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when he hath made thee truly lovely? He that longest for joy: thou then shalt have full joy, keepeth thee so constant in thy love to him, as much as thou canst hold, and more than ever that thou canst challenge tribulation, distress, thou thoughtest on, or thy heart desired. In the persecution, famine, nakedness, peril, or sword, mean time, walk carefully, watch constantly, and to separate thy love from Christ, how much more then let God measure out to thee thy times and will himself be constant ? Indeed thou mayest degrees of joy. It may be he keeps them until be persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor thou hast more need. Thou hadst better lose angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things thy comfort than thy safety. If thou shouldst present, nor things to come, nor height, nor die full of fears and sorrows, it will be but a depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to moment, and they are all gone, and concluded in separate us from the love of God which is in joy inconceivable. As the joy of the hypocrite, Christ Jesus our Lord.' And now are we not so the fears of the upright are but for a moment. left in the apostle's admiration, • What shall we 'God's anger endureth but a moment; in his say to these things?' Infinite love must needs favour is life ; weeping may endure for a night, be a mystery to a finite capacity. No wonder but joy cometh in the morning.' O blessed angels desire to look into this mystery. And if morning! Poor, humble, drooping soul, how it be the study of saints here, to know the would it fill thee with joy now, if a voice from breadth, and length, and depth, and height, of heaven should tell thee of the love of God, the the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge;' pardon of thy sins, and assure thee of thy part the saints' everlasting rest must consist in the in these joys! What then will thy joy be, when enjoyment of God by love.
thy actual possession shall convince thee of thy 13. Nor hath joy the least share in this frui- title, and thou shalt be in heaven, before thou tion. It is that, which all the former lead to, art well aware? and conclude in ; even the inconceivable com- 14. And it is not thy joy only; it is a mutual placency which the blessed feel in their seeing, joy, as well as a mutual love. Is there joy in knowing, loving, and being beloved of God. heaven at thy conversion, and will there be none This is the white stone which no man knoweth, at thy glorification ? Will not the angels welsaving he that receiveth it. Surely this is the come thee thither, and congratulate thy safe arjoy which a stranger doth not intermeddle with. rival ?—Yea, it is the joy of Jesus Christ; for All Christ's ways of mercy tend to, and end in, now he hath the end of his undertaking, labour, the saint's joys. He wept, sorrowed, suffered, suffering, dying, when we have our joys; when that they might rejoice: he sendeth the Spirit to he is glorified in his saints, and admired in all be their Comforter; he multiplies promises; he them that believe; when he sees of the travail discovers their future happiness, that their joy of his soul, and is satisfied. This is Christ's may be full. He opens to them the fountain of harvest, when he shall reap the fruit of his living waters, that they may thirst no more, and labours; and it will not repent him concerning that it may spring up in them to everlasting life. his sufferings, but he will rejoice over his purHe chastens them, that he may give them rest. chased inheritance, and his people will rejoice in He makes it their duty to rejoice in him alway, him.—Yea, the Father himself puts on joy too, and again commands them to rejoice. He never in our joy. As we grieve his Spirit, and weary brings them into so low a condition wherein he him with our iniquities, so he is rejoiced in our does not leave them more cause of joy than sor- good. O how quickly does he now spy a rerow. And hath the Lord such a care of our turning prodigal, even afar off! How does he comfort here? O what will that joy be, where run and meet him! And with what compassion the soul, being perfectly prepared for joy, and does he fall on his neck, and kiss him, and put joy prepared by Christ for the soul, it shall be our on him the best robe, and a ring on his hand, work, our business, eternally to rejoice! It seems and shoes on his feet, and kills the fatted calf to the saints' joy shall be greater than the damned's eat and be merry. This is indeed a happy meettorment: for their torment is the torment of ing; but nothing to the embracing and joy of creatures, prepared for the devil and his angels; that last and great meeting. Yea, more; as God but our joy is the joy of our Lord. The same doth mutually love and joy, so he makes this His glory which the Father gave the Son, the Son rest, as it is our rest. What an eternal sabba. hath given them, to sit with him in his throne, tism, when the work of redemption, sanctification, even as he is set down with his father in his preservation, glorification, is all finished, and perthrone. Thou, poor soul, who prayest for joy, fected for ever! • The Lord thy God in the waitest for joy, complainest for want of joy, | midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will
rejoice over thee with joy, he will rest in his love, eat. The porch of this temple is exceeding glorihe will joy over thee with singing.' Well may ous, and the gate of it is called Beautiful. Here we then rejoice in our God with joy, and rest in are four things, as the four corners of this porch. our love, and joy in him with singing.
