The Method of Grace in the Gospel Redemption
by John Flavel
File 9
(... continued from file 8)

Sermon 8. 
Setting forth the Believer's Fellowship With Christ, the 
next End of his Application to them. 
Psalm 45:7. 
Therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness 
above thy fellows. 
    The method of grace in uniting souls with Jesus Christ, has 
been opened in the former discourses; thus does the Spirit, (whose 
office it is) make application of Christ to God's elect: The result 
and next fruit whereof is communion with Christ in his graces and 
benefits. Our mystical union is the very ground-work and foundation 
of our sweet, soul enriching communion and participation of 
spiritual privileges; we are first ingrafted into Christ, and then 
suck the sap and fatness of the root: first married to the person of 
Christ, then endowed and instated in the privileges and benefits of 
Christ. This is my proper work to open at this time, and from this 
    "The words read, are a part of that excellent song of love, 
that "heavenly Epithalamium, wherein the spiritual espousals of 
Christ and the church are figuratively and very elegantly celebrated 
and shadowed. The subject matter of this psalm is the very same with 
the whole book of the Canticles;" and in this psalm, under the 
figure of king Solomon, and the daughter of Egypt, whom he espoused, 
the spiritual espousals of Christ and the church are set forth and 
represented to us. Among many rapturous and elegant expressions in 
praise of this glorious bridegroom, Christ, this is one, which you 
have before you: "God, thy God, has anointed thee with the oil of 
gladness above thy fellows:" i. e. enriched and filled thee, in a 
singular and peculiar manner, with the fulness of the Spirit, 
whereby thou art consecrated to thy office: and by reason whereof 
thou out-shinest and excellest all the saints, who are thy fellows 
or co-partners in these graces. So that in these words you have two 
parts; viz. First, The saints' dignity, and Secondly, Christ's 
    First, The saints' dignity, which consists in this, that they 
are Christ's fellows. The Hebrew word is very full and copious, and 
is translated "consorts, companions, co-partners, partakers: or, as 
ours read it, fellows:" i. e. such as are partakers with him in the 
anointing of the Spirit, who do, in their measure, receive the same 
Spirit, every Christian being anointed, modo sibi proportionato, 
with the same grace, and dignified with the same titles, 1 John 2: 
27. Rev. 1: 6. Christ and the saints are in common one with another: 
Does the spirit of holiness dwell in him? so it does in them too. Is 
Christ King and Priest? Why, so are they too by the grace of union 
with him. He has made us kings and priests to God, and his Father. 
This is the saints' dignity to be Christ's fellows, consorts, or co- 
partners; so that look, whatever spiritual grace or excellency is in 
Christ, it is not appropriated to himself, but they do share with 
him: for indeed he was filled with the fulness of the Spirit, for 
their sakes and use: as the sun is filled with light, not to shine 
to itself, but to others; so is Christ with grace. And therefore, 
some translate the text, not prae consortibus, above thy fellows; 
but propter consortes, for thy fellows. Making Christ the first 
receptacle of grace, who first and immediately is filled from the 
fountain, the Godhead: but it is for his people, who receive and 
derive from him, according to their proportion. 
    This is a great truth, and the dignity of the saints lies 
chiefly in their partnership with Christ, though our translation, 
above thy fellows, suits best, both with the importance of the word, 
and scope of the place. 
    Secondly, But then, whatever dignity is ascribed herein to the 
saints, there is, and still must be, a pre-eminency acknowledged, 
and ascribed to Christ: if they are anointed with the Spirit of 
grace, much more abundantly is Christ: "God, thy God, has anointed 
thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." 
    By the oil of gladness understand the Spirit of holiness, 
compared here with oil, of which there was a double use under the 
law, viz. a civil and a sacred use. It had a sacred and a solemn 
use, in the inauguration and consecration of the Jewish kings and 
high priests; it had also a civil, and common use, for the anointing 
their bodies, to make their limbs more agile, expedite, and nimbler 
to make the face shine, for it gave a lustre, freshness, and 
liveliness to the countenance. It was also used in lamps, to feed 
and maintain the fire, and give them light. These were the principal 
uses of oil. Now, upon all these accounts, it excellently 
expresseth, and figuratively, represents to us the Spirit of grace 
poured forth upon Christ and his people. For, 
    First, By the Spirit poured out upon him, he was prepared for, 
and consecrated to his offices, he was anointed with the Holy Ghost 
and with power, Acts 10: 38. 
