be brought under the mighty influence and authority of them, and thereby be influenced in mind, will, and affections, to walk before the Lord unto all well pleasing.

Instructor. You have most certainly expressed the most important subjects in all the Bible. It will require a long confabulation to enter into each, and every one of them distinctly.

Enquirer. I perceive it will; yet, as they are distinct subjects, and a clear apprehension, however short of a full one, would be of advantage to me, I would request the favor of a discussion on each of them. Will you be pleased to admit me to ask such questions on these great subjects, as may be instructive to my mind?

Instructor. Most certainly I will; yet I hope you will proceed orderly in your enquiries concerning these subjects; so as to keep them distinct, and not break in one upon the other.

Enquirer. As you are in every sense in my view, in age, judgment, experience, and utterance, far beyond and above me, I really should like these terms, Senior and Junior, as the distinguishing titles between us. I will, therefore, address you now, and in my further discourses, as Senior, and will consider myself, as I am, the Junior; and I beg, if you have any objection, you will express the same.

Senior. I have not: I accept the term very cordially, as an aged person. I am just entering on the seventieth year of my age, you may, therefore, without adulation, look on me so according to my years; and, as we do not mean to compliment each other, we will therefore be content, in speaking by way of conversation, to address each other under these titles.

Junior. Sir, I must confess, you are very kind and obliging. I thank you for it. May the Lord Jesus Christ be with our spirits, so as to render the subjects designed to be descanted upon, very profitable to both our minds; for, whilst I look on you, and would with real integrity and respect, treat and acknowledge you as my superior in every sense, as it relates to ears, the knowledge of Christ, and experimental, communion with him; yet I conceive your own mind may be really improved, by the drawing it forth to answer such questions as I have in my own intention to propose unto you.

Senior. I have no objection to conceive it may be so. I remember the great Apostle of the Gentiles, writing to the saints at Rome, says, I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established. That is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and me. Rom. I:11,12.

Junior. Sir, I cannot express my real sentiments of gratitude, for your very great generosity in what hath already passed between us. Now, Sir, I will propose for our present conversation, the following subjects: VIZ: Sin and the Fall, with their consequences.  I am a sinner. I know and feel I am so in my very nature. I read, By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all men, for that all I have sinned. Rom. 5:12. Yet I understand at the beginning of the creation of God, there was no such evil as sin; I want, therefore, to have an account of God’s creation of man, and how he, created pure and holy, could possibly become impure and unholy. This, therefore, Sir, I request your account of.

Senior. It is an immutable truth, that the Lord our God is holy. He created all things by his almighty power. His wisdom was displayed in and throughout the whole creation. It was all an act of his sovereign will. Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are, and were created. Rev. 4:11. God himself pronounced all things in, and throughout the whole creation, to be good. God saw all things, he saw every thing that he had made, and behold, it was very good. Gen. I:31. Then there was no sin in existence. He created man in his own image, in righteousness and true holiness: consequently, man was not a sinner at his creation; neither was there any sin or sinfulness in his constitution; yet he was not immutable; so neither were the angels. Now sin is not so much a positive act, as a privation. It produces many positive acts; yet, in its first original, it was the defect of the mind of the first man. He ceased to will what was the will of God; hence he ceased to be holy. In that very instant he lost the holiness of all his faculties. He no longer continued in the image of God. He was deprived of all good, and was the subject of a positive inclination to all evil. This was the origin of sin.

Junior. Pray, Sir, what is sin?

Senior. Sin is the act of the mind. It is a transgression of God’s law. Angels in heaven, man upon the earth, were created under the law, as a covenant of works. The transgression of the law, was sin, which, on its first entrance, corrupted all the faculties of the mind; so that fallen angels, and fallen man, having their minds corrupted by it, are fallen from God, and most justly deserve his curse and wrath.

Junior. But there is something so tremendous in the idea, of sin being the cause of damnation, that I cannot but tremble at the thought.

Senior. It is so. Yet, we may rest assured, God cannot perform an unrighteous act; therefore, He cannot punish sin beyond its demerit.

Junior. Pray speak out more freely, and say what sin hath done in us; what its greatest evil consists in; what it hath produced, doth, and will produce, in such as live and die under its guilt and dominion.

Senior. Sin is an internal evil, though it is manifested in many external and outward effects. The whole seat of sin in us, is in the will. It spreads its influence throughout every faculty, affection, disposition, and frame of the whole man. both body and soul. Its greatest evil consists in its taking off  the whole heart from God; so that the mind is blinded; the will is in every particular opposite to the will of God; the affections are set on wrong objects; the members of the body are members of unrighteousness.  There is in every faculty of the mind, and throughout every member of the body, a total privation of all good, and a positive inclination to all evil: this is the whole of what fallen man is, and this is the consequence of the fall. And every man is equally and alike fallen. No one is more fallen than another. No: all mankind are equal here. The word of God declares, All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God. Rom. 3:23.

Junior. But I want to know how man could fall from God, if he was created in the image of God, and in a state of perfection at and by his creation.

Senior. That is very easy to be shewed. Angels and man were both perfectly holy and pure in their creation state. Whilst they remained therein, they were in a state of creature perfection; yet they were not immutable, nor impeccable by creation. They were left to the mutability of their wills; to which mutability we must ascribe the fall of angels and men. Now God alone is immutable. He cannot make a creature immutable. He can continue the will of a rational creature immutable and impeccable, but he cannot make a creature so; it being an essential perfection of the Divine Essence, which cannot exist in creatures.

Junior. You have really thrown considerable light upon this subject on my mind. If I have understood you right, sin is the defect of the creature. Its propensity to sink into itself; its centering in itself; its going off from God; its seeking content, rest, and satisfaction in itself, in its own acts, in the creature, in any thing but God alone.

Senior. It is so. You have conceived the subject very correctly.

Junior. But how could this originally befall man, if he was created pure and holy? Was not God’s will the rule, and his glory the end, of man?

Senior. God’s glory was the end, and his will, revealed in the moral law, man’s chief and highest rule; yet the mind of man, as created by God, was vastly capacious and apprehensive. He had the whole world made for him, and he was made for it. Every creature in it was formed for his use, and to give him delight. He was himself the epitome of all creation in this our world. He was to enjoy God in the creatures, and by them to aspire in praise and admiration up to God, the fountain of the whole creation, and of all the good contained in it. Now his mind being full of activity, it was possible for him, in the multiplicity of subjects, to forget to think of God aright. Hence it was possible for him to sin; and, I conceive, sin entered in at this door. He ceased to think holily, which was his fall from God. His actual fall was the effect of this: at least I conceive thus of it.

Junior. Sir, then you conceive it was owing to the mutability of man’s will, that he became a sinner.

Senior. I do. And so it was the case with the fallen angels.

Junior. Really, Sir, I must confess this clears up the subject of the Fall, so as no imputation can fall on God as the author of sin, to my very great satisfaction.

Senior. Sin is not so much a positive, as a privative evil. It is a mental one, although it manifests, itself in all sorts of actual evils. It first began in the mind. It is always residentiary in the will. It is put forth into act, as various temptations call it forth into act and exercise. Sin is not without us: it is inherent in us. It is our nature corrupted by the fall. This is what sin is.

Junior. Then, Sir, you distinguish these subjects, do you not? That sin produced the fall: this produces all actual evils. That the circumstances of the fall, are most truly fatal to the souls and bodies of men.

Senior. This, Sir, is my apprehension of these subjects. All the miseries in earth and hell, are the fruits and effects of sin. Damnation is the desert of every sin. There are none damned, but for sin. There are none  of the fallen race, in hell, but for sin. Neither you nor I can escape the damnation of hell by any thing we can do or perform. No. Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things, which are written in the book of the law to do them.

Junior. Sir, I have experienced the truth of what you now say in my own mind. It hath pleased the Lord the Spirit, to convince me of sin; of my own personal and constitutional sin. I have seen it in its guilt. I have been led to conceive of the exceeding sinfulness of it; the horrible pollution of it; the damnable nature of it; the tremendous demerit of the same. It has caused me to groan on account of it before the Lord. I have confessed it; I have most deeply lamented it; I have pleaded Christ, his doings and sufferings; have obtained relief here from; yet, alas! Alas! I feel and experience myself the subject of the same corrupted nature I have ever been: indeed, Sir, I do. What am I to think of my case and state?

Senior. It always appears to me a real evidence of grace, and the true operation of the Holy Spirit on the mind, where a sense of the exceeding sinfulness is abiding on the mind. I conceive, without it, we should never wholly renounce all hope in ourselves; therefore, I say neither your case, nor state is affected by any sights, feelings, and apprehensions you may have in your mind of the depth of sin, and the mystery of iniquity you experience in your fallen nature. I would not have you at any time dwell on it. Look to Christ: go to him with it: carry it all with you,, and present yourself before Him. Entreat Him to look on you: to consider your case; to interpose on your behalf; to bestow on you the blessings of his intercession and advocacy. This is the only word of advice I can give you. May the Lord make it effectual.

Junior. But if I might speak out, good Sir, the whole of my heart, really the longer I live, the more I experience my own inward sinfulness. It is not out ward acts of wickedness I am speaking of; neither is it a giving myself up to any acts of sin: but what I lament is, what I am, and see myself to be, in my old Adam nature. There is no change in it: there is no holiness in it: there is no purity in it. I do see, in point of sinfulness, it cannot be exceeded by any of the damned in hell. What say you to this? What can you think of me, when I open myself thus freely to you?

Senior. I am rather inclined to think, this is full proof of a spiritual and supernatural birth in your soul. The. Apostle says, I know, that in me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing. But it is time to close our present conversation; I therefore bid you, for the, present-Farewell.

[chapter:2. Regeneration] [chapters:200,left]

2 In which a Discourse is carried on concerning Regeneration, which subject is opened and explained.

THE RICHES OF DIVINE GRACE UNFOLDED

DIALOGUE II.

In Which a Discourse is carried on concerning Regeneration, which subject is opened and explained.

Mr. Enquirer and Mr. Instructor, or Junior and Senior, having afresh interview, the conversation began thus:

Junior. Sir, I address you with pleasure, and would inform you, I have been thinking over the subject concerning sin, with the fall and its consequences. I find it to be most truly an awful and solemn subject indeed! I find I am, as one in the first man, as a descendant from him, as truly in my person and fallen nature, as entirely sinful, corrupted, lost and defiled as he was, when he broke the holy law of God. I think I never fully apprehended and comprehended what sin is, together with what is contained in the fall, as also the consequences of it, than at present. I am a sinner. My fallen nature contains the whole essence of all contained in sin. I see myself in myself, considered wholly and only as I am in Adam, and my old Adam nature, a dead, a lost, a condemned man, who cannot escape the damnation of hell, by any will or power of my own. I desire to bless the Lord for this view and experience of the subject, because it leads me to renounce all hope of deliverance from what I am in myself by any creature acts. I plainly perceive I can be acquitted only from what I am inherently and actually in myself, by the covenant of the Eternal Three. My only hope for salvation is in the will, the council, the acts, and transactions of the Essential Three. I can stand before the Holy Lord God, free from all sin, only upon the footing of their imputing unto my person, the holiness, righteousness, and redemption of Jesus Christ. Whilst this is my sole foundation for expecting eternal life, yet I wish to have some further light into many momentous truths.

Senior. It pleases me that our past conversation hath proved so useful to you, to bring you out of yourself, and to look off yourself, and that it has made way for your professing all your hope in God is founded on Christ alone. Whatsoever you are disposed to make the subject of conversation at this interview, it is for you to name. I am wholly at your service and command.

Junior. Thank you, Sir. I am fully convinced of the truth of what our Lord spoke in the days of his flesh, when he pronounced with a double asseveration to Nicodemus, these words, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God. John, 3:3. But I could wish to have the subject clearly opened.

Senior. It is a most important one, and very necessary to be known. I think, in our first conversation, you mentioned it as one of those subjects which were to be discoursed upon.

Junior. I did so: if, therefore, it suits you, I should be thankful if you would treat on it, and give me some scriptural light and insight into it; as the more clearly I am led to understand any truth rightly, the more I conceive I shall prize and esteem Christ.

Senior. Most undoubtedly this is the proper effect which cannot but be produced thereby. But I hope you do not look to receive any spiritual blessing from me.

Junior. No. I do not. Yet I expect to receive spiritual profit and advantage in conversing with you. This I am sure must come from the light and influence with which the Lord himself may be pleased to accompany the same unto my mind.

Senior. So far as you consider me as one like yourself, who cannot receive nor impart any spiritual gift, but as it is given me from heaven, and look and depend wholly and alone upon the Holy Ghost for that unction which teacheth all things, I am truly pleased, and shall be freely willing to impart unto you any knowledge I am capable of.

Junior. Pray, Sir, open, if you please, what the good Lord’s meaning and design in these words are, Verily, verily, I say unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. The more briefly you do so, it will be to me the more acceptable.

Senior. The doctrine of the New Birth, or Regeneration, is of vast importance: yet, as all other doctrines of the gospel, it is spiritual and simple. Our Lord, in the words you recited, speaks of the necessity of it. He declares there can be no entrance into the kingdom of God without it. He expresses himself very solemnly concerning it. He addresses one single individual on it. He declares there cannot be any sight of the kingdom of God, except this new birth (or being born again, or born from above) take place in the soul. Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. You have here these particulars  1st. Christ’s solemn asseveration.  2nd The address. It is to an individual, which shows that the truth contained in the words, concerns all: so as that no man can enter into the kingdom of God; no man see God without it. The 3rd particular is an except, without exception: a man must be born again  and, 4th. He, none without it, can enter into heaven.

Junior. Truly, sir, you have made the entrance into this subject very clear. Will you unfold the subject, and inform me what regeneration is?

Senior. Most assuredly. So far as in my power, I will. You know, my good Sir, sin and the fall have entirely corrupted every faculty of the human mind; therefore, except there be a renewing of the mind, it cannot be disposed to receive and apprehend the things of God. Again: you know there can be no entrance into our world, but by birth. We must be born into it, or we cannot be partakers of what of what is in it. Adam was the head of the natural world. Christ is the head of the spiritual world. We cannot enter into his world but by a new birth. We must be born into it. As when we are born naturally, we have then all the faculties, senses, and members we ever shall have, and are thereby fitted for living in this world: so the soul born again, hath every sense, faculty, and affection of the new man it every will have. It is thereby fitted and qualified for living in Christ world.

Like as Adam, when created and brought into existence in our world, had every faculty and affection, temper and disposition, suited to every creature, object, and subject, which the Lord God had made in the world: so a man in Christ, created anew in Christ Jesus, is brought into Christ’s world with every grace contained in his new birth, whereby he is exactly fitted to take into his mind, enjoy in his heart, and embrace in his affections, the Lord Jesus Christ, as his head his righteousness  his sacrifice  his glory  his all. Now, without a new, or supernatural birth, he could not have communion with Christ: he could not have his heart and affection set on Christ. There is every thing in the world, which, when created, and Adam was first brought into it, suited his every faculty, sense, perception, and affection: so there is every thing in Christ, to suit the man who is born again  who is born into Christ’s world of grace. The new creation is suited to all in Christ, and Christ is suited to every faculty, sense, and perception of the new creature. Do you understand me?

Junior. Sir, I must, and cannot but acknowledge, I perceive a glory, a grandeur, and majesty, in what you have mentioned; but must confess it at present surpasses me: it goes beyond me. I know you will not be offended at my speaking the truth of my own mind.

Senior. No, indeed. It would be very pleasing to me, to convey truth to your mind in the most clear, convincing, and acceptable way; say, therefore, in what way, and what you would further wish me to say on this most important subject of our present conversation, Regeneration.

Junior. Sir, I rather want to know what regeneration is  it is wrought  what follows on it  what are the evidences, fruits, and effects of it. Will you oblige me, by going over these particulars.

Senior. Most undoubtedly I will. In my own view, the whole of this is included and expressed in what hath been stated. However, I am not my own; I am the servant of Christ, and your servant for his sake.

Junior. Sir, you put me to the blush; yet I must heartily thank you for the condescension, and hope to receive benefit there from.

Senior. I cold wish you to state the particulars of this subject, of which you are so desirous of receiving further satisfaction.

Junior. Thank you, Sir; I will. I would request, 1st. To know what regeneration is. 2nd. The necessity of it. 3rd. How I may know, I am the subject of this grace. 4th. What are the fruits and blessings which accompany it. If you will be so kind to admit me, as you may go on with each particulars, to stop, and give me an opportunity of so taking them distinctly into my mind, I shall esteem it an increasing favor and benefit bestowed.

Senior. You are exceedingly welcome to all this; as also to all the advantages the present discourse may afford, of stating objections, or expressing yourself either as satisfied or dissatisfied; whilst it will be my endeavor to speak to you in the clearest manner, and according to my judgment, as received from God’s written word; yet. It may be, what appears very clear to me, may not to you; therefore, be as free as you please, it will not be offensive.

Junior. My request is, Ist. To know what Regeneration is, and what it consists in. I want some scriptural light into this.

Senior. Regeneration is a new creation. The mind is the subject of it. Our Lord styles it a new birth. It is variously denominated in the word. As it is called a new creature the new man the inner man, the hidden man the new creature. I would observe, Adam is the root of generation; Christ is the root of regeneration. If we had not been in Adam by creation, we had never been produced by generation. Such as were not in Christ by eternal election, will never be manifested to have being in Christ by regeneration. Do you understand this?

Junior. I understand you say it is a supernatural change wrought in the mind of a sinner. Pray does it not then alter the sinful nature and disposition, which were inherent in the sinner when this new birth took place in him?

Senior. No. It does not. Our Lord himself decides this point. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the spirit is spirit. John, 3:6. The new birth is a new nature, created in the mind, which never existed in it before. It is conveyed by the Spirit of God. He is the author of it. Hence it is called after his name, Spirit. That which is born of the Spirit is spirit. It is contrary to every desire and propensity with the old man. There is no sin in it. Hence the Apostle says, whosoever is born of God, doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him, and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. I John, 3:9.

Junior. I still want a more simple definition of the new birth. Of What it is.

Senior. You shall have it. This I think will give you a very clear apprehension concerning it. Why, my good friend, it is making a man, who is dead in trespasses and sins, alive to God by the power of the Holy Ghost.

Junior. But you have brought no scripture for the proof of it.

Senior. I have not: yet it is not because there is not one ready at hand, to be produced to confirm this. The Apostle says, and you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins. Ephesians. 2:1. There can be no Motion without life. And the first act of the Spirit of God upon the mind, is to quicken it with spiritual life. The Holy Ghost is the breath of all spiritual life. He, as the Spirit of Life, enters into a dead sinner, quickens him, and communicates to him life everlasting. What say you to this? Do or can you object to it? Would you not think this sufficient to prove that regeneration is making a dead sinner alive to God, by the power of the Holy Ghost? That’s the question now to be determined.

Junior. I really cannot object against what you say; yet I want the subject to be more simplified.

Senior. I am sure I have no objection to this, nothing pleases me better. No one is a greater friend to have truth scriptural stated, rightly explained, properly defended, and most simply set forth; yet you will acknowledge, spiritual truth can never be brought down, so as to be properly apprehended by any, but such as are taught of God. Unto you (says our Lord) it is given to know mysteries of the kingdom.

Junior. Most undoubtedly it is, and must be so. But adduce all in one collection of scripture, you would yourself wish for, to prove regeneration consists in making a dead sinner alive to God. I will then rest Satisfied.

Senior. I will. The state of the elect before effectual calling takes place in their souls, and how it was  with them to the very moment of their being quickened  with life eternal, is thus set forth by the Apostle:  And you who were dead in trespasses and sins, wherein  in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past, in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh, and of  the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath even as others. Observe very particularly what follows. But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love  wherewith, he loved us,  even, when we were dead  in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved.) Ephesians 2:1,2,3,4,5. Is not this all sufficient proof, that regeneration is making a dead sinner alive to God by the power of the Holy Ghost?

Junior. Sir, I really cannot deny it. Then, according to this, regeneration consists in turning a sinner from darkness unto light, and from the power of Satan to God.

Senior. Yes. By it we are translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. This is the state which every soul regenerated is brought into.

Junior. Shew me now the necessity for this. Our Lord says, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Senior. We are all unholy by our first birth. We, have not the least true knowledge and apprehension of the things of God. The Apostle says, The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. I Cor. 2:14. There must therefore be a necessity for us to have spiritual minds supernaturally illuminated, that we may understand spiritual and supernatural subjects. I hope this is very clear to your mind. If so, then you cannot but understand our Lord’s words, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John, 3:3. And again, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, except a man be born of water and of the spirit,  he cannot enter the kingdom of God. Verse,5.

Junior. But I ask, How am I to know that I am the  subject of this grace? How am I to know that I am born of God? I want this question to be resolved.

Senior. The Apostle says, Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. By which he gives us to know, that regeneration is faith in the habit, and faith on Christ is the same in the act. It is just what Paul says, Ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. Gal.3:26. It is to be known by this important question put by Christ himself: What think ye of Christ? If Christ is your object; if he be your hope; if you think, and delight inwardly and spiritually to think on him, this is full proof, and all sufficient evidence, of your being born again. Every act of faith on Christ, gives fresh and full proof of the same.

Junior. This is very satisfactory; yet I would fain have some scriptural proof of it.

Senior, You shall. Our Lord says, Verity, verily, I say I say unto you, he that believeth on me, hath everlasting Life. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life. He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh, my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. John, 6:47, 54, 56. If you enter into the spiritual meaning of our Lord’s words, they carry with them full evidence of the new birth being wrought where Christ thus dwells, and nourishes up the soul in communion with him, unto life eternal.

Junior, I am satisfied: only say, to complete my request, what are the fruits and blessings, which accompany the new birth.

Senior. Such as are born of God, have the Spirit of God dwelling in them. He possesses their bodies and minds. They are his temples. He consecrates their hearts for communion with the Father and the Son. He reveals Christ in them and unto them. He exercises their minds on him. He sheds abroad in their hearts the love of God. He is their comforter in all times of distress; yea, even in the article of death. He will dwell In them for ever. And thus he being their leader, He makes it manifest to them and others, that as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the Sons of God. Are you satisfied with this scriptural and experimental account of the subject?

Junior, I really am, and thank you for it; only I wish you to conclude with producing those scriptures which respect the new birth, and the state of the new born.

Senior. The term new birth, or being born again, is but sparingly mentioned after our Lord’s discourse on it. I believe we must get into the Epistle of James before we shall find it. He says, Every good gift, and every perfect gift, is from above, and cometh clown front the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of first-fruits of his creatures. Chap. I:17,18. Peter blesseth God for regeneration, as the first act of God upon us and within us, and therefore the next blessing to election, and as the immediate fruit thereof within us. His words are, Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which, according to his abundant mercy, hath begotten us again unto a lively hope, by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you. I Peter, I:3,4. At the close of the chapter he addresses them thus: Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but Of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. In the next chapter be entitles them new born babes. John uses the expression, born of God. I John, 3:9. as also chap. 5:4. As to what is contained and given us in the new birth, Peter sets before us in. these words: According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who hath called us to glory and virtue. 2 Peter I:3. As to the state into which the regenerate are brought, it is thus expressed by John, We know that we have passed from death unto life. Paul, speaking of it, says, Who hath deliver­ed us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the  kingdom of his dear Son. And Peter’s account of it is this, But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light. See IJohn, 3:14, Col.1:13,I Peter, 2:9. Rege­neration is an act wrought instantaneously in us. We are altogether passive. It is an immutable act. Our meetness for heaven and glory is contained in it. It is an act once for all. It is altogether perfect and divine. It admits of no degrees. It is one and the same in all who are the subjects of it. Such are in a state of life: they are passed by it, out of the state they were in, whilst they were unregenerate: they are translated into the Kingdom of God’s dear Son: they are called out of darkness into his (i. e. God’s) marvellous light: they are hereby manifested to be the Lord’s. In point of safety they cannot be more secure. I hope I have expressed the subject, in these scriptural proofs, satisfactorily.

Junior. You have. May the Lord’s blessing accompany the same to my mind.

Senior. I most heartily join you in the same most important request. Amen.

[chapter:3. Salvation: Nature, Fruits, Effects] [chapters:200,left]

3 Which contains a Discourse on Salvation, in its Nature, Fruits, and Effects, as proceeding from the Covenant of the Eternal Three in the one Incomprehensible Jehovah.

DIALOGUE III.

Which contains a Discourse on Salvation, in its Nature, Fruits, and Effects, as proceeding from the Covenant of the Eternal Three in the one Incomprehensible Jehovah.

The past conversations between Mr. Enquirer and Mr. Instructor, having been acceptable to both, they on a convenient season meet again; and, after some pleasing salutations, resume their discourse.

Mr. Junior Sir, your last discourse on the subject of regeneration, hath been very influential on my mind. I have ruminated on it over and over. I understand by what hath been said on the subject of regeneration, and the state in which the regenerate are, that I am created anew in Christ Jesus, and brought into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, and have the Holy Ghost dwelling in me, and bestowed on me, that I may know the things which are freely given to me of God, and treasured up for my use in the fullness of Christ Jesus. Am I right in this?

Senior. You most certainly are. The Apostle says to such as were translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, they had put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him, where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, barbarian, scythian, bond nor free, but Christ is all and in all. The new man, the new creature, hath all its life in Christ; and Christ is the life and glory of the new creature. He is all and in all, in and throughout every part and, faculty of it. The new creature is all mind and understanding to know Christ, to apprehend and receive the knowledge of him. It is all will to choose him it is all heart to love him. All its affections are supremely fixed on him. It is all eye to behold him: all ear to hear him. It smells the savour of his name, person, blood, righteousness, and fragrant intercession. It hath a mouth to speak for him: a palate to taste the sweetness contained in his word and promises: hands to handle him: it hath feet to go to him, and to walk in him. In fact, all the spiritual acting’s of the new creature are on Christ. Thus Christ, is to the new man in Christ, all in all. But I am now preventing you. I think you proposed, were we permitted to pursue our mutual converse, to speak on salvation.

