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are arrived safe at the presence of God? Now he cries to us, “ Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold, and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow!"(t) and we scarce regard the mournful voice, nor scarce turn aside to view the wounds. But then our perfected souls will feel, and flame in love for love. With what astonishing apprehensions will redeemed saints everlastingly behold their blessed Redeemer, the purchaser, and the price, together with the possession! Neither will the view of his wounds of love renew our wounds of sorrow. He, whose first words, after his resurrection, were to a great sinner, Woman, why weepest thou ?(u) knows how to raise love and joy, without any cloud of sorrow, or storm of tears.-If any thing we enjoy was purchased with the life of our dearest friend, how highly should we value it! If a dying friend deliver us but a token of his love, how carefully do we preserve it, and still remember him when we behold it, as if his own name were written on it! And will not then the death and blood of our Lord everlastingly sweeten our possessed glory? As we write down the price our goods cost us; so on our righteousness and glory, write down the price—the precious blood of Christ. His sufferings were to satisfy the justice that required blood, and to bear what was due to sinners, and so to restore them to the life they lost, and happiness they fell from. The work of Christ's redemption so well pleased the Father, that he gave him power to advance his chosen, and give them the glory, which was given to himself; and all this according to his good pleasure, and the counsel of his own will.(w)
§ 3. (2) Another pearl in the saint's diadem is, that it is a free gift. These two, purchased and free, are the chains of gold which make up the wreaths for the tops of the pillars in the temple of God.(a) It was dear to Christ, but free to us. When Christ was to buy, silver and gold were nothing worth, prayers and
(4) Lam. 3. 19.
(u) John xx. 15.
offer une principal; and when he inight freely accepte
tears could not suffice, nor any thing below his blood; but our buying is receiving; we have it freely without money and without price.(y) A thankful acceptance of a free acquittance, is no paying of the debt. Here is all free: if the Father freely give the Son, and the Son freely pay the debt; and if God freely accepts that way of payment, when he inight have required it of the principal; and if both Father and Son freely offer us the purchased life on our cordial acceptance, and if they freely send the Spirit to enable us to accept; what is here, then, that is not free? Oh the everlasting admiration that must needs surprise the saints to think of this freeness! “ What did the Lord see in me, that he should judge me meet for such a state! that I, who was but a poor diseased despised wretch, should be clad in the brightness of this glory! that I, a creeping worm, should be advanced to this high dignity! that I, who was but lately groaning, weeping, dying, should now be as full of joy as my heart can hold! yea, should be taken from the grave, where I was rotting, and from the dust and darkness, where I seemed forgotten, and be here set before his throne! that I should be taken, with Mordecai, from captivity, and be set next unto the King! and with Daniel from the den, to be made ruler of princes and provinces! Who can fathom unmeasurable love?" If worthiness were our condition for admittance, we might sit down and weep with St. John, because no man was found worthy. But the Lion of the tribe of Judah is worthy, and hath prevailed ;(z) and by that title we must hold the inheritance. We shall offer there the offering that David refused, even praise for that which cost us nothing.(a) Here our commission runs, “ Freely ye have received, freely give;"(6) but Christ has dearly bought, yet freely gives.
§ 4. If it were only for nothing, and without our merit, the wonder were great; but it is noreover
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against our merit, and against our long endeavouring our own ruin. What an astonishing thought it will be, to think of the unmeasurable difference between our deservings and receivings! between the state we should have been in, and the state we are in! to look down upon hell, and see the vast difference that grace hath made between us and them! to see the inheritance there which we were born to, so different from that which we are adopted to! What pangs of love will it cause within us to think, “Yonder was the place that sin would have brought me to, but this is it that Christ hath brought me to! Yonder, death was the wages of my sin, but this eternal life is the gift of God, through Jesus Christ my Lord !(c) Who made me to differ?(d) Had I not now been in those flames, if I had my own way, and been let alone to my own will? Should I not have lingered in Sodom, till the flames had seized on me, if God had not in mercy brought me out?”(@) Doubtless this will be our everlasting admiration, that so rich a crown should fit the head of so vile a sinner! that such high advancement, and such long unfruitfulness, and unkindness, can be the state of the same person! and that such vile rebellions can conclude in such most precious joys! But no thanks to us, nor to any of our duties and labours, much less to our neglects and laziness. We know to whom the praise is due, and must be given for ever. Indeed to this very end it was, that infinite Wisdom cast the whole design of man's salvation into this mould of purchase and freeness, that the love and joy of man might be perfected, and the honour of grace most highly advanced ; that the thought of merit might neither cloud the one, nor obstruct the other; and that on these two hinges the gate of heaven might turn.-So then let DESERVED be written on the door of hell; but on the door of heaven and life, THE FREE GIFT.
$ 5. (3) This rest is peculiar to saints, belongs to no other of all the sons of men. If all Egypt had been
(c) Rom. vi. 23.
(d) 1 Cor. iv. 7.
(e) Gen. xix. 16.
charge of God's elect? Shall the law? The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus, hath made theur 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 ?”(z) 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)
Ø 7. 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 no 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 bear thena doomed to everlasting flames, when we are proclaimed heirs of the kingdom! to see our neighbours, that lived in the same towns, canle 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. 1,2-1633-34. . (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 faming 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) .
6 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 advanceinent 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 dominion in the morning.(g) O that the careless world were wise, that they understood this, that they would consider their latter end !(L) 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 manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conver
(d) 2 Thess. i. 10. (e) i Cor. vi. 2, 3. (f) Jude 14. 15. (g) Psalm xlix. 14. (h) Deut. xxxii. 29.