Here is the most glorious coming and appearance 15. Alas! my fearful heart scarce dares pro- of the Son of God ;—that great work of Jesus ceed. Methinks I hear the Almighty's voice Christ in raising our bodies from the dust, and saying to me, “Who is this that darkeneth coun- uniting them again to the soul ;—the public and sel by words without knowledge ? But pardon solemn process at their judgment, where they thy servant, O Lord, I have not pried into unre- shall first themselves be acquitted and justified, vealed things. I bewail that my apprehensions and then with Christ judge the world ;-together are so dull, my thoughts so mean, my affections with their solemn coronation, and receiving the so stupid, and my expressions so low, and unbe- kingdom. seeming such a glory. I have only heard by the 2. (1.) The most glorious coming and appearhearing of the ear; 0, let thy servant see thee ance of the Son of God may well be reckoned in and possess these joys; and then shall I have his people's glory. For their sake he came into more suitable conceptions, and shall give thee the world, suffered, died, rose, ascended, and for fuller glory; I shall abhor my present self, and their sake it is that he will return. To this end disclaim and renounce all these imperfections—will Christ come again, to receive his people unto • I have uitered that I understood not, things too himself, that where he is, there they may be also. wonderful for me, which I know not. Yet •I The bridegroom's departure was not upon dibelieved, and therefore have I spoken.' What, vorce. He did not leave us with a purpose to reLord, canst thou expect from dust but levity ? turn no more. He hath left pledges enough to or from corruption but defilement? Though the assure us to the contrary. We have his word, weakness and irreverence be the fruit of my own his many promises, his sacraments, which show corruption, yet the fire is from thine altar, and forth his death till he come ; and his Spirit, to the work of thy commanding. I looked not into direct, sanctify, and comfort, till he return. We thy ark, nor put fouth my hand unto it, without have frequent tokens of love from him, to show thee. Wash away these stains also in the blood us he forgets not his promise, nor us. of the Lamb. Imperfect or none, must be thy behold the forerunners of his coming, foretold by service here. O take thy Son's excuse—The himself. We see the fig-tree putteth forth leaves, spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak.'
and therefore know that suinmer is nigh. Though the riotous world say, My Lord delayeth his
coming ;' yet let the saints lift up their heads, CHAPTER II.
for their redemption draweth nigh. Alas, fellow
Christians, what should we do if our Lord should THE GREAT PREPARATIVES TO THE SAINTS' REST. not return? What a case are we here left in ?
What ! leave us in the midst of wolves, and among Sect. 1. The happiness of Christians in having a way open into paradise. There are four things which principally prepare the way to lions, a generation of vipers, and here forget us? enter into it ; 2 3. particularly, (1.) The glorious appearing of Did he buy us so dear, and then leave us sinning ment; 9, 10, and, (4.) The saints' coronation ; 11. Transition to the suffering, groaning, dying daily, and will he come subject of the next chapter.
