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harmony, and love. Here we had a foretaste of heaven; the kingdom of God was opened in our souls. Let us again suppose ourselves transported into the immediate presence of God, and filled with the riches ot his grace; our whole souls completely transformed into his image, so that there is not a shred of any thing unholy lelt in the mind; that evil nature, which was our plague and curse while here upon earth, is clean gone for ever, and the divine nature is so richly and abundantly communicated, that we resemble God himself, in as high a degree as creatures like us, can possibly do. Here then we are happy indeed! Happy far beyond description! Happy beyond all conception, and that through the countless ages of eternity.
4. Once more: Let us recollect, if we can, how it was with us, when the light of God's countenance shone the brightest upon us, and when we enjoyed the closest communion with him; when we found free access to his throne, and received the largest and the most sensible supplies of the riches of his grace: were we not then as happy as our hearts could wish, and did we not say, "Surely this is the gate of heaven?" Did not our enraptured spirits long to take their everlasting flight? and was not this the very language of our hearts,
"O would he more of heaven bestow,
"And let the vessel break,
"To grasp the God they seek.
"Who bought the sight for me,
"To all eternity."
Let us again mount up to the throne of God, and consider ourselves as no longer walking in the light of his countenance, through the medium of faith; though that is glorious: No longer beholding as.in a glass the glory of the Lord, though it is truly blessed so to do; but we rise infinitely higher: We see the king in his beauty, we possess the land which was once afar; off,. we\see the Lord himself, eye to eye and face to face. No: interposing veil now: That is rem6ved for-ever, arid wecrijoy what the human mind cannot fully conceive, even the presence of God in his temple above, and sing one everlasting song of praise and thanksgiving, to him who hath loved us and saved us, for ever and ever. ,:,£. Let us, if we pas, endeavour to remember how we were affected, and how gratitude filled our wholesouls, after any remarkable deliverance from some imminent danger 'which threatened us, or from some great and sore affliction of body or mind, which we had laboured under. At such a time, and on such an occasion, did we not feel what is not to be expressed, and what no one can form any idea of, but those who have felt the same? But that our happiness may be complete, let us take our flight to heaven, and consider ourselves everlastingly delivered from all danger, being saved by the immediate hand of God, from the flaming pit of destruction: We see the hell we have, through the abounding mercy of God, escaped: We see all the wrath, and curse, and eternal vengeance, which were our just due; but we are saved from them for ever! Here we fall down before the throne, overwhelmed with sacred gratitude; we cast our crowns at the feet of our Redeemer; we are lost in wonder, love, and praise! We sing hallelujah to God and the Lamb with all the redeemed of the Lord, through one eternal day.
We may add to the above, the holy society we are united to, the angels of God, the ancient patriarchs, the holy prophets and apostles, the martyrs and confessors of Christ our Saviour, our Christian friends and acquaintance; yea, the faithful ministers of Christ, who brought us to God, and our own near and dear relations. With these we shall sweetly and solemnly join, in singing the Song of Moses and the Lamb, through the boundless ages of eternity.
But when we have said all we can upon the subject, we must still say with an Apostle, "Eye hath not seen, nor the ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man to conceive, what God hath prepared for them who love him." However this we know, that it is inexpressibly, yea, inconceivably great and glorious; but we must die, in order fully to know: " For it does not yet appear what we shall be!"
The last of these wonderful promises runs thus, " And no good thing will God withhold from them that walk uprightly."
Here we have all the blessings of God contained in one single promise. Temporal, spiritual, and eternal good things, are doubtless included in these gracious words. God himself can promise no more, and the most enlarged heart can desire no more: For what can the Lord promise more, than that every good thing shall be ours? What can we desire, but (hat he should make good his faithful word? Thus possessing every good thipg, we may glorify God upon earth, and then enjoy him for ever in heaven. May this be the happy poriion of us all: Even so, Lord.Jesus. Amen,
How may we be Assured of everlasting Salvation,
Hebrews xiii 28.
Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace whereby we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear.
