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THE EXCELLENCIES OF THE SAINTS' REST.
cludes with a serious address to the reader.
chapter, view those mansions, consider their pri- | to a great sinner, · Woman, why weepest thou ?' vileges, and see whether there be any glory like knows how to raise love and joy, without any unto this glory.
cloud of sorrow, or storm of tears. If any thing we enjoy was purchased with the life of our dearest friend, how highly should we value it?
If a dying friend deliver us but a token of his CHAPTER III.
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 will not then
the death and blood of our Lord everlastingly Sect. 1. The excellencies of the Saints' Rest are enumerated. 2. (1.) It is the purchased possession. 3, 4. (2.) A free gift. 5. 3.)
sweeten our possessed glory? As we write Peculiar to saints. 6. (4.) An association with saints and angels. down the price our goods cost us; so, on our 7. (5 ) It derives its joys immediately from God himself. 8. (6.) It will be seasonable. 9. (7.) Suitable. 10–12. (8.) Perfect without righteousness and glory, write down the price, sin and suffering. 13. (9.) And everlasting. 14. The chapter code the precious blood of Christ. His sufferings
were to satisfy the justice that required blood, 1. Let us draw a little nearer, and see what and to bear what was due to sinners, and so to further excellencies this rest affordeth. The restore them to the life they lost, and the hapLord hide us in the clefts of the rock, and cover piness they fell from. The work of Christ's reus with the hands of indulgent grace while demption so well pleased the Father, that he we approach to take this view! This rest is gave him power to advance his chosen, and gave excellent for being-a purchased possession,-a them the glory which was given to himself, and free gift,— peculiar to saints, an association all this according to his good pleasure, and the with saints and angels,--yet deriving its joys counsel of his own will.' immediately from God :—and because it will 3. (2.) Another pearl in the saints' diadem is, be a seasonable-suitable-perfect--and eternal that it is a free gift. These two, purchased and rest.
free, are the chains of gold which make up the 2. (1.) It is a most singular honour of the wreaths for the tops of the pillars in the temple saints' rest, to be called 'the purchased posses- of God. It was dear to Christ, but free to us. sion.' That is, the fruit of the blood of the When Christ was to buy, silver and gold were Son of God; yea, the chief fruit, the end, and nothing worth ; prayers and tears could not sufperfection of all the fruits and efficacy of that fice, nor any thing below his blood; but our blood. Greater love than this there is not, to buying is receiving; we have it freely, without lay down the life of the lover. And to have money, and without price. A thankful accepthis our Redeemer ever before our eyes, and the tance of a free acquittance, is no paying of the liveliest sense and freshest remembrance of that debt. Here is all free: if the Father freely give dying, bleeding love still upon our souls ! How the Son, and the Son freely pay the debt; and will it fill our souls with perpetual joy, to think, if God freely accepts that way of payment, when that in the streams of this blood we have swam he might have required it of the principal; and through the violence of the world, the snares if both Father and Son freely offer us the purof Satan, the seducements of Aesh, the curse chased life on our cordial acceptance, and if they of the law, the wrath of an offended God, the freely send the Spirit to enable us to accept ; accusations of a guilty conscience, and the what is here then that is not free?
O the evervexing doubts and fears of an unbelieving heart, lasting admiration that must needs surprise the and are arrived safe at the presence of God! saints to think of this freeness ! • What did the Now, he cries to us, Is it 'nothing to you, all Lord see in me, that he should judge me meet for ye that pass by ? behold, and see if there be any such a state? That I, who was but a poor, dissorrow like unto my sorrow! and we scarce eased, despised wretch, should be clad in the regard the mournful voice, nor scarce turn aside brightness of this glory! That I, a creeping worm, to view the wounds. But then our perfected should be advanced to this high dignity! That I, souls will feel, and flame in love for love. With who was but lately groaning, weeping, dying, what astonishing apprehensions will redeemed should now be as full of joy as my heart can hold! saints everlastingly behold their blessed Re- 1 yea, should be taken from the grave, where I was deemer! the purchaser, and the price, together rotting, and from the dust and darkness, where with the possession! Neither will the view of seemed forgotten, and be here set before his his wounds of love, renew our wounds of sorrow. throne! That I should be taken, with Mordecai, He, whose first words after his resurrection were from captivity, and be set next unto the king ; and, with Daniel, from the den, to be made ruler to no other of all the sons of men.
