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Christ. The sentence of pardon, passed by the Spirit and conscience within us, used to be exceedingly sweet; but this will fully and finally resolve the question, and leave no room for doubting again forever.

Indeed, we shall be so far from the dread of that judgment, that we ourselves shall become the judges. Christ will take his people, as it were, into commission with him; and they shall sit and approve his righteous decisions. Oh, fear not now the reproaches, scorns, and censures of those that must then be judged by you.

“ Do ye not know,” saith Paul, “ that the saints shall judge the world ?” Nay, “ Know ye not that we shall judge angels?” Surely, were it not the word of Christ that declares it, this advancement would seem incredible, and the language arrogant. O that the careless world were but wise to consider this, and that they would remember their latter end !—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 !" But rejoice, 0 ye saints; yet watch, and what you have, hold fast till your Lord come, and study that use of this doctrine which the apostle propounds, “Seeing then all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, looking for, and hasting to the coming of the day of God.”

IV. The last and highest step to the saint's advancement, is, their solemn coronation, enthronement, and reception into the kingdom. For as Christ, their head, is anointed both king and priest, so under him are his people made unto God both kings and priests, to reign and offer praises for ever. The crown of righteousness, which was laid up for them, the Lord the righteous Judge shall give them at that day. They have been faithful to the death, and therefore they shall receive the crown of life. Christ will grant them to sit down with him on his own throne; and will give them power over the nations, even as he received of his Father. He will give them possession with these applauding expressions, “Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

But let us view more nearly the solemn yet delight ful sentence which he will pronounce upon them. 6 Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.” Here every word is full of life and joy. COME: This is holding forth the golden sceptre to warrant our approach unto this glory. We were wont to hear, “Come, take up your cross, and follow me." Though that was sweet, yet this is much more so. Ye BLESSED: Blessed, indeed, when that mouth shall so pronounce us; for though the world has accounted us accursed, and we have been ready to account ourselves so, yet certainly those that he blesses are blessed, and those only whom he curses are cursed. OF MY FATHER: Blessed in the Father's love as well as the Son's, for they are one. The Father has testified his love toward them in their election, donation to Christ, and accepting his ransom, as the Son has also testified his, in laying down his life for them. INHERIT: No longer bondmen, nor servants only, nor children under age, who differ not in possession, bùt only in title, from servants. But now we are heirs of God, and jointheirs with Christ. THE KINGDOM: No less than the kingdom! To be King of kings, and Lord of lords, is our Lord's own proper title ; but to be kings and to reign with him is ours. PREPARED FOR YOU: God is the Alpha as well as the Omega of our blessedness. He prepared the kingdom for us, and then prepared us for the kingdom. FOR YOU: Not for believers only in general, but for you personally and determinately. FROM THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD: Not only from the promise after Adam's fall, but, as the phrase usually signifies, from eternity. These were the eternal thoughts of God's love toward us, and this is what he purposed for us.

Thus we have seen the Christian landed safely in Paradise, and conveyed honourably to his everlasting

rest. Let us now view a little further those mansions, consider his privileges, and see whether there be any glory like unto this glory.

CHAPTER III.

THE EXCELLENCIES OF THE HEAVENLY REST.

Let us draw nearer and contemplate the excellent properties and admirable attributes of this rest, which, as so many jewels, shall adorn the crown of the saints.

I. It is a singular honour and ornament, in the title of the Saints' Rest, that it is called the “ Purchased possession;" that it is the fruit of the blood of the Son of God, the chief fruit, yea, the end and perfection of all the fruits of that blood. 6 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." Oh! to have our Redeemer ever before our eyes, and the liveliest sense of his dying, bleeding love upon our souls. Now we are so stupefied with vile and senseless hearts, that we can read all the story of his bloody agony and passion, and hear all his sad complaints, with dulness and without emotion. But we shall then leave these hearts of stone behind us, and the sin that here so closely besets us, shall not be able to follow us into glory. With what astonishing apprehensions, then, will redeemed saints everlastingly behold their blessed Redeemer! What a feast will it be, “ when we shall drink of the fruit of the vine new with him in the kingdom of his Father!" David would not drink of the waters which he longed for, because they were the blood of those men who jeoparded their lives for them; and thought them fitter to be offered to God, than to be used by himself. But we shall value these waters the more highly, and drink them the more sweetly, because they are the plood of Christ, not jeoparded only, but shed for ils.