Junior. I assent to what you say. I want light into the subject of salvation. But pray are not regeneration, and the Spirit’s operations within me, salvation? It is generally considered in this light and point of view.

Senior. I believe the generality of persons conceive, if they are born of God, (for that is John’s expression of the subject,) it is salvation: but I say, no; it is not. The new birth is all of grace: it is the fruit of eternal election. By it we are born the sons and daughters of the Lord God Almighty. In it we are most divinely and evidentially manifested to be heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ. Yet this is not salvation. The new birth is the fruit of adoption, not of salvation. Regeneration is the medium whereby we receive the knowledge of Christ into our minds. It is the faculty wrought in the renewed mind, by which we receive Christ and his salvation into our hearts.

Junior. Will you be pleased to entertain me with a free discourse on this very interesting and most important subject?

Senior. I am at your service, and most assuredly will; yet I would premise, it is a vast subject; it will be best therefore to take it up in order.

Junior. In what order would you propose to treat of it, so as that my mind might have a clear conception of the same?

Senior. When you put this question, I am bound to return an answer. I think the subject should be considered in all its parts, fruits, and effects, so as that the Holy Ones in the Incomprehensible Godhead, should have their just and proper tribute rendered to each of them.

Junior. I thought salvation was the incommunicable work of Christ, and that the sole glory was his personal due.

Senior. It is so; yet the Father and the Spirit are as truly concerned in it, as Christ. The Father appointed him, and the Spirit anointed him. He says, The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me, &c. Isaiah, 56:1.

Junior. It has ever appeared to me, that the whole gospel is set before us, and fully declared by the apostle, when he says, This is a faithful saying, and worthy Of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. I Tim. I:15.

Senior. It is the very sum and marrow of the gospel indeed. But this is a declaration of salvation. It gives no account of its originality; yet it lays a foundation for enquiring concerning it. For if Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, there must be a cause for it; and his coming into the world, must be the effect thereof. Our Lord most expressly says, God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son. John, 3:16. Now God’s love is there set forth as the cause; and Christ was given as the effect of God’s love; then put his coming into the world to save sinners, this is the end which he accomplished by his coming into the world. Yet, He must have performed some work in our world, or how could he have saved sinners?

Junior. Yes; it is true: for he lived and died to save them.

Senior. Then his life and death must be their salvation.

Junior. Doubtless they must be; but we must have the fruits and effects thereof to complete the same. We cannot be saved without them. You will not say we can.

Senior. I am by no means for robbing Christ of his crown. I would have Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, have the glory given to them for salvation work. If you will admit of it, I will entertain you very briefly, and as comprehensively as I can, with an account of Salvation of what it is of the originality of it of its nature of its fruits and effects, as proceeding from the covenant of the Eternal, Three in the one Incomprehensible Jehovah.

Junior. I can by no means object to this very kind proposal. But, Sir, I request you to be very clear, distinct, and particular on each of these parts of the subject.

Senior. My friend,. what do you mean? Pray explain yourself.

Junior. Sir, this is what I mean. If you please, I should like you to make, Ist. Your  account of salvation one particular; then, 2d. What salvation is; then, 3d. The originality of it; then, 4th. Its nature; then, 5th. Of its fruits and effects; then, 6th. How it flows from the covenant of the Eternal Three: for, I clearly perceive, from what you have hinted, it Is a vast and glorious subject, which I should be glad to retain in my mind, so as to be enabled to ruminate thereon.

Senior. Let it be even so. I will give you liberty to call for each of these subjects in the order which you please.

Junior. You are extremely kind and obliging. Will you then be pleased to give me a discourse on salvation, in its nature, fruits, and effects, as proceeding from the covenant of the Eternal Three, in the one Incomprehensible Jehovah, in manner and order as shall follow in my present conversation with you?

Senior. I will. My whole soul is in this service of love to you.

Junior. Then I request you, 1st. Of Salvation.

Senior. Salvation is a vastly comprehensive word, as it contains a vast subject. It is, as belonging to Christ, a deliverance from all evil. It is a salvation from all sin and evil; from Satan, the world, death, and damnation. It is a salvation for sinners. It is a free salvation a full salvation a finished salvation a present salvation a suited salvation to every case and circumstance a sinner can be in. It is a spiritual salvation. It is an everlasting salvation. This is salvation.

Junior. Then, according to this, it is a provision made for sinners to heal their wounds to wash them from their stains to deliver them from sin to raise them up out of the ruins of the fall to crush under their feet Satan to save them from the love of this present evil world to supply all their wants to comfort them Under all their distresses to suit their every case and circumstance to remove from their minds the guilt of sin to purify their consciences from the filth and stain of it to lift them up above the fears of death to fill them with hopes full of a glorious immortality to lay the sole foundation for a sinner’s faith and hope in God: this is salvation, is it not? Have I received what you have delivered, rightly? Do I express myself agreeably to the request I made concerning salvation? Is this right with the account you have just given me of it? If not, do not deceive me.

Senior. It is even so. You may look to the Christian’s Magna Charta, the Bible, and be satisfied of the truth of the same. What have you further to propose concerning this great subject? I may say of it, it is vast! it is infinite!

Junior. As you have given me a general account of salvation, I want next to ask, What salvation is? This I before proposed, as the 2d thing to be discussed.

Senior. You did so. , I have spoken, Ist. Of salvation; I will now, 2d. Shew what salvation is. It is the taking away of sin; it is the bringing in everlasting righteousness; it is the removal of the curse; it is the entire conquest of Satan and his principalities and powers; it is the abolition of death; it is the destruction, and conquest of the grave. This is what salvation consists in; all which is tile work of Christ alone. He substituted his person in our room and stead; he bore our sins, and carried our sorrows; he was made sin; he sustained the curse; he put away sin by the sacrifice of himself; he hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; he hath brought in everlasting righteousness; he hath made peace by the blood of his cross; he hath trodden upon the head of the old serpent, called the devil; he hath vanquished principalities and powers; he hath destroyed death,; he hath perfumed the grave; he hath led captivity captive; he is risen from the dead; he is ascended on high; he is entered into heaven; he liveth in the presence of God for us this is salvation. It is in the person and work of Christ. Our whole complete salvation from all sin and every enemy, is in the person, work, victories, and triumphs of our Lord. Thus I have endeavourer to answer you. What think ye of it?

Junior. Truly, Sir, the great God our Saviour, and His great salvation, are altogether wonderful. If I understand you right, Jesus Christ acted the part of a Mediator. He, as the surety, was charged. with all sorts of sin. He endured the very curse due to iniquity: so that those he died for, are discharged on his account. Is it not so?

Senior. Yes, verily it is! He was made sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. Surely this is complete salvation: not completed in us, but completed for us, by our Lord Jesus Christ, in his own most adorable person, and by his most perfect righteousness, and precious blood shedding. What have you further to propose?

Junior. If you please, to discourse on the 3d particular, which is concerning the originality of salvation. I apprehend from you this is of vast importance.

Senior. Indeed it is, as it gives validity to the whole. Salvation, in its original, is the consequence of an eternal council and covenant, which obtained before all time, between the Three in Jehovah, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; in which it was willed to save an innumerable company of the sinners of mankind, and raise them up above and beyond all the ruins of the fall, by the surety-ship engagements of Christ, the Son of God, on the behalf of his church and people. The Apostle tells us, God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them. 2 Cor. 5:19. This covenant was the fruit of everlasting love; yet the grand design of it, was to display everlasting love in acts of mercy and compassion towards the elect sons of men. In this covenant, all depended on the transactions in it. Every article and condition of it, was engaged for, and to be performed by the sacred Three. The grand article stipulated for, was the death of Christ. On. this all depended. All blessings were to be communicated to the elect, on the Surety fulfilling his part in the covenant, which he most readily hath done; for, saith the Apostle, wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Lo, I come, I delight to do thy will, 0 my God, yea, thy law is within my heart. Our Lord says, I came down from heaven not to do mine own will, but the will of him. that sent vie. And this is the will of hint that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day. John, 6:38,40. I hope you see from, the account given, that the covenant of the Three in Jehovah, is the original of the gospel. Is this clear to you?

Junior. It is so. I thus conceive of it. Christ is the book of life. All his people being chosen in him, their names were registered in him. He undertook for them, according to the council and covenant of grace. He undertook to become incarnate, to live and die for them. Hence he is styled the Lamb slain front the foundation, of the world. Rev. 13:8. And his life and death are salvation. This appears to me the result of what you have delivered. Is it not so?

Senior. Yes, it is. According to your own request, I have given you, Ist. An account of salvation. 2d. What salvation is. 3d. The originality of it. Now that which remains to be discoursed of concerning this great and vastly important subject, is in the following particulars, viz. 4th. The nature of this salvation. 5th. Its fruits and effects. 6th. How it all flows from the covenant of the Eternal Three. I might say, salvation itself “what salvation is” “the original of it”  “the nature of it” “with its fruits and effects” and how it flows from the sovereign will and good pleasure of the Holy Trinity are but so many parts which from one grand incomprehensible subject of grace, which it hath pleased the ever blessed God to reveal and make known in the word of his grace.

Junior. I conceive of it thus. Yet I see the propriety of taking up tile subject in every distinct part and branch of it. I freely confess I had not this conception, until you first suggested it; yet I now see there is a peculiar beauty, and cannot but be a very particular satisfaction to the spiritual and enlightened, mind, to obtain clear, distinct, and personal apprehensions of the same. I want you, Sir, to Proceed with the subject in its further branches, and give me all account of the nature of salvation: this is the 4th part thereof.

Senior. It is so. With respect to the nature of it, this is God like and divine. It is full of grace and truth. It contains in it a full revelation of all the persons and perfections in God. It opens the very heart of God, and discovers all contained in the divine mind and will concerning us. It is a full copy and exhihibition of what free grace and divine favor in Christ Jesus is. It is all free. It is all full. It is all grace, mercy, and peace, from God the Father, through Jesus Christ our Saviour, testified of to its by the witness of the Eternal Spirit in the word of grace., It shews God’s views of sin, his hatred of it, his wrath against it, the immutability of his will, his essential righteousness and justice, his holiness and purity, in all its manifestative glory. Not a sin pardoned, but on the footing of an infinite satisfaction. Not one sin overlooked, connived at, or passed by, but all laid on Christ all visited on him. His life, his soul, his blood, his death, all go for the ransom of transgressors. God is just, and the justifier of him that believeth  on Jesus. I think in giving you an account of the nature of the salvation we have been speaking of, you have another great and glorious view of the same subject expressed. What think you?

Junior. Verily I think so too. But now” my good Sir, do give some general account of the fruits and effects of this salvation. This is the 5th division of the subject according to my request.

Senior. As it respects the fruits and effects of this salvation, they are very many. They are great and glorious. Pardon of all sin is the fruit of Christ’s death. Justification unto life is, the fruit of Christ’s obedience unto death, even the death of the cross. Deliverance out of the hands of all our enemies, is another. Its effects are as follows: Peace with God in the conscience deliverance from the bondage and tyranny of sin free access to God free walking before him in Christ, unto all well pleasing a freedom from all condemnation; there being no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus the, spirit of grace, and supplication a free access to the throne of grace at all times, as the matter may require an exemption from bondage to the fear of death a joyful hope of a glorious resurrection from the grave and power of death, on the second coming and appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ a full assurance of our entrance into heaven, immediately on our dismissing from our bodies by death. These are the fruits of this salvation. What think ye of them?

Junior. I think they are altogether supernatural and divine. When you say these are the fruits and effects of salvation, I do not apprehend you to mean that each and every one born of the Spirit, has an equal and alike perception of them, and a free and full enjoyment of them; yet I understand by you all the Lord’s people have one and the same interest in them. Is it not so, Sir?

Senior. Yes; it is even so. You are quite right in this: but, if you please, let our present, subject be finished, as I do not like to be too long engaged even on the best of subjects; the mind naturally gets tired. I don’t want to drop the subject; but I want to retire, and contemplate the subjects we have been conversing upon. Say, therefore, what you would add, before the conversation is closed.

Junior. Sir, I only want the 6th part proposed, to be spoken to, then I also shall be willing that the present intercourse should close.

Senior. This is, 6th, to shew how all which hath been spoken, Ist, of salvation-2d, of what salvation consists in-3d, the originality of it-4th, its nature 5th, its fruits and benefits flows from the covenant of the Eternal Three in the one incomprehensible Jehovah, which proves it to be altogether the effect of divine sovereignty. It was the will of Father, Son, and Spirit, from everlasting to love the elect in Christ to accept them in Christ to bless them in Christ to save them in Christ  to continue his grace to them in Christ, in every state they should pass through to prove this unto them, by remembering them with everlasting kindness. The whole of which is grace. It is nothing more nor less than the good pleasure of God’s will concerning them. The Father willed to love them with an everlasting love the Son willed to love them, and save them in himself with an everlasting salvation the Holy Ghost loved them, and willed to make them his living temples, to dwell in them and walk in them: all which was to be set before them in the person of Christ. In whom all of God shines forth; in whom the whole of God is revealed; in whom the will of God is declared; in whom all the council and covenant of Godhead is ratified; in whom the whole salvation of God is made known to us. Now, my friend, in a clear and scriptural statement of the acts and transactions of the Holy Trinity in the covenant of grace, we have the gospel in its original. You will profit in divine knowledge, as you understand the Father proposed all concerning salvation: the Son engaged to perform all which concerned salvation: the Holy Ghost undertook to reveal all concerning this wonderful subject. As hereby you will see you are equally and alike indebted to each of the sacred Three, for the whole of your salvation. I now want to retire. I leave the subject for your consideration, and to the Lord’s blessing. Consider what I say, and the Lord give you understanding in all things.

Junior, I thank you, Sir. May the Lord bless the Subject you have left with me, to the enlargement of my mind, to the increase of my faith in the acts and transactions of’ the Three in Jehovah, that I may draw all my support and consolation from them as my covenant God. I return you my sincere thanks for your free and instructive conversation. The Lord be with you. Amen.

[chapter:4. Receiving Salvation] [chapters:200,left]

4 A Discourse, in which an Account is given how this Salvation is received, in the knowledge of it, into the regenerate Mind, by the operation of the Holy Ghost upon it.

DIALOGUE IV.

A Discourse, in which an Account is given how this Salvation is received, in the Knowledge of it, into the regenerate Mind, by the operation of the Holy Ghost upon it.

Mr. Enquirer. Sir, our last conversation, in which you discoursed on salvation, has been a mean of opening my mind to apprehend the importance of that subject beyond my former views of the same. I understand salvation originates from the will, council, and transactions of the Incomprehensible Three, in, the Incomprehensible Jehovah , and that it is wholly and comprehensively contained in the Person, Incarnation, Life, and Death, of the Lord Jesus Christ. I used to conceive thus: If I were born again, or, in other words, if I were regenerated by the Holy Ghost, I was then a child of God, and should most assuredly be saved. From your account of that subject, I now see salvation is distinct from that of the new birth. Pray say if I understand you right in this matter.

Mr. Instructor. You know, Sir, the subjects we have been engaged in were, Ist. Of Sin-2-d. Regeneration-3d. Salvation. These subjects are thus connected one with the other. If we were not by nature the subjects of sin, we should not need to be regenerated in our minds, and be brought out of a state of death, into a state of life. When we are born again of God, then we begin to see and feel our need of salvation, which, when we have right apprehensions of, we perceive it to be altogether out of ourselves. The new birth is an act of God within us: salvation is an, act of God without us. We are the subjects of the new birth. We are partakers of salvation. We receive it by faith. Whereas, regeneration is not received, it is, wrought in us once for all. It is our sole meet ness for eternal glory.

Junior. Pray, my good Sir, give me leave to be very free with you in my enquiries; it will be of use to my mind. Am I right in what I expressed concerning my former thoughts? which run thus: If I am regenerated by the holy Ghost, I am a, child of God, and shall most assuredly be saved.

Senior. It is ail eternal truth, without you are regenerated by the Holy Ghost, you cannot be manifested to be a child of God, nor have the least good and proper thought of salvation; yet the new birth is not salvation, it is the medium whereby we receive the knowledge of salvation into our minds.

Junior. Indeed, when I reflect on what you have delivered concerning salvation, I must acknowledge, I conceive salvation must influence the whole mind: I want, therefore, to know the means whereby it does so.

Senior. I am very ready to inform you; only let these following truths be first acknowledged, that we may fairly understand each other, and not treat any of the subjects before us with confusion.

Junior. Sir, this will be to me most truly desirable.

Senior. You will be pleased to take up your words. You say your former thoughts have been, were you born again, then you were a child of God, and should be saved. Now, I do not deny, that as sure as you are born of God, you are a child of God, and shall be manifestatively saved; but regeneration does not make you a child; it is the evidence of it: nor is there salvation in the new birth; it is a spiritual faculty, which, as the Holy Spirit is pleased to open, to receive the revealed account of salvation given in the everlasting gospel, is the very mean by which you enjoy the same, with all the blessings thereof.

Junior. This is to open a new scene indeed. I confess myself satisfied with your discourse on regeneration; also with your conversation on salvation. Pray, Sir, for my further improvement in the knowledge of spiritual and important subjects, let our present interview be confined to an account how salvation is received.

Senior. I confess that I conceive this is a subject very interesting. I am truly willing to give you all the instruction I am capable of on the same.

Junior. You have, Sir, my best thanks; and pray let there be no delay, but proceed, as I desire to give the strictest attention to you; hoping the Lord will graciously bless it.

Senior. Salvation is the greatest blessing God himself can bestow, on you, on me, as sinners. It is entirely suited to us, as we are. It is freely given to us, without money or any qualification in ourselves. It is received by faith. This faith is by the operation of the Spirit of God in our minds. The Apostle says, For by grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God. Ephesians. 2:8. This is what the Scripture says concerning the subject before us.

Junior. It is so; yet I am as far from the subject as I was before. I want to know what faith, is, and where to find it? I can no more doubt, from what you delivered in the second conversation which passed between its, on regeneration, that I am born again, and have divine impressions of heavenly things on my mind, and do really hunger and thirst after Christ; but I do not know what faith is. Now that is a subject I want you to clear up unto my view.

Senior. The new birth is faith, and faith is the new birth. The soul born of God, has the faith of the operation of God. This is discovered in the following way: he hears, reads, and converses about Christ; this draws out the mind after Christ, and his thoughts are exercised on Christ in a particular way and manner. Now this is regeneration drawn  out into act and exercise.

Junior. Then I must look into myself to see if I have it, must I not?

Senior. No. I will treat you with all the simplicity I can. You look on yourself as born of God; do you not? You love to hear and read of Christ, and his great salvation; is it not so? You have some inward relish and delight, herein; have you not? Why this is the new birth drawn forth into act and exercise towards the Lord Jesus Christ.

Junior. If this be faith, it is quite different front the conceptions I have been entertaining concerning it in my own mind. I have considered it as some grace wrought in me, which laid the foundation of all my confidence in the Lord, and which was to be supported, as I felt myself so and so conformed to the divine will.

Senior. I could wish, on your behalf, it might be given you to understand, that regeneration consists in creating in you a spiritual mind; and that every act of it, is drawn out by the Holy Ghost, and exercised on the Lord Jesus Christ: so that the new birth is faith in the habit; and the exercise of it in acts of love, faith, and hope, towards and upon our Lord Jesus Christ, is this same faith of the operation of God, of which the Scriptures speak.

Junior. You have given me some light into the subject, if I mistake you not; but give me leave just to give you my conceptions, I understand, if I were not born again, I could not have the least spiritual life in me. This spiritual life in me is faith. This is revived by thinking on Christ, and further expressed by its exercises on the person, grace, and salvation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Is this right?

Senior. It is. The Holy Ghost does not quicken your dead heart, and raise it up to believe on the name of the only begotten Son of God; but he quickens and raises up the spiritual life and faculty which he wrought in you in regeneration, and draws it forth into act and exercise.

Junior. Really, Sir, it is of great importance to know this, and have right and scriptural views of the same.

Senior. It is so; as it makes way for our so received in the knowledge of Christ and salvation into our minds, as lifts us off ourselves, and fixes us entirely on him.

Junior. But how am I made a partaker of Christ?

Senior. By faith; which is a receiving grace, and by which we actually receive Christ into our hearts.

Junior, But what must I do? I must act, that I may receive Christ. Must I not?

Senior. There is nothing to be done by you, You are wholly passive in all the work and operation of the Spirit of the Living God within you and upon you.

Junior. This I cannot apprehend, How can I receive salvation, if I act nothing?

Senior. Just as you received natural and spiritual life, without acting any thing, Did you not receive natural life without any act of yours? What act did you perform, when a living soul was imparted to you? None. It was utterly impossible you should. You had being and life given you; all which followed was but the effect of it. You had a spiritual birth and life in regeneration bestowed on you; all the acts of the same are the fruits and effects of it. So the knowledge of Christ is bestowed on you, and Christ is received into the mind actually and passively, under the influence of the Holy Ghost, and formed in you the hope of glory, without any act of yours. Many spiritual acts of the mind follow, which give proof and evidence of all this; but not one of these goes before, to give being to the cause which produces them.

Junior. Sir, I confess your conversation on these subjects, appears more and more to me very interesting. I want you most clearly and expressly to explain these subjects. I perceive you speak of them, as though they existed in your own mind as spiritual and divine realities.

Senior. Indeed they do. Not that it follows from hence, that I shall be able to give you such a clear statement of them, as will give you the fullest satisfaction.

Junior. I must confess, that what hath been delivered, has excited my attention; therefore, my mind being set upon thinking over, and pondering on what you may further deliver, it may be an encouragement, that your labor shall not be in vain in the Lord.

Senior. The new birth contains the spiritual faculties of understanding, will, memory, and affections. The Holy Ghost enlightens the understanding with the knowledge of Christ. The Apostle says, And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. I John,5:20. The Holy Ghost enlightens the renewed mind, and opens the spiritual understanding to receive and apprehend Christ, as revealed in the everlasting gospel. By this means Christ is most truly known spiritually received. He exists in the mind. The renewed will bows, submits, yields itself unto him, as the one alone and only Saviour. The, affections are fixed on him as all sufficient for life and salvation. The memory is sanctified to think on, and, to remember his work of salvation, and the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth, and which are recorded in the Sacred Volume of Inspiration. The spiritual faculties of the renewed mind are altogether suited to Christ: to know him to apprehend him to receive him to believe on him to love him to cleave to him to delight in him to glory in him to live on him alone. You understand me, do you not?

Junior. Yes, I do. You say the Holy Ghost reveals Christ to the enlightened mind. This revelation is from the word of grace, and altogether agreeable with it. He takes of the things of Christ revealed in it, and gives to the mind a real spiritual apprehension of the same. He realizes them in the mind, that they have their existence there, and are found and experienced by the soul born of God to be divine realities. Is it not so?

Senior. It is even so. And hereby your new birth is most clearly evidenced; as you have a real knowledge of Christ formed in your mind, and of the Father’s love in him, and are drawn insensibly to yourself, by the grace and energy of the Holy Spirit, to think and meditate on Christ’s salvation, and the Father’s love to you in him.

Junior. I could wish to request you, in the most simple and clearest manner, to give me an account how you received Christ; I conceive it will serve, should I have made any mistake in what hath been delivered on the subject before us, to set me right.

Senior. I most certainly will, and with the greatest pleasure. You are to know, that the Lord had wrought effectually on my soul, some years before I knew Christ as he is set forth in the everlasting gospel of the blessed God. When I was, through his good pleasure, to hear the everlasting gospel, it was under the ministry of the truly excellent Mr. Romaine, a man whom I never conversed with. I am truly glad I never did, as I conceive it has answered a far better end, to receive what I did from him in in ordinance way, than in a way of conversation. When I first heard him, I was struck exceedingly with the subject. He was at that time constantly speaking concerning tile covenant of the Eternal Three. He used to express how the Father had laid on Christ all sorts of sin that Christ had offered himself as the sacrifice for them that his offering had perfected for ever the putting away of sin that, the Father was infinitely and everlastingly well pleased with the life and death of his co-equal Son, and well pleased with that sinner who was well pleased with Christ that the Holy Spirit bore his testimony to the truth of all this in the word and that there was now nothing, to be done for salvation. He used to express himself thus: When persons begin to be, concerned about salvation, they all think there must be some great work wrought, that they may be saved. Sirs, there is nothing to be done for salvation, but what hath already been. The sacrifice which takes away all sin, hath been offered. The Father hath accepted it, and Christ is entered with his own blood into the holiest of all; and nothing remains but for God to send down his Spirit, to bring you to believe in the righteousness and sacrifice of Immanuel. I used to be all ear in hearing these important sentences: and my whole attention being most powerfully arrested with a consideration of the importance of what was contained in the subject, my wind was led secretly anti imperceptibly to believe on the righteousness, and most precious blood shedding of the Lamb of God, and the Father’s infinite and everlasting delight in him, and acceptance of his work, without any thought about faith,, or interest in the subject. This is the way in which the Lord the Spirit led me to receive Christ. It was thus Christ was formed in my heart; and hereby I was led to rest and center in Christ for my whole salvation.

Junior. But did you not experience something very remarkable and particular when you received Christ?

