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Dearer the access they get to God, and the more they enjoy, as men or Christians, they lie so much the lower in the dust of felf-denial and condempation. Duties humble them, because of the ble. mishes with which they are attended :-Croftes humble them, because they are all, in their view, infinitely less than their iniquities deserve: ---Comforts humble them, because, of the very deaft mercy, they see themselves to be utterly unworthy :---Views of the divine glory humble them, because they find themselves to unlike God :--Views of their own hearts and ways humble them, because they appear inexpressibly vain and vile :--In one word, the farther insight into the things of God, and conformity to him they acquire,.. they are at the greater lofs for a place or posture low enough for them to lie down in his fight. . . 1. The centurion had honourable thoughts of our
Lord's power and authority ;-• Day, was persuaded, that saves were not more obfequious to their owners, nor soldiers to their commanders, than diseases to the bare word of Jesus Christ : " fay " to this man, (faid the believing officer) Go, and $6 he goeth ; and to another, Come, and he cometh; " and to my fervant, Do this, and he doth it,” verf. 8, 9. When Hypocrites are wholly at cale, and pressed neither with outward fightings nor inward fears, they may talk of their confidence in God, and Aatter themselves, that their views of his power and other perfections are both honourable and liberal; but they are no froner brought into (traits, and reduced to extremity,... no sooner overtaken by gults of temptation, and surcharged with the billows of affliction, than hard thoughts of God are entertained,...his truth is suspected,-his power doubted of, and his love hamefully called in question... Whereas those of the centuriK4
on's excellent spirit never have higher thoughts of the divine attributes, than when their circuinstances call most for the exertion of them.--. When the view of their own ignorance, weakness, and unworthiness rises,...the view of God's wisdom, power, and sovereignty swells in their eye... Nay, that the glory of divine power may be the more Mining, they sometimes exult in their very weaknesses and imperfections: “Most gladly (said an “ eminent faint) will I glory in my infirmities, " that the power of Christ may relt upon me,” 2 Cor. xi. 9. . . 3. Is there fuch a thing as the kingdom of heaven and of God? Is there such a consummate felicity in reserve for the heirs of promise? Then fee,
That this present is not the abiding state of faints. Now, they are only minors, in the life of grace ---but hastening toward majority in the life of glory ;---at a distance from their Father's house,--. but bound for Emmanuel's land, where their man fions are prepared ;--- soldiers under the banner of Christ, .-. but sure of the victory in due time ; --. prisoners in houses of clay,--. but the day haftens when these prison-doors will burst open, and those ransomed souls get leave to depart ia prace. They are subject at present, to numberless diseases, and nameless disasters; but, by and by, they shall be where the inhabitants do not,.-. where they cannot say they are sick. Many of them are now in penurious circumstances as to thcir bodies, and groaning under manifold wants with regard to their fouls; but, ere long, their whole wants shall be supplied, all their treasures filled, and their cup made eternally to run over. They frequently meet with ditrefpect at present,
and contempt from foes,.--and sometimes from friends themselves; but when that which is perfect takes place, they shall appear in their true light, as heirs of the heavenly kingdom, and be treated as becomes the children of such a king. In their characters and interests, they may now be opprefsed, by the men who are God's hand, without be. ing able to vindicate or extricate them elves; but then, their righteousness shall break forth as the light, and their judgment as the noon day :--When the morn of glory dawns, these riglateous ones shall have dominion over the wicked. "
What then, believers, though your present state be extremely mixed, and the diiferent periods of life chequered with trials and temptations, since better things are provided and secured for you?
That in as far as motives arising from interest can weigh, or ambition be roused by all that is great and good, we should be prevailed with to set our affections upon and bend our course to. ward the heavenly, the better country. Has the Father promised, the Son purchased, and the Holy Ghost by the gospel exhibited the conveyance of this kingdom, is this conveyance exhibited to finaers, finners of mankind, the chief of them not excepted? Who then would not afpire after a lot and part in this matter ? O that every one muy now fay for himself, Whatever I have formerly been and done, whatever my fellow singers bink of doing, I cannot any longer resist the heavenly call ; whether, therefore, the former heirs of th: kingdom have gone, I am now (blessed be the God of my salvation) determined to go; their people. fall henceforth be my people, and their Gol, iny God. 4. Is it so, that Gentile converts Thall fit do vid K 5
among ol patriarchs and also becomem,"
with the patriarchs and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God? Then see
That, as there will be a most iotimate commu. nion among glorified saints, the - knowlege and experiences of patriarchs and prophets, will become yours; while yours shall also become theirs. The history of their warfare and salvation, their trial and triumph; the history of God's dealings with them in their respective conversions, his dealings with them through the life of grace, and through the valley of death; the history of their duings and sufferings in the wilderness, their downcasiags and up-liftings; the history, in one word, of their access to the kingdom of God, together with the holy surprise, rapture, and delight, the first view of Emmanuel gave them; the history of these things from their own mouths, as all tending to exalt the riches of fovereign grace, will be vastly entertaining, singularly refreshing to you. Nor will it be less joyous and transporting, to have an opportunity, of recounting the labours of your own feet, and telling the patriarchs and prophets, with your whole other ransomed friends, under what obligations to the same grace you yourselves are laid. Are such communications as these delightful to Christians on earth? And shall they Dot much more be so in heaven! See further
That true Chriftians part with one another at death to meet again. You have poslibly mourn. ed over the loss of Christian friends and acquaintance time after time :-But you need not sorrow as they who have no hope; for there is nothing between them and you, but the vail of clay, which fhall no sooner be rent in twain, than your acquaintance and friendship Thall be renewed, with im. provements which are inconceivable at present, improvements which are peculiar to that exalted state of things. Holy parents, for instance, and children, believing husbands and wives, --masters and servants,-pastors and people, who were heirs of the grace of life, shall meet together in the temple,--at the table above, without the fear or most distant possibility of being separated any more for ever. Should not this hope reconcile us to the loss even of such relatives or companions as were most comforting and useful?-especially since your temporary lofs is the dawn of their everlasting gain,--and since of their gain also you shall foon partake Lift up your heads, therefore, and rejoice, because your redemption will draw near: And see .. . **
That you who continue in an unregenerated fate, are not so much as in the way to the king. dom of heaven. If you prefer the society of the wicked to that of the godly, and conference upon uselefs or figful topics, to that of a serious and fpiritual nature ;--if the duties of religion wherein holy souls delight, are an intolerable burden to you; if the devotional life is considered as enthui' afm, the strictness of the Christian walk as grin.ice and hypocrisy; and if you reckon the one and other of these no better than fruits of. weakness or wickedness, delusion or design :-if that be the cafe now, you certainly belong not to the fpiritual commonwealth ; and thould you die in chat State of mind, it is impossible to imagine you can have any fellowship with the patriarchs and pro'phets in Emmanuel's better land.
Consequently, in hoping to get to heaven whil: you remain in the gall of bitterness, you impofe upon, and fatally deceive yourselves. Either heaven must be a different place, -- the heirs of it different persons,--and their employmenis in it of a different quality, from what the holy fcriptures