« הקודםהמשך »
mation inco the likeness of God! their love to the Lord being purged from the dross of self-love, mall be most pure; fo as they will love nothing but God, and in God. It shall be no more faint and lan. guishing, but burn like coals of juniper. It will be a light without darkness, a flaming fire without smoak. As the live coal, when all the moisture is gone out of it, is all fire; so will the faints be all love, when they come to the full enjoyment of God in heaven, by iacuitive and experimental knowledge of him, by light and full participation of the divine goodness..
Lastly, From this glorious presence and enjoyment shall arise an unspeakable joy, which the saints thall be filled with. In thy pre. fence is fulness of joy, Psal. xvi. If. The saints fometimes enjoy God in the world, when their eyes being held, that they cannot per: ceive it, they have not the comfort of the enjoyment; but then, all mistakes being removed, they shall not only enjoy God, but reft in the enjoyment with inexpreffible joy and satisfaétion. The desire of earthly things breeds torment, and the enjoyment of chem often ends in loathing. But though the glorified saints shall ever defire more and more of God, their desires ihall not be mixt with the least anxiety, since the fulness of the Godhead stands always open to them; therefore they shall hunger no more, they fall not have the least unealiness, in their eternal appetite after the hidden manna : neither shall continued enjoyment breed loathing; they shall never think they have too much ; therefore it is added, neither shall the fun light on them, nor any heal, Rev, vii. 16. The enjoyment of God' and the Lamb will b: ever fresh and new to them, through the ages of eternity: for they shall drink of living fountains of waters, where new waters are continually springing up in abundance, ver. 17.
They shall eat of the tree of life, which, for variety, affords twelve manner of fruits, and there always new and fre!h, for it yields, every month, Rev. xxij. 2. Their joy thall be pure and unmixed, without any 'dregs of sorrow: not flight and momentary, but solid and everlasting, without interruption. They will enter inid joy, Matth. xxv. 21. Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord. The expreffion is somewhat unusuzl, and brings me in inind of that word of our suffering Redeemer, Mark xiv. 34. My soul is exceeding sorrowful unto death. His soul was beset with sorrows, as the word, there used, - will bear, the floods of sorrow went round about him, encompassing him on every hand; whishersoever he turned his eyes, forrow was before him; it fprang in upon them from heaven, earth, and hell, all at once; thus was he entered into forrow, and therefore faith, Pfal. lxix. 2. I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. Now wherefore all chis, but that his own might enter into joy Joy fomerimes enters into us now, with much ado to get accels, while we are compaffed with forrows: but then joy tall not only enter into us, but we ihall enter into it, and swim for ever in an ocean of joy: where we will see nothing but joy, whitherfuever we rurn
They shall fruits, and . 2. Thnuti
fuffering. His foul was forrow
our eyes, The presence and enjoyment of God and the Lamb will satisfy us with pleasures for evermore : and the glory of our louls and bodies, arising from thence, will afford us everlalting delight. The spirit of heaviness, how closely foever it cleaves to any of ihe saines now, shall drop off chen: cheir weeping shall be surned into songs of joy, and bottles of tears shall fie in rivers of pleasures. Happy they who now fow in tears, which shall spring up in j..y, in heaven, and bow their heads there with a weight of glory upon them.
Thus far of the fociety in this kingdom of the saints.
X. In the last place, The kingdom shall endure for ever. As every thing in it is eternal, so che faints thall have an undoubted certainty and full assurance of the eternal duration of the same. This is a necessary ingredient in perfect happiness: for che least uncertainty, as to the continuance of any good with one, is not without some fear, anxiety and torment; and therefore is utterly incuosistent with perfect happiness. But the glorified shall never have tear, nor cause of fear, of any loss: they shall be ever with - the Lord, i Thes. iv. 17. They shall all attain the full perlwalion, that nothing thall be able to separate them from the love of God; nor from the full enjoyment of him, for ever. The inherirance reserved in heaven is incorruptible; it hath no principle of corruption in itself, to make it liable to decay, but endures for evermore: It is undefiled: nothing from without can mar its beauty, nor is there any thing in it fulf to offend those who enjoy it: And therefore it fadeth not away; but ever remains in its native lustre, and primitive beauty, 1 Pet. 1. 4. Hitherto of the nature of the king. dom of heaven.