They will be the more sweet and precious to us, because they were so bitter and dear to him. We usually estimate things by the price which they cost. If any thing we enjoy were purchased with the life of our dearest friend, how highly would we value it! Nay, if a dying friend deliver 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 shall not then the death and blood of our Lord everlastingly sweeten our possessed glory? Methinks they should value at a high rate the plenty of the gospel, and the peace and freedom which they now enjoy, who remember what they have cost. How much precious blood! How many of the lives of God's worthies and witnesses ! O then, when we are rejoicing in glory, how shall we think of the blood that redeemed our souls! And how shall we look upon him, whose sufferings did put that joy into our heart ! How highly did David prize the love of Jonathan, who “stripped himself of the robe that was upon him, and gave it to him, and his garments, even to his sword, and to his bow, and to his girdle ;” and also saved him from his father's wrath! How dear for ever will the love of Christ then be to us, who stripped himself, as it were, of his majesty and glory, and put our mean garment of flesh upon him, that he might put the robes of his own righteousness and glory upon us, and saved us, not from cruel injustice, but from his Father's deserved wrath! Well, then, Christians, as you write on your goods the price they cost you, so do on your righteousness and on your glory. Write down the price,“ The precious blood of Christ.”

II. A second pearl in the saints' diadem is, that it is a free gift. These two attributes, purchased and free, are the two chains of gold, which make up the wreath for the heads of the pillars in the temple of God. It was dear to Christ, but free to us. When Christ was to buy, silver and gold were of no avail; prayers and tears were of little worth ; nor any thing, in fact, short of his blood. But when we come to buy, the price is fallen to nothing. Our buying is but receiving. We have it without money, and without price." If the Father freely give the Son, and the Son freely pay the debt; and if both Father and Son do freely offer us the purchased blessing upon our cordial acceptance of it; and if they also freely send the Spirit to enable us to accept of it, then what is there here that is not free? May not every stone that builds this temple have inscribed upon it, “Grace, grace.” Oh, the everlasting admiration that will surprise the saints when they think of this freeness ! Indeed, if the proud-hearted, self-ignorant, self-admiring sinners should be thus advanced, who think none so fit for preferment as themselves, perhaps, instead of admiring free love, they would, with those unhappy angels, be discontented yet with their estate. But when the self-denying, self-accusing, humble soul, who thought tself utterly unworthy, finds itself wrapt up into heaven, and closed in the arms of Christ, even in a moment, do but think with yourselves what transporting, what astonishing admiration it must feel. He that durst not lift up his eyes to heaven, but stood afar off, smiting on his breast, and crying, “Lord, be merciful to me a sinner," finds himself in the city of the living God. He who was wont to write his name in Bradford's style, “ The unthankful, the hard-hearted, the unworthy sinner !” and who was wont to wonder that patience could bear with him so long, and justice suffer him to live, to find himself in the presence of the great King! Ah, Christian, if worthiness were the condition of thy admittance into heaven, thou mightest sit down with John and weep, “because none in heaven or earth was found worthy.” But blessed be God, “worthy is the Lamb that was slain," and through his title must we hold the inheritance.

This is our exceeding consolation, that as we paid nothing for God's eternal love, and nothing for the Son of his love, and nothing for his Spirit, and our grace and faith, and nothing for our pardon, so we shall pay nothing for our eternal rest. Yet this is not all. If it were only for nothing, and without our merit, the wonder were great; but it is, moreover,

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