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our judgment! Are we rich, and not too much on earth; as Joseph's brethren were to behold exalted? Are we poor, and not discontented ?him, when they remembered their former unkind Are we not lazy in our duties, or make a Christ usage. Is it not enough that all the world is of them ? Not that God hath made all these against us, but we must also be against one anothings our snares; but through our own corrup- ther? O happy days of persecution, which drove tion they become so to us. Ourselves are the us together in love, whom the sunshine of libergreatest snare to ourselves. This is our comfort, ty and prosperity crumbles into dust by our conour rest will free us from all these. As Satan tentions! O happy day of the saint's rest in hath no entrance there, so neither any thing to glory, when, as there is one God, one Christ, one serve his malice: but all things there shall join Spirit, so we shall have one heart, one church, with us in the high praises of their great Deli-one employment for ever! We shall then rest verer. As we rest from the temptations, we from our participation of our brethren's suffershall likewise from the abuses and persecutions ings. The church on earth is a mere hospital. of the world. The prayers of the souls under Some groaning under a dark understanding, some the altar will then be answered, and God will under an insensible heart, some languishing unavenge their blood on them that dwell on the der unfruitful weakness, and some bleeding for earth. This is the time for crowning with thorns ; miscarriages and wilfulness, some crying out of that for crowning with glory. Now, all that their poverty, some groaning under pains and live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecu- infirmities, and some bewailing a whole catalogue tion;' then they that suffered with him, shall be of calamities. But a far greater grief it is, to glorified with him. Now, we must be hated of see our dearest and most intimate friends turned all men for Christ's name's sake. Then, Christ aside from the truth of Christ, continuing their will be admired in his saints that were thus hated. neglect of Christ and their souls, and nothing We are here made a spectacle unto the world, will awaken them out of their security: to look and to angels, and to men; as the filth of the on an ungodly father or mother, brother or sister, world, and the offscouring of all things; men wife or husband, child or friend, and think how separate us from their company, and reproach us, certainly they shall be in hell for ever, if they and cast out our names as evil: but we shall die in their present unregenerate state: to think then be as much gazed at for our glory, and they of the gospel departing, the glory taken from will be shut out of the church of the saints, and our Israel, poor souls left willingly dark and desseparated from us, whether they will or not. titute, and blowing out the light that should guide We can scarce pray in our families, or sing them to salvation ! Our day of rest will free us praises to God, but our voice is a vexation to from all this, and the days of mourning shall be them: how must it torment them then, to see us ended : then thy people, O Lord, shall be all praising and rejoicing, while they are howling righteous ; they shall inherit the land for ever, and lamenting! You, brethren, who can now the branch of thy planting, the work of thy attempt no work of God, without losing the love hands, that thou mayest be glorified. Then we of the world, consider, you shall have none in shall rest from all our own personal sufferings. heaven but will further your work, and join This may seem a small thing to those that live heart and voice with you in your everlasting in ease and prosperity ; but to the daily afflicted joy and praise. Till then, possess ye your souls soul it makes the thoughts of heaven delightful. in patience. Bind all reproaches as a crown the dying life we now live! as full of sufferto your heads. Esteem them greater riches than ings as of days and hours! Our Redeemer the world's treasures. • It is a righteous thing leaves this measure of misery upon us, to make with God, to recompense tribulation to them that us know for what we are beholden, to mind us trouble you ; and to you, who are troubled, rest of what we should else forget, to be serviceable with Christ. We shall then rest from all our to his wise and gracious designs, and advantagesad divisions, and unchristian quarrels with one ous to our full and final recovery. Grief enters another. How lovingly do thousands live to- at every sense, seizes every part and power of gether in heaven, who lived at variance upon flesh and spirit. What noble part is there, that earth! There is no contention, because none of suffereth its pain or ruin alone ? But sin and this pride, ignorance, or other corruption. There flesh, dust and pain, will all be left behind togeis no plotting to strengthen our party, nor deep ther. O the blessed tranquillity of that region, designing against our brethren. If there be where there is nothing but sweet, continued sorrow or shame in heaven, we shall then be both peace! O healthful place, where none are sick! sorry and ashamed, to remember all this carriage O fortunate land, where all are kings! O holy