Senior. No: I did not. My whole mind was engaged with the subject. Christ was my one object. All my thoughts were exercised on the everlasting perfection of’ his righteousness, and the eternal worth and virtue of his blood.

Junior. It seems faith is nothing, according to your account. I always conceived it a great and surprising act, to believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God. I have heard many say it is as hard a work to believe, as to make a world.

Senior. I have nothing to do, my good Sir, with what you have heard, or with what others say., I am very freely disposed to speak to you of the subject now before us; and I can but speak according to my own knowledge and experience thereof..

Junior. My good Sir, I dare say nothing against what you have said. I know not but it may all be truth. All I say is, it seems to make no difficulty of believing. I should really, like the subject to be more freely and fully opened; for, it really appears to me, what you have said, amounts to this that you found no difficulty in believing on Christ for salvation that you believed without any regard to what you were in yourself that you did not examine yourself, whether you ought to believe or not and, that you did not attend, in the act of believing, to whether you were interested in Christ or not. I gather all this from what you have before delivered unto me in this present conversation.

Senior. I cannot but address you very affectionately, and say, my dear friend, I have said all you suggest; and it pleases me well that you have so clearly perceived what I have delivered. I have made no difficulty of believing; and I have expressed myself clear enough for you to perceive, that I paid no regard to what I was in myself, in the act of believing on Christ for salvation. You understand me right, in suggesting, that I did not examine myself whether I ought to believe or not; nor was I in the least concerned, for it was not in all my thoughts whether I had interest in Christ or not: so that you have clearly understood my words. Now, I am very free to explain myself on all this, if you are disposed to attend.

Junior. Indeed, that I am; and should be quite pleased to have the whole explained: for, I must confess, your conversation hath done me good; yet the present is such, as I really want and wish much, to request you would explain it to me.

Senior. I am willing, and want nothing but your attention. If you will give me your ear, I will give you my whole heart on these subjects.

Junior. I will, Sir, most assuredly; for I never attended to the voice of information more, than when you are pleased to converse with me.

Senior. We will both of us avoid all compliments. I am a sinner. When I heard the gospel, I heard it as containing life and salvation; whilst, as to its great and grand subject salvation by the blood and righteous ness of Christ, I had no right knowledge of it; yet the novelty of the subject, its sublimity, the freeness and generosity of Christ as expressed in it, and set forth by it, wrought on my mind. Thus I found that the Apostle says to be true, that faith cometh by hear in and hearing by the word of God. Rom. 10:17. Through the supernatural light and teaching of the Holy Ghost, I received into my mind the knowledge of Christ. I was altogether passive in this. Having been led by the Holy Ghost, under the preaching of Christ, into some real and gospel apprehension of him, I was led to think over, and exercise my mind on the same. Thus I was actually admitted into the knowledge of Christ and salvation, and found therein life everlasting: so that, if you understand me, I was wholly passive in all this. The Lord the Spirit opened my ear to hear Christ preached: the Lord the Spirit conveyed the true knowledge of Christ to my understanding, by means of what I heard delivered concerning him: the Lord the Spirit by this very means revealed Christ in me. It was thus that he took of the things of Christ, and made them known unto me; and thus he brought me to trust wholly on Christ for eternal life.

Junior. But did you not feel some very sensible comfort in your soul when you first believed?

Senior. No. Christ was the object of my faith. His salvation was the subject my faith was exercised on. I was therefore taken off myself entirely. I was not led to think concerning myself. It was no subject of importance with me what I was, or what I was not; but who Christ was, and what he had done. These, in my views, were the only subjects I had any concern with.

Junior. It may all be very right; yet, if it be, I am confident I want a more clear view of the subject.

Senior. Possibly so. I can only inform you how I was brought to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ to the saving of the soul, and what I believed concerning him. It may be, were I to tell you all I believe regarding him, and what the substance of my faith is, or what it consists in, you would think still less of my faith.

Junior. I cannot say as to this; yet I should really like you to touch on this part of the subject. I cannot but confess, I conceive you may, and must be right in the subject; but you are so far above me, I want you to descend lower, and come down to me, that I may most plainly understand you,

Senior. Christ himself is the object of my faith. What I believe concerning him is this that God made him sin, that I might be made the righteousness, of God in him, My faith consists in believing the everlasting virtue of Christ’s blood to make me clean from all sin; and the infinite perfection of his obedience to make me now and evermore righteous before the Lord, at this present moment, and when I stand before him at his bar; and on this I rest my everlasting all.

Junior. Yet I have not heard you say one word relative to your believing your interest in Christ, and Knowing he died for your sins in particular, and that you are brought to believe that you are a pardoned and saved person.

Senior. You have not. Yet that I am a saved man, a justified, pardoned person, is as clear to me, as that I exist. This is not, however, what I look at and believe in for salvation. No. The true knowledge of Christ, and faith in Christ, make way for the knowledge of this. Yet my faith is not exercised on any of these; but my faith in Christ makes way for my knowledge and enjoyment of all these blessings and benefits of salvation.

Junior. Why, don’t you look on Christ dying for me, and my justification, and pardon, and knowledge of this salvation?

Senior. My friend, I am for Christ alone to wear the sole glory of salvation; which consists in his taking away sin, and bringing in everlasting righteousness. The Apostle sets the great subject of believing before us very clearly in the following words. The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God bath raised him from the dead, thou shalt he saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession, is made unto salvation. Romans 10:8,9,10. Here is Christ in his death and resurrection set forth, as what faith is exercised on and believes in. The revelation of Christ in the word, is the ground and warrant for faith. The Lord Jesus Christ in his life and death, is the immediate object of our faith. It is the record and testimony which God hath given us of his Son in the scriptures of truth, that are the support and encouragement of our faith. It is in believing in Christ, we have actual fellowship with Christ, and know our interest in him. When we trust on Christ, we wholly and altogether renounce ourselves. It would be well to look at such scriptural expressions concerning faith as these: Christ styles it faith which is in me. Acts, 26:18. Whosoever believeth in him, shall receive remission of sins. Acts, 10:43. Us who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts, 11:17. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. Acts, 16:31. We believe, that thought the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall be saved. Acts, 15:11., Also the acts of faith are represented by looking, by coming, by flying, by taking hold of Christ. Look unto me. Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up; that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have eternal life. Him that cometh unto me, .I will in wise cast out. This is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, shall have everlasting life. Who hath fled for refuge to lay hold, of the hope set before us.-He is able to save to the uttermost, them that come unto God by him. Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely. If you look at all these expressions, you may clearly perceive the object of faith, and the act of faith, distinguished; also, that faith is the act of the spiritual mind on Christ the object.

Junior. You have set forth Christ as the object of faith, and his salvation as the subject on which faith is very particularly exercised, in a way I have not been accustomed to consider it. If I conceive aright of your expressions, you make the knowledge of interest in Christ, or your personal justification, pardon, and salvation, the fruits of your knowing Christ, do you not?

Senior. Yes The knowledge of Christ is life everlasting. Communion with him is the fruit of it, and one of the greatest of all blessing this side heaven. In this holy communion between Christ and the believer, he is admitted into a knowledge of his personal interest in Christ, and all the blessings and benefits of his salvation.

Junior. So, then, according to what you have delivered to me, Christ and salvation are received, in the knowledge of him and it, into the regenerate mind, by a spiritual perception and apprehension thereof?

Senior. Most assuredly it is even so. I would recommend the following scripture to your consideration, that you may see for yourself it is so. The apostle says, Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all. Rom. 4:16. I conceive these words are very expressive how Christ, salvation, and every spiritual blessing, are received into the renewed mind. It is by faith. It is through faith. All which proves it to be wholly through grace. I look on it a real blessing rightly to know salvation in its clear and proper distinction from all other subjects, and also how it is received. When this is clearly understood, it saves from many perplexities, and makes way for living Christ, which we cannot do, until we have a true, clear, and gospel knowledge of him. The whole of Christ is set before us in the word. We receive the same distinctly into our minds. Hereby Christ dwells in our hearts. Our faith is the exercise of our minds on him. Hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us. He takes of the things of Christ; He shews the same to us; He leads us to hold fellowship with Christ by these discoveries which He gives us of him. Thus the Lord Jesus becomes increasingly precious to our hearts. We have increasing knowledge of him, and hereby are brought under the mighty influence and authority of his grace. Thus we are made partakers of Christ, and have the true knowledge of him in our renewed minds, by the divine energy and operation of the Holy Ghost, and his sealing home the truths and doctrines of the everlasting gospel on our hearts. The Lord Jesus Christ, in his life, death, burial, resurrection, ascension, glorification, and advocacy, is received, in the knowledge of the same, into our minds. Our thoughts are spiritually engaged hereon. ln the subject the life of our souls consist. In the enjoyment of it, we have communion with the Father, and the Son, through the Spirit. What will follow on it, are the fruits and effects of believing on the Son of God. I hope I have made the subject clear and plain, so as for you to understand me.

Junior. Indeed, Sir, I am bound to thank you for the same. I understand faith in Christ springs from the word of God: that he is spiritually apprehended by it: that he is looked at, trusted in, enjoyed, lived on, so far as we receive the knowledge of him into our minds from the word and by the Spirit. I confess it conveys such views of him to my understanding, as exceed all my former conceptions. I was prone to look for Christ, and expected the enjoyment of him, in some wonderful ecstasies and raptures of spirit. I had no idea of looking for him in the revelation given concerning Him in the Holy Scriptures. I should be glad of further conversation on subjects like unto these; but as time will not at present admit of this, I most heartily thank you for the present interview, hoping for another. Farewell.

[chapter:5. The Holy Trinity] [chapters:200,left]

5 A Discourse on the Holy Trinity, as made known by the Doctrine of Christ’s person, to such as are born again.

THE RICHES OF DIVINE GRACE UNFOLDED

DIALOGUE V.

A Discourse on the Holy Trinity, as made known by the Doctrine of Christ’s Person,

to such as are born again of God.

AFTER an interruption of conversation, owing to want of convenient season for the continuation of it, these two friends, Junior and Senior, met again, to entertain each other, by renewing their mutual intercourse; and having saluted, expressing their pleasure in being once more together, the conversation began. Senior. My good friend, I hope you have been reflecting seriously and judiciously on the subjects of our past conversation. It would be vastly pleasing to me, to be of the least advantage in assisting your mind in thinking rightly on such important subjects as we have been discoursing on. Not that I would by any means insinuate you are beholden to me for any light I can communicate. I am willing, if you please, to enter on some spiritual conversation. If you, are so disposed, speak your mind, and fix your subject.

Junior. Sir, I most certainly have attended closely to what you have delivered in the former Conferences I have had with you. I must confess my being profited by them; yet I would not wish to have the same subjects resumed. Not that they are not momentous. No: They most certainly are. None more so; yet I want to proceed, and get on to such as may still increase my mind with light and grace. It was the Apostle’s prayer for some real saints, that they might be filled with the knowledge of the Lord’s will, in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.

Senior. You say right. I also will shew you my opinion. I conceive there can be no spiritual growth, but as the soul increases in spiritual knowledge. The subjects we have treated of, were Sin: a most awful and tremendous evil; you and I are the subjects of it. We then discoursed on Regeneration: you and I are the subjects of it. We are born of God: we are in the kingdom of God’s dear Son. We need not, therefore, go over this ground again. We then proceeded to that most blessed and comfortable subject, Salvation. This is a finished work. It is wholly and altogether without us. There can be no change in it. Christ is our salvation.  We are saved in him with an everlasting salvation. From this we proceeded to speak concerning the Knowledge of this Salvation: how it is received into the regenerate mind; that, by the operation of the Holy Ghost, we are made the partakers of it in a way of believing. I should wish to know what effect our last conversation had on you.

Junior. Why, truly, Sir, I cannot but acknowledge it has produced very singular and blessed effects, in my mind. Heretofore all my thoughts were swallowed up about inherent grace. I expected to be saved on account of it. What I called faith, was built altogether on myself, and what I found and experienced in myself. I really had no distinct, clear, and scriptural perceptions of the salvation of our Lord Jesus Christ. In pondering over what you delivered concerning it, and the way in which it is received, I see myself to have been hitherto very very dark, in my knowledge and view of these important subjects. From your last discourse, I have, by close attention to the same, learned that Christ is the immediate object of my faith: not my graces, frames, feelings, or experiences. That his salvation is the proper subject for my , mind to be exercised on: not what I am in myself, That his word is the foundation of my faith: not any thing wrought in me.  I perceive, impressions of any sort, are not believing. I clearly see that it is what God the Father hath revealed of Christ, and what the Holy Spirit bears witness of him in the scriptures of truth, are of more importance, and of greater consequence to me, than what I am in myself, or feel of myself. I must confess I never thought concerning the record which God had given of his Son in the everlasting gospel; yet, now my eyes are opened, I read, He that believeth on the Son of God, hath the witness in himself. he that believeth not God, hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life: and he that hath. not the Son of God, hath not life. I John, v.10, 11, 12. It seems to cast light on the whole of your last conversation with me. I am, in my own views, ” though I had never heard of the Lord Jesus Christ, and of faith in him. You speak of taking in the knowledge of Christ, under the operation of the Holy Ghost upon the renewed mind, and of a discovery of this, by the acts and outgoings of the mind, under the influences of the same Holy Spirit: now, of this, I had not the least idea.

Senior. If you have received any spiritual advantage, I very sincerely do rejoice at the same. I most assuredly am willing to impart any spiritual gift in my power. The Apostle, writing to the saints at Rome says, I long to see you, that I may impart unto you some spiritual gift, to the end ye may be established; that is, that I may be comforted together with you, by the mutual faith both of you and me. Rom. I:11,12. You and myself being present, we cannot long to see each other; but we may, even whilst present, long to edify each other. Do you of yourself speak out, and say what the subject of our present discourse shall be.

Junior. If you please, I would request a discourse concerning the Trinity.

Senior. What, my good Sir, do you mean? You cannot expect me to speak on that sublime subject, most surely, as in itself considered. You do not expect me to speak of the nature of God, the persons in God, the essential perfections of the infinite and self-existing Essence; as in its absolute nature and necessity, infinity and blessedness. Give me leave to say, the Godhead, with its personalities, blessedness, and glory, is incomprehensible. The Father. the Son, and the Spirit, exist and co-exist in an incomprehensible manner. The Unity of, the Divine Essence, and the Trinity of Persons, are subjects which cannot be comprehended. We must go to the Bible for any proper ideas of the same. We have there the doctrine of it, not explained, but positively set forth, stated, and declared. If you enquire concerning this, I am at your service, to declare and set it before you.

Junior. I thought, to know the doctrine of the Three in Jehovah, was the same with knowing the Three in Jehovah; but I observe you make a difference, otherwise you would not have expressed yourself as you have done. I plainly perceive you want me to consider, that Jehovah is essentially and incomprehensibly, and by necessity of nature, what he is; that the Three in Jehovah are essentially Jehovah; that their existence in Jehovah is as essential as Godhead is; that they are incomprehensible as to their existence, and mode of existence: so that the Three in Jehovah are as incomprehensible, as the nature in which they exist. Is not this what you mean to suggest to me?

Senior. Yes; and also, that all thoughts of God-head, and the Three in Godhead, out of Christ, and without the consideration of him as God-man, lead but to the contemplation of absolute Deity, and leave us without viewing this glorious subject, as revealed in the glorious gospel of the blessed God.

Junior. My good Sir, from what you have said, I seem to think you make a distinction between the sacred Trinity in Unity, and the doctrine concerning them.

Senior. I do; and will give you clearly my conceptions of the same. I cannot, I dare not, say what Jehovah in his Persons, Life, Blessedness, Glory, and Immortality is. He was, and is, and is to come. Abstracted from all worlds, beings, and things, he is of himself, and from himself alone. He dwelleth in that light which no mortal eye can approach unto; whom no Man hath, seen, or can see; to whom be honor and power everlasting, Amen. Now the doctrine of the Trinity is a revelation which God hath given us concerning his Nature, Persons, and Perfections in Christ. whilst it is universal with all Christians to say, the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is a mystery, yet I do not think this to be true and right. No. The doctrine is not a mystery; but what is contained in it, is absolutely so: yet we are called only to believe the doctrine, not to comprehend the same. The truth of the doctrine is realized in every article of faith, in every doctrine, and truth throughout the gospel of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. Nay, the very system of Nature has evident proofs, and bears testimony, that the Three in Jehovah were concerned in their formation. Yet it is to us of the greatest importance, to know them in their covenant transactions, and how they stand related to us in Christ Jesus. The Scriptures are very clear and copious on these subjects; and, I conceive, this is what you are so desirous to be instructed in.

Junior. , I would state the subject I wish to receive your instructions in, thus How the Holy Trinity are made known by the doctrine of Christ’s Person, to such is are born again of God?

Senior. Such as are born again of God, have the following indubitable evidence of the doctrine of the Holy Trinity in their own souls. When they were first convinced of sin, it was very evident to them, that they had sinned against an infinite Majesty that there was an infinity of evil in Sin that it required an infinite satisfaction that He who had made satisfaction for the same, must be an infinite Person and, that he also, who was pleased to make known this satisfaction, must be equal in power and Majesty with him who finished transgression, made an end of sin, made reconciliation for iniquity, and brought in everlasting righteousness. Thus the ground work is laid in the renewed mind, concerning the knowledge of the Holy Trinity; which is afterwards improved by the divine teachings of the Holy Ghost from the scriptures of truth.

Junior. I have sometimes conceived it must be so; and that every truth is, as it were, implanted in the mind in regeneration, and that it is afterwards variously drawn out, opened, and discovered. For in conversing with you, I have frequently perceived, whilst the truths you have delivered and opened to me, have far exceeded any knowledge or conception I ever before had of them; yet I have found an inward delight in them, and perceived a glory, sublimity, excellency, and majesty in them. It has, therefore, been sometimes in my thoughts, whether I wanted any thing more than the opening the mysteries of the gospel more clearly and freely to my mind.

Senior. You have, in what you have said, expressed very proper conceptions on the subject. Peter says of believers in the righteousness of God our Saviour Jesus Christ, that on such is bestowed all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us unto glory and virtue. This was all bestowed in our new-birth. In it our spiritual faculty consists. This is capacitated to receive all revealed truths concerning Christ, and the Father’s love in Him, through the divine light and operation of the Holy Ghost on it. , I have really found it to be so in my own experience.

Junior. How is it then, if it be so of a truth, many of such as we look upon as born from above, so often say, this truth is not fit for such and such to hear. It ought not to be by any means proposed to them it is too far beyond them they cannot apprehend it. If the spiritual mind is a capacity suited to all revealed truth, and all truth suited to it, how is there any propriety in speaking so and so as I have related?

Senior. It is a truth, that some glorious mysteries of grace, may be more suited to the spiritual mind at one time than at another. You have discovered this to be your own case, as you have requested leaving past subjects, and proceeding to speak of such as are more deep and out of sight. Yet it should not be said at any time, there any truths in the gospel we have no concern with, neither that they are beyond us, because hereby the mind is taken off from considering the importance of eternal verities. The Apostle tells us, we have received the spirit of God, that we may know the things which are freely given to us of God. It is as he opens them to our minds, that we are spiritually quickened by them. It is as he seals them in our hearts, that we experience the divine good and reality of them. Therefore as they are the bread of life, and the daily bread of it, and we cannot be nourished up into everlasting life, but by the wholesome words, or life giving, and life maintaining words of our Lord , Jesus Christ, and the doctrine which is according to godliness; it should never be, that any of God’s beloved ones should speak slightingly of the truths of any of them, of the least or greatest of them, in any way of diminution, they being all worthy of God.

Junior. I, confess I have been often grieved, at what seems to be so, in many of the godly. But our Lord said to Peter, when he asked an impertinent question concerning John, what is that to thee? follow thou me: so I would drop all other subjects, and in treat you to set before me that which I have requested you to converse with me upon.

Senior. You desire to be informed, how the Three in Jehovah are made known, by the doctrine of Christ’s Person, to such as are regenerated. I will endeavour to answer you to the best of my power, and give you all the scriptural evidence of this I may be assisted with. I would have you to observe, it is a great subject, a spiritual subject, an important one, an experimental one. It is not a mere speculative point., No. Indeed, indeed it is not You must, therefore, carefully attend to every part and branch of conversation on the same: without it, even should the Lord enlarge my mind, and open my mouth to speak ever so clearly and freely, it will be lost on you.

Junior. You may depend on it, I have some inward sense of the greatness of the subject, and an inward relish and spiritual appetite to feed on it, or I had not proposed this to be the point now to be opened.

Senior. Sir, we must here be confined and circumscribed on all sides by the written word. No abstract views and thoughts of Deity must be admitted. We must be contented here to be guided by the infallible word and Spirit. What think you of this?

Junior. I am willing, most readily, to submit to these two guides, God’s word, and Spirit. My good Sir, you have prepared me for all this, by what you before spoke on this subject, and which, I hope, never to forget. That it is not what the Father, the Word, and the Spirit are in the Essence, as the Incomprehensible Three in the Incomprehensible Jehovah; but what they to us in Christ, and what they have revealed of are their natural love to us in Christ. My enquiry is simply this, How they are made known, by the doctrine of Christ’s Person, to such of us as are born of God?

Senior. This is a very interesting subject indeed. May the Holy Ghost, the Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation, be with me of a truth, whilst I aim to give you satisfaction in this great point.

Junior. The Lord hath blessed your past discourses to me. I have received into my mind what you have delivered; I cannot, therefore, doubt of receiving further instruction from you. I conceive it is your delight to dwell deeply and intensely on the deep things of God; and, I doubt not, but the Lord will be with you, and give us both his blessing and his Spirit.

Senior. May it be so, for his name and for his truth’s sake, Amen. Whilst I by no means question it, yet I would neither be presumptuous nor careless. I should look on it as bold and awfully wrong, to enter on this subject, as if I conceived myself inherently sufficient for it. I should consider it very shocking carelessness, to engage on such sublime points as these, without confessing that all my sufficiency is of God. May the Lord the Holy Ghost bestow on me afresh his divine unction, so as to enable me to speak rightly and acceptably on what you have proposed. From your words in the proposal, How the Three in Jehovah are made known by the doctrine to such as are regenerated? you are not asking what the Three in Jehovah are, as considered in their infinite Essence, and personal distinction in the Self-existing Essence; but what they are as revealed in Christ, and according to the doctrine concerning them in the written word; and how the Three in Jehovah, in connection. and agreement with this are made known by the doctrine of Christ’s Person, to the minds of such as are born of God: this is the full substance of your enquiry, is it not?

Junior. It is the whole of it. May the Lord him self direct you in what you are about to express on the same. May he open my ear and heart to receive it; whilst it pleases him to make your tongue like choice silver, to convey the same to me .

Senior. In the doctrine of the ever-blessed Trinity, as revealed in the Bible, we have the whole which concerns us respecting them set forth, and fully and openly declared. In the Person of Christ, God-Man, who is the glory of scripture, we have it realized. In every ordinance and act of divine worship, we have an acknowledgment made of it. All saints, in earth and heaven, give blessing, honor, glory, and power, to the Father, to the Son, and to the Spirit, to him that liveth for ever and ever; saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. The Divine Persons have manifested themselves in the distinct acts of their wills towards us; in their eternal purposes, and vast designs in Christ respecting us; in the salvation planned by them in Christ before all time wrought out for us in the fullness of time, and set before us in the everlasting gospel: the truths of which are immutable and everlasting: the glory of which reflects the knowledge of the Divine Coequal, Coessential, and Coeternal Three on us: so as that we thereby know them, believe on them, rest in them for everlasting life, and center in them for eternal glory. The Apostle says, God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath, shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ. The term Person, made use of by Divines, when treating on the doctrine of the Trinity, is not to be understood in any gross sense; it is found in scriptures as you may see from the passage just quoted: and Christ is a Person in, the Godhead distinct from the Father and the Spirit. It is used to express the real distinct subsistence’s in the Essence, who are relatively, not essential distinct. That which gives them personal and distinct subsistence in the Incomprehensible Godhead, is as eternal, and as truly by necessity of nature, as the Godhead in which this personal distinction is. Now this is most fully Opened to us, it is reflected on us, and shines forth to our view, so as for us to have a scriptural and intuitive view, and spiritual apprehension of it, in the Person of God-Man.

Junior. There is a glory, majesty, and sublimity in the subject. It fills the mind with solemnity indeed, to contemplate the same. I understand. what you have suggested: it is the everlasting love of the Father, the salvation of the Son, and the revelation of the same to our minds, by the grace and power of the Holy Ghost, which give divine proof and evidence to us, that there are Three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. I John, 5:7. Not one in person, but three in personal distinction; yet one in nature, life, blessedness, and glory.

Senior. You rightly conceive, and most clearly express yourself. It is the distinct acts of the Three in Jehovah, manifested in grace, in creation, in salvation, in providence, in glory, that give full proof of their existence. The everlasting love of the Father to his own elect in Christ; the love of Christ to them, with what he hath done for them, as their Head and Saviour; the work and office of the Holy Ghost within them an upon them, in conforming them unto Christ, and making them his epistles, seen and known of all men to be so: we are led to see our obligations to the holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity for. Now it would be pleasing for you to say, very freely and fully, what your own apprehension of these important truths is, as thereby I may be assisted to encourage and strengthen you.

Junior. I do not presume to cast light on the subject, yet, what I conceive of the same, from the light I have received in reading the scriptures, is this that the knowledge of the covenant acts and transactions of the Three in Jehovah, as stated and recorded in the inspired volume, is the most clear and easiest way of receiving the doctrine of the blessed Trinity into the mind; so as to be led to worship, love, adore, and praise Jehovah in all his persons, for what they are to us as the Lord our God, and for their covenant settlements on our behalf, and for their distinct offices in the whole economy of their grace unto us.