IT is evidently the design of the Apostle, in this chapter^ to make the believing Hebrews more fully sensible of the excellency of the Gospel Dispensation above that of the Law, and of the greatness of the spiritual privileges which they nowenjoyed. In this respect, how much more highly favoured they were than their fathers, who lived and died before life and immortality were brought to light by the Gospel. "Ye are not come," saith the Apostle, " to the mount which might be touched, and to blackness, and darkness, and tempest, and to the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words, which they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: For they could not endure that which was commanded; and if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight, that Moses himself said, "I exceedingly fear and quake." It is evident that the Apostle is speaking here of that terrible and glorious transaction of God, his giving the law to Moses, upon Mount Sinai, when fear and trembling fell upon the whole congregation. When the people saw the dreadful 1'ightnings, heard the terrible thunders, and found the mountain itself to tremble, they removed and stood at a great distance; for they could not stand before the holiness and purity of that law. And Moses himself, who on other occasions, could speak, face to face with God, as a man speaks, with his friend; yet when the law was given, like the rest of the people, he also was filled with fear and dread. "But ye," saith the Apostle, "are come to Mount Sion, not to Mount Sinai; to the mount of blessing, not of cursing; to the heavenly, not to the earthly Jerusalem; to an innumerable company of angels, who are all ministering spirits, sent out to minister to the heirs of salvation; to the general assembly and church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven;" so that you are West with communion and fellowship with them: "And to God the Judge of all, who is now your father and friend; and above all, to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant; and to the blood of sprinkling, which speaketh better things than the blood of Abel. Seeing you are so highly favoured, see to it that ye- refuse not him that speaketh; for if they escaped not who refused him who spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn from him who speaketh from heaven: Whose voice then, when the law was given, shook the earth; but he hath said, Y-et once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven: and this word, once more, signifieth, the removing of those things which are shaken, as of things which are made, that those things which cannot be shaken, may remain." Here it seems as if the Apostle looked to the time of the dissolution of all things, when heaven and earth shall pass away, and when the new heavens and the new earth shall take place, and the saints of the Most High God shall take the kingdom, and reign therein for ever and ever. And now might the Apostle have said, Seeing that we expected to enjoy that kingdom, which shall endure forever; that we may not be disappointed of our hope, let us take care that we experience such a measure of grace, as may enable us to serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear. From these words, we may enquire,
First, What is that grace which we are here advised to have?
Secondly, How we in the exercise of it may serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear?
Thirdly, The certainty of our enjoying that kingdom, which never can be moved, if we serve God acceptably, while here below.
Andjirst, What is that grace we are here advised to have?
The word grace has a very agreeable sound; we always annex a pleasing idea thereto; and it is certain, that something exceeding good is always meant thereby; but it is equally certain, that although this word is very commonly used by all sorts of religious people, yet we shall find, that it is not always well understood. Indeed the word is not always used in the same sense, by the inspired writers themselves; but it ,
is a word of different acceptations. The word grace signifies favour, "Let me find favour, or grace, in thy sight;" and when applied to the blessed God, it signifies, his favour or good-will; or his inconceivable love towards mankind, when lying in the ruins of the fall; that love of pity wherewith he loved us, which moved him to give his only-begotten Son, to bleed and die upon the tree, in order to redeem and save a
lost ami ruined world. Thus saith our Lord, " God'so-loved the world, that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeib in him, should not perish, but have everlasting life." The Apostle uses the word grace in this sense, where he says, "That in the ages to come, he might make known unto the Gentiles, the exceeding riches of his grace, in his kindness towards us, through Christ Jesus;" that is, it was the mercu ful design o£ God, in every succeeding age of the world, till time itself shall be no more, to make known, by the preaching of the Gospel to the Gentile nations, the exceeding greatness of bis mercy and love, manifested in the gift of his well-beloved Son, as a Redeemer. When we understand the word grace in this sense, then it is doubtless the fountain and spring of all our mercies, temporal, spiritual, and eternal, they all freely flow to us from the unmerited mercy and love oi God, in Christ Jesus: And accordingly we may say, with the greatest degree of truth, that our present and eternal salvation springs from the infinite, unbounded, inconceivable love of God the Father, who gave his only-begotten Son to die for us, that a way might be opened, in which his mercy and love might freely flow to us, lost and ruined sinners: A way consistent with all his infinite perfections, that he might still be just and yet justify the ungodly, who believe in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ; a way in which he might fully manifest his displeasure against sin, and yet open a door of mercy and salvation,- to all who are willing to return to him: So that in Christ, God's greatest gift to man, we see mercy and truth meeting together, and righteousness and peace sweetly embracing each other.
2. But by Grace, we sometimes understand the Dispensation of Grace, or the Gospel Dispensation, that particular method of salvation, which under the Gospel, the infinitely wise and blessed God has fixed upon. In this sense the Apostle uses the word, when he opposes salvation by works, and salvation by grace, the one to the other, and says, "If it be of grace, then it is no more of works; and if it be of works, then it is-no more of grace:" He here teaches us, that a person cannot be saved partly by grace, and partly by his own works; but that if any one will seek to be saved by works, if lie depend upon them, and make works the foundation of his hope; then he can have no benefit from the grace of God, but renounces all interest therein. And on the other hand, if, 3 person sensible of his lost and ruined state, seek to be s#ved by the free-grace ot God in Christ Jesus, he entirely renounces all trust and confidence, all dependence upon his