    Secondly, As this precious oil runs down from Christ, the head, 
to the borders of his garments, I mean, as it is shed upon 
believers, so it exceedingly beautifies their faces, and makes them 
shine with glory. 
    Thirdly, It renders them apt, expedite, and ready to every good 
ark: Non tardat uncta rota. 
    Fourthly, It kindles and maintains the flame of divine love in 
their souls, and, like a lamp, enlightens their minds in the 
knowledge of spiritual things; the anointing teaches them. 
    "And this oil is here called the oil of gladness, because it is 
the cause of all joy and gladness to them that are anointed with 
it": Oil was used (as you heard before) at the instalment of 
sovereign princes, which was the day of the gladness of their 
hearts; and, among the common people, it was liberally used at all 
their festivals, but never upon their days of mourning. Whence it 
becomes excellently expressive of the nature and use of the Spirit 
of grace, who is the cause and author of all joy in believers, John 
17: 13. 
    And with this oil of gladness is Christ said to be anointed 
above his fellows, i. e. to have a far greater share of the Spirit 
of grace than they: "For to every one of the saints is given grace 
according to the measure of the gift of Christ," Eph. 4: 7. But to 
him the Spirit is not given by measure, John 3: 34. "It has pleased 
the Father, that in him should all fulness dwell", Col. 1: 19. and 
"of his fulness we all receive grace for grace," John 1: 16. The 
saints partake with him, and through him in the same Spirit of 
grace, for which reason they are his fellows; but all the grace 
poured out upon believers comes exceeding short of that which God 
has poured out upon Jesus Christ. The words being thus opened, give 
us this note, 
    Doct. That all true believers have a real communion or 
    fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ. 
    From the saints' union with Christ, there does naturally and 
immediately result a most sweet and blessed communion and fellowship 
with him in graces and spiritual privileges, Eph. 1: 3. "Blessed be 
the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with 
all spiritual blessings in heavenly places (or things) in Christ: in 
giving us his Son, he freely gives us all things," Rom. 8: 32. So in 
1 Cor. 1: 30. "Of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made 
unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption." And 
once more, 1 Cor. 3: 22, 23. "All are yours, and ye are Christ's." 
What Christ is and has is theirs by communication to them, or 
improvement for them, and this is very evidently implied in all 
those excellent scripture metaphors, by which our union with Christ 
is figured and shadowed out to us, as the marriage-union betwixt a 
man and his wife, Eph. 5: 31,32. You know that this conjugal union 
gives the wife interest in the estate and honours of the husband, be 
she never so meanly descended in herself. The natural union betwixt 
the head and members of the body, by which also the mystical union 
of Christ and believers is set forth, 1 Cor. 12: 12. excellently 
illustrates this fellowship or communion betwixt them, for from 
Christ "the whole body fitly joined together, and compacted by that 
which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in 
the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body," as the 
apostle speaks, Eph. 4: 16. The union betwixt the graff and the 
stock, which is another emblem of our union with Christ, John 15: 1. 
imports, in like manner, this communion or partnership betwixt 
Christ and the saints; for no sooner does the graft take hold of the 
stock, but the vital sap of the stock is communicated to the graft, 
and both live by one and the same juice. 
    Now, that the scope of this discourse be not mistaken, let the 
reader know that I am not here treating of the saint's communion or 
fellowship with God in his duties, as in prayer, hearing, 
sacraments, &c. but of that interest which believers have in the 
good things of Christ, by virtue of the mystical union betwixt then 
through faith: there is a twofold communion of the saints with 
    The first is an act. 
    The second is a state. 
    There is an actual fellowship or communion the saints have with 
Christ in holy duties, wherein Christians let forth their hearts to 
God by desires, and God lets forth his comforts and refreshments 
again into their hearts; they open their mouths wide, and he fills 
them: this communion with God is the joy and comfort of a believer's 
life, but I am not to speak of that here. It is not any act of 
communion, but the state of communion, from which all acts of 
communion flow, and upon which they all depend, that I am now to 
treat of; which is nothing else but the joint interest that Christ 
and the saints have in the same things; as when a ship, an house, or 
estate, is among many partners, or joint heirs, every one of them 
has a right to it, and interest in it, though some of them have a 
greater, and others a lesser part. So it is betwixt Christ and his 
people; there is a "koinonia", i. e. a fellowship or joint interest 
betwixt them, upon which ground they are called co-heirs with 
Christ, Rom. 8: 17. This communion or participation in Christ's 
benefits, depends upon the hypostatical union of our nature, and the 
mystical union of our persons with the Son of God; in the first he 
partakes with us, in the second we partake with him; the former is 
the remote, the latter the next cause thereof. 
