« הקודםהמשך »
in glory! How delightful to have heard Paul and Silas singing in the stocks! How much more to hear them sing praises in heaven! What melody did David make on his harp! But how much more melodious to hear that sweet singer in the heavenly choir! What would I have given for an hour's free converse with Paul when he was just come down from the third heaven! But 1 inust shortly see those things myself, and possess what I see."-Once more, think of praising God, in concert with his saints: “ What if I had been in the place of those shepherds, who saw, and heard the heavenly hosts singing, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good-will towards men! But I shall see and hear more glorious things. How blessed should I have thought myself, had I heard Christ in his thanksgivings to his Father! How much more, when I shall hear him pronounce me blessed! If there was such a joy at bring. ing back the ark, or at rebuilding the temple, what will there be in the New Jerusalem! If the earth sent, when the people rejoiced at Solomon's coronation, what a joyful shout will there be at the appearing of the King of the church! If, when the foundations of the earth were laid, the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy, what a joyful song will there be, when the world of glory is both founded and finished, when the top-stone is laid, and when the holy city is adorned as the bride, the Lamb's wife!
$ 8. Compare the joys thou shalt have in heaven, with what the saints have found in the way to it, and in the foretastes of it. When did God ever reveal the least of himself to any of his saints, but the joy of their heart was answerable to the revelation? In what an ecstacy was Peter on the mount of transfiguration !-Master, says he, it is good for us to be here: let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. As if he had said, “O let us not go down again to yonder persecuting rabble; let us not return to our mean and suffering state. Is it not better to star here now we are here? Is not here better compan. and sweeter pleasure?” How was Paul lifted up with
what he saw! How did the face of Moses shine, when he had been talking with God! These were all extraordinary foretastes; but little to the full beatifical vision. How often have we read and heard of dying saints, who have been as full of joy as their hearts could hold, and when their bodies have felt the extremity of sickness and pain, have had so much of heaven in their spirits, that their joy hath far exceeded their sorrows? If a spark of this fire be so glorious, even amidst the sea of adversity, what then is glory itself? O the joy hat the martyrs have felt in the flames! They were lesh and blood as well as we: it must therefore be some excellent thing that filled their spirits with joy, while their bodies were burning. Think, Reader, in hy meditations, “ Sure it must be some wonderful oretaste of glory, that made the flames of fire easy, and he king of terrors welcome. What then is glory itself? What a blessed rest, when the thoughts of it made Paul desire to depart and be with Christ; and makes he saints never think themselves well, till they are lead! Shall Saunders embrace the stake, and cry, Nelcome cross? And shall not I more delightfully emrace my blessedness, and cry, Welcome crown? Shall Bradford kiss the faggot; and shall not I kiss the Saiour? Shall another poor martyr rejoice to have her pot in the same hole of the stocks in which Mr. Philot's had been before her? And shall not I rejoice, hat my soul shall live in the same place of glory, where Christ and his apostles are gone before me? Shall fire nd faggot, prisons and banishment, cruel mockings nd scourgings, be inore welcome to others than Christ nd glory to me? God forbid.”
9. Compare the glory of the heavenly kingdom, rith the glory of the church on earth, and of Christ in is state of hurniliation. If Christ's suffering in the room f sinners had such excellency, what is Christ at his father's right hand? If the church under her sins and nemies have so much beauty, what will she have at he marriage of the Lamb ? How wonderful was the Son of God in the form of a servant! When he is born
a new star must appear, and conduct the strangers to worship him in a manger; heavenly hosts with their songs must celebrate liis nativity; while a child, he must dispute with doctors; when he enters upon his office, he turns water into mine; feeds thousands with a few loaves and fishes; cleauses the lepers, heals the sick, restores the lame, gives sight to the blind, and raises the dead. How wonderful then is his celestial glory! If there be such cutting down of boughs, and spreading of garments, and crying, Hosanna, for one that comes into Jerusalem riding on an ass; what will there be when he comes with his angels in his glory? If they that heard him preach the gospel of the kingdom confess, Never man spake like this nian; they then, that behold his majesty in his kingdom, will say, There was never glory like this glory. If, when his enemies came to apprehend him, they fell to the ground; if, when he is dying, the earth quakes, the vail of the teinple is rent, the sun is eclipsed, the dead bodies of the saints arise, and the standers by acknowledge, Verily this was the Son of God; O what a day will it be, when the dead must