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Rev. iii. 4. They mall walk with me in white. And these last do, in
The Lord is pleased often to represent unto us the glorious state of the saints, under the notion of their being clothed in white garments. It is promised to the overcomer, that he shall be clothed in white raiment, Rev. iii. 5. The elders about the throne are clothed in white raiment, chap. iv. 4. The multitude before the throne are clothed with white robes, chan. vii. 9. arrayed in white robes, ver. 13. made white in the blood of the Lamb, ver. 14. I own the last two testiinonies adduced, do respect the state of the saints on earth : but withal the terms are borrowed from the state of the church in heaven. All garments, properly so called, being badges of sin and shame, shall be laid aside by the saints, when they come to their state of glory. But if we consider on what occasions white garments were wont to be put on, we shall find much of heaven under them.
First, The Romans when they manumitted their bond-fervants, gave them a white garment, as a badge of their freedom. So shall the saints that day get on their white robes; for it is the day of the glorious liberty of the children of God, (Rom. viii. 21.) the day of the redempti. on of their body, ver. 23. They shall no more see the house of bondage, nor ly any more among the pots. If we compare the state of the saints on earth with that of the wicked, it is indeed a state of freedom; wheras the other is a state of slavery : but in comparison with their ftate in heaven, it is but a servitude. A faint on earth is indeed a young prince, and heir to the crown; but his motto 'may be, I serve, for • he differeth nothing from a servant, though he be lord of all,” Gal. iv... What are the groans of a saint, the fordid and base work he is sometimes found employed in, the black and tattered garments he walks in, but badges of this comparative fervitude? But from the day
the saints come to the crown, they receive their compleat freedom, 3 and serve no more. They shall be fully freed from Yin, which of all
evils is the worst, both in itself, and in their apprehéusion too: how great then must that freedom be,when these Egyptians whom they fee to. day, they shall see them again no more for ever? They thall be free from all temptation to sin : Satan can have no access to tempt them any more, by hiinfelf, nor by his agents. A full answer will then be given to that petition, they have so often repeated, Lead us not inte temptation. No hissing serpent can come into the paradise above: no fnare nor trap can be laid there, to catch the feet of the saints: they
may walk there fearlesly, for they can be in no hazard: there are no 3. lions dens, no mountains of the leopards, in the promised land. Nay,
they shall be set beyond the possibility of firining, for they thall be confirmed in goodness. It will be the consummate freedom of their will, to be for ever unalterably determined to good. And they shall be freed from all the effects of sin; “ There shall be no more death, neither “ forrow,, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain," Rev.
any more fireproaches of pain. Biroy
xxi. 4: What kingdom is like unto this? Death makes its way now into a palace, as easily as into a cottage: forrow fills the heart of one who wears a crown on his head, royal robes are no fence against pain, and crying by reason of pain. But in this kingdoin no misery can have
place. All reproaches Thall be wiped off; and never Mall a tear drop · any more fro:n their eyes. They shall not complain of defertions again;
the Lord will never hide his face from them: but the Suri of righte, ousness thining upon them in his meridian-brightuess, will dispel all
clouds, and give them an everlasting day, without the least mixture of darkness. A deluge of wrath, after a fearful thunder-clap from the throne, will sweep away the wicked from before the judgment-seat,
into the lake of fire: but they are, in the first place, like Noah brought · into the ark, and out of harm's way.
Secondly, White raiment hath been a token of purity, Therefore the Lamb's wife is arrayed in fine linen, clean and white, Rev. xix. 8. And those who stood before the throne washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamh, chap. vii. 14. The faints shall then put on the robes of perfect purity, and shine in fpotless holiness, like the fun in his strength, without the least cloud to intercept his light. Absolute inocence mall then be restored, and every appear. auce of (in baniiled far froin his kingdom. The guilt of sin, and reign. ing power of it, are now taken away in the saints; nevertheless sin dwelleth in them, Rom. vii. 20. But then it shall be no more in them: 1 the corrupt nature will be quite removed, that root of bitterness will be plucked up, and no vestiges of it left in their souls : their nature Mall be altogether pure and linless. There shall be no darkness in their minds; but the understanding of every saint, when he is come to his kingdom, will be as a globe of pure and unmixed light. There Mall not be the least arersion to good, or inclination to evil, in their wills: but they will be brought to a perfect conformity to the will of God; bleft with angelical purity, and fixed therein Their affections Mall not be liable to the least disorder or irregularity: it will cost them 119 trouble to keep them right: they will get such a set of purity, as they can never lose. They will be so refined from all earthly drots, as never tu favour more of any thing but heaven. Were it possible they Mould be ser again amidst the enfiaring objects of an evil world, they thould walk among them without the leait defilement; as the fun thines on the dunghill, yet untainted, and as the angels preserved their purity in the midst of Socom. Their gruces shall then be perfected; and all the imperfections now cleaving to them, done away. There will be no mort ground of complaints of weakness of grace : none in that kingdon shall complain of an ill heart, or a corrupt nature. It doch not y t appear what we shall be, but---when he shall appear, we Shall be like him, I John i. 2.