Senior. I most sincerely approve of what you declare on the subject before us. It is hereby we are actually led to a real knowledge of, a real acquaintance with, and a real love to, each of the persons in the Godhead. As we know the Father in his love to us in Christ, we love him for the same; as we know the person and salvation of Christ, we love him who loved us, and gave himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour; as we know the Holy Ghost, and his love to us, his office on our behalf, how he dwells in us, how he makes Christ precious to us, how he sheds abroad the Father’s love in our hearts, and carries on communion between the Father and the Son in our minds, hearts, understandings, will, and affections. I consider all the Lord’s people have communion with the Three in Jehovah in this way, beyond what they commonly conceive; and that their inward conceptions of the Trinity in Unity, are beyond what they can possibly express; yet not withstanding all this, they are frequently perplexed in giving any clear statement of the same.

Junior. My dear Sir, do you think the gospel can be properly preached, without giving a clear and scriptural account of the engagements of the eternal Trinity in the everlasting covenant?

Senior. I do not; because the proper statement of the will of each of the Divine Persons in this compact, is the very gospel itself. In the true and scriptural account hereof, each and all of the Divine Persons, have their proper glory for the expressions of their mutual love to the elect, who are saved herein and hereby, with an everlasting salvation. The Father’s love, the Son’s salvation, and the Spirit’s testimony concerning the same, are the subject, and the whole substance, of the gospel of the grace of God.

Junior. Does not a proper understanding of this lead, under divine influence, into real, distinct, and particular communion with each of the Three in Jehovah in their covenant acts? and, if so, is not the want of a clear statement of this, and a neglect of it in the public ministry, very detrimental to spirituality,  to spiritual growth and fruitfulness, in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ?

Senior. This cannot be denied. The Apostle says to the saints at Colosse, I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea., and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; that their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Chap. 2:1,2,3.

Junior. Pray, Sir, is not the whole Trinity in the Person of Christ?

Senior. I am not fond of saying or speaking thus. The doctrine of the Trinity is in the doctrine of Christ; nor can the doctrine of Christ be maintained without it, because it is founded on it; I rather conceive, the other is not a safe way of speaking, as it seems to swallow up the Persons of the Father and the Spirit, in the Person of Christ, which cannot be right: yet Christ, God-Man, is the image of the Invisible God. He is God manifest in the flesh. In him all the Three in Jehovah are made known, and manifested to their uttermost discovery. The whole of Godhead, with all the persons and perfections in Godhead, is made known in Christ. He is one with a Person in the Essence: he is the Fellow, of the Lord of Hosts. In him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead. He was set up from everlasting, by the will, council, and covenant, of each of the Divine Persons. In him the self-existence of the self-existing Nature is manifested to the uttermost display. of it so far as is consistent with the glory of God, and so far as will suit the intellectual minds of elect saints and angels. In the Person of Christ, all the Divine Three are manifested: so that when Christ was openly declared at his baptism, heaven was opened a voice from the excellent glory was heard, pronouncing with an audible voice, This is My beloved Son, in whom l am well pleased. The Holy Ghost descended in a visible symbol on Christ; and the Baptist saw it, and knew thereby that Jesus of Nazareth was the Son of God. Here the whole Three Persons were most clearly manifested. The Father spake; the Son in our nature was he to whom, and of whom, he spake; and the Holy Ghost descended on him, and anointed him, and sealed him up as the Christ of God; and it is in Christ God shines upon his elect angels and saints in heaven, and reflects on them the full blaze of his deity, personalities, and perfections. It is in God-Man, the brightness of glory, they enjoy God in all his persons and love, and live for ever. Christ is the medium, the mirror, in which they see God., worship him in the acknowledgment of his persons, as Father, Son, and Sprit, and live for ever; and it is in the true intuitive knowledge of the person of Christ, God-Man,” that the true knowledge of the Father and the Spirit is reflected on the church of the living God in this our world. Hereby we receive the true knowledge of the incomprehensible Three in the glorious Jehovah, into our minds. Our Lord, in his incarnate state, said, I thank thee, 0 Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because’ thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight. All things are delivered unto me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father, neither knoweth any man the Father save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. Which, when, and to whom he does, it is by the Spirit; and it is in the person and salvation of Christ, and by the revelation of him in the hearts of his regenerate and believing people, that the doctrine of the Holy Trinity is made known, and most clearly manifested to such as are born again of God. I hope you are satisfied with what hath been delivered on this very deep and sublime subject.

Junior. I have attended closely to what you have delivered. I cannot conceive it can be in any other way, than according to your statement, that this most truly great and important verity can be received in the mind, believed in the heart, and so enjoyed, as to draw out all the faculties of the soul to worship the Trinity in Unity, as the Lord God of saints; as the God of all grace; as our God, Father, Saviour, Comforter, and Sanctifier. I wish you would give me a few scriptures, in which the worship of the Trinity is set forth.

Senior. I will. The blessing pronounced by the Lords command, under the Old Testament, was as follows,The Lord bless thee, and keep thee: the Lord make his face shine upon thee, and be gracious unto thee: the Lord lift up his countenance upon thee, and give thee peace. Num. 6:24,25,26. This was pronounced in the name of all the Three Persons. It is equal with the Apostle’s benediction, which runs thus: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. 2 Cor.13:14. The same Apostle says to the saints at Ephesus, For through him (Christ) we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Ephes. 2:18. Here are Christ, the Father, and the Spirit, worshipped by prayer. In his third chapter, we have in his apostolic, prayer, all the three persons mentioned, with their particular interest in the saints, and the whole concluded with this doxology “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power which worketh in us, unto hint be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end Amen”. In the following words, which is a prayer, you have each of tile Divine Persons mentioned: And the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God, and into the patient waiting for Christ. 2 Thess. 3:5. In the ordinance of baptism, faith in each of the sacred Three, is expressed and exercised, according to the words of institution. Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matt. 28:19. The following words, with which I will end, contain a prayer to the Holy Trinity. Grace be unto you, and peace from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven spirits which are before his throne; And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first-begotten of the dead, and the Prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Rev. I:4,5,6. I hope these are sufficient to answer the end.

Junior. Indeed, Sir, they are; yet, I recollect the seraphim, in Isaiah, worship the sacred Trinity, saying Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of Hosts. Daniel styles the Three in Jehovah, the Holy Ones; and the prophet John speaks of the worship of them thus: Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. But I know it is your time to retire, I most sincerely thank you for your conversation, and hope to be admitted to enjoy another spiritual interview with you when it maybe convenient. Mercy and peace be with you. Amen.

Senior. May your Lord and mine say amen to it also, Adieu.

[chapter:6. Knowledge of Christ] [chapters:200,left]

6 What is contained in the Knowledge of Christ, and how the Saints are brought to know him, are the subjects of this discourse.

THE RICHES OF DIVINE GRACE UNFOLDED

DIALOGUE VI.

On what is contained in the Knowledge of Christ, and how the Saints, are brought to know him, are the subject of this discourse.

A CONVENIENT season being come for Junior and Senior to converse with each other, their discourse thus began.

Senior. I am glad, my friend, on the return of a suitable opportunity, of renewing our further improvement on the most important of all subjects. I have lived many years in this world, in the course of which I have enjoyed many mercies, both temporal and spiritual, and experienced many miseries, both of body and mind. I ever found but one grand catholicon and complete cure for what I have been, and still am, the subject of; and that is the knowledge of the Lord Jesus. I remember one, who said, a son being born to him, whose name he called Noah, This same shall comfort us concerning our hands, because of the ground which the Lord hath cursed. He found none but Christ could comfort him, and bear up his body and mind, under the views and experience which he had in himself, of the evils contained in his fallen nature.

Junior. Your last discourse has so wrought on me as most sincerely to desire this present season, to obtain an interview with you. I have been lately soaring high in heavenly contemplations on the doctrine of the blessed Trinity. I see all flows from their free, sovereign, and immutable love. I long to have more free and full communion with them in all the blessings thereof. I really long to be leaving past views and attainments even in spiritual things, and to be pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus, What say you of this?

Senior.  It is very pleasing to hear this from you. I know spiritual views of Christ, beget fervent hungering and thirsting after Christ; and discover the state of the mind, and the spirituality thereof.

Junior. I want to be swallowed up in Christ, to be personally, and practically, and experimentally, and intuitively, acquainted with him.

Senior. This is most truly blessed; but you, are in a measure acquainted with him. You don’t mean to deny this surely? Let us speak the truth in Christ, and lie not.

Junior. Your discourses with me have, in the hands of the Lord the Spirit, done me much good; yet, when I hear and attend to what you say, I perceive so much in Christ, which lies, as yet undiscovered unto me, as makes me most truly desirous of hearing you declare more and more of him.

Senior. Whilst I find a real heaven in conversing with Christ, and in conversing with you of him and his great salvation, yet I cannot go further than to speak words to you; it is the Holy Ghost who alone can glorify Christ in your understanding, and give you soul satisfying and heart warming apprehensions of his love. You must not look, my good Sir, to me for this; you must look wholly to him.

Junior. I do, I do; yet, to the honor of his name, I must say, he has made your conversation an ordinance to my mind; I must, therefore, request you will at this time entertain me with a conversation altogether concerning Christ. I have been reading these words of the Apostle, That I may know him. I perceive a depth in them, which I cannot fathom. I want to know more of the Person of Christ. I request you to inform me what is contained in the knowledge of Christ, and how saints are brought to the knowledge of Him. Let this be our present subject.

Senior. The knowledge of Christ is a vastly comprehensive subject. It contains in it eternal life; and a variety of particulars. I am myself a very babe in this. It is the utmost perfection of Christianity. I may truly here adopt the words of Jeremiah, who, when the Lord called him to speak in his great name, cried out, Ah, Lord God! behold, I cannot speak: for I am a child.

Junior. I only want and request you to speak in a very plain way and manner, of what you know of Jesus, of what you have seen of him, and all this from and agreeable with the word: it will do your soul good, as it will also mine.

Senior. Well, I will do my best; but who either in earth or heaven, can speak his worth? One says of him, His name, is exalted above all blessing, and praise, another says, His glory is above the earth and heaven a third, His name is as ointment poured forth; a fourth, His name is from everlasting. Indeed, the whole scriptures are full of his praise. His glory is beyond conception, His love exceeds all which can be expressed of it either on earth or in heaven. His work of salvation is most truly divine His offices are worthy of himself: such as none but himself can fill. His titles are most glorious; yet they add no honor to his person: it is his person adds honor, dignity, majesty, and glory, to them. His power is Almighty. His fullness inexhaustible. His wisdom is infinite. He is the head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all. He is the head of nature. He is the head of grace. He is the head of glory. He is the Father’s beloved: the beloved of his church: the praise of all his saints. He is their salvation on earth. He will be their glory within the vail. He will be their heaven of heaven of heavens, in the ages of eternity. What can. I say more? Will not this satisfy you?

Junior. I deny not, ‘but what you have said, is heart-warming and soul-cheering; yet it does not satisfy me. I make no objection to what you have delivered. Christ is all this; yea, he is infinitely more, above, beyond, and transcendently excellent: so as that the minds of saints can never have any tolerable conception of what is; yet I want you to say who and what he is.

Senior. Should I take upon me to declare his glories, it would then be necessary to set bounds to our conversation. His person is God-Man. His glory is as the glory of the only begotten of the Father. He hath an essential glory: he hath a personal glory. He is the head of his church. He hath the glory of it. He is the saviour of his church. As such, he hath a glory given him, which He wears and shines forth in. He hath a mediatorial glory. He hath a relative glory. He is the head of his body the church; she is his glory: so that He is the Lord of Glory. He is the glorious living Lord, who is the glory of heaven. The fountain of living waters. Their all in all.

Junior. My soul is all on fire, and nothing will Content me, except you will kindly go over very briefly some of these subjects. I want a sight of my beloved. I think I should gain, by your conversation on these most sublime verities, some conceptions of him whom my soul loveth, so as to be more completely enamored with him.

Senior. Surely, He is altogether lovely; and such as have seen him in the glass of the gospel, must confess He outshines all description. He exceeds all on earth and all in heaven. All the perfection of the whole creation, and all the excellency which is, or can be enjoyed in glory, are but as a drop, compared with Christ. If you would have me to go over, and give you an account of his glories, how would you have me proceed? We must have some order. It is so necessary on a subject of this importance, that without it, we ourselves shall be losers. Think, therefore, and Say, shall I give his glory in some general expressions? Or shall I enumerate the same? that is, shall I say He God, and He is Man, God and Man in one Christ, and there leave it! or, would you have me give an account of what is contained in the knowledge of Christ, and how saints are brought to know him, and then close?

Junior. If yon would oblige me, by acting according to my wish, I should request you to give a short statement of each of these subjects. 1. Of the Essential and Personal Glories of Christ. 2. The Glory of his Headship, including therein his relative glory. 3. His Mediatorial Glory. 4. His Glory in which he shines forth now in Heaven. I could wish to obtain some scriptural view of these. You could after this cast in some thoughts on the subject of what is contained in the knowledge of Christ, and how saints are brought to know him.

Senior. Truly, Sir, you have found a sufficiency of employment for my mind and tongue. However, I will speak of the glorious honor of my Lord’s majesty, as he may be pleased to give me utterance. Ist. Of his Essential and Personal Glories. His Essential Glory is this: he is one in Essence with the Father and the Spirit, true and very God.. He is Jehovah God over all, blessed for ever. He is God and Man. His glory, as such, is set forth in the 8th chapter of the Proverbs, and in the Ist chapter of the Colossians. In the former, he says, I was set up from everlasting, from the beginning, or ever the earth was. When there were no depths I was brought forth; when there were no mountains abounding with water. Before the mountains were settled, before the hills was I brought forth: while as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields, nor the highest part of the dust of the world. When he prepared the heavens, I was there; when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: when he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: when he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when, he appointed the foundations of the earth: then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him. Then it was Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of his way, before his works of old. See verses, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30. Here is the first place in all the written word, in which we have Christ speaking as the first-born of all Jehovah’s thoughts, views, purposes, and designs: as the man in God, who was with God, and was God, the Fellow of the Lord of Hosts; for Christ, as God-Man, is not one in the Essence, but he is taken up into personal union With one in the Essence.

Junior. Sure, Sir, could I convey to you the glories which break in upon my mind concerning Christ, from this scriptural account, you would think yourself well rewarded for your trouble; but, pray let me hear more of this most sublime subject.

Senior. You shall, for I have not finished it. In the first chapter of the Colossians, verses 15, 16, 17, you have the personal glories of Christ thus expressed and set forth: Who is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of every creature: for by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things,. and by him all things consist. Here an account is given of the ancient, personal, primordial glories of Christ, God-Man. All the fullness of the Godhead dwelleth in him. He is God manifest in the flesh. The Son of the living God dwelleth by personal union and inhabitation, in the Man Christ. He is heir of all things the Image of the Invisible God the Brightness of Glory. In him, Jehovah in all his persons and. perfections, shines forth to the very uttermost manifestation thereof. Hence he is styled the Image of the Invisible God. This is Christ’s personal glory. He it is in whom my soul delighteth, says Jehovah the Father. Isaiah, 42:1. If Christ were not in his divine nature and person as one in the Essence, God essentially, he had not been in our nature God and Man truly. The one is the foundation of the other.& so that you may look on him in his essential and personal glory, and behold him who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God. Thus I have given you a glimpse of our Lord’s personal glory: that is, I have spoken a few words concerning it.

Junior. Thank. you, Sir. I  cannot but conceive, from the faint apprehensions I have received concerning the subject, that it must be the uttermost perfection of heaven, to see Christ in his personal glory.

Senior. It is so. Our Lord expresses himself on this subject, thus: Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world. John, 17:24. This is the very ultimatum of eternal glory and blessedness.

Junior. So it must indeed be. But glorious as it is, how came it to pass, that our Lord revealed none of his personal glory to his disciples? It really seems next to the doctrine of the Trinity, the greatest of all subjects.

Senior. Our Lord shone forth in his personal glory once, and but once, in his incarnate state on the mount of transfiguration. John and Peter, who saw him in his glory, thus speak of it. We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father. John, I:14. We were eye-witnesses of his majesty. For He received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 2 Peter, I:16,17. But let us proceed to the other subjects you proposed, or our time will be up ere we are aware of it.

Junior. Truly I could dwell on what you have related from the scriptures concerning the essential and personal glories of Christ, with real delight for a long season; but proceed, if you please, to enter on the subjects in connection with this, as proposed.

Senior. The next glory that belongs to our Lord, which we are to speak of is, 2dly. The Glory of his Headship, including therein his relative glory. He is God-Man, the, Lord, the head, the proprietor of every creature, visible and invisible. All things were created by him and for him: he is, therefore, Lord of all. He is the beginning of the creation of God: the first-born of every creature. All were made by him: all were made for him. He is the center of all; he is the glory of all; and a glory ariseth out of all, to shew forth the majesty and greaten him in a manifestative way, who is Lord of all the glory of all the foundation of all who upholds all and filleth all in all. He, as the head of his elect bride, hath a relative glory, arising from his being to her the head of grace and glory. He is her Lord and husband: she is his bride and social companion; as such, she is his glory.

Junior. Well, this is glory upon glory, sure. Could you in one short scripture, give me a sight of Christ’s view of the church from everlasting?

Senior. Yes. I conclude the following words contain this: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men. Prov.,8:30,31, May the Lord the Spirit open these words to your mind, and your mind to apprehend what is here expressed and contained, you will then be admitted into the view and delights of Christ in his church, who is to be with him in heaven for ever, and be made perfectly like him, by seeing him as he is.

Junior. I more and more enjoy the benefit of conversing with you, as I see the propriety of what you say concerning our being entirely passive in all God’s work within us and upon us. Whilst I have been attending to what you relate concerning the glories of Christ’s Person and Headship, with his relative glory, he being the head and husband of his church, I have found such ideas and thoughts created concerning the Lord of Life and Glory, as I cannot express; neither can I relate the spiritual unction and perfume which have followed, and still accompany the subject; yet I am, and have been, under all this, entirely passive. I really conceive, I shall be so in the immediate sight of Christ in the state of glory.

Senior. You will be, in receiving all from him; and all your worship and bliss in heaven, will be the effect thereof. In the state of grace, the Holy Ghost operates on your spiritual faculties un-discernable by you. He lets in thoughts, and creates apprehensions of Christ in your mind, as fill it with holy wonder and admiration at the revelation of Christ, and the Father’s love in him, so as there is nothing but this uppermost in your soul. This is the work of God. When you are most under it, you act nothing; but it so influences you, and leaves such divine effects on your mind, as draw out afterwards your whole soul into spiritual acts and exercise. You cannot be more blessed, than to be entirely under the teachings of the Lord the Spirit; and at such times you are entirely passive.

Junior. Do, Sir, proceed with declaring further the glories of Christ you have not yet spoken of; for I long to have a further account of him, and his dignity and honor.

Senior. It was proposed to give, 3dly. An Account of Christ’s Mediatorial Glories. He is the Mediator of union, of communion, of reconciliation. He wears the glory of putting away sin; of bringing in everlasting righteousness; of making peace by the blood of his cross; of reconciling all things to himself, whether they be things on earth, or things in heaven; of subduing Satan; of spoiling principalities and powers; of abolishing death; Of rising from the dead; of saving his people in himself, with an everlasting salvation: for all which he is crowned with glory everlasting. His mediatorial glories are his coronation in heaven; his session at the right hand of the Majesty on High his offices of prophet, priest, and king, which he is fully invested in, and He exercises them as now exalted to be a Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel, and the remission of sins. There is a wonderful variety in all these glories. They all differ from each other. They all are his. He is worthy of them. He will wear these glories for ever. Yea, his saints will greatly rejoice in all which results unto him from it; as they will in casting their crowns at his feet, and saying, Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood.

Junior. Pray, Sir, I have read these words of the Apostle, Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ. Ephes. 3:8. I always conceive he refers to the riches of Christ, which he displays in saving sinners, in healing their wounds, in supplying their wants, in bestowing himself and his riches, which are unsearchable, upon them, to make them rich to the ages of eternity; but I think you have been really opening the unsearchable riches of Christ’s glory.

Senior. If Christ is glorified in your mind, all is well. If the Holy Ghost hath been pleased to shew you the glories of Christ, and made the conversation the medium of it, all the glory is his. My desire is, that he should receive all the praise and glory.

Junior. Pray, Sir, finish the discourse concerning what further remains on this subject, as proposed; then, if you can add to it, do.

Senior. Christ’s personal glory, and the glory of his headship, in which was included his relative glory, have been touched on. We have glanced at his mediatorial glory. It was proposed, 4thly. To speak of the Glory in which he shines forth now in Heaven. This, I conceive, must comprehend all his glories. The glory he shone forth in at his Transfiguration, is the same glory he will shine forth in at his second coming. He shines forth in his personal glory now, at the right hand of the Majesty on High. He must of necessity shine forth as the head of his body, the church. He cannot but shine forth in all the honors and glories of his mediatorial person and office in all the glories of his victories and triumphs; and He will one day so shine forth, as we shall have a most blessed sight of him by sense and vision. The beloved John says, in his first epistle, Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should he called the sons of God; therefore the world knoweth, us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. Chap.3:1,2.

Junior. My dear Sir, will you kindly enumerate our Lord’s glories, and just mention his appearances in his kingdom and glory which have taken, and are yet to take place; after which I shall only request you to say very briefly, what is contained in the Knowledge of Christ, and how the Saints are brought to the knowledge, of Him; as I do View and consider the subject to be of the greatest importance to saints as saints.

Senior. According to the order in which Christ’s if glory is set before us in the word of the gospel, we have, 1st. His Essential Personal Glory, which he had with the Father before the world was; 2d. He had the glory as God-Man, to be the Head of the whole creation of God. He was before all: He created all: he was the universal head of all: He was the end of all; 3d. He was the Head of the Elect, and of all Principality and Power, which, as I understand it, comprehends elect angels. The church is Christ’ s body; he therefore stands as head to it, in a different relation to what he does to the whole creation. He is the creator of the one; He is the husband of the other, This is, therefore, 4th, a distinct glory which belongs to him, and which I style his Relative or Relation Glory. He is so one with his church, That we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. See Ephes. 5:30. 5th. He hath a Mediatorial Glory, which consists in the glory due to his, person and office. This he is fully invested with, of which the Apostle speaks in these words, When he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high. Heb.I:3. It might, 6th, be said, Christ hath the glory and honor of being the Judge of quick and dead. As to his appearances in his personal and mediatorial glories, he shone forth in his personal glory on the holy mount. He shines forth in it now in heaven; so he does in his mediatorial glory. He will shine forth in his glory at his second coming in the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. He will shine forth in the New Jerusalem State so gloriously, that it shall be said, Behold the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them. And they shall see his face, and his name shall be in their foreheads. He, will shine forth in the full meridian of the glory which he had with the Father before the world was, before all his saints, in the ultimate state of glory. Now, my good friend, I have done as you requested me. What have you more to say?

Junior. I only wish you to say what is contained in the knowledge of Christ, and how saints are brought to apprehend it. You have given an account of his person, of his glory. I am now where you never left me before. I see you can do nothing for me. I want to take every particular you have notified on this subject. I need, therefore, the Lord the Spirit, to give me such clear and. distinct apprehensions of this subject, as that I might go over in my thoughts every part of it. I do indeed now apprehend you, concerning the doctrine of the Eternal Three in the One Incomprehensible Jehovah: that you would have me learn it, and all connected with it, in the Person of Christ. Is it not so?

Senior. Yes, it is. I would not have you plunge your thoughts into the contemplations of absolute deity, nor into abstracted thoughts of the persons in Godhead. No. The Lord himself keep you from this. But I would have all your knowledge of Godhead, and of the Persons in the Trinity, confined to Christ God-Man, in whom alone you can approach God, worship him, have communion with him, and live for ever.

Junior. I am very highly indebted to you; but give me an account of what is contained in the knowledge of Christ.

Senior. Life and salvation are contained in it. Our Lord says in his great prayer to the Divine Father, which is recorded in the 17th chapter of John’s gospel, And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent, We have not eternal life in our souls, if we have not the true spiritual and supernatural knowledge of his person in our minds. The apostle John, speaking after his divine Lord, says, God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son, hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life. I John, 5:11,12. I prefer the knowledge of Christ, beyond all the enjoyments of him: yea, I absolutely do prize the knowledge of the God-Man, the object and subject of the love and delight of all the Persons in the Essence, beyond heaven and eternal glory. I conceive of nothing in heaven, beyond seeing him as he is; and I am sure this will so perfect my knowledge of him, as will fix my mind immutably on him for ever and ever: and in this all true blessedness consists. There is also salvation, and all the blessings of life everlasting, contained in the knowledge of the Person of Christ. There is none other name given under heaven among men, whereby we must be saved One said of old, Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee. Psalm, 73:25. The Apostle says, Yea, doubtless, and I count till things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him. That I way know him. All this gives full evidence of what is contained in the knowledge of Christ, and also how highly he is prized by such as know him.I know not what to add to this, as I conceive it must be satisfactory.

Junior. It really is so. Every thing is contained in the knowledge of Christ which can enrich it, and give it complete satisfaction. In it is contained eternal life, which is the greatest blessing we can enjoy. In him we have every grace and blessing. In him we have eternal redemption. In the knowledge of him, we know our personal interest in him; and in the same knowledge of him, we have fellowship with the Father and the Spirit. Now, my good Sir, just to close the conversation, only say how saints are brought to the knowledge of Christ.