assembly, where all are priests! How free a contains the perfection of their torment, and our state, where none are servants, but to their su- glory. O that the sinner would study this word! preme
Monarch ! The poor man shall no more methinks it would startle him out of his dead be tired with his labours : no more hunger or sleep. O that the gracious soul would study it, thirst, cold or nakedness ; no pinching frosts or methinks it would revive him in his deepest scorching heats. Our faces shall no more be agony! • And must I, Lord, thus live for ever? pale or sad; no more breaches in friendship, nor Then will I also love for ever. Must my joys parting of friends asunder ; no more trouble ac- be immortal ; and shall not my thanks be also companying our relations, nor voice or lamenta immortal ? Surely, if I shall never lose my tion heard in our dwellings: “God shall wipe glory, I will never cease thy praises. If thou away all tears from our eyes. O my soul, bear wilt both perfect and perpetuate me and my with the infirmities of thine earthly tabernacle ; glory; as I shall be thine, and not my own ; so it will be thus but a little while ; the sound of shall my glory be thy glory. And as thy glory thy Redeemer's feet is even at the door. We was thy ultimate end in my glory; so shall it shall al rest from all the toils of duties. The also be my end, when thou hast crowned me conscientious magistrate, parent, and minister, with that glory which hath no end. Unto the cries out, the burden that lieth upon me! King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise Every relation, state, age, hath variety of duties; God, be honour and glory, for ever and ever.” so that every conscientious Christian cries out, 14. Thus I have endeavoured to show you a
O the burden! O my weakness that makes it glimpse of approaching glory. But how short burdensome!' But our remaining rest will ease are my expressions of its excellency! Reader, us of the burdens. Once more we shall rest if thou be an humble sincere believer, and waitfrom all these troublesome afflictions which ne
est with longing and labouring for this rest, thou cessarily accompany our absence from God. wilt shortly see, and feel the truth of all this. The trouble that is mixed in our desires and Thou wilt then have so high an apprehension of hopes, our longings and waitings, shall then this blessed state, as will make thee pity the ig
We shall no more look into our cabinet, norance and distance of mortals, and will tell and miss our treasure ; into our hearts, and miss thee, all that is here said falls short of the whole our Christ; no more seek him from ordinance truth a thousand-fold. In the mean time, let to ordinance ; but all be concluded in a most this much kindle thy desires, and quicken thy blessed and full enjoyment.
endeavours. Up, and be doing ; run, and strive, 13. (9.) The last jewel of our crown is, that it and fight, and hold on ; for thou hast a certain, will be an everlasting rest. Without this, all glorious prize before thee. God will not mock were comparatively nothing. The very thought thee ; do not mock thyself, nor betray thy soul of leaving it, would imbitter all our joys. It by delaying, and all is thine own. would be a hell in heaven, to think of once losing of men, dost thou think, would Christians be in heaven: as it would be a kind of heaven to the their lives and duties, if they had still this glory damned, had they but hopes of once escaping. fresh in their thoughts? What frame would Mortality is the disgrace of all sublunary de their spirits be in, if their thoughts of heaven lights. How it spoils our pleasure, to see it were lively and believing? Would their hearts dying in our hands ! But, O blessed eternity! be so heavy ? their countenances be so sad? or where our lives are perplexed with no such would they have need to take up their comforts thoughts, nor our joys interrupted with any such from below? Would they be so loath to suffer ; fears! where we shall be pillars in the temple so afraid to die: or would they not think every of God, and go no more out. While we were day a year till they enjoy it? May the Lord servants, we held by lease, and that but for the heal our carnal hearts, lest we enter not into this term of a transitory life; ' but the son abideth in rest, because of unbelief! the house for ever.' • O my soul, let go thy dreams of present pleasures, and loose thy hold of earth and flesh. Study frequently, study thoroughly, this one word-ETERNITY. What! Live and never die! Rejoice, and ever rejoice!' O happy souls in hell, should you but escape after millions of ages! O miserable saints in heaven, should you be dispossessed, after the age of a million of worlds! This word, everlasting,
world imagines: yet not so few as some drooping CHAPTER IV.
spirits think, who are suspicious that God is un
willing to be their God, when they know them.. THE CHARACTER OF THE PERSONS FOR WHOM THIS selves willing to be his people. REST IS DESIGNED.