all arise and stand before him; when he will once more shake, not the earth only, but the heavens also; when this sun shall be taken out of the firmament, and be everlastingly darkened with his glory, and when every tongue shall confess him to be Lord and King! If, when he rose again, death and the grave lost their power; if angels must roll away the stone, terrify the keepers till they are as dead men, and send the tidings to his disciples; if he ascend to heaven in their sight; what power, dominion, and glory, is he now possessed of, and which we must for ever possess with him! When he is gone, can a few poor fishermen and tent-makers cure the laine, blind, and sick, open prisons, destroy the disobedient, raise the dead, and astonish their adversaries? What a world will that be where every one can do greater works than these! If the preaching of the gospel be accompanied with such power as to discover the secrets of the heart, humble the proud sinner, and make the most obdurate tremble;
if it can make men burn their books, sell their lands, bring in the price, and lay it down at the preacher's feet; if it can convert thousands, and turn the world upside down; if its doctrine, from the prisoner at the bar, can make the judge on the bench trenible; if Christ and his saints have this power and honour in the day of their abasement, and in the tine appointed for their suffering and disgrace; what then will they have in their absolute dominion, and full advancement in their kingdom of glory! ; '. . · 10. Compare the glorious change thou shalt have at last, with the gracious change which the Spirit hath here wrought on thy heart. There is not the smallest sincere grace in thee, but is of greater worth than the riehes of the Indies; not a hearty desire and groan after Christ, but is inore to be yalued than the kingdom of the world. A renewed nature is the very image of God; Christ dwelling in us, and the Spirit of God abiding in us; it is a beam from the face of God, the seed of God remaining in us, the only inherent beauty of the rational soul. It ennobles man above all nobility; fits him to understand his Maker's pleasure, do his will, and receive his glory: If this grain of mustard-seed be so precious, what is the tree of life in the midst of the paradise of God! If a spark of life, which will but strive against corruptions, and flame out a few desires and groans, be of so much worth; how glorious then is the fountain of this life! If we are said to be like God, when we are pressed down with a body of sin; sure we shall be much more like God, when we have no such thing as sin within uş. Is the desire after, and love of heaven, so excellent; what then is the thing itself! Is our joy in foreseeing and believing so sweet; what will be the joy of full possession! How glad is ą, Christian when he feels his heart begins to melt, and be dissolved with the thoughts of sinful unkindness! Even this sorrow yields hiin joy. O what then will it be when we shall kpow, and love, and rejoice, and praise in the highest perfection! Think with thyself, “What a change was it, to be taken from that state wherein
day! and I cry out in he brought me to
I was born, and in which I was riveted by custom, when thousands of sins lay upon my score, and if I had so died I had been damned for ever! What an astonishing change, to be jastified from all these enormous crimes, and freed from all these fearful plagues, and made an heir of heaven! How often, when I have thought of my regeneration, have I cried out, O blessed day! and blessed be the Lord that ever I saw it! How then shall I cry out in heaven, O blessed eternity! and blessed be the Lord that brought me to it ! Did the angels of God rejoice to see my conversion? Surely they will congratulate my felicity in my salvation. Grace is but a spark raked up in the ashes, covered with flesh from the sight of the world, and sometimes covered with corruption from my own sight; but my everlasting glory will not be so clouded, nor my light be under a bnshel, but upon a hill, even upon mount Sion, the mount of God."
§ 11. Once more, compare the joys which thou shalt have above, with those foretastes of it which the Spirit hath given thee here. Hath not God sometimes revealed himself extraordinarily to thy soul, and let a drop of glory fall upon it? Hast thou not been ready to say, O that it might be thus with my soul continually! Didst thou never cry out with the martyr, after thy long and mournful expectations, He is come, he is come? Didst thou never, under a lively sermon of heaven, or in thy retired contemplations on that blessed state, perceive thy drooping spirits revive, and thy dejected heart lift up thy head, and the light of heaven dawn on thy soul? Think with thyself, what is this earnest to the full inheritance! Alas, all this light that so amazeth and rejoiceth me, is but a candle lighted cu aucus and turneu a cance of from heaven, to lead me thither through this world of darkness. If some godly men have been overwhelmed with joy, till they have cried out, Hold, Lord, stay thy hand; I can bear no more! what then will be my joys in heaven, when my soul shall be so capable of seeing and enjoying God, that though the light be ten thousand tiines greater than the sun, yet my eyes shall be able
me? Didst thounexpectations. Hey, after thy