SECONDLY, Proceed we now to speak of the admission of the saints into this their kingdom; where I Mall briefly touch upon iwo things, (1 ) The forinal admission, in the call unto them from the Judge, to come to their kingdom (2.) The quality in which they are adrnicted and introduced to it. :
I. Their admission, the rext shews to be by a voice froin the throne; the King calling to chem from the throne, before angels and men, to come to cheir kingdoin. Come and go are but short words: but they will be such as will afford matter of thought to all mankind, through the ages of eternity; since upon the one dei pends everlasting happinels, and upon the other everlafting misery. Now our Lord bids the worst of finners, who hear the gospel, Come : but the most part will not come unto him. Some few, whose hearts are touched by his Spirit, do embrace the call, and their souls within them say, Behold, we come unto thee : They give themselves to the Lord, forfake the world and their lufts for him ; they bear his yoke, and cast it not off, no noc in che heat of the day, wben the weight of it (perhaps) makes them fweat the blood out of their bodies. Behold the fools! saith the carnal world, whither
they are folent, for he must be me bodies he has redes
are they going? But stay a little, O foolish world! From the same mouth, whence they had the call they are now following, another cail shall come which will make amends for all, Come, ye blijfed of my Father, inherit the heaven.
The faints shall find an expreftible sweetness in this call, to come. (1.) Hereby Jesus Christ thews his desire of their society in the upper house, that they may be ever with him there. Thus he will open bis heart unto them, as sometimes he did to his Father con. cerning them, saying, Father, I will that theyo be with me, where I am, John xvii. 24. Now the travel of his foul sands before the throne, not only the fouls, but the bodies he has redeemed: and they must come, for he must be compleatly satisfied. (2.) Hereby they are folemnly invited to the marriage. supper of the Lamb. They' were invited to the lower table, by the voice of the servants, and the secret workings of the Spirit within them; and they carne, and did partake of the feast of divine communications in the lower house: but Jesus Christ in person shall invite them, before all the world, co the higher table. (3.) By this he admii's them into the manfions of glory. The keys of heaven hang at the girdle of cur royal Mediator: All power in heaven is given to him, (Mat. xxvii. 18.) and none ger in chither, but whom he admits. When they were living on earth, with the rest of the world, he opened the everlasting doors of their hearts, entred into them himself, and hut them again; so as sin could never re-enter, to reign there as formerly: and now he opens heaven's doors to them, draws his dores into the ark, and shuts them in there; so as the law, death and hell, can never get them out again. The faints in this life were Nill labouring to enter into that reft: but Satan was always polling them back, their corruprion always drawing them down; in so much that they have sometimes been left to hang by a hair of a promise, (if I may be allowed the exprellion) not withique fears of falling into the lake of fire: but now Chriít gives the word for their admission;' they are brought in, and put beyond all hazard. Lafily, Thus he speaks to them, as the person introducing them into the kingdom, into the presence-chamber of the Great King, and unto the throne. Jesus CHRIST is the Great Secretary of heaven, whose it is to bring che saints into the gracious presence of God: and to whom alone it belongs to bring them into the glorious presence of God in heaven. Truly heaven would be a Itrange place to them, if Jesus was not there: but the Son will introduce his brethren into his Father's kingdom; they shall go in with him ta the marriage, Matth. xxv. 10. ,
II. Let us consider in what quality, they are introduced by bim.
First, He brings them in as the blessed of his Father: fo runs thecall from ile ihrone, Come ye bleffed of my Father, &c. It is Chrifi's - Father's house chey are to come into : Therefore he puts them i17 mind, that they are blessed of his Father; dear to the Father, as
well as to himself. This is it that makes heaven home to them; namely, that it is Chrift's Fatber's house, where we may be assured of welcome, being married to the Son, and being his Father's choice for chat very end. He brings them in for his Father's fake, as well as for his own: they are the blessed of his Father; who, as he is the fountain of the Deity, is also the fountain of all blessings conferred on the children of men. They are these to whom God designed well from eternity. They were blessed in the eternal pur. pole of God, being elected to everlasting life: at the opening of the book of life, their names are found written cherein. So that, bringing them to the kingdom, he doth but bring them to what the Father, from all eternity, designed for thens: being faved by the Son, they are saved according to bis ri. e. the Father's ) purpose, 2 Tim. j. g. They are these to whom the Father has spoken well. He spake well to them ia his word, which must no. receive its full accomplish. ment. They had his promise of the kingdom, lived and died in the faith of it: and now they come to receive the thing promised, Unto them he has done well. A gift is often in føripture called a blefring: and God's blessing is ever real, like Ifaac's blessing, by which Jacob became his heir : they were all by grace justified, farctified, and made to persevere unto the end ; now they are raised up in glory, and being tried, hand in the judgment : what remains then, but that God crown his own work of grace in them, in giving them their kingdom, in che full enjoyment of himself for ever? Finally,
They are there whom God has consecrated; the which also is a a scripture notion of bleffing, i Cor. %. 16. God set them apart for 35 himself, to be kings and priests unto him; and the Mediator intro
ducerh them as such to their kingdom and priesthood.
