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how it should be evidenced to yourself, if you are in doubt about it.
If you have no evidence of your union to Chrift, it concerns you to realize your natural enmity of heart to God, deeply to affect your soul with a sense of the dreadful inisery of a Christless state, and to lament before God the pollution of your nature, the hardness of your heart, the guilt of your sins; and the amazing destruction and perdition unto which you are thereby exposed.--It concerns you, (as I have often advised you), to lie at mercy, to come to the footstool of sovereign grace, self-loathing and self-condemning, pleading with importunate ardour, for the powerful influences of the blessed Spirit, to draw and unite you to Christ. It concerns you to be careful and diligent in your attendance upon all the duties of religious worship, and to be stedfast and unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, if you would not have
labour in vain in the Lord.--It concerns you, though watchful, active, and diligent, yet utterly to despair of all help in yourself, and to maintain a lively impreffion, ihac all the progress of spiritual life must flow from your union to Jesus Christ; and that you must therefore rely upon him only, to do all in you and for you. It likewise concerns you to look unto Jesus Christ, not only as a sufficient, but a compassionate Saviour, willing to receive you to mercy in your present ftate, how bad foever; and therefore to endeavour a cheerful and immediate compliance with the gospel-offer, without waiting for moral qualifications to recommend you to the Redeemer's acceptance; and let Christ Jesus be your steady hope and confidence,
whatever darkness, difficulties, trials or temptations you may meet withal in your way.
If you are in doubt about your state, and in an uncomfortable suspense whether you are united to
Christ or not, do not rest satisfied in such a case, wherein your eternal ALL is at stake, and in a precarious uncertainty.-But labour to resolve your doubts, by the lively exercise of faith ; and by an humble cheerful confidence and delight in the bler. sed Saviour. Then inay you know that he dwells in your heart by faith, when you are rooted and grounded in love, Eph. iii. 17.-Labour to evidence your union to Christ, by having your heart purified by faith; and your affections spiritual and heavenly. Then may you know that you are rifen with Chrift, when you seek those things which are above, where Christ Jitteih at the right hand of God; and when you place your affections on things above, and not on things on the earth, Col. iii. 1, 2.-Labour to clear up this doubt, by the exercise of all the several graces of the Spirit of life. If you live in the exercise of faith, repentance, love to God, humility, hope in Christ, desire after, and delight in him ; if you bring forth the fruits of the Spirit, which are love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance, hereby you may know, that he abideth in you, by the Spirit which he hath given you,
John iii. 24.-Labour like wise to clear up this difficulty, not only by the life, but by the growth of grace. If you grow more humble, self-abasing, and self-condemning : If you grow more penitent ; and more passionately groan under the burden of, and mourn after deliverance from all your fins ; if your love to God increases, and you take more delight in him and in his ways, or at least long after a life of nearer communion with him, with more ardent desire ; if you are more spiritual in your thoughts, meditatiops and affections, more heaven. ly in your conversation; and more careful of your respective duties both to God and man, then you
may know that Christ abideth in you, and you in him; in that you bring forth much fruit, John xv. 5.
If you get satisfying evidences of your union to Christ, adore, admire, and praise the infinite condescension, and the astonishing love of the glorious Redeemer, in taking fuch duft and alhes, such sin and pollution, into union with himself. Contemplate the amazing transaction of love with admiration; and let the love of Christ constrain you to live to the praise of the glory of that grace by which you become accepted in the Beloved.
That Christ may abide in you, and you in him, that you may win Christ, and be found in him at his appearance and kingdom, and that you may reign with him for ever, is the prayer of,
Sir, Your, &*c.
LETTER XVIII. Wherein some Ana
tinomian Abuses of the Doctrine of Believers Union to Christ, or Pleas from it for Licentiousness and Security in finning are considered and obviated.
consequences you draw from the doctrine of our union to Christ, as I have represented it, are without any foundation ; and that a just view of the case must convince you, that this doctrine gives no
advantage to licentious and latitudinarian prin. “ciples," but the direct contrary.--I shall there. fore endeavour, according to your desire, to confider the Antinomian principles you are pleased to propose ; and see whether they "naturally follow " from what I taught in my last.”
“ You do not fee (you tell me) if the principles I “ teach are allowed, how the Antinomians can be “ charged with error, in supposing that the true be« liever has no cause to repent of his sins, or to « entertain any disquietment of mind with respect “to them, since he is united to Christ, and all his 5 fins are charged to Christ's account, whereby he 66 has fatisfied for them all. Why therefore should (the believer be concerned about a debt which is “ fully discharged !--- Justice is satisfied with respect “ to him ; Christ delights in him, as a member of “ his own body; the Spirit of God dwells in him, “ notwithstanding any of his fins and imperfections. " Why may he not therefore be perfectly easy with “ respet to sin; and look upon it, (as a modern " Antinomian expresses himself), unworthy of our “ least regard?" To this I answer,
1. That no'man who is practically conformed to this Antinomian principle, can know himself to be a believer; and therefore there can be no foundation for this reasoning in any person whatsoever.
Were your arguing allowed to be just, it can take place with none but those who have infallible evidence of their union to Christ, which it is impossible any man should have, who is not burdened with his fins, who does not hate them, and groan after de. liverance from them.-Repentance is the genuine and necessary fruit of a true faith. They shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and shall mourn, żech. xii. 10. That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more, because of thy Mame, when I am PACIFIED towards thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God, Ezek. xvi. 63. And ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. Then shall ye remember your own evil ways, and your doings that were not good; and
shall loathe yourselves in your own fight, for your iniquities,
and for your abominations, Ezek. xxxvi. 28. 31.-It is the true believer, and he only, that is capable aright to mourn for fin, truly to hate it, and to groan under the burden of it. Unbelievers may mourn under a sense of their guilt and danger, but this is not to repent of sin. It is the believer only who sorrows for sin as sin; who hates all sin; who groans, being burdened, from a sense of his sinful- .' ness; and who cries out with the Apostle, 0 wretch. ed man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death ? - What room can there then be for thofe licentious conclusions you speak of? Who is the person that can thus rock his conscience to sleep, under the prevalence of his lusts, from the doctrine of our union to Christ, as I have described it? Must it be supposed to be one who is united to Christ; or one who is not united to Christ?-Surely not. the former; for how can he be indolent, carelefs and secure in the commission of fin, from the doc. trine of our union to Christ, who has no evidence of this being his case; nor can have any such evi. dence, till he is poor in spirit, and is thereby quali. fied for the kingdom of heaven, Matt. v. 3. till he is one that mourns for his fins, and comes under the promise of comfort, ver. 4. and till he is of a cona trite and humble spirit ; for with such, and only with such, has the high and lofty One, who inhabits'eternity, promised to dwell? Írái. Ivii. 15. And I think, I need not endeavour to prove, that he who is not united to Christ, has no fhadow, of a plea or pretence to make for carelessness and security in sin, from the doctrine before us. Whence it follows, that all pretences of this kind are without any rational foundation. They only proceed from mens delight in sin, in a life of sensual ease and carnal se. curity; and not at all from the precious truth before us. This sacred truth may indeed be pervert.