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Lord fhall return, and come unto Zion with fongs, and everlasting joy upon their heads, &c. Ifa. xxv. 10.
(4.) We might confider this heavenly Canaan in its properties. It is another fort of inheritance than the earthly Canaan. 1. It is a glorious inheritance: It is glory itfelf; yea, an exceeding great and eternal weight of glory, 2 Cor. iv. 17. God, who is every where prefent, is there glorioufly. To make a weak allufion, the fun in the firmament is in this or that place, by his rays and beams; but in the firmament in a glorious manner: So God is here on earth in his grace, and the rays of his countenance; but in heaven in a glorious way, there the faints are indeed all glorious within and without both; their bodies glorious like unto Chrift's glorious body, when once they are raised; their fouls glorious, because perfect in holiness. 2. It is a beavenly inheritance, therefore called a heavenly kingdom (as I faid) in oppofition to earthly kingdoms. There the great King is heavenly, the fubjects are heavenly, the work is heavenly, the reward heavenly, the company heavenly, the converfe heavenly, all heavenly. 3. It is a purchased and promifed inheritance; called a purchafed poffeffion, Eph.
14. The crown is purchased, the throne purchafed, the robes purchased, and all purchased by the blood of the Lamb:; which makes them fing that melodious fong, worthy is the Lamb that was flain. And as it is purchased fo it is promised in Chrift before the world began, 2 Tim. i. 9. and Tit. i. 2. The earthly Canaan was a promifed land; they had it by promife made to Abraham firft, and in him to them: So is heaven promised to Chrift, and in him to all the fpiritual Ifrael. 4. It is an eternal inheritance, 1 Pet. i. 4. An inheritance incorruptible, un
defiled, and that fadeth not away. The earthly Canaan was but temporary, fubject to be laid defolate for the fins of the inhabitants thereof; and accordingly it was laid waste, and remains fo to this day: But the heavenly Canaan is an inheritance, that is not liable to corruption nor defilement, and therefore it fades not away. It cannot, like the former. be infested with enemies, or ill neighbours, nor with any plague or malady. The inhabitants of the land Shall not fay, I am fick. It is a place of perfect health, without any fickness; and a happy immortality, without any death, or fear of death: A bleft eternity; for when thousands, thousands, thousands of years are gone, their happiness is but beginning. Earthly kingdoms fade, and this world's monarchs die; but, in that everlasting kingdom, death is fwallowed up in victory. If it were to have an end after millions of years, it were enough to make them live in perplexity and trouble; but it is eternal and everlasting. There is a short description, from the word, of that heavenly Canaan.
THIRD HE A D.
The third thing is to show what nations of enemies and oppofitions are in the way to this heavenly Zion. See how many and mighty nations stood in the way of Ifrael's poffeffing the earthly Canaan, ver 1. of this chapter where our text lies. Seven nations greater and mightier than they: And, after they came to that land of promife, fome of these, nations were fuffered to dwell among them, particularly the Febufites, that were like prickles in their eyes, and thorns in their fides. And, in procefs of time, God stirred up other nations against
them, for just and holy caufes; as the Philistines, the Moabites, the Ammonites, that coafted near their dwelling; befides the Affyrians and Babylonians from remoter countries, that led them captive. And, befides outward enemies and foreign invafions, they were not a little vexed and difquieted with civil and inteftine diffentions: There was Saul's house against David's, and David's against Saul's; Ifrael against Judah, and Judah against Ifrael, Manaffes against Ephraim, and Ephraim against Manaffes; nations thus both without and within, and Now, in like manner, enemies on every fide. there are great and mighty nations that oppose the true Ifrael of God in their way to the heavenly Canaan above, and that hinder their peaceable poffeffion of any part of heaven that through grace they poffefs on earth. In allufion therefore to the feven nations here, that God caft out before Ifracl of old; I shall show seven of these nations of fpiritual enemies and oppofitions that are in the way to the heavenly Canaan, and that disturb the Ifrael of God in any begun poffeffion that they may have here through grace. I only premise, that as, in an outward fenfe, all nations of the earth proceed from one root and original, namely, the first man Adam; fo in a spiritual fenfe, moft part of all the nations that oppose our happiness do fpring from one root, and the grand root is original fin and natural corruption: Here is the great commander, that leads forth multitudes of nations of actual oppofitions against God, and the Ifrael of God that are bound for the heavenly Canaan. A body of fin and death is the fertile womb that brings forth fwarms in one day; yea, there (as it were) whole nations are born at once. But more particularly, there are these seDd VOL. II.
ven nations that oppofe and vex the Ifrael of God in their way to Canaan.
1. A nation of vain thoughts. We are by nature vain in our imaginations, Rom. i. 21. and these vain thoughts lodge within the walls of Jerusalem, fer. iv. 14. O Jerufalem, wash thine heart from wickedness; how long fhall vain thoughts lodge within thee? Thefe nations lodge within, and take bed and board of you, and eat up the fap of your fouls; therefore, when David fays, Pfal. cxix. 113. hate vain thoughts, he expreffes them with a word that fignifies the fprig and branch that grows in a tree, which draws the fap out of it, and makes it fruitless. Do you not find a nation of this fort fwarming about your heart every day, and every hour of the day? Yea, I am miftaken if these Philiftines have not been upon you, and if these nations have not been befetting you, and befieging your fouls in time of hearing, praying, communicating at this occafion; and I believe, they that are exercifed and bound for heaven, will find a need of almighty power to put out this nation before them, tho' there were no more: And indeed thefe vain thoughts are like the flying pofts to the reft of the nations that may be named. But then,
2. There is a nation of worldly cares, which Chrift compares to briars and thorns, that choke the feed of the word, Mark iv. 19. and Luke viii. 14. This nation goes under the name of frugality; but, if you look narrowly to its armour, you will find the motto thereof to be careful about many things, but neg. lecting the one thing neceffary: And yet this is fuch a powerful nation, that many people are fubdued by it, fo as they can do nothing but mind earthly things, and fo mifs heaven, and come fhort of falvation;
Yea, fuch is the power of this nation even over the Ifrael of God, that he is obliged in a manner to fmite them, and beat the world out of their heart with a rod of correction, Ifa. lvii. 17. For the iniquity of his covetousness was I wroth, and fmote him: Yea, the rod of God will not do it, till the grace of God efficaciously be exerted; I hid me, and was wroth; and yet he went on frowardly in the way of his beart: But fovereign powerful grace fteps in; I have feen his ways, and will heal him.
3. There is a nation of doubts and fears, and finful difcouragements, and unbelieving objections, Pfal. xlii. 6, 7. The foul is overfet and overwhelmed oft-times with thefe. They may well be compared unto a nation; they are fo many, that no fooner does a minifter begin to answer objections, but the unbelieving heart will raife a thousand more; and fo mighty, that there is no fubduing of them, till Chrift himself rebuke them, as he did the raging waves of the fea, with a word of power, and fo create a calm in the foul. This is a nation that rages, like the heathen fpoken of, Pfal. ii. and imagines many vain things against the Lord and his Anointed; but the Lord ftills the rage with the rod of his ftrength that he fends out of Zion, when he makes a people willing in the day of his power. He anfwers the doubts and objections of unbelief, and fills the fears and difcouragements of his people, either by a word of power let into the heart, fuch as that, Fear not, it is I; be not afraid: 0 thou of little faith, wherefore didft thou doubt? Or by a breathing of his fpirit, accompanying a word that is fpoken to the ear.
4. There is a nation of ungedly men from without, that alfo vex and oppofe the Ifrael of God in their