Thiral), Among the Jews, these who desired to be admitted into the priestly office, being tried, and found to be of the priest's line, and without blemill, were clothed in white', and enrolled among the
priests. This seems to be alluded to, Rev. ij. 5. “He that over: “ cometh-the saints Thall be clothed in white raiment, and I will “ not blot out his name out of the book of life.' So the faints shall not be kings only, but priests withal; for they are a Royal Priesthood, 1 Pet. ii. 9. They will be priests upon their thrones. They are judi. cially found defcended from the great High-Priest of their profeilion,'
begotten of him by his Spirit, of the incorruptible feed of the word, bi and without blemish: so the trial being over, they are admitted to be
priests in the temple above, that they may dwell in the house of the Lord for ever. There is nothing upon earth more glorious than a kingdom, nothing more venerable than the prief hood; and both meet together in the glorified state of the faints. The general assembly of the first-born, (Heb. xii. 23.) whose is the priesthood and the doubl. portion, appearing in their white robes of glory, will be a reverend and glori. 'ous company. That day will thew them to be the persons, whom the Lord has chosen out of all the tribes of the earth, to be near unto him, 's and to enter into his temple, even into his holy place. Their priesthood, begun on earth, shall be brought to its perfection, while they ihall be employed in offering the sacrifice of praise to God and the Lamb, for ever and ever. They got not their portion, in the earth, with the rest of the tribes: but the Lord himself was their portion, and will be
their double portion, through the ages of eternity. * Fourthly, They were wont to wear white raiment, in a time of -' 'tritmph; to the which also there seems to be an allusion, Rev. iii. 5... - “ He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment,”
And what is heaven but an everlasting triumph! None get thither,
but fuch as fight, and overcome too. Though Canaan was given to 5. the Israelites, an inheritance : they behoved to conquer it, ere they
could be possessors of it. The saints, in this world, are in the field of battle; ofren in red garments, garments rolled in blood : but the day approacheth, in which they shall stand before ihe throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands, (Rev. vii: 9.) having obtained a compleat victory over all their enemies. The palmn was used as a sign of victory; because that tree, oppressed with weights, yieldeth not, but rather shootech upwards And palm-trees 'were carved on the doors of the most holy place, (1 Kings vi. 32.) which was a special type of heaven; for heaven is the place, which the saints are received into, as conquerors.
Behold the joy and peace of the saints in their white robes. The joys arising from the view of paft dangers, and of riches and honours
gained at the very door of death, do molt sensibly touch one's heart: - and this will be an ingredient in the everlasting happiness of the saints,
which could have had no place, in the heaven of innocent Adam, and his finless offspring, suppoling him to have stood. Surely the glorified saints will not forget the entertainment they met with in the world : it will be for the glory of God to remember it, and also for the heightening of their joy. The Sicilian king, by birth the son of a potter,
acted a wise part, in that he would be served at his table, with earthen vellels: the which could not but put an additional sweetness in his meals, not to be relished by one born heir to the crown. Can ever meat be so sweet to any, as to the hungry man! Or can any have such a relish of plenty, as he who has been under pinching straits : The more difficulties the saints have passed through, in their way to heaven, the place will be the sweeter to them, when they come at it. Every happy stroke, struck in the spiritual warfare, will be a jewel in their crown of glory. Each viciory obtained against sin, Satan, and the world, will raise their triumphant joy the higher. The remembrance of the cross will sweeten the crown: and the memory of their travel through the wilderness, will put an additional verdure on the fields of glory; while they walk through them, minding the day, when they went mourning without the fur.
