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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, immortal, invisible, and only wise God, be honour and glory, for ever and e\er."(g)
§ 14. Thus 1 have endeavoured 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 tight, 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. WJiat 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! >Vould their hearts be so heavy? their countenances be so sad? or would they have need to take up their comforts from below? Would they be so loth to sutler; 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 unibelief.(A)
The Character of the Persons for whom this Rest is
§ 1. Tis wonderful that such rest should be designed for mortals. § 2. The people of God who shall enjoy this rest, are, (1) Chosen of God, &c. § 3. (2) Given to Christ. § 4. (3) Bom again. § 5—8. (4) Deeply convinced of the evil of sin, their misery by sin, the vanity of the creature, and the ajl-sufliciency of Christ. § 9- (5) Their will is proportionally 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,'(i) and most affectionately receiving him, and
(i) Col. iii. 11.
resting on him, he doth in and through him receive all this. More particularly, the persons for whom this rest is designed, are a holy people; given to Christ as their Redeemer; born again; deeply convinced of the evil and misery of a sinful state, the vanity of the creature, and the all-sufficiency ot Christ; their will is renewed; they engage themselves to Christ in covenant; and they persevere in their engagements to the end.
§ 2. (1) The persons for whom this rest is designed, whom the text calls the people of God, are chosen oj God before the foundation of the world, that they should be holy and without blame before him in love.(k) That they are but a small part of mankind, is too apparent in scripture and experience. They are the little flock, to whom it is their Father's good pleasure to give the hingdom.(J) Fewer they are than the world imagines; yet not so few as some drooping spirits think, who are suspicious that God is unwilling to be their God, when they know themselves willing to be his people.
\ 3. (2) These persons are given of God to his Son, to be by him redeemed from their lost state, and advanced to this glory. God hath given all things to his Son. "God hath given him power over all flesh, that he should give eternal life to as many as the Father hath given him."(»i) The Father hath given him all who repent and believe. The difference is clearly expressed by the apostle; "He hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church."(») And though Christ is, in some sense, a ransom for all,(p) yet not in that special manner as for his people.
§ 4. (3) One great qualification of these persons is, that they are born again.(p) To be the people ot God without regeneration, is as impossible as to be the children of men without generation. Seeing we are born God's enemies, we must be new-born his sons, or else remain enemies still. The greatest re
formation of life that can be attained to, without this new life wrought in the soul, may procure our farther delusion, but never our salvation.
§ 5. (4) This new life in the people of God discovers itself by conviction, or a deep sense of divine things. As for instance!—They are convinced of the evil of sin. The sinner is made to know and fel-1, that the sin, which was his delight, is a more loathsome thing than a toad or serpent, and a greater evil than plague or famine; being a breach of the righteous law of the most high God, dishonourable to him, and destructive to the sinner. Now the sinner no more hears the reproof of sin as words of course; but the mention of his sin speaks to his very heart, and yet he is contented you should show him the worst. He was wont to marvel, what made men keep up such a stir against sin, what harm it was for a man to take a little forbidden pleasure; he saw no such heinousness in it, that Christ must needs die for it, and a christless world be eternally tormented in hell. Now the case is altered: God hath opened his eyes to see the inexpressible vileness in sin.
§ 5. They are convinced of their own misery by reason of sin. They who before read the threats ot God's law, as men do the story of foreign wars, now find it their own story, and perceive they read their own doom, as if they found their own names written in the curse, or heard the law say, as Nathan, Thou art the man. (q) The wrath of God seemed to him before but as a storm to a man in a dry house, or as the pains of the sick to the healthful stander-by; but now he finds the disease is his own, and feels himself a condemned man, that he is dead and damned in point of law, and that nothing was wanting but mere execution to make him absolutely and irrecoverably miserable. This is a work of the Spirit, wrought in some measure in all the regenerate.—How shoidd he come to Christ for pardon, that did not first find himself guilty, and condemned? or for life, that never found himself spiritually dead? The whole need not (qr) 2 Sain. xji. 7.
a physician, but they that are sick.(r) The discovery of the remedy, as soon as the misery, must needs prevent a great part of the trouble. And perhaps the joyful apprehensions of mercy may make the sense of misery sooner forgotteu.
§ 7. They are also convinced of the creature's vanity and insufficiency. Every man is naturally an idolater. Our hearts turned from God in our first fell, and ever since the creature hath been our god. This is the grand sin of nature. Every unregenerate man ascribes to the creature divine prerogatives, and allows it the highest room in his soul; or if he is convinced of misery, he flies to it as his saviour.— Indeed, God and his Christ shall be called Lord and Saviour; but the real expectation is from the creature, and the work of God is laid upon it. Pleasure, profit, and honour, are the natural man's trinity, and his carnal self is these in unity. It was our first sin, to aspire to be as gods; and it is the greatest sin, that is propagated in our nature from generation to generation. When God should guide is, we guide ourselves; when he should be our sovereign, we rule ourselves; the laws which he gives us we find fault with, and would correct; and if we had the making of them, we would have made them otherwisei, when he should take care of us, (and must, or we perish,) we will take care for ourselves; when we should depend on him in daily receivings, we had rather have our portion in our own hands; when we should submit to his providence, we usually quarrei at it, and think we could make a better disposal than God hath made.—When we should study and love, trust and honour God, we study and love, trust and honour our carnal selves. Instead of God, we would have all men's eyes and dependence on us, and all men's thanks returned to us, and would gladly be the only men on earth extolled and admired by all. Thus we are naturally our own idols. But down falls this Dagon, when God does once renew the soul. It is the chief design of that great work^ to
(r) Luke v. 31.