Sidebilder
PDF
ePub

when weeping and wailing will be to no purpose. Deaths bands will fall off ; the grave will vomit thee out ; and the rocks refuse to grind thee to powder. How will these cursed eyes abide the sight of the Judge ! Behold he cometh! Where is the profane swearers, who tore his wounds! the wretched worldling, now abandoned of his God; the formal hypocrite, who kissed him, and betrayed him ? the despiser of the gospel, who sent him away in his messengers groaning, profaned his ordinances, and trampled under foot his precious blood ? O murderer, the slain Man is thy Judge! There is he whom thou didst so maltreat! Behold the neglected Lamb of God, appearing as a lion · against thee! How will thine heart endure the darts of his fiery looks! That rocky heart now kept out against him, shall then be blown up! That face, which refuseth to blush now, shall then gather blackness! arrows of wrath shall pierce, where arrows of conviction cannot enter now. What will thou answer him, when he riseth up, and chargeth thy unbelief ar.d impenitency? Wilt thou say, thou was not warned ? Conscience within thee, will give thee the lie: The secret groans and weariness of those who warned thee, will witness the contrary. If a child or fool did tell you your house were on fire, you would immediately run to quench it; but in matters of eternal concern, men will first fill their hearts with prejudices against the messengers, and then cast their meg. sage behind their backs. But these silly shifts and pretences will not avail, in the day of the Lord. How will these cursed ears, now deaf to the call of the gospel, inviting sinners to come to Christ, hear the fearful sentence, « Depart from me, ye cursed into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels ?" No sleepy hearer shall be there : No man's heart will then wander: Their hearts and eyes will then be fixed on their misery, which they will not believe. O that we knew in this our day, the things that belong to our peace.

Lastly, Be exhorted to believe this great truth; and believe it so, as you may prepare for its judgment betimes. Set up a secret tribunal in your own breasts, and often call yourselves to an account there. Make the Judge your friend in time, by closing with him in the offer of the sospel; and give all diligence, that ye may be found in

Christ at that day. Cast off the works of darkness, and live, as believing you are, at all times, and in all placcs, under the eye of your Judge, who will bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing. Be fruitful in good works, kaowing that as ye sow, ye shall reap. Study piety towards God, righteousness and charity towards men. Lay up in store plenty of works of charity and mercy, towards them who are in distress, especially such as are of the household of faith, that they may be produced that day as evidences, that ye belong to Christ. Stiut not up your bowels of mercy, now, towards the needy ; lest ye, then, find no mercy. Take heed, that in all your works, ye be single and sincere ; aiming, in them all, at the glory of your Lord, a testimony of your love to him, and obedience to his command. Leave it to hypocrites, who have their reward, to proclaim every man his own goodness, and to sound a trumpet, when they do their alms. It is a base and unchristian spirit, which cannot have satisfaction in a good work, unless it be exposed to the view of others; it is utterly unworthy of one who believes that the last trumpet shall call together the whole world; before whom the Judge himself shall publish works truly good, how secretly soever they were done. Live in a believing expectation of the coming of the Lord. Let your loins be always girt and your lamps burning ; so when he comes, whether in the last day of your life, or in the last day of the world, ye shall be able to say with joy, Lo, this is our God, and we hade waited for him.

THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN.

Mat. xxv. 34.

Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

U AVING, from this portion of Scripture, which the Il text is a part of, discoursed of the general judgment; and being to speak of the everlasting happiness of the saints, and the everlasting misery of the wicked, froin the respective sentences to be pronounced upon them in the great day; I shall take them in the order wherein they fie before us ; the rather, that a sentence is first past upon the righteous, so the execution thereof is first begun, though possibly the other may be fully executed before it be completed.

