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ce upon evide, ignolstrengthen if there
ye your souls in patience."(z) Bind all reproaches as a crown to your heads. Esteem them greater riches than the world's treasures. “ It is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; and to you who are troubled, rest with Christ.”(a)—We shall then rest from all our sad divisions, and unchristian quarrels with one another. How lovingly do thousands live together in heaven, who lived at variance upon earth! There is no contention, because none of this pride, ignorance, or other corruption. There is no plotting to strengthen our party, nor deep designing against our brethren.—If there bę sorrow or shame in heaven, we shall then be both sorry and ashamed, to remember all this carriage on earth; as Joseph's brethren were to behold him, when they remembered their former unkind usage. Is it not enough that all the world is against us, but we must also be against one another? O happy days of persecution, which drove us together in love, whom the sun-shine of liberty and prosperity crumbles into dust by our contentions! O happy day of the saint's rest in glory, when, as there is one God, one Christ, one Spirit, so we shall have one heart, one church, one employment, for ever! We shall then rest from our participation of our brethren's sufferings. The church on earth is a mere hospital; some groaning under a dark understanding, some under an insensible heart, some languishing under unfruitful weakness, and some bleeding for miscarriages and wilfulness, some crying out of their poverty, some groaning under pains and infirmities, and some bewailing a whole catalogue of calamities. But a far greater grief it is, to see our dearest and most intimate friends turned aside from the truth of Christ, continuing their neglect of Christ and their souls, and nothing will awaken them out of their security; to look on an ungodly father or mother, brother or sister, wife or husband, child or friend, and think how certainly they shall be in hell for ever, if they die in their present unregenerate state; to think of the gospel de
(3) Luke xxi. 19. (a) 2 Thess. i. 6, 7.
parting, the glory taken from our Israel, poor souls left willingly dark and destitute, and blowing out the light that should guide them to salvation! Our day of rest will free us from all this, "and the days of mourning shall be ended;" then thy people, O Lord, shail be all righteous; they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of thy planting, the work of thy hands, that thou mayest be glorified.(c)— Then we shall rest from all our own personal sufferings. This may seem a small thing to those that live in ease and prosperity; but to the daily afflicted soul it makes the thoughts of heaven delightful. O the dying life we now live! as full of sufferings as of days and hours! Our Redeemer leaves this measure of misery upon us, to make us know for what we are beholden, to mind us of what we should else forget, to be serviceable to his wise and gracious designs, and advantageous to our full and final recovery. Grief enters at every sense, seizes every part and power of flesh and spirit. What noble part is there, that suffereth its pain or ruin alone? But sin and flesh, dust and pain, will all be left behind together. O the blessed tranquillity of that region, where there is nothing but sweet continued peace! O healthful place, where none are sick? O fortunate land, where all are kings! O holy assembly, where all are priests! How free a state, where none are servants, but to their supreme Monarch! The poor man shall no more be tired with his labours: no more hunger or thirst, cold or nakedness: no pinching frosts or scorching beats. Our faces shall no more be pale or sad: no more breaches in friendship, no pariing of friends asunder: no more trouble accompanying our relations, nor voice of lamentation heard in our dwellings! God will wipe away all tears from our eyes.(d) O my soul, bear with the infirmities of thine earthly tabernacle; it will be thus but a little while; the sound of thy Redeemer's feet is even at the door. We shall also rest from all the toils of Juties. The conscientious magistrate, parent and winister, cries out,
(c) Isa. Ix. 20, 21.
(d) Rev. vii. 16, 17.
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o the burthen! O my thensome!" But our rethie burthens. Once inore, these troublesome afflictions upany our absence from God. mixt in our desires and hopes, irings, shall then cease. We shall our cabinet, and miss our treasure; and miss our Christ: no more seek ice to ordinance, but all be concluded ed and full enjoyment. I The last jewel of our crown is, that it everlasting rest. Without this all were Cely nothing. The very thought of leav. nå embitter all our joys. It would be
heaven, to think of once losing heaven; as Gü be a kind of heaven to the damned, had
but hopes of once escaping. Mortality is the ace of all sublunary delights. How it spoils
pleasure to see it dying in our hands! But blessed eternity! where our lives are perplexed with no such thoughts, nor our joys interrupted with any such fears! where we shall be pillars in the temple of God, and go no more out!(e) While we were servants, we held by lease, and that but for the term of a transitory life; but the son abideth in the house for ever.(f) O my soul, let go thy dreams of present pleasures, and lose thy hold of earth and flesh. Study frequently, study thoroughly, this one word, eternity. What! live, and never die! rejoice, and ever rejoice! O happy souls in hell, should you but escape, after millions of ages! O miserable saints in heaven, should you be dispossessed, after the age of a million of worlds! This word, everlasting, contains the perfection of their torment, and our glory. O that the sinner would study this word; methinks it would startle him out of his dead sleep! O that the
they but hopes
(e) Rev. č. 12.
