More Polhill on Union with Christ

Let us distinguish ourselves according to the two Adams. Whatever is vicious or defective in us, relates to the first Adam: whatever is gracious or prefective of our nature, relates to the second. Never can we be too humble under the sense of original corruption which adheres to our nature. Never can we be too thankful for that supernatural grace which gave us a new nature. Because we have a Divine nature in us, we should live suitably to it. Had we but one single creation, we had been eternally bound to serve and glorify God; but when he sets to his hand the second time to create us again in Christ Jesus unto good works, how should our lives answer thereunto! When in the horrible earthquake at Antioch the emperor Trajanus was drawn out of the ruins, it was a very great obligation upon him to serve and honour God who so signally delivered him; how much greater obligation lies upon us, who are drawn by an act of grace out of the ruins of the fall! How should we live in a just decorum to that Divine nature which we are made partakers of! We should still be bringing forth the fruits of the Spirit, and shewing forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. Again; because the relics of corruption are still remaining even in the regenerate, we should ever be upon our spiritual watch; we should set guards within and without, that sin may not creep in by the ports of sense, nor rise up out of the deep of the heart. When a temptation approaches to us, we should say as a holy man did, Auferte ignem, adhuc enim paleas habeo; take away the fire, yet I have chaff within. If a Jonah fall into a pet against God; if a David wallow in adultery and blood; if a Peter deny his Lord with a curse, what may not we do! The remnants of original sin in us should make us keep a watch over our hearts, and ponder the path of our feet. Our flesh is an Eve, a tempter within us; nay, a kind of devil, as an ancient speaks, Nemo sibi de suo palpet, quisque sibi Satan est.

~A View of Some Divine Truths pg. 61

And also:

Secondly, we receive a human nature from Adam, and have we not a divine nature from Christ? are we not called his seed? are we not begotten by his Spirit and word? were we not in a spiritual sense seminally in his blood and merits? how else should any such thing as the new creature be produced in a lapsed nature? These things are as proper to make us parts and members of Christ, as a human nature is to make us parts and members of Adam; therefore, the communication of righteousness from Christ must be as full and great as the communication of sin is from Adam. Bishop Usher tells us, that we have a more strict conjunction in the Spirit with Christ, than ever we had in nature with Adam; one and the same spirit is in Christ and believers, but there is not one soul in Adam and his posterity: the communication from Christ, therefore, if answerable to the union, must be as great, nay, greater than that from Adam.

~pg. 83

I shall seek to explain what Polhill’s language about union with Christ and “communication” of righteousness means at a later time. For now I just wish to show what sort of union he has in mind. We are legally united to Christ, it is true, but this is only the case because we are also seminally united to him through the agency of the Holy Spirit.

Also, in my previous post on Polhill, I cited from Speculum theologiae in Christo which is available online through Google books. I have, however, recently purchased Soli Deo Gloria’s The Works of Edward Polhill which include the Speculum as well as others. Speculum is called A View of Some Divine Truths, and that accounts for the change in title in my new citations. It is all the same book, though.

This entry was posted in church history, edward polhill, union with Christ by Steven Wedgeworth. Bookmark the permalink.

About Steven Wedgeworth

Steven Wedgeworth is the associate pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. He writes about theology, history, and political theory, and he has taught Jr. High and High School. He is the founder and general editor of The Calvinist International, an online journal of Christian Humanism and political theology, and a Director for the Davenant Institute.

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