3. (2.) These persons are given of God to his Sect. 1. It is wonderful that such rest should be designed for mortals. Son, to be by him redeemed from their lost state 2. The people of God
, who shall enjoy this rest, are, (1.) Chosen and advanced to this glory. God hath given all trom eternity. 3. (2.) Given to Christ. 4. (3.) Born again. 5–8 (4.) Deeply convinced of the evil of sin, their misery by sin, the things to his Son.
• God hath given him power vanity of the creature, and the all-sufficiency of Christ. 9. (5.) over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to Their will is proportionably changed. 10. (6.) They engage in covenant with Christ. 11. and, (7.) They persevere in their en- as many as the Father hath given him. The gagements. 12. The reader invited to examine himself by the Father hath given him all who repent and believe. ture that this rest shall be enjoyed by the people of God. 14. Also The difference is clearly expressed by the aposthem, and is not to be enjoyed till they come to another world. tle—' he hath put all things under his feet, and 17. The chapter concludes with showing, that their souls shall en
gave him to be the head over all things to the joy this rest while separated from their bodies.
church.' And though Christ is, in some sense, 1. While I was in the mount, describing the a ransom for all, yet not in that special manner, excellencies of the saints' rest, I felt it was good as for his people. being there, and therefore tarried the longer; and 4. (3.) One great qualification of these persons was there not an extreme disproportion between is, that they are born again. To be the people my conceptions and the subject, much longer had of God without regeneration, is as impossible as I been. Can a prospect of that happy land be to be the children of men without generation. tedious ? Having read of such a high and un- Seeing we are born God's enemies, we must be speakable glory, a stranger would wonder for what new-born his sons, or else remain enemies still. rare creatures this mighty preparation should be The greatest reformation of life that can be atmade, and expect some illustrious sun should tained to without this new life wrought in the break forth. But, behold! only a shell-full of soul, may procure our further delusion, but never dust, animated with an invisible rational soul, and our salvation. that rectified with as unseen a restoring power of 5. (4.) This new life in the people of God disgrace; and this is the creature that must possess covers itself by conviction, or a deep sense of such glory. You would think it must needs be divine things. As for instance: they are consome deserving piece, or one that brings a valuable vinced of the evil of sin. The sinner is made to price : but, behold! one that hath nothing; and know and feel, that the sin, which was his decan deserve nothing; yea, that deserves the con- light, is a more loathsome thing than a toad or trary, and would, if he might, proceed in that de- serpent, and a greater evil than plague or famine; serving: but being apprehended by love, he is being a breach of the righteous law of the most brought to him that is All: and most affection- high God, dishonourable to him, and destructive ately receiving him, and resting on him, he doth, to the sinner. Now the sinner no more hears in and through him, receive all this. More par- the reproof of sin, as words of course; but the ticularly, the persons for whom this rest is de- mention of his sin speaks to his very heart, and signed, are-chosen of God from eternity- yet he is contented you should show him the given to Christ, as their Redeemer—born again worst. He was wont to marvel, what made men -deeply convinced of the evil and misery of a keep up such a stir against sin ; what harm it was sinful state, the vanity of the creature, and the for a man to take a little forbidden pleasure; he all-sufficiency of Christ their will is renewed— saw no such heinousness in it, that Christ must they engage themselves to Christ in covenant- needs die for it, and a Christless world be eterand they persevere in their engagements to the nally tormented in hell. Now the case is altered : end
God hath opened his eyes to see the inexpressi2. (1.) The persons for whom this rest is de ble vileness of sin. signed, whom the text calls the people of God,' 6. They are convinced of their own misery by are chosen of God before the foundation of the reason of sin. They who before read the threats world, that they should be holy and without of God's law, as men do the story of foreign wars, blame before him in love. That they are but now find it their own story, and perceive they a small part of mankind is too apparent in Scrip. read their own doom, as if they found their own ture and experience. They are the little flock names written in the curse, or heard the law say, to whom “it is their Father's good pleasure to as Nathan, • Thou art the man.' The wrath of give the kingdom. Fewer they are than the God seemed to him before but as a storm to a man in a dry house, or as the pains of the sick | that the creature can neither be his god to make to the healthful stander-by: but now he finds the him happy, nor his Christ, to recover him from disease is his own, and feels himself a condemned his misery, and restore him to God, who is his man; that he is dead and damned in point of happiness. God does this, not only by his word, law, and that nothing was wanting but mere exe- but by providence also.