The words of the text contain the joyful sentence itself, together with an historical introduction thereto, which gives us an accountof the Judge pronouncing the sentence; the King, Jesus Christ; the parties on whom it is given, them on his right hand ; and the time when, then, as soon as the trial is over. Of these I have spoken already. It is the sentence itself we are now to consider, Come ye blessed of my Father, &c. Stand a-back, O ye profane goats ; have away all unregenerate souls, not united to Jesus Christ; this is not for you. Come, O ye saints, brought out of your natural state, into the state of grace ; behold here the state of glory awaiting you. Here is glory let down to us in words and syllables ; a looking-glass, in, which you may see your everlasting happiness ; a scheme

(or draught) of Christ's Father's house, wherein there are many mansio. s.

This glorious sentence bears two things. (1.) The complete happiness to which the saints are adjudged, the kingdom. (2.) Their sol:mn admission to it, « Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit,” &c. First, their compl: te hippiness is a kingdom. A kingdom is the top of worldiy felicity; there is nothing on earth greater than a kinguom ; therefore the hidden weight of glory in heaven, is held forth to us under that notion. But it is not an ordin.iry kingdom, it is the kingdom ; the kingdom of heaven, surpassing all the kingdoms of the earth in glory, honour, profit and pleasure, infinitely, more than they do in these excel the low and inglorious condition of a be. gar in rags and on a dunghill. Secondly, There is a solemn admission of the saints into this their kingdom, « Come ye, inherit the kingdom.” In the view of angels, men and devils, they are invested with royalty, and solemnly inaugurated before the whole world, by Jesús Christ the heir of all things, who hath all power in hea. ven and in earth. Their right to the kingdom is solemn. ly recognized and owned! They are admitted to it, as undoubted heirs of the kingdom, to possess it by inheritance or lot, as the word properly significs; because of old, inheritances were designed by lot, as Canaan to Israel, God's first-born, as they are called, Exod. iv. 22. And because this kingdom is the Father's kingdom, therefore they are openly acknowledged in their admission to it, to be the blessed of Christ's Father; the which blessing was given them long before this sentence, but is now solemnly recognized and confirmed to thcm by the Mediator, in his Father's name. It is observable, he says not, Ye blessed of the Father; but, Ye blessed of my Father ; to shew us, that all blessings are derived upon us from the Father, the fountain of blessing, as he is the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we are blessed, Eph. i. 3. And finally they are admitted to this kingdom, as that which was prepared for them, from the foundation of the world, in God's eternal purpose, before they, or any of them were; that all the world may see eternal life to be the free gift of God. :

DOCTRINE. The Saints shall be made completely happy, in the Pos

8e88ion of the Kingdom of, Heaven. Two things I shall here enquire into, (1.) The natufe of this kingdom. (2.) The admission of the saints thereto. And then I shall make a practical improvement of the whole.

FIRST, As to the nature of the kingdom of heaven, our knowledge of it is very imperfect : for, “ Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him," Cor. ii. 9. As, by familiar resemblances, parents instruct their little children concerning things, of which otherwise they can have no tolerable notion ; so our gracious God, in contemplation of our weakness, is pleased to represent to us heaven's happiness, under similitudes taken from earthly things, glorious in the eyes of men ; since naked discoveries of the heavenly glory, die vested of earthly resemblances, would be too bright for our weak eyes, and in them we would but lose ourselves. Wherefore now, one can but speak as a child of these things, which the day will fully discover. : i ; } by

The state of glory is represented under the notion of a kingdom ; a kingdom among men, being that in which the greatest number of earthly good things doth concenter. Now every saint shall, as a king, inherit a kingdom. All Christ's subjects shall be kings, each one with his crown upon his head : not that the great King shall divest himself of his royalty, but he will make all his children partakers of his kingdom.

1. The saiříts shall have kingly power and authority given. Our Lord gives not empty titles to his favourites ; ke makes them kings indeed. The dominion of the saints will be a dominion far exceeding that of the greatest monarch ever was on earth. They will be absolute masters over sin, that sometime had dominion over them. They will have a complete rule over their own spirits ; an entire management of all their affections and inclina. tions, which now create them so much molestation : the turbulent root of corrupt affections, shall be for ever expelled out of that kingdom, and never be able any more

Kk

« ForrigeFortsett »