If all Egypt of princes and provinces! Who can fathom un- had leen light, the Israelites would not have had measurable love? If worthiness were our con. the less ; but to enjoy that light alone, while their dition for admittance, we might sit down and neighbours lived in thick darkness, must make weep with St John, · Because no man was found them more sensible of their privilege. Distinworthy.
But the Lion of the tribe of Judah is guishing mercy affects more than any mercy. If worthy, and hath prevailed ;' and by that title we Pharaoh had passed as safely as Israel, the Red must hold the inheritance. We shall offer there | Sea would have been less remembered. If the the offering that David refused, even praise for rest of the world had not been drowned, and the that which cost us nothing. Here our commis-, rest of Sodom and Gomorrah not burned, the sion runs, · Freely ye have received, freely give;' saving of Noah had been no wonder, nor Lot's but Christ has dearly bought, yet freely gives. deliverance so much talked of. When one is
4. If it were only for nothing, and without our enlightened, and another left in darkness; one merit, the wonder were great ; but it is moreover reformed, and another by his lust enslaved; it against our merit, and against our long endea- makes the saints cry out, · Lord, how is it that vouring our own ruin. What an astonishing thou wilt manifest thyself unto us and not unto thought it will be, to think of the unmeasurable the world? When the prophet is sent to one difference between our deservings and receivings! widow only of all that were in Israel, and to Between the state we should have been in, and cleanse one Naaman of all the lepers, the mercy the state we are in! To look down upon hell, is more observable. That will surely be a day and see the vast difference that grace hath made of passionate sense on both sides, when there between us and them! To see the inheritance shall be two in one bed, and two in the field, the there, which we were born to, so different from one taken and the other left. The saints shall that which we are adopted to! What pangs of look down upon the burning lake, and in the love will it cause within us to think, “Yonder sense of their own happiness, and in the approwas the place that sin would have brought me to, bation of God's just proceedings, they shall but this is it that Christ hath brought me to! rejoice and sing, “Thou art righteous, O Lord, Yonder death was the wages of my sin, but this who wast, art, and shalt be, because thou hast eternal life is the gift of God, through Jesus judged thus. Christ my Lord! Who made me to differ? Had 6. (4.) But though this rest be proper to the I not now been in those flames, if I had had my saints, yet it is common to all the saints; for it own way, and been let alone to my own will ? | is an association of blessed spirits, both saints Should I not have lingered in Sodom, till the and angels; a corporation of perfected saints, fames had seized on me, if God had not in mercy whereof Christ is the head; the communion of brought me out ?" Doubtless this will be our saints completed. As we have been together in everlasting admiration, that so rich a crown the labour, duty, danger, and distress: so shall should fit the head of so vile a sinner ! That we be in the great recompense and deliverance. such high advancement, and such long unfruitful- As we have been scorned and despised, so shall ness and unkindness, can be the state of the same we be owned and honoured together. We, who person! And that such vile rebellions can con- have gone through the day of sadness, shall enclude in such most precious joys ! But, no thanks joy together that day of gladness. Those, who to us, nor to any of our duties and labours, much have been with us in persecution and prison, less to our neglects and laziness: we know to shall be with us also in that palace of consolation. whom the praise is due, and must be given for How oft have our groans made, as it were, one ever. Indeed to this very end it was, that In- sound? our tears one stream ? and our desires finite Wisdom cast the whole design of man's one prayer ? But now all our praises shall make salvation into this mould of purchase and free- up one melody; all our churches, one church ; ness, that the love and joy of man might be per- and all ourselves, one body: for we shall all be fected, and the honour of grace most highly ad- one in Christ; even as he and the Father are one. vanced ; that the thought of merit might neither it is true, we must be careful, not to look for cloud the one nor obstruct the other; and that on that in the saints, which is alone in Christ. But these two hinges the gate of heaven might turn. if the forethought of sitting down with Abraham, So, then, let DESERVED be written on the door and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven, of hell, but on the door of heaven and life, THE may be our lawful joy; how much more the real
sight and actual possession ? It cannot choose 5. (3.) This rest is peculiar to saints, belongs but be comfortable to think of that day, when we
shall join with Moses in his song, with David in because they have all more immediately from his psalms of praise, and with all the redeemed God himself. Not that we should cast off hearin the song of the Lamb for ever; when we shall ing, reading, and conference, or neglect any orsee Enoch walking with God ; Noah enjoying dinance of God; but to live above them, while the end of his singularity; Joseph of his integ- we use them, is the way of a Christian. There rity ; Job of his patience; Hezekiah of his up- is joy in these remote receivings; but the fulness rightness; and all the saints the end of their faith. of joy is in God's immediate presence. We shall Not only our old acquaintance, but all the saints, then have light without a candle, and perpetual of all ages, whose faces in the flesh we never day without the sun; for “the city has no need saw, we shall there both know and comfortably of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it; enjoy. Yea, angels