    In the explication of this point, I shall speak to these four 
    1. What are those things in which Christ and believers have 
    2. By what means they come to have such a fellowship with 
    3. How great a dignity this is to have fellowship with Jesus 
    4. And then apply the whole in divers practical inferences. 
    First, What are those things in which Christ and believers have 
fellowship, to which I must speak both negatively and positively. 
    1. Negatively, The saints have no fellowship with Jesus Christ 
in those things that belong to him as God; such as his 
consubstantiality, co-equality, and co-eternity with the Father. It 
is the blasphemy of the wicked Familists to talk of being godded 
into God, and christed into Christ. Neither men nor angels partake 
in these things; they are the proper and incommunicable glory of the 
Lord Jesus. 
    2. The saints have no communion or fellowship in the honour and 
glory of his mediatory works, viz. his satisfaction to God, or 
redemption of the elect. It is true, we have the benefit and fruit 
of his mediation and satisfaction: his righteousness also is imputed 
to us for our personal justification, but we share not in the least 
with Christ in the glory of this work; nor have we an inherent 
righteousness in us as Christ has; nor can we justify and save 
others as Christ does: we have nothing to do with his peculiar 
honour and praise in these things. Though we have the benefit of 
being saved, we may not pretend to the honour of being Saviours, as 
Christ is to ourselves or others. "Christ's righteousness is not 
made ours as to its universal value, but as to our particular 
necessity; nor is it imputed to us as to so many causes of salvation 
to others, but as to so many subjects to be saved by it ourselves." 
    Secondly, But then there are many glorious and excellent things 
which are in common betwixt Christ and believers, though in them all 
he has the pre-eminence; he shines in the fulness of them, as the 
sun, and we with a borrowed and lesser light, but of the same kind 
and nature as the stars. Some of these I shall particularly, and 
briefly unfold in the following particulars. 
    First, Believers have communion with Christ in his names and 
titles; they are called Christians from Christ, Eph. 3: 15. from him 
the whole family in heaven and earth is named: this is that worthy 
name the apostle speaks of, James 2: 7. He is the Son of God, and 
they also, by their union with him, have power or authority to 
become the sons of God, John 1: 12. He is the heir of ail things, 
and they are joint-heirs with him, Rom. 8: 17. He is both King and 
Priest, and he has made them kings and priests, Rev. 1: 6. But they 
do not only partake in the names and titles, but this communion 
consists in things as well as titles. And therefore, 
    Secondly, They have communion with him in his righteousness, 
i.e. the righteousness of Christ is made theirs, 2 Cor. 5: 21. and 
he is "the Lord our righteousness," Jer. 23: 6. It is true, the 
righteousness of Christ is not inherent in us, as it is in him; but 
it is ours by imputation, Rev. 4: 5, 11. and our union with him is 
the ground of the imputation of his righteousness to us, 2 Cor. 5: 
21. "We are made the righteousness of God in him," Phil. 3: 9. for 
Christ and believers are considered as one person, in construction 
of law; as a man and his wife, a debtor and surety, are one: and so 
his payment or satisfaction is in our name, or upon our account. 
    Now, this is a most inestimable privilege, the very ground of 
all our other blessings and mercies. O, what a benefit is this to a 
poor sinner, that owes to God infinitely more than he is ever able 
to pay, by doing or suffering; to have such a rich treasure of merit 
as lies in the obedience of Christ, to discharge, in one entire 
payment, all his debts to the last earthing? "Surely shall one say, 
in the Lord have I righteousness," Isa. 45: 24. even as a poor woman 
that owes more than she is worth, in one moment is discharged of all 
her obligations, by her marriage to a wealthy man. 