Senior. By the word, and by the Spirit. The word contains the revelation of Christ; the Holy Spirit from the word reveals Christ. In a spiritual apprehension of him, everlasting life is begun in the soul, which issues in all the acts of it up into life everlasting. We cannot know Christ but by the word, which, whilst it is full of Christ, yet we do not see, know, and believe on him to life everlasting, until the Lord the Spirit become our teacher and instructor.

Junior. Then you conceive Christ is as fully revealed in the word before we have eyes to see him, as when we are blessed with that faculty.

Senior. Yes; most undoubtedly I do. There will never be any other or clearer revelation of Christ, than is made already concerning him in the everlasting gospel. I look on it, the proper title thereof is, The revelation of Jesus Christ. In it he is expressed to the very uttermost of his heart and bowels of mercy, and above and far exceeding all our sin and misery. When the Lord the Spirit is pleased from the word of grace, to give us to conceive rightly of Christ, we receive the true knowledge of him into our minds, and this is life eternal.

Junior. I conceive from what you say, that the least true knowledge of Christ, is as great an evidence of being in him, as the most enlarged and comprehensive acquaintance with him.

Senior. Yes; it is even so. Indeed, the first view received into the renewed mind, concerning our Lord Jesus Christ, is that of a Saviour. He is generally at first looked on and at, as able and mighty to save. Hence it is a real truth, if our Lord in the preaching of the gospel, was to be set forth in the glories of his person and majesty, the poor awakened and enlightened sinner would find no real delight in him.

Junior. How so? I thought faith was one and the same, whether in its infancy or in its maturity: that it had no other object but the Lord Jesus Christ; that it centered alone in him.

Senior. All this is the truth of the case; yet the eye of faith is opened to take in Christ in a gradual way and manner. When it is first opened, it sees Christ as having been crucified: as having died for sin and sinners. It finds all its peace and happiness in the blood and righteousness of Christ, who came into the world to seek and to save that which was lost. It closes with Christ in the full belief of his own word, Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out; and it looks wholly at, and trusts simply in, the wounds and blood of Jesus Christ. This is agreeable to the preaching the gospel of salvation to what is first experienced in the mind at our first believing on Christ; He saith Look unto me, and be ye saved all ye ends of the earth for I am God, and there is none else. It is also agreeable to what the apostle John says, I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. I. John, 2:12.

Junior. I must certainly subscribe to this. It was so in my own personal case; but then I really cannot trace the progress of this. I now find myself most blessedly enlightened and enlarged. I was therefore ready to conclude I never believed in Christ before. Will you kindly explain this to me? It will  most certainly be advantageous to my mind, and it may be to others also.

Senior. I will. As the eye of faith is afresh illuminated, and we are favored with more glorious discoveries of Christ, we naturally forget our former apprehensions of him, because the present are more enlarged, and in this sense more glorious. Yet you were as truly a believer when you first trusted in Christ, as you are now; but you had not the same conceptions of him then, as you have now. When you were a babe in Christ, you were chiefly attentive to his love and salvation: as you advanced and came to be a young man in Christ, you were then chiefly concerned to look to him for strength against sin, that you might not fall to the dishonor of his most holy name. To be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might, was then the most principal thing with you as now, the most sublime mysteries in the book of God, are become your one grand study; and this is but one and the same faith, only more distinctly and immediately exercised. I hope this clearly opens the case. It is the highest stage in Christianity, to be taken with the spirituality of the gospel; and the study of Christ’s, Person promotes this beyond all other meditations whatsoever. But we must now part.

Junior. As you have explained the matter, I see it all to be just as you have stated it. A right statement of every gospel truth, is of very great consequence to the enquiring mind. I sincerely thank you. The Lord bless you. Farewell.

[chapter:7. Communion with Christ] [chapters:200,left]

7 The subject of this Discourse is, On Communion with Christ: in which fellowship, the Lord is pleased, in an especial manner, to open his heart most freely to his beloved ones.

THE RICHES OF DIVINE GRACE UNFOLDED

DIALOGUE VII.

The subject of this Discourse is, on Communion with Christ; in which fellowship, the Lord is pleased, in an especial manner, to open his heart most freely to his beloved ones.

A CONVENIENT time being come, and these two friends being favored with an interview with each other, the conversation began thus:

Senior. My good friend, by the good hand of our God upon us, we are once more admitted to see each other: may the Lord sanctify and bless our meeting. Pray, how is your mind disposed, and what are the present subjects on which you may now be ruminating? I only ask, as it may lead to a fixation on a certain subject for our present discourse, and that may be the more acceptable unto you.

Junior. I cannot but most sincerely thank you, my good Sir, for your great kindness and friendship which you have shewed me, in aiming to improve my mind, as you have already done, and in being so affectionately disposed in addressing me as you now do. As to my present thoughts, they are exercised with pleasure, in looking forward to the subjects before us, that we proposed to converse on, which are On Communion with Christ; on the Ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper; on Church Fellowship; on Death, on the Entrance into the Invisible State; then, on Heaven, Glory and Eternal Life. To have you speak on, and unfold these subjects to me, with the apprehensions which by the light of the Lord the Spirit, he may, be pleased to let in upon my mind concerning these important things, is what is at present uppermost with me.

Senior. I cannot but bless the Lord for keeping up your mind, and giving you: a spiritual relish and appetite for truths so inestimable and divine.

Junior. Blessed be his name, the subjects we have before conversed on, have sunk into my mind: they are not only remembered, but they have been realized in my soul by the Holy Ghost. I do esteem them more than my necessary food: the reason for which is because my understanding is more enlarged, my affections more raised, and I am more engaged in delighting greatly in the Lord Jesus Christ and God my heavenly Father in him: all which I do ascribe to the Holy, and Eternal Spirit.

Senior. Then you ascribe nothing to me, for opening the subjects we have before conversed on, or may in those we propose still to pursue?

Junior. No, Sir, I do not. I must acknowledge, unless, these subjects had been opened and explained as you have opened them to, me, I had not had the views of them which I now have, nor had I been raised up in heart and affection to the Lord as I really am. It is these subjects spiritually explained, and rightly. understood, and received into the mind, that make, way for the true exercise of all spiritual affections and aspirations after God; and it is the Holy Spirit’s operation on these supernatural subjects, which fixes the thoughts, the mind, the will, the affections, on the Lord. All this I can say from what the Lord hath taught me whilst conversing with you, and more especially when I have been considering over in my own mind, what was contained in the subjects you had delivered to me.

Senior. All you say is right. There is nothing to be attributed to me. I only, proposed the question merely to hear your reply. When you make use of a pen, you attribute none of your thoughts to it, whilst it is the mean of your committing the same on paper, and communicating the same to others; just so it is in, the case before us: I am willing to impart my mind to yon on the best of all subjects, yet you cannot receive nor be profited by the same, much less quickened, and raised up in heart and affection to the Lord thereby, but by the power of the Holy Ghost. But let us now enter on what that particular subject is you would have discussed on at this time.

Junior. Sir, I wish it to be on communion with Christ. I hope to receive much light into this, subject, from your discoursing with me on it; lot me therefore request it to be our present.

Senior. I consider it a very interesting one; more especially if we, for the whole of our subject, state it thus: On Communion with Christ, in which fellowship the Lord is pleased, in an especial manner, to open his heart most freely to his beloved ones.

Junior. This, Sir  will be an additional advantage, which will be most highly acceptable.

Senior. Union to Christ is the foundation of all communion with him; and this was from everlasting, and is the fruit of eternal election. The elect were chosen in him before the foundation of the world, consequently they were in him by this act before the world began. They could not be in Christ, but they must be one with him; they could not be one with him, but they must be in union with him; he could not be their head, and they his members, but they must be united to him as members in an head; or could he be their head, but he must be united to them as his members. It is from the grace of union to the Person of Christ, all his communicable blessings flow forth: towards them, All the communion the saints on earth or in heaven have and enjoy with Christ, and Christ has and enjoys with them, is the sole and entire fruit of his union to them, and their union with him.

Junior. I thought communion with Christ was the greatest blessing in earth or heaven, as I conceive it is therein and thereby, we enjoy communion with the Father and the Spirit.

Senior. Union to Christ is the blessing of blessings. It far surpasses all the communion we shall ever enjoy with the Lord, either in the state of grace or glory. It is the grand original and cause thereof. It is one of the blessings of election. It flows from the, Fathers everlasting love. It is immutable. It cannot be dissolved. The fall of all the elect into a state of sin, in Adam their nature head; their total loss of the image of God, in which they were created in him; their own inherent guilt,, sinfulness, and apostasy from the Lord, the fountain of living waters; their own actual rebellions in the course of their lives can by no means dissolve this union. No: nor death itself; for the elect, each and every one of them, die in Christ, in union to him, and with him: nor can the grave dissolve it, for Christ himself says, This is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that Of all which he hath, given me, I should lose noting, but should raise it up again at the last day. John, 6:39.

Junior. I never thought union to the Person of Christ, to be of any such vast importance, so that I never gave myself. any consideration concerning it; all I wanted was communion with him. From what you, have delivered, I am led to see this to be a subject of great importance indeed.

Senior. Verily, it is so. Our being united to Christ, and related to the Person of Christ, and interest in him, with his union to us, his relationship to us, his interest in us these are some of the deep things, of God: from the knowledge of which, everlasting consolation flows into our mind, and intercourse with Christ is hereby most spiritual, and more easily apprehended.

Junior. I really conceive it must be so; I could therefore wish and request the favour, that you would briefly name the several unions there are between Christ and his people.

Senior. I will, as you desire it. There is an election union, which comprehends the Person of Christ, and all the elect in him. The soul and body of Christ, are united to the souls and bodies of all the elect; for we are his body. We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. Ephes. 5:30. Their is a representative union, Christ represented the church in his own person, and as one with him, from everlasting; and they were set up in him as his bride and social companion, as one who was to share and be a partner with him in all his, communicable titles, honors, riches, glories, and excellencies. There is likewise a marriage union between Christ and his church. There is also a manifestative union, which was evidenced by the Incarnation of Christ, who came thereby into our world, to save his people from their sins. There is, lastly, a glory union, which will openly shine forth in the New Jerusalem State, as also in the ultimate glory for ever, when all contained in the following words, will be fully realized, and most fully evidenced  That they all may be one, as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee; that they also may be one in, us. And the glory which thou gavest me, I have given them: that they may be one, even as we are one. I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. John, 18:21,22,23.

Junior. I find this benefit in your conversation, it sets me on thinking; and whilst so employed, the Holy Spirit is pleased to create light in my renewed understanding, so as for me to receive the subject. But I long to hear you on that of communion.

Senior. My friend, where would you have me begin this subject? What must I say now on this point? Shall I begin with Christ’s communion with us, or our communion with him? say which.

Junior, Sir, I freely confess, I never thought of any other communion with Christ, but what was wholly on our, parts, and enjoyed by us in the ordinances of worship, I have never been in the least led to contemplate this grace any higher.

Senior. Yet, my friend, the subject must, if entered into, and properly stated, lead us to consider Christ’s communion with us, to be of more and far greater consequence than our communion with him.

Junior. Pray, Sir, give me some general apprehensions of what Christ’s communion with us consists in.

Senior. The communion of our Lord’s fellowship with us, must consist in all his views of us; in all the outgoings. of his heart towards us; in all his delights in us; in all the expression of his love to us; in all that he hath done for us; in all his communications of his grace to us; in all the open and free manifestations of his good will to us; and also in that free and full communion he will hold with us in the world, of glory this is what our Lord’s communion with us, must most certainly consist in.

Junior. Say you so! Why, then, wherein consists the Communion with our Lord?

Senior. I reply, in real spiritual intuitive views of him; in the out goings of our minds, thoughts, hearts, and affections after him; in our real delights in him; in being pleased with all the expressions of his love to us; in all that he hath done for us; in rejoicing in all the open manifestations of the same to us. Herein it is our communion with him consists. It is of the same nature on both sides, yet not to the same degree: that is wholly impossible; for in all things our most precious Christ must have the pre-eminence.

Junior. The longer I converse with you, the more I am filled with wonder and surprise. The subjects you converse with me upon; I have the highest esteem for; yet you enter on these in such a way and manner, as seem to add dignity to them. I see plainly, what I have conceived to be communion with Christ, falls vastly short of your views of the same. For my part ,I really have swallowed up, and made but one subject of it, Christ’s communion with us, and our communion with him.

Senior. You have always considered, when your heart was truly happy in the love of Christ, and you, had spiritual delight in him, this was communion betwixt Christ and yourself. It never came under your spiritual reflection, how Christ held fellowship with you, and how he admitted you to hold fellowship with him, and it gave you no concern to be admitted into this secret.

Junior. Indeed, indeed, it did not; yet, from what you have now dropped concerning our Lord’s communion with us, and our communion with him, it seems to me I have no real apprehension of the subject.

Senior. My good friend, I do not want you to be either encouraged or discouraged, by any thing I deliver; all I aim at is to convey right apprehensions of truth, and especially on those most important points we are, now upon. I have actually had communion with Christ, when I really knew not wherein it consisted; and, when under sacred opportunities in preaching, this great mystery of grace hath been opened, and put into proper words, I have been led to see, if what was described in the sermon was real communion with God, I had been favored with it years before. I would not, therefore, have you utter any hasty expressions, and say you know nothing, of it; but, as I really conclude you do, put any questions on the same you please, and I will, so far as it is given me, give a reply to the same, according to the best of my ability.

Junior. I must say you are exceedingly kind. Will you, Sir, be pleased, in a very particular manner, to explain all your words have expressed, concerning our Lord’s communion with us?

Senior. I will, with the greatest readiness. My dear Sir, I love you in the bowels of Christ Jesus. I have been in the same state of mind you are. I was never quick in apprehension, but ;vas always thoughtful; so that a word of importance of Christ and eternal things dropped, led me, as one of a contemplative turn, to consider over and ponder on the same; and I now live to be a witness it is better to be so, than of a more quick and lively disposition.

Junior. Pardon me, Sir, I do not know what to make of this. I am sure I think such are the most blessed, who are of a quick and lively frame: it is what I covet.

Senior. You may, I do not. I prize a sound judgment in the truths of God, above all the liveliness and vivacity in the world. I consider and look upon much called life and liveliness, to he nothing more than nature, and natural exertions; as such, there can be no spirituality in them. I have found many, who are looked on to be very dead in spiritual things, to be fuller of spiritual life, than such who have run them down; but then I would wish you to understand Me, I look on all spiritual life as brought into the renewed mind by the knowledge of Christ, and increased and maintained by renewed acts of believing on Jesus.

Junior. But, my dear Sir, do oblige me in my request, concerning what you have expressed respecting our Lord’s communion with as, for I really never Yet considered the subject, and can be confident I never heard such an account given of it in words before.

Senior. I said communion with our Lord, and his fellowship with us, consist in his views of us.; in the outgoings of his heart towards us; in his thoughts of us; in his delights in us; in all the expressions of his love to us; in all the open and free manifestations of his good will to us; and in the free and full communion he will hold with us in glory. This you want me Very sentimentally and particularly to set before you, which I will most cheerfully; but I must request your particular attention.

Junior. That, indeed, Sir, you need not demand. I do perceive the subject requires that you be correct in enumerating each of the particulars you have expressed, as I am desirous to receive them very distinctly and clearly into my mind; for I more and more see, without a right knowledge of the same, they cannot have their proper effect within and upon me.

Senior. I said that communion with Christ, and his fellowship with us, consist in his views of us. He beheld the elect, before all worlds, as the objects and subjects of his Father’s everlasting love: as his beloved bride and spouse. He took into his own mind his Father’s love to them in him, and his own love to them. He expresseth himself thus: Then I was by him, as one brought up with him and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him. Rejoicing in the habitable parts of his earth, and my delights were with the sons of men. Prov. 8:30,31. Thus Christ had communion with them by his views of them, by his rejoicing in them, by his delights in them, before the foundation of the world. His views of his church, drew out his heart towards them. He expressed this in his covenant engagements on their behalf. His communion with them was manifested in his becoming one with his people, in taking hold of their nature, and becoming like them in all things, sin only excepted. Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same: that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is the devil. Heb. 2:14. This was to have fellowship with his church in her low and lost estate. Herein He exercised his love openly and manifestatively: as He also did in his whole life of humiliation and passion; by which means he purged their sins, and sat down on the right hand of the majesty on high. He has also communion with them in all his free and open manifestations of his good will to them. This is further displayed in the fellowship he holds with the saints who are already admitted into the kingdom of glory; to, which same state He will admit all his saints in his own appointed season.

Junior. What you have said is most truly wonderful. If I understand you, the love of Christ towards them from everlasting, must have been an active love. His rejoicing over them and in them, proves it so; yet I cannot conceive how this should be any part of our Lord’s communion with them, seeing then they could by no means have the least apprehensions of the same. I cannot conceive that Christ can have any communion with us, and we not be sensible of it, and we not be sensibly affected by it. Can you, Sir?

Senior. Indeed I can; not that I may be able to give you my thoughts on this subject, so as to convey clear ideas of the same to your mind; but I must tell you, Christ could not have quickened us with spiritual life, if he had not had communion with us; yet, when he put forth his resurrection power within us, we perceived it not. , The effects continue to the present moment, and will last to eternity; yet we ourselves, when Christ first held communion with us in this way of communication, perceived it not; we were dead, and he gave us life; all that has followed this, is but the evidence thereof. As to what, you say, you cannot conceive Christ can have any communion with us, and we not be sensible of it; why, my good Sir, Christ puts forth many acts of his grace within us, and holds communion with us, where we perceive nothing of it. If this were not the case, the new creation wrought within us by the Lord the Spirit, must sink and die.

Junior. You make Christ’s communion with us, the cause why we are admitted to have communion with him, do you not?

Senior. Yes, verily. I told you before, communion is the fruit of union. I may also add, communion ii commensurable to this. It is so on the part of Christ: he imparts his life, his light, his spirit, his grace, his holiness, his righteousness, his purity, his salvation to us; so as that we receive and enjoy the benefit of the same, and we are hereby made partakers of Christ: all which, in the essence and perfection of it, is by imputation and communication. The Apostle says, God is faithful, by whom we were called unto the fellowship of his son Jesus Christ our Lord. I Cor. I:9. He also says at the 30th verse of the same chapter, But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness,, and sanctification, and redemption. All is bestowed on us, and made known in us, and received by us, out of the fullness of him who fillets all in all; of whom the Apostle says, And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. John, I:16.

Junior. If I understand you, we are entirely passive in all the communion the Lord Jesus Christ is pleased most graciously to hold with us. Is it so?

Senior. Yes. He is pleased to inhabit, to dwell in, and make his abode with and In us. He hath the key of David. He opens to the view of faith, all the riches of grace and glory. He possesses the whole mind with the knowledge and enjoyment of the same; and hereby we have communion with him, and can say in our measure, what the Apostle does in his own, and in the name of others, and to a far greater degree, That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bare witness, and shew unto you that eternal life which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us:) That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. I John,I:2,3.

Junior. Be pleased now to enter on the subject of our personal and particular communion with Christ, and what it consists in.

Senior. Our communion with Christ consists in the various outgoings of our minds towards him. We are sometimes engaged in spiritual conversation about him the unction of the Holy one descends on us: Christ is very present to our minds; his fragrancy and perfume fall on us; and he is the most precious one in our esteem. This is communion with him. At other times we are led into spiritual contemplations on him, in which our hearts burn with love, and there is an outgoing of our souls towards him. This also is communion with him. There are seasons when the mind is very specially and particularly drawn out in prayer, in praise, in blessing him; in which acts we have real and, actual communion with him, and he becomes our centre, our all; we getting hereby into more personal and particular acquaintance with him.

Junior. What you say concerning communion with Christ, is on some very special and highly-favored seasons. It is not to be expected in the ordinary course of my daily walking with God, is it?

Senior. My good friend, every good thought you have of Christ, is communion with Christ. Every good word you speak of and concerning Christ, proves you have communion with him. Communion with Christ is carried on in our souls by the Holy Spirit. It is by his taking of the things of Christ, and shewing the same unto us.

Junior. I am certainly very tiresome to you, but if you would set before me the very exercise of the mind in the act of real communion with Christ, I should have abundant cause to bless the Lord on your behalf.

Senior. I have endeavored throughout all my past, as also in my present conversation with you, to express myself in the most free and easy manner I possibly could. I remember I stated to you, the subject should be on Communion with Christ, in which it would be clear it pleased the Lord, in an especial manner, to open his heart most freely to his beloved ones. I will, so far as the Lord shall be pleased to assist, give you as full an account of all this, as I possibly can. The Lord admits his people most freely to converse with him, to call on him, to pour out their hearts before him, to converse with him as their friend. He opens his heart to them; he shines in upon their minds; he fills them with a sense of his mercy and compassion; he gives them some very particular apprehensions of his righteousness and sacrifice; so that their hearts dance for joy. As it respects the exercise of the mind, in real and personal communion with Christ, it is as follows: The soul looks simply unto him; prays he would grant his most gracious presence; implores some peculiar access unto him; it bewails its inward and actual sinfulness; it begs to be favored with some blessed intuitive knowledge and apprehension of his glorious person of his loving heart of his matchless worth of his holiness of his righteousness of his oblation of his death, burial, resurrection, ascension, glorification, and coronation, as may, swallow up the mind, and fix it wholly on him. The believer entreats to be remembered with the favor he beareth to his people. The mind longs to have a blessed inward conception of the dignity of Christ of the worth of Christ of the representation which he makes of all the elect in his own person before the throne of, the Majesty in the heavens, Whilst thus engaged, the heart of Christ is opened; and, under the teaching of the Holy Ghost, the believer takes in such conceptions of Christ, as put down every thing below Christ. Thus, in an especial manner, the Lord Jesus Christ is most fully made known; and we see and taste how good, and gracious the Lord is. I have found in my own case, in this immediate and personal communion with God which I have been opening, the person, glory, heart, salvation, and grace of Christ, have been most wonderfully opened to my spiritual apprehension; and I have had more of the knowledge of the Lord imparted, and of the Holy Ones, than in any other way or means whatsoever. How does all this appear to you? I hope you will acknowledge I have been very simple and easy in the statement of this most experimental subject.

Junior. I must confess, so far as words can make the subject clear and plain, you have done it: so that what darkness may remain on my mind concerning the same, must arise wholly from the greatness and majesty of the subject itself. But, pray, Sir, have not real saints fellowship with the Father and the Spirit, in their accesses to the Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious head, and only mediator of his church.

Senior. Most assuredly they have. We approach the Father in the Son, through the Spirit. Truly, says the Apostle, Our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we read expressly, that we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Eplies.2:18. And the Apostle in his benediction, makes express mention of the communion of the Holy Ghost: The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen. 2 Cor. 13:14.

Junior. How, or in what way, am I blessed with communion with the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Senior. You have immediate access in the person of Christ, and come in his name, person, righteousness, sacrifice, and intercession, before the throne, and you pray the Father to look upon you, and manifest himself to you in his Beloved; and there are seasons when it pleases him to fill your mind with such views and apprehensions of his love, as afford you a real heaven. This is communion with the Father on his part, and on yours also, as you are at such times filled with the high praises of his love.

Junior. I really have had this which you speak of: the Lord be praised for it. If I understand you, when at any time my mind is drawn out immediately to admire and praise the Father for his everlasting love to my person in Christ, and he is pleased to favor me with a sense of his love, this is to have distinct and personal communion with him. Is it not?

Senior. Yes. We can have communion with the Father no other way. We converse with Christ, and with the Father in him. When we have fellowship with Christ, we have at the same time fellowship with the Father and the Spirit; yet there are seasons when we have particular fellowship with each of the Divine Three, and that agreeable to their covenant acts, and their interest in us, and relation to us.

Junior. Pray, Sir, wherein consists communion, with the Holy Ghost?

Senior. The Holy Ghost dwells in us. He exalts Christ in our minds; he sheds a sense of God’s love abroad in our hearts; he carries on all the blessed fellowship we have with the Father and the Son. There are season’s when he gives us to consider his own personal love to us. He leads us to love him, for what he hath taught us; for what He hath been to us; for what he hath wrought in us  for the views he hath given us of Christ; for the discoveries he hath made of the Father’s love to our minds; for the real fellowship we have had with the Father and the Son, through his indwelling grace and. influence. We love him for it: we worship him in prayer and praise. Thus He hath fellowship with us, and we have fellowship with him. He, The Living God, dwells in us. We are his temples. He consecrates our souls and bodies, and teaches us how to enjoy the blessedness of communion with him, and also with the Son and with the Father.

Junior. I see we must now part. The Lord be with your spirit. Amen.

[chapter:8. Ordinances of Baptism & Lord’s Supper] [chapters:200,left]

8 On the Ordinances of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper: these are the subjects of this discourse.

THE RICHES OF DIVINE GRACE UNFOLDED

DIALOGUE VIII.

On the Ordinances of Baptism and the Lords Supper: these are the subjects of this Discourse.

Junior and Senior being admitted to a fresh interview with each other, and having expressed their mutual satisfaction in being so favored, enter on their favorite conversation.

Junior addresses Senior, thus: Sir, it seems to me, from what you last said, in our former discourse on Communion with Christ, that when the saints of the Most High are favored with real fellowship with God and the Lamb, through the Spirit, it may then be said, the Lord makes all his goodness pass before them, and proclaims his great, glorious, and fearful name, the Lord thy God; as he gives them such evidence of his interest in them, and of their interest in him, as causes them to say, Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, are my God.