as well as saints, will be our for the glory of God lightens it, and the Lamb blessed acquaintance. Those who now are will- is the light thereof: there shall be no night there, ingly our ministering spirits, will willingly then and they need no candle, neither light of the sun ; be our companions in joy. They, who had such and they shall reign for ever and ever. We joy in heaven for our conversion, will gladly re- shall then have enlightened understandings withjoice with us in our glorification. Then we out Scripture, and be governed without a written shall truly say, as David, 'I am a companion of law; for the Lord will perfect his law in our all them that fear thee;' when we are come hearts, and we shall be all perfectly taught of unto mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God. We shall have joy, which we drew not God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innum- from the promises, nor fetched home by faith or erable company of angels: to the general assem- hope. We shall have communion without sacrably, and church of the first-born, who are written ments, without this fruit of the vine, when Christ in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to shall drink it new with us in his Father's kingdom, spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the and refresh us with the comforting wine of immeMediator of the new covenant.' It is a singular diate enjoyment. To have necessities, but no excellence of heavenly rest, that we are fellow- supply, is the case of them in bell. To have citizens with the saints, and of the household of necessity supplied by means of the creatures, is God'
the case of us on earth. To have necessity sup7. (5.) As another property of our rest, we plied immediately from God, is the case of the shall derive its joys immediately from God. saints in heaven. To have no necessity at all, Now we have nothing at all immediately, but at is the prerogative of God himself. the second or third hand, or how many, who 8. (6.) A farther excellence of this rest is, that knows? From the earth, from man, from sun it will be seasonable. He that expects the fruit and moon, from the ministration of angels, and of his vineyard at the season, and makes his from the Spirit, and Christ. Though in the hand people “like a tree planted by the rivers of water, of angels, the streams savour not of the imper- that bringeth forth his fruit in his season,' will fection of sinners, yet it does of the imperfection also give them the crown in his season. He that of creatures; and as it comes from man, it sa- will have a word of joy spoken in season, to hin vours of both. How quick and piercing is the that is weary, will surely cause the time of joy word in itself! Yet many times it never enters, to appear in the fittest season. They who are being managed by a feeble arm. What weight not weary in well-doing, shall, if they faint not, and worth is there in every passage of the blessed reap in due season. If God giveth rain even to gospel! Enough, one would think, to enter and his enemies, both the former and the latter in his pierce the dullest soul, and wholly possess its season, and reserveth the appointed weeks of thoughts and affections; and yet how oft does it harvest, and covenants that there shall be day fall as water upon a stone! The things of God, and night in their season; then surely the gloriwhich we handle, are divine ; but our manner of ous harvest of the saints shall not miss its season. handling is human. There is little we touch, Doubtless he that would not stay a day longer but we leave the print of our fingers behind. than his promise, but brought Israel out of Egypt If God speak the word himself, it will be a pier- on the self-same day, when the four hundred and cing, melting word indeed. The Christian now thirty years were expired; neither will he fail knows by experience, that his most immediate of one day or hour of the fittest season for his joys are his sweetest joys ; which have least of people's glory. When we have had in this world inan, and are most directly from the Spirit; a long night of darkness, will not the day-breaking Christians, who are much in secret prayer and and the rising of the Sun of Righteousness, be contemplation, are men of greatest life and joy, then seasonable? When we have passed a long
and tedious journey, through no small dangers, | full satisfaction. Christian, this is a rest after is not home then seasonable ? When we have thy own heart; it contains all thy heart can wish; had a long and perilous war, and received many that which thou longest, prayest, labourest for, a wound, would not a peace with victory be there thou shalt find it all. Thou hadst rather seasonable ? Men live in a continual weariness; have God in Christ, than all the world: there thou especially the saints, who are most weary of that shalt have him. What wouldest thou not give which the world cannot feel : some weary of a for assurance of his love? There thou shalt have blind mind; some of a hard heart ; some of their assurance without suspicion. Desire what thou daily doubts and fears; some of the want of canst, and ask what thou wilt, as a Christian, and spi.it ral joys; and some of the sense of God's it shall be given thee, not only to half of the king. wrath. And when a poor Christian hath desired dom, but to the enjoyment both of kingdom and and prayed, and waited for deliverance many King. This is a life of desire and prayer, but years, is it not then seasonable? We grudge that is a life of satisfaction and enjoyment.— This that we do not find a Canaan in the wilderness, rest is very suitable to the saints' necessities also, or the songs of Zion in a strange land ; that we as well as to their natures and desires. It conhave not a harbour in the main ocean, nor our tains whatsoever they truly wanted; not supplyrest in the heat of the day, nor heaven before ing them with gross created comforts, which like we leave the earth; and would not all this be Saul's armour on David, are more burden than very unseasonable ?