(1) John viii. 35..
gracious soul would study it, methinks it would revive him in his deepest agony! “ And must I, Lord, thus live for ever? then will I also love for ever. Must my joys be immortal ? and shall not my thanks be also immortal? Surely, if I shall never lose my glory, I will never cease thy praises. If thou wilt both perfect and perpetuate me and my glory, as I shall be thine, and not my own, so shall my glory be thy glory. And as thy glory was thy ultimate end in my glory; so shall it also be my end, when thou hast crowned me with that glory which hath no end.”—“ Unto the King eternal, inmortal, invisible, and only wise God, be honour and glory, for ever and ever.”(g)
§ 14. Thus I have endeayoured to show you a glimpse of approaching glory. But how short are my expressions of its excellency! Reader, if thou be an humble sincere believer, and waitest with longing and labouring for this rest, thou wilt shortly see, and feel, the truth of all this. Thou wilt then have so high an apprehension of this blessed state, as will make thee pity the ignorance and distance of mortals, and will tell thee, all that is here said falls short of the whole truth a thousand fold. In the mean time let this much kindle thy desires and quicken thy endeavours: up and be doing, run, and strive, and fight, and hold on! for thou hast a certain glorious prize before thee. God will not mock thee; do not mock thyself, nor betray thy soul by delaying, and all is thine own. What kind of men, dost thou think, would Christians be in their lives and duties, if they had still this glory fresh in their thoughts? What frame would their spirits be in, if their thoughts of heaven were lively and believing! Would their hearts be so heavy? their countepances be so sad? or would they have need to take up their comforts from below? Would they he so loth to suffer; so afraid to die? or would they not think every day a year till they enjoy it? May the Lord heal our carnal hearts, lest we enter not into this rest, because of unbelief.(h)
(g) 1 Tim. i. 17.
(h) Heb. üi. 9
CHAP. IV. The Character of the Persons for whom this Rest is
designed. $ 1. 'Tis wonderful that such rest should be designed for mortals.
8 2. The people of God who shall enjoy this rest, are, (1) Chosen of God, &c. § 3. (2) Given to Christ. § 4. (3) Born again. $ 5—8. (4) Deeply convinced of the evil of sin, their misery by sin, the vanity of the creature, and the all-sufficiency of Christ. § 9. (5) Their will is proportionably changed. § 10. (6) They engage in covenant with Christ. § 11. and (7) They persevere in their engagements. $ 12. The reader invited to examine himself by the characteristics of God's people. § 13. Further testimony from scripture that this rest shall be enjoyed by the people of God. $. 14. Also that none but they shall enjoy it. § 15, 16. And that it remains for them, and is not to be enjoyed till they come to another world. $ 17. The chapter concludes with showing, that their souls shall enjoy this rest while separated from their bodies.
§ 1. While I was in the mount describing the excellencies of the saint's rest, I felt it was good being there, and therefore tarried the longer; and was there not an extreme disproportion between my conceptions and the subject, much longer had I been. Can a prospect of that happy land be tedious? Having read of such a high and unspeakable glory, a stranger would wonder for what rare creatures this mighty preparation should be made, and expect some illustrious sun should break forth. But, behold! only a shell-full of dust, animated with an invisible rational soul, and that rectified with as unseen a restoring power of grace; and this is the creature that must possess such glory! You would think it must needs be some deserving piece, or one that brings a valuable price: but, behold! one that hath nothing; and can deserve nothing; yea, that deserves the contrary, and would, if he might, proceed in that deserving: but being apprehended by love, he is brought to him that is All; (f) and most affectionately receiving him, and
(1) Col. iji. 11.