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from without, may be in the way of the access of death unto us. Some who have been wholly freed from all fears of death, as a dissolution of nature, who have looked on it as amiable, and desirable in itself, have yet had great exercise in their minds about these ways of its approach. They have earnestly desired, that this peculiar bitterness of the cup might be taken away; to get above all perplexities on the account of these things, is part of our wisdom in dying daily. And we are to have always in a readiness, those graces and duties which are necessary thereunto. Such are a constant resignation of ourselves, in all events, unto the sovereign will, pleasure, and disposal of God. 'May he not do what he will with his own?' Is it not right and meet it should be so? Is not his will in all things infinitely holy, wise, just, and good? Doth he not know what is best for us, and what conduceth most unto his own glory? Doth not he alone do so? So is it to live in the exercise of faith, that if God calls us unto any of those things, which are peculiarly dreadful unto our natures, he will give us such supplies of spiritual strength and patience, as shall enable us to undergo them; if not with ease and joy, yet with peace and quietness beyond our expectation. Multitudes have had experience that those things which at a distance have had an aspect of overwhelming dread, have been far from unsupportable in their approach, when strength hath been received from above to encounter with them. And moreover it is in this case required, that we be frequent and steady in comparing these things with those which are eternal, both as unto the misery, which we are freed from, and that blessedness which is prepared for us. But I shall proceed no farther with these particulars.
There is none of all the things we have insisted
on, neither the resignation of a departing soul into the hand of God, nor a willingness to lay down this flesh in the dust, nor a readiness to comply with the will of God, as to the times and seasons, or the way and manner of the approach of death, that can be attained unto, without a prospect of that glory that shall give us a new state far more excellent than what we here leave or depart from. This we cannot have, whatever we pretend, unless we have some present views of the glory of Christ. An apprehension of the future manifestation of it in heaven, will not relieve us, if here we know not what it is, and wherein it doth consist; if we have not some previous discovery of it in this life. This is that which will make all things easy and pleasant unto us, even death itself, as it is a means to bring us unto its full enjoyment.
Other great and glorious advantages which may be obtained in the diligent discharge of the duty here proposed, might be insisted on; but that the things themselves discoursed of will evidently discover, and direct us unto the spring and reasons of them: besides, weakness, weariness, and the near approaches of death do call me off from any farther labour in this kind.
MEDITATIONS AND DISCOURSES
GLORY OF CHRIST.
Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am: that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me.— John xvii. 24.
THE high-priest under the law, when he was to enter into the holy place on the solemn day of atonement, was to take both his hands full of sweet incense from the golden table of incense, to carry along with him in his entrance. He had also a censer filled with fire, that was taken from the altar of burnt-offerings, where atonement was made for sin with blood. Upon his actual entrance through the veil, he put the incense on the fire in the censer, until the cloud of its smoke covered the ark, and the mercy-seat. See Lev." xvi. 12, 13. And the end hereof was to present unto God, in the behalf of the people, a sweet smelling savour from the sacrifice of propitiation. See the declaration of these things in our exposition of Heb. ix.
In answer unto this mystical type, the great High Priest of the church, our Lord Jesus Christ, being to enter into the holy place not made with hands,' did by the glorious prayer recorded in this chapter, influenced from the blood of his sacrifice, fill the heavens above, the glorious place of God's residence, with a cloud of incense, or the sweet perfume of his blessed intercession, typed by the incense offered by the high-priest of old. By the same eternal fire wherewith he offered himself a bloody sacrifice to make atonement for sin, he kindled in his most holy soul those desires for the application of all its benefits unto his church, which are here expressed, and wherein his intercession doth consist.
It is only one passage in the verse above named, that at present I design an inquiry into. And this is the subject.
matter of what the Lord Christ here desires in the behalf of those given him by the Father; namely, that they may behold his glory.
It is evident, that in this prayer the Lord Christ hath respect unto his own glory, and the manifestation of it, which he had in the entrance asked of the Father, ver. 4, 5. But in this place he hath not so much respect unto it as his own, as unto the advantage, benefit, satisfaction, and blessedness of his disciples, in the beholding of it. For these things were the end of all that mediatory glory which was given unto him. So Joseph charged his brethren, when he had revealed himself unto them, that they should tell his father of all his glory in Egypt;' Gen. xlv. 13. This he did, not for an ostentation of his own glory, but for the satisfaction which he knew his father would take in the knowledge of it. And such a manifestation of his glory unto his disciples doth the Lord Christ here desire, as might fill them with blessed satisfaction for evermore.
This alone which is here prayed for, will give them such satisfaction, and nothing else. The hearts of believers are like the needle touched by the loadstone, which cannot rest until it comes to the point whereunto by the secret virtue of it, it is directed. For being once touched by the love of Christ, receiving therein an impression of secret ineffable virtue, they will ever be in motion, and restless, until they come unto him, and behold his glory. That soul which can be satisfied without it, that cannot be eternally satisfied with it, is not partaker of the efficacy of his intercession.
I shall lay the foundation of the ensuing meditations in this one assertion, namely, that one of the greatest privileges and advancements of believers, both in this world, and unto eternity, consists in their beholding the glory of Christ, This therefore he desires for them in this solemn intercession, as the complement of all his other requests in their behalf; 'that they may behold my glory.' "Iva Otwpwσi, that they may see, view, behold, or contemplate on my glory. The reasons why I assign not this glorious privilege only unto the heavenly state, which is principally respected in this place, but apply it unto the state of believers in this world also, with their duties and privileges therein, shall be immediately declared.
All unbelievers do in their heart call Christ Ichabod ;'
'Where is the glory?' They see neither form nor comeliness in him,' that he should be desired. They look on him as Michal, Saul's daughter, did on David dancing before the ark,' when she despised him in her heart. They do not indeed (many of them) call Jesus anathema,' but cry, Hail, Master,' and then crucify him.
Hence have we so many cursed opinions advanced in derogation unto his glory, some of them really destructive of all that is truly so; yea, denying the only Lord that bought us,' and substituting a false Christ in his room. And others there are who express their slight thoughts of him and his glory, by bold irreverent inquiries, of what use his person is in our religion; as though there were any thing in our religion, that hath either reality, substance, or truth, but by virtue of its relation thereunto. And by their answers, they bring their own inquiries yet nearer unto the borders of blasphemy.
Never was there an age since the name of Christians was known upon the earth, wherein there was such a direct opposition made unto the person and glory of Christ, as there is in that wherein we live. There were indeed in the first times of the church, swarms of proud, doting, brainsick persons, who vented many foolish imaginations about him, which issued at length in Arianism, in whose ruins they were buried. The gates of hell in them, prevailed not against the rock on which the church is built. But as it was said of Cæsar, Solus accessit sobrius, ad perdendam rempublicam; He alone went soberly about the destruction of the commonwealth;' so we now have great numbers who oppose the person and glory of Christ, under a pretence of sobriety of reason, as they vainly plead. Yea, the disbelief of the mysteries of the Trinity, and the incarnation of the Son of God, the sole foundation of Christian religion, is so diffused in the world, as that it hath almost devoured the power and vitals of it. And not a few, who dare not yet express their minds, do give broad intimations of their intentions and good will towards him, in making them the object of their scorn and reproach, who desire to know nothing but him, and him crucified.
God in his appointed time will effectually vindicate his honour and glory, from the vain attempts of men of corrupt minds against them.
In the mean time, it is the duty of all those who love