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We shall finish this argument wiih observing a few things more particularly, concerning the society .with whom Gentile converts shall mingle in the better world, which have the moil direct tendency to promote the special happiness of each, —the common bliss of all.
As creature?, the patriarchs and prophets are all derived from the same common stock with Gentile converts, who shall likewise sit down in the kingdom of heaven: for, in the language of Paul to the Athenians, "God hath made of one blood "all the nations of men, to dwell on all the lace "of the earth." Acts xvii. 26.
However these sages of Israel might excel —in knowlege or wisdom, in courage or strength, considered as men ; —with whatever honours they might be clothed, and to whatever stations railed, above others who shall meet and fit w th them in glory;—yet, when they are traced b.ick to their common oiiginal, every such distinction evaporates, and all Inch circumstances totally disappear. , A* new creature?, the patriarchs and prophets owe the change—produced, piomorcd, and perfected-in them,' to the same cause that other saints owe their converlion and ialv.nion, "the grace," fiamely, "of our Lord Jesus Christ," 2 Cor. viii. 9. There was no previous excellency, no foreseen beauty in the former, more -than there is in the Litter, to recommend them unro God:—the tne as well as the other were laid, and must lie under everlasting obligations to him. for every part of their redemption, whethtr viewed in a negative or positive light, conferred ia time, or enjoyed through eternity.
irlio nwke the leafs appf arsnee upon earth, may cut tie
Jnost Ihining figure m heaven.
As creatures ?.nd new cieatnres, both the patriarchs and prophets had the lame probationary state to go through, the same enemies to encounter, and the same warsare to accomplish, that other faints either had or have. Sin, Satan, and the world, were no less sources of trial and distress to those, than they have been, or must be, to these Nay, the circumstances are so similar, that an inspired writer exhorts after-saints to keep the Jame tract, in order to reach the fame goal: "Be not slothful, "(says he) but followers of them, who through "faith and patience inherit the promises," Heb. vi. 12. ,
The patriarchs arid prophets entered into the world of Ipiiits by the very door through which a'4 the asrer-heiis of glory have passed, do, and will pass to the posstTion os their kingdom *. The deciee against the common head, "Dust rbou art, "and Lnro dust thou shilt return," had a virtual respect to his whole offspring, as appears from the New Testament interpretations of it. "It 'is tip* '- pointed (fays the author of the Epistle to the He"brews) unto men once to die:" Heb ix. 27.-^ and that we might labour under no uncertainty, with respect to the extent of that appointment, it 13 declared elsewhere, that, "as by one man sin "entered into the world, and death by fin; death "passed upon all men, for that all have finned:" Rom. v. u. All men without distinction or exception,
* " The grave itself and all the doleful scrors of '* mortality are rendered by fur the less formidable, "since it is but our dwelling a little while with such "sacred dust, in obscurity aud silerce, to arise toge"thrr at last in glory, to be for ever with the Lord" —The Rev Mr. Stm Bury's dedication to the Account of hit lady s life.
tion, the ancient patriarchs and celebrated propheB, as well as the most inconsiderable heirs of salvation *.
The uniformity of the whole ransomed samily, is the only other circumstance we shall condescend ujioa, as vastly conducive toward the perfection of future happiness f.
The want of this in the militant church, is one constant' spring of trial to the travellers of hope. Unholy persons lurking under a prosession os Christianity, or their brethren in Christ themselves influenced by illiberal and devious pritfciples, mailmuch of the believers joy, and manifestly inSpeda the communion of saints: but, in all that society, there (hall not be an unholy person, nor one saint otherwise minded than the rest. Their views, feelings, and whole exercises shall all bend one way, and meet in the same point without variation or secession for ever. To this happy state of things,, the worlds of the prophet may well be applied, that "Jerusalem shall be holy, and no str inger shall ^%';iss through her anymore;" Joel iii. 17. and XW still more expressive words of ths. Apostle on be applied to no other state: "There shail in M "-wife enter into" the city, "any thing that de
. * Enoch, indeed, and Elijah were exceptions from this general rule; but, when all the srisnJs of Jesus, /hall meet on the morning of the resurrection, it will appear that the sp'iit of the law was fulfilled in them, and that their'bodies underwent the same change by translation, that the boJies of other saints do by means of their reduction to dust
t Tully's beautiful aphorism will apply, in its utmost extent, only to the heavenly state..---" Sed, om"nium societatum, nulla præstantior est, nulla firmior, "quani, cum viri boni, moiibus similes, sunt samilia"ritate conjuncti."---CicER. De offic. lib. 1. cap. i 7. . K "riieth,
"fileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, "or maketh a lie: but they which are writtenia "the Lamb's book of life," Rev. xxi. 17.
Is it so that Cod onr Saviour hath gracious designs upon the nations? Then fee
What praise is due to him upon that account. His love in prompting, his wisdom in deviling, his juliiee in approving, his saithfulness in securing, his power in executing, and his holiness as running through the whole amazing plan of grace, should 'bt noticed, admired, and adored by us; and our gtatitude for redemption expressed in all the ways, b; alt the means of his own appointment. If all .h.s works praise him, should not his faints bless him ror this, the chief of his works and ways?
That the conversion of Gentile sinners,in gent ral, and of anv among ourselves in particular, nuy be considered as a partial acco'np'imment of our Lord's promise in the text, an hum; dial©,, ground ot praile to him for bring mindful of bis giace and truth, and a foundation of hope, that he will do as he ha.h sa d till the conversion of all the heirs of piomhe be tfscted: for he being a rock, his work mult be persist:. •, •
That Gentile convtrts of us should be concerned 16 pray much for the sarther accomplishment of this promise: The great numbers of fcnconvtrttd persons, evident from abounding infi'e'i'y' and wickedness; the restraints which sean to He t-pon the effusion of converting grace; together with the general indifference about the accomplishment of this promise which preTaiis, are not the only a.guauats; Their present £ -t incapacity incapacity of such a concern, who most need conVerting grace, and the insallibility of our Lord's promise, that even such persons shall he laved with this holy calling, are considerations of weight, and should have influence on your importunity in prayer. It is particularly worthy of notice, that the most remarkable seasons of conversion, wherewith the churches of the New Testament have been blessed, were generally preceded by an unusal diligence and servour in prayer. Should your concern be attended with success,-*-the conversion of others would be as lise from the dead ;—it would be as a new conversion to your own souls. And this would more especially hold, in as sar as those Who are nearest and dearest to you were made partakers, with their sellow-sinners of converting grace. Pray, therefore, for the effusion of the Holy Spirit upon others, as well as yourselves; —upon thoughtless sinners, as well as your sellow(aims;—upon the preachers, as well as hearers of the gospel;—that "the parched ground" nuy V become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of '* water."
The peculiar need that unconverted persons have to rouse, awake, and arise from the dead. .While you have access to the gospel, your conversion may take place; but if you believe not tlie report, your ruin must be inevitable. Ma"ny Gentiles have been apprehended by grace, whose outward advantages were not greater than yours. Since the commencement of the present Century, vast numbers, not only in Britain, and the United Provinces,—but America, have been observed to " fly as the clouds, and as doves to "their windows." Old, young, and little children, •,^-rich and poor.—learned and unkarned,—the openly prosane, and carnally secure,- - the Erhi••.,-' £ z ppians