Senior. It is even so. The Lord conversed with Moses as a man with his friend; and it is so in mental and intuitive converses with Christ: he is pleased to open his heart to his beloved in intellectual communion; he reflects his glory on the mind; he creates such conceptions of his salvation in the Soul With Whom he holds. fellowship, as are next to what is actually enjoyed in glory.

Junior. You make communion with Christ to consist in an intellectual knowledge and apprehension of him, Do you not?

Senior. Most assuredly I do. All real spiritual worship is an act of the mind.

Junior. But there are outward ordinances in which we worship God with our bodies as well as with our souls.  You cannot deny this.

Senior. No; nor do I desire so to do. The Apostle, exhorting saints to, the practice of church worship in a congregational way, says, I beseech you, therefore brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God  which is your reasonable service. He also exhorts to a drawing near unto God, and entering into the holiest, even into heaven, whilst, on earth in the body,. In acts of worship, thus, Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, By anew and living way which he hath consecrated for us, through the vail, that is to say, his flesh; And having an high priest over the house of God: Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. Heb. 10:19,20,21,22. Here is the body as well as the soul, engaged in the worship of God.

Junior. Then I conceive, in the external worship of God, the mind is not so swallowed up in divine contemplations in a mental, intuitive manner, as it may be in secret and retired worship.

Senior. It cannot be; because, when and whilst we are worshiping the Three in Jehovah in outward ordinances, such as prayer, singing, preaching, hearing, our bodies being exercised as well as our minds, and our minds being exercised by the outward ordinances, there is not that most immediate fellowship with Christ, as in the simple exercises of our minds when alone in private.

Junior. Yet many persons are more taken with public ordinances, and think they profit most by them. I confess I have often found more free and simple access to the throne when in private; yet I apprehend the Lord God should be acknowledged by the observance and waiting on him in every part of his own instituted worship.

Senior. It is our bounden duty and service so to do. Every ordinance, as appointed by the Lord, is for the improvement of our renewed minds in the knowledge of Christ, and to increase our communion with him; and his blessing in the use of them, is all-sufficient for us: he will render them effectual to answer his own grand end and design.

Junior. What am I to think concerning Baptism and the Lord’s Supper?

Senior. That they are positive institutions of worship; as such, they are immutable, and will be continued in the church of Christ until He descends from heaven to put an end to time, and swallow it up in eternity.

Junior. How is Christ worshipped in these institutions by his church?

Senior. In baptism, a solemn act of worship is performed in the name of each of the persons in the Godhead: this is followed with the sacred memorial of the sorrows, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the observance of the Lord’s Supper, in which a solemn memorial of the sufferings, bloody sweat, passion, and death of our Lord Jesus Christ is recorded, he is worshipped in our shewing forth his death according to his command, Do this in remembrance of me.

Junior. Will you give me an account of the ordinance of Baptism, with its spiritual nature, end, and design, agreeable with what is recorded of the same in the written word?

Senior. I most readily will. Baptism is an ordinance of Christ, it was appointed by him after his resurrection from the dead. It was in his resurrection state, he gave out the following royal command to his apostles, saying, Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Matt. 28:19. To baptize is to dip, or plunge, or cover, the whole body in water, and this in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. It is the whole essence of the ordinance, to plunge the whole body in water., It is not the mode of baptism, but it is baptizing itself. It is so clear in scripture, that it seems astonishing all believers in Christ do not see this. The body of our Lord Jesus Christ was under water when He was baptized, or it could never have been recorded, And when Jesus was baptized, he went up straightway out of the water. If he had not been in the water, be could not have come out of it. Mark says, Jesus was baptized of John in Jordan: that is, John plunged Christ in the river Jordan. Plunging is, as hath been said, baptizing. At our Lord’s coming up from having been baptized, the heaven was opened, the Spirit descended, and a voice from heaven was heard, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Matt. 3:16,17. In the Acts of the Apostles, we read of three thousand baptized in one day. Chap. 2:41. In the 8th chapter of the same book, we read, that upon Philip’s preaching at Samaria, on the hearers believing, they were baptized, both men and women. The Lord the Spirit sent Philip to baptize the lord high treasurer of the queen of Ethiopia; it is recorded in the same chapter which hath been mentioned. In the 9th chapter, we have Saul of Tarsus baptized by Ananias, at the express command of Christ. In the 10th chapter, we have Cornelius, and those with him, on whom the Holy Spirit had fallen, commanded by Peter to be baptized in water, in the name of the Lord. In chapter 16th, we have Lydia and her household baptized; and the jailor at Philippi and his household, baptized at midnight.

Junior. Do you find any particular expressions in scripture to strengthen you, as it respects dipping the whole body in water?

Senior. Yes, Sir, very many. It is expressly said, John was baptizing in, Jordan: that he baptized in the river Jordan; that He was baptizing in Enon, near to Salem, because there was much water, and they came and were baptized. And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water. And they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch, he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip. I cannot conceive any thing can be more clear, that the baptizer and baptized were both in the water, or they could not come up out of it. Those scriptural expressions concerning the ordinance of baptism, respecting our being buried with Christ, baptized into his death, baptized into Christ, buried with him in baptism whilst they most clearly confirm this, that the whole body was covered or buried in water when the person was baptized; yet I conceive they principally are designed to express the end and design of the ordinance itself.

Junior. Pray, Sir, give me an account, of the nature, use, end, and design of this most holy institution.

Senior; It is a solemn commemoration of Christ. The water is expressive of trouble and sorrow. Christ our Lord was a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief’s. He was overwhelmed with all the sorrows due to imputed sin. He was implunged in the whole storm of divine wrath. He was surrounded with the whole curse due to the sins of the elect. He says, All thy waves and thy billows are gone over me. Thou hast laid me in the lowest pit, in darkness, in the deeps. Thy fierce wrath goeth, over me. Now, in this ordinance, the sorrows of Christ are recorded. The death and burial of Christ are recognized, and his resurrection. The baptizer and baptized go both of them into the water. The person who is to be baptized, is put under water; he is buried in it; he emerges out of it; which are a solemn and sacred memorial of the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. The Apostle says, Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection. Rom. 6:3,4,5. We have here more of Christ than at his table. Here are the sorrows, the death, the burial, the resurrection of our Lord. The language of it is, Come, see the place where the Lord lay.

Junior. I must acknowledge, I see a majesty, glory, solemnity, and importance in this ordinance. Pray, were there any types or figures of it?

Senior. Yes; two: Noah’s salvation in the ark from the deluge of waters, or, if you will, the ark, in which he was saved, was the first type given of this ordinance: and the second, was the passage of the Israelites through the Red Sea. Of the former, Peter says, The long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a Preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls, were saved by water. The like figure whereunto, even baptism, doth also now save us, (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience towards God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ. I Peter, 3:20,21. Of the latter, Paul says, Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea. I Cor. 10:1,2.

Junior. Be so good as to shew how these were symbols of baptism.

Senior. The ark was like a coffin. It. was surrounded, with water. Torrents of rain fell on it, so that it was overwhelmed and covered therewith Noah and his family in it, were thus baptized. The Israelites, with Moses at their head, passed through the divided waves; the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand and on their left; the cloud covered them: so that they were buried. Thus they were baptized. In both instances a solemn’ symbol of baptism was expressed, which is the ordinance of humiliation.

Junior. Will you kindly sum up the substance of what you have delivered concerning baptism.

Senior. I have spoken of it as an ordinance of Christ. It consists in putting the whole body under water: this is done in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. , It is a solemn commemoration of the overwhelming sorrows, death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. Its use, end, and design are to keep him up in remembrance amongst his churches. It is to express how all his members are so implanted into him, as to partake from him all the blessings and benefits of his life, death, burial, and resurrection. As He lived, suffered, died once for sins, the just for the unjust, to bring us unto God; so we are baptized once into him, and are never more capable to return to our former state. But being alive unto God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ, we now live unto God. This, I conceive, is must accurately expressed in these words of the Apostle, Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin. For he that is dead is freed from sin. Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ, being raised from the dead, dieth no more; death hath, no more dominion over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth, he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Rom. 6:6,7,8,9,10,11. Baptism is a most solemn commemoration of Christ: of his sufferings, death, burial, and resurrection. Its use is to make a public confession of the same. Its end is to lead such as are believers in Jesus, to center in him alone; and to teach them that he was delivered for their offences, and was raised again for their justification. I call it the ordinance of humiliation, because Christ could not descend lower than the grave; and when we are baptized, it is really like descending into the grave. In the very act of being plunged, it is a kind of temporary suffocation; so that we are as it were dead. When we are emerged out of the water, it is as though new life were given us; there is, therefore, in the whole, a transacting over on us, when we are baptized; of what took place in our Lord, who actually died, rose again, and revived, as our Almighty Saviour and representative.

Junior. Will you be pleased to give me an account of the Lord’s Supper?

Senior. I conceive you cannot be better informed, than by observing our Lord’s institution as variously recorded by the “evangelists and the apostle Paul. There is some little variation in them all, yet not material; so far from it, that what difference there is, only serves to cast the more full light upon the subject.

Junior. I have always been led to overrate these ordinances of our Lord, by conceiving some inherent virtue and efficacy in them. This, I perceive, must be altogether wrong. According to your statement of baptism, to which our Lord himself submitted, whilst there is a majesty and importance in it, yet it has, notwithstanding, a vast simplicity. Pray tell me how you understand that ordinance was administered by the apostles in their day. It is true this is breaking in upon the present subject. I should have mentioned it before, but it escaped me.

Senior. I apprehend nothing was said or done, but the baptizer, and the person to, be baptized, went down into the. water, and the one pronouncing these words, I baptize thee in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, and immediately dipped or plunged the other under water.

Junior. Do you suppose this was all that was necessary

Senior. I do; for this was all which belonged to the ordinance. It was the ordinance itself; not that I conceive it unnecessary or un-edifying, for us to preach and pray before the administration of it; yet it should ever be remembered it is no part of the ordinance.

Junior. Sir, be so good as to recite the various accounts given by the evangelists and the apostle Paul, relative to the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper.

Senior. And, as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, and brake it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it: For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins. Matt. 26:26,27,28. And as they did eat, Jesus took bread, and blessed, and brake it, and gave to them, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and when He had given thanks, he gave it to them: and they all drank of it. And He said unto them, This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many. Mark 16:22,23,24. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Like wise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. Luke, 22:9,20. Paul says, For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus, the same night in which he was betrayed, took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat; this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the Cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. I Cor. 11:23,24,25. In all these accounts we have the institution most clearly set before us. It is commanded to be observed by the churches of Christ until his coming again: it is in remembrance of our Lord’s death: to commemorate the everlasting efficacy of Christ’s one offering of himself, by which he hath perfected for ever the putting away of sin, and the bringing in an everlasting righteousness, which reflects glory on the throne of God, and light and majesty on all the redeemed within the vail.

Junior. What is all that is necessary to be done at the Lord’s Table, as it respects the institution simply and alone?

Senior. Bread and wine being placed on the table, the words of Christ, when he appointed it, are to be read; then the bread is to be set apart; a thanks giving is to be offered; the bread is to be broken; and then to be distributed; each communicant is to take a piece and eat it this is to shew forth the death of Christ. Then the cup of wine is to be taken, and set apart to be the cup of the Lord; the name, of the Lord is to be called over it; then it is to be distributed and given into the hand of each communicant, who, having drank of the same, have thereby been engaged in remembering, the death of Christ: and this is all contained in the institution, which may be fully confirmed by these words of the Apostle, For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come. I Cor. 11:26.

Junior. You seem to make the Lords Supper consist in very great simplicity. I have been led frequently to conceive some ideal holiness in the ordinance it self, abstracted from its use, nature, end, and design. I plainly Perceive I have had some mistaken views herein.

Senior. Most undoubtedly, as an ordinance of Christ, it is holy in relation to him who hath appointed it; yet it is not more so than preaching, hearing, praying, praising, or blessing God. It is a peculiar ordinance, it being wholly and altogether designed, to point out the manner of Christ’s sufferings and death. It differs from the former ordinance: water is the outward element there; bread and wine are the elements here, there, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ are recorded; here, the sorrows, crucifixion, and death of Christ are declared and set forth. The former is to be attended unto once for all; here is to be a reiteration of this frequently, Do this, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.

Junior. I have always been led to look on it as a very devotional act. I plainly discover I never yet had clear views how the Lord’s death is set forth in it. I want you to be very explicit, and recite what those acts and actions are and how performed, by which the Lord’s death is recorded.

Senior. The showing forth the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, is openly done by the following acts and actions: In taking the bread, in blessing the bread, in breaking the bread, in giving the bread, in receiving the bread, in eating the bread; in taking the cup, blessing the cup, giving the cup, in receiving the cup in drinking the cup the death of the Lord Jesus Christ is recorded and shewed forth.

Junior. If it be so, I must confess I have always overlooked it. It has frequently been a question in my mind, and which I could not clearly resolve, How, Christ’s death was shown forth in the holy supper? The uttermost of my conception hereof, went no further than the devotion I wished myself and others to, be filled with at the solemnity. There is another expression I wish you to explain, What is meant by discerning the Lord’s body?

Senior. The ordnance itself is a shewing forth the Lord’s death. The bread and wine are expressly called the bread of the Lord, and the cup of the Lord. In eating and drinking the same, we are said to be partakers of the Lord’s table ; and the Apostle asks this question, The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? For we being, many, are one bread and one body; for we are all partakers of that one bread. He gives also the title to this ordinance, The Lords Supper, it being ordained by him: then put all this together, and I conclude, discerning the Lord’s body, must consist in the exercising the spiritual mind on Christ in the use of this institution; attending closely to the end, use, and design of the same; considering the bread and wine in this ordinance, as blessed and broken, to be emblems, symbols, and memorials, of the broken body and shed blood of the Lord, and eating and drinking the same in remembrance of his complete obedience unto death, even the death of the cross: I conclude this is properly to shew forth Christ’s death, to eat the bread of the Lord, to drink the cup of the Lord, to discern the Lord’s body; this none can do, but such as are, real and spiritual believers in our most precious Lord Jesus. I refer you to the 10th and 11th chapters of the Ist Epistle to the Corinthians, without any further quotations. The design of the Lord’s Supper in every part, act, and throughout the whole observance of it, is to bring Christ to remembrance; to record his wonderful death to be the only sacrifice for sin; to declare our dependence on it alone for our everlasting purification, and discharge from all sin before the Lord; to bless the eternal Three for their inestimable love manifested therein. Thus I have given you the best account I can, Concerning what it is to discern the Lord’s body. Are you satisfied concerning it?

Junior. You say, to discern the Lord’s body in the observance of the Holy Supper, and worshipping Christ therein, is to have the mind spiritually exercised on Christ, as becoming incarnate, and substituting his whole person in our room and stead, and bearing our sins in his own body, and making an end of them, by the offering of himself as God-Man, in the flames of everlasting love. Agreeable to what the Apostle says, Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savour. Ephes. 5:2. Is not this your meaning, and the substance of what you have delivered unto me on this very important subject?

Senior. It is; and as you have the true idea of what I have spoken, I will withdraw, as thereby you will have an opportunity to dwell on the same by deep meditation. Farewell.

[chapter:9. Church Fellowship] [chapters:200,left]

9 This Discourse is on Church Fellowship.

THE RICHES OF DIVINE GRACEUNFOLDED

DIALOGUE IX.

The former conversation having made way for deep reflection on the mind of Junior, he longs. for the season to return, when he shall again be favored with another, intercourse with his friend, which, taking place, he addresses Senior thus: My good Sir, I have been, considering and reconsidering what you delivered in our last conversation with each other on the ordinance of Baptism and the Lord’s Supper. I have certainly received much real information into the nature, use, end, and design of them. You have cast such light on these, as hath, been very relieving to my mind. I could now wish you would give me some little account of a Church of Christ, and discourse with me on, Church Fellowship. Of the one first, and of the other next,

Senior. You seem willing to keep me employed, I am not unwilling to communicate, out of my little stock, any thing you may require of me, so far as I am able.

Junior. You have been, and are, very kind. I would ask you concerning what a Church of Christ is, as considered as his own institution; and where we are to look for the first gospel church of Christ after our Lord’s ascension.

Senior. I will give you an account first of the institution of a gospel church. We must look for it after our Lord’s ascension: and, I conceive, we find it for the first time, in the Ist chapter of the Acts of the Apostles; where, after the account given of our Lord’s ascension, we read thus Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is from Jerusalem a Sabbath day’s journey, And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John, and Andrew, Phillip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alpheus, and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James. These all continued with, one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women, and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with his brethren. These gave themselves up first to the Lord, and then secondly to each other, by the will of God. Their number were about one hundred and twenty. The foundation of their church state, with all its ordinances, together with an account of all the officers in it, and the matter of it, with the whole form and order of the same, I consider as given to these persons by Christ himself, in those conversations he held with them in his resurrection state. The evangelist Matthew tells us our Lord commanded his disciples to Go and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things (says he) whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the, world. Amen.

Mark says our Lord said, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved: but he that believeth not shall he damned.. Luke tells us our Lord said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things. And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high. And the Evangelist begins his book concerning the Acts of the Apostles, thus: The former treatise have I made, 0 Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach; Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost, had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen. To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. From these scriptures, it appears our Lord settled the whole order of his church that the apostles, and holy men and women who assembled together, having his word for their directory; formed themselves immediately into a church, and Were the first instituted church of Christ: from them are true churches descended. This church entered not on the observance of any other ordinances but prayer and supplication, and choosing One to fill up the number of twelve apostles, which being done.. they all waited for the coming of the Holy Ghost, who descended on them; after which they had and enjoyed all the ordinances which belonged to them as a church.

Junior. What are they?

Senior. Baptism, the Lord’s supper, preaching, prayer, church fellowship.- We read, Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts,2:41, 42,

Junior. What am I to understand of any particular organized church of Christ?

Senior. That it is the body of Christ. The whole universal catholic church of Christ in and throughout the whole world, is the body of Christ. This is declared by, the Apostle, who says, God hath put all things under Christ’s feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, which is, his body, the fullness of him that filleth all in all. Ephes, I:22, 23.

Junior. Do we read of any distinct churches at Jerusalem after the first forming the church there?

Senior. No, we. do not; but we read of distinct churches in Judea and Samaria., It is expressly said Then had the churches rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, and were edified; and walking, in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied. Acts, 9:31.

Junior. What title is proper to an individual church, and such as is really scriptural?

Senior. The church, churches of saints, an holy temple, the body of Christ. Paul says to, the saints at Corinth, For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are One body; so also is Christ: i.e. the church. Again, in the same chapter, Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular. I Cor. 12:27. It is styled an holy temple, an habitation of God. In Christ all the, building fitly framed together, groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit. It is styled the house of God, the church of the living God. I Tim. 3:15.

Junior. I confess I should like to have further light into this subject. Pray how were the apostolic epistles entitled? I understand they were addressed to congregational churches.

Senior. They are addressed to saints: To all that be in Rome, I beloved of God, called to be saints. Rom. I:7. Thus to the Corinthians, Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints. I Cor. I:2. To the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints which are in all Achaia. 2 Cor.I:1. The epistle to the Ephesians is directed thus, To the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus. Chap. I:1. So to the, church at Philippi, To all the saints in Christ Jesus, which are at Philippi. So the epistle to the Colossians, To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ, which are at Colosse Chap. I:2. The epistle to the Thessalonians is thus addressed, Unto the church of the Thessalonians, in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I Epistle, Chap. I:1. The second epistle is just like it, Unto the church of the Thessalonians, in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Chap. I:1.

Junior. Then the matter out of which the churches of God and Christ are formed, are saints, who unite together in distinct bodies,. according to the Command of Christ, and his gospel order. These have their proper officers, which, I apprehend, are pastors and deacons, and all the ordinances of Christ dispensed amongst them. Is it not so?

Senior. Yes; it is even so: and these as variously subdivided into separate bodies, are so many distinct churches of Christ; each of them having, their own proper order and officers, appointed for them by Jesus Christ. Each church is the seat of worship. AN ordinances are administered in the name, of Christ unto them; and whilst they walk in Christ, with Christ, and according to his rule, peace is on them, and on the Israel of God. I think I have given you a general idea on these subjects, from whence you may form some conception of them. As to entering particularly, and to discuss the whole minutely, concerning the matter, form, order, government of a true gospel church of Christ; and to treat of the laws, ordinances, officers, rules, and commands given by Christ, the king of saints; with their use, end, and design, would not suit our present conversation; therefore, I would wish you to consider what you first proposed at the opening of the present. Was it not to give you an account of a church of Christ, and then discourse concerning church fellowship?

Junior. It was. I think you have answered my request in this first particular; and, on looking over what you have related concerning the first gospel church at Jerusalem, I conceive it must be saints who only can befit matter to constitute a particular church of Christ; that they must be first united in the truths of the everlasting gospel, before they can be united in the order of the gospel; that they ought to see eye to eye concerning the ordinances of it, that they may worship the Lord with one consent in their observation of these; that they should be united in heart and affection to the Lord Jesus Christ, and to each other in him.

Senior. All you have spoken is most certainly what should be the case. It is of, great consequence to an individual church of Christ, to be favored with spiritual and judicious members, with such as shine like lights in the world, holding forth the word of life. It is a real blessing to be favored with a fit and judicious pastor, who preaches Christ, and rightly divides the word; and with deacons, men agreeable to the description given of them, and qualified for the discharge of their office, so as to suit with what the apostle says to Timothy, Such as are grave, not double-tongued, not given to much wine, not greedy of filthy lucre; Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience. I Epistle, 3:8, 9.

Junior. My good, Sir, I do request you would proceed to that part of the subject, Church Fellowship.

Senior. You have heard that it is saints and faithful brethren in Christ, who are members of’ churches; at least you have had it recited to you, that the churches of God and Christ at Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse, and Thessalonica, were thus addressed: and most assuredly, if such were only fit to be the body of Christ then; most certainly such only can be fit to be the body of Christ now. I am speaking of the church which is Christ’s body. On this Very same subject, I say church fellowship is a fellowship of saints. The Apostle says to the members of the church at Corinth, God is faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord. I Epistle, I:9. Church fellowship is a communion of saints; hence in the creed, commonly called the Apostles Creed, (I now refer to the Church of England Common Prayer Book,) it is therein said, I believe in the Holy Ghost, the holy catholic church the communion of saints now this which is made a matter of faith in the creed, is what we have in conversation before us. God’s called ones are saints; they have fellowship one with another; it is concerning spiritual things ; they are united to one and the same eternal, life-giving, and life-maintaining head; they are partakers of him and his great salvation; they have all one and the same spirit: so says the Apostle, For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free: and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. I Cor. 12:13.

Junior. But as it is a fellowship of saints, called and knit together by the order and bonds of the gospel, I want to know what this fellowship consists in. I know the Apostle, says to the members of the Corinthian church, Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be. no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. I Cor.I:10. No church can beat peace amongst themselves, and enjoy the peace of God ruling in their hearts; nor can any church state be secure, where there is not an unity in judgment concerning the truth as it is in Jesus; yet I conceive there must be some peculiar way in which this fellowship is kept up, and by which it is expressed. I know it is said, And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul. Acts, 4:32, What should hinder it from being the same now?

Senior. The same knowledge of Christ, and the same faith exercised on him, must produce the same effects then as now, and now as then; but such as are members of what we style churches, are swerved from the apostolic faith, as they are also from the old apostolic practice. We receive persons as members, into the churches of Christ now, on a declaration of a work of grace on their souls; whereas, they were admitted into the ancient churches of Christ, upon a profession of their faith on Christ, and every article of faith connected with him and his salvation. If we are born of God, the work of God upon us must be equal and alike the doctrine of faith professed by us; yet in the way persons are admitted in our day into the real churches of Christ, a devout and sincere Arminian may as easily become one with us, as the soundest predestinarian in the world.

Junior. How so? I understand all who call them, selves Christians, of the Baptist, the Presbyterian, and Independent, or, as you otherwise call them, the congregational churches, and which, I think, they should be always called, will admit none into membership with them, nor sit with them at the table of the Lord, but such as declare, or have declared, a work of God wrought on their souls. I think the term which they all express it by is,. a work of grace wrought on their souls.

Senior. What you say is true; yet as there is an obscurity in the phrase, a work of grace wrought in or upon their souls; so a profession of Christ and the truths contained in his blessed, glorious, and everlasting gospel, is too much neglected. As to the expression, a work of grace wrought on my soul, does it not take off from faith in Christ entirely? Does it not lead the mind to conceive thus, The Lord hath wrought so und so on my heart, I am a changed person, I shall never want any thing now but to look to myself, to be very careful and watchful. I ask you, my friend, if it does not tend to think very little of Christ, and to substitute this work of grace inherent in me, in the room and stead of Christ and his salvation? If it does, must it not be substituting the work of grace, in the room and stead of Christ, his righteousness and grace? and, if so, is there not cause for complaint?

Junior. I must confess, your conversation is such, as constrains me to say, I am very greatly indebted to you for conveying light and instruction to my mind’ What you have just delivered, would never have been thought of by me, concerning the phrase, a work of grace in and upon the soul. As you have opened it, I freely acknowledge I have thought it a very good and most important expression. In your explanation of it, I see it altogether wrong. It takes off from Christ: I will not deny it, for sure. I am, I have been more concerned about this work of grace within me, than, about Christ who hath died for me. I have been always setting up my rest and confidence therein. But you will acknowledge there are many young persons who are admitted into the open visible church of Christ; do not you therefore think such an expression suits them, and is more and far better suited for them, than it would be to require a confession of their faith?