benefit. It was Christ and perfect holiness which 9. (7.) As this rest will be seasonable, so it they most needed, and with these shall they be will be suitable. The new nature of the saints supplied. doth suit their spirits to this rest. Indeed their 10. (8.) Still more, this rest will be absolutely holiness is nothing else but a spark taken from perfect. We shall then have joy without sorrow, this element, and by the Spirit of Christ kindled and rest without weariness. There is no mixture in their hearts ; the flame whereof, mindful of its of corruption with our graces, nor of suffering own divine original, ever tends to the place from with our comfort. There are none of those waves whence it comes. Temporal crowns and king- in that harbour, which now so toss us up and doms could not make a rest for saints. As they down. To-day we are well, to-morrow sick ; towere not redeemed with so low a price, neither dıy in esteem, to-morrow in disgrace ; to-day are they endued with so low a nature. As God we have friends, to-morrow none; nay, we have will have from them a spiritual worship, suited wine and vinegar in the same cup. If revelation to his own spiritual being, he will provide them raise us to the third heaven, the messenger of a spiritual rest, suitable to their spiritual nature. Satan must presently buffet us, and the thorn in The knowledge of God and his Christ, a delight- the flesh fetch us down. But there is none of ful complacency in that mutual love, an everlast- this inconstancy in heaven. If perfect love casting rejoicing in the enjoyment of our God, with a eth out fear, then perfect joy must needs cast out perpetual singing of his high praises: this is a sorrow, and perfect happiness exclude all the heaven for a saint. Then we shall live in our own relics of misery. We shall there rest from all element. We are now as the fish in a vessel of the evil of sin, and of suffering. 11. Heaven water, only so much as will keep them alive; but excludes nothing more directly than sin, whether what is that to the ocean? We have a little air let of nature or of conversation. • There shall in nointo us, to afford us breathing; but what is that to wise enter any thing that defileth, neither whatthe sweet and fresh gales upon Mount Sion? We soever worketh abomination or maketh a lie.' have a beam of the sun to lighten our darkness, What need Christ at all to have died, if heaven and a warm ray to keep us from freezing; but could have contained imperfect souls ? "For this then we shall live in its light, and be revived by purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he its heat for ever.—As the natures of saints are, might destroy the works of the devil. His blood such are their desires; and it is the desires of our and Spirit have not done all this, to leave us after renewed nature which this rest is suited to. all defiled. • What communion hath light with Whilst our desires remain corrupted and mis- darkness? and what concord hath Christ with guided, it is a far greater mercy to deny them, Belial ? Christian, if thou be once in heaven, yea, to destroy them, than to satisfy them; but thou shalt sin no more. Is not this glad news to those which are spiritual are of his own planting, thee, who kast prayed, and watched against it so and he will surely water them, and give the in- long? I know, if it were offered to thy choice, thou crease. He quickened our hunger and thirst for wouldst rather choose to be freed from sin, than righteousness, that he might make us happy in a have all the world. Thou shalt have thy de
sire. That hard heart, those vile thoughts, which his waves. But that blessed day shall convince accompanied thee to every duty, shall now be us, that though God hid his face from us for a left behind for ever.