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17. Saints that have exercised charity and hospitality, and such as received their bounty, will embrace each other with mutual pleasure. Our Lord saith, “Whosoever gives but a cup of cold water to a little one in the name of a disciple,” though he may be mistaken, " verily I say unto you he shall in no wise lose his reward,” Matt. x. 42. O! will the poor beggar say, there is my kind benefactor; the debtor will there own his creditor, who “forgave him all when he had nothing to pay;"* well, saith the free hearted disburser, I do not repent it, since I am so richly rewarded, this recompence is above my expectations, and contrary to my deserts; strange that I should receive so much for laying out so little, this is above Isaac's reaping an hundred fold. How comfortable will that language of our Lord be, when he shall say as in Matt. xxv. 34 40, “ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you,” &c. Behold my representatives, in relieving of whom you relieved me; I took as done to my person what you did to my members, and you shall be glorified together.
18. Saints that have wanted many things in this world, . when they meet above shall want nothing. In this world the body is full of wants, we want necessaries to supply nature, we want food to nourish us, clothes to cover us, physic to cure us, houses to shelter us, sleep to refresh us, yet these only supply particular wants, and men ordinarily have dependance one upon another for supplies; but when God's children ascend above, though they shall have sweet communion with one another, yet their happiness will chiefly depend on the vision and fruition of God. “ With him is the fountain of life, in his light they see light, in his presence is ful
* Matt. xviii. 26, 27.
ness of joy.”* The sun doth dart its beams through the whole universe; God's presence, not the saints', makes heaven; the king makes the court, not courtiers; nothing can satisfy the capacious soul but God. “I shall be satisfied,” saith David, “ when I awake with thy likeness :"† that and nothing else gives content. Angels and glorified spirits, as creatures, must say, it is not in us to satisfy you; God alone can: now, and never till now, the soul saith, I have enough, I need no more: I have not only tasted, but drunk deep of this river of pleasures, yea, bathed my soul in this blessed ocean of delights: nor do I become sated with these, but fresh springs of joy yield me perpetual contentment.
19. All saints pass through the valley of the shadow of death to the glory that shall be revealed: none exempted but Enoch and Elias, and those that shall be found alive at the last day. It is no strange thing, “for it is appointed to men once to die.”+ It is the common lot of mankind, even of the best. The sting of death is gone, it is but a trap-door to let us into heaven. Thousands are gone before us; they are not lost, but reserved; we shall meet them again. O who would be afraid of death, when Jesus Christ hath perfumed the grave for us? Well may a graceless soul be afraid to die, because he knows not what company he shall have in the other world ; suspecting, however, that he may have to fare with devils and lost souls; but the “ righteous hath hope in his death,"|| and sees Jesus Christ standing with a crown on his head, and another in his hand, saying, “Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give thee a crown of life.”
* Psal. xxxvi. 9. xvi. 11. + Psal. xvii. 15. # Heb. ix. 27. || Prov. xiv. 32.
§ Rev. ii. 10.
Why should we then fear the king of terrors, who is disarmed, he may hiss, but cannot sting us ; he may kill us, but cannot hurt us.* See, yonder glorified assembly of the spirits of just men made perfect have conquered death, and are set upon splendid thrones.
20. This blessed society of departed souls shall continue through the ages of eternity. In this world they met and parted again, there were many intermissions in their sweet communion : but now they shall for ever dwell in the house of the Lord, “and sing praises to the Lamb for ever; such as overcome shall be pillars in the temple of God, and shall go no more out.”+ They shall never be banished out of this heavenly paradise. This word ever, evermore, everlasting, puts new life into the glorious songs of praise, and daily revives their spirits. After ten thousands of millions of ages, the joy shall be as fresh as at their first entrance. That river is still running, “in thy presence is fulness of joy, at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”+ Mortality is written upon all sublunary things; eternity gives weight to what is spiritual; there “shall be no night there,” no clouds, no eclipses of that glory, " for the Lord God giveth them light, and they shall reign for ever and ever."|| It is recorded of Diagoras, that when he saw his three sons crowned in one day, as victors, at the Olympic games, he died away while he was embracing them for joy. But though the saints shall be in a continual ecstacy and transport of joy, in beholding their children in Christ, and their godly christian friends, yet their hearts shall not break, but be enlarged with joy, and their joy perpetuated for evermore.
O what a day will that be, when all the sons of the second Adam shall meet together, and so many spirits * 1 Cor. xv. 56, 57. Rev. ii. 12. Psal. xvi. 11. || Rev.xxii. 5.
purified from the sordid dregs of sin and suffering, shall combine their harmonious music and melody in prais. ing our dear Lord, whose glorious perfections we could never sufficiently extol! What a brave choir will that make! not a discordant string among them all ; but as one eye moves, the other corresponds; when one string is touched, the other sounds; such a blending harmony will there be of well-tuned praises in that heavenly chorus. Ignatius thinks the sun, moon, and stars made a choir about the star that appeared at Christ's incarnation : 0 then what a halcyon day will that be, “when the morning stars shall sing together, and the sons of God shall shout for joy!"* O what a harmonious melody in perfect symphony! What mutual love and delight in each other! Yea, they shall love one another the better, for the perfect love they have to God: and bathing their souls in that fathomless ocean of divine love.
It is true, the infinite God is ultimately and objectively the saints' proper delight both here and in heaven; but glorified bodies united to those blessed souls, and the blissful society of angels and saints, will be no small accessions to the saint's happiness. As there will be no hypocrite there to cool their charity, so there will not be missing the humblest member of Christ. The weak Christian that cried out, “my lameness, my lameness,” shall then be strong. The dark soul that rarely had a glimpse of God, or a sealing of the Spirit, shall walk for ever in the light of God's countenance. The grieved saint shall be now in an ecstacy of joy: not a gracious soul shall be missing, not the least grace wanting, not a duty lost, all secret prayers, tears, groans, shall come to light and be rewarded, their tears were bottled, their prayers record.
* Job xxxvii. 7.
ed, and shall now be produced.* Not an act of charity, though the left hand knew not what the right hand did, much less others, but it shall be brought to light before angels and men, with high approbation and commendation.
O who would not be preparing for such a day? Who would not long for it, breathe after it, and freely welcome it? Let all the children of the “bridechamber make themselves ready, let your loins be girded about, and your lights burning.”+ Be waking and watchful, attend his movements, be glad of his approaches, and joyfully welcome the bridegroom's coming with all his holy angels and glorified spirits, descending in the clouds to fetch you home into those celestial mansions to be for ever with the Lord. Be not afraid, when he saith, surely I come quickly; let the redeemed of the Lord echo, Amen, even so, come, Lord Jesus, Amen, so be it. * Psal. lvi. 8.
+ Luke xii. 35.