« ForrigeFortsett »
of death, then they shall be victorious over the grave itself. The Saviour will swallow up death in victory, Isaiah xxv. 8. According to his promise of old, he will ransom his people from the power of the grave: he will redeem them from death. Trampling these mighty monarchs under foot, he will cry as in triumph, Death, I will be thy plague! O grave, I will be thy destruction! repentance shall be hid from mine eyes, Hos. xiii. 14. Thus the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death, death reigning in the grave, 1 Cor. XV. 26.
7thly and Lastly. The salvation promised to believe ers implies a state of everlasting glory in the heavenly world. This I mention as something distinct from, and vastly superior to, all the preceding particulars, Suppose believers possessed of all these but not of this, that is, that raised from the grave they returned to this world fitted for them, as paradise for innocent Adam,, their condition would differ from his in one thing only, they being in a state of confirmation, whereas he was in a state of probation. But such a state would be as different from the heavenly glory, as Adam's was from that which was further promised him, having run the race of obedience that was set before him. Believers being saved from the devouring grave, shall in their whole man enter into eternal glory. So the apostle speaks, 2 Tim. ii. 10. the salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with eternal glory. As it is little we know, so little, very little, we can speak of this glory. We apprehend it consists chiefly in three things, viz. vision, assimilation, and enjoyment.
1st. Believers shall be honoured to see God and the Lamb. Now they believe on a word, they hear with the hearing of the ear, but then they shall see with the seeing of the eye. Here they believe God's word, but there they shall see himself. Now they trust in an unseen Saviour, then, then they shall see him face to face. With their bodily eyes they shall see a God in flesh. Not in the likeness of sinful Aesh, as some of them saw him on earth, but in sinless shining flesh, resplendent with the lustre of indwelling Deity. That blessed body which was formed in the virgin's womb, hung on the tree, and lay in the grave, they shall see exalted on a throne far above angels, principalities and powers, and every name that is named. They shall see for ever without interruption, for there shall be no night there, Rev. xxi. 5.
2dly. Sight shall issue in assimilation. We shall be like him, says the apostle, for we shall see him as he is, 1 John iii. 2. Moses conversing with his Ma. ker on the mount, got such a radiance on his face, that mortals could not look upon him when he de. scended. But 0, what a far more exceeding and eternal weight shall result from the uninterrupted vision of God and the Lamb! The saints shall be changed into the same image from glory to glory. Gazing as with eagles' eyes on the Sun of Rightcousness, they themselves shall shine. If beholding the Saviour in the glass of the word, produced such a conformity to him, certainly the naked vision of his fair, fair face, shall make us perfectly like him: as like him as children can be like a father. Light and likeness shall go hand in hand.
3dly. Believers shall be perfectly blessed in the full enjoyment of God to all eternity. Enjoyment shall result from sight and assimilation. Sight will prompt desire, and assimilation will qualify for the enjoyment of the object desired. Every look shall be followed with ineffable love, and being assimilated to the Di. vine Image, they will be able to take in unutterable joys. Without a perfect conformity to God's image there can be no perfect enjoyment of him. Enjoyments must ever bear proportion to the nature and capacity of the subject. . Thus the beasts that perish are incapable of rational enjoyments, and the illiterate must be strangers to the pleasures of the learned. It is only such as are partakers of the divine nature that are qualified for joys divine. Believers being at last made perfectly like God, shall thereby be capacitated to enjoy him. O what joy to be ever receiving of the
divine fulness! To be seated as at the fountain head of bliss! To see God, to be like him, and to enjoy him, what can we conceive higher? The 'blessed 'vision shall be the perfection of the understanding, as enjoyment shall be of the will. Thus believers in Christ shall be saved from the law as a covenant of works; from sin in its guilt, filth, being, and effects; from Satan and the world; from death and the grave; and be blessed in seeing God, in likeness to him, and in the full and uninterrupted enjoyment of him.
Let us now conclude the subject with a short application.
