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charge of God's elect? Shall the law? The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made them free from the law of sin and death. Or shall conscience? The Spirit itself beareth witness with their spirit, that they are the children of God. It is God that justifieth; who is he who condemneth ?”(2) If our Judge condemn us not, who shall? He that said to the adulterous woman, Hath no man condemned thee? neither do 1;(a) will say to us, more faithfully than Peter to him, Though all men deny thee, or condemn thee, I will not.(6) Having confessed one before men, thee will I also confess before my Father which is in heaven.(c)
17. What inexpressible joy, that our holy Lord, who loveth our souls, and whom our souls love, shall be our judge! Will a man fear to be judged by his dearest friend ? or a wife by her own husband? Christian, did Christ come down, and suffer, and weep, and bleed, and die for thee; and will he now condemn thee?--Was he judged, condemned, and executed, in thy stead; and now will he condemn thee himself? Hath he done most of the work already, in redeeming, regenerating, sanctifying, and preserving thee; and will he undo all again? Well then, let the terror of that day be ever so great, surely our Lord can mean po ill to us in all. Let it make the devils tremble, and the wicked tremble; but it shall make us leap for joy. It must needs affect us deeply with the sense of our mercy and happiness, to see most of the world tremble with terror, while we triumph with joy! to hear them doomed to everlasting flames, when we are proclaimed heirs of the kingdom ! to see our neighbours, that lived in the same towns, cante to the same congregation, dwelt in the same houses, and were esteemed more honourable in the world than ourselves, now by the Searcher of hearts eternally separated! This, with the great magnificence and dreadfulness of the day, the apostle pathetically expresses; “ It is a righteous thing with God, to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and
(z) Rom. viii. 1,216334-34. (a) John viii. 10, 11. (6) Matt. xxvi. 33, 35.
(c) Matt. x. 32.
to you who are troubled, rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power; when he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe, in that day."(d)
$ 8. Yet more, we shall be so far from the dread of that judgment, that ourselves shall become the judges. Christ will take his people, as it were, into commission with himself, and they shall sit and approve his righteous judgment. “Do ye not know that the saints shall judge the world ? Nay, know ye not that we shall judge angels?”(@) Were it not for the word of Christ that speaks it, this advancement would seem incredible, and the language arrogant. “ Even Enoch, the seventh froin Adam, prophesied this, saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them, of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him?"(5) Thus shall the saints be honoured, and the upright shall have doininion in the morning.(g) O that the careless world were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end !(k) that they would be now of the same mind as they will be, when they shall see “ the heavens pass away with a great noise, and the elements melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein, burnt up!” when all shall be on fire about their ears, and all earthly glory consumed!" For the heavens and the earth, which are now, are reserved unto the fire against the day of judgment, and perdition of ungodly men. Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what inanner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conver
(d) . Thess. i. 10. (e) i Cor. vi. 2, 3.
(f) Jude 14, 15.
sation and godliness, looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?"
Ø 9. (4) The last preparative to the saint's rest, is their solemn coronation, and receiving the kingdom. -For as Christ, their head, is anointed both King and Priest, so under him are his people made unto God both kings and priests, to reign and to offer praises for ever.(k) The crown of righteousness which was laid up for them, shall by the Lord the righteous judge be given them at that day. They have been faithful unto death, and therefore he will give them a crown of life.(m) And according to the improvement of their talents here, so shall their rule and dignity be enlarged.(n) They are not dignified with empty titles, but real dominion. “ Christ will grant them to sit with him in his throne;(0) and will give them power over the nations, even as he received of his Father; and he will give them the morning star." (p) The Lord himself will give them possession with these applauding expressions; “ Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."(9)
§ 10. And with this solemn and blessed proclamation shall he enthrone them; “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”(r) Every word is full of life and joy. Come, this is the holding forth of the golden sceptre, to warrant our approach unto this glory.Come now as near as you will; fear not the Bethshemite's judgment; for the enmity is utterly abolished.(s) This is not such a Come as you were wont to hear: Come, take up your cross, and follow me.'(t) Tho’that was sweet, yet this much more. Come-from all that afflicted you to all the company of heaven;
(i) 2 Peter iji. 7-12.
(k) Rev. v. 10. O 2 Tim. iv. 8.
dal men; ye whoscouring of all things ye who have
Come ye, ye who were in poverty, in sickness, in temptation, and persecution; ye who were mortal, bearing the cross after Christ; ye who acknowledged me before men and devils, and were not ashamed of my cause; ye who fought with and conquered sin, who resisted the devil, stedfast in the faith, who despised the world's pleasures, honours, and riches, and fixed your hearts upon me and my ways; ye who have been counted the offscouring of all things, and hated of all men; ye whose life was counted madness, and end without honour. Come ye to my presence, to my throne, and kingdom; Come ye to dwell with me, and my Father and his angels; Come ye and wear a crown, and bear a palm, and behold my glory; Come, ye blessed, blessed indeed! What a blessing to be brought from the verge of hell! to be washed from the defilements of sin through faith in Christ's blood! to be redeemed from the slavery of Satan, and to be made a free child of God! Blessed in life with the Spirit, the promise, and protection of God; not only blessed in life, but through life every thing hath worked together for good, blessed in and through death, blessed with a joyful resurrection, blessed before men, angels, and devils, with the favour and siniles of God. Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom,-ah! wonderful!—a kingdom prepared for thee.
11. Thus we have seen the Christian safely landed in paradise, and conveyed honourably to his rest. Now let us a little further, in the next chapter, view those mansions, consider their privileges, and see whether there be any glory like unto this glory.
The Excellencies of the Saint's Rest.
$ . The excellencies of the Saint's rest are enumerated. $ 2. (1)
It is the purchased possession. § 3, 4. (2) A free gift. 5 5. (3) Peculiar to the saints. $ 6. (4) An association with saints and angels. $7. (5) It derives its joys immediately from God himself. § 8. (6) It will be seasonable. $ 9.(7) Suitable. $ 10, 12. (8) Perfect, without sin and suffering. § 13. (9) And everlasting. $ 14. The chapter concludes with a serious address to the reader.
§ 1. Let us draw a little nearer, and see what further excellencies this rest affordeth.—The Lord hide us in the clefts of the rock, and cover us with the hands of indulgent grace, while we approach to take this view! This rest is excellent for being—a purchased possession ;—a free gift;-peculiar to saints ;-an association with saints and angels ;-yet deriving its joys immediately from God; and because it will be a seasonable,-suitable,--perfect, and eternal rest.
§ 2. (1) It is a most singular honour of the saint's rest, to be called the purchased possession,(s) that is, the fruit of the blood of the Son of God; yea, the chief fruit, the end and perfection of all the fruits and efficacy of that blood. Greater love than this there is not, to lay down the life of the lover. And to have this our Redeemer ever before our eyes, and the liveliest sense and freshest remembrance of that dying bleeding love still upon our souls! How will it fill our souls with perpetual joy, to think that in the streams of this blood we have swam through the violence of the world, the snares of Satan, the seducements of flesh, the curse of the law, the wrath of an offended God, the accusations of a guilty conscience, and the vexing doubts and fears of an unbelieving heart, and
(s) Ephes. i. 14.