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1. It imports, an interest and property that Christ has in his people: they are mine, says he; My love, my fair one. They are his peculiar treasure : they are set apart for him from all eternity. For them he became man, and died, and suffered, and rose again ; for them he made and upholds the world. They are his flock; " The Lord's portion is his people, Jacob is the lot of bis inheritance," Deut. xxxii.9. Thus he concerns himself in them as his all : they are mine, says he ; even my peculiar portion. O! how should we meet him, and inake him our peculiar portion, and boast of him, and of this relation, saying, “ My Beloved is mine, and I am his?”

2. These titles, “ My love, my fair one,” import the strong affection that he has to his people : being his peculiar portion, they are the objects of his peculiar af. fection, and his special love and delight. He had a love of choice and designation for them, as in Christ, from eternity; but he has now a love of delight and complacency in them, as united to Christ by, faith, even to bim in whom God is well-pleased; yea, he loves them because he loves them. It is a consideration that may put an end to all debate on this head : he set bis love upon them, not because they were more in number than others, for they were the fewest of ail people; but because he loved them, Deut. vii. 7, 8. His love to his people must not be looked upon as the result of merit in them; nay, on that account, they are the objects of his indignation, as meriting hell: but we must look upon it as the result of interest: they are his, and therefore he loves them.

3. These titles, “ My love, my fair one,” import, not only his warm affection towards them, but his high estimation of them, as perfect beauties in his sight, his love is his fair one: thus he says, chap. iv. 7. “ Thou art all fair my love, there is no spot in thee." On what account doth be give this verdict of them ? and in what respects are they perfect beauties in his sight?: They are so,

(1.) In respect of imputed righteousness, which is a solid ground of reckoning; for, “ The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in them," Rom. viii. 5. through the imputed righteousness of Christ; and so they are accepted, as righteous in his sight, through the doing and dying, and perfect righteousness of Christ; yea, hence said to be the righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor. v. 21. O how fair are they who are clothed with the Sun, the Sun of righteousness !

(2.) In respect of communicated holiness. They are perfect beauties, as to the perfection of parts; as we say a new-born child is perfect, having all the parts; so are his people, having all the parts of the new man, in regeneration; hence called new creatures in Christ, 2 Cor. v. 17. This will at last resolve in a greater beauty of holiness ; that is, a perfection of degrees in heaven, when they shall be like him, by seeing him as he is. This may encourage saints against all the deformities they now see in themselves, while they see but in part him from whom they derive all their beauty.

(3.) In respect of their Head and Husband, Christ, in whom God looks upon them; they are all fair ; and hence they are said to be complete in him. Col. ii. 10. “ And you are complete in him, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily."

(4.) In respect of their desire, and endeavour, and aim ; though their desire itself is not perfect, yet the object of their desire as new creatures, is perfection ; "the desire of their souls is to his name, Isa. xxvi. 8, 9. “ Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee," Psal. lxxiii. 25. Their endeavour also, through grace, is to press after perfection; hence, though they count themselves imperfect, and not to have apprehended; yet, forgetting the things that are behind, they press toward the mark, Pbil. iii. 12. They approve themselves in no want of holiness, and indulge themselve in no șin. Their upright desires and endeavours are set down in Christ's count-book, for that which is desired and endeavoured : and however spotted they are, yet a mourned over spot is a beauty in his sight. Therefore he says, ver. 14. 6 O my dove, that art in the clefts of the rock, and secret places of the stairs, let me see thy countenance, for it is comely."

(5.) In respect of the divine design and determination; or in respect of his purpose and promise to make them perfect beauties. They are his fair ones; he resolves to present then to himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that they should be holy, and without blemish, Eph. v. 27. And God names his people many times from what they are in their desire and his design'; • Thou art all fair, my love: there is no spot in thee.” Their future perfection is present to him. And,

(6.) In respect of his love they are fair and perfect beauties: being his love, they cannot but be his fair one; for, love covers all infirmities, and esteems its object beautiful, be what it will. Isa. xliii. 4. “Since thou wast precious in my sight, thou hast been honour. able;" and therefore beautiful too. And if thus he esa teems our borrowed beauty, how should we be ashamed that we esteem not more his infinite beauty ?