    Thirdly, Believers have communion with Christ in his holiness 
or sanctification, for of God he is made unto them, not only 
righteousness, but sanctification also; and as in the former 
privilege, they have a stock of merit in the blood of Christ to 
justify them; so here, they have the Spirit of Christ to sanctify 
them, 1 Cor. 1: 30. and therefore we are said of his fullness to 
receive "grace for grace," John 1: 16, i.e. say some, grace upon 
grace, manifold graces, or abundance of grace; or grace for grace, 
that is, grace answerable to grace: as in the seal and wax, there is 
line for line, and cut for cut, exactly answerable to each other; or 
grace for grace, that is, say others, the free grace of God in 
Christ, for the sanctification or filling of our souls with grace: 
be it in which sense it will, it shows the communion believers have 
with Jesus Christ in grace and holiness. Now, holiness is the most 
precious thing in the world, it is the image of God, and chief 
excellency at man: it is our evidence for glory, yea, and the first 
fruits of glory. In Christ dwells the fulness of grace, and from 
him, our head, it is derived and communicated to us; thus he that 
sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified, are all of one, Heb. 2: 
11. You would think it no small privilege to have bags of gold to go 
to, and enrich yourselves with, and yet that were but a very trifle 
in comparison to have Christ's righteousness and holiness to go to 
for your justification and sanctification. More particularly, 
    Fourthly, Believers have communion with Christ in his death; 
they die with him, Gal. 2: 20. "I am crucified with Christ," i.e. 
the death of Christ has a real killing and mortifying influence upon 
the lusts and corruptions of my heart and nature: true it is, he 
died for sin one way, and we die to sin another way: he died to 
expiate it, we die to it, when we mortify it: the death of Christ is 
the death of sin in believers; and this is a very glorious 
privilege; for the death of sin is the life of your souls; if sin do 
not die in you by mortification, you must die for sin by eternal 
damnation. If Christ had not died, the Spirit of God, by which you 
now mortify the deeds of the body, could not have been given unto 
you: then you must have lived vassals to your sins, and died at last 
in your sins; but the fruit, efficacy, and benefit of Christ's death 
is yours for the killing those sins in you, which else have been 
your ruin. 
    Fifthly, Believers have communion with Christ in his life and 
resurrection from the dead; as he rose from the dead, so do they; 
and that by the power and influence of his vivification and 
resurrection. It is the Spirit of life which is in Christ Jesus that 
makes us free from the law of sin and death, Rom. 8: 2. Our 
spiritual life is from Christ, Eph. 2: 1. "And you has he quickened 
who were dead in trespasses and sins:" and hence Christ is said to 
live in the believer, Gal. 2: 20. "Now I live, yet not I, but Christ 
liveth in me:" and it is no small privilege to partake of the very 
life of Christ, which is the most excellent life that ever any 
creature can live; yet such is the happiness of all the saints, the 
life of Christ is manifest in them, and such a life as shall never 
see death. 
    Sixthly, To conclude, believers have fellowship with Jesus 
Christ in his glory, which they shall enjoy in heaven with him: they 
shall be ever with the Lord," 1 Thes. 4: 17. and that is not all, 
(though, as one saith, it were a kind of heaven but to look through 
the key-hole, and have but a glimpse of Christ's blessed face) but 
they shall partake of the glory which the Father has given him; for 
so he speaks, John 17: 22, 24. and more particularly, they shall sit 
with him in his throne, Rev. 3: 21. And when he comes to judge the 
world, he will come to be glorified in the saints, 2 Thes. 1: 10. So 
that you may see what glorious and inestimable things are, and will 
be in common betwixt Christ and the saints. His titles, his 
righteousness, his holiness, his death, his life, his glory. I do 
not say that Christ will make any saint equal with him in glory; 
that is impossible, he will be known from all the saints in heaven, 
as the sun is distinguished from the stars; but they shall partake 
of his glory, and be filled with his joy there; and thus you see 
what those things are that the saints have fellowship with Christ 
    Secondly, Next I would open the way and means by which we come 
to have fellowship with Jesus Christ in these excellent privileges; 
and this I shall do briefly in the following positions. 
                             Position 1. 
    First, No man has fellowship with Christ in any special saving 
privilege by nature, howsoever it be cultivated or improved; but 
only by faith uniting him to the Lord Jesus Christ; It is not the 
privilege of our first, but second birth. This is plain from John 1: 
12,13, "But to as many as received him, to them gave he power to 
become the sons of God, even as many as believe on his name, who are 
born not of flesh, nor of blood, nor of the will of man, but of 
God." We are by nature children of wrath, Eph. 2: 3. we have 
fellowship with Satan in sin and misery: the wild branch has no 
communication of the sweetness and fatness of a more noble and 
excellent root until it be ingrafted upon it, and have immediate 
unions and coalition with it, John 15: 1, 2. 
                             Position 2. 
    Believers themselves have not an equal share one with another, 
in all the benefits and privileges of their union with Christ, but 
in some there is an equality, and in others an inequality; according 
to the measure and gift of Christ, to every one. 
