« AnteriorContinuar »
to be sure God will not lose his earnest, or throw it into hell.
4. Saints shall be gathered together to Christ, because they are all included in the same bond of the everlasting covenant; it is called the “bond of the covenant;" and by this covenant all the saints become “one stick in the Lord's hand.” Suppose abundance of twigs be bound up together, yet they all make up but one bundle, many stones make but one building, many inhabitants make but one city or kingdom. All saints are fellow citizens; God will not part them either in this or in the other world. Sincere and persevering souls, shall all meet before the throne, to sing hallelujahs with harmonious melody. All the saints through the world are children of the same father, God; yea, they that “are of faith, are children of Abraham,”* in a spiritual sense ; one “household of faithfellow heirs of the same body-fellow servants-brethren in Christ, faithful brethren-fellow citizens with the saints--and of the household of God. Such special relations call for this congregating: no doubt they must be gathered together at last.
INFERENCES DRAWN FROM THE PRECEDING DIS
CUSSION ON THE SUBJECT OF SAINTS BEING
The improvement I shall make of this subject shall be first, for information in these ten inferences:
* Ezek. xx. 37. xxxvii. 17. Eph. ii. 19—22. Gal. üi. 7. + Gal. vi. 10. Eph. iii. 6. Col. 1. 7. i. 2. Eph. ii. 19.
1. That God is omniscient and omnipotent. Known “unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world,” Acts xv. 18. He is infinite in knowledge and wisdom, he takes account of the meanest creatures, and is of infinite power to gather them up; these are the Lord's people, and his inheritance, which he hath redeemed by his "mighty power and stretched out arm,” Deut. ix. 29. As God brought his Israel out of Egypt, so he exerted the same power in bringing them into Canaan, and the same power that converted sinners, will also save them; for they are “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation,” 1 Pet. i. 5.
2. That Jesus Christ is a complete Saviour. He 6 is able to save to the uttermost,” Heb. vii. 25, els tò Tavtedès, every way, to all intents and purposes, soul and body, in all cases, difficulties, and conditions, and under all dispensations. Yet it hath a further meaning; he is able to save totally, finally, perfectly, and perpetually, so as none shall need to come after him, to finish what he hath begun; yet further, he saves, so as he shall never cease to be a Saviour to all eter. nity: for, though he finished his suffering on earth, and his crowning work will terminate at the great day of judgment, yet felicity will emanate from him, through the ages of eternity; as he shall be looked on as the author, so he will be the medium of their happiness, and embrace them in the arms of his love for evermore.
3. That death is not terrible to a gracious person. It is true, to nature it may well be called “the king of terrors ;'* it is a dissolving of this compound, man; but it is the shell and clothing of the soul that is laid by, an elementary composition that is dissolved, the soul is thereby set at liberty and takes its flight into
* Job xviii. 14.
another world, a world of spirits; a better state than here: death is but a bridge, a porter that opens the door to heaven. Christ hath deprived death of his sting, perfumed the grave, and made it a means of manumission into the blessed society of God, angels, and saints, thousands better than we are gone; who are we to be exempted? It is no untrodden path, our best friends are above, let us not be afraid to follow them.
4. That heaven is a capacious place. All the saints in the old testament are gone thither, and millions, in new testament days, have ascended to glory, “a hundred and forty-four thousand of all the tribes of Israel,” and a “great multitude which no man could number," Rev, vii. 4,9. Moses and Elias came from heaven at Christ's transfiguration ; Abraham in glory, and all his spiritual offspring, which makes a vast number; yet there is room enough left in those fair mansions above. How small a point is this habitable world compared with heaven, where there are an “innumerable company of angels and spirits of just men made perfect.” Yet none refused or kept out that are written “in the “ Lamb's book of life.” Heaven is capable of entertaining all the sons of God, it is a universal receptacle for all pilgrims and strangers here on the earth.*
5. No unclean thing shall enter heaven; nothing that defileth. No dogs shall tread on that golden pavement, “ without are dogs ;” as large as it is, wicked, graceless sinners shall not creep or crowd into it: our Lord keeps the keys of paradise in his own hands, he cannot be guilty of an oversight, for his eyes are "like a flame of fire,”+ none can give him the slip clandestinely, he knows them that are his, and he disowns others; “for without "holiness no man shall see the
* Heb. xii. 22. xi. 13. + Rev. xxi. 27. xxii. 15. . 18.
Lord,” Heb. xii. 14. Grace and glory go hand in hand; unconverted sinners cannot more easily enter heaven (continuing so) than devils or lost souls. Persons must be gathered by conversion, or not gathered by salvation.
6. Saints glorified, shall retain their intelligence and some kind of sensation, as they shall intuitively see God, “know as they are known,"* discern spiritual mysteries more clearly than ever. So they shall have some kind of sense and feeling, from whence come love, joy, delight; for the soul loses not the exercise of its essential faculties, for want of bodily organs. These operations of the soul in the flesh, are but imperfect shadows of intelligence and volition above, and so of the excellent sense and affections of love and joy, which we now cannot clearly conceive of here below. See this fully treated in Mr. Baxter's “ Dying Thoughts,”
7. The saints in heaven will know one another. The disciples knew Moses and Elias; and those that never saw one another's faces in this world shall meet together with great content: and this shall be no small part of their happiness, when they shall say, there stand holy Enoch, righteous Noah, grieving Lot, believing Abraham, upright David, patient Job, penitent Peter, zealous Paul, the beloved, amiable disciple John, victorious champions, and my glorious companions for ever; and we together are perfected and glorified: 0 happy day! blessed meeting !
8. The multitudes enjoying God in heaven, will be no diminution of their joy. Those thousands of eyes beholding the sun, do not diminish its light; the king is not less dignified for his courtiers beholding him; the King of heaven can give content to all the celestial inhabitants; all the saints shall bathe in this delightful
* Matt. v. 8. 1 Cor. xiii. 12. VOL. V.
river, and drink “ abundantly of the fountain of life;" nor will the different degrees of glory create discontent or envy in such as have less, for every vessel shall be as full as it can hold. The celestial courtiers want nothing, God shall be all in all; t it is thought, that such as had more grace, and had done God more service here, shall shine brighter than others, from Dan. xii. 3. 1 Cor. xv. 41. But yet there shall be no emulation, nay, they will rather rejoice in each other's graces and glory.
9. That in heaven there will be a mutual and reciprocal exchange of gifts and graces. And this will be no small part of their comfort; ( what embraces ! what endearedness of affection! what inlettings into each other's hearts ! As the sun shineth on the stars, so the stars shine on each other; God doth abundantly irradiate their souls, and they comfort one another's; not but that there is enough in God to delight them, but this is in some respect accumulative. The saints above will look on each other's grace as if it were their own; yea, there will be a mutual aptitude and disposition to serve each other, and contribute to each other's felicity.
10. The sweet harmony of spirits will be inconceivable melody in heaven, far beyond the music of the spheres. Those blessed inhabitants shall be filled with the fruits of the Spirit, love, joy, peace,f then they shall indeed speak among themselves, in “psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in their hearts to the Lord,” Eph. v. 18, 19. Then they shall with one mind and one mouth glorify God ; || not one jarring string in the heavenly concert; their hearts will be centred on God, and their lines tending * Psal. xvi. ll. xxxvi. 9.
+ 1 Cor. xv. 28. # Gal. v. 22.
|| Rom. xv. 6.