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if by believing we can rejoice at present with joy unspeakable, and full of glory, what must our joy be when we receive the end of our faith, even the eternal salvation of our souls. When Jesus Christ admits us into his kingdom, and bestows upon us all his spiritual blessings in heavenly places, what happiness we shall then feel, tongue cannot utter, nor can heart conceive. And inconceivably great though it be, yet it is all the “ free gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord, “ for « he hath given us eternal life, and this life is in his 6 Son:"-And faith is the hand by which we receive it: “ for he that believeth on me, saith the blessed “ Jesus, hath everlasting life.” He purchased it for us. We could not attain it by any of our own works, nor could the highest angel in heaven merit it for one of the sons of men. It was bought for us by an inestimable price, by the obedience and sufferings of the God-man Christ Jesus, and he therefore obeyed and suffered, died and rose again, that we might be heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ. He acted as our representative, by which means we have an interest in all that he did and suffered. He resisted the tempter, obeyed the law, suffered the punishment due to the transgression of it, even unto death, rose from the dead, ascended into heaven, 'and sat down on the throne of glory, as the head and representative of all the elect people of God. In all these things he acted as the head of the body the church; and we commonly say, a person is crowned, when the crown is put upon his head. Now our head is already crowned, and therefore so long as he possesses his glory, we his members shall possess ours, and shall share in the glories of our heavenly king. What these eternal glories are, it surpasseth all understanding to comprehend. The scripture has revealed them to us chiefly in negative descriptions. It removes from them that imperfection to which all sublunary good is subject. It calls them riches, but then they are not subject to rust and moth, nor can thieves break in to rob us of them. It compares them to an
inheritance, but then it is always in peace, no armies can lay it waste, no irregular passion can interrupt the happy enjoyment of it: and there can be no fear of losing it, because all tears are wiped away from every eye; and upon every head there is placed a crown of “ glory, which is “ incorruptible," has no principles of dissolution, and therefore no defect in it; is “ undefil« ed,” has no stain of sin, or infirmity under it, and “fad. 6 eth not way,” all human glory like a flower of the field withers and dies, but this is always flourishing, and blooms in never-fading spring. Thus the scripture removes every thing from our heavenly happiness, which renders our present enjoyments imperfect; and then to make the description full, puts eternity to it. And yet, even of this eternal happiness we have but faint ideas; we know it at present but in part. We shall know it better when our almighty Saviour bestows it upon us. When he admits us into his presence, receives us into his heaven, and places the never-fading crown of glory upon our beads, then we shall feel what an eternal weight of glory is. Then we shall enjoy that beatific vision, without which heaven would not be desirable, and we shall see the Lord Jesus face to face, and shall know that he is above all blessing and praise. We know indeed at present that he is God over all blessed for ever, but the corruptible body presseth down the soul, and the earthly tabernacle weigheth down the mind, so that our knowledge and our praises are imperfect. But then we shall be free from this earthly clog, and shall see more of his excellencies, and shall be more able to praise them. We shall continually find new beauties, new worlds of delight in him ; for his perfections being infinite, will afford us fresh subject of praise to eternity. And our interest in them being an act of his free grace, will render them to us more precious, and the completion of them more sweet. Every new day of glory (if I may so speak, when time is no more) will bring us more in debt to his free grace. The holding of glory shall be free grace without end;
so that Christ's relation of creditor, and ours of debtor, shall grow and be greater for ever. Redeemed sinners can never say, Now our tribute of praise to Jesus is fullypaid, because they will be always contracting new debts, and while they stand confirmed in bliss, the more brok, en debtors will they be. The longer they enjoy the glory of heaven through millions of ages, the debt to the Lamb that purchased it for them by his blood will grow infinitely. Praises to eternity can take nothing from the debt; for the debt increases, while they are praising. And let the innumerable company of angels join the spirits of just men made perfect: let them raise their hearts and voices to the highest strains of praise, they would still fall short of the greatness of his merits. O holy Spirit! now give us a heart and a tongue to join our imperfect praises with theirs. With them we ascribe salvation to the Lord God omnipotent. Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever.