    In justification they are all equal: the weak and the strong 
believer are alike justified, because it is one and the same perfect 
righteousness of Christ, which is applied to the one and to the 
other, so that there are no different degrees of justification, but 
all that believe are justified from all things, Act. 13: 39 and 
"there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus," Rom 8: 
1, be they never so weak in faith, or defective in degrees of grace. 
But there is apparent difference in the measures of their 
sanctification, some are strong men, and other's are babes in 
Christ, 1 Cor. 3: 1. The faith of some flourishes and grows 
exceedingly, 2 Thess. 1: 3 the things that are in others are ready 
to die, Rev 3: 2. It is a plain case, that there is great variety 
found in the degrees of grace, and comfort among them that are 
jointly interested in Christ, and equally justified by him. 
                             Position 3. 
    The saints have not fellowship and communion with Christ, in 
the fore-mentioned benefits and privileges by one and the same 
medium, but by various mediums and ways, according to the nature of 
the benefits, in which they participate. 
    For instance, they have partnership and communion with Christ, 
as has been said, in his righteousness, holiness, and glory, but 
they receive these distinct blessings by divers mediums of 
communion: we have communion with Christ in his righteousness, by 
the way of imputation; we partake of his holiness, by the way of 
infusion; and of his glory in heaven, by the beatifical vision. Our 
justification is a relative change, our sanctification a real 
change, our glorification a perfect change, by redemption from all 
the remains both of sin and misery. 
    Thus has the Lord appointed several blessings for believers in 
Christ, and several channels of conveying them from him to us; by 
imputed righteousness, we are freed from the guilt of sin: by 
imparted holiness, we are freed from the dominion of sin, and by our 
glorification with Christ, we are freed from all the relics and 
remains both of sin and misery let in by sin upon our natures. 
                             Position 4. 
    That Jesus Christ imparts to all believers, all the spiritual 
blessings that he is filled with, and withholds none from any that 
have union with him, be these blessings never so great, or they that 
receive them never so weak, mean, and contemptible in outward 
respects, Gal 3: 27 "Ye are the children of God by faith in Jesus 
Christ." The salvation that comes by Jesus Christ is stiled the 
common salvation, Jude 3. and heaven the inheritance of the saints 
in light, Col 1: 12. "There is neither Greek nor Jew, (saith the 
apostle), circumcision, nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, 
bond nor free, hut Christ is all, and in all," Col. 3: 11. He means, 
there is no privilege in the one to commend them to God, and no want 
of any thing, in the other to debar them from God; let men have or 
want outward excellencies, as beauty, honour, riches, nobility, 
gifts of the mind. sweetness of nature, and all such like ornaments, 
what is that to God? He looks not at these things, but respects 
them, and communicates his favour to them as they are in Christ: He 
is all and in all. The gifts and blessings of the Spirit are given 
to men as they are in Christ, and without respect to any external 
differences made in this world among men: hence we find excellent 
treasures of grace in mean and contemptible persons in the world, 
poor in the world and rich in faith, and heirs of the kingdom; and 
as all believers, without difference, receive from Christ, so they 
are not debarred from any blessing that is in Christ: "All is yours, 
for ye are Christ's, 1 Cor. 3: ult. With Christ God freely gives us 
all things," Rom. 8: 32. 
                             Position 5. 
    The communion believers have with Christ, in spiritual 
benefits, is a very great mystery, far above the understandings of 
natural men. There are no footsteps of this thing in all the works 
of creation; therefore the apostle calls it "The unsearchable riches 
of Christ," Eph. 3: 8, "aneksichniaston plouton tou Christou": The 
word signifies, that which has no footsteps to trace it by: yea, it 
is so deep a mystery, that the angels themselves stoop down to look 
into it, 1 Pet. 1: 12. "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither 
have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared 
for them that love him: but God has revealed them unto us by his 
Spirit," 1 Cor. 2: 9, 10. 
    Thirdly, and lastly, I shall, in a few particulars, spell the 
dignity and excellency of this fruit of our union with Christ, and 
show you, that a greater glory and honour cannot be put upon man, 
than to be thus in fellowship with Jesus Christ, John 17: 22. "The 
glory which thou gavest me, I have given them, that they may be one, 
as we are one:" And therefore, more particularly, let it be 
    First, With whom we are associated, even the Son of God; with 
him that is over all, God blessed for ever. Our association with 
angels is an high advancement, for angels and saints are 
fellowservants in the same family, Rev. 19: 10. and through Christ 
we are come to an innumerable company of angels, Heb. 12: 22. But 
what is all this to our fellowship with Jesus Christ himself; and 
that in another manner than angels have? Nor though Christ be to 
then an head of dominion, yet not an head of vital influences, as he 
is to his mystical body the church; this therefore is to them a 
great mystery, which they greatly affect to study and pry into. 