This is the reason, why cution to make him absolutely and irrecoverably affliction so frequently concurs in the work of miserable. This is a work of the Spirit, wrought conversion. Arguments which speak to the quick, in some measure in all the regenerate. How will force a hearing, when the most powerful should he come to Christ for pardon, that did words are slighted. If a sinner made his credit not first find himself guilty, and condemned ? or his god, and God shall cast him into the lowest for life, that never found himself spiritually dead? disgrace, or bring him, who idolized his riches, • The whole need not a physician, but they that into a condition wherein they cannot help him; are sick. The discovery of the remedy, as soon or cause them to take wing, and fly away; what as the misery, must needs prevent a great part of a help is here to this work of conviction! If a the trouble. And perhaps the joyful apprehen- a man made pleasure his god, whatsoever a rosions of mercy may make the sense of misery ving eye, a curious ear, a greedy appetite, or a sooner forgotten.
lustful heart could desire, and God should take 7. They are also convinced of the creature's these from him, or turn them into gall or wormvanity and insufficiency. Every man is natu- wood, what a help is here to conviction ! When rally an idolater. Our hearts turned from God God shall cast a man into languishing sickness in our first fall; and, ever since, the creature and inflict wounds on his heart, and stir up hath been our god. This is the grand sin of na- against him his own conscience, and then, as it ture. Every unregenerate man ascribes to the were, say to him, “ Try if your credit, riches, or creature divine prerogatives, and allows it the pleasure can help you. Can they heal your highest room in his soul; or, if he is convinced wounded conscience? Can they now support of misery, he flies to it as his saviour. Indeed, your tottering tabernacle? Can they keep your God and his Christ shall be called Lord and Sa- departing soul in your body ? or save you from viour ; but the real expectation is from the crea- mine everlasting wrath ? or redeem your soul ture, and the work of God is laid upon it. Plea- from eternal flames ? Cry aloud to them, and sure, profit, and honour, are the natural mau's trin- see now whether these will be to you instead of ity; and his carnal self is these in unity. It was God and Christ.' O how this works now with our first sin to aspire to be as gods; and it is the the sinner! Sense acknowledges the truth, and greatest sin that is propagated in our nature from even the flesh is convinced of the creature's vageneration to generation. When God should guide nity, and our very deceiver is undeceived. us, we guide ourselves ; when he should be our 8. The people of God are likewise convinced sovereign, we rule ourselves : the laws which he of the absolute necessity, the full sufficiency, and gave us we find fault with, and would correct ; perfect excellency of Jesus Christ : as a man in and, if we had the making of them, we would famine is convinced of the necessity of food; or have made them otherwise : when he should take a man that had heard or read his sentence of care of us, (and must, or we perish,) we will take condemnation, of the absolute necessity of parcare for ourselves; when we should depend on don; or a man that lies in prison for debt, is him in daily receivings, we had rather have our convinced of his need of a surety to discharge it. portion in our own hands: when we should sub- Now, the sinner feels an unsupportable burden mit to his providence, we usually quarrel at it, upon him, and sees there is none but Christ can and think we could make a better disposal than take it off; he perceives the law proclaims him a God hath made. When we should study and rebel, and none but Christ can make his peace : love, trust and honour God, we study and love, he is as a man pursued by a lion, that must petrust and honour our carnal selves. Instead of rish if he finds not a present sanctuary: he is God, we would have all men's eyes and depen- now brought to this dilemma ; either he must dence on us, and all men's thanks returned to us, have Christ to justify him, or be eternally conand would gladly be the only men on earth ex- demned; have Christ to save him, or burn in tolled and admired by all. Thus we are natu- hell for ever; have Christ to bring him to God, rally our own idols. But down falls this Dagon, or be shut out of his presence everlastingly. when God does once renew the soul. It is the And no wonder if he cry out as the martyr, chief design of that great work to bring the heart · None but Christ! none but Christ! Not gold, back to God himself. He convinceth the sinner, but bread, will satisfy the hungry; nor any thing but pardon will comfort the condemned. •All | the sinner now finds it is in God. Convinced, things are counted but dung now, that he may also, that Christ alone is able and willing to make win Christ; and what was