Imatges de pÓgina

holy word, and of every blessing purchased by žhe precious blood of our gracious Saviour.

In what light then may a real Christian view the New Testament? He may very properly consider it as the last will and testament of our blessed Redeemer. A testament is of no force while the testator liveth; but if the testator be dead, and his will has been duly signed and sealed, and properly executed, then no man may alter or change it, but it must stand good in law. Now our blessed Redeemer is already dead, and his will has been duly executed; it has been properly signed and sealed, and fully ratified, and is established for ever. When the believer reads the last will and testament of our Lord, he may consider what legacy, or portion, or what inheritance the Lord Jesus hath left him; and he will find, that he hath left him a legacy of grace, the treasure hid in the field of the Gos: pel, the gold tried in the fire, grace to support him under every temptation, to comfort him under every affliction, and above all, to sanctify his whole soul, so that he may serve God acceptably, and enjoy him eternally. And he will find, . that he hath also left him an inheritance, incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, eternal in the heavens.

Let the believer only take care to make his title clear; cor rather let it be his continual prayer to God, that the anay so shine upon his soul, by his blessed Spirit, that he may be fully satisfied of his interest in Christ, and his adoption into the family of God; and then he may rejoice in hope of eternal glory: For being an adopted child of God, he hath, by virtue of his adoption, a proper right and title to that kingdom, which never can be moved: And it is certain, his heavenly Father will never disinherit him; for it is his gracious design that he should endure to the end, and be eternally saved. Let him take care, not to disinherit himselt; not on any account, or by any means to forfeit his right and title to that inheritance: Let him live in the constant exercise of that grace which che Lord hath mercifully given him, in cheartully doing and patiently suffering the holy and acceptable will of God: Yea, let him, like the Apostle, "press towards the mark, for the prize of his high calling:'? Then will the grace of God so abound towards him, that he shall enter into the holiest of all, by the blood of Jesus, and be saved to the uttermost by 'him, and in due time, an entrance shall be administered unto him abundantly, into the peaceful Tegions of everlasting joy and felicity, and be shall praise God and the Lamb for ever.

4. The certainty of our receiving this glorious king. dom will farther appear, if we consider that every one who is adopted into the family of God, is already blest with an earnest of that everlasting inheritance: So saith the Apostle, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the Gospel of your salvation; in whom after that ye believed, ye were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance, until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” An earnest among men is given, as an assurance of their bargain and is generally considered as a part of the payment. With the same design does the blessed God give an earnest of heaven to those who believe in the Son of his Love: That they may be fully assured of their right and title to that glorious kingdom; the God of love freely gives them an earnest of it; and this earnest is, a foretaste of that felicity, which holy, happy souls enjoy in 'its fulness, in the Paradise of God. It is true, this is only as a drop of water from the boundIess ocean, when compared with what they shall enjoy, when time with them shall be. no more; yet nevertheless, it is a degree of heaven brought into the soul: For what is the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, but an earnest of eternal peace? What is that joy unspeakable and full of glory, but an earnest of those joys which are at God's, right-hand above? What is the light of God's countenance, enjoyed in a greater or in a less degree by every believer, but a foretaste of that éternal, that inconceivable light and glory, which every happy saint shall for ever enjoy, in the immediate presence of God? And it is beyond a doubt, that the faithful followers of God have experienced these things, in all ages. , “Ye: were seabed with the Holy Spirit of promise," saith the Apostile, quand this to you is an earnest of heaven;” The Holy

Spirit, which is promised hin the word of God, dwells in sypou y by shiş sahictifying and comforting influencess impresysing his own seal; the limage of God, upon your minds, and thereby making you both holy and happy at the same dime 9 Did not the Psalmist experience this, when he said, soy.Thau's hesta madei'us :inorés joyful with ithy countenance,

than thosellwhose corn, and! wine, and oil; are increased?" Addragain, 'when hel delightfully sings," My song shall i bez always of the boving-kindúess of the Lord, with my mouth will b every bestshewing forth his truth, from one sgeneration to another 3! And did he got enjoysthis blessing, in an eminent degree, when he said, "Thou head with oil, my cup runneth over.” And does not the church, in Solomon's Song, speak of the same thing, where she says, “I sit under his shadow with great delight, and -his fruit is sweet to my taste:” And again,

• He brought me into his banqueting-house, and his banner over me was love." For although these are only figurative expressions, yet they are very beautiful and strong figures; and it is seldom, (I believe never,) that the Holy Ghost would have us to understand less than these figures, which he uses, properly express: And if so, then even the Old Testament saints enjoyed an earnest of everlasting glory. Had not the Apostle Paul the same thing in view, when he informs us,

sihat the children of God sit down in heavenly places with Christ Jesus?" And above all, had not St. Peter this in view, when he said, “Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, tho' now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable, and full of glory?” This was the experience of the saints of God, in the apostolic age; they were favoured with clear views of the love of God in Christ Jesus to their own souls, and a full assurance of their adoption into his family; so that the Apostle could say, upon good ground concerning them, “Ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household and family of God." They received divine communications of light and peace, of joy. and love, from the fountain of all goodness; and were fully satisfied of their right and title to that kingdom, which never can be moved; hence the beloved Disciple could say concerning them, Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is."