    Secondly, What we are that are dignified with this title, the 
fellows or co-partners with Jesus Christ: not only dust by nature, 
(Dust thou art), but sinful dust; such wretched sinners, as, by 
nature, and the sentence of the law, ought to be associated with 
devils, and partakers with them of the wrath the Almighty God to all 
    Thirdly, The benefits we are partakers of, in and with the Lord 
Jesus Christ; and, indeed, they are wonderful and astonishing 
things, so far as they do already appear, but yet we see but little 
of them comparatively, to what we shall see, 1 John 3: 1, 2. "Now 
are we the sons of God, and it does 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." O, what will that be! to see him as he is, 
and to be transformed into his likeness! 
    Fourthly, The way and manner in which we are brought into this 
fellowship with Christ; which is yet more admirable. The apostle 
gives us a strange account of it in 2 Cor. 8: 9. "For you know the 
grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for 
your sakes he became poor, that ye through his poverty might be 
rich:" he empties himself of his glory, that we might be filled; he 
is made a curse, that we might enjoy the blessing, he submits to be 
crowned with thorns, that us might be crowned with glory and honour; 
he puts himself into the number of worms, Psal. 22: 6. that we might 
be made equal to the angels. O, the inconceivable grace of Christ! 
    Fifthly, The reciprocal nature of that communion which is 
betwixt Christ and believers; we do not only partake of what is his, 
but he partakes of what is ours: he has fellowship with us in all 
our wants, sorrows, miseries and afflictions; and we have communion 
with him in his righteousness, grace, sonship and glory: he takes 
part of our misery, and we take part of his blessedness; our 
sufferings are his sufferings, Col. 1: 24. O, what an honour is it 
to thee, poor wretch, to whom a great many would not turn aside to 
ask how thou dost; to have a King, yea, the Prince of all the kings 
of the earth, to pity, relieve, sympathise, groan and bleed with 
thee, to sit by thee in all thy troubles, and give thee his 
cordials; to say thy troubles are my troubles, and thy afflictions 
are my afflictions: whatever toucheth thee, toucheth me also. O what 
name shall we give unto such grace as this is! 
    Sixthly, and lastly, Consider the perpetuity of this privilege: 
Your fellowship with Christ is interminable, and abides for ever. 
Christ and the saints shall be glorified together, Rom. 8: 17. While 
he has any glory they shall partake with him. It is said indeed, 1 
Cor. 15: 24. that there shall be a time when Christ will deliver up 
the kingdom to his Father but the meaning is not that ever he will 
cease to be the Head of his saints, or they from being his members: 
No, the relation never ceases; justification, sanctification and 
adoptions are everlasting things, and we can never be divested of 
    Inference 1. Are the saints Christ's fellows? What honourable 
persons then are they! And how should they be esteemed and valued in 
the world! If a king, who is the fountain of honour, do but raise a 
man by his favour, and dignify him by bestowing some honourable 
title upon him, what respect and observance is presently paid him by 
all persons? But what are all the vain and empty titles of honour, 
to the glorious and substantial privileges with which believers are 
dignified, and raised above all other men by Jesus Christ? He is the 
Son of God, and they are the sons of God also: he is the Heir of all 
things, and they are joint heirs with Christ; he reigns in glory, 
and they shall retort with him: he sits upon the throne, and they 
shall sit with him in his throne. O that this vile world did but 
know the dignity of believers, they would never slight, hate, abuse, 
and persecute them as they do! And O that believers did but 
understand their own happiness and privileges by Christ, they would 
never droop and sink under every small trouble at that rate they do! 
    Inf. 2. How abundantly has God provided for all the necessities 
and wants of believers! Christ is a storehouse filled with blessings 
and mercies, and it is all for them: from him they "receive 
abundance of grace, and of the gift of righteousness<" Rom 5: 17. 