Senior. I confess I do not. When the eunuch wanted to be baptized, the question whether he believed in Christ or not, is to be answered. See, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, if thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. When the Jailor said Sirs, what must I do to be saved? the reply, was, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. When our Lord Jesus Christ himself met with the man who was born blind, and, whose eyes he had opened, he put this question to him, Dost thou believe on the Son of God? Here is no enquiry concerning any thing wrought internally within him. No. He is asked concerning an act of his mind: did he, or did he not; believe on the Son of God? He knew not whether he did or did not; therefore he puts this question, saying, Who is he, Lord, that I might believe on him? Our Lord rejoined, Thou hast both seen him, and it is he that talketh with thee. And he said, Lord, I believe. And he worshipped him. John, 9:35,36,37, 38.

Junior. I have observed throughout all your conversation with me, that you speak a good deal concerning Christ the object of faith, and the exercise of the mind on him. You do, as I understand, state it as utterly impossible, without a revelation of Christ be made to the mind, that there should be any outgoings of the heart after him; therefore you conceive a real spiritual apprehension of Christ to be necessary, ere a person be admitted a member into the visible church of Christ; as without it they can have no actual fellowship with him.

Senior. These are precisely my thoughts of the Subject.

Junior. I cannot doubt but you are right in your judgment herein; but let me, if you please, know wherein church fellowship consists.

Senior. It consists in loving each other in Christ for Christ’s sake, and as lie hath loved us. This is expressed in receiving each other, as Christ also hath received us, to the, glory of God. It is evidenced in bearing each others burdens, in feeling for, and sympathizing one with the other. It consists in a mutual communication to each other, of what the Lord hath done for our souls; in a communication of the gracious experiences he hath given us from time to time of his love to us; in bearing and forbearing with each other.

Junior. All this seems very consistent with a church state. I remember the Apostle says, Whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it: or one member be honored, all the members rejoice in it. I Cor. 12:26.

Senior. Church fellowship consists very much in mutual prayers and praises offered up for each other, and in mutual meetings and converses in church assemblies. In a very particular manner, church fellowship Consists in the communion of saints, who belong to the same particular church or body of Christ, when they come together to celebrate the Lord’s Supper; and to hold fellowship with each other, and Christ their head, by sitting at the same table together with him. The Apostle hath very special and particular reference to this most blessed fellowship of saint congregated into one body, and Christ as their one most complete saviour, when he says, The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? For we, being many, are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. I Cor.10:16,17. The Lords Supper is a family feast; to which all the members of the church are expected. They should all be present at it, because it is a church ordinance; and one grand design of it is to unite and cement each of the members more closely to each other in the bowels of Christ and bonds of the gospel. This is very beautifully expressed in these words, For we, being many, are one bread, mid one body: for we are all members of that one bread. Here we, who were sometime afar off, being brought nigh by the blood of Christ, sit down together, being made kings and priests unto God, to feed on the commemorative emblems, symbols, and memorials of the one complete sacrifice of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which he hath reconciled all things unto himself, whether they be things on earth, or things in heaven. The Apostle shews how our Lord reconciled all his people in himself, by his most precious blood. In every age and period, elect saints have had their bickering, and, if I may so say, their animosities one with another. For some ages the Jews were against the Gentiles, and the Gentiles against the Jews. The Apostle on this subject, speaking of Christ, says, For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby: And came and preached peace to you which were afar and to them that were nigh. For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father. Ephes. 2:14, 15, 16, 17, 18.

Junior. I am greatly pleased with the information you have kindly given me concerning what church fellowship consists in. Surely a gospel church, walking in the faith and order of Christ, as given in the sacred word, must be a most noble sight; and to belong to such an one, must be to be blessed indeed.

Senior. It is so; yet at present, the churches of Christ are in a kind of deranged state. Our Lord threatens the whole of them, saying, Be watchful, and strengthen the things which remain, that are ready to die: for I have not found thy works perfect before God. Remember therefore how thou hast received and heard; and hold fast, and re pent. If therefore thou shalt not watch, I will come on thee as a thief, and thou shalt not know what hour I will come upon thee. Rev. 3:2, 3.

Junior. I am very greatly obliged. I know I have detained you beyond your seasonable time for retirement; I therefore bid you, Farewell.

Senior. May the Lord bless you, by giving yon a sound judgment in all things. Peace, mercy, and truth, be with you. Amen.

[chapter:10. Death] [chapters:200,left]

10 A Discourse on Death: what it is, and what it prepares for, are enquired into.

THE RICHES OF DIVINE GRACE UNFOLDED

DIALOGUE X.

A Discourse, on Death: what it, is, and what it prepares for, are enquired into.

Junior. Sir, I am exceeding glad to meet you once more in the body. You are drawing on towards the close of life; as such, I conceive you are well suited to converse with, about death, heaven, glory, eternal life, and a blessed immortality. I should therefore be much pleased, if agreeable, to enter on these subjects, having conceived in my own mind, you are the only person in the circle of my acquaintance, can converse with on such subjects to my real and spiritual advantage.

Senior. I believe, according to what you said in our first conversation, such subjects as you have just hinted, were to be closing ones in the interviews which were to be improved by us to mutual advantage; therefore, state them in your own order, and as you would like to have them brought forward.

Junior. I should like you to discourse on Death: what it is; also what it prepares for. They are doubtless grave subjects; yet my conception is, your mind is so fully possessed with views of the glory which is to be revealed in you, when you shall be called to be absent from the body, and present with the Lord, that I conclude your mind will by no means be discomposed, by elucidating such subjects as these.

Senior. I may most certainly say, should be greatly ashamed, if death gave me any sort of concern. It is appointed unto men once to die. I have for many a year felt the sentence of death in myself; and have been accordingly looking out for it, and expecting it. I have many a time really wished for it, as it will put a stop to all sin within me. This will be such a great deliverance, as I can at present have no adequate ideas of.

Junior. Then, Sir, your discourse on the proposed subject, will administer support to your own mind, as well as convey light and instruction to mine. It is said, He that watereth, shall be watered also himself.

Senior. I am willing to contribute to the, uttermost I am capable of. The increase of your knowledge in every spiritual subject, and with the, increase of God, is what I most sincerely long to promote.

Junior. You are exceedingly kind. The subject of mortality I wish now to be treated of, so that I may have some true knowledge of and insight into it.

Senior. I hope you do not look on this as a spiritual subject. I do not. It is a serious one. It may lead to great solemnity of mind. It may serve to raise many observations which may be of real importance, and most truly beneficial. As we proceed, an opportunity may open, to point out the only cordial for the mind, and the alone antidote against the fears of death. But our mortality, or death, is a natural subject. I conceive the wise man glances on this when he says, For that which befalleth the sons of men befalleth beasts; even one thing befalleth, them: as the one dieth, so dieth the other; yea, they have all one breath; so that a man hath no pre-eminence above a beast: for all is vanity. All go unto one place; all are of the dust, and all turn to dust again. Eccles. 3:19,20. This is a very humbling truth; yet it is not a spiritual truth, nor such an one as may be profitable for you and me to enter very fully into.

Junior. Sir, I am really startled at your saying death is not a spiritual subject.

Senior. It may be you are. Death is a solemn, awful subject; yet it hath nothing in it, which is spiritual. A mind enlightened by the Spirit of God, cannot but be lifted up above and beyond it, so as to fear no evil from it, and not to shrink at its near approach, yet this alters not the nature of death, which is a natural evil, and falls on the body as such, it being the sentence of the Lord over all flesh, in consequence of the sin of the first man: of whom we read, Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Rom. 5:12. Death came into our nature and world by sin. Now sin is not a spiritual act: it is an evil one, it hath produced every evil. This is one-death. The death of the body is a temporal evil. Whilst Christ can turn our death into life everlasting, by his making it to us who believe on him, the very passage into eternal glory; yet this does not alter the nature of death, nor make it a spiritual subject.

Junior. But, Sir, are not the minds of many, saints very spiritual in their dying moments, so that their very last breath is richly perfumed with the love and salvation of the Lord Jesus, and they most truly blessed and happy even when heart and flesh fail?

Senior. Most assuredly it is even so: but the acts of the spiritual mind on Christ, do not make the act of death spiritual. I conceive natural death is one and the same in all. I think, in the very act of dying, what is felt in one is alike in all. Some suffer more, some less, before death doth its office; but when it has completed its sentence, by disengaging the soul from the body, I conceive it is, for the act of it, the same in every one.

Junior. What is death? How would you describe it? Can you point out the process of it? You say it is a natural subject; yet you allow it to be a solemn and important one. We should never have died, should we, had it not been for sin? We enter by it into an unseen world, do we not? We fall by it into the hands of the Holy Lord God, do we not? Is not our state then settled for eternity to come? And will you, under all these considerations, say death is not a spiritual subject?

Senior. My good friend, let us understand each other rightly, it will be the means of removing all prejudice from the mind. Nothing can be more pleasing than a right understanding of each other’s mind on, every subject we converse about; and most especially this now before us, as you seem to boggle at this assertion, that death, or the dissolution of the body thereby, is not a spiritual, but a natural subject. You ask me, do you not, what is death? I reply, it is a suspension of all animal, sensitive, and rational life from the body. The blood stagnates, the heart ceases all motion, the senses are closed, the rational soul leaves the body, the pulse ceases, and the man dies this is death. Thus the body is dissolved, and it is fully proved to be in itself but a dust heap: it turns to corruption: it is reduced to its primitive dust, out of which it was originally formed. Thus the original statute of heaven is executed on it, Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Gen.3:19. I cannot myself describe its process, but the Holy Ghost hath done it very expressly in the 12th chapter of the Ecclesiastes, where, having given a very full portrait of old age, he proceeds to speak of what takes place in the body at the article of death, Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God that gave it. Verses,6,7.

Junior. I should much like to have this explained.

Senior. What is out of my power, you can have no right to expect from me: this is; but I will, if you please, endeavor to quote from an excellent man, what will, I conceive, cast great light on it.

Junior. Pray, Sir, do so; for though you say all this is but a natural subject, yet I really find it a very interesting one.

Senior. I say nothing against this: most assuredly it is so. The Holy Ghost, who is the creator of man, and formed the spirit within him, has given us a full account of the whole man in his first formation. He also gives us the account of the conception of man, and his state in the womb: of what he is at his birth: of the anatomy of his body: of his life: how he lives it is entirely by breathing: what death is: how man dies; and were we to attend to the revealed account of all this, we should have all that wisdom which is profitable to direct us in the care and economy of our bodies, so as to enjoy comfort in and from them, until we are called to lay them aside by death for a season, and to sleep quietly in the grave until the morn of a glorious resurrection.

Junior. How is it then, if, what you say is true, that we know so little of our bodies, and the diseases, which befall them, and manage, them? So poorly?

Senior. Because we neglect the Creator for the creature: we all prefer human help to divine; hence all of us go to doctors and physicians, more than to Christ. The body is made up of the four elements: earth air fire, and water. It is inhabited by an immaterial spirit, which we call the soul; which, though,, immortal, yet the body is not in which it dwells: that is kept up and sustained by the air, which is the grand vehicle of its life. We live so long as we breathe, and not one moment longer: so soon as we cease to respire, we die, and are turned unto dust. We are so constructed in our bodies, that our life depends moment after moment upon the will of God alone. When we have fetched one breath, we are not sure we shall ever fetch another.

Junior. But was not Adam’s body before the fall immortal?

Senior. Adam would have been what he was by creation, had be not sinned: yet his body was not immortal by creation. The Lord God might have endowed it with immorality if he had pleased, but he did not. His body was a mortal one, and whilst he sinned not, he felt no decay; yet he would have needed that to recruit it, which would have kept it in perpetual vigor. To this very end the Lord God created and made to grow out of the garden, the tree of life. This would have been the means, had not man fallen, of continuing his body in the most perfect state, so that he would have enjoyed the blessedness of immortality in his body, and never have known death in it: otherwise, the very elements of which the body is composed, needed a perpetual poise. And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life: and man became a living soul, Gen. 2:7. Life was infused, and set a going by the Creator himself, through the nose, respiration being principally through it; and on this action depends life or animal motion; as also the continuation of the immaterial soul in the body.

Junior. You have most certainly given me many views on these subjects which I had not before the least apprehension of.

Senior. Then I hope our mutual conversation will tend to each other’s profit.

Junior. It most certainly does to my mind; but I want you to explain that passage concerning the silver cord, its being loosed, the golden bowl, its being broken, the pitcher broken at the fountain, the wheel broken at the cistern. I think you would endeavour to quote from another to assist me to a clearer idea.

Senior. If you will at your leisure read from the beginning of chapter 12th, to the end of verse 7th, you will have a most exact portrait of old age, and also of death. “The hoary head resembles an-almond-tree, and the bald pate that tree when its flowers are dropped off; and the skeleton is like a grasshopper, or ever the, silver cord be loosed, which fails in old age, and it is, broken at death. It is the pith or marrow of the backbone, which, descending from the brain goes down to the lowest part of the back-bone, and produces the Various tendons, nerves, and sinews of the body. This is round as a cord, and white as silver, and by it the, motion of the body is effected. One asks the question, May not this silver cord be the union between soul and body? The golden bowl is the head: it is called the golden bowl, for the same reason the other was called the silver cord. The wheel is the great artery, which being joined to the left ventricle of the heart, sets the blood in motion, and keeps it in perpetual circulation. One explains the whole thus: Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or, the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel be broken at the cistern. Here are three things said to fail after the silver cord: a golden bowl, or bason, a pitcher to receive a flowing liquor, to convey it into the house for the uses of it, and a wheel at the top of the well to draw it up. The heart is a bason or bowl, a double bason within; the aorata is a pitcher at the fountain, to catch the running stream in; and the lungs a wheel, that draws up the water out of the pit. The air, by its pressure, turns this wheel. The belly is the pit, which we render cistern. Out of the belly flows the water of life, i. e. it runs by the arteries into the outer parts, but the wheel draws it up, that this pitcher, the arteries, may receive it; it must, therefore, return into the belly again, before the wheel can draw it up, as water circulates into the well, and supplies its spring, The spring that flows into the pitcher, is supplied by liquor drawn up out of the pit, by a wheel at the top of the pit; and when the silver cord fails in old age, the spring runs weak, and the wheel turns heavily; and little is drawn up, ‘and that slowly.” Thus the circulation becomes so languid, as to leave the body motionless, and life expires.

Junior. Sir, be pleased to say what death prepares for. I understand from what you say, the process of death on the body begins with the silver cord being loosed, with the golden bowl being broken, or a membrane about the scull being shriveled, the pitcher being broken at the fountain, and the wheel being broken at the cistern; the blood is congealed, the pulse stops, and all the animality of the body expires. Now I want to ask, what does this prepare for?

Senior. For the grave, the house appointed for all living; what you could most certainly conceive without my replying.

Junior. I have been before led to understand from you, that death is but a natural subject, and you still continue the same idea. I should have conceived you would have made at least the issue of it a spiritual one, and said death fitted the soul of a believer for a glorious immortality.

Senior. If I had so said, I should have expressed myself wrong. Death sets the soul at liberty from the body, but it by no means fits it for another world it only affects the body, and turns it into a dust heap, Whereby it is fitted for the grave. The body by death begins to corrupt: it is in the first stage of it. When laid in the grave, it is in the second state of corruption, and the office of the grave is to swallow up the corruption of it. The soul is with Gods who gave it. The preparation for its entrance into eternal glory consists in the indwelling of the Lord the Spirit in it, in his work of regeneration, and his’ own operation on it. Death hath nothing to do with this subject. It finds a believer a saint, a child of God in Christ. It, cannot touch his immortal part. its sole commission from God himself, only concerns the body; to loosen its pins; to take down the frame; to destroy all the mechanism of it; to reduce it to a breathless corpse, and there it ends. The body is then fit only to be covered over with putrefaction. There is therefore no place fit for it but the grave, which having received it, there it is reduced to its primitive, particles out of which it was composed, and from hence it is to be raised at the last day. Surely you are not at a Loss to comprehend what I have delivered unto you concerning this, are you?

Junior. I freely acknowledge you have delivered yourself on the subject of death, and what it is, beyond what I conceived of it before. I also must confess, I see a great deal of Excellency in what hath been said all I am surprised at is, that you say death and the grave are not spiritual subjects. I can assure you, that what has been stated in the course of the present discourse, hath brought a great solemnity upon my mind. I want to know what you will think of this. Pray, is not this spirituality? Or what else will you call it?

Senior. I have not said that death and the grave, are not solemn subjects, neither do I say that a spiritual mind may not improve them, nor that the Lord’s people may not profit by them; but it is as they are carried above and beyond these, up to Christ himself, in the views of his death, burial, and resurrection. It is not by thinking on death as death, that we are spiritual: we must have spiritual minds, or we cannot be fitted for spiritual subjects; and we must have spiritual subjects suited to our minds, or they cannot be exercised. Now it is the person of Christ, the love of Christ, the righteousness and sacrifice of Christ, and the everlasting love of the Father to us in him, that are truly suited to make us more spiritual and more heavenly. I do not look on a solemnity of spirit, to be spirituality; neither do I conceive very awful thoughts of death and dying to be spiritual acts: I know they are not, by what hath passed in my own mind. When I look at death out of Christ, and consider what it is, I find I either tremble at it, or grow hardened, careless, and indifferent about it. When I look at death in Christ, as conquered, destroyed, and abolished by him, I find my mind very differently affected: I am not afraid of it; I see I have nothing to do with it; I go beyond it; I triumph over it: all which is the entire fruit of believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, and not by looking at death, at what it is, nor at what it prepares for, nor at, the grave. No. Death and the grave are but natural and common subjects. The death of Christ, by which he hath destroyed death; the burial of Christ, by which he hath sanctified the grave; the resurrection of Christ, by which he hath proved and proclaimed his conquest and triumph over death and the grave: are most divine, glorious, and sublime subjects; in the knowledge of which we shout victory in Christ over our own deaths, and our laying in the grave; as the Apostle says, If we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. I Thess, 4:14. Now I do not like too much solemnity of spirit; I do love real spirituality; I do love, and most earnestly covet, supernatural communion with the Three in Jehovah: but I do, not love to be taken off this by a solemnity of spirit which makes me stand in fear of death and the grave.

Junior. I find what you say requires deep thinking. I conceive without it, I may be led to stumble where there is no cause for it. I always thought, there could be no looking off death to Christ, as I do with respect to sin. You will give me leave to say, from what you have just delivered, I consider the substance of if thus: you look off sin just as if there was none in you, and look wholly to Christ as having died for you; and you look off death as though it was not in you, and look wholly to Christ’s victories over death and the grave, as your resurrection and life. Is it not so? And do I not conceive rightly in thus expressing it?

Senior. You do. I am not without sin, nor without; the perceptions and feelings of it; nor shall I be, so long as I am in the body. Yet, this does not take off my eye of faith from Christ. It is kept fixed on him, because I know it would be unsafe to look one single moment at myself or sin. I have found in past experience, when not so fully acquainted with Christ as now, that thinking on sin, death, the grave, and damnation, never weakened one single corruption in my fallen nature. I find, looking at Christ, the only antidote against every evil. So, with respect to death, I have found, looking at it, I am startled, I am alarmed, I want to avoid it, I shrink and tremble at it. All this is void of grace and spirituality. Not that I mean by this that there are none of the Lord’s people have these views and fears; yet these views and fears spring not from faith, but from unbelief, Now, the Lord the Spirit hath taught me to look away from death, as truly as he hath taught me to look off and away from sin, wholly and alone to Christ. I feel the sentence of death in me. It works and operates upon me. There is no one-day in which I do not expect it. If it should be ever go long postponed, yet it cannot but do its office. I give myself no concern about it. I know I shall die with the whole body of sin inherent in my fallen nature. I know death only can dissolve my mortal frame. I look to Christ as my perpetual friend. I commit myself wholly to him: to be with me in the article of death; to receive my soul to his everlasting glory. I look off death, as if it were not in me; and expect, in a dying moment, to have no more to do with it, than if it were not. I do not expect my animal frame to feel it; but give myself no trouble, about it. , I know it will have to do with me, but I will not have to do, with it. I do not expect to find that in it, which I have found in sin. If, therefore, Christ is a complete Saviour from the One, he will be a complete deliverer from the other. These thoughts do my mind more good, than thoughts of death and the grave. I therefore aim to live on Christ, and in views of my conquest of death and the grave in him, just as if I were in heaven. I say I aim at this, because, let the outgoings of the mind be what they may, it is but an effort. The Apostle says of himself, Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. Philip. 3:13, 14. I cannot more freely open my mind, nor explain myself on this head more fully.

Junior. I confess myself very greatly indebted for your conversation on the subjects’ before us. I apprehend, in a measure, what you have delivered. Having been always led to consider death and dying a very serious, solemn subject, I now plainly perceive I have been led off Christ thereby. I looked on death as a spiritual matter, and thought the more I really contemplated it, so much the more spiritual I should become; when you therefore said  there was nothing in death spiritual, it hit the nail on the head, I knew not what to think of the assertion. I have, on your opening the subjects, some views which I never had before, and hope to profit by them. The profit of mind I might reap from conversing with you, was my great motive in seeking to have these particular intercourses we have enjoyed one with the other.

Senior. If such ends be answered, as for us to be edified, and the Lord glorified, then all is well. Whilst I would by no means take state to myself, God forbid, yet I would say, Most freely would I impart to you an I know, which might increase your knowledge and spirituality. I am no loser thereby; as I have found many a time, in conversations like those we have together, the mind is quickened and enlarged by some questions put: they serve to set the thoughts on fresh exercise; and it is hereby we often get real good from the subjects discussed.

Junior. I have most certainly found the truth of this. May the Lord give me to look off death as you have spoken; then I clearly see I should walk comfortably. I really think one cannot live as becomes the gospel without it.

Senior. Indeed, this is true. I do not know, in the sense we are now speaking, that there is any person fit to live or die, but such as see themselves saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation, and enjoy the blessedness of the same in their own souls, by faith in the Lord Jesus. And such are fit to live and safe to die, whose minds are clothed with the knowledge of Christ; whose hearts are fixed on him as their treasure, portion, and everlasting inheritance ; who are living by the faith of the Son of God, looking for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life: such can have no fears of death. These truths realized in their minds from the word and by the Spirit, must lift off their hearts from sin and death, so as for them to live down the guilt of the one, and the fears of the other, by living continually in the belief of the truths of the everlasting gospel of the blessed God. But, I hope enough has been laid before you for the present. I feel it seasonable for me to retire. May the Lord give you understanding in all things and bless you, by shedding the Holy Ghost richly upon you, and bestowing his own divine unction, which teacheth all things, and leadeth into all truth. Amen. The Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

Junior. Thank you, Sir. May the love of God be shed abroad in your heart. Amen.

[chapter:11. Entrance into Invisible State] [chapters:200,left]

11 A Discourse on an Entrance into the Invisible State, and the same opened and explained, so far as the written, so far as the written Word of God, gives warrant for.

THE RICHES OF DIVINE GRACE UNFOLDED

DIALOGUE XI.

A Discourse on an Entrance into the Invisible State, and the same opened and explained, so far as the written Word of God gives its warrant for.

Junior. Mr. Senior, since it hath pleased the Lord to admit us to see each other once more in the flesh, I cannot but express my joy, whilst I also add, that your last conversation has been of real advantage to me. I think conceive more properly concerning death, than, ever I did before. I consider now with you, that it is altogether a subject, which may well be entitled a natural one, seeing it is the sentence of the Lord over all flesh. I also, from attending closely to what I consider the progress of death on the human frame, find myself very greatly relieved from the natural fears concerning dissolution. I now speak after you; for, though I could not at first understand your meaning, when you said death was not a spiritual subject, I now do: so, when I say, I am relieved by your discourse from the natural fears of dissolution, I am not speaking spiritually: I now speak as a man. Will you be so good, in as brief it manner as possible, to repeat the substance of what you have delivered concerning the progress of death.

Senior. I suppose you mean the explanation of these words, Or ever the silver cord be loosed, or the golden bowl be broken, or the pitcher be broken at the fountain, or the wheel broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

Junior. Yes, Sir, I do. I must acknowledge you have done it in the last conversation, but I wish you just to recapitulate the same.

Senior. The silver cord is the pith or marrow of the back-bone, which is round as a cord, and white as silver. The head is the golden bowl; it is the vessel in which the brain and animal spirits are contained. The, fountain is the heart. The aorata is a pitcher to catch the running stream in. The lungs are the wheels. Now, before the union of body and soul is untied, the pith of the back and nerves give way; the vessel in which the animal spirits are contained, is rendered unfit for use; the nerves and arteries which conveyed the blood from the right to the left ventricle of the heart, can perform this office no more; the pulse ceases; all the animality of the body is entirely exterminated therewith: it becomes a breathless corpse this is death, and its process on the body, ere it hath completed its office, which, when fully done, the soul, departs, and no longer remains in it.

Junior. Can it be ascertained the moment when the soul leaves the body?

Senior. I think not. All that can be ascertained concerning death, only concerns the body, which, as it is kept alive wholly by respiration, so it entirely sinks when the act of respiration ceases, The Silver cord being loosed, the golden bowl being broken, the pitcher being broken at the fountain, the wheel being broken at the cistern. Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return into God who gave it. Thus the body is deprived of all its senses, life, and motion, and fit only for the grave, where it is to be consigned, and remain under the power and dominion of death until the second coming of the Great God, even our Saviour Jesus Christ, Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. Philip.3:21. This is all I can say of the subject: I hope it may give you satisfaction. I would refer you to our last conversation: it may be, by putting both together, you will reap all the satisfaction on this point you at present wish for.