Secondly, Christ introduceth them as heirs of the kingdom to the actual poffeffion of it. Come, ye blefred, inherit the kingdom. They are the children of God, by regeneration and adoption : And if children, then heirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ, Rom. viii. 17. Now is the general assembly of the firit-born before the throne; their minority is overpast, and the time appointed of the
Father for their receiving of their inheritance is come. The * Mediator purchased the inheritance for them with his own blood;
their rights and evidences were drawn long ago, and registred in in the Bible; nay, they had infeftment of their inberitance in the per.
son of Jesus Christ, as their proxy, when he ascended into heaven, by whither the forerunner is, for us, entered, Heb vi. 20. Nothing remain
ech, but that they enter into perfonal possession thereof, which begun at death, is perfected at the last day; when the saints, in their bodies as well as their souls, go into their kingdom.. .
Lastly, They are introduced to it, as these it was prepared for from the foundation of the world. The singdom was prepared for thein in the eternal purpole of God, before they or any of them had a being, which hews it to be a gift of free grace to shem, It was I ini Rr2
from eternity the divine purpose, that there Mould be such a kingdom for the elect; and that all impediments which might mar their access to it, should be removed out of the way, and withal, by the fame eternal decree, every one's place in it was determined and fet apart, to be reserved for him, that each of the children coming home at length into their Father's house, might find his own place a waiting him and ready for him; as at Saul's table David's place was empty, when he was not there to occupy it himself, 1 Sam. xx. 25. And now that the appointed time is come, they are brought in to take their several places in glory, set apart and reserved for them, till they Mould come at thein.
Use. I shall shut up my discourse on this subject, with a word of application, (1.) To all who claim a right to this kingdom, (2.) To there who have indecd a right to it. (3.) To these who have not a right thereto.
Fift, Since it is evident, there is no promiscuous admiffion into the kingdom of heaven, and none do obtain it, but thele whose cluim to it is folemnly tried by the great Judge, and, after trial, lustained as good and valid; it is nccessary that all of us impartially try and examine, whether, according to the laws of the kingdom, contained in the holy scriptures, we can verify and make good our claim to this kingdom? The bopes of heaven, which most men have, are built on such sandy foundations, as can never abide the trial; having no ground in the word, but in their own deluded fancy : such hopes will leave those who entertain them, miferably disappointed at last. Wherefore it is not only our duty, but our in. terelt, to put the matter to a fair trail, in rime. If we find, we have no right to heaven indeed, we are yet in the way; and what we have not, we may obtain; but if we find we have a right to it, we will then have the comfort of a happy prospect into eterniiy; which is the greatest comfoi't one is capable of in the world. If ye enquire, How. ye may know whither ye have a right to heaven, or not? I answer, ye must know that by the state ye are now in. If ye are yer in your natural state, ye are children of wrath, and not children of this kingdom: for that stare, to them who live and die in it, issues in eternal misery. If you be brought into the state of grace, you have a just claim to the state of glory; for grace will certainly iffue in glory at length. This kingdom is an inheritance, which none but the children of God can juftly claim: now we become the children of God, by regeneration and union with Christ his Son; and if children, then keirs, heirs of God, and joint heirs with Chrift, Rom. viii. 17. There then are the great points, upon which one's evidences for the state of glory do depend. And therefore I refer you to what is said on the Itate of grace, for clearing of you as to your right to glory.
If you be heirs of glory, the kingdom of God is within you, by ? virtue of your régeneration and union with Christ. (1.) The king.'