And as the ancient saints enjoyed this unspeakable blessing, so did those holy men and women, who, in our own nation, little more than two hundred years ago, were called to seal the truth with their blood, and to offer up their lives in the flaming fire.

With what undaunted courage did these happy people lcok death in the face, even when appearing in the most terrible form: Nay, did not many of them, not only go chearfully to the stake, but also rejoice, yea, sing and triumph, even when broiling to death in the midst of the flames? Did not Dr. Taylor, the minister of Hadley, sing praises to God, when burning in the fire, till one of the soldiers struck him with an halbert, and split his head; so that he dropt down dead: And did not a nother of them cry out, in the midst of the fire, “ Ye papists look for miracles: Behold here a miracle! I feel so more pain than if I lay upon a bed of roses!”. What but the mighty power of God could support these men, under şuch extreme sufferings, and what but his gracious presence, which is a degree of heaven brought into the soul, could enable them thus to rejoice and triuinph?

But we need not go so far back, to be satisfied that the God of Love deals in this gracious manner, with those who enjoy bis favour; for we shall find, that all good men, however they may have differed from one another with respect to other things, yet have agreed in this, that the Lord graciously, manifests himself to those who believe in his name: Hence, we find Dr. Watts, that sweet singer of Israel, teaching us to sing the praises of God, in these words,

The men of grace have found,

“ Glory begun below;
“ Celestial fruit on earthly ground,

“ From faith and hope may grow.
“ Then let our songs abound,

" And every tear be dry,
“We're marching thro' Immanuel's ground,

“ To fairer worlds on high.”

It is true, many are led to think, that God does not deal in so gracious, a manner with those who fear him, as he formerly did;, but this is a vain thought, as it supposes God to be changed; whereas we are expressly told, that as “he is no respecter of persons,” so he remaineih the same,“ with. out any variableness or shadow of turning,”, throughout all ages; and that “ Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday, to-day; and for ever." This fond conceit supposes, that we have not the same Gospel preached, or the same salvation offered to us, which our; forefathers had; whereas we know, that as there is only one everlasting Gospel, so there is all-sufficient Saviour, and consequently, only one salvation to be enjoyed, by all who believe in every age and nation. ,

5. The certainty of our receiving this kingdom will appear, if we consider, that all who experience divine grace, are thereby made meet to enjoy that glory, which shall ere long be revealed. Grace, and glory are so united by the Lord himself, that they never can be separated; for as grace is a foretaste of glory, so it is the design of God, in communicating it to our minds, to bring us into an holy, spiritual; beavenly state; that as the Apostle says, “We are made meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light." This will be the experience more especially of those

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happy souls, who seek to be wholly sanctified, and who are brought to enjoy the image of God, fully stamped upon them For as these will be blest with a fuller assurance of the love: of God in Christ Jesus, and a larger earnest of heaven in their minds ;, so they will at the same time experience a more lively, hope of everlasting salvation. In these the words of the Prophet will surely be fulfilled, " The work of righteousness shall be peace, and the effect of righteousness, quietness and assurance for ever.

6. The same thing appears from the words of our Lord to his discipless." Father, I will that they whom thou hast given me be with me, where I am, that they may behold my glory.” O what gracious words are these! How full of divine comfort and heavenly consolation ! Father, I will;” it is agreeable to my will

, O my Father; and it is thy will also, that they whom thou hast given me may be with me where I am. It is commonly said, “Where the king is, there is the court;" but where Christ is, there is heaven, as it is his glorious presence that makes heaven to be what it is. And he adds; " That they may behold my glory;" that is, that they may live for ever in the full enjoyment of the beatific vision, drink of those rivers of pleasure which are at God's right-hand, and unite with the whole heavenly host in singing his everlasting praises.

The same thing appears from these words, “To him that overcometh will I give to sit down with me on my throne, even as I have overcome, and am sat down with


Father on his throne:" Divine grace is freely given to us, in order that we may overcome all our enemies ; and it will be found to answer the end for which it is given, in all those who make a proper use of it, who seek for that degree of this inestimable treasure, which God is ever waiting to bestow. Some there are, who have very narrow and scanty ideas of the grace offered to us in the gospel; and seem to take a kind of pleasure in dwindling it down to almost nothing : But if we see as we ought, the rich provision which the God of peace and love hath made for us, and see him as he is, able and willing to save us to the utterinost; if we rightly understand how powerful the grace of God is in its operations upon the human mind, that our corrupt nature cannot stand before it, and that by its power we shall conquer every outward enemy; then we shall chearfully fight the good fight of faith, till we lay hold on eternal life, according to the wise and gracious designs of that God, who hath called us to glory and virtue.


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