And now that they appear triumphing in white robes, it is a sign they have obtained an honourable peace; such a peace as their enemies can disturb no more. So every thing peculiariy adapted to their mili. tant condition is laid aside. The sword is laid down; and they betake theinselves to the pen of a ready writer; to commeinorate the praises of hin, by whom they overcame. Public ordinances, preaching, sacra. ments, thall be honourably laid alide; there is no temple there, Rev. xxi: 22. Sometimes these were sweet to them: but the travellers be. ing all gut home, the inns, appointed for their entertainment by the way, are fhut up; the candles are put out, when the sun is risen; and the tabernacle used in the wilderness is folded up, when the temple of glory is corne in its room. Many of the saints duties will then be laid aside; as one gives his staff out of his hand, when he is come to the end of his journey. Praying shall then be turned to-praising: and, there being no sin to confess, no wants to seek the supply of; confeffion and petition shall be swallowed up in everlasting thanksgiving. There will be no mourning, in heaven; they have sown in tears, the reaping time of joy is come, and God Shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, Rev. xxi. 4. No need of mortification there; and self-examinnsion is then at an end. They will not need to watch any more; the danger is over. Patience has had its perfect work, and there is no use for it there. Faith is turned into light, and hope is swallowed up in the ocean of fersible and full enjoymept. All the rebels are subdued, the faints quietly set on their throne; and fo the forces, needful in the time of the spiritual warfare, are disbanded; and they carry on their triumph in profoundest peace. !
Lastly, White garments were worn, on festival days, in token of joy. And so thall the saints be clothed in white raiment; for they hall keep an everlasting sabbath to the Lord, Heb. iv. 9. There remaineth thereforeareft (or keeping of a fabbath) to the people of God. Thesabbath, in the esteem of faints, is the queen of days: and they shall have an endless salbatism in the kingdom of heaven; fo fhall their garments be always white. They will have an eternal rest, with an uninterrupted joy:
for heaven is not à resting place, where men may sleep out an eternity; (ihere they rest not day nor night) but their work is their rest and continual recreation, and toil and weariness have no place there. They rest there in God, who is the centre of their souls. Here they find the complement, or satisfaction of all' their defires; haying the full enjoyment of God, and uninterrupted communion with him. This is the point, unto the which till the foul come, it will always be restless : bụt, that point reached, it refts; for he is the last end, and the soul can go no farther. It cannot understand, will, nor defire more; but in him it has what is commenfurable to its boundless desires. This is the happy end of all the labours of the faints; their toil and sorrows issue in a joyful rest. The Chaldeans measuring the na. tural day, put the day first, and the night laft: but the Jews counted the night first, and the day last. Even so, the wicked begin with a day of rest and pleasure, but end with a night of everlasting toil and sorrow: i bat God's people have their gloomy night first, and then comes their day of eternal rest. The which Abraham, in the parable, observed to the rich man in hell, Luke xvi. 25. - Son, remember that thou in
6 thy life-time receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil * " things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.” .
Ill. If one enquires where che kingdom of the saints lies? It is not in this world; it lies in a better country, that is, an heavenly, (Heb. xi. 16.) a country better than the best of this world; namely, the heavenly Canaan, Immanuel's land, where nothing is want, ing to complete the happiness of the inhabitants. This is the happy country, blest with a perpetual spring, and which yieldeih all things for neceffity, conveniency, and delight. There men thall eat angels food; they shall be entertained with the hidden manna, (Rev.ji. 17.) without being set to the painful gathering of it : they will be fed to the full, with the product of the land falling into their mouths, without the least toil to them. That land enjoys an everlafting day, for there is no night there, Rev, xxi: 25An'eternal fun-fhine' beautifies this better country, but there is no scorching heat there. No clouds shall be seen there for ever: yet it is not a land of drought; the trees of the Lord's planting are set by the rivers of water, and shall never want moisture, for they will have an eternal supply of the Spirit, by Jesus Christ, from his Father. This is the couutry from whence our Lord came, and whither he is gone again: the country which all che holy patriarchs and pro. phers had their eyé upon, while on earth; and which all the saints, who have gone before us, have fought their way to; and unto which, the martyrs have joyfully swimmed, throngh a sta of blood. This earth is the place of the faints pilgrimage; that is, their country, where chey find their everlasting rest.
IV. The royal city is that great city, the holy Jerufalen, described, at large, Rev. xxi. 10. to the end of the chapter. (It is crue, fome learned divinda place this city in the earch: but the particulars of . , PP.2