no more to us? It cannot be. This is like our 1. The passage of paradise is net now su unkind dealing with Christ, who, when we feel blocked up, as when the law and curse reigned ourselves warm in the world, care not for coming Wherefore finding, beloved Christians, a new and to him ; but this is not like Christ's dealing with living way consecrated for us, through the vail, us. He that would come to suffer, will surely that is to say, the flesh of Christ, by which we come to triumph. He that would come to purmay, with boldness, enter into the holiest, I shall chase, will surely come to possess. Where else, draw near with fuller assurance. And finding were all our hopes ? What were become of our the flaming sword removed, shall look again into faith, cur prayers, our tears, and our waiting? the paradise of our God. And because I know What were all the patience of the saints worth chat this is no forbidden fruit, and withal that to them ? Were we not left of all men the most it is good for food, and pleasant to the spiritual miserable ? Christians, hath Christ made us foreyes, and a tree to be desired to make one truly sake all the world, and be forsaken of all the wise and happy, I shall, through the assistance world ? to hate all and be hated of all ? and all of the Spirit, take and eat thereof myself, and this for him that we might have him, instead of give to you according to my power, that you may | all? And will he, think you, after all this, forget us, and forsake us himself ? Far be such a Spirit and the bride say, Come: and let him that thought from our hearts! But why staid he not heareth,' and readeth, say Come.' Our Lord with his people while he was here? Why? Was himself says, “Surely I come quickly, Amen : not the work on earth done? Must he not take even so, come, Lord Jesus.' possession of glory in our behalf ? Must he not 4. (2) Another thing that leads to paradise is, intercede with the Father, plead his sufferings, that great work of Jesus Christ, in raising our be filled with the Spirit, to send forth, receive bodies from the dust, and uniting them again authority, and subdue his enemies ? Our abode unto the soul. A wonderful effect of infinite here is short. If he had staid on earth, what power and love! Yea, wonderful indeed, says would it have been to enjoy him for a few days, unbelief, if it be true. What! shall all these and then die? He hath more in heaven to dwell scattered bones and dust become a man ?-Let among; even the spirits of many generations. He me with reverence plead for God, for that power will have us live by faith, and not by sight. whereby I hope to arise. What beareth the
3. O fellow-Christians, what a day will that massy body of the earth? What limits the vast be, when we, who have been kept prisoners by ocean of the waters; Whence is that constant sin, by sinners, by the grave, shall be fetched out ebbing and flowing of the tides? How many by the Lord himself! It will not be such a com- times bigger than all the earth is the sun, that ing as his first was, in poverty and contempt, to glorious body of light? Is it not as easy to be spit upon, and buffeted, and crucified again. raise the dead, as to make heaven and earth, and He will not come, O careless world! to be all of nothing ?—Look not on the dead bones, slighted and neglected by you any more. Yet and dust, and difficulty, but at the promise. that coming wanted not its glory. If the heavenly Contendedly commit these carcasses to a prison host, for the celebration of his nativity, must that shall not long contain them. Let us lie praise God, with what shoutings will angels and down in peace, and take our rest; it will not be saints at that day proclaim glory to God, peace an everlasting night, nor endless sleep. If unand good-will towards men! If a star must lead clothing be the thing thou fearest, it is that thou men from remote parts of the world to come to mayest have better clothing. If to be turned worship a child in a manger, how will the glory out of doors be the thing thou fearest, remember, of his next appearing constrain all the world to that when the earthly house of this tabernacle acknowledge his sovereignty! If, riding on an is dissolved, thou hast a building of God, an ass, he enter Jerusalem with hosannas, with what house not made with hands, eternal in the heapeace and glory will he come toward the New vens.' Lay down cheerfully this lump of corJerusalem! If, when he was in the form of a ser- ruption ; thou shalt undoubtedly receive it again vant, they cried out, What manner of man is in incorruption. Lay down freely this terrestial, this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?' this natural body; thou shalt receive it again a what will they say, when they shall see him com- celestial, a spiritual body. Though thou lay it ing in his glory, and the heavens and the earth down with great dishonour, thou shalt receive it obey him! . Then shall all the tribes of the earth in glory. Though thou art separated from it inourn.' To think and speak of that day with through weakness, it shall be raised again ia horror, doth well beseem the impenitent sinner, mighty power—' In a moment, in the twinkling but ill the believing saint. Shall the wicked be- of an eye, at the last trump; (for the trumpet hold him, and cry, “Yonder is he whose blood shall sound ;) and the dead shall be raised incorwe neglected, whose grace we resisted, whose ruptible, and we shall be changed. The dead council we refused, whose government we cast in Christ shall rise first. Then they who are off? And shall not the saints with inconceivable alive and remain, shall be caught up together gladness, cry, “Yonder is he whose blood re- with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the deemed us, whose Spirit cleansed us, whose law air.' Triumph now, O Christian, in these prodid govern us, in whom we trusted, and he hath mises ; thou shalt shortly triumph in their pernot deceived our trust; for whom we long waited, formance. This is the day which the Lord will and now we see we have not waited in vain! O make, we shall rejoice and be glad in it. The cursed corruption! that would have had us turn grave, that could not keep our Lord, cannot keep to the world, and present things, and say, Why us. He arose for us, and by the same power should we wait for the Lord any longer? Now will cause us to arise. For if we believe that we see, Blessed are all they that wait for him. Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also And now, Christians, should we not put up that who sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him. petition heartily, Thy kingdom come? The Let us never look at the grave, but let us see the resurrection beyond it. “Yea, let us be stead- Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the fast, immoveable, always abounding in the work Spirit.' Who shall lay any thing to the charge of the Lord, for as much as we know our labour of God's elect?' Sball the law ? The law of is not in vain in the Lord.'
the spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made them 5. (3.) Part of this prologue to the saints' rest, free from the law of sin and death. Or shall is the public and solemn process at their judg- conscience ? • The Spirit itself beareth witness ment, where they shall first themselves be ac- with their spirit, that they are the children of quitted and justified, and then with Christ judge God.' • It is God that justifieth, who is he that the world. Young and old, of all estates and condemneth ?" If our judge condemn us not, nations, that ever were, from the creation to that who shall ? He that said to the adulterous woday, must here come, and receive their doom. man, “ Hath no man condemned thee? Neither O terrible! O joyful day! Terrible to those that do I;' will say to us, more faithfully than Peter have forgot the coming of their Lord ! Joyful to him, Though all men deny thee, or condemn to the saints, whose waiting and hope was to see thee, I will not. Having confessed me before this day! Then shall the world behold the good- men, thee will I also confess before my Father ness and severity of God: on them who perish, who is in heaven.' severity; but to his chosen, goodness. Every 7. What inexpressible joy, that our dear one must give an account of his stewardship. Lord, who loveth our souls, and whom our Every talent of time, health, wit, mercies, afflic- souls love, shall be our Judge! Will a man tions, means, warnings, must be reckoned for. fear to be judged by his dearest friend ? Or The sins of youth, those which they had forgot- a wife by her own husband? Christian, did ten, and their secret sins, shall all be laid open Christ come down and suffer, and weep, and before angels and men. They shall see the Lord bleed and die for thee, and will he now condemn Jesus, whom they neglected, whose word they thee? Was he judged, condemned, and execudisobeyed, whose ministers they abused, whose ted in thy stead, and now will he condemn thee servants they hated, now sitting to judge them. himself ? Hath he done most of the work already, Their own consciences shall cry out against them, in redeeming, regenerating, sanctifying, and and call to their remembrance all their misdo- preserving thee, and will he now undo all again ? ings. Which way will the wretched sinner look? Well, then, let the terror of that day be ever so Who can conceive the terrible thoughts of his great, surely our Lord can mean no ill to us in heart ? Now the world cannot help him; his old all. Let it make the devils tremble, and the companions cannot; the saints neither can nor wicked tremble; but it shall make us leap for will. Only the Lord Jesus can; but, there is joy. It must needs affect us deeply with the the misery, he will not. Time was, sinner, when sense of our mercy and happiness, to see the Christ would, and you would not; now, fain most of the world tremble with terror, while we would you, and he will not. All in vain, to cry triumph with joy ; to hear them doomed to everto the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us, and lasting flames, when we are proclaimed heirs of bide us from the face of Him that sitteth upon the kingdom ; to see our neighbours that lived in the throne;' for thou hast the Lord of mountains the same towns, came to the same congregation, and rocks for thine enemy, whose voice they dwelt in the same houses, and were esteemed will obey, and not thine. I charge thee, there- more honourable in the world than ourselves, fore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who now, by the Searcher of hearts, eternally sepashall judge the quick and the dead at his appear-rated. This, with the great magnificence and ing, and his kingdom, that thou set thyself seri- dreadfulness of the day, the apostle pathetically ously to ponder on these things.
expresses : 'It is a righteous thing with God, to 6. But why tremblest thou, O humble gracious recompense tribulation to them that trouble you ; soul? He that would not lose one Noah in a and to you who are troubled, rest with us, when common deluge, nor overlook one Lot in Sodom: the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, nay, that could do nothing till he went forth; will with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking he forget thee at that day? The Lord know- vengeance on them that know not God, and that eth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ ; and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judg- who shall be punished with everlasting destrucment to be punished. He knoweth how to make tion from the presence of the Lord, and from the the same day the greatest terror to his foes, and glory of his power; when he shall come to be yet the greatest joy to his people. • There is glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all no condemnation to them that are in Christ' them that believe in that day.'