4. These titles here; " My love, my fair one,” import the intimation of his high esteem of her; and that as Christ observes the beauty of believers, amidst all the spots that are upon them : so he is pleased to let them know so much: he does not think it enough behind their back to tell it, but in her face he says, “Thou art my love, and my fair one." It is true, this is not his ordinary; he is a wise lover, that knows when to keep up the intimation of love, and when to let it out: but there are times when he will make no secret of it; times when he will put it beyond all dispute or debate in the souls of his people. The times and seasons when he makes such intimations, are in the Father's hand, and in his power; he is sovereign in the grant thereof. Some have got the intimation at their first conversion, as the woman of Samaria, to whom Christ said, “ I that speak unto thee am he,” John vi. 26. Some have got it at a second conversion, even after backslidings and returnings into folly, through the remains of corruption in them: when they havegone a-whoring after their old lovers : yet the Lord has pitied for his name's sake, and intimated his love in such words as these; “ Return, backsliding children ; for I am married unto VOL. IX.


you. Return, return, O Shulamite; return, return. Return to thy first husband ; for then it was better with thee than now," Some again, have got intimation, when they have been humbling themselves by fasting and prayer, and diligently seeking the Lord; as Daniel got, to whom it was said, “O man, greatly beloved !” Dan, x. 19. Sometimes he lets out his love when he brings them to a wilderness of affliction, distress, and tribulation : "I will allure her, and bring her to the wilderness, and there will I speak comfortably to her;” yea, he ordinarily makes the valley of Achor a door of hope, that they may sing there : yet after all, his Bethel visits and Peniel views, that he gives his people, when he intimates his love to thein, and esteem of them, saying, " My love, my fair one,” are but rare enjoyments.- I shall say no more thereof; only, when those are withheld in a sensible way, live by the faith of it, that you, believer, are still his love and his fair one; and when you get any such intimations, improve it aright, if he commends you, so surely it sets and becomes you infinitely more to commend him.

III. The third thing proposed, is to speak of the import of his call and invitation here ; " Rise, and come away.”

There are these following things seem plainly supposed and imported here. In general the terms of the call and invitation suppose the case of his people to be a sleepy, secure, and drowsy case; and hence also a dis. couraged, disheartened, and disconsolate case. Notwithstanding, these titles be here gives her imply, that she is very beautiful in his esteem, and that he has a great affection toward her, as well as a near relation to her; yet there are several defects and disorders about her, that he would and must have amended, by his repeated calls and invitations.

1. This call and invitation, “ Rise and come away,” supposes and imports, that great security, and love to carnal rest and ease, is an usual fault among the people of God; they are ready to sit up, without making the progress they should make heaven-wards, like the sluggard, Prov. vi. 9. “ How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard ! when wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?" Like Jonah,, chap. i. 6. “ Arise thou sleeper, and call upon thy God." "Like even the wise virgins, Mat. xxv. 5. that were fast asleep as well as the foolish : and like the disciples, Luke xxii. 46. " Why sleep ye? rise and pray, lest ye enter into temptation. This is the sin of the generation, which is sadly evident, by the little due improvement of mercies or judgments, and by the great neglect of duty and the great formality in the use of means, and by the many black spots that stain the faces of professors. If sorrow fill their hearts on account of sad things in their lot, they are like discontented and ill-natured infants, who weep themselves asleep, and like the disciples who sorrowed themselves asleep, Luke xxii. 45. If even the disciples of Christ be found sleeping in times of stormy dispensations, it is a sign that they should look upon themselves as the Jonah, that has contrived to raise the storm; and if they do not awake and arise when Christ calls them, it may be a sign that he will awaken them to their cost. Profane people may fall into a lethargy, and get leave to sleep the sleep unto death, and may meet with nothing to awaken them, till the flames of hell do it, as it fell out with the foolish virgins; but for the wise, though God should save them as by fire, and pluck thein out of the burning, he will have them awakened: and it may be with a dreadful storm they were not expecting.

2. This call, “ Rise, and come away,” imports, that when Christ comes to his people, he contents not himself to intimate, that they are wrong, but he wants that what is wrong be mended; and that lazy and careless saints be rouzed and raised out of that secure state and condition, and be set to their feet again : and though nothing will awaken secure souls, that man or angel can say, yet if God breathe upon a call, he can make it prevail; for, says Christ, Every one that hath heard, and learned of the Father, cometh unto me," John vi. 45. Christ's errand to his church and people, in com.. ing over mountains, is to raise them up to their duty: and if they be but raised to seek him, let them not complain of desertion ; Christ is not far off from them

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