—Thy understanding shall moment, yet with everlasting kindness will he never more be troubled with darkness. All dark have mercy on us. We shall rest from all the Scriptures shall be made plain; all seeming con- temptations of Satan. What a grief is it to a tradictions reconciled. The poorest Christian Christian, though he yield not to the temptation, is presently there a more perfect divine than any yet to be solicited to deny his Lord! What a here. O that happy day, when error shall vanish torment, to have such horrid motions made to his for ever! When our understanding shall be filled soul! such blasphemous ideas presented to his with God himself, whose light will leave no dark- imagination! Sometimes cruel thoughts of God, ness in us! His face shall be the Scripture, undervaluing thoughts of Christ, unbelieving where we shall read the truth. Many a godly thoughts of Scripture, or injurious thoughts of man hath here, in his mistaken zeal, been a Providence! To be tempted sometimes to turn means to deceive and pervert his brethren, and to present things, to play with the baits of sin, when he sees his own error, cannot again tell and venture on the delights of esh, and somehow to undeceive them. But there we shall con- times to atheism itself! Especially, when we spire in one truth, as being one in him who is know the treachery of our own hearts, ready, as the truth.—We shall also rest from all the sin tinder, to take fire, as soon as one of those sparks of our will, affection, and conversation. We shall fall upon them! Satan hath power here to shall no
more retain this rebelling principle, tempt us in the wilderness, but he entereth not which is still drawing us from God: no more be the holy city: he may set us on a pinnacle of oppressed with the power of our corruptions, nor the temple in the earthly Jerusalem, but the new vexed with their presence: no pride, passion, Jerusalem he may not approach ; he may take slothfulness, insensibility, shall enter with us; us up into an exceeding high mountain, but the no strangeness to God, and the things of God; Mount Sion he cannot ascend; and if he could, no coldness of affections, nor imperfection in all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of our love; no uneven walking, nor grieving of them, would be a despised bait to a soul possessed the Spirit ; no scandalous action, nor unholy con- of the kingdom of our Lord. No, it is in vain versation : we shall rest from all these for ever. for Satan to offer a temptation more.
All our Then shall our will correspond to the divine will, temptations from the world and the Aesh shall as face answers face in a glass, and from which, also cease. O the hourly dangers that we here as our law and rule, we shall never swerve. • For walk in! Every sense and member is a snare ; he that is entered into his rest, he also hath every creature, every mercy, and every duty is ceased from his own works, as God did from a snare to us. We can scarce open our eyes, but his.'
we are in danger of envying those above us, or 12. Our sufferings were but the consequences despising those below us ; of coveting the hoof our sinning, and in heaven they both shall cease nours and riches of some, or beholding the rags together. We shall rest from all our doubts off and beggary of others with pride and unmerciGod's love. It shall no more be said, that fulness. If we see beauty, it is a bait to lust ; Doubts are like the thistle, a bad weed, but if deformity, to loathing and disdain. How growing in good ground.' They shall now be soon do slanderous reports, vain jests, wanton weeded out, and trouble the gracious soul no speeches, creep into the heart! How constant
We shall hear that kind of language no and strong a watch does our appetite require ! more, • What shall I do to know my state? How Have we comeliness and beauty? What fuel shall I know that God is my Father ? that my for pride! Are we deformed ? What an occaheart is upright ? that my conversion is true ? ision of repining! Have we strength of reason, that faith is sincere? I am afraid my sins are and gifts of learning ? () how prone to be unpardoned ; that all I do is hypocrisy; that puffed up, hunt after applause, and despise our God will reject me; that he does not hear my brethren! Are we unlearned? How apt then prayers. All this is there turned into praise. to despise what we have not ! Are we in places We shall rest from all sense of God's displea- of authority ? How strong is the temptation to sure. Hell shall not be mixed with heaven. At abuse our trust, make our will our law, and cut times the gracious soul remembered God, and out all the enjoyments of others by the rules and was troubled; complained, and was overwhelmed, model of our own interest and policy! Are we and refused to be comforted; divine wrath lay inferiors ? How prone to grudge at other's prehard upon him, and God afflicted him with all l eminence, and bring their actions to the bar of