8. Yet more, we shall be so far from the dread he will give them the morning-star.' The Lord of that judgment, that ourselves shall become himself will give them possession with these apthe judges. Christ will take his people, as it plauding expressions ; Well done, good and were into commission with himself, and they faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a shall sit and approve his righteous judgment. few things, I will make thee ruler over many Do you not know that the saints will judge things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. the world?' Nay, “know ye not that we
shall 10. And with this solemn and blessed procla. judge angels? Were it not for the word of mation shall he enthrone them: “Come, ye blessed Christ that speaks it, this advancement would of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for seem incredible, and the language arrogant. you from the foundation of the world.' Every • Even Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophe- word is full of life and joy. Come'—this is the sied this saying, Behold the Lord cometh with holding forth of the golden sceptre, to warrant ten thousands of his saints, to execute judg- our approach unto this glory. Come now as ment upon all, and to convince all that are
near as you will ; fear not the Bethshemite's ungodly among them, of all their ungodly deeds judgment; for the enmity is utterly abolished. which they have ungodly committed, and of all This is not such a Come' as we were wont to their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have hear, “Come, take up your cross, and follow me.” spoken against him.' Thus shall the saints be Though that was sweet, yet this much more. honoured, and the upright shall have dominion · Ye blessed-Blessed indeed, when that mouth in the morning. Othat the careless world shall so pronounce us! For though the world hath “were wise, that they understood this, that they accounted us accursed, and we have been ready would consider their latter end ! That they to account ourselves so ; yet certainly those that would be now of the same mind as they will be, he blesseth, are blessed ; and those whom he when they shall see the heavens pass away with curseth, only are cursed, and his blessing cannot a great noise, and the elements melt with fer- be reversed. Of my Father'—Blessed in the vent heat, and the earth also, and the works Father's love, as well as the Son’s, for they are that are therein, burnt up,—when all shall be one. The Father hath testified his love in their in fire about their ears, and all earthly glory election, donation to Christ, sending of Christ, consumed! For the heavens and the earth, and accepting his ransom, as the Son has also which are now, are reserved unto fire against testified his. "Inherit—No longer bondmen, the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly nor servants only, nor children under age, men. Seeing then that all these things shall who differ not in possession, but only in title, be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye from servants; but now we are heirs of the to be in all holy conversation and godliness, kingdom, and joint heirs with Christ. looking for and basting unto the coming of God, kingdom'—No less than the kingdom! Indeed, wherein the heavens, being on fire, shall be dis- to be King of kings, and Lord of lords, is our solved, and the elements shall melt with fervent Lord's own proper title; but to be kings, and heat.'
reign with him, is ours. The enjoyment of this 9. (4.) The last preparative to the saints' rest kingdom is as the light of the sun ; each have is their solemn coronation, and receiving the the whole, and the rest never the less. •Prekingdom. For, as Christ, their Head, is anointed pared for you'—God is the Alpha, as well as the both King and Priest, so, under him, are his Omega of our blessedness. Eternal love hath people made unto God both kings and priests, laid the foundation. He prepared the kingdom to reign, and to offer praises for ever. The for us, and then prepared us for the kingdom. crown of righteousness, which was laid up for This is the preparation of his counsel and decree; them, shall by the Lord, the righteous Judge, for the execution whereof Christ was yet to make be given them at that day. They have been a further preparation. “For you’--Not for befaithful unto death, and therefore he will give lievers only in general who, without individual them a crown of life. And according to the persons, are nobody; but for you personally. improvement of their talents here, so shall their · From the foundation of the world'— Not only rule and dignity be enlarged. They are not from the promise after Adam's fall, but from dignified with empty titles, but real dominion. eternity. Christ will grant them to sit with him on his 11. Thus we have seen the Christian safely throne: and will give them power over the na- landed in paradise, and conveyed honourably to tions, even as he received of his Father ; and his rest. Now let us a little further, in the next