"Of his fulness they all receive grace for grace," John 1: 16. All 
the fulness of Christ is made over to them for the supply of their 
wants: "My God shall supply all your needs, (saith the apostle) 
according to his riches in glory by Jesus Christ," Phil. 4: 19. If 
all the riches of God can supply your needs, then they shall be 
supplied. Say not, Christ is in the possession of consummate glory, 
and I am a poor creature, struggling with many difficulties, and 
toiling in the midst of many cares and fears in the world; for care 
is taken for all thy wants, and orders given from heaven for their 
supply: My God shall supply all your need. O say with a melting 
heart, I have a full Christ, and he is filled for me: I have his 
pure and perfect righteousness to justify me, his holiness to 
sanctify me, his wisdom to guide me, his comforts to refresh me, his 
power to protect me, and his all-sufficiency to supply me. O be 
cheerful, be thankful, you have all your hearts can wish; and yet be 
humble; it is all from free-grace to empty and unworthy creatures 
    Inf. 3. How absurd, disingenuous, and unworthy of a Christian, 
is it to deny, or withhold from Christ any thing he has, or by which 
he may be served or honoured? Does Christ communicate all he has to 
you, and can you withhold any thing from Christ? On Christ's part it 
is not mine, and thine, but ours, or mine and yours; John 20: 17 "I 
ascend to my Father, and your Father; to my God, and your God." But 
O this cursed idol self! which appropriates all to its own designs 
and uses. How liberal is Christ! and how penurious are we to him! 
Some will not part with their credit for Christ, when yet Christ 
abased himself unspeakably for them. Some will not part with a drop 
of blood for Christ, when Christ spent the whole treasure of his 
blood freely for us; yea, how loth are we to part with a shilling 
for Christ, to relieve him in his distressed members, when as yet 
"we know the grace of out Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was 
rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we through his poverty 
might be rich!" O ungrateful return! O base and disingenuous 
spirits!" The things Christ gives us are great, and the things we 
deny to him are small: he parts with the greatest, and yet is denied 
the least. The things he communicates to us are none of ours, we 
have no right nor title by nature, or any desert of ours to them; 
the things we deny or grudge to Christ are by all titles his own, 
and he has the fullest and most unquestionable title to them all; 
what he gives to us, he gives to them that never deserved it; what 
we withhold from him, we withhold from one that has deserved that, 
and infinitely more from us than we have or are. 
    He interested you freely in all his riches when you were 
enemies; you stand upon trifles with him, and yet call him your best 
and dearest friend: he gave himself and all he has to you, when you 
could claim nothing from him; you deny to part with these thing to 
Christ, who may not only claim them upon the highest title, his own 
sovereignty, and absolute property, but by your own act, who profess 
to have given all in covenant to him: what he gives you return no 
profit to him, but what you give or part with for him is your 
greatest advantage. O that the consideration of these things might 
shame and humble your souls! 
    Inf. 4. Then certainly no man is or can be supposed to be a 
loser by conversion, seeing from that day, whatever Christ is or has 
becomes his. 
    O what an inheritance are men possessed of by their new birth! 
Some men cry out, Religion will undo you; but with what eyes do 
these men see? Surely, you could never so reckon, except your souls 
were so incarnated, as to reckons pardon. Peace, adoption, holiness, 
and heaven, for nothing; that invisibles a non-entities, and 
temporals the only realities. It is true, the converted soul may 
lose his estate, his liberty, yea, his life for Christ but what 
then? Are they losers that exchange brass for gold? or part with 
their present comforts for an hundred-fold advantage? Mark 10: 29. 
So that none need be frightened at religion, for the losses that 
attend it, whilst Christ and heaven are gained by it: they that 
count religion their loss have their portion in this life. 
    Inf. 5. How securely is the saints inheritance settled upon 
them, seeing they are in common with Jesus Christ? Christ and his 
saints are joint-heirs, and the inheritance cannot be alienated but 
by his consent: he must lose his interest, if you lose yours. Indeed 
Adam's inheritance was by a single title, and moreover, it was in 
his own hand, and so he might, (as indeed he soon did) divest 
himself and his posterity of it; but it is not so betwixt Christ and 
believers; we are secured in our inheritance by Christ our co-heir, 
who will never alienate it: and therefore it was truly observed by 
the father, Faelicior Job in sterquilinio, quam Adamus in paradiso: 
Job was happier upon the dunghill, than Adam was in paradise. The 
covenant of grace is certainly the best tenure; as it has the best 
mercies, so it gives the fullest security top enjoy them. 