1st. See the blessedness of believers. Survey it, my brethren, even as delineated above, and ye must confess it great. Particularly ye who believe in Christ, lift up your eyes, and see your goodly inheritance. Look far and wide, for extensive it is. It implies an immunity from every evil, and the perfect possession of all that is good. Rejoice, ye children of faith, for great and precious are your privileges. The covenant of works has nothing now to say to you, no claims upon you. You are got far from the burning mount. A spark of Sinai's flame shall never alight on you. The law is dead to you, and you to it. Its mouth is shut, and its hands tied up, so to speak. Nothing can it exact from you, nothing can it inflict upon you. Ye are not in its dominions. Ye are not under the law, but under grace. There is now no condemnation to you, forasmuch as ye are in Christ Jesus. And though there be many things condemnable in you, by and by these shall be done away too. Sin has lost its dominion over you. Other Lords beside Jehovah God have had dominion over you, but they are dead, they shall not live; they are deceased, they shall not rise. Your old man is crucified with Christ. Like Jael in another case, you have smote the nail into his temples, and expire he must. Satan shall no more tyrannize over you. That serpent may raise many a fearfulbiss as at your heels, but vation he cannot hinder. Nay, nor all the world in league
with him. And what, my brethren, though ye have to enter the lists with death?
Your salvation is se cured. That Haman, that enemy, will do you the most friendly office. Regard not how he looks, but rejoice in what he will do.
Commissioned by the Sa. viour he will strip you of your flesh indeed, but with his pale hands he will put on you the royal robes of glory, and introduce you into the palace of the King. Know, believer, that thy Saviour has the keys of the unseen world and of death. They have hung at his girdle ever since he arose, and therefore when he will turn the key of death, letting thee into the in. visible state, thou shalt depart in peace. Thou hast passed the gulph of condemnation, set thy foot as on celestial ground; yet a little, and thou shalt be beyond the valley of the shadow of death. In the cabinet of the covenant Christ will lock thy precious dust, and from thence the waters shall not wash it, nor warring winds carry it away. In the morning of the resurrection he will will unlock thy sleeping chamber, gent. ly waken thee from thy bed, and raise thee in tri. umph to a throne. Him thou shalt see; him thou shalt be like, and him thou shalt ever enjoy. Go on then believing in him, and let him be thy only boast.
2dly. See, my brethren, the misery of such as do not believe in Christ. Not taking him, ye shall not share of his salvation. None are willing to go to hell, but alas! few, few will take a Christ as the only Saviour. Unbelievers would grasp at some of his benefits, but they have no heart to himself. Ah! foolish people, at once ungrateful and unwise, to think of an interest in any of the promises, while they despise the person of Christ, in whom all the promises of God are yea, and amen, 2 Cor. i. 20. It is observable, that the first promise on record is full of his person. The seed of the woman shall bruise the head of the serpent. And the last promise bears his coming the second time, as the greatest joy to all the churches, “ Surely, I come quickly.” Let all therefore who will not cleave to the Saviour in his word, know that they
shall not be saved by him. Being unbelievers ye shall have the portion of such. The law stands in full force against you. Not being in Christ ye are condemned already, and in your iniquities ye must pine away. Ye are subject to him that has the power of death, that is, the devil. The first death will meet you with its envenomed sting, and turn you over to the second. Ye shall rise from the grave indeed, but to be cast into hell. The blessed sight ye shall not see. The divine image ye shall not bear. Into the joy of the Lord ye shall not enter. Instead of light, ye shall have the blackness of darkness. Associated with devils, ye shall be like them. Instead of joy, you must lie down in sorrow, feel the gnawings of that worm which shall not die, and the tor. ments of that fire which shall not be quenched.
3dly and Lastly, Let all who would be saved believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. He was sent of the Fa. ther to savc, and other Saviour there is none, Acts iv. 12. Whoever therefore despises him, their blood shall be upon their own head. They shall perish, not because there was no Saviour, or because they never heard of him; but because in hearing, they did not believe. Be wise, therefore, sinner; be wise ere it be too late. For if thou scornest, thou alone shalt bear it. Thou shalt bear the guilt, and thou shalt bear the loss, and not another for thee. If thou continue to reject Christ and his salvation, to eternity thou must be destitute of both. Now he is near thee in his word. Take him, and all is thine. " Believe in the Lord Je. sus Christ,” and as said the two witnesses in the text? “ Thou shalt be saved." Amen, and amen.