Junior. I conceive, from the whole you have said, that death, in its own nature is, to saint and sinner, one and the same. I know, to die in Christ, is life everlasting; to die out of Christ, must be eternal damnation. Can you kindly now enter on this, as the subject of our present conversation; what may be conceived concerning the soul’s entrance into the invisible state?

Senior. You would not have me to be wise above that which is written, surely?

Junior. No, I would not; as this would answer no good end. I know you think on some subjects very deeply and peculiarly; I should therefore like you to express yourself concerning the soul: its departure from the body; its entrance into the invisible state; so far as the written word of God gives light into it and warrant for.

Senior. We cannot expressly conceive of the soul. We say it is the mind, which conceives thought. I suppose we may understand soul, mind, and thought are all one. It is an incorporeal existence in our bodies. Its seat is considered to be the brain and heart. All our conceptions are formed in the brain, and our life seems to reside in the heart, which is the last part in the body that dies, I apprehend the brain to be the seat of residence in which the soul or mind is seated: that it is diffused throughout every part of the body, and animates it. I conceive we are to distinguish between the soul and its faculties and affections. The essence of the soul is spirit. It is wholly void of matter; yet it is implunged in a body of matter. Its faculties are, understanding and will. Its affections are love, delight, and memory. The soul is one and the same in all. It cannot die. By death it is driven out of the body, so that it can no longer reside in it; yet the death of the body can by no means make any alteration in the soul. That it is distinct from the body is evident, by what is recorded concerning our Lord Jesus Christ at his death. It is said, Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost. Matt. 27:50. Also, from what our Lord said to the thief, Verity, I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise. Luke, 23:43. From what the Apostle says concerning his rapture into heaven, that he knew not whether he was in the body or out of the body, is a full proof that he needed not his body then and there. He also Says he had a desire to depart (that is, to leave his body by death) and to be with Christ.

Junior. What you say is full proof indeed that the soul exists when the body drops: that its faculties and affections exist in it in the- separate state. I think, from what you have expressed, the soul is the mind, and the mind is the soul; that it wholly and altogether consists in thought; that its will, understanding, memory,, and affections, are but so many exercises of the conceptions of one and the same mind, which, as they will exist in it for ever, so all these must, and cannot but be exercised, according to the state and place it will be in to its everlasting continuance in being and existence.

Senior. You express this very clearly, as it respects my own views and apprehensions. Death can make no alteration in the soul, either in its essence or faculties or affections. Its understanding, will, and memory, will not be impaired by its removal from the body, though they will not be exercised by the body. At death the spirit returns to God who gave it.

Junior. I want you to convey to my mind, what you conceive concerning the departure of the soul from the body at the article of dissolution.

Senior. Truly I can only speak by way of conception. I would make the written word of God my rule in all things, especially on such a subject as this before us. But why are you so very inquisitive?

Junior. Not for fear of what I shall feel in the article of death, but because I might so apprehend it, as to be filled with holy joy. I very clearly perceive we shall be altogether passive in the article of death I am certain there must be a suspension of the exercise of the faculties, or death could not do its office, and dislodge or disembody the mind. I want you to say what you conceive concerning the actual departure of the soul from the body. We read of Rachael, and it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died,) that she, &c. Gen. 35: I8. Now, my good Sir, I want you to give me some general account of this, if you please.

Senior. I have informed you what death is. It consists in the separation of the soul from the body. I have as well as I could, spoken bf the process of death; in which the solids and fluids being wasted and dried up, the pulse ceases; at which the soul being disunited from the body, departs from it. This is all I conceive of it: this is all I can say concerning it. The soul is what it was, yet not in the body. Its state before God is the same that it was but it hath now objects and subjects to think on and be exercised with, which it had not before. What the medium in which it will exist, and by means of which it will converse with other disembodied spirits, cannot be said. It may be, there will be a clothing for it, so as that it shall have a vehicle to be in, and by which it shall conceive of the objects and subjects in the unseen and invisible state. Some have so conceived, as thinking none but God himself, who is invisible, can be without some kind of vehicle for the mind to act in. Angels are not without forms, though without bodies. Saints in heaven are not without a distinction in their forms, so as to be distinguished one from the other, and to know themselves and each other, though they are without their bodies; but we can never rightly conceive, so as to apprehend the subject, until we are admitted into the world of spirits.

Junior. Doubtless, we cannot; yet I must confess, what you have dropped concerning this subject, gives me real pleasure and satisfaction.

Senior. I am very ready to impart my mind freely on it. I consider myself as one who is shortly to, enter on this world of spirits, to be gathered with them into the garner of everlasting rest. Whilst I go no further than I have already done, and keep myself to the written word, I consider I am safe, and cannot do you or myself any injury. I conceive the mind of the believer in Christ when disembodied, raised up to such apprehension of Christ, and God in him, as is suited to the state entered on.

Junior. What is the state of a saint after entrance into the invisible state, think you?

Senior. A state of glory. Stephen, when he was dying, cried out, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit: a full proof he was going to be received by Christ, and admitted to glory. Paul says, For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with, hands, eternal in the heavens. We are confident, and willing I say, rather to he absent from the body, and to be present with. the Lord. 2 Cor. 5:1; 8.

Junior. I should like you to express your thoughts concerning a saint’s entrance into the invisible state of glory.

Senior. I look on death as the passage into it, as we cannot enter it in our bodies, until they are prepared and fitted for it by the resurrection of them from If the grave and power of death by our Lord Jesus, and his making them like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to subdue all things unto himself.

Junior. Will there any further change pass on the soul in the article of death, to fit it for glory? I know some conceive the soul will at the article of death, or as soon as it hath done its office, in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, be delivered from the whole body of sin, yea, from the very inbeing of it. What think you of this?

Senior. You know, Sir, the souls of the elect will be found in Christ. Such of them as are born again, have their whole meetness for heaven and glory in their regeneration; whilst their union of soul and body will be dissolved by death, yet it cannot in the least touch nor affect what the Holy Ghost hath wrought in them. This being the case, the Holy Ghost who dwells in them will, by his mighty power, as soon as their spirits are disengaged from their bodies, deliver them from all the inherency of sin. We say sin and grace in the same mind are so distinct, that they can never coalesce. Now, when the souls of the saints are unclothed of their bodies, they will be immediately without all sin.

Junior. But will there be nothing more wrought in their souls, to fit them for heaven and glory, think you?

Senior. I conceive not, unless it be a raising up the mind to a suitability to the state of glory. The mind will be clothed with immortality and eternal glory; as, without we were renewed in our minds, we should have no suitable faculty to converse with God, Father, Son, and Spirit, and have converse and proper and scriptural apprehensions of the grace revealed in the holy scriptures; so, except the same mind be raised up, so as to be suited to the state of glory, that state would not by any means suit us, nor we it. Here we converse with Christ by faith; there we are to converse with Christ by sense. Our minds therefore will be raised up to such a degree of immortality and glory, as will fit us for the enjoyment of the state, of glory and immortality: in all which we shall be passive. It is the Holy Ghost will perform all this; not by communicating any thing unto us which we have not already received; but by enlarging, strengthening, and immortalizing our faculties, so that they may be as truly fitted to be perpetually exercised on those wonderful subjects they are to be engaged on in the immediate presence of God and the Lamb by sense and vision, as we are now by faith fitted to Christ’s church militant on earth.

Junior. Do you think we shall be immediately introduced into the presence of God and the Lamb?

Senior. I believe all saints conceive, and all divines affirm this.

Junior. But will it not be overwhelming, to be admitted into the immediate presence of the great and incomprehensible Jehovah, to see him face to face, to see him as he is? I tremble at this view of the subject.

Senior. You need not tremble at entering into heaven, if you consider who is to admit and present you there. Our Lord Jesus Christ is to admit you; he is to present you; he is to bid you welcome to all the glory and blessedness of heaven. Take into consideration the words contained in the following doxology, Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen. Jude, 24, 25. It may be, you have conceived, as I once did, that in glory we should be implunged into absolute and incomprehensible Deity: my mind used to tremble at the thought. Blessed be the Lord, I do now. Understand from the scriptures, we shall be with Christ. It is he we shall see face to face. It is he we shall have immediate communion with. The Father, Son, and Spirit, the Three in the one Incomprehensible Jehovah, will never admit us to any other sight of their glory, than as it shines forth in the God-Man; nor shall we, ever have any abstracted communion with them in their distinct nature and persons, but in our most precious and glorious Lord.

Junior. Really, Sir, this is very relieving to my mind; yet I think an immediate introduction into our Lord’s presence, will be most wonderful: to see him in his glory; to see him by open vision. You say all saints conceive we shall immediately, at death be admitted into his kingdom, and glory.

Senior. The scriptures give us so to conceive of it; yet I have sometimes thought on Moses case, when he was called to come up into the mount with God, we read, And Moses went up into the mount, and a cloud covered the mount. And the glory of the Lord abode upon mount Sinai, and the cloud covered it six days: and the seventh day he called unto Moses out of the midst of the cloud. And the sight of the glory of the Lord was like devouring fire on the top of the mount in the eyes of the children of Israel. And Moses went into the midst of the cloud, and gat him up into the mount: and Moses was in the Mount forty days and forty nights. Exodus, 24:15, 16, 17, 18. 1 have, from observing this great saint being six days in the mount before he was immediately admitted into the presence chamber of the Most High, thought within my own mind, whether it might not be so with disembodied saints, to be by degrees, and in a gradual manner, received and admitted into the state of glory, and to the open vision of Christ. But you are to remember, I speak this to you, only as a thought of my own, on which you are to lay no stress, I do not myself, we are to be confined on this subject to the written word.

Junior. My dear Sir, what you have delivered in this present discourse, hath done me good like a medicine. I think I shall never be afraid of death; neither shall I tremble on entering into the invisible state. I perceive I shall be passive, and not active. When death comes, it will soon be over. When out of the body, I shall have an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. My intellectual faculties and senses will be most exactly suited to the state the place, the sight, vision, and enjoyment of Christ, and communion of the Father in him, through the indwelling of the eternal Spirit in my son]. I bless God for the light and knowledge I have received on these subjects, through your instrumentality.

Senior. To be delivered from the whole body of sin, to be raised up intellectually, and to have every spiritual faculty and sense so perfected, as to be fitted for the state of eternal glory, and to be admitted by Christ himself into it, and p)7esented by himself before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, are all sufficient to fill our minds even now, in this present time state, with joy unspeakable and full of glory. But I must now break up our present interview. May the blessing of the Three in Jehovah rest on you? Amen.

Junior. Thank you, Sir. May all contained therein, be yours also. Amen.

[chapter:12. Heaven, Glory, & Eternal Life] [chapters:200,left]

12 A Discourse on Heaven, Glory, and Eternal Life, as set forth to view, and revealed to our faith in the word of inspiration.

A Discourse on Heaven, Glory, and Eternal Life,

as set forth to view, and revealed to our faith, in

the word of inspiration.

DIALOGUE XII.

This is the last conversation we are to hear, and the last discourse we are to be favored with between Junior and Senior, who, being again met together, the senior friend began thus: Mr. Junior, I am really glad to see you once. more, I, am advancing in age, therefore my time will be short; let us try to make the present interview with each other as useful as we can; propose your own subject; let us both look- to the Lord for a blessing on it, and on our discussion of it.

Junior. I cannot sufficiently express my gratitude for all the past freedom you have indulged me with. I think your kindness for the continuation of the same, is very great. If you please, I, could wish the present discourse might be on Heaven, Glory, and Eternal Life.

Senior. These are subjects most assuredly connected with former ones; and, as my time must be engaged in other services, so as for me not to attend on you after the present, I will very gladly do my best, to communicate my views, as clearly as I may be enabled, on these sublime verities.

Junior. I have received into my mind from you, the clearest apprehensions of death, and of the entrance into the invisible state, I ever yet had; heaven,. glory, and eternal life, being closely connected with them, I should think it would be keeping up the subject,’ if we were, therefore to confer on these. Pray, Sir, what am I to apprehend of heaven, is it a state, or is it a place?

Senior. It is both a state and place., It must be the latter, because our Lord is there. He went thither when he left our world. He is now there. ‘Angels and glorified saints are there with him. He speaking, of it as a place, saying, In my Father’s house are many mansions if it were not so, I would have told you: I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also. John, 14:2, 3. It is also a state. The saints in it are in a state of glory. Hence the Apostle says, Our light affliction; which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. 2 Cor. 4:17. He also entitles it an house: an house not made with hands, an house eternal in the heavens. 2 Cor. 5:1. This is expressive of its being a place. It is said of Christ, that he ascended up far above all heavens. Ephes. 4:10. That he is gone into heaven. I Peter, 3:22. That he is set down an the right hand of the Majesty on high. Heb. I:3 That he liveth in the presence of God. Heb. 9:24. That he is received up into glory. I Tim. 3:16.; which last is expressive of the state of glory our Lord is entered upon.

Junior. What ideas ought I to entertain concerning heaven? I have often heard where Christ is there is heaven; that he is as truly with saints on earth, as with saints in heaven; that they as truly enjoy fellowship with him here below, as they ever will above. Yet I read in scripture of heaven; of the heaven of heavens; of the third heaven; also of the heaven of heaven of heavens. What am I to conceive concerning these assertions, and various terms and modes of expression?

Senior. It is a real truth, that where Christ is there is heaven; but it is only in this sense, that where the king is there is the court: so Christ being spiritually present with his saints, they have real communion with him, they have the real enjoyment of him, which, as it respects the truth and reality of it, is as really so, as that the saints have fellowship with him in heaven, It is in nature and kind the same with theirs, yet not in the same degree. We have the word heaven for the first time, in Genesis, I:1. This is the expansion or firmament, of which you read, verse 8, And God called the firmament Heaven. “This expansion, or firmament,” says Mr. Julius Bate, ” is the heavenly fluid or air; including what is in the condition of fire in and round (lie orb of the sun, As well as the streams of light from that fire; and the spirit, or grosser air, that continually flows into the sun, to keep up the action, supplies the waste of melted air, and extends the fire from the center to the circumference of the heavens. This is the heaven, considered as expanding. It reaches from the sun, in the center, to the stars. God set the stars in the firmament, to rule the day and the night, in conjunction with the sun and other orbs. The scriptures ascribe the natural causes of every thing to the expansive power of the heavens. The cause and continuance of motion must be looked for here.” Jehovah is called the Most High God, the possessor of heaven and earth. Gen. 14:19. To express his supreme and uncontrollable power over all things in heaven and on earth. He is styled the God of heaven, to express that lie made them, that they are his creatures, the work of his hands. Moses says, Behold, the Heaven and the heaven of heavens is the Lord’s thy God. Dent. 10:14. Heaven of , heaven of , heavens, may be expressive of the heavens every where: all the heavens, as divided to all the nations and people throughout the universe. The word heaven is applied to the place where Jehovah dwelleth in light inaccessible. Hence the prophet prays thus, Look clown from. heaven, and behold from the habitation of thy holiness and of thy glory, &c. Isaiah, 63:15. Thus Solomon, in a parenthesis of wonder, breaks out before the Divine Majesty, But will God indeed dwell on the earth! behold, the heaven, and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee. I Kings, 8:27. Our Lord directs us to pray thus, Our Father, which art in heaven. We heard before, that Paul was caught up into the third heaven ; it is therefore consistent with the word of truth, to conceive heaven to be a place in the material heavens, where God is pleased to manifest himself in his glory and majesty, as more peculiarly and “personally present to Christ, angels, and saints; that here God dwelleth in that light to which no mortal eye can approach, whom no man hath seen or ‘can see; that here he displays his uttermost manifestative glory in Christ, to the blessed in this tabernacle and dwelling place of his; that here Christ, elect angels, and glorified saints are. This is all I conceive, or can express to you, concerning heaven. Christ may be said to be the heaven of heaven of heavens, as it is a sight of him in his glory, is the beatific vision in which eternal glory consists, and immutable and endless blessings and blessedness are for ever enjoyed. What think you of all this?

Junior. I conceive thus of it: heaven, the airy heaven, the starry heaven, the heaven of heavens, the heaven of heaven of heavens, are all expressive of the majesty, the glory, the existence, the power, the immensity, the sovereignty of Jehovah; that heaven, as the habitation of his holiness, is where he manifests himself to the uttermost in the person of Christ. I conceive it is his royal residence some where in the heavens, and being seated there, is called an house eternal in the heavens. These are my ideas, which amount to what you have spoken of it, at least as I conceive, do they not?

Senior. Yes; they do so. Into this most glorious place elect souls are received and admitted, as soon as they are dismissed from their bodies by death. Here they see God in  Christ, are glorified together with Christ, and live for ever.

Junior. But as you have told me what I mayappr6bendof heaven, I want you to tell me also how saints will be employed in heaven. Will it not be in worshipping God? What will that worship consist in ?

Senior. Christ is the ordinance of glory. The saints are styled the church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven. Elect angels, and glorified saints, are, I conceive, formed into one glorious church state, worshipping Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit, who liveth for ever and ever, and ascribing Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, unto hint that sitteth on the throne, and unto the lamb, for ever and ever.

Junior. Wherein do the peculiar acts of worship in the elect angels, differ from elect men?

Senior. If there be any, it must be in praising the Eternal Three, in, appointing Christ to be their, head, by whom they were kept from falling; and when admitted to see him, the first-born of all Jehovah’s thoughts, will, purposes, councils, and designs, were, by the vision of him, confirmed in a state of blessedness, and rendered impeccable for ever.

Junior. What does the worship of all the elect of Adam’s posterity now in glory, consist in.?

Senior. In giving glory to each of the Three in the one self-existing Essence, for all their will, thoughts, love, and vast designs in Christ Jesus concerning them, and also for their salvation by the incarnation, life, and death,. of the holy and immaculate Lamb.

Junior. What does glory, or the glorification of the saints in heaven, consist in?

Senior. In the glorious forms, they appear in. They have the very image of Christ so completely in stamped on their minds, and they conceive of him so fully, by the sight which they have of him, that his glory will not only be reflected on them, but it will also be revealed in them. Hence the Apostle says, For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Rom. 8:18. Christ lives in his saints on earth, as their everlasting life. He lives in his saints in heaven, as their everlasting glory. He is to them the Lord of glory: the fountain and spring of glory. They, are glorified in him, and together with him. The rays of his glory reflected on them, put a shine of glory on them which will last for ever. It is out of the inexhaustible fullness of his glory, they will receive glory answerable to his glory. It is from him it will be communicated to them. They will be receiving from him for ever.

Junior. Then his fullness must be immense indeed!.

This is what I like your conversation for, it casts such light on my mind, that I really conceive more than I can express.

Senior. The fullness of Christ’s grace cannot be exhausted in time, nor the riches of his glory to eternity. How should they? For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead. 0, my friend, we have now a glorious subject, and we have a vast prospect before us. , The God of all grace hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus. We are called to glory, unto his eternal glory, which is all in Christ Jesus. As sure as we are called into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, we were, together with it, called to be partakers-of eternal glory.

Junior. Pray, say out what eternal glory is: and in what it consists?

Senior. In the vision of Christ. In a real sight of his personas God-Man, as the Man in God, who, as such, is the Lord of Glory . In him the Incomprehensible Three shine forth, to the uttermost display of their manifestative glory, before all the angels and saints in glory. It is this is the glory of heaven. It is the glory and. blessedness of each saint there. . What they behold, of the glory of, God in Christ, fills them with such conceptions of glory, as they can never express. It fixes them on Christ their center. It excludes the possibility of their sinning for ever. They hereby partake of an exceeding and eternal weight of glory, which will so poise their minds, as will. exclude, every wandering thought from Christ. He will be their object,, their canter,, their circumference their glory, their portion, their inheritance, their everlasting light, and their everlasting glory their all. And God, in his divine Persons, in the Person of Christ, will be their all in all. In communion with whom, saints will be filled with all the fullness of God.

Junior. If I understand you, it is the vision of Christ that will be the perfection of glory.

Senior. It will indeed; and it is this will make us in our souls and bodies perfectly like him: so says the Apostle, Beloved, now are we the sons of God; and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. I John, 3:2. It is the, sight of his person is heaven, it will complete our knowledge of him, and continue the life of glory in our minds for ever and ever. We shall see him as he is. This will contain the very essence of our blessedness.

Junior. You lay a vast stress on seeing Christ as he is; why so? Pray explain this. Will not all the assembled world see Christ when he comes to judge the quick and the dead?

Senior. Yes, they will; but they will not have an intuitive sight of Christ; they will not have a supernatural sight of him. His appearance will fill them with the utmost confusion. It will strike them with terror. Saints will see him to their everlasting joy and satisfaction. He will come to be glorified in them, and to be admired in all them, that believe. It is now by a supernatural faculty and light, we behold Christ as revealed and set forth in the glass of the gospel. By the same faculty, elevated by the Holy Ghost, when we are raised up and admitted to be where Christ is, we shall see him as he is, we shall see him face to face.

Junior. You have set heaven before me. I think you cannot at present say more concerning it. The Lamb in the midst of the throne, I consider as the great ordinance of heaven. Saints and angels in their glorious forms worship him. They are glorified in him; they are glorified together with him. I want you now to say what eternal life is, then I will consent that you shall close the subject; for, whilst I am fully persuaded, that what you have delivered falls far short of the subject as it really is, yet I am sure you have said more than I ,shall ever fully enter into and live over, until I am admitted into heaven, there to behold my Lord. Tell me, therefore, what eternal life is, and in what it consists. I know, in a measure, what spiritual life is; and I want to have a glimpse of what eternal life consists in.

Senior. I know when on subjects like those we have discoursed on, it is, and perhaps it cannot be avoided, that we run one subject into another; most assuredly we have touched on this, and said what eternal life consists in; not that I am unwilling, so far as I can, to give you a further account of what it is, and in what it consists. We have spoken of heaven as the seat of the church of the glorified; of Christ as living there, the Lord of Life and Glory. We have spoken of the glory of the saints in the house eternal in the heavens: of their perfection of blessedness in the sight and vision of the God-Man, which is the perfection of their eternal life. Spiritual, everlasting, and eternal life, are one and the same, only with these following distinctions. We have spiritual life imparted to us with our new-birth into Christ. This is expressed in and by our living a life of faith on the Son of God. Hence our Lord says, Verily, verily, I say unto you, he that believeth on me hath everlasting life. Our Lord says, This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John, 17:3. The Apostle John says” And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son-hath life. I John, 5:11, 12. So that we understand eternal life consists in the knowledge of Christ, and of the Father in him; and such as know Christ have eternal life in their souls. Whilst they are out of heaven, the acts and exercises of this eternal life, are comprised in living a life of faith on the Son of God, and in living in real communion with him. When they are removed to heaven, their eternal life will consist in their knowledge of Christ by sense and open vision: it will be perfected by seeing him as he is, and in perpetual communion with him.

Junior. Then you make eternal life in glory, to be the exercise of the mind continually on Christ, do you not?

Senior. Most assuredly I do. Life is activity. It is a blessing added to being. We had a being in Christ from everlasting, and we had life in Christ from everlasting. We must be with Christ in him: we must live with Christ. He is our eternal life. He communicates the same to us. He says because I live, ye shall live also. It must be eternal life to behold him in his glory: and views of his glory received into the mind, will be its life, its spring, its strength, its vigor; which will engage every act and thought of it for ever and ever.

Junior. Do you not think the soul will live on the, enjoyments it hath of Christ in glory?

Senior. No; I do not. A believer in Christ lives not on its own acts now; he will not, most assuredly, then. Eternal life must be the fountain of eternal acts. The life of glory can be no other than the knowledge of Christ consummated. The acts flowing from it, must have God-Man for their object and subject. A sight of him by vision, seeing him as be is, and to behold his glory, must swallow up the mind, and fix it so immutably on him, as to make it entirely passive in receiving his glory. Its activity must consist in admiring his glory, in rejoicing in his glory, and in having communion with him in it, so as to give him glorious praise.

Junior. Surely, if this is eternal life, to behold Christ face to face, to see him as he is, the subject may be far more easily conceived by a spiritual mind, than it can ever be expressed.

Senior. It is so. When Christ was transfigured on the holy mount, he shone forth in his glory. John says of it, We beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the rather. Peter says, We were eye-witness& Of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came stick a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. 2 Peter, I:16, 17. Christ shines forth now in heaven, in a brighter display of his glory, before his saints and angels, than he then did before his three favorite apostles. I conceive eternal life in heaven, will consist in the intellectual mind being swallowed up and absorbed in intuitive views and apprehensions of the glory of the Lord. As here below, it is sometimes the case with believers in Christ Jesus, to be favored with such intuitive apprehensions of Christ, as to be lost entirely to all enjoyments of him, the mind being entirely swallowed up in spiritual contemplations of him: so I conceive it will be in heaven. It will there be acknowledged by the whole election of grace, that what Christ is in his person, glory, blessedness, love, salvation, fullness, and immensity of perfections, can never be fully known: he will for ever be exalted above all blessing and praise. In this, and the glorifying him for it, I apprehend eternal life consists. Are you contented with what I have delivered? If so, I will conclude with a short prayer.

Junior. I am.

Senior. 0, holy, blessed, and glorious Trinity, look down upon us in infinite grace: bless the conversation we have had concerning heaven, glory, and eternal life. Give us, Holy Father, to know the Son: give us, Holy Son, to know the Father: give us, Holy Ghost, to know thee as the Spirit of the Father and the Son, that we may worship thee with the same equal worship and glory. Glorify Christ in our heart. Give us an heart-warming sense of the Father’s love in him. Let us worship the Three in Jehovah, as the Lord our God, now and for ever. Amen.

THE END.

W. Chatfield, Printer, Bell Court, Cannon Street, London.