gain, he counts loss peace for him, he most affectionately accepts of for Christ. As the sinner sees his misery, and Christ for Saviour and Lord. Paul's preaching the inability of himself, and all things to relieve was ‘repentance toward God, and faith toward him, so he perceives there is no saving mercy our Lord Jesus Christ.' And life eternal conout of Christ. He sees, though the creature can- sists, first in “knowing the only true God, and not, and himself cannot, yet Christ can. Though then Jesus Christ, whom he hath sent.' To take the fig-leaves of our own unrighteous righteous- the Lord for our God, is the natural part of the Dess are too short to cover our nakedness, yet covenant: the supernatural part is, to take Christ the righteousness of Christ is large enough: ours for our Redeemer. The former is first necesis disproportionate to the justice of the law, but sary, and implied in the latter. To accept Christ Christ's extends to every tittle. If he intercede, without affection and love, is not justifying faith. there is no denial : such is the dignity of his Nor does love follow as a fruit, but immediately person, and the value of his merits, that the Fa- concurs; for faith is the receiving of Christ with ther grants all he desires. Before, the sinner the whole soul. • He that loveth father and knew Christ's excellency, as a blind man knows mother more than Christ, is not worthy of him,' the light of the sun; but now, as one that beholds nor is justified by him. Faith accepts him for its glory.
Saviour and Lord: for in both relations will he 9. (5.) After this deep conviction, the will dis- be received, or not at all. Faith not only accovers also its change. As for instance — Tie knowledges his sufferings, and accepts of pardon sin, which the understanding pronounces evil, and glory, but acknowledges his sovereignty, the will turns from with abhorrence. Not that and submits to his government and way of salthe sensitive appetite is changed, or any way vation. . made to abhor its object : but when it would pre- 10. (6.) As an essential part of the character vail against reason, and carry us to sin against of God's people, they now enter into a cordial God, instead of Scripture being the rule, and covenant with Christ. The sinner was never reason the master, and sense the servant; this strictly, nor comfortably, in covenant with Christ disorder and evil the will abhors.—The misery
He is sure by the free offers, that also which sin hath procured, is not only dis- Christ consents; and now he cordially consents cerned, but bewailed. It is impossible that the himself; and so the agreement is fully made.-soul should now look, either on its trespass With this covenant Christ delivers up himself in against God, or yet on its own self-procured ca- all comfortable relations to the sinner; and the lamity, without some contrition. He that truly sinner delivers up himself to be saved, and ruled discerns that he hath killed Christ, and killed by Christ. Now the soul resolutely concludes, bimself, will surely, in some measure, be pricked I have been blindly led by flesh and lust, by to the heart. If he cannot weep he can heartily the world and the devil, too long, almost to my groan; and his heart feels what his understand- utter destruction; I will now be wholly at the ing sees. The creature is renounced as vanity, disposal of my Lord, who hath bought me with and turned out of the heart with disdain. Not his blood, and will bring me to his glory.' that it is undervalued, or the use of it disclaimed; 11. (7.) I add, that the people of God persebut its idolatrous abuse, and its unjust usurpation. vere in this covenant to the end. Though the Can Christ be the way, where the creature is the believer may be tempted, yet he never disclaims end? Can we seek to Christ to reconcile us to his Lord, renounces his allegiance, nor repents God, while in our hearts we prefer the creature of his covenant; nor can he properly be said to before him? In the soul of every unregenerate break that covenant, while that faith continues man, the creature is both God and Christ. As which is the condition of it. Indeed, those that turning from the creature to God and not by have verbally covenanted, and not cordially, Christ, is no true turning ; so believing in Christ, may “tread under foot the blood of the covenant, while the creature hath our hearts, is no true be- as an unholy thing, wherewith they were sanctilieving. Our aversion from sin, renouncing our fied,' by separation from those without the idols, and our right receiving Christ, is all but church ; but the elect cannot be so deceived. one work, which God ever perfects where he Though this perseverance be certain to true bebegins. At the same time, the will cleaves to lievers, yet it is made a condition of their salvaGod the Father, and to Christ. Having been tion; yea, of their continued life and fruitfulconvinced that nothing else can be his happiness, ness, and of the continuance of their justification,