I shall here finish the doctrinal parts of this discourse, but I cannot conclude without making a short application. Every useful doctrine may be reduced to practice: and all the Christian doctrines have a direct tendency to operate in our lives, and to produce their proper effects in our conversations. We have been considering some of the excellencies of God our Saviour, which are not mere speculative points ; because he was made unto us wisdom and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption. He is our all-wise prophet to enlighten the blindness of our understanding, and to teach us saving knowledge. He is our all-meritorious priest, through the merits of whose perfect sacrifice the pollution and the guilt of our sins are taken away, and we are accepted as righteous before God the Father. And he is our almighty king, by whose grace the dominion of sin is destroyed in us, and we are enabled to perform an holy obedience. “Jesus Christ is all and
in all: for we are complete in him.” Salvation from first to last, from the first ray of light which broke into
our dark and sinful souls, until we see Christ in the fulness of glory, is all his work, and to him must the honour of it be ascribed. He is the foundation on whom it all stands : for 6 other foundation can no man 6 lay, than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Men, brethren, and fathers, suffer the word of exhortation. You profess, that Jesus Christ is the foundation of all saving knowledge: do you then seek it from him in the study of his holy word, and through the blessing of his good Spirit upon your studies ? or are any of you seeking it from the unscriptural unnatural light of nature, from that nature which is totally dark and blind, until the abstracted metaphysician has stolen some great truths from the revealed word, and then boasts that he was self-enlightened, and that they were self-irradiated upon his own mind by a more mysterious and enthusiastic light than the maddest Qua. : ker ever pretended to. In their metaphysical reveries, let them talk of their light of nature; yet if God may be heard, nature is in darkness. It is blind in the things of God; nay more, until it be renewed, it cannot see and know them. To whom then would you go for the knowledge of them? To Christ, as held forth in his word, and applied by his Spirit, or rather to buman learning and its arts and sciences ? God forbid. They have not one ray of their own to give. Their boasted lustre is but a borrowed light. Blot the sun out of heaven and these bright stars are at once in the blackness of darkness : for there is but one created sun to enlighten this material world, as there is but one uncreated Sun to enlighten the spiritual world here in grace, and for ever in glory. When the arts and sciences keep their proper station, reflecting the light cast upon them by the sun of righteousness, then the study of them is sanctified, and they are highly useful in the school of Christ, but unsanctified, they only tend to puff up and to feed the pride of corrupt nature. Let this be an answer to the adversary, who may object, that I am a decrier of human learning. When
it is preferred to divine, I do decry it, but in no other respect. Am I an enemy to light because I prefer the all-reviving light of the sun to the faint glimmering light of the stars ? Christ is the sun of righteousness, the light of the spiritual world. Let it then be your first and principal study to attain from him divine learning, and in subordination to it seek human learning. Let God be your teacher in things of God. Read his word, as he who was wiser than his teachers did, day and night; but read it with humility, and always begin with the excellent prayer before mentioned, « Lord open thou mine eyes, that I may see wondrous “ things in thy law :" the Lord will open them, and you will not only see spiritual truths clearly, but will also be more diligent in the study of useful knowledge, and will attain more of it, than a man of the best parts, trusting to the mere strength of genius, can ever attain. And one great truth the word and the Spirit of God will certainly manifest to you, and that is, ..
Secondly, The manner of your acceptance. To a sinner convinced of the corruption of his nature, and of the transgressions of his life, nothing can be more in, teresting than to know, whether God's justice, and holiness, and truth can pardon him. The fancied light of fallen nature cannot teach him this. It never did. It never led one learned heathen, Greek, or Roman, to. Jesus Christ. It never can : because it is blind, and with the aid of all the sciences, blind it remains, until Christ by his word and Spirit open its eyes. Then it sees, that his righteousness imputed to it by faith is the only method of being accepted as righteous before God the Father. Are you then seeking to be accepted in the righteousness of the Beloved? Or are you trying to work out some righteousness of your own, which alto, gether or in part may render you accepted ? It must never be forgotten, that justification by faith only is the grand Protestant doctrine, Justification by works is downright Popery. We separated from the Bishop of Rome, because he set up the merit of works in opposin