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mans, whose "salvation," at every after period, was proportionally "nearer thart when" they first "believed," Rom. xiii. if.—And the certainty of it manifestly declared in the words of grace under consideration ;—where a term expressive of progress, is emphatically made use ofthey shall come *, i. e. from one stage to another, until they arrive at therkingdom.
They shall come, not only by perseverance and progress in the paths of righteousness, but by the transtation of their pardoned, ransomed sculs, at the hour of death, into the palaces of salvation. They will be escorted "by angels, into Abraham's "bosom;" Luke xvi. 22 —"an entrance shall be "ministred unto" them "abundantly into the p"veriasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Je"-sus Christ :'' 2 Per. i. 11.—And the very "day" that the taper of life is extinguished, their fouls lhall be with him "in paradise," Luke xx'tii. 43.
In a word, they lhall come, by the translation os their bodies, also, at the resurrection of the just. —All, all, without exception, who, in this life, have come to themselves, to Christ, and to a vital communion with his ransomed church; all who have persevered and advanced in these steps until death; and, all whose souls reached the kingdom, upon the dissolution of thgir clay-tabernacles ;—all such—soul and body both, shall come to the kingdom of heaven, as soon as the business of the resurrection, and grand affair of judgment are intirely over.—In the spirited language of prophecy, "The ransomed of the Lord shall return, and "come to Zion, with songs, and everlasting joy "upon thur heads: they shall obtain joy and "g'adness, and sorrow and sighing shall fly away," Is. xxxv. 10. And in the words of our apostle,
"They who deep in Jesus, will God bring with "him; the dead in Christ shall rife first; and so "shall they ever be with the Lord," i Thesis, fv. 14, 16, 17.
Besides the designs of grace which God has upon the Gentiles, and the leading blessings wherewith they are pregnant to the licits of promise,—from the first dawn of conversion, to the full meridian of glory,—there is still another part of the argument to be illustrated, which is equally calculated "to rouse your ambition, and invigorate your "endeavouis toward the propagation of Christi"an knowlege," namely, "the qualites of that "happiness to which the subjects of this gr;ice shall "be raised," emphatically expressed by fitting doun with Alraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, ana, according to the parallel passage, all the proshtts, in the kingdom of heaven, or of Cod. as the other evangelist expresseih it, Luke. xiii. 18.
What I A kingdom?—The kingdom?—The kingdom of heaven?—The kingdom of God?— Are not these—termsemphatical beyond the powers of lacguage to express,—of the mors eloquent pencil to defciibe,—cr the fliil more fertile imagination to conceive?
if the g'ory reserved for Gentile sinners be a tingdom,—ihey will not only be intrusted with (he services, and interested in the privileges pf it; bur,—how amazing the thought!—how transporting 'he vitw'—they, as heirs, shall be put in poss Sik n of the kingdom itself, and presented with til the ensigns of royalty, as—not only piiejii, but lugs iinto Crd.
Their riuht to the kingdom is recorded by inspired vvriteis with the utirost precision.—" \ ap"point unto you a kingdom, (said 'he Heir of all *' things,) as my Father hath appointed unto me," . .. .., i Luke Lake xxii. 29. and "if children, (said the apostle "to Gentile converts) then heirs, and joint heirs "with Cnrist," Rom. viii. 17. With respect to the regalia, which shall be presented to them on the threshold of glory, the sacred writings are no less explicit.—They tell us of a crown prepared, 2 Tim. iv. 8. a throne erected, Matth. xix. 28. a robe of state finished, Rev. vi. it. of royal apartments 'fitted up, John xiv. 2. of ministers in waiting; Heb. i. 14. and what can we lay more?
In our Lord's description of future bliss, it is not only called a kingdom, but, to point out the peculiar excellency of it,—the kingdom. Kingdoms, upon earth, deserve not the name; and the regal 'office is meanness itself, compared with this.—It
is the kingdom, in which all that can be enjoyed
is comprehended,- to which no acquisition can
be made,—-from which nothing can be taken by
fraud or force, vpon which no revolution c?»
pass: And the kingdom, because the enjoyment
and administration of it wiH be attended with no satigne or anxiety, no distress or danger, for ever.
