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in this world, is the foundation of his presence with believers in all their trials ; so, his presence with the Father, in his now exalted state, lays a foundation for our hope of being for ever with the Lord, and with his Father in heaven. Why, the Father was with Christ on earth, and now Christ is with the Father in heaven ; for, “ We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. Yea, as the Father was with Christ, so Christ was with the Father, even upon earth, in such a manner as to lay the foundation of our being with him, John xvii. 24. “ Father, I will, that they whom thou hast given me be with me, where I am,” &c. He says not, Where he will be afterwards; but, “ Where I am :" intimating, that he was already with the Father ; and importing, not only that his exaltation was as sure to him, as if he had been already exalted, but that he was actually with the Father in such an ineffable manner, as he expresses elsewhere, John xiv. 10. ^ Believest thou not, that I am in the Father, and the Father in me?" And ver. 20. “ At that day ye shall know, that I am in the Father, and ye in me, and I in you.” Thus Christ was always with the Fa. ther: and always is, and will be with the Father: and therefore, believers in Christ cannot be disappointed of having the Father with them, and of their being with the Father hereafter.
5. Hence see how sweet and comfortable Christ's visits are; for, when he comes, he comes not alone, but the Father with him, John xiv. 23. “ We will come, and make our abode with him ;' that is, with the believer and lover of Christ. When Christ is present, the Father is present; when he is with us, the Father is with us: he that hath seen Christ, hath seen the Father, Here observe then the reason of the reciprocal enjoy. ment of the Father and the Son, and why they that enjoy the one, enjoy the other : be that enjoys Christ enjoys the Father, because he is never alone, for the Father is with him. Seeing God the Father is God with Christ, then he must be God with us in Christ. Christ is, IMMANUEL, God with us, because he married our nature; but God the Father is God with us in another respect, not so immediately, as Christ is, but mediately, through Christ, because he is God with Christ. “ The Father is with me;" q. d. The Father is God with me, and I am God with you : therefore, when I come to you, I bring the Father with me; insomuch, that when you see me, you see the Father ; when you hear me, you hear the Father; when you meet me, you meet the Father; and when you have communion with me, you bave communion with the Father in me: “ Truly our fellowship is with the Father and the Son."
6. Hence see that God's presence fills up all wants; be it the want of friends and familiars, or relatives of all sorts ; “Ye shall leave me alone,” says Christ; “ but yet I am not alone, for the Father is with me.” Indeed fellowship with God is a fatherly fellowship: he is a friend in time of need, when friends and brethren turn their back upon us.
God's children that cleave to him, are no losers by being despised, disparaged, and deserted in the world: they are happy in the midst of mi. series. They have the best company when left alone; and that in two respects :
(1.) They many times fare best when they are alone in point of secrecy and retirement: Mark iv. 34. “ Without a parable spake he not unto the people ; but when they were alone he expounded all things to the disciples." Hence his people many a time affect retirement, Song vii. 11. “Come, my Beloved, let us go forth to the fields; let us lodge in the villages: there will I give thee my loves.”
(2.) Many times it fares best with them wben they are left alone in point of dereliction and desertion of men, and solitude that way, as it was with Christ here : I am not alone, though you have left me: the Father is with me.
God's company may be had to best advantage when men's company is lost; when men cast us out of their company, God may take us in, as Christ did the blind man, whose sight he restored, and whom the Jews cast out, John ix. Our God is most kind, when men are most unkind and unnatural. He is sweetest when they are bitterest. And it is a piece of conformity to Christ, to have most of God's company when we have least of men's.
