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refined by his sovereign grace, and has qualified and adorned them for his own presence : “He will sing and rejoice over them, and rest in his love.” Zeph. jii. 17.
He will love to see them with his Son Jesus at their head, diffusing holiness and glory through all his members. Jesus the Redeemer will love to see them round him, for he has bought them with his blood, and they are a treasure too precious to be for ever lost. He will rejoice to behold them rising at his call into a splendor like his own, and they shall be satisfied when they awake from death into his likeness, and appear in the image of his own glorious body, fit heirs for the inheritance of heaven, fit companions for the blessed angels of liglit, and prepared to dwell for ever with himself.
REFLECTION. And shall not we who are the work of his hands have a desire to him that made us, to him that redeemed us, to him that has new-created and moulded us into his own likeness? Do we not long to see him ? Have we no desire to be with him, even though we should be absent from the body for a season ? But much more should we delight to think of being present with the Lord, when our whole natures, body and soul, shall appear as the new workmanship of almighty power; our souls new created in the image of God, and our bodies new born from the dead, into a life of immortality.
OBSERVATION VII. The last observation is of a very general nature, and spreads itself through all my text, and that is, How much are we indebted to God for the revelation of the New Testament, which teaches us to find out the blessings which are contained in the Old, and to fetch out the glories and treasures which are concealed there! The writers of the gospel have not only pointed us to the rich mines where these treasures lie, but have brought forth many
many of the jewels and set them before us. It is this gospel that brings life and immortality to light by Jesus Christ, 2 Tim. i. 10. It is this gospel that scatters the gloom and darkness which was spread over the face of the grave, and illuminates all the chambers of death. Who could have found out the doctrine of the resurrection contained in that word of grace given to Abraham, “ I am thy God,” if Jesus, the great Prophet, had not taught us to explain it thus, Matt. xxii. 31. “God is not the God of the dead, but of the living."
We who have the happiness to live in the days of the Messiah, know more than all the antient prophets were acquainted with, and understand the word of their prophecies better than they themselves ; for “ they searched what or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ, which was in them, did signify, when it testified before hand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory which should follow,” | Pet. i. 1). Bat we read all this fairly written in the gospel. Do you think that good David could have explained some of his own Psalms into so divine a sense, or Isaiah given such a bright account of his own words of prophecy as St Paul has done in several places of the New Testament, where he cites and unfolds them ? Could those illustrious antients have given us such a bundant consolation and hope through the scriptures, which they themselves wrote aforetime, as this apostle has done ? Rom. xv. 4. Do you think Job could have read us such a lecture on his own expressions in this text, or in that bright prophecy in the xixth chapter, as the very meanest among the ministers of the gospel can do by the help of the New Testament? For in point of clear discoveries of divine truths and graces, the least in the kingdom of the Messiah is greater than John the Baptist and all the prophets, and our blessed Jesus has told us ao, Matt. xi. 11, 13: And by the aid and influences of his Spirit we may be
taught yet further to search into these hidden mines of grace, and bring forth new treasures of glory.
REFLECTION. Awake, O my soul, and bless the Lord with all thy powers, and give thanks with holy joy for the gospel of his Son Jesus. It is Jesus by his rising from the dead has left a divine light upon tho gates of the grave, and scattered much of the darkness that surrounded it. It is the gospel of Christ which casts a glory even upon the bed of death and spreads a brightness upon the graves of the saints in the lively views of a great rising-day. O blessed and surprising prospect of faith! O illustrious scenes of future vision and transport! when the Son of God shall bring forth to public view all his redeemed ones, who had been long hidden in night and dust, and shall present them all to God the Father in. bis own image, bright, and holy, and unblemished, in the midst of all the splendors of the resurrection ! O blessed and joyful voice, when he shall say with divine pleasure, " Here am I, and the children which thou hast given me : we have both passed through the grave, and I have made them all conquerors of death, and vested them with immortality according to thy divine commission! Thine they were, O Father, and thou hast given them into my hands, and behold I have brought them all safe to thy appointed mansions, and I present them before thee without spot or blemish.”
And many a parent of a pious household in that day, when they shall see their sons and their daughters around them, all arrayed with the beams of the Sun of Righteousness, shall echo with holy joy to the voice of the blessed Jesus, “ Lord, here am I and the children which thou hast given me. afraid, as Job once might be, when his friends suggested this fear ; I was afraid that my children had sinnod against God, and he had cast them away for their transgression : but I am now convinced, when
he seized them from my sight he only took them out of the way of temptation and danger, and concealed them for a season in his safe hiding-place: I mourned in the day-time for a lost son or a lost etaughter, and in the night my couch was bedewed with my tears : I was scared with midnight dreams on their account, and the visions of the grave terrified me because my children were there : I gave up myself to sorrow for fear of the displeasure of my God both against them and against me : but how unreasonable were these sorrows ? how groundless were my fears ? how gloriously am I disappointed this blessed morning! I see my dear offspring called out of that long retreat where God had concealed them, and they arise to meet the divine call. I hear them answering with joy to the happy summons. My eyes behold them risen in the image of my God and their God; they are near me, they stand with me, at the right hand of the Judge ; now shall we rejoice together in the sentence of eternal blessedness from the lips of my Lord and their Lord, my Redeemer and their Redeemer.” Amen.
Among my papers I have found a speech spoken
at a grave, which I transcribed almost fifty years ago, and which deserves to be saved from perishing. It was pronounced many years before at the funeral of a pious person, by a minister there present, supposed to be the Rev. Mr. Peter Sterry; and the subject of it being suited to this discourse, I thought it not improper to preserve it here.
YHRISTIAN friends, though sin be entered into
the world, and by sin death, and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned; yet i seems not wholly suitable to our Christian hope, to stand by and see the grave with open mouth take in, and swallow down any part of a precious saint, and not bring some testimony against the devourer. And yet that our witness may be in righteousness, we must first own, acknowledge, and accept of that good and serviceableness that is in it.
For through the death and resurrection of our dear Redeemer, death and the grave are become sweetened to us, and sanctified for us : so that as death is but a sleep, the grave through his lying down in it and rising again, is become ag a bed of repose to them that are in him, and a safe and quiet hiding-phace for his saints till the resurrection.
And in this respect we do for ourselves, and for this our dearly beloved in the Lord, accept of thee, O grave, and readily deliver up her body to thee ; it is a body that hath been weakened and wearied with long afflictions and anguish, we freely give it into thee ; receive it, and let it have in thee & quiet rest