'I he bitGidness in reserve for Gentile sinners, is sarther distinguished by our Lord's calling it "the kingdom of heaven;" the "third heavers," to which-Paul was " caaght up," n Cor. xii. 2, 4. the "paradise" of God, Luke xxiii. 42. to which the penitent thief'was trariflatc.d; "the Ancillary "and true tabernacle," Heb. viii. 1, 1. into which Whilst hath entered,—'* where neither moth nor ** rust doth corrupt, nor thieves break through nnd ,"' steal," Matth. vi. 20.--(hall be the seat of their happiness, the theatre of their triumph. "The glory under view will be altogether pure aad spiiitual, th<n it may suit trie tafsle and capacities Of such holy one?, This seems 10 be chit.fly intended by giving their kingdom the epithet of
heavenly; heavenly ;—a heavenly country, Heb xi, 16. and heavenly places, Eph. i. 20. divested of all that rs gross and perishing, inriched with al) that is divine and incorruptible. According to this view, God himself, as an expression of his essential holiness, is frequently called, heavenly Father, Matth. xv. 13. Luke xi. 13. The angels of light, to distinguish them'from the powers of darkness, are called the heavenly host, Luke ii. 13. The Lord Jesus, to point out his pte-eminence, compared with the sirst Adam, is called the heavenly man; 1 Cor. xv.
.49- and the gracious change, which makes the difserence between faints and sinners, is denominated their heavenly calling, Heb. iii. 1.
Agreeable, however, to the parallel passage, the glory promised to Gentile converts, is the kingdom tfGcd, Luke xiii. 28. It bears that denomination with undoubted propriety, as the heirs "were '' chosen," Eph. i. 4. and the "kingdom prepar"ed," by him "before the foundation of the "world •" Matth. xxv. 34.—as they are kept by his almighty power, through saith unto f^'.r salva* tion; 1 Pet. i. 5.—as he, having the whole administration delivered up to him by the Mediator, 1 Cor. xv. 24. will be the everlasting guarantee of
•their happiness; and as, in the inimitable language of scripture, "Every good gift, and every persect," the crowning gist of heaven by no means excepted, "come th from the Father of lights," Jam. i. 17.
But the view of future glory, which this epithet exhibits to us, will rile, and greatly swell, in our eye, if it is added, that God himself will be the sum and substance, the "all in all" of their inheritance. The apostle of the Gentiles, who learned his divinity immediately at the seet of Christ, is very bold, when he saith, that the children of grace arc heirs—of what!—of pardon ?—holiness?
-—happiness ?—not only so, but,—astonishing! "heirs of God;" Rom. yiii. J 7. of all that be bath; nay, of all that he is.
. How vast, then,—how immensely vast and 11ameasurable the territories of this kingdom! How infinite the extent of this promised, this purchased, inheritance !—What Paul, quoting from the prophet, said of New Testament privileges in general, wUJ eminently hold of this consummate blessing, "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have K entered into the heart of man the things which "God hath prepared for them that love him," 1 Cor. ii, 9»
That the "argument for endeavouring to pro "pagate Christian knowlege among the Gentiles," may be the more interesting, this pr.slage not only
.informs us, that there is such a state as "the king"dom of heaven," but assures us, that Gentile sinners, from "the east and west," Jball fit down there. As the word used by our Lord * properly signifies, a lying down on sophas or couches*, which was, and, accoiding to modern accounts, conti-- *• nues to be the usual posture at banquets, and evta ordinary meals, among the eastern nations ;—we apprehend,, that this is expressive of the holy ease
.and rest which true converts fhajl enjoy in Em
. manuel's land.
They shall, accordingly," rest from their labours,." Rev. xiv. 3. from all that pained aud toiled their bodies,—tried and distracted their minds; from ail lin in heart and life, and from all sufferings of ao outward or inward, a personal or relational nature. - Nor is this rest merely expressive of negative, but chiefly of pofitive happiness. "It is a righte"pus thing wi;h God (said the apostle to the believing Theslklonians) to recompence trihukitiw