7. Hence see the inark of a worthy communicant, or of one that hath saving acquaintance with Christ, name. ly, he will be acquaint with the Father in the Son, or with God in Christ. None know Christ, but they know the Father; none have seen Christ, but they have seen the glory of God in his face: “ The God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, hath shined into our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” 2 Cor. iv. 6. If you have got the mind of Christ, you have seen it to be the Father's mind; if you have got the Spirit of the Son, then you have got the Father's Spirit, evidenced to be so, by leading you to cry, ABBA, Father. Christ himself is denominated the everlasting Father, Isa. ix. 6. And if you be acquaint with Christ as your Father, you will be acquaint with your Father's Father; both which, though essentially one, yet are personally distinct. The most comfortable communion with God is to be let in to the Father's bosom, by his only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, John. i. 18. and who says, Mat. xi. 27. “ No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knows any inan the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son shall reveal him." And what is all this, but just to enjoy the love of the Father, through the grace of the Son, in the fellowship of the Holy Ghost? O! it is glorious communion to be let into God, who is love through Christ, the Son of his love, by the Spirit, that sheds abroad this upon the heart. Now communion with God in his love may be known by the similitude betwixt his love to us, and our love to him ; particularly in two respects,
(1.) His love is a love of rest; “He rests in his love :" the believer's love to God is a love of rest in God; " Return to thy rest, O my soul.” And then,
(2.) His love to us is a love in Christ; we are loved in him, and accepted in him. Our love to God, when he is present with us, is a love to God in Christ: nor can we have communion with God the Father in his
love, but through Christ; and then indeed the Father is with us.
8. Hence see the great duty of this day, namely, of coming to Christ in the word and sacrament; and the great motive that should induce is to come to Christ, even because the Father is with him. O sirs, here is one of the strongest motives to faith that I know in the world. Let guilty sinners, that never believed on the Son of God to this day, if they would avoid the Father's wrath, and have the Father's blessing, come to Christ this day ; because he is not alone, for the Father is with him. Let guilty saints, whose faith may be far to seek in this day of God's anger, be persuaded to take a new grip of the Son of God, from this consideration, that the Father is with him. If he were alone, or away from the Father, and had not the Father's
presence, then you might be filled with fear and dread, that when you come to Christ for his blessing, then you might get the Father's curse, instead of the blessing'; bút, as Rebekah said to Jacob in another case, Christ says to you, “ Upon me be thy curse, my Son: only obey my voice.” Come, come; for, “ I am not alone, because the Father is with me.” He was with me when I bore the curse for you, and is he not with me now when I have bought the blessing for you? Fear not the Father's wrath if you come to me, for he is with me as a reconciled, pacified, and well pleased God in me.
Christ was always with God, and God was ay with him, John i. 1. “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God :" therefore, by coming to Christ, you come to God the Father; yea, into the Father's bosom where Christ lies. By coming to Christ, you come to the Father's favour and fellowship: to the Father's throne and kingdom: to the Father's rest and joy. O how sweet and alluring may the voice of Christ be to us when he is saying, Song iv. 8. “Come with me, from Lebanon, my spouse; with ine from Lebanon!" If you knew who was with me, your heart would come leaping to me; for, I am not alone, because the Father is with me to welcome you as well as I. There is a Trinity of persons with me; a plurality to welcome you ; even you whose heart bath been a vile run-away from me many a day; yet,
Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return, that we may look upon thee,” Song vi. 13. There is better and greater company with me, than saints and seraphims; and my company wants to see and welcome you to their company and communion, even though men should excommunicate you, and exclude you from their company and fellowship* When men betake themselves and turn aside to new crooked ways, then you will find they begin to have new crooked natures, full of rancour and rage, and bitterness, putting you out of their company and fellowship, with a “ Stand by, for I am holier than thou," Isa. Ixv. 5. Well, would you have better company ? “ Return, return then, O Shulamite ; return, return, that we may look upon you”
," and that you and we may be all one ; for, this I have prayed for, John xvii. 21, 22. that you may be one in us, as we are one; and then part with you who will, you and we shall never part; “ Neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, shall ever be able to part us," Rom. viii. 38, 39.
Remember then, ( sinner, who is speaking to you from this text, and inviting you to come, and by what a glorious argument, that might conquer the heart of devils, if the door of hope were open to them; but, to you, O men, does he call, and his voice is to the sons of men, To you, Oman, woman, whether old or young, he is saying, “ Come to me, for the Father is with me.
Come, however black and vile you are, my Father is with me to beautify you by his Spirit and mine, that proceeds from him and me; therefore,
Though you have been lying among the pots, you shall be as the wings of a dove, covered with silver, and
* Alluding to the rupture in the Associate Body, occasioned by the altercations about the Burgess oath, and the sentences that the separating brethren were passing on that account. The censures of the church were never more abused, improperly inflicted, and brought into contempt, than on this occasion.