    Inf. 6. How rich and full is Jesus Christ, who communicates 
abundantly to all the saints, and yet has infinitely still more in 
himself, than has ever been received by them all. 
    Take all the faith of Abraham all the meekness of Moses, all 
the patience of Job, all the wisdom of Solomon, all the zeal of 
David, all the industry of Paul, and all the tender-heartedness of 
Josiah; and to this all the grace that is poured (though in lesser 
measure) into all the elect vessels. in the world, yet still it is 
short of that which remains in Christ; "He is anointed with oil of 
gladness above his fellows:" And in all things he has and must ever 
have the pre-eminence. There are many thousand stars glittering 
above your head, and one star differs from another star in glory, 
yet there is more light and glory in one sun, than in many thousand 
stars. Grace beautifies the children of men exceedingly, but still 
that is true of Christ, Psal. 45: 2. "Thou art fairer than the 
children of men, grace is poured into thy lips". Yet all grace is 
secondarily, and derivatively in the saints, but it is primitively 
and originally in Christ, John 5: 16. Grace is imperfect and 
defective in them, but in him it is in its most absolute perfection 
and fulness, Col 1: 19. In the saint. it is mixed with abundance of 
corruption, but in Christ it is altogether unmixed, and exclusive of 
its opposite, Heb. 7: 26. So that as the Heathen said of moral 
virtue, I may much more say of Christ, That were he to be such with 
mortal eyes, he would compel love and admiration from all men, for 
"he is altogether lovely," Cant. 5: l6. 
    Inf. 7. What delight and singular advantage must needs be in 
the communion of the saints, who have communion with Jesus Christ in 
all his races and benefits. 
    "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", 1 John 1: 3. O it 
is sweet to have fellowship with those that have fellowship with God 
in Jesus Christ. Christ has communicated to the saints varieties of 
graces, in different measures and degrees; And as they all receive 
from Christ the fountain, so it is sweet and most delightful to be 
improving themselves by spiritual communion one with another: Yea, 
for that end one is furnished with one grace more eminently than 
another, that the weak may be assisted by the strong, as a modern 
divine well observes. Athanasius was prudent and active, Basil of an 
heavenly, sweet temper, Chrysostom laborious, without affection, 
Ambrose resolved and grave, Luther courageous, and Calvin acute and 
judicious. Thus every one has his proper gift from Christ, the 
fountain of gifts and graces, 1 Cor 7: 7. One has quickness of 
parts, another solidity of judgement, but not ready and presential; 
one is zealous, but ungrounded; another well principled, but 
timorous; one is wary and prudent; another open and plain; one is 
trembling and melting; another cheerful and joyous; one must impart 
his light, another his heat: The eye, the knowing man, cannot say to 
the hand, the active man, I have no need of thee. And O how sweet 
would it be, if gifts, graces, and experiences were frequently and 
humbly imparted: But idle notions earthly mindedness, self- 
interests, and want of more communion with Christ, have almost 
destroyed the comfort of Christian fellowship everywhere in the 
    Inf. 8. In a word, those only have ground to claim interest in 
Christ, who do really participate of his graces, and in whom are 
found the effects and fruits of their union and communion with him. 
    If you have interest in Christ, you have communion in his 
graces and benefits; and if you have such communion, it will appear 
in your maintaining daily actual communion with God in duties; 
whereby will be produced, 
    First, The increase of your sanctification, by fresh 
participations from the fountain; as cloth which is often dipt into 
the vat receives the deeper dye, and livelier tincture; so will your 
souls by assiduous communion with God. It will also be discerned, 
    Secondly, In your deeper humiliation, and spiritual sense of 
your own vileness: The more any man partakes of God, and is 
acquainted with him, and assimilated to him, the more base and vile 
in his own sight he still grows, Job 42: 5, 6. Isa. 6: 5. 
    Thirdly, It will appear in your more vehement longings after 
the full enjoyment of God in heaven, 1 Pet 1: 8. and Rom. 8: 23. You 
that have the first fruits will groan within yourselves after the 
full harvest, and satisfying fruition; you will not be so taken with 
things below, as to be content with the best lot on earth for your 
everlasting, portion. O! if these communicated drops be so sweet, 
what is there in Christ the fountain? 
    And thus I have opened the method of grace in bringing home 
Christ and his benefits to God's elect by union, in order to 
communion with him. 
                 Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ. 

The Method of Grace in the Gospel Redemption
(continued in file 10...)

file: /pub/resources/text